Need to design and build a new website? What should be your first move?
Should you set out to find a website developer? Or can you do it yourself?
The answer to that question is yes, absolutely, you can design your own website.
Whether you want to tell your business story online or whether you need to set up an online shop, you can build your website yourself.
Now, I have made no secret of the fact that I am a huge Jimdo fan.
Since 2012, I have built most of my websites using Jimdo’s powerful platform. I am now a Jimdo expert and I have written guest posts for their blog.
I have also joined Jimdo's affiliate program - something I would never do unless I truly believed in the product and service involved.
Jimdo’s tagline is “pages to the people” - offering its customers the ability to build websites with no previous experience and no coding knowledge. Theoretically, you can have a website up and running in minutes using Jimdo.
In reality, your new website will probably take you longer than a few minutes to construct. But it shouldn’t take you the months and months that I sometimes hear about. For your own sanity, it really shouldn’t.
If you are thinking about building your website yourself - well, first of all I wish you good luck and second here are a few tips that might help you along the way.
Choose A Website Builder
I would really recommend checking out Jimdo. There are, of course, many other do-it-yourself website builders out there. I have had some fun experimenting with many of them.
However, I always return to Jimdo. This is because I find the design platform really intuitive. Jimdo’s selection of templates are all stunning and you can customise everything to make your website your own.
In addition, you can boost the functionality of your Jimdo website with a huge number of widgets (see my recent blog post about website widgets here). For example, you can add floating social media share buttons as I have on my website. You can also add online booking forms, forums, live chat facilities and content search engines.
What I also love about Jimdo (and what is crucial for anyone who is looking to build their own website) is their customer service. The team is so helpful and I speak from experience! I have asked Jimdo all sorts of questions - including queries that have nothing to do with the platform itself - and they have always responded quickly and effectively.
I always feel supported by the Jimdo team and this is a major reason why I recommend them to my clients.
Most DIY website builders offer you a range of templates. This is your starting point.
You can then (and this is the fun part!) customise your colours and fonts, add your logo and other photos and images. To help you to do this, here are some fantastic design resources:
Colour Lovers - to help you choose colour palettes and to see what colours go well together
What font? - a Google Chrome extension that enables you to identify online fonts that you like so that you can use them on
your own website
Eyedropper - another Google Chrome extension that enables you to identify colour codes
Pixabay - a free to use online photo resource
Canva - a free and easy to use online graphic design tool. Canva also has a Design School that is super
Picmonkey - another free and easy to use online graphic design tool
- Pixellogo - if you need a new logo you can choose one from this site and have it customised
It is important to consider your website navigation. I actually wrote about website navigation at length here.
When I start to build a website, I make a map of my website navigation. This map considers the following questions:
What are my main web pages?
How will I divide my content into those pages?
How will my visitors get from my main pages to reach further information?
How easily can they get back to my home page?
- How will I link to different pages - via text links, images or buttons?
Once you have mapped out your website’s pathways, you can make sure no one will get lost and end up clicking away.
Once you have completed your design and navigation, it is time to fill your pages with content. I always assume that my visitor is pushed for time (aren't we all!) and so I try to get to the point quickly and efficiently.
I also try - and admittedly this is a work in progress - to write like myself and not some nameless, faceless corporate entity. Don’t be afraid to inject some of your brand’s personality into your website content.
When you have your content ready to go, ask a colleague or friend to proofread it for you before it goes live onto your website. It is amazing how often you can see what you want to be there and miss what actually is there.
It is now crucial that your website looks good on all devices. Make sure that your website builder offers mobile responsive designs and check those designs actually do suit both mobile and tablet viewing.
Don’t forget to include ways in which potential clients can contact you. Add a contact page to your website and include it in your main navigation bar.
In addition, add social media buttons to your website - both to enable visitors to share your content on their own platforms and also to allow them to find you on yours.
Have I Just Done Myself Out Of A Job?
You may be wondering why on earth I would be encouraging you to build a website yourself? Am I not a website designer? Surely I am doing myself out or a job here?
My response to this is no, I do not think that I am doing myself out of a job. If you think that you have the time to build your own website then do go for it. Website design really does not have to be a complicated and protracted affair.
However, chances are that you may not have the time. Indeed, there is an argument that, if time is precious to you, you and your business are better off hiring someone who already has the expertise to do the job.
This then leaves you free to do what you are good at in your business.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care, Jane x