Designing Your First Website? Here’s Some Tips to Get You Started!

Designing Your First Website? Here’s Some Tips to Get You Started!

If you are staring at a blank slate trying to decide how to design your website it can be helpful to sketch up a plan.  It may seem counterintuitive to start your design with navigation and content then pick a template after, but it will be much easier to choose a template that works once you know what content you have and what pages you need.

Start by deciding how many pages you want to have and what those pages should be.  Visualize your navigation menu, what important pages like Contact us, Services or Menu will be front and center and which secondary pages will be in a drop down menu?         

Once you decide what pages you want to include, the next part is where it can get tricky... content.  The best way to tackle content is to collect information and collateral you already have and assign it to pages.

Content can be:

  • An interactive Google map with directions

  • Your address, areas you serve, phone number and email

  • A contact form

  • Photos and videos of your business, products, staff or services

  • A signup form for your newsletter

  • Your Social Media accounts, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for example

  • A plugin that allows a client to make an appointment, order food or sign up for a class

  • A blurb about the owners, staff, or company mission

  • Recent community events you have sponsored or participated in

  • Any press releases or articles written about your business

  • A blog where you offer tips, advice and industry news

  • A service menu, class schedule or list of specials or new menu items.

  • Sales and introductory offers

  • Price list or catalog.

  • Customer reviews and testimonials

Once you have gathered your content and mocked up which content will go on specific pages you can select the template or WordPress theme that will work well with the structure you set up.  When selecting your design try to pay attention to the elements that cannot be changed, the color scheme and the way the design looks on mobile. many of your visitors will likely be looking at your site on their phones or tablets so make sure it is attractive and easy to navigate on all devices.

Once the design is chosen, make sure any stock photography on the template matches your brand image and industry well.  Ideally you want to add your own photos of products, locations, staff, events, but this isn’t alway possible. If you need to use stock photos take your time, images on your site make up a lot of visitor’s first impressions so you want to make sure they are well suited.  The host you choose should give you access to stock photos via their builder or tools, if not you may want to set up an account with a leading stock photo company.

Finally put it all together and don’t forget to add links to all of your social media profiles as well as like and share buttons.