How to stand out online with a DIY website

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Here’s a harsh truth that most people tend to overlook, when it comes to building a DIY website. No matter what service you specialize in, your industry WILL be crowded in today’s world.

Yes, it’s easier than ever to create a website using templates, but that comes with one drawback — because it’s easy to get started, it means there will be more websites looking just the way yours does and your potential clients won’t be able to differentiate you from others, so standing out will be even harder.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t create your own website by yourself.
It just means that you must be intentional about implementing strategies in the process that will help you stand out from the crowd online.

Here are five steps to make sure your DIY website actually does you good without harming your reputation and business.

Step 1: Clarify your brand strategy

Clarifying your brand strategy includes getting clear on the characteristics that you’d use to define your brand. How do you want others to perceive you? How would you describe your brand voice? What makes you unique?

You might think that this is just another fancy word, time-consuming and unnecessary since you only want a site and you are clear on the colors and fonts. Well, unfortunately, you are wrong. Clarifying your brand strategy is one of the most important foundations of creating a website.

The reason is, that without strategy a site in itself – be as pretty as possible – will not be enough. You won’t have a clear understanding of who you’re targeting, what do they like, what are your values, what products, services would generate more sales and why, how are you going to sell and how are you going to retain clients.

Step 2: Write persuasive, authentic website/marketing copy

It should feel like a personal conversation with you when potential clients are reading the words you write on your website or on social media. Did you want to be perceived as fun and humorous? Did you want to be perceived as friendly and bubbly?

If you have done your homework with brand strategy this task will be a piece of cake. Why? Because you’ll already know what your target audience is looking for and what tone of voice and message will be compelling for them to connect and convert.

Step 3: Capture unique images that tell your story

Based on how you’d like your brand to be perceived, you have different options on how to create visually stunning photos. I wrote about this already when we were covering how you can increase your brand aesthetics. You can read more about it in Once again, it goes back to your brand strategy, which will help you compose such photos that will tell your story, attract the right customers and  give you more confidence.

Step 4: Develop a customized brand design that’s unique to you

Based on your brand strategy from step one, make brand design selections that are in alignment with your brand message, giving you a memorable standout appearance online. Make sure you do some research on the trends, evergreen items, and also check out what your competitors are doing. Take notes/screenshots and try to see the overall concept of what they are using. The goal here is not to copy, on the contrary.

Here is the thing, when we see things (websites, colors, fonts, design elements, etc) that look nice, we subconsciously store them in our memories. So, when the time comes to come up with your own design, we might automatically steer towards those designs we saw earlier and remember as beautiful. The risk in this is that we might end up picking the same designs our competitors use on their branding/websites, which will make your brand look sloppy.

Pro Tip: Create a google doc or add these screenshots to your notepad on your phone or computer. Come back and add new screenshots when you see something nice. This also helps with tracking what the competition does. If you can do this regularly, you’ll have an amazing tool in your hand to make your brand stand out.

Step 5: Create a custom website that captivates clients

The final step is to create a custom website that captivates clients using your brand strategy, website copy, images that tell your story, and brand design. This will ensure that your website will stand out from the rest!

I am not against DIY, almost every business owner starts there – and it is totally fine. DIY is good and can be fun too.
So, why not do it right? If you want to do your site by yourself, the best you can do is to make it custom. Templates are fast and cheap, but they are everywhere and just by changing some colors and fonts you won’t have a unique appearance.

Even if you use a template, make sure you tweak some sections, layouts – but keep in mind what you learned during your brand strategy – always make it appealing to your clients.

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