(even if you think HTML is the
latest indie band!)
Thought of creating your own website? Here’s how to design your own website and keep it simple, cost-effective, time manageable and worth the effort.
If you’ve read my journey, you know a few things about me:
Design Your Own Website WWW
I’m trained as a social worker and a nutritionist (no “design your own website” training).
I have five kids (and don’t have the spare time to lay around watching even one soap/eating a handful of bon-bons each day let alone spending 24/7 making my own website).
I’m passionate about some pretty strange and perhaps somewhat less-than-of interest-to-everyone topics (hmmmm, healthy eating and colon cleanses anyone?).
So how the heck did I build a reasonably decent-looking website with lots of pages (the numbers of which increase weekly), with graphics that actually appear in the right places on those pages, working links—a small but important feature—and with slowly but surely increasing monthly traffic?
Good “design your own website” question, which I promise I’ll get to,
but first a little background. . .
Though I have had my own business for over two decades, it is only in the last couple years that I’ve had a website. The first site was built by outside help, contained all of the pertinent information I’d wanted on the website (i.e. services, philosophy, bios of principle staff) and the graphics and layout were really quite appealing. Through no fault of the site designer, however, we received virtually no traffic from the site. In essence, rather than my design your own website dream, we’d built a glorified business card that was only reached when I directed someone to the site.
Knowing I needed to learn a few things about online marketing and attracting people to my site, I spent a great deal of time in 2008 (and not just a little money!) learning about ways to drive traffic, set up landing pages and offer helpful, ongoing service to customers. Though I was still a little unsure of how all this new information could actually be applied in real life and what exactly the steps were that I needed to take to make everything actually happen, I decided to take a leap. Armed with my new information, I took another kick at the design your own website can and early in 2009 began the process of working with a graphics designer and web designer.
We were partway through the creative process needed to design your own website—or in this case part way through the process to create a more expensive glorified business card, again no fault of the highly talented and helpful graphics and web designers I was working with—when I accidentally stumbled upon something called a 10 Day Action Guide. Within a few short minutes of glancing through this step-by-step guided approach, I knew I’d discovered the puzzle piece I’d been vaguely and naggingly aware I was missing.
What was so great about the Action Guide
in my overall “design your own website” plans?
Suddenly I had in front of me the step by step process needed to not only design your own website but to create a whole website concept/business. And not only that, I had information to walk me through an action plan that, done properly and faithfully, virtually ensured site success:
a brainstorming tool to help me fine tune an overall site topic that was based on information I was passionate about and knew well
the search capabilities to ensure the topics I chose to write on within that overall site concept were actually topics people wanted to hear about
a website creation tool that could be as simple (i.e. for the social worker/nutritionists of the world) or as complex (i.e. for web designers and HTML-literate folk, of which I strangely enough now count myself among the ranks!) as desired
an ability to determine appropriate methods to monetize the site that had potential for long-term growth, and not just in mere presence of traffic but in actual real profits
unlimited support, both via Customer Support service but also through peer-to-peer support of very helpful give-and-take forums
one annual fee that included all-in-one domain name analysis, optimization and registration, fast, reliable and state-of-the-Net website hosting, traffic stats and analysis, list-building and email-marketing capabilities and a number of other features (that, in my design your own website learning curve, I have yet to fully grasp or utilize . . . but give me a few more months!; I just knew the one annual fee was less than I had previously been paying for hosting, newsletter services etc.)
I spent weeks pouring over the invaluable information offered in the Action Guide as well as in some of the e-books in SBI’s free series for entrepreneurs and small businesses: Make Your Content PREsell, Make Your Knowledge Sell and Make Your Words Sell. It was amazing to see both how helpful the information was as well as the fact many of the e-books were offered at no cost.
Finally, I took another leap and purchased an SBI site package (here’s a little video tour if you want more information on what the package includes), I kindly and lovingly fired my designers—to be used in the future for e-book formatting, cover design and business branding but no longer for website design—and began working my way through the Action Guide for real.
What’s the whole “design your own website” process REALLY been like?
Has it taken hard work? Absolutely. I’ve spent a lot of time brainstorming, writing and creating.
Design Your Own Website WWW
Is there ongoing work needed? For sure, at least over the next 6-12 months. Working regularly on the site, adding content, finding valuable links and creating a site that is really helpful for visitors takes effort.
Was the learning curve a little steep for a website design illiterate? Sometimes, but not overwhelmingly so. The step by step guide lays things out pretty clearly. I just needed to read it carefully and do exactly what it said.
Will you be able to do it? Why not . . . thousands of others, with a wide range of differing interests, passions and skills, have managed. Why not you? Maybe check out their stories for extra encouragement.
Was I able to keep plugging through the Guide and figure things out with a little help from Customer support and the forums? No problem. In the slightly altered lyrics of some of my favourite artists, you too will be able to get by with a little help from your SBI friends.
How about the rewards if I go the
“design your own website” route?
Hopefully without sounding overly “sappy” . . . how do I like SBI? Let me count a few of the ways:
for feeling a sense of accomplishment at learning yet another new skill (I love life-long learning)
for sense of honed purpose in how to plan future income for my business
for loving the questions I get through the website and seeing the increased reach in being able to help others with healthful information.
But there are more intangible rewards in my household as well. Just ask my husband and kids. They are the ones that got to have fun short-listing my final design template. They have had to check out the latest picture I’ve uploaded to the site (especially fun if it is a photo of them!) or delight with me over proper page alignment.
They give the high fives when a strange word-combo search term blasts one of my page rankings to the top 10 (and did intense little “happy dances” with me in the kitchen when one of my main pages first hit that ranking as well). And they get to marvel that their 52 year old mother is the most website design savvy member of the family (although that status may soon be contested, as one of my sons is game to build an SBI site now as well).
Over the next few months I’ll continue to work on my online store and add other ways to monetize my site. I’ll update this page as income begins to grow so you can enjoy that part of the journey as well (sign up for the RSS fee and you’ll automatically be notified when new website content is posted). For now, however, I can say, I followed the SBI Action Guide and what is supposed to happen, is truly happening.
SBI makes online marketing success do-able. If you have some ideas to brainstorm and a passion to follow through on what you start, SBI’s all-in-one process, tools and guidance mean you too can succeed (and will soon be doing your own little kitchen “happy dances”!).
If you want a little more information on how SBI works as a succesful home business, please, feel free to contact me, check out the helpful start your own business page or even ask questions directly of SBI. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this and am excited about the direction things are going. I’d love you to experience that as well!
Take care and please, let me know if you decide to “go for it” too!