As a freelancer, you know that your online presence is an important part of your career. Although social media profiles such as LinkedIn are great for displaying your work experience and networking, it’s important to have your own website (.com is preferred), too. Why? Because it indicates to potential clients that since you took that extra step of paying to register your own site, you’re truly serious about your work.
However, it’s one thing to purchase a website, and it’s quite another to actually do the design work on it that will provide that necessary professional polish. After all, your website not only has to look great, it also needs to be easily navigable. If your design experience is limited to none at all, don’t worry; there are several tried and true tips that will make your website design journey easier, and even fun!
1. When bringing attention to content, bold is best. That one might seem obvious, but it really can make a difference, especially if your intention is to have lots of content in one place. Headings work well, as do subheadings – it all will depend on what you’re presenting. You can even mix it up a bit by choosing colors (just don’t make them too bright if your background is light also) or decorative-yet-still-readable fonts. Regardless, avoid all caps – that just ends up looking like you’re shouting at your audience.
2. Set some creative boundaries for your fonts. Let’s say, for example, that you’re using Canva to create a banner for your website. If you scroll through the font options, you’ll probably be amazed at how many there are to choose from. It might be tempting, in the name of creative innovation, to select several fonts at once; though an admirable idea, it’s one to be avoided so that you can maintain legibility and audience attention.
A good rule is to incorporate no more than three different fonts (two is preferable) in any given circumstance (sizes will, of course vary – try to keep things moderate). Check out “Canva’s Ultimate Guide to Font Pairing” for more information.
3. Streamline for the sake of authority. As you get more comfortable with the various aspects of your website’s dashboard, as well as supplementary design websites like Canva, you might start wanting to experiment with different layouts. That’s great to do on draft pages, just not on your published website to the point where each page looks entirely different for each other. Pick a theme, and stick with it throughout, because otherwise, the meaning behind your content might be obscured due to over-designing.
4. Be picky about photos. It’s a given that photos are a necessary part of any website design in one way or another. However, it can be all too easy to select photos that you think look great, and then upload them into your site and find that they’ve been distorted along the way (such as pixelated), are too large, etc. Choose high resolution images, then you can resize them accordingly. For example, if you read my post, “5 Free Stock Photography Ideas for Freelancers,” and you select images from one of those resources, you’ll find that there are several size options. Choose the largest one, then scale down as needed to fit whatever layout you’re working on via your website dashboard, Canva, or even, if you’re a Windows user, the Paint feature. There are lots of ways to go about resizing images; an Internet search should be able to point you in the correct direction.
5. Take a global approach to seeking inspiration. By “global,” I mean not settling on any one way of finding ideas on how to design your freelancing website. However, you could start off by making a list of the websites you visit regularly – what is it about their appearance that keeps you coming back? Is it a certain media type that perhaps you can implement, too?
As you build your website, ask for feedback. Once you’ve accumulated a bunch of different perspectives, sort through them and find what resonates most with you. The ultimate goal should be to create a website design that reflects your professionalism, but also accommodates the audience that will be most interested in your niche.
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