A Guide to Crafting Your Online Presence By Yourself

Your website is the first place your clients will go to find out about you, you know you need it but may not understand what you need to get it out there...

We’ve all said the phrase, “Oh, I’ll just google someone!” when we are looking for a service provider. Without an online presence that limits your ability to be found by people looking for you exponentially. Having a website for your business unlocks doors to endless opportunities, whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a creative soul showcasing your portfolio, or a small business owner aiming to expand your reach. But what if you’re on a tight budget or simply crave the satisfaction of crafting something uniquely yours? That’s where DIY website design comes into play, a realm where your creativity meets the vast expanse of the internet and gets your online needs met.

The Rise of DIY Web Design

Gone are the days when building a website required a Ph.D. in computer science or deep pockets to hire a professional designer. The DIY website design movement has democratized the web, making it accessible for everyone to design their own site. This do-it-yourself approach gives you the control you want, while meeting your wishes to save costs. 


Web Design Basics: Your DIY Starter Kit

Before diving into the intricacies of DIY web design, let’s ground ourselves in some basics. Understanding these foundational elements will ensure that your website is not just aesthetically pleasing but also functional and user-friendly.

Purpose and Planning: Start by defining the purpose of your website. Is it to sell products, showcase your portfolio, or schedule a consultation? This clarity will guide your design choices, from the layout to the features you’ll include.(This may seem a little obvious but so many miss this and it hurts your site down the road)

Choose Your Platform Wisely: Select a web design platform that suits your skill level and needs. Platforms like WordPress.com, Wix, and Squarespace offer user-friendly interfaces, customizable templates, and drag-and-drop features, making DIY webpage design a breeze.

Layout and Navigation: Keep your layout simple and intuitive. A clean design with a straightforward navigation menu allows visitors to find what they’re looking for without getting lost in a maze of pages.

Mobile Responsiveness: With most people accessing the web through smartphones, ensuring your DIY website design is mobile-friendly is non-negotiable. Most website builders automatically adjust your design for mobile, but it’s always good to double-check.

Color Scheme and Typography: Colors and fonts set the tone of your website. Choose a color scheme that reflects your brand personality and easy-to-read fonts to enhance readability. You want these to match your branding you’ve likely completed thanks to our guide. 

Images and Multimedia: High-quality images (sized properly to not slow down the site) and multimedia can elevate your website’s look and feel. Use original photos or source them from reputable stock photo websites to add authenticity to your design. Original photos help the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your site, thus helping your people find you. 


Crafting Your Online Masterpiece: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you’re equipped with the basics, let’s walk through the process of creating your own website, step by step.

Step 1: Inspiration and Conceptualization: Gather inspiration from websites you admire. Write your ideas down on paper to maintain cohesiveness, this initial brainstorming phase is crucial for sparking creativity.

Step 2: Selecting a Template: Choose a template that aligns with your vision from the website builder of your choice. Look for a layout that matches your planned structure, remembering that customization is not key to DIY website design because the most important thing is to get up and running and not stuck in design.

Step 3: Customizing Your Template: This is where the fun begins! Customize your chosen template by adjusting colors, fonts, and images. Most platforms offer drag-and-drop functionality, making it easy to design your own website without touching a line of code.

Step 4: Adding Content: With your visual elements in place, it’s time to add content. Write a compelling copy that communicates your message clearly and effectively. Include keywords to improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), making it easier for your audience to find you.

Step 5: Testing and Feedback: Before launching, test your website on different devices and browsers to ensure everything works as intended. Gather feedback from friends or potential users and be open to making adjustments. 

Step 6: Launch and Promote: Congratulations, you’re now ready to launch your website! But the work doesn’t stop here. Promote your site through social media, email marketing, and by leveraging SEO strategies to attract visitors.


Embracing the DIY Spirit

Designing your own site is a rewarding journey that blends creativity with technology. It’s about bringing your vision to life and learning new skills along the way. Whether you’re pursuing do-it-yourself web design for small business or personal expression, the key is to start simple, stay patient, and enjoy the process. Remember done is better than perfect. Each website is a work in progress, a digital canvas that evolves with your ideas and experiences. 

Remember that there are hundreds of resources out there to guide you through the nuances of web design. Even some from your very own author here! We have developed a course created exactly for the situation you find yourself currently in. In this course, I will provide you with a thorough guide on how to develop your brand from colors, typography, to logo design all the way to building your website, and all you need (plus a bit more) to start your business the right way. On top of that, I’ll be with you the whole way, so you never have to be alone in the DIY web design universe, as we are accessible in multiple ways to answer any questions and help you through the process.

 So go ahead, sign up for The Brand + Website Blueprint course, so we can brand your business, design your own website and get you well on your way to doing business on your own terms and making money!

Ensuring Inclusivity: The Key to Website Accessibility

Ensuring Inclusivity: The Key to Website Accessibility

Websites serve as the gateway to information, services, and products for millions of people worldwide. However, this gateway isn’t always open to everyone. Website accessibility, or the lack thereof, can significantly impact a person’s ability to obtain information, shop online, and use services. We never want to count someone out for a disability that we have the power to help. Basically look at it like having a brick and mortar shop that has stairs and doesn’t offer a ramp or elevator to patrons. This article gets into the essence of website accessibility, testing for accessibility, and the steps to ensure your website is not only accessible but also ADA compliant. It is important to understand the nuances and importance of creating a digital space that is welcoming to all.

What is Website Accessibility?

Website accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites by people with disabilities. When a website is correctly designed, developed, and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality. This includes individuals who experience disabilities pertaining to vision, hearing, mobility, or cognition. An accessible website, often described as an ADA compliant website or a 508 compliant website, adheres to certain standards that make its content available to as broad an audience as possible. ADA friendly websites ensure that everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities, can navigate, understand, and interact with the web.

A way to ensure accessibility within the world wide web is through making sure that people with any of the disabilities mentioned above can either read, hear or easily use your website that would not hinder their ability to understand and engage with the website content. Very much like a brick and mortar shop (as I mentioned above) making sure that there is a ramp or elevator available for their patrons, so as to not prevent entrance to anyone. 


How to Test Your Site for Accessibility

Testing your site for ADA compliance and overall accessibility is crucial for ensuring your digital presence is inclusive. An ADA compliant website test can be performed using a variety of tools and methodologies, which assess your website against established accessibility guidelines.

Automated Testing Tools: Automated tools can scan your website for common accessibility issues. These tools are excellent for covering a lot of ground quickly, identifying problems like missing alt text for images, insufficient color contrast, and improper use of HTML tags. However, they can’t catch everything, particularly issues related to the nuanced user experience for people with disabilities.

Manual Testing and User Feedback: To thoroughly test your website for accessibility, incorporate manual testing and seek feedback from users with disabilities, or attempt to put yourself in their shoes. Manual testing includes navigating your site using screen readers, keyboard-only controls, and other assistive technologies. Engaging real users in the evaluation process provides invaluable insights into their experiences and the challenges they face.

Professional Evaluation: For a comprehensive assessment, consider hiring experts in web accessibility. These professionals can conduct an in-depth analysis, often combining automated testing with detailed manual reviews and user testing sessions. They can provide specific recommendations to enhance the accessibility of your site.


How Do You Make a Website ADA Compliant?

Making your website ADA compliant involves sticking to a set of guidelines known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines offer a framework for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Here are steps to ensure ADA compliant web design and improve the inclusivity of your digital space:

Follow the WCAG Guidelines: The WCAG guidelines are organized under four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Ensuring your website meets these guidelines is the first step toward making it accessible. This includes providing text alternatives for non-text content, making it navigable through keyboard only, ensuring it is understandable, and enhancing compatibility with current and future user tools.

Design with Accessibility in Mind: ADA compliant web design starts from the ground up. When planning your website, consider how users with various disabilities will access and interact with your content. Use different coding or planning to structure your content logically, employ special applications and landmarks to enhance navigation, and ensure interactive elements are designed with accessibility in mind.

Continuously Monitor and Update Your Website: Web accessibility is not a one-time task but an ongoing process. As your website evolves, regularly test new pages, content, and features for accessibility. Making sure your website is accessible involves continuous effort to identify and fix issues as they arise.

Making your website accessible and ADA compliant is not just a legal requirement; it’s a moral imperative in today’s increasingly digital world. By embracing accessibility, you’re not only opening your digital doors to everyone but also enhancing the user experience for all visitors. I advocate for making inclusivity a core part of your digital strategy. Be kind always, and to all. Ensuring your website is accessible reflects your brand’s commitment to equality and serves as a benchmark for excellence in digital design.

Branding Tips for Small Businesses

Branding Tips for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you are well aware that your to-do list is not small. Branding may or may not sit fairly high on that list, and that is a good thing because it should be prioritized. Today, we’re diving into branding, specifically tailored for the heart and soul of our economy: small businesses. Whether you’re a solo warrior carving out your niche or a small team with big dreams, this guide is your go-to resource for all things branding. Let’s unlock the secrets to making your brand shine and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Embracing DIY Branding for Small Business

In the early stages of your business, resources are often limited, and your energy is spread thin across numerous tasks. This is where the magic of DIY branding comes into play. DIY branding isn’t just a cost-effective strategy; it’s a profound journey of understanding your business’s core values and how you want to communicate them to the world. You should not feel ashamed of having limited resources, in fact most entrepreneurs started in the exact same boat. Luckily, if done correctly, your branding can be a DIY venture, and you can save some money until you are prepared to hire an agency. KHD offers a wonderful step-by-step course that helps folks DIY their branding and website build, or there are multiple AI tools to get yourself a logo, as well as templated website hosts to get online quickly. 

As a side note: I would encourage you all to check out the KHD course and join the waitlist because you will ultimately end up with more than an AI tool can give you; knowledge/skills, clarity, organization, website launched, as well as branding. Not to mention all my support! 😉

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get clear on the basics. Branding goes beyond just a logo or a catchy tagline. It encompasses everything from your visual identity to the tone of voice, customer experience, and the values you stand for. It’s the emotional and psychological relationship you build with your customers. Understanding these fundamentals is the first step in branding your small business effectively. 


Crafting Your Brand Identity

Your brand identity is the visual and verbal expression of your brand. Start with defining your brand’s personality, values, and what sets you apart from the competition. This foundation will guide your choices in logo design, color schemes, typography, and more. You should know at this point: 

  1. Who you want to serve
  2. Who you are and your values
  3. Why you want to serve them 
  4. How you can help them 
  5. What you can offer

Getting these questions answered thoroughly will make every step ahead of you that much easier. Remember, consistency is key. Every element should reflect the essence of your brand and resonate with your target audience.


Positioning and Branding a Small Business

Positioning is all about carving out a unique spot for your brand in the minds of your customers. It involves understanding your target market deeply and identifying how your offerings meet their needs in a way that no one else can. Positioning and branding go hand in hand, as clear positioning helps inform your branding strategy, making your marketing efforts more focused and impactful. Trust me when I say that, being detailed and specific here will help a lot. Chances are you are not niched down too far yet. 


Branding Strategies for Small Business

Developing a branding strategy involves planning how you’ll build and grow your brand over time. It includes setting clear objectives, understanding your audience, creating a strong brand identity, and consistently applying it across all touchpoints. Effective branding strategies for small businesses also involve monitoring and adapting your approach based on feedback and changes in the market.

You can do anything from creative packaging and memorable business cards to engaging social media content and storytelling, or all.😉Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box. Try leveraging the power of social media to share your brand’s story, showcase behind-the-scenes content, and connect with your audience on a personal level.


The Power of Storytelling

People connect with stories. Crafting a compelling brand story can create emotional connections with your audience, making your brand more memorable. Share the inspiration behind your business, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the milestones you’ve achieved. Let your passion shine through your storytelling, and watch as it resonates with your audience.


Branding for Solopreneurs

For the solopreneurs out there, personal branding becomes even more crucial. As a one-person show, you are the brand. Embrace your unique story, skills, and values to create a personal brand that attracts your ideal clients. Networking, both online and offline, can play a significant role in building your personal brand and establishing trust with your audience.


Leveraging Customer Feedback

Your customers are a goldmine of insights. Encourage feedback and listen attentively to what they have to say about your brand. Use this feedback to refine your branding efforts and enhance the customer experience. Positive customer experiences not only foster loyalty but can also turn your customers into brand ambassadors.

Branding is an ongoing journey, not a one-time effort. It requires patience, persistence, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Remember, the most powerful brands are those that stay true to their values and consistently deliver value to their customers. As a small business, you have the agility to experiment and the personal touch to create deep connections with your audience. Use these strengths to your advantage. Embrace the principles of DIY branding, stay authentic, and keep your customers at the heart of your brand story.

I hope these branding tips for your small business inspire you to take your brand to new heights. Remember, every big brand started small. Your branding journey is unique, filled with potential and possibilities. So go ahead, chase that vision. 

Get Creative With DIY Websites

Establishing an online presence is not just a luxury but a necessity for individuals and businesses alike. With all the DIY website builders out there today, creating a professional-looking website has become more accessible and straightforward than ever. While, daunting to think about creating a website yourself, this article can serve as a guide and if you are still nervous, I will include an extra tidbit to help out. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a creative artist, or someone looking to showcase your work or ideas online, use this guide as you’re navigating the world of DIY website platforms, templates, and builders.

Dive into DIY Website Platforms

DIY website platforms are a big component of the modern web creation process. These are comprehensive online tools designed to simplify the website building experience, making it possible for anyone, regardless of technical skill level, to create a website from scratch. Platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.com stand out for their user-friendly interfaces and robust features.

Why Choose a DIY Platform? The answer lies in their simplicity and efficiency. These platforms offer a wide array of pre-designed templates, drag-and-drop editors, and customization options, allowing you to bring your vision to life without delving into the complexities of coding. Moreover, they often come with integrated hosting solutions, ensuring your website is not only beautiful but also fast and secure.


Exploring DIY Website Templates

Templates are the secret sauce to quickly launching a visually appealing website. DIY website templates are pre-designed layouts that you can select and customize according to your preferences and needs. These templates cover a wide range of styles and purposes, from sleek portfolio designs to comprehensive e-commerce stores.

The beauty of using templates lies in their flexibility. With an array of design elements at your disposal, you can tweak colors, fonts, images, and layout structures to align with your brand identity or personal style. This means you can achieve a unique look and feel for your website, all while relying on the foundational design principles embedded in these professional templates.


Navigating DIY Site Builders

At the heart of DIY website creation are the site builders themselves – intuitive tools that make website design feel like putting together a puzzle. These builders offer a visual editing interface, where you can see your changes in real-time, making the design process interactive and engaging.

DIY site builders encourage experimentation. They allow you to play with different design elements, add new sections, embed media, and even integrate advanced features like online stores, booking systems, and blogs without writing a single line of code. This empowers you to build a comprehensive, functional, and aesthetically pleasing website that serves your goals.

Key Features to Look For:

  • Ease of Use: The builder should be intuitive, making it easy to navigate and make changes on the fly.
  • Flexibility: Look for a platform that offers a wide range of templates and customization options to ensure your website can grow and evolve with your needs.
  • SEO Tools: Built-in SEO features are crucial for enhancing your website’s visibility on search engines.
  • Responsive Design: Ensure the platform automatically adjusts your website for optimal viewing on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Support and Resources: A good DIY site builder should offer comprehensive support through tutorials, forums, and customer service to help you overcome any hurdles.


Embracing the DIY Website Journey

Embarking on the journey of creating your website with a DIY builder is both exhilarating and rewarding. It gives you control over the narrative and presentation of your online presence. Here are a few tips to make the most out of this experience:

  • Learn From a Pro: Learning from someone who designs websites for a living can be the best way to be sure yours hits the right marks. I have a course releasing soon, here at K.Haggard Design, that is a great way to get your business branded and online yourself, with the knowledge of a seasoned professional. 
  • Start with a Clear Vision: Have a solid idea of what you want to achieve with your website. This clarity will guide your design decisions and content strategy.
  • Choose the Right Platform: Research and select a DIY website platform that aligns with your technical comfort level and meets your specific needs.
  • Explore and Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try different templates and layouts. The beauty of DIY builders is that you can experiment without permanent consequences.
  • Optimize for SEO: Utilize the SEO tools provided by the platform to enhance your website’s search engine ranking, driving more traffic to your site.
  • Seek Feedback: Before going live, share your website with friends or colleagues for feedback. Fresh eyes can catch things you might have missed and offer valuable insights.

The realm of DIY website builders is a testament to the democratization of web design and development. With an array of platforms, templates, and builders at your fingertips, creating a website has never been more accessible or enjoyable. By choosing the right tools and approaching the process with creativity and strategy, you can build a website that not only looks professional but also perfectly encapsulates your vision. Welcome to the exciting world of DIY website creation!