How to Design Your Website (When You’re Not a Web Designer)
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How to Design Your Website (When You’re Not a Web Designer)

Every business should have a website. It’s an essential home base that your business needs to have online so that your customers can find your business, learn about why your business is different and access information that will make them choose you over your competitors. In fact, some businesses are able to run entirely online.

However, regardless of whether you’re using your website to share your business’ information, promote your service or sell your products, your website needs to stand out.

But not all websites are created equal. It’s likely you’ve come across websites online that are so unappealing or out of date that it made you question whether you wanted to choose that business. And even if you didn’t realize it at the time, these split-second judgements can make or break the relationship you might have with that company.

A website always portrays a business – for better or for worse. That’s why good website design is a necessary part of any business’s online presence.

As an experienced web designer and web developer, I’ve seen countless examples of small business websites across all industries that have great intentions, but fall flat on design. Luckily, this doesn’t have to apply to your business’ website.

Here are the most important things to know about designing your small business’ website today.

Choose the Right Platform for Your Website

Most websites are powered by one of two platforms: WordPress or Squarespace. WordPress allows for a much deeper level of customization but may be harder for a person with less technical skills to learn. Squarespace, on the other hand, has a much easier learning curve but requires your site to work within certain limitations.

If you are looking for a simple “out of the box” solution for your website that still allows for many customizations, Squarespace might be the best option for your website.

Find the Right Design Platform for You

When most people think of design tools, several platforms come to mind. Most people have heard of Adobe Photoshop, but Adobe Illustrator is another option that many designers use. Both tools let you do just about anything imaginable, but they may take some time to master and require ongoing licensing payments.

If you’re looking to get started with design but don’t have a large budget or a lot of time to spend learning a tool, there’s another excellent option for you. Canva is a free online alternative to Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator that I personally love working with. Canva also has a very extensive collection of tutorials and how-to guides to walk you through whatever you need help designing.

Include Quality Stock Photography

The adage, “a picture says a thousand words,” is especially true when it comes to images on the web. Gone are the days of text-only websites, which is why it’s important to include quality images on your website that support your writing, which is also known as copy.

But what’s a small business owner to do if they don’t have any photos on hand? Or what if your budget doesn’t have room to hire a photographer yet?

Quality stock photo websites may be the right choice for you if you’re looking to update your website’s graphic design. Some great places to start searching for images that you can use legally for free are:

By filtering your searches in these high quality photography databases, there’s no doubt you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Final Thoughts

Designing your business’s website doesn’t have to leave you stressed or frustrated. It can be straightforward to create a website for your small business that you’re proud of and can’t wait to show off. You’ll be up and running in no time!

Learn More

Online profiles through Google Business Pages and Yelp can be a great way to get started on building an effective web presence to gain more business. Learn how to create, update and optimize web profiles with a live step-by-step demonstration alongside fellow entrepreneurs at Small Business BC’s Powering Online Profiles and Reviews on Google and Yelp seminar on Thursday, November 24, 2016 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm to get the details.

Are you taking advantage of Small Business BC’s wide selection of seminars for entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized business owners? Space is limited, so don’t miss your chance to register today.

And if you want specific questions answered for your business, make an appointment to meet with a Small Business BC Business Advisor or if you have website questions, book an appointment with Small Business BC’s Ask a Website Expert service now.

About Charlotte O’Hara

Charlotte O’Hara designs and develops beautiful websites for small professional businesses. As an avid technical writer, she has written countless articles about web design, development, tech tips and tutorials, etc. Charlotte also created a popular free 7-day email course that teaches anyone how to build and launch a website from scratch. Catch her on Twitter or down by the beach.