It took me almost TWO YEARS to finally hit “publish” for my new site. I know a lot of you are in the same boat – redesigning your site or brand on your own or with a designer. Either way.. You have to come to grip with ideas and make some decisions. Here are my tips that I learned through the process of designing for myself. These are things that I wish someone would have told me before I started. I know that everyone;s process is different, but maybe some of these can help you too.
1 // TREAT YOURSELF LIKE A CLIENT
Be professional with yourself by setting guidelines, processes, and deadlines rather than designing on a whim or when you feel like it. This will keep you on track, feeling professional about your process, and it will prevent your decisions from being swayed by your emotions or feelings at the moment.
2 // WRITE ALL THE CONTENT FIRST
Content is KING! Don’t forget that your website is there to display information, so the info is the most important part. Write that first then design your site around the content. I made this mistake a few times by designing a “really cool” site, and then realized my content was not working in it. #bigtimewaster
3 // USE A GRID
Develop a grid system for the site. There are many different grid formations out there. Using one will help you decide how to organize information, give you healthy boundaries, and give you a rhyme and reason for doing things. In design, you always need a reason for WHY things are there. You don’t want a bunch of extra fluff.
4 // START WITH THE BASICS OF BASICS
Start with the bare essentials of what you need on the site (i.e. logo, social media, images, a navigation bar, etc.) Then start to add personality and details on top of that. I made the mistake by trying to start with the COOL FACTOR first and I never got anywhere because nothing was COOL ENOUGH for me to move forward with.
5 // MOVE AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER
Design platforms are not idea makers. Get a pad of paper out, move AWAY from the computer and begin and use your brain and hands to dream and design. In my experience, doing this frees up my mind from what I can and can’t do in the program. Dream first, problem solve later. I wrote a blog post on this concept.
6 // DESIGN OVER TIME
Do it over time. Not all in one weekend. Designing over time will allow you to really think about what you are designing – ensuring you are heading in the right direction. I am all about letting the subconscious lead, and in order for it to lead it needs lots of breaks and time to simmer.
7 // REALIZE THAT A LOT OF DIFFERENT LOOKS COULD BE YOU
As a designer I like many different styles. Looking at all of the design drafts I’ve saved, I could have picked any of them to represent me. But, at some point you just have to make a decision and go for it. DON’T OVER THINK IT!! JUST GO!!
8 // DON’T ASK FOR OPINIONS
Don’t ask for a ton of opinions mid-design process. This will help you avoid getting derailed and discouraged. Get the design near ready, and then ask for some critiques to make it better.
9 // JUST HIT PUBLISH
You need a site and design up so people can see what you do. So, just get it up! Getting your website up is not the end. It’s actually the beginning… because a website is a work in progress. Always updating and changing as you and your business progress. GET THE GUTS and HIT PUBLISH!!!