How many times do you see a website and think WOW I wish I knew how to do that to my website? It looks so professional and eye catching! And the first thing you’re thinking is, I know they had to pay a lot of money to hire a web designer to do that. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are several things you can do on your own to DIY a professional looking website that won’t cost you money.
Most themes have the permalinks set to a default where your link will end up with a bunch of crazy numbers and letters at the end. You should change the permalink to be the post name instead of the default.
If possible, make this change when you first start your blog rather than after already having blog posts.
Adding a custom favicon just gives that extra little bit of branding to put your website over the top!! It’s a small addition but people will notice it and get to know your favicon and associate it with you.
I created mine for free in Canva and I love it! It’s a colorful little cupcake that’s using my brand colors and it definitely screams my name! It’s a cupcake because I have I love pretty looking cupcakes that are beautifully decorated.
It’s important to have a professional logo. This is something that you want people to associate with you. If it’s just text, an image or both, be sure it’s professional. Sorry for anyone who has used a free website that generates a bunch of logos but I have to say it’s a NO!
I’m not saying that you can’t create your own but put some thought into it, make it memorable (in a good way, obviously!) and make it something that you’re going to like for a long time. If you have a budget for your website, I suggest using some of that budget for your logo.
If you decide to DIY it, I suggest just using text because that is much easier to keep looking professional. Unless you’re a graphic designer then you have the skills to add graphics that would be unique and fit your brand.
Mine logo is font only and I have it in my brand colors using the font that I use for my name on my website. I have it in my lighter color, the pink, and the darker color, the blue, so I have options depending where I’m using it. If I use it on a darker background I would need to use the pink one otherwise it would blend in.
It’s simple and I love it!!
So many people are using their phones now that you want to be absolutely positive that your theme is mobile responsive. It should say in the description of the theme and the majority are these days but just verify because you don’t want one that isn’t. It could also just say “responsive” instead of “mobile responsive.”
You don’t want to overcrowd your footer with useless information but at the same time you don’t want to not use the space that’s there where you could be putting it to good use.
I’ve seen many people have their menu so reader don’t have to go back to the top, have a search bar, social media icons, social media preview (like Instagram) and copyright information for your website.
Here is my footer. Simple yet effective and all useful information (including the photos on Instagram of my dogs!)
TIP: To create a © for the copyright on your keyboard you hold down the ALT key and then type 0169 and then when you take your finger off of the ALT key your symbol will appear.
BACK TO TOP PLUGIN
My theme includes the “Back to Top” arrow or button in the coding but you can also add a plugin for this as well. Many of them can be customized and it will just make it easier for your readers so once they get to the bottom of a page, they can just click on this arrow and it will automatically take them back to the top instead of taking the time to scroll. It’s super convenient!!
If you look at the image above in the bottom right hand corner you will see my back to top arrow.
There are so many plugins that you can add to your WordPress website so you can add “share buttons.” The plugin I use it Shareaholic. I’ve tried many plugins but so far this one is my favorite. To me, it’s simple to use, has everything I need and it allows you to customize your buttons and I really like that because they fit in with my brand colors.
RELATED POST SECTION
Related posts are a great way to get readers of one blog post to click on other blog posts that are displayed. It’s a way to keep readers on your blog longer so it’s extremely valuable to have related posts located at the bottom of blog posts.
Again, there are several plugins that you can add to do this. Mine is also done with Shareaholic.
If someone is looking for something on your website you want to give them an option of using a Search bar to complete their search. It could be at the top, in the sidebar or even in the footer. Just so it’s somewhere that can be found easily.
ADD A FEATURED IMAGES TO ALL BLOG POSTS
Featured images are the same as Thumbnail Images but the same Featured Images is used by WordPress because you are able to customize them and they aren’t just thumbnail images. Featured Images of blog post are the images that are displayed on other pages, mainly home page in widgets. It’s important to add featured images to each blog post.
PROFESSIONAL EMAIL ADDRESS
So for me one thing that makes me think a website is not professional is seeing a regular email address being used like gmail or yahoo. You can easily create a professional email address once you have your website set up so that it’s showing your domain name. For example mine is firstname.lastname@example.org
Add a contact page to your website. People need to have a way to contact you and there are free plugins that can be installed to add a simple Form where people can submit a question or comment.
You never want people to have to search for a way to contact you so add your Contact page to your Navigation Bar.
What other items to you think makes your DIY website look professional?