To get started I must clarify that I am NOT a coder. I don’t know how to code, instead, I rely on web builders to create sites without the need to code anything.
In the last couple years, I moved across the country (from Branford to Vancouver), and have changed the type of clients I work with. However, with these changes I allowed my website to stay the same. It got to the point where I was embarrassed to give out my domain and was surprised when clients wanted to book me based on my old site. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t because I didn’t offer high-quality work, but rather the look and feel of my site was outdated.
For the past few months, I have been working on a new site, that I proudly launched this spring. This is the 10th website that I’ve created either for myself or for a client and I’ve learned lots the hard way. I wish someone would have shared these with me when I started so I hope this helps.
Do Your Research
Not all web builders are created the same.
I found that most have few options, and can be very limiting. The first site I built was through Wix, it was easy but very limiting. However, if you’re on a tight budget with little time it might be best for you. I’ve also used Squarespace and Zenfolio and have found their options to be limiting. I was looking for a visual builder which offered more control, and that was still easy to use. After much researched I found Divi which works off WordPress, all you need is web hosting to get started. I will admit that it was hard to grasp at first. However, there are many tutorials available for free online that make it easy to learn.
Choose a Colour Palette
Creating a colour palette takes out the guesswork when adding new elements to your site.
I found a great app which makes it fun and easy to come up with different colour palettes, and it offers all the colour codes so you can type in the code and get the colours you want. The app is called Coolors, and it’s been very useful, and fun to play with.
Show Your Personality
Your website should be a place people get to know you.
From the colours and pictures you choose to what you highlight on the front page demonstrates a lot about who you are. Create something that matches your personality and style. This will help match your online presence with the offline experience your clients will get to share with you. The truer to yourself you are, the more your site will resonate with the type of customer you are looking for. I’ve met a few people who’s online presence was very different than their offline persona and it made me feel as though they were lying to me the whole time.
Consistency is very important in helping people get to know you.
Be it from using similar words on your site (this will also help with your Search Engine Optimization), posting pictures with a similar feel or colour scheme, to posting new blogs on the same day each week or every other week. Consistency shows you mean business, and it helps in creating a plan you can stick to.
Keep the User’s Experience in Mind
While building my site, I spent many hours looking at other photographers website’s to get inspiration.
I found that many sites did not keep the user’s experience in mind. Instead, when I clicked to look at a portfolio I would be shown a number of images, but once I scrolled to the bottom there was nowhere for me to click or go. Instead, I had to scroll all the way back up to access their menu. Make sure you add options both in the footer and the bottom of each page for your clients to click on to guide their experience.
Write, Write and Write some more
I must admit this was the hardest part for me.
As a visual artist, I try to express myself through the images I share. To prepare for this I sat myself down and forced myself to write, then rewrite, and rewrite again. The more you write the better you will get at it, and you need lots of words on your site to increase your SEO, so start writing.
I hope these tips will help you. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out.
Oh and I almost forgot, here’s the link to my new site www.wonderfuilida.ca be sure to let me know what you think!
– Television Broadcasting, 2013
Follow Ida @idaAdamowicz