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12 Steps to Setting up a Simple Website - ep. 6

Updated: Jun 17



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Creating a website is intimidating when you don't know where to start. In this digital year and age having a website can make or break your business. When people are searching for you on Google they are going to most likely want to check out your website first before deciding if they want to call you or see if you're a good fit.


Your website is the digital storefront of your business and without a storefront for people to walk through and get to know your business you're leaving money on the table.

If web design isn't part of your budget just yet here is a simple framework to follow so you can create your own website without a web designer.

But if you prefer a done for website let me take care of the headache you. Feel free to check out my website www.zsquaredstudio.com to see if I'm right for you.


Alright so let's get to the steps.



1. Choose a domain name

Your domain name is your website name. It's what comes after www. so my domain name for example is www.zsquaredstudio.com


Have a couple of different options in mind because sometimes your first choice is already taken in the Domain Name System (DNS) Records.


To buy your domain name head over to a domain host like Go Daddy or Namecheap which are internet services that manages your domain name. It will be around $10 dollars to purchase your domain name for a year.


Or if you know that you want to build your website in Wix. That's W I X. Which is actually what I use for my website and it's what I prefer to build my clients websites on then you can purchase your domain straight on Wix when you go to create your website which brings us perfectly to step number 2.



2. Choose your website builder There are a couple of different website builders that you might have heard of like Squarespace or Show It. I've used both and there's definitely pros and cons for each just like anything in life. But my absolute favorite choice is Wix, and obviously I'm biased because that's where I build my sites.


Squarespace definitely requires a little more knowledge in coding and isn't super friendly for the non designer. They have some great templates to choose from but it can be difficult to customize the layout since you would need a bit of design knowledge to add new sections or move the layout around.


Show It is great and if you're a designer it's actually similar to using Adobe products. It's a drag and drop editor so you don't need any coding knowledge but if you are a non designer it could be frustrating to try and figure out how everything works. Like how to create your own menu. Show It has some great templates as well that you can customize and mix and match quite easily.


Wix is a super easy drag and drop editor perfect for the non designer. The editor is straight forward making the learning curve very small.


These are just 3 choices out of many other website builders. Definitely choose what you think works best for your business and your needs. For example if the main purpose of your website is an online store then maybe you want to go with Shopify or if you want to start a blog than maybe Wordpress is your best option.



3. Gather your copy

Your copy is the words on your website. I would suggest writing out copy now before you do any design because it will help give you an idea with knowing how many pages you want to have. Also, by having your copy ready first you're more likely to finish your website since you will have the hard but essential part of your website out of the way.


What I would do is start off with what you want on each page. For example you know you're going to need a homepage so lay out what you want to say on there and maybe even break your copy up into clear sections.


Let's say that at the top of your homepage you want to state what you do and who you serve.


Then in a new section underneath that type out what you want to say about your services. Then under that map out your contact info.


By breaking up copy this way it will make designing your website so much easier. In a way you're creating a plan for your website which will make your design much more intentional by only adding sections that need to be there.



4. Gather your images

There are 2 ways to go about gathering your images you can use stock photos, theres both a free or paid option. Or you can invest in your own branded photo shoot.


I think photos are the most underestimated part of a website but it really brings everything together, it's the cherry on top that can make or break the look of your website.


When you're just starting out there's definitely no shame in using free stock images we all have to start somewhere. Or even if you want to take it up a little then paid stock images are great as well. With paid stock images you are able to use images that won't be so commonly used and you will be able to find more images that aren't so generic and can be more tailored to your business and what you are looking for.


If you are able to I highly suggest investing in a branded photoshoot. Trust me when I say it makes a world of difference for your website. There's something almost cold about using stock images. But when a website has uses professionally taken photography that is on brand with their business it gives the website so much personality. A branded photoshoot will bring in your color palate either through the clothing you wear or the backgrounds where you are taking the photos. And it brings in your brand style through the styling of the images. As long as you choose a photographer that matches your style your images will really take your website to a whole new level. It's true when they say a picture is worth 1000 words.



5. Figure out your style

In other words you need to figure out how you want to brand your business. Do you want your style to come off as professional and corporate or maybe you wanna go for a boho theme, a feminine theme whatever the theme you just need to find your style and stick to it. Make sure that all the pages on your website are cohesive and share the same aesthetic.


Decide if you want to add elements like horizontal or vertical lines or even shapes like boho blobs or handrawn floral images And use that styling for your whole website remember that simple is always better.


You don't want to clutter your website with random graphics that don't make sense remember that people visit your website to get information on your business and if its messy and hard to read then it's a waste of a website. Its always legibility over aesthetics when it comes to design. This means don't use a script or cursive font for your headers because it's hard to read. Just use script for 1 or 2 words out of the header for that extra flair but you should never use a script font the main header font.


If you need help branding your business you can always check out my website for done for you custom branding services at www.zsquaredstudio.com or you can do-it-yourself with my DIY brand in 5 days Mini course you can find more information on that at www.zsquaredstudio.com/diybrand.


If you're just tuning in to this episode specifically and have not listened to episode one where I talk about what is branding and branding 101 definitely do that and episode 2 and 3 are also great ways where you can learn more about finding your style, and choosing your fonts and colors for your brand which you would use to style your website.



6. Choose a template or start from scratch

Since you are DIYing your website I would definitely recommend choosing a template that works best for you. It will save you a lot of headache to have a framework put into place.


Don't choose your website based on the style at all. Instead look at all of the features and elements that are on the website, you can easily change the style of the website but having a website with all or most of your preferred features is going to save you from headache in the long run.


What I mean by features is that if you want a blog on your website look for a template that has a blog built into it already. If you want an online store check out the online store templates. If you want Instagram on there maybe some of the templates already have an Instagram feed installed. Or if you want a subscription box pop up on the homepage or some kind of form embedded into your website look for templates that already have those features.


Wix has some great templates for specific businesses like photographers for example or a restaurant so be sure to look through the categories as well. You can even get some ideas with what to put on your own website from those templates as well.



7. Add your content

After choosing a template finally this is the fun part adding all of your content onto your website.


I will specifically be talking about adding content to a Wix site since that's my forte. So when you're DIYing your website it's helpful to know the basics of the editor and the dashboard so it can be helpful to head to YouTube and look up 'How to edit my Wix site' Check out the dates and find one that's fairly recent since Wix has added a lot of new features to their editor and you want the information you're learning to be as recent as possible.


What's great about Wix is that they have apps that you can add to your website so that there's you don't need to have any knowledge in code.


For example if you want to add your Instagram feed at the bottom of your home page all you have to do is look up Instagram in the Wix app market, add it to your site, change all the settings and you're good to go. Wix even just recently added an online course app so you can add to your website without needing to get a separate subscription for an online course builder website like Kajabi for example.


Don't forget to think about the overall goal of your website and make sure to create content and functionalities to reach that goal. Do you want people to buy your online course? Do you want people to book or services? Make sure that you are giving them opportunities to learn more about your services. You can even add a freebie that can funnel them into your email marketing. For even better conversions you can repeat important sections, such as your freebie, on different pages of your website because people are most likely not going to be going on every single page of your website anyways.



8. Edit the mobile version

After the desktop version is designed you will need to go into the mobile version and edit that version as well. The mobile version of your website should focus on legibility over aesthics. Keep the mobile site simple and hide design aspects that don't make sense on mobile.


This could mean getting rid of certain shapes or effects that will interfere with the mobile experience and load time. When was the last time you waited for a slow site to load on your phone? Let's face it you probably exited out of a website after waiting three seconds for it to load I know I have.


Make sure that buttons aren't too close to each other or too small. You want people to be able to easily press buttons on their phone. Also make sure to double check that the font size on mobile isn't is too small where you cant read it or too big where it's frustrating to read because it causes a lot of unnecessary scrolling.



9. Add SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is how your website is able to be found via search engines. The more thorough and well thought out your SEO is the better chances that people are able to find you organically which is whatever business wants right? Free traffic


There's so much you can do to improve the SEO on your site but I don't want to get too into that today.


The least you should do SEO wise is add meta descriptions for each page. This is super easy to do on Wix under the settings for each page. Make sure each page uses a different description for each page and don't just copy paste your business description. Try and use keywords that you want to rank for for that page specifically.


For example on my logos and branding web page I make sure to use the words 'logo design and brand design' in the meta description for that page. Then for my website design web page I make sure to include the words 'Custom Web design' in the meta description.


If you need more examples type in a topic on Google and underneath the title is a little description, that is the meta description for that page.


I won't go too deep into meta descriptions today but in the show notes I will have a link to a Wix blog that talks about meta descriptions more in detail so that you have a better idea on how to improve the SEO on your website.



10. Index your site to Google

In order for your website to be found on Google you need to add it to Googles index. In layman's terms you need to add your website to Google's database so you are able to show up in the search results. You're also able to add yourself to other search engines like Bing or Yahoo.


Wix has some great features on the dashboard with checklists that you should complete if you want to fully take advantage of your site. They will walk you through a checklist on how to index your site on Google which brings so much clarity.



11. Publish

The last part of creating a website is to publish your site to the world. Once your website is finished connect your domain name and choose a website package that works best for you. You can always upgrade and change your plans later on. The recommended middle package normally works well with sufficient memory and features.



12. Share your site everywhere

After you hit publish share your website with everyone. Add your domain name in your Instagram Bio, Facebook, Linked In everywhere.


Set up a Google Business Profile or Google my business as it was previously named. A Google Business Profile is different from indexing your site on Google and it's going to do you wonders in search results. I want to say it's almost like having a free ad because when you set up your Google profile it showcases photos, a little description, your ratings, you can fill out your hours, phone number, services. Be sure to fill out your profile completely so that you have a better chance at being found organically. After putting in so much work on your website the least you could do for yourself is take the time to fill in everything and don't just fill in the minimum.


Just because you build it doesn't mean people will come. You need to put yourself out there and market yourself to build awareness.


And that is all I have for you today 12 steps to building your website. Here are the steps again:

1. Choose a domain name

2. Choose your website builder

3. Gather your copy

4. Gather your images

5. Figure out your style

6. Choose a template or start from scratch

7. Add your content

8. Edit the mobile version

9. Add SEO

10. Index your site to Google

11. Publish

12. Share your site everywhere


I hope this simple framework has given you a bit of direction on how to create your own simple website. If you feel like you need more help or you can't find the time to finish your website feel free to hit me up at www.zsquaredstudio.com and I will be happy to finish the website for you.


Even if you are at a point where all the fun parts are finished and you don't want to edit the mobile version or you don't want to add the SEO and index your site to Google I will be happy to handle everything else.


Happy designing!







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