14 things I've learnt from building my own website
I’ve built my own website and here’s what I’ve learnt:
1. Don’t do it yourself!
It’s so time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing! But if you have to and you really want to build it by yourself, then keep on reading!
2. Choose the right website builder for you
Choose a website builder that provides the right template for you. The key is to choose a template that will suit you and that will require the minimum amount of re-work. Ideally, all you’ll have to do is to just write the content — of course, it’s never that simple.
3. Mobile friendly and responsive
Your website needs to be responsive and mobile friendly. Don't get the two mixed-up as they are slightly two different things. A responsive site provides an optimal viewing experience. It's easy to read and navigate with minimum resizing, panning, and scrolling, across a wide range of devices. I'd say these devices are mainly desktops and tablets. Ideally, your website should also be mobile friendly. A mobile-friendly website is structured differently to your desktop website. It is advised that it has less content on it too. And of course, it needs to pass the mobile friendly Google test!
Make sure your website building platform supplies images that are free of copyright. Your images need to be professional and of high resolution. It's actually illegal to copy images from Google into your site. When you choose your images, make sure to insert alt tags. Read here how.
5. Domain name
Be prepared to spend money on purchasing a domain name, not just for your website’s URL, but also for your professional email address. URLs with third party names — like your website builder’s name — in them, come across as a little unprofessional and they don't rank high on search engines. Also, before you name your business, make sure the domain name is free! Part of your business's name, or whole, should be included in your domain name.
6. Social Media meta tags
Your website should contain code that says to social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and so on, how to display your page every time your web URL is published on them. That’s important because you can create a much higher impact on social media if your website appears on them along with an image and a short description that tells your audience what your site is about. Find out how to create meta tags by clicking here.
7. Google analytics
Another thing is monitoring website traffic. Learn how to do it here with Google’s own training. Ensure your tracking code is linked between your site and google analytics and make sure to prevent your own IP from being tracked.
8. Submit your site to search engines
You can submit your site to Google, Yahoo or Bing (there is lots more out there). This is good for your traffic because search engines will learn to trust your site more. Don’t forget to submit all website URLs and a site map. Google will tell you exactly how to do it. Just click here.
9. Get Google for business
That’s actually a pretty cool thing. If you want your business to show higher in search results, on the right-hand side of the results' page on a map, underneath which appear the address, website and phone number of your business, along with a description, and any reviews you may have, then register your business with Google for business. Google will post to you an activation code. I still have that letter from Google because letters from Google are too cool to throw away.
10. Be social
Make sure your site is linked to your social media accounts. Social icons need to appear on your site, and your website's address needs to appear on the equivalent social profiles. The more you have, the more trustworthy you become as you build a strong network supporting your domain and business name. Check out Top Left Design's tips on social.
11. Your website needs a blog
Integrate your blog with your website. Why? Because every time you write new content on your blog, you will have to re-publish your website. Republishing your site often and consistently means that you are an active user and not a scammer or a robot. So you earn more 'points' and you rank higher in search engine results. Additionally, it’s good for SEO; the more you write, the more keywords you get out there and so the more you get found.
12. Get a logo and make it your favicon
Yes, you do need to get one. Short for favourite icon, also known as a website icon, tab icon, URL icon or bookmark icon is an icon associated with a particular website. I’m adding here that it is also associated with you and your brand. Apparently having one improves your SEO. Besides it does make you come across as more professional and business-like.
13. Be proud
Do not release your website if it doesn’t make you proud. Your website should be something that you want others to see. Remember your site helps others, including potential customers, to understand who you are and what you do. ‘Website shame’ is a real thing, but you are not going to suffer from it!
14. Read a lot and be patient
The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt was that I don’t know everything. I need to read and I need to learn. I’ve also learnt that I need to seek the help of other professionals. For instance, I need a graphic designer to create my logo, a copywriter to proof my website and so on. Of course, the list of things to learn is endless, but don’t get disappointed. It takes time. This checklist kept me on track. I found it just brilliant!
Do you like my website?
I’d love to hear your feedback! Tell me in the comments 👇
Vasiliki is a professional translator from English and French into Greek and from Greek into English. She runs Greek to Me Translations from Oxford, UK. She is a Member of the CIoL and the ITI and she is registered the Greek Embassy. She specialises in legal, marketing, psychometrics and food content. Her mission is to help businesses and private individuals reach their goals through the power of words. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org