8 Tips for Building a Better Website for Your #SideHustle
Just because you have a full-time career doesn’t mean you can’t follow your passion. Having a side gig is an excellent way to bring in a little extra cash, or to work toward being able to go out on your own at some point in time.
If you’d like your side gig to grow or need to attract customers in the first place, old fashioned methods like word-of-mouth are a great starting point. However, they can only go so far. To turn it into a true success, you need a solid website. Check out the tips below for building a better website for your #sidehustle.
Start With a Logo
What you do on the side is still a business. For others to trust it, legitimacy is critical. One way to help build this trust is to take the time to create an actual brand; it all starts with a logo. Think about the colors you’d like to use to promote your brand and consider including your full company name in the logo. Because this is what customers will eventually associate with you, make it something that will last.
If you’re unsure of where to start, or don’t have an artist’s vision, consider using an online logo builder or working with a designer. Because your entire site will be built around your logo, along with any promotional materials, this is not an area to neglect.
Clarify What You Have to Offer
Sometimes side businesses start out a little messy. Because you’re hoping to attract customers, you may offer a variety of services or products without narrowing them down to a specific niche. While this is a normal step of starting a business, it also sets you up for confusion down the road.
As it relates to building your website, make what you have to offer clear. Create a services page along with a mission and vision page that is concise and to the point. Consider using a list format and including pricing. The more questions you can take care of with your website, the fewer awkward situations down the road.
Assume Nothing: Build Each Page as a Landing Page
In the past, it was customary for websites to start with a home page. From there, visitors could peruse the site to find the information they were looking for, eventually landing on a contact or purchase page.
Unfortunately, that is now a good way to lose attention and potential conversions. Because of the rise in SEO and search engine marketing in general, visitors may not always find your landing page first, especially if your content marketing scheme is going according to plan. By building each page as a landing page, you provide the crucial information on each page – what your side gig is about, how to get in touch and so on. Manpacks does a great job of this by working from a single landing page and keeping the other information to a minimum. There’s still room for multiple pages that go into depth on each topic if needed, but it catches up each visitor no matter where they’re coming from or landing.
Focus on Navigation
Structure holds your website together. This means that a clear and easy-to-follow navigation menu is critical for success. To simplify your navigation, as demonstrated by The Idealists – a project management site that connects brands with those who can fulfill their creative needs – consider:
- Keeping the overall number of pages to a minimum
- Using a top navigation bar that is fixed on each page
- Using submenus under each category, instead of cluttering up the main navigation
- Using clear titles for each page – trendy is great, but it could confuse visitors
- Keep Colors Simple
Your colors should compliment your website, not distract from it. To use color effectively, think about the purpose of your website; chances are, you want to build trust while establishing credibility. To do this, consider doing research on the psychology of various colors, aligning a color scheme with your purpose and moving forward. In many cases, natural colors that blend with nature are a great starting point; however, there are exceptions. Think about what’s best for your brand and go from there.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of a Call to Action
To you, the action you want your website visitors to take it obvious. Whether it’s to make a purchase, to contact you or to set up an appointment online, you have an idea of what happens after they’ve found what they’re looking for on your site.
To your visitors, it might not be so clear. This is why a compelling call to action is critical. On each page, take the time to clarify what the desired action is: “Contact me today to get started,” “Don’t miss out! Use your email address to sign up for ABC’s mailing list,” “Fill in this form to receive information about upcoming promotions.” Make these actions easy to see by listing them centrally like on United Yacht’s design award-winning site, or put them in a different color so they consistently draw attention. Then, make it easy for visitors to follow through; a lead form is an excellent way to accomplish this.
Integrate Social Media
Social media is a tricky situation as far as your website is concerned. You want visitors to find your social media sites and to follow you for regular updates. However, once a visitor lands on your website, the last thing you want to do is pull them away after you put the time into getting them there in the first place.
Consider incorporating social media links into the bottom navigation of your site. These links are still important; in fact, 83 percent of business owners consider Facebook crucial to their success. However, by linking in a noncentral area, the pages are easy to access, without becoming a distraction. Your social media efforts should compliment your site and drive traffic back, so the links are important to include.
Make It Responsive
Responsive Web design – or Web designs that work on any device – are more critical than ever; 94 percent of people with smartphones search for information on those devices. Because 64 percent of American adults own smartphones, this figure is significant. Take the time to learn about responsive Web design, to use appropriate images and to modify your existing website to display and load appropriately on all devices for best results. Need inspiration? Check out this compilation of the best responsive Web designs of 2014.
There’s no reason your side gig can’t become your career. Focus in on the tips above to get started on your website and keep dreaming big.