I received a lot of positive feedback on my last post about starting my business, so I decided to add a follow-up specifically on getting your web presence up and running. When you are just getting started, it is no surprise that you have to play many roles. You are the creative, the producer, the admin, the accountant, the community manager and to my realization, the online developer. Even though I have a background in advertising, I was in no way a creative or an online developer. I never had to design, code or write copy. Now I do all of it. Everyday. And unless you have a large start-up fund, you will likely find yourself in the same boat.
My website is in no way perfect, but it does the job right now. My website is a self-hosted wordpress blog. It is easy to update and I have mastered adding widgets and changing the appearance. There are hundreds of helpful online tutorials when you begin your website. Just search for what you are needing help with on YouTube. You will have to figure out how to purchase and set-up hosting, add/change your domain, add social icons, etc. It has gotten a lot easier since I started a few years ago, but it can still get frustrating to say the least.
I had help with my logo and a few design elements, but for the most part – what you see has been a labor of love, and a lot of trial and error. To be embarrassingly honest, sometimes half my day is trying to fix something I screwed up. If you need help with design, Etsy has a lot of great options to help you at any budget level. Knowing photoshop is a great skill to have, but if you don’t knot it, you would be surprised what you can create using powerpoint. (yes.. powerpoint… all my designer friends can gasp now…) There are also a lot of amazing photo editing apps you can use on your ipad/iphone to create icons and images. I like using “After Photo” and “A Beautiful Mess”.
Pinterest has been a huge help – and not just for wedding and event inspiration. A lot of people pin helpful start-up tips, free fonts, free templates etc. I found this post extremely helpful in adding apps and changing the look of my facebook page. Speaking of facebook…. Go like us!
The most important advice I can give you is to start small. You don’t need to invest all of your money into designing the most perfect website on day one. Depending on your business, you can start with a free wordpress blog ( like i did) and then work on moving to self-hosted and a unique template. You can always upgrade. Content is king, so focus on getting the message out there in a clear and concise way. Keep the look clean and sophisticated as you define your brand. Once you begin to grow you business you will have a better idea of the aesthetic and overall style guide for your business and your money will be better invested. Good Luck!