Building your own website can be incredibly rewarding and fun. Or it can be frustrating and incredibly draining on your time.
Before embarking on building your own website, consider if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages and follow our top 5 tips to make it run more smoothly and actually give you the results you desire.
Five Tips For Building Your Own Website
Fail to plan and plan to fail, as the old adage goes. It is true. Especially when it comes to websites.
Plan the structure, design, and purpose of your site before you begin.
Your site structure and URLs are an important part of SEO. A well laid out site map with hierarchy makes it easier for the bots to crawl and users to find their way around.
Be sure to jot one down before you start to write copy.
Have an idea of how you want your pages to look. Set a font, sizing, spacing, and colours globally and then you don’t find you accidentally go off track.
When I first built a website, I decided partway through that I wanted the text to be spaced slightly differently. I had set the font locally on each page.
I had to go back and figure out which pages had which font on and change it all one by one. I wasted so much time and nearly launched my laptop out of the window several times.
Two lessons there.
1) Decide on the font and styles beforehand.
2) Set the styles globally, rather than on every page.
I wish I could say I learned these lessons but clearly, I’m an idiot. I repeated my mistake several times before it really hit home.
Be really clear on the purpose of your site. This will influence the structure, copy, and design.
Well of course I am going to say that.
But seriously, what is the point of a website if it isn’t going to bring you leads?
A well-optimised website will mean the traffic that comes to it is better targeted and more likely to enquire or buy.
Optimising is about more than filling in Yoast. And I beg you…PLEASE don’t copy and paste your meta descriptions.
Have a look at our guide to on page optimisation here.
It is worth having a keyword strategy down before you start optimising. Otherwise, you won’t know which keywords are best for each page, what the search volumes are or what the intent of the user is. We charge £250 for a basic keyword audit.
A site will not rank well without a good keyword strategy.
Don’t leave your web build half done.
3) Great Copy
You would have thought this would have gone without saying but you would be amazed.
There are so many websites out there with awful copy. Long rambling sentences, overly technical language, never actually saying what they do or never actually saying why someone should trust them are all hallmarks of bad copy.
If you are building your own website, you must be sure the copy is not an afterthought.
Outsource your copywriting if you know writing isn’t your forte. I always use the analogy of painting your own house.
Of course, you can paint your own house. It is much cheaper than having a professional do it. But it takes you ages, it is really unpleasant, and it probably isn’t going to have the gleaming finish you were hoping for. And if you’re anything like my husband you will create a huge mess in the process.
Copywriting is the same. We charge £30 for a product description and £60 for up to 500 words of SEO copy per page.
4) Fast And Secure
The speed at which all of your page loads is really important. In May 2021, Google is releasing its Core Web Vitals update. It is assessing how fast a page loads, how easy it is to interact with the page, and how stable a page is (whether there are any of those irritating pop-ups or tracking ads, for example.)
There is a great article here that explains what they are and how to build your site, so it hits these core web vitals.
If that is way beyond your skills, keep the site simple.
Don’t have too many heavy plugins, get a great server, and keep your pages clean of moving parts.
Your site needs to be secure and safe. Make sure you have an SSL certificate and it is hosted with a trusted provider. If you are paying £2.99 a month to a household name host it probably isn’t going to be great.
5) Put In Trust Signals
There are about a million trust signals you can choose from.
They are really important for users to feel that they can confidently buy from or use your site.
Trust Signals also show Google that your site is secure. Google isn’t going to rank websites it thinks are dodgy because it gives a bad experience to its customers.
Some trust signals you should employ as a minimum:
- Your registered address and contact details
- Testimonials / reviews
- SSL certificate
- Contact page
If your site is e-commerce, you should also have:
- Product descriptions and specifications
- Delivery information
- Returns and warranty information
- Secure payment options
- An enhanced SSL certificate
There is a great list of trust signals here.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Building Your Own Website.
There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages of building your own website. Here are a handful, with their counter-argument.
Takes a very long time. Is your time more valuable doing something else?
Plenty of drag and drop options, such as Wix.
Can’t optimise them for search engines very well and not particularly future proof.
Fun, if you enjoy that sort of thing.
A nightmare if you don’t enjoy that sort of thing. You will want to launch your laptop.
You have absolute control over the design
Great design is harder than it looks.
You don’t have to pay maintenance fees
You have to maintain it yourself and have no one to ask if it goes down.
Need Help Building Your Own Website?
I have built many, many websites over my time but I am not a developer.
Here is the truth. The first few I did took me AGES. It’s a pain in the neck.
Do you want that for yourself? Haven’t you got enough on? Wouldn’t it be lovely if someone just did it for you? Sure would!
Our prices start from £850 for a 5-page website and you can spread the cost. Why not grab a chat with me and see how much time I can save you?
Until next time,