With so many different ‘build-your-own’ sites to choose from, settling on a design can be tricky. These 10 tips for your DIY web design will ensure that you skip the beginner stage and go straight to pro status!
1. Too many fonts and bad formatting
Mismatching fonts don’t just scream ‘amateur’, but they’re confusing to read too! A little variation is good and adds depth to the page – try to stick to 2 fonts that complement each other. If you’ve engaged a graphic designer for your logo or site header, ask them for suggestions.
With formatting, ensure that paragraphs are nicely split, use headings and subheadings to break up the text and split explanations into visually pleasing bullet points and listicles.
2. Unnamed pages
The ‘page name’ is what appears on the browser tab when someone opens your website. If it just says ‘Home’ or ‘About’, the user isn’t going to easily find it – because, let’s be honest, we’ve all got too many tabs open!
Thinking about user experience in the early stages will pay back dividends when your site gains traction.
3. Too much stock imagery
Stock pictures are really useful for headers and feature images, but a nice picture of a sunflower isn’t as appealing as one of you! A lot of people are hesitant about having their photo taken, however, it makes a huge difference – especially if you’re the sole employee in your business.
A good photographer will make you feel at ease and deliver relaxed images that you’ll be proud to feature on your site.
4. Too many pages
A navigation menu with more than 10 options will have potential customers running for the hills. Whilst landing pages and other important sales pages shouldn’t be forgotten, they don’t need to be reachable from the main menu.
Keep it simple: Home, About, Blog, Contact – maybe a pricelist or quotation page, if needed.
You can link out to other pages from the core 5 or so.
5. Poor mobile optimization
Global mobile data traffic is projected to increase sevenfold by 2021 [source] – so if your site isn’t mobile ready, neither is your business. Most web builders come with the option to view the mobile version of your site. Ensure that photos aren’t too large, that text is nicely segregated and that your menus work seamlessly between large and small screens.
6. Picking the first free theme
If you’re creating your site on a budget, you might be tempted by the free themes offered on your chosen platform. However, don’t just select the first or second one – have a dig around. There are 94 free themes on WordPress (for Personal Plan users)… so choose wisely.
7. Really excessive loading times
If you’ve got a ton of videos or high-res, large images – your site is going to run like a tortoise with ice-skates on.
There are simple things you can do to speed up your site, such as: enable caching, choosing a better web host, installing Google PageSpeed on your server – or engaging a web developer for more personalized and detailed advice.
8. Distorted or pixelated images
Choose your content wisely. Don’t crop images beyond recognition, or use low resolution pictures for a full screen header.
If you’re struggling to pick the right images, try utilizing a cheat sheet or consult the theme information for the right dimensions. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the maximum upload for WordPress is 1GB. Use a tool like JPEG Mini if you need to confidently resize images.
9. Dodgy branding
If you’re using 5 or more colors on your site, you might need to have a little think about your branding. Sticking with fewer colors, a couple of fonts and a clear logo will give your site credibility and a professional look. Too many different designs may detract from the value of your product or service, so keep it slick and simple – let the words do the talking!
10. Waiting until it’s ‘perfect’
Despite all these tips, the number one mistake that DIYer’s make is waiting until their site is perfect. As any developer or web guru will tell you, most of us never stop tweaking or editing our websites. Like any part of your business, your website will grow with you.
The important thing is to get it out there! Good luck! If you’re looking for assistance with your DIY web design, or want to upgrade to a bells and whistles WordPress site, pop me a message – I’d be happy to help.