As more of us use tech-based tools to facilitate the way we live and work, more brands, businesses, communities, projects, and individuals alike are getting in on the digital action by building websites and utilising social media more. You can (and perhaps should) do the same. Depending on your living and work situation, quarantine is a great time to get tech-savvy and start building your digital presence, starting with your website. Below, we highlight some awesome FREE resources that can help you get moving in the right direction.
Put First Things First with the ABCs of Website Design and Digital Branding
A. Get Clear
Before you can start communicating who you are and all you have to offer, it is important that you lay the right foundation so that your message is clear and effective in delivery. So, our first steps are to clearly define what you want to say and how. That will determine how you will treat your website and your presence across the various social media platforms.
B. Lay the Digital Foundation
Building your digital presence (of which your website is apart) will require proper administration of the various moving parts like domain name and hosting, mailing lists, social media, general contact and booking forms, and memberships and private content access among other features. All these features are managed using a single email address specially designed to sign-up for and manage these different digital tools and features. For example, this is the email address that will be used to sign-up for and manage:
- Your domain and hosting services
- Brand-relevant social media accounts
- List builder mailing list service
- Digital memberships and exclusive content access
and just about any other services you will need to function well in this digital spaces.
C. Make It Work For You
Finally, check out our FREE Make It Work For You series of Tutorials and How-to’s to pull it all together. Once you are clear on your branding and you have organised your digital administration, it is time to start designing the digital hub. Below are some of the tools and resources that can be used to do so in the most attractive and functional way possible.
Fonts and Icons
Really great fonts and well-designed icons can be a great addition to any website’s design and your new website is no different. The wrong font can affect how visitors to your website receive your information or content negatively. Similarly, the right font can have a positive impact. The same is true for icons. Great websites to find fonts and icons suited to your website and brand are:
Colours are an important part of your brand messaging and website design. For starters, specific colours tend to give off a particular ‘vibe’ according to Colour Psychology. More important than the actual colour is the tone of the colour; that is, the shade and tint/hue. The following are some awesome articles for delving more into how colours and the tint/hue or shade should be treated:
A colour palette is a great help in deciding on the available colour. The following options below also provide the hex or HTML code for the colour you have decided on.
While there is a lot of drag and drop options for website design these days (particularly with popularly advertised options like WIX and WEEBLY), these options can be very limited in their features and design options. Consequently, it helps to have some coding knowledge so that editing can be done where drag and drop features can no longer give you the effects and feature functionalities you desire. Thankfully, learning code does not have to be a daunting one. The following resources will help you get started:
The best part of the above resources lie in the fact that they are searchable based on specific tasks you are trying to achieve. For example, building an HTML table, coding a form, and things of that nature. As noted, while it is true that many web development and design tools offer a lot of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) features, there will be many instances when understanding the coding behind these features and functionalities can help you expand the functions and flexibility to match what you are trying to achieve with your design.
BONUS: Harvard University is offering several FREE online Computer Science courses (among other kinds of courses) that you can use to begin upgrading your coding skills in a very real (i.e. bankable) way learn the basics to serve you well during and after we get over the hump of this quarantine.
WordPress is a great option that balances design with high-functionality and dynamic features. With the right basics (like that which is shared above), you should have no problems being able to utilise all that WordPress has to offer you. The following options allow you access to lots of WordPress specific resources from plugins and themes to other design and content management tips and tricks.