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DIY Website Design - Part 2 (The Solution)

Mike Jr (MJ) on May 17, '21

Posted in Branding, Design, Marketing, Business

It's easier than ever to get a business website up and running quickly, but speed and quality don't necessarily go hand in hand. While many DIY design tools promise a fast track to success, business owners soon discover that creating an engaging website still takes time (no matter what tool they choose).

In Part One of this article, we discussed the most common challenges we see on rapidly-built business websites, including:

But there's good news too. Business owners who are willing to embrace the design process and create high-quality, customer-focused content will find themselves able to stand head and shoulders above their competitors. Let's look at how content is the key to set your business apart.

The Key Steps to Building a Content and Service Driven Website

Define Your Brand

There is no direct substitute for you, your product, or your service. Yes, go ahead and check out competitor websites for inspiration, but don’t lose the unique opportunity you have to dig deep and create the unique brand that you want to bring to the marketplace. Ask yourself:

Now, if you had to distill what makes you different into a phrase you could fit on a bumper sticker, what would it say? These are the kinds of questions business owners get very excited about, and the answers will guide each step you take thereafter.

There is no direct substitute for you, your product, or your service.

Identify Your Target Audiences

Consider your likely customer and ask, "What do they come to my site to do?" When you've answered that question, support the answer with appropriate content to draw them in and nudge them to action.

Identifying your target audiences doesn't have to be a big, expensive production (the size of your brand should guide in that decision). But even a few personas and use cases are better than not doing anything at all. There's no substitute for understanding the people (or businesses) you serve, relating to their needs, and speaking to them on a personal level.

Develop Your Overall Marketing Strategy and Define How Your Website Fits within It

Of course your website isn't the only way you can reach customers and prospects. Your marketing strategy, plan, and tactics may include in-person events, email marketing, direct mail, paid advertising, or other out-of-the box marketing ideas. Once you have a clear picture of your overall strategy, you will be able to define the role your website plays within it. And ideally you can take advantage of pre-built integrations that your tool provides, such as:

In short, make your website go to work for you and your customers.

Identify Key Metrics

Website statistics can be a barometer for the health of your business. What statistics you watch will vary based on your strategy, but we often look for:

Look for ways to automate reports with this data or create a real-time dashboard you can refer to once-a-month (yes, there are apps for that!).

Commit to Regular Action

When we talked about the abandoned website in Part One, we emphasized the need to make your website a dynamic, changing place where customers can find fresh, up-to-date content. To make updating less of a chore, we recommend that you:

  1. Define specific pages or sections where it will be easy to add new material (a blog perhaps)
  2. Set a weekly/monthly rhythm to update them with new content
  3. Commit to hitting the mark (no matter what)!

Enjoy the Ride

Building a business starts on day one, and it never stops. Even when business is strong, nurturing and growing your business brand is an intentional, everyday act.

Ideally, your website both reflects and pushes the growth of your business. Whatever tools you choose to employ, building a website is a labor of love. But often hard work is the very best kind of work. Like the feeling you get after a tough workout or when you've finished repainting the bedroom, we hope that the process feels satisfying, worthwhile, and even fun!

Knowing when to Get Help

If reading this article makes you feel overwhelmed, like you don't have the time or expertise to make your website happen, Harvest Media can help. Our team of professional creatives and marketers work with businesses every day to provide:

  1. Perspective: It's difficult to be objective about your business when you are immersed in it. Though many owners struggle to write their own story, they can express their story beautifully when they are engaged with a professional who knows the right questions to ask. An outside opinion can help you see what your customers are seeing.
  2. Expertise: Platform-based, DIY tools give you the ability to lay out a website on your own. But they don't understand your customers like you do, they don't make design decisions for you, and they don't write all your content (at least not yet). Professional creatives—designers, copywriters, web, and digital-ops experts—can help you look and sound as smart, caring, and customer-focused as you actually are.
  3. Control and Constraint: Limits aren't always a bad thing. We've found that DIY platforms can give users too much control, resulting in confusion and design decision overload. Harvest Media's content-first process let's you weigh in on the most important choices while we wrestle with the complex ones for you. We also make sure that you have the access and control you need to update your website at any time without our help.

If your business website is due for a fresh look, contact us to get started. We love helping businesses find what sets them apart, connect their difference to their customers' needs, and use the web to their advantage.

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Mike Moreau Jr

About the Author

Mike Jr (MJ)

Mike is the creative director at Harvest Media and loves to help clients grow.

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