Many small business owners build their own websites as a way to save money. After all, hiring a web designer is pricy, but there are countless platforms, themes, and tools that promise to make building your own site a breeze. It’s not quite that simple, though. To build a great website, you need time and skill — or at least some guidance.
These four styling tips will help you craft an appealing, engaging website, no matter your industry.
Before you dive into the web design process, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about design tools and trends. To that end, consider signing up for a web development program. This will equip you with the technical skills you need to navigate the design process, ultimately saving you a lot of time and frustration.
Start with a Theme
One of the great advantages of modern web design platforms is that there’s no reason to build a site from the ground up. Instead, choose a WordPress theme as a starting point for you site. To install a WordPress theme, you can simply select “Add Theme” from your dashboard and then peruse the options. Themes are grouped by function, as well as by features, so you can choose a site theme that meets your needs.
In addition to choosing a theme based on its aesthetic appeal, you’ll want to ensure that you’re choosing a theme that loads quickly and boasts a high degree of mobile usability. Websites are ranked on their mobile performance, among other features, and with a growing proportion of sales and communications happening on mobile platforms now, strong mobile performance is more important than ever.
Have Content Ready
There are lots of things that can slow down the web design process, but for entrepreneurs doing their own design work, one of the biggest roadblocks is content development. Too often, business owners start laying out their site, but they don’t have any information ready to put on pages. They’re paying for hosting and site design for a website they can’t launch. Develop content offsite so you can just paste it onto your pages and get your site up and running — but don’t forget about offsite content.
It takes time to develop and execute a link-building strategy, but as you work on your onsite content, it may make sense to develop some complementary offsite material that you can use to cultivate backlinks. It takes time to build the relationships and networks that will really boost your site performance, but keeping link building in mind as you work on your onsite content can improve your long-term prospects.
Pay Attention to Plugins
No matter what theme you choose, a basic WordPress site won’t do much without an appropriate set of plugins. That’s why, when you’re choosing your WordPress theme, you’ll want to be sure it’s compatible with a wide range of plugins. Depending on the function and the options available to you, you may even want to research plugins and compatible themes in advance. In most cases, there’s a variety of similar plugins that all do the same job, but for some more specialized tasks, you may not have many options.
Many of today’s entrepreneurs grew up learning to code their own pages on sites like LiveJournal and Myspace and even Neopets. Compared to these traditional HTML projects, WordPress can seem simple. The hardest part is the preparation. If you take the time to get organized, writing content and researching themes and tools before sitting down to finalize your site, you’ll have your website up and running in no time.