Sunday, 3 November 2013

I made a website

Thinking about

Quick Start or Deep Dive?

This is the first of two blogs about making a website to celebrate the launch of This is the 'Quick Start' blog for people who want to get going now. The second blog, called ‘Making a website: “The Deep Dive”’, is more reflective, and describes how the act of writing helped me to find out what I wanted to say on my website.

It’s possible to build a website in a few weeks if you know what you want to say. It took me more than six months. What I wanted was a creative and engaging site that communicates what I do, how I do it and why I do it. I think does that.

Where to start?
Making a website is all about making choices. Begin by answering the questions that people asked me when I told them I was making a website:

What do you do?
Who is your audience?
What are you offering that is special or different?
How can you communicate who you are, what you do, how and why you do it?

Do the thinking

Test your ideas on your friends.
Get a good website builder.
Choose a template off the web. A good web builder can advise you on the best options.
Assuming you can’t afford a copywriter, you will need time to write web copy

Choose a name, logo, and colours for your website

Decide on a name for your business, a log and a strapline. You also need to choose the colour scheme. What kind of online environment do you want to create? Choose welcoming colours that will encourage your visitors to linger and browse

Do the research

Learn from other websites. Consider both content and design
What are your competitors saying, and how do they say it?
What pages and features do they have?
How many clicks does it take to get you to the page you want?

Map out the content
Having decided what you do and what you offer, create pathways with clear signposting that make it easy for your visitors to find what they want

Connect with your audience
Who do you want to work with? Corporates? Government? NGOs? How do you want to sound? What kind of language and examples will engage your target audience?

Make it personal
Tell inspiring stories about what you have done, how you did it, and what it means to you. Use images that reinforce your messages. Ask for recommendations from your clients to show that you really do what you say you do.

Review, review, review

Having put your heart and soul into describing what, how and why you do it, get an editor to help you order your content and put your brilliant copy into some kind of structure. You won’t notice what needs to be changed or improved until you read your copy online. Ask critical friends to review your website, and be prepared to ignore their advice. What matters is what feels right to you.