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EPISODE 98

7 Design Mistakes to Avoid When You Make Your Own Website Pages

make your own website

Make Your Own Website

Ever caught yourself juggling with font types or suffocating your layout with text and images? We’ve all been there, and it’s time to streamline your brand online.

Whether you make your own website from scratch or just need to spruce up a few sections, understand that functionality is just the beginning. We’re peeling back the layers of design mistakes today to ensure your website isn’t just operable—it’s visually pleasing, too. 

We cover mistakes such as ignoring the use of white space, using low-quality images, the need for clear and simple navigation menus without excessive drop-downs, and creating a brand board for reference.

01:51 inconsistent branding

03:00 overusing fonts and colors

04:21  lack of visual hierarchy

05:09 – do not ignore whitespace

06:01 – low-quality images

07:49 – complicated navigation

08:42 – pre-design themes

09:43 – turning website mistakes into wins

Kristen 0:03
Okay, TPT sellers, ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place. Welcome to The Savvy Teacher Seller. I’m Kristen Doyle, and I’m here to give you no fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sale. Let’s get started y’all.

Kristen 0:23
Hey, and welcome to today’s episode. I’m your host, Kristen Doyle, and today we are talking about one of my favorite things, and that is web design.

Kristen 0:35
Now, before you check out and think “I am not a web designer,” let me just clarify what we are going to talk about today. Today, we are diving in to the visual side of designing your own website. Whether you’re DIYing your entire website, or maybe you’re just making a few new pages to go along with your existing site. For most of us at some point in our entrepreneurial journey, we dabble in the world of website design. Even if it’s just for a page or two here and there. And when you do you want to make sure that your site is not just functional, but it’s actually beautiful as well.

Kristen 1:15
We have already talked a lot recently about website mistakes that people might be making. Those essential elements that you need to have on your site. But today, we’re diving into the design side of things, because we want to make sure that your site is not just functional, as important as that is, we also want it to be beautiful as well. Because we want people to show up on your site and immediately see you as a professional as someone they can trust. And just want to stick around because your site is so beautiful.

Kristen 1:51
So let’s dive in to some design mistakes to avoid when you dry your website. The first one is to avoid inconsistent branding. You want to make sure that you are keeping your colors, your fonts, the logos that you use, consistent across all the pages of your website.

Kristen 2:13
I know it is so fun to experiment with different fonts, different colors, different styles for things, but save that for new products you’re creating, maybe for some social media images here and there, especially in places like your social media stories where you can just try out new things and then they disappear after a while. But when it comes to your website brand consistency is so important.

Kristen 2:39
Every page on your website needs to feel like it is a seamless extension of the page before it that someone might have been on. You want to use the same color scheme, the same font styles, and of course, the same logo across all of your pages to build that brand recognition and consistency. Because this really does build trust and a sense that you are a professional.

Kristen 3:00
The second mistake I see a lot of DIY designers make is overusing fonts and colors. When it comes to your website, you should really stick to a simple color palette of maybe two to three colors. And a limited number of fonts. Again, just a couple of different font styles. This builds that same brand consistency that we just talked about. So keep in mind that when it comes to your fonts and colors, less is more. You want to choose a couple of fonts, one for your headers, one for your sub headers and one for your body text. And when it comes down to it, these might not even be different fonts, it may just be a different style of the same font: bold versus normal weight, capitals versus not, that sort of thing.

Kristen 3:44
For your colors, you want to choose a main color palette with two to three primary colors that you are using consistently. This is especially important with your buttons. You want to make sure all of your buttons are in the boldest color in your color palette, and that you use that color for every single button. It really should be a color you’re not using very much in places other than those call to action buttons. Because that will train people that when they see that color, that is somewhere they need to click. So make sure you’re choosing your fonts and colors and using those consistently.

Kristen 4:21
Alright, number three is a lack of something called visual hierarchy. Now that is a design term that you might not have heard before. But it is important because it helps to guide your visitors attention through your page. You can use different sizes and different colors as well as different font styles like we were just talking about to highlight key parts of your site like headlines and subheadings and calls to action. So you want to make sure that you’re using that visual hierarchy to guide people from one thing to the next.

Kristen 4:54
Your headlines need to stand out. They should be the bigger font sizes. As opposed to your body text, maybe bulleted lists and things, those would be a little smaller, and those call to action buttons need to be impossible for people to miss.

Kristen 5:09
Next up, make sure you are not ignoring whitespace. I know a lot of times we feel like we need to cram as much as humanly possible into our pages, because we want to make sure everyone sees things. And especially want to make sure that they know that there’s more content below the scroll. But keep in mind that whitespace is your friend. It is not a waste of space. It is a tool that helps you to break up text and make your site more readable. It also helps give a sense of freedom and openness to your page as opposed to feeling cluttered. And it helps people be able to focus their attention on the things that matter the most. So make sure you’re leaving plenty of whitespace between the different sections on your pages and between elements within each section.

Kristen 6:01
Mistake number five is using low quality images. And I see this over and over when people are DIYing their site, and they may not feel like they can afford or have time to hire a professional to take photos. But it really does matter the quality of the photos that you’re putting on your website.

Kristen 6:21
So if you can, I recommend that you invest in high quality professional photos of yourself, as well as your products. And if you can’t, then take the time to learn to use your camera settings to use quality lighting, and to find some apps for editing your photos so that they look right and clear and professional. High quality images really can make or break your website’s design. So if you can use professional photos, definitely do it. For everything else, make sure that the photos you’re taking are high resolution and that they’re well lit.

Kristen 6:58
Now if you need to, you can always rely on stock photos, and there are some great stock photo sites that I use and love and recommend. I know you’ve probably heard of a lot of the bigger stock photo sites out there. So I am going to share some of my favorites that are all woman owned small businesses. And I just love to support other women entrepreneurs. So here are a few that I love and use on a regular basis. Ivorymix, She Bold Stock, and Pixistock. Those are some of my very favorites for getting high quality professional stock photos that you can use on your website. And they have such a great variety. And like I said, you’ll be supporting some other small businesses owned by women.

Kristen 7:49
Alright, the next mistake is having a navigation, that means menus, that are way too big and complicated. You want to simplify your menus as much as possible. If you can, limit that main menu at the top to the most essential pages. Your homepage, your shop if you have one, a blog or podcast, your about page.

Kristen 8:13
And dropdowns can be useful if you have a lot of things that you need to link to. But try to keep them to a minimum so that you’re not overwhelming your visitors. And I always recommend only one level of dropdowns. Yes, it is possible to have sub links to sub links to sub links. But the more nested links you have like that the more complicated and overwhelming it gets. So keep your navigation as simple and intuitive for people as possible.

Kristen 8:42
Our last mistake is boxing yourself in to a pre-designed theme that has way too many limits on the customization that you’re able to do to it. Pre-design themes can be great for giving you a kickstart, a little bit of a shortcut, especially if you are not a trained web designer. But the challenge of pre-designed themes is that a lot of times, there’s very limited customization potential. You can typically customize the images that are used, the links, the text, and the fonts and colors. But a lot of times you are not able to change layouts. So you want to make sure that you are selecting a thing that gives you full control over the design elements.

Kristen 9:26
That flexibility is so important as your business grows. You want your website to grow with your business. And that means you need to have the ability to tweak not just those fonts and colors, but the layout and the functionality of the site as well as your business grows and evolves.

Kristen 9:43
Now let’s talk about turning those seven website mistakes into some wins. The first thing I suggest that you do to overcome these mistakes is to start with a brand board. You can create a brand board really easily on platforms like Canva. And you can always go searching on Pinterest for inspiration.

Kristen 10:04
You want to make sure that you have nailed down your colors and your fonts before you ever get started. Go ahead and put those onto a brand board and then refer back to it throughout your design process.

Kristen 10:17
As you’re creating that brand board, you’ll also want to take the time to learn from other successful websites. Look at those sites that you admire within your niche, but also specifically look at site to like that are out of your niche. And notice what they’re doing well in terms of design and user engagement, and how you’re able to navigate around their sites. How do they lay out their content? What do you see that makes their site visually appealing? Take some screenshots, maybe add those in alongside your brand board and use those as inspiration when you’re creating your own site. Now, of course, when I say inspiration, I do not mean copy. Definitely do not copy anyone else’s website design or their page copy.. that means the text that’s on their pages. You want to make sure that what you create is unique to you. But use the things that you can learn from someone else to help you create that better website.

Kristen 11:15
Number three tip for doing this the right way and turning mistakes into wins is to embrace minimalism. You want to make sure that you are focusing on the most important things. And those are going to be clear and compelling headlines and page copy, easy to find products services, how people are able to purchase links, and a very clear and simple call to action. Everything that is on your web page that you create should have an important purpose. And it should all lead to that one call to action for the page. Instead of cramming in everything in the kitchen sink, embrace a little minimalism and have a singular focus for your pages.

Kristen 12:00
And last but not least, definitely take the time to choose the right theme. This can make all the difference in the world. My themes, for example, are designed with you in mind. And they are not just about looking good. They are about things that convert well. They are about flexibility and they are about growth. Make sure when you are looking for themes that you look for a theme where you will be able to change things as you need to.

Kristen 12:28
Want to rearrange your homepage layout? Yes done. Need to add a new section as your product lines expand or you add a new service? Absolutely. A good theme will put you in control so that your site can always perfectly reflect your brand and the things that you are currently offering to visitors. Whether those are products or services or some combination of both.

Kristen 12:53
Remember, your website is quite often the first impression that potential buyers have of who you are, and what your brand is all about. So make sure that you are building a website that really reflects the quality and the creativity of your business. And avoiding these common design pitfalls that I shared with you today will really help you to do that.

Kristen 13:15
We’ve covered a lot of ground today, so here is a challenge for you. Whether you are creating a brand new site, and you’re in the planning phases, or you already have a site you’ve worked on, and maybe you’re adding some new pages or going back to revise things, choose at least one of these tips to put into place in your web pages.

Kristen 13:36
I cannot wait to hear how it goes. Share your progress or ask your questions over on Instagram @Kristindoyle.co. I love to chat all things web design, so feel free to send me your questions and definitely share your progress with me. Thank you so much for listening today. I’ll talk to you soon.

Unknown Speaker 13:58
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you did, please share it with another teacher seller who would also find it helpful. For more resources on growing your TPT business, head to Kristindoyle.co/TPT. Talk to you soon.

Ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place.

I’m here to give you no-fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sales. We’re talking SEO, improving product listings, leveraging your website, and more. 

About Your Host

Your host, Kristen Doyle, has a decade of experience selling on TpT and has made all the mistakes so that you don’t have to! As a web designer and the go-to SEO expert in the TpT world, she loves helping TpT sellers stand out in the crowd & grow their businesses with passive income strategies.

Tune in to hear Kristen cover all aspects of running a TpT business – from leveraging SEO, to improving product listings, to effective TpT seller strategies for your store and website.

Want to DIY your website with guidance from a pro?