Starting A New Side Hustle? Don't Make These 4 Common Website Mistakes

georgia-de-lotz-455983-unsplash.jpg

Everyone starts off as a total newbie in something.

Bill Gates probably didn’t know anything about computers or running a business when he first started out. Empires aren’t built in a day, and mistakes will be made. We’re in an age where people are focusing on building their social media presence and not putting much effort into their websites, but should you really be putting all of your eggs in one basket? If Instagram went down tomorrow, would your business still be able to survive?


If Instagram went down tomorrow, would your business still be able to survive?


Moving pass the dramatics, your website shouldn’t be an overlooked part of your business as a whole. It’s the home base of your operations. It’s what your social media and all of your hard work leads back to. Through your website, comes the inquiries, the sales, etc.

This goes for those of you building your personal brands as well: having a website (it doesn’t have to have a million pages) that keeps your social media stats, past work, etc. in one central place is so much better and more professional than just an email in your IG bio.

Since I like working with service providers, this article may be geared a bit more towards them, but the principles are those that can be applied to any website for any type of business/side hustle/portfolio.

Stop making your about page about you

Your about page isn’t about you. I know that sounds pretty opposite of what an about page is, but trust me it’s the truth.

Think about it: you’re trying to market your services towards your ideal client right? Your ideal client wants to know how your services are the right fit for them. They want to know why you do what you do and the types of people that you help.

So yes for sure, tell them a bit about your story. Tie your personal story back into your business. Talk about what makes you different from your competition; what makes you the right fit (or the wrong fit!) for their needs.

Take a look at your about page right now and ask yourself: What about this page explains what I do and who I help? What about this page talks about my business journey and how my services/products are the right choice?

Once you answer those questions, place that content at the top of the page. Once that’s said and done, you can add a little info about yourself (can be non business related) and you’re good to go.

Oh yeah, and make sure you have a high quality image of yourself on this page. No iPhone photos!

No Visual Consistency

No one should be able to tell that you built your website in a day. That’s nobody’s business. What will give you away are the broken threads of consistency throughout your website. Meaning: your colors, fonts, photos, etc need to work with each other not against each other.

Colors

My favorite website for developing color palettes are coolors.co and Adobe CC Color Wheel. These websites help you experiment with colors and put together a set of colors for your website.

Suggestions: Your color palette should not have 10 colors in it. In my opinion, your palette can have about 4 colors in it and be very cohesive. The types of colors that you need are going to be: one color for your type, a neutral color, a pop color to create some contrast, and one additional color to complement the others.

Fonts

Choosing fonts that don’t represent the feeling and style of your brand can be a deal breaker, so put some thought here. Each type of font gives off their own vibes, so pay attention to what types of fonts that you use where. A great rule of them is to two have two contrasting fonts on your website and that’s it.

Canva wrote a great guide on pairing fonts that can help guide you on choosing the right pair that represents your brand style.

Some simple and modern fonts to get you started are: Playfair Display, Monsterrat, Open Sans, and Brandon Grotesque.

Photos

This is where I see entrepreneurs mess up on a lot, especially when first starting out. Keeping your photos consistent and finding your style of photography at the beginning will save so much time and headache down the road.

The easiest way to do this is: edit all of your images the same way (whether you use an editing software, Instagram, etc) and/or use stock photography with similar colors and tones.

I love unsplash.com and the easiest way to keep my photos consistent is that I generally only use one or two photographers that contribute to that website. Both of their styles are very similar, so I’m able to use their work and not have to worry about whether or not my images are consistent.

Your homepage is LAZY

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE when it rains. Why? It gives me an excuse to not do work and laze around the house all day. It also gives me an excuse to get out of any premade plans with friends (don’t judge me, we’ve all done it).

Whether or not you choose to laze around in your underwear all day is up to you, but don’t pass that habit onto your homepage. Your homepage has to be you on your best day.

Think of the best day that you’ve had at work. That day that no matter what was thrown at you, everything you produced/did that day was BADASS.

That’s got to be your homepage. Always on 100%.

Now that doesn’t mean that you have to pull out all of the bells and whistles (remember white space will always be your friend) but it means that the content on your homepage needs to be thought out. Your homepage is your welcome mat. Your landing page. Your first impression.

So what’s the first step to creating a badass homepage?


Whether or not you choose to laze around in your underwear all day is up to you, but don’t pass that habit onto your homepage. Your homepage has to be you on your best day.


Recognizing your goals:

Here’s a quick run-down on homepage layouts and the best way to layout your homepage in regards to your goals:

Your designs will always fall flat without two things in mind: copy and strategy.

Things can’t just be pretty. They have to function. So ask yourself: what are the top three things that I want people to do when they visit my website? Write those down.

Once you recognize your goals, it’s time to introduce your brand and the why behind it. Visitors will spend less than 30 seconds on your website before clicking away, so one of the first bits of copy that they see should be your introduction: what you do, who you do it for, and why you do it.

After your introduction, we get into a section that I like to call “doorways”. Take those goals that you wrote down and think about how you can get your audience to commit or take action on those three things from the homepage. Doorways are exactly like they sound: doors that lead your visitors down the paths that lead to the end result that you want. Physically, they’re buttons or links that lead to specific pages on your website.

For example, if you want people to sign up for your newsletter, you can make one of your doorways a landing page to your best freebie.

Or maybe you want people to take a look at your services. You can make one of your doorways head straight to your services page. Same thing goes for sending visitors to your blog or to your contact page.

Don't depend on visitors to only use the navigation bar. Guide them where you want them to go. Create a journey that is tailored to your goals.

The following sections of your homepage are going to depend on what you do and the industry that you’re in. Show a bit of your work, put a small section about you with a button leading to your about page so they can learn more, or put a contact form towards the bottom to encourage people to get in contact with you. Again, it’s up to your goals.

You don’t have to be a web designer with 10 years of experience to create a website that works hard as hell to get you closer to reaching your goals. Overall, always keep these things in mind: keep your visuals consistent, make sure that every single page calls the visitor to take an action to complete your goals, and keep things as clean and easy to navigate as possible. With those in mind, you’ll have a professional looking website that will start to convert as long as you love it and keep it updated.

 
 

written by ashleigh keith

Ashleigh is a Houston, TX based web designer who helps entrepreneurs, small business owners and online sellers create websites that connects them with their communities in the best way possible. Visit her website.