Have you reached the point where you now want to start showing off your designs on a website but are feeling a bit overwhelmed? Let’s have a look at some tips for setting up your design website.
A website is a great place for you to house your designs and send people to have a look at your collections but getting started may feel a little bit confusing.
There are two main ways for you to get started setting up your website. You can either do it yourself or you can hire a web developer to do it for you.
If you decide to get a web developer to design your website for you it can be great in that you can get them to create whatever you like and hopefully they’ll be able to successfully achieve the look that you are after. But, the cons of using a web developer are that firstly it will probably be expensive and secondly you may not be able to simply change things yourself in the future. If you need to contact them to add or remove things from website, they will probably charge you to do so.
I would highly recommend you looking into setting up your website yourself. It will take some time and a bit of patience but it will allow you to be self-sufficient in the long run.
There are two ways that you can go about creating your own website.
You can either use a self-hosted website platform such as Squarespace or weeks or you could use WordPress and then you get a theme to build your own website.
Using WordPress is more probably going to be more challenging to set up so if you want to make it easy for yourself, you could go with a platform like Squarespace which is a really popular option for designers.
Squarespace has a lot of different templates you can use, so it will require you to select the one that best suits your needs and then customize it accordingly. Each theme will have different customization options. Some will have more and others will have less but most will let you change colours, fonts, add your images and text etc. but using a self-hosted platform and a theme is a really simple and easy way for you to get started creating your website.
If you do use a self-hosted platform, you will usually be required to pay a monthly fee which will cover both the site and hosting of the website.
Personally, I’ve actually got a WordPress site with the Divi theme. Divi do have some premade pages you can use, but I have built all of mine from scratch. It’s really not that hard to do but it did take me a bit of time, in the beginning, to learn how to use it and it was a bit of a learning curve getting started with it, but now I can create a page really quickly and easily.
If you are using WordPress, you can then use plugins that will allow you to do other things. For example, I use the thrive leads plugin so I can create forms where I can capture people’s email addresses for downloads and things like that.
If you do use WordPress, you will be required to find a host for your website which will require you to pay a separate annual fee. I use Siteground to host my website and to be honest, they’ve been my saviors. When I’ve had a problem I hope on a live chat with them and I’ve been able to always fix the problem on the spot. They’ve been awesome for me personally.
No matter what platform you use to create your website, you want to make sure that you’ve got some key things in place including the pages you include.
You obviously want to make your website a place where when people land on your website, they know exactly what to expect from you and your brand and the sort of designs that you create. You want to really thoughtfully think about how you set up your website and the branding of your website.
A great way of showcasing your work is to include portfolio pages. There are a couple of ways you can do this and it will depend on how you personally prefer to showcase your work.
One option is to have all of your designs on a public portfolio page. So if anyone lands on your website, they can click through to your portfolio and have a look at all of your designs. Or alternatively, you can have some of your designs on an open portfolio page that anyone can see and then the rest of your designs on a private page.
Then if people want to see more designs, they will need to contact you for a password to access the full portfolio of your designs.
Personally I prefer to have most of my designs on a private portfolio page for two main reasons.
Firstly, it means I don’t have all of my designs out there not everyone can see them. This feels a bit safer in terms of copyright as not everyone can see all of my designs. Some clients may also prefer that your designs are a little more exclusive and not in a public forum.
Secondly, it means that I’ve got a way of capturing email addresses from people who are interested in my work. This means I can contact them later and follow up with them if they’re interested in anything, or email them later with some new ranges.
Setting up your website is a big undertaking and it will take time however it’s worth spending the time to get it looking good because that’s going to be the impression that people see of you when they visit your website. You want it to leave a lasting impression for the right reasons.