Quick Start or Deep Dive?
This is the first of two blogs about making a website to celebrate the launch of KellowLearning.com. This is the ‘Quickstart’ 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 way 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 KellowLearning.com does that.
Where to start?
Making a website means 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
You need a name for your business, a log and a strapline. You also need to choose the colour scheme. 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?
Making 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.