When you’re building out your first website for your business or personal brand, there are so many brand elements that you could include on your website. In fact, there are a million people who are going to tell you a million different things and that you need to include specific elements. From the people that *swear* by a pop-up strategy all the way to designers who want to convince you that colors are the most important piece of your site, there’s a lot to rifle through.
So, I’ll tell you a secret:
All you really need is a strategic, simple website that speaks to your ideal customer.
For most people, that means a brand identity, some great website copy, and a desktop and mobile-optimized template. What that doesn’t mean? That you need to invest tons of money into an in-depth SEO “strategy” or a $5,000 personal branding shoot.
Your job is simple — it’s to make people keep clicking around because they want to… and not because they have to.
While things like new branding images and hyper-custom builds are really great, they’re not necessary — especially if you’re just starting out or looking to develop your website strategy. So, consider this your go-to resource for the things you *don’t* need on your site.
I’ve got you.
Do’s For Your First Website
Your website is so important, especially in this day and age. Why? Because you can think of it like your own digital business card — a place where people can find you, learn more about you, and contact you. It’s a powerful thing, especially if it’s done well. Did I mention that it’s not as hard to do it well as you might think?
Wondering what you actually need? You need a few things, and these are our top “Do’s” that we consider most important at Uno Dos Trae:
A template or design that’s just as on vibe aesthetically and easy-to-navigate on mobile as it is on desktop
Branding that speaks to your foundational strategy (at least a logo, font pairings, and a color palette)
Compelling imagery that’s on-brand and helps convey your message visually
Intuitive navigation that doesn’t leave your site visitors confused
Website copy and pages that clearly explain your mission and what you do
Contact information (!!!) — sounds simple, but it’s a common omission
Opportunities for lead captures (email list signups, freebie downloads, etc.)
High-quality content that educates, informs, or inspires
Don’ts For Your First Website
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the things you do need on your website, don’t! Those are the kinds of things that come naturally with strategic website templates and smart branding, and they’re far more intuitive than you might think they are.
The harder thing, really, is cutting through the noise of what other people *tell* you you might need — but we’ve got you.
Here’s what you can stay away from on your website:
No. 1: A Fancy Template That Lacks Strategy
There are a ton of places you can find website templates on the internet, and a lot of them are really, really wonderful — but a lot of them aren’t. It can be super tempting to find a template you like on a platform like Etsy or Creative Market, look at the captivating design, and buy it — all without actually digging into the strategy.
This is a big mistake.
Why? Because websites that yield great results are designed to do so, usually by brand strategists, designers, and copywriters who know how to do it. A typical website template, no matter how pretty it may be, is not going to get you to those results you want and deserve.
No. 2: A Million Pop-Ups
There are a lot of marketers and business coaches who put a big emphasis on pop-up strategies, and they can be great… for some businesses, and for some goals. However, littering a new website with pop-ups isn’t going to do anything besides annoy the heck out of your site visitors. I promise.
I’m not talking advertisement pop-ups here — but instead strategic ones that capture leads and sell digital products. They’re expensive to do right, and they require a high-level strategy that takes a lot of time and effort.
I can almost guarantee that you don’t need them, especially right now.
No. 3: Professional Brand Photography
Having fresh professional photography is an important part of carrying out your brand strategy… and it can do great things for your brand and your website when you have the time and the budget.
But, it’s also not a dealbreaker if it’s the only thing getting in the way of finally launching your website.
For one thing, the internet makes it way too easy to get your hands on stunning stock images that are high and far away from the stock images of years past. Instead of stressing yourself into spending thousands of dollars on a brand shoot, visit sites like MOYO Studio, Haute Stock, Styled Stock, and Canva. You’ll be amazed (and for a lot less money).
You can also ask a favor from a friend with a penchant for taking nice pictures. We had a client who provided us with new photos to use on their website — all taken on an iPhone! There are great photo editing apps that you can download and use to elevate mobile photography. Our favorites are Lightroom, Snapseed (iOS, Google Play), and Color Story.
You can probably see a pattern after reading this post — that nothing on your website matters without a clear, cohesive strategy. While pretty designs and tools can be preeeeetty tempting, they’re just not necessary… especially if they’re not getting you to your business goals.
Snag my free website content strategy checklist here, and you can make sure your website is serving the right audience. And, if you’re looking for a strategic team to have on your side as you create a website you’re proud of, we’re your people. Contact us today.