How to design your own website (if you are not a web designer)?
Starting a new business can become very overwhelming very fast. Having a great business idea is just the first step. Setting up a website, adding a webshop to it, working on marketing, taking care of logistics, and everything else in between can become very frustrating and financially draining. To complete all these tasks, you might need to hire coders, designers, marketers, and many other additional staff members. Simply thinking about all of this can stop you from actually taking steps towards setting up your business.
Stop and breathe! Luckily, nowadays, many of these tasks can be done even without all these additional people. There is the software to help you make websites even though you are not a coder. There are platforms to help you with full webpage or webshop design even though you are not a designer. Not to mention automation tools that will help you with all of your logistics in real-time.
So, what it takes to actually become a great web designer for your brand, despite the fact that you are not a professional designer? You definitely don’t need to take expensive classes to learn how to use very professional or advanced tools. No, no. You just need to read our guide, pay attention to some details, and use a platform that has predesigned templates that you can make your own and fully customized.
All of us have drawn at some point in our lives. During childhood or we tried doodling and being creative in some form as adults. Very few of us actually became artists, but nevertheless, you wanted to express yourself creatively in some format. Designing a website, webshop, or landing page is just another artsy project that should cater to your creative side. Obviously, you are not a professional, but with some patience, you will get good enough to master online editors.
Where to start? People know what they find visually appealing, so do you. You probably prefer some websites more than others. You enjoy some color combinations more than others. You might like illustrations more than photos. Those are just some basic things to put on paper. That is the list of things you love. Now, how about others, do they like the same thing you love?
Creating your website is one of the most important ways you will be communicating with your customers. Defining how you want to be perceived should be on top of your mind when you are getting into a design adventure. This is very closely connected to your brand and visual aspects of the brand (like your logo for example), colors, fonts, or composition. In this part of the process, explore competitors’ websites from your industry or niche. This will help you understand that just because something is visually appealing to you, it is maybe not industry standard. For all the eco-friendly companies, you will get a lot of green elements on their web. Or for many beauty products, you might find white and pastel colors to be dominant as they remind people of something clean and gentle.
If you are asking yourself at this point why is web design even that important, here are some stats for you. Around 90% of the visitors will leave a poorly designed website in less than 3 seconds. Also, 48% of people will take your website’s design as the most important factor in deciding the credibility of your business. So, it is actually pretty important.
We are not looking at making you a pro designer, but there are some areas of design you need to be familiar with getting into making your own website.
User experience, or UX for short, is a subjective feeling of a user based on the design of your website. This emotional response that people have when they land on your page is a combination of visual perception, but also ease and efficiency of using the website. UX aims to shape a person’s experience while engaging them and guiding them through the site.
The structure and overall look and feel of your website can make your users frustrated or calm and happy to scroll and explore. It all depends on your web design. A website that has too many images, buttons, and options will give users anxiety, they will not know where to look first, where to click and most likely they will leave your page without getting the information or product they wanted to get.
Users don’t have only the financial costs of purchasing from you. Users are also spending a lot of time and effort to discover if that product or service is the best for them. Taking a customer-centric approach with your web design will get them to make that decision quicker and with fewer clicks and steps. Your job is to make them find or buy things on your website and to give them just the right amount of information each step of the way.
The best way to start a UX design is to map your users’ desired journey through your website. Try to envision where do you want them to look, click, what they should do first, what comes second. Literally, draw a map of your website, sketch out the key parts of each webpage, and try to envision how your target audience will be interacting with the website.
Best UX practices include:
– Uncluttered layouts with negative space and logically organized content (be clear)
– Intuitive design and content that focuses on a humanistic, rather than mechanical, experience (design with empathy)
– Audience-specific design and information tailored to meet their needs (know your audience)
A good user interface is just like a joke, if you have to explain it then it ain’t good. If it’s taking your users way too much time to find information on your website, if they keep on clicking on the wrong buttons to get to the content they are looking for, it is definitely your fault.
A good UI designer will think about icons and buttons, typography and color schemes, spacing, imagery, and responsive design. A good combination of all these elements will create an intuitive experience that doesn’t require a user to think too much!
For example, your call to action needs to be strategically placed across the website. If you are offering a free trial make sure to make it visible on all the relevant pages, like the landing page, prices page, or case study page. Also, navigation needs to be on point, so that people can easily move across the website.
As many times UI and UX get mixed up or thought of as interchangeable, to make their difference clearer, you will now add on your website map, buttons, envision what kind of images or graphics you are looking for, how many of them as well and where. As most of you will be using online drag and drop solution for web design, most of the UI will be done for you through templates, but customizing templates and making them your own is a key to standing out from the crowd.
If your users are looking at something pretty, but they don’t know what you wanted to say, we are not hitting that target. Only inviting and engaging writing combined with simple design make an impact.
You want to use simple language. Your sentences shouldn’t be too complicated or wordy. Try avoiding text that is hard to understand. Be informative, do not oversell your product. After all, people are there to solve a problem with your product or service. Your writing should be talking about all the different solutions you are offering to the issues customers are experiencing. It goes without saying that before starting your company you should have identified the pain points for your customers and your solutions. It would be even better to highlight how you are solving problems better than competitors.
Not everyone is naturally talented for writing, but quick research of websites similar to yours will give you an idea of how others are doing it. Identify some examples of quality copy and try to work around it and adapt it to your products or services.
Copywriting is not only useful to customers who are already on your website, but it helps when you wish to be found as well. Search engine optimization (SEO) is creating content that’s searchable in Google. So, your content must incorporate keywords that users will be searching for in Google. This way you increase the chance for your website to be organically found on Google.
To illustrate, we will provide three examples of different web designs. In all of these examples, we will be offering billiard classes, but we will change copy and UI features.
In the first example, we see a clear and concise copy with a highlighted headline in red color. The text delivers a strong promise for customers and it is quite engaging. There is also a clear call to action with a button that reads Register now, with a very prominent circle behind the word now. This visual representation gives your potential customers a sense of urgency and it leads your customers straight to Registration page.
In the second example, we are trying to position ourselves as experts before we ask someone to purchase from us. There is again a highlighted headline in red color, and below, we have much more subtle promise and room for some additional text to support our claims. This time, just inviting visual on the left-hand side and no CTA (call to action) button.
On the next page, we will provide more credentials and/or testimonials that prove that we are experts, and on the third scrolling page, we can get to buttons requesting our users to register. At that point, we feel we have established ourselves as a credible and obvious choice.
In the third option, we are going for a product/service presentation. We are establishing ourselves as an Academy in the headline, and in the subtitle, we are stating our offer. There is enough room to explain a bit about what is our business offer.
The emphases are on the Learn more button, with the color and visual elements. If you wish to take your users to a different page where you can explain some of your selling points in more detail. Here you can have some general text about the game, but also state some positives like this can be a very fun hobby, or it is a nice family activity.
Like any craftsperson, to do your work you need the right tools. As you are not planning to become a full-time designer you don’t need to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Sketch. All you need to do is find a browser tool like DragDropr.
With over 100 design templates and 300 content boxes that are predesigned, but fully customizable, you can now easily create your own website, webshop, or landing page. If you follow some of the UI, UX, and content writing advice, plus the right platform, you are all good to go.
On our platform, there are many additional widgets like navigation, making a burger menu, or selecting how many products you wish to be displayed on a page, etc. Plenty of options to make your sketched website an online reality. Most importantly, all of this will happen with no additional cost of coders, marketers, or designers.
There are many other options out there, but only with DragDropr what you see is what you really get. Plus, we don’t require a credit card for our 30-day free trial.
On top of all the above mentioned skills, you will definitely need some patience and attention to detail.
Make sure to be prepared to go through quite a few rounds of trial and error. Something sounds perfect, might not look like it once designed. It happens all the time even to professional designers, so don’t worry about that. If you haven’t done anything of this sort before, it might take some time to get a hang of it. If you find yourself ready to pull out your hair, take a step back and do something else until you are inspired to commit to it again.
Looking critically at what you have designed is very important. It is helpful to have someone else look at your designs too before launching the website. Make sure to have every single button working, every single page properly linked. Be very detailed towards product prices, as well as a description. Try not to have spelling errors.
If you go through all of these steps, you will end up with a very clean and good looking company presentation.
Keep up with the times. Make sure to yearly check up on your website, clean it up, replace outdated content.
If you are about to be working on your first-ever web design, here is the full list of design trends that are likely to dominate throughout 2021.