A website is your personal mark on the Internet. In just a few seconds, people will learn your personality and decide if your site is worthy of their full attention.
That's why it's so important to design a website that expresses your true self and engages your target audience. Begin with the end in mind. How do you want to be perceived? How do you want to be remembered? Don't choose an elegant and modern layout, if you really prefer an artsy, eclectic look.
To get the most from your website, make sure you showcase your talent in the best way possible. Treat your website as an ongoing project. Nurture it weekly, and stay relevant. Besides a website where nothing changes isn't going to encourage visitors to return.
Take the right approach to planning your website. Here are six steps to an amazing personal website:
1. Create a Clear Message
Define your website's purpose. Do you want to show-off your photography portfolio? Or do you want to give great fashion advice to millennials? You must decide the reason for your website's existence. Then, think of ways you can provide value to your readers. What's the benefit to them? Convey a clear, short message.
2. Choose a User-Friendly Design
This step is where many folks go wrong. They build sites with wacky shapes and a myriad of colors. Instead, create a readable, distraction-free layout. Think about usability for the visitor.
For starters, try a free website builder. The benefit of using website creators is that you don't have to learn to code. Plus, they offer existing templates that you can customize. If you get stuck, you can easily contact their technical support agents.
3. Generate Contagious Content
Don't let the lack of good content be the reason why your website fails. If you're going to talk about the latest tech gadgets on your site, be prepared to read relevant books and blogs. Keep your readers intrigued by inserting your own ideas and creativity.
Save yourself the stress by getting your content together now. Set a daily regime to write one 300-word blog post or record a two-minute video. If you get stuck, check out social media trends.
4. Spread the Word Often
Lose the mentality that if you build it, they will come. Once you publish your website, visitors won't magically appear. It takes work.
Decide how you want to market your site. Will you spread the news by word of mouth? Or will you post updates on Facebook? Whatever you do, convey the purpose and value of the site to your audience.
5. Build a Real Community
Figure out who will most likely frequent your site. Create the best experience for them. Don't try to accommodate every type of person. If you do, you will lose focus.
Build a community where engagement is the rule, not the exception. Should they call or e-mail you? Will you offer free items or monthly contests? Stay connected with your readers. They also can provide you with helpful suggestions to improve the site.
6. Maintain the Momentum
Once your website goes live and people start visiting, continue to explore new avenues to keep the momentum going. If your site seems neglected, your regulars may feel the same way. Explore options for a better design or invite people to guest blog. You don't have to make drastic changes. Stick with what works.
It's that simple! You're more than equipped to create an awesome website. With some ingenuity and time, people will be buzzing about what you have to offer. So, start planning today.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net