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Knowing how to build a website is an important skill for many careers. Whether you are self-employed and want to show off your portfolio or start your own business, building a website is often the first step in achieving your goals.
There are plenty of newbie-friendly tools and apps you can use to help you build your own website, but the process can be quite overwhelming when you’re just starting out. That’s why we enlisted the help of Jasmine MacPhee, the founder of Find your intern – a digital platform that offers support and career opportunities for young people – to introduce you to the basic skills and tools you need to know before you start building your own website.
Think like a brand
âThink like a brand, whatever your level,â is Jasmine’s biggest tip when it comes to website design. âLook at the established brands you like and notice how they’ve designed their website and the information it contains,â she says. You can also take inspiration from them when it comes to colors and fonts.
âYou can use this information to create a personal brand for yourself, which will go a long way in designing your own website,â says Jasmine. A website is an essential part of building your personal brand, which will help you make yourself easily recognizable to your colleagues, potential employers, and clients.
Choose your website builder carefully
There are so many different website builders you can choose from, but you need to think carefully about which one is best for you. âThe main things to consider are budget and skill level,â explains Jasmine. She cautions against using sites like Wix, which allow a lot of customization, if you don’t have a lot of graphic design skills, as this can lead to messy layouts and an unprofessional appearance. Instead, Jasmine recommends sites like Squarespace, which let you choose from a selection of ready-made templates.
âOther things to consider are whether you’ll need shopping features or other specific apps and whether the web builder you’re looking for offers them,â Jasmine explains.
Choose a color scheme and stick to it
Having a solid color palette will be very important to your website, not only for its appearance, but also for supporting your personal brand. Jasmine recommends choosing three colors: a primary color, which should be around 60% of your website, a secondary color, which represents around 30%, and an additional color, which should be used for around 10% of your website.
âSimplicity is the key, so sticking to three colors usually works,â says Jasmine. Also, try to avoid overloading your website with templates as this will make it unprofessional and difficult to navigate.
Determine what the purpose of your website is
âMake sure you know exactly why you’re building a website before you start building it so that everything on it is relevant,â Jasmine says. She explains that most websites are generally divided into three main sections:
- A page to present your works and services
- A page about you
- A page with contact details
Keep it simple and include only those pages and details that are most relevant to the purpose of your website. âMake sure to add images to support this,â Jasmine says. It also emphasizes the importance of making sure your website is optimized for mobile devices, as most people will be viewing your website from their phones.
Learn some SEO basics
Search engine optimization is a very important skill to learn if the purpose of your website is to allow new people to discover you and your work. Applying SEO skills means people are more likely to find your website through a search engine and there is so much you can do to increase the chances of that.
Here are some basic SEO tips that Jasmine recommends applying:
- Rename your image to describe the subject of the image and / or your brand in detail.
- Include copy with relevant search terms on every page of your website.
Invest in your own domain
Building your own website is a fairly affordable process, but Jasmine recommends investing in a domain name. âIt’s a big part of your personal branding and having the website builder‘s name in your domain takes that away,â she says.
Even if you don’t plan on building your website right now, Jasmine recommends buying the domain you want ASAP so that no one else takes it. âThe best domains are usually your first and last name, but if they don’t, you can add a verb that matches your personal brand,â she says. For example, ‘StyledByEllie’ or ‘WillCreates’. Once you’ve purchased your domain, make sure your social media credentials match, so people can find you easily and your personal brand is more recognizable.
Jasmine MacPhee, Founder of Find Your Intern
Jasmine is the founder of Find Your Intern (FYI), the only platform for finding paid creative internships, backed by an active membership, thriving community and boutique.
Images: Jasmine MacPhee, Getty