Designing your website as a coach or service provider
To start off, don’t feel bad. not everybody is blessed with the creative design gen and that’s okay. I know I’m not. That’s also why I don’t do the designs myself anymore but have a specialist do them. But, for your first website, you can definitely do it yourself if for whatever reason you don’t want to hire someone to do it for you.
There are a few easy steps you can take to make your website look great as if you did pay someone to do it for you. Just follow the steps and you will get a design that fits you and your brand.
Step 1: Find inspiration on other people’s websites.
No, not to copy someone else’s branding or to do it exactly as they are doing. Just find inspiration, see what you like, see what you don’t. This helps you do 2 things. One, It helps you decide what pages you would like to have on your website. Second, it helps you put together your own design with parts you’ve seen elsewhere. Whenever you found something that attracts you, save it. Keep the tab open, write it down, save it on Pinterest, whatever you prefer. Do this for design ideas AND for pages you’d need and for the content you’d like on those pages. Again, just inspiration, we’re not gonna copy what someone else is doing.
Step 2: Decide on your pages and copy
Simply starting to design without first knowing what it should show, makes your life unnecessarily hard. I should know. I’ve done the design and deciding on the copy at the same time, several times. It does not work well… So, write out your pages and also a first draft of the copy. It doesn’t need to be perfect or final. You would like the length of the texts to be close to the final copy, ideally. This makes sure that once you start editing your text you don’t get uneven parts in your design which you did not anticipate.
Step 3: Choose your branding
How would you create a design without first knowing what colors or fonts to use? As for smaller businesses like coaching businesses I find that choosing whatever you like works well. As a coach, people would need to like you and your style. If they don’t ‘click’ with you, it’s better for both they find someone else. Bigger or corporate businesses might be looking into what their customers expect and of course, you could do that to some extend. But if you’re like me, and don’t want to work with just anyone, choosing a style you like works great and makes designing easier.
For fonts, Google Fonts is great. Find one font you like and Google will suggest what other fonts go well with it. You can even switch them to see how it would look when either one is the heading style and the other the body text.
For colors, there are several ways to go. One approach I like is looking at my wardrobe. What colors do you wear? Assuming you like the clothes you have, you know you’ll love these colors. If you start sharing pictures of yourself on Instagram or anywhere else, you will automatically be on-brand.
No idea for colors? Check Pinterest. Search for brand boards, for color schemes, and see whichever speaks to you.
If you have an idea of colors, start using Coolors. This website helps you combine different colors. If for example you already know one color you’d like to use, Coolors will find colors that will go well with it. Just keep hitting the spacebar to switch colors after locking your chosen color in. If you found a nice looking image you like on Pinterest, let Coolors decide the colors for you by uploading that image.
For added touches, you can find elements on Envato. Little drawings you could use as a background or as images next to your text. This will give your design that finishing touch.
Step 4: Finally, design!
Now that you have your basics in place, designing your website should be a lot easier. You have your different design ideas from step 1 which you can use throughout the pages. Pick parts you especially like and see where you can incorporate them.
Personally, I love to keep things simple. It will give a clean look. This is not just easier to design (you don’t need a lot of personalized special effects) but also easier to create (no googling around what CSS will work where).
I personally use Sketch for designing, it’s an app available for Apple devices. They have a 30-day free trial which should be enough for you to create your design. Or you could work with Photoshop Illustrator, or, if you don’t have any specialized tools, with Canva.
Start with your home page as this will almost always have the most diverse design parts. Look at headers you like, find images that fit you or are of you, and make the design your own. Now go through every text you have created and think of how you could make the right words stand out and show a bit of you. As I said, I like the minimalistic approach, so I would suggest not trying to make all parts stand out. I usually alternate between calmer and popping.
Once you have your homepage, you can start using the styles you chose here to also design your other pages.
Step 5: Implement!
Next is the building stage. Whether you have someone like me do it for you or do it yourself with maybe the help of a course, this is where your website really comes to life :)!
Again, to have a good looking website, my tip is: don’t go too crazy. Yes, you want your personality to shine through and you might like a lot of things. But even though you want to show who you are, website visitors should be able to easily understand what you have to offer. This sometimes means holding off on all the bells and whistles you could add and just let the words speak for themselves.
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