Designing a website yourself can be a lonely and overwhelming process. You’ve got to figure out hosting, domain names, themes, plugins, content management systems as well as write new copy, figure out the design and get new images.
It’s no wonder when we speak to people, they tell us they’ve been working on their websites for months or even years.
We get it. Even as web designers we still question ourselves and take time making decisions.
In this episode, we’re going to tell you how to best avoid website overwhelm and make sure you get a good website up and working as quickly as possible.
In this episode, we’ll cover…
- How choosing a good theme can make or break your website
- Keeping it simple so your head doesn’t explode!
- How to cheaply seek the help of a ‘techie’ for those annoying bits
- The research you need to do before jumping into DIY websites that will save you so much time and money
- Where to get answers to your questions
- Where to find support from others
Time Stamps: In a rush? Get to the section you need to below!
4.49 – What kind of images do you need on your website?
7.10 – Showing your personality through photographs
8.53- Think about your surroundings
5.15 – What kind of testimonial should you be looking for?
10.32 – Creating your own stock photographs
11.15 – Think about your location
12.03 – Think about your outfits
Useful Resources and Links
What To Do Next
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Episode Transcript Below
Welcome to episode 19 of the Make Your Mark Online Podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about how to avoid overwhelm when building your website. But before we get into the show, this podcast is sponsored by the Make Your Mark Online Membership. This is our signature membership community where we help personal brands build and grow a successful business website. The doors for membership are now closed, but you can check out the details at MakeYourMarkOnline.net. You can join the wait list and we’ll notify you as soon as we open the doors again in January. Let’s get on with the show. So Martin, overwhelm. Why are we talking about overwhelm?
Well, I think it’s inevitable when you are doing most things in your business. When it’s something new, when it’s something slightly more technical than you’re used to, it’s very easy to see why so many people get overwhelmed by it. We get overwhelmed by it. We do this stuff all the time, but when we take on new clients, new websites, different features, it’s okay to feel overwhelm sometimes because it’s just natural. If we feel overwhelmed, then anybody else building their own website should see it as a normal kind of day-to-day thing that happens, but people let it stop them in their tracks and it can feel really frustrating.
I think we speak to a lot of people who say actually building a website, they think it’s quite say to begin with. You know, you see things like Wix and Divi and it kind of looks really easy on the videos. Then when you actually come down to it, it can be a real struggle. People have a real battle with it, don’t they? Yeah, it’s very, very easy to get overwhelmed with it all, isn’t it?
Yeah. It’s so frustrating sometimes. You’re trying to get a plugin to work. You’re trying to get something to your theme to set up. Even with WordPress, you install your theme and you want it to just look amazing as it does on the demo, but it doesn’t. You have to actually do something to make it work, to make it look good. At every stage throughout building your website, there’s a chance you might feel out of your depth and feel overwhelmed, but that’s the same, like I said, for techies as well. If it’s new, if it’s new in general, then it’ll take you a while to get used to it.
It does require a little bit more patience especially because like you say, when you see these videos online and it’s like, “Oh, I’m a celebrity and I can build a Wix website in 10 seconds,” like shut up. You don’t do anything yourself.
Martin loves those adverts.
I have dartboards of all of the actors that Wix hire. It’s even more infuriating because my football club, Manchester City, are sponsored by Wix, which is just like a knife in the back. It’s not nice.
Do you think the players themselves set up their website?
Oh yeah. Every one of them.
Sergio Aguero clicking around, building his own website. I’m sure he does that.
It’s infuriating because everybody else says it’s so easy. You see all these amazing websites. Your friend might not be a great web designer, but they may have a great website. Maybe they’ve chosen a theme and you’re like, “Well, it was so easy for them,” but it’s not. It’s not easy. Someone once said something like “don’t judge your backstage by somebody’s front stage.” What they do in public might not always seem that easy. I think sometimes we’re all victims of that. We all sometimes think, “Well, they’re doing great things and their website looks amazing. How have they done it? They don’t know that much more than me,” but it’s because everybody struggles. They just don’t talk about it a lot.
Yeah, definitely. Do you have a few tips then that will help people avoid this overwhelm where possible?
Yes. We’ve given a few tips, one of which is to choose a good theme with great support. If you’re building your own website, chances are you’re going to use a template or a theme of some sort. It’s really important that you find one that’s got great reviews. It’s got good feedback. There is a support desk, and there’s people there to help you if you struggle. That’s quickly the worst thing in the world is when you get a theme and you just paid for it and you’ve spent hours trying to decide what theme you get. Then you buy it and you install it and you just don’t know what you’re doing. That can be really frustrating and it can quickly make you feel overwhelmed.
A lot of things as well. They come with like documents before you buy them, don’t they? These manuals of how to use it and things like that. It’s always good to look for those as well.
Sometimes we get excited when we see something, we just want to buy it before doing all the research and that’s where that comes in handy. Especially if you’re buying from a legitimate company, check on the documentation. See if there’s a demo. See if you can actually test out the theme before you actually buy it. Log in to kind of a demo portal and play around with it a little bit. I’m the worst for this. I’ll see something that kind of remotely does what I need it to and then I’ll just buy it before doing the research. But look …
You are the worst at this.
I can concur with that.
Lyndsay, I bought the wrong thing. Can you get a refund? I don’t think so. There’s got like a lot of like plugins and stuff that we’ve never used before that we’ve paid for. Ridiculous.
I’m one of those people that read the instructions for about six hours. We’re kind of both of extremes. We kind of meet in the middle though and that works.
Yeah, exactly. But if you do find a template that has great support, that can solve so many problems. Just by sending off a message at 8 o’clock at night, by morning you might actually have an answer to that question while you can get on with some other stuff in the meantime.
Definitely. Also look at where the template is from. I made this mistake once with actually a plugin. The guy was in New Zealand and then we kept having to wait 14 hours. It was just a nightmare. It was great, but yeah, that was a nightmare because 14 hours in our business is like forever. Well, it is for me. I’m very impatient, so yeah. Do actually look at where it’s from to see how quickly you’ll get an answer back.
There’s plenty of reviews online as well. Just do your research when it comes to your theme because it’s so important that you don’t want to make a bad buying decision when it comes to your theme.
Okay. What else is there? There’s obviously to look at the theme and support. What other things can we do to avoid overwhelm?
One thing is a little bit of a mindset shift actually. It’s in regards to how complicated or simple it is. We always recommend that you try to keep your website as simple as possible. I don’t mean basic black and white with no styling whatsoever. I’m just talking about when there’s an opportunity to keep things more simple and get things done quicker, that is nine times out of 10 the best option. We can always make it a little bit better. Your website’s never going to stop improving. It’s just you need to finish your website, get it out, and then make improvements once it’s live.
We’ve seen people actually just dwell over the tiniest insignificant kind of little hover effects and these fancy little features that somebody else has got on their website and you want on yours. Don’t do it. It is literally the biggest time suck and it can be the death of your project completely because people just spends two years building a website. Every time you speak to them, “How’s the website coming along,” “Yes, it’s coming. It’s still coming,” but they’ve not have anything to show for it. In the meantime, they’ve not got a website. They’ve not got leads coming through and that’s a problem. Your website needs to be up and live and out there as quickly as physically possible.
By keeping it simple and having that simple mindset when it comes to you designing your website, as long as you’ve got that key core information that people need, things that we’ve spoken about before in previous episodes like the big bold statement, like having your call to action buttons quite high up and quite prominent and your service is visible, as long as you do the basics, then the design to a certain extent doesn’t matter that much on the first round of getting your website up. Then you can make improvements as you go.
Yeah, definitely. I think that’s the point, isn’t it? It’s about making improvements as you go, but trying to just keep it simple and get something up straight away out there. Advertise is what you do in the right way and getting the basics right from the beginning. Definitely.
Exactly. This leads us on actually to the next point, which is when you really do need help, when you really do need a feature installed in your website, something that you can’t do, then seek the help of a techie. Now not just any techie. Techie, not Trekkie. We’re Star Wars fans and we’ll have none of that here.
Trekkies might be able to help.
We’ll have none of that here. Anyway, if you are struggling and you’re trying to do something, I mean … We had Rachel, one of our members, ask in the forum actually, “I can change words and images on my website, but I’m not sure about moving buttons and actually the design elements. What can I do?” We actually suggest that you have a look on Upwork or a freelancing website, maybe even Fiverr, to see if there’s anyone who specializes in that theme. I think it was Divi.
Yeah, I think for her it was quite easy because it was Divi and there were plenty of really good Divi sort of developers out there on perhaps Upwork. Yeah, she doesn’t need to spend a lot just to …
You’re talking $10, $20 the most to solve a problem-
Yeah. Yeah. Potentially.
… that you really, really need to solve. You shouldn’t have to do that a lot because not everything that you do needs to be that complicated, but there are a few things where you might need help. For Rachel, that was exactly what she needed.
It’s that time versus money issue, isn’t it? I mean you could spend all the time in the world trying to figure it out. But if it’s just going to take $20, $30 to solve that problem in five minutes for someone else to do it, then that’s going to be better for your business and you can start focusing on other things, more important things in your business that will move you forward definitely.
It absolutely will stop you in your tracks and it will make you feel overwhelmed if you’re trying to do this complicated thing. When you search for it on Google and you get this really complicated blog post where it’s telling you to go into your FTP and change this code and add this snippet of code and then something happens and your website goes down, like all that is really scary even for me.
Even for us, yeah.
You’ve got to be careful with your websites. We’re all susceptible to having your website go down or deleting something that you shouldn’t. It is sometimes necessary. Just stick to the basics and then hire someone if you really, really need some extra support.
Definitely. Okay. So what else can we be doing then?
Well, you spoke about this a little bit. It’s about doing your research. This doesn’t just to do with the theme. This is things like plugins. This is things like content management systems. If you want to use WordPress, you want to use Shopify, if you want to use something else, then do your research. It’s also the same for things like your email marketing system. Even tools like Canva, for instance. Do your research before you actually start downloading and actually creating new accounts and just signing up to stuff without actually doing your research. Because you can sign up to something and it’s like, “Oh, it’s a free trial. I might as well do it,” but then you get …
An hours gone by and you’re trying to set up an email marketing tool and you’ve not even got your big bold statement done on your website. You’re thinking so far ahead before you actually decide what’s important, what can I do to keep my website simple. I’ve got my theme. I’m trying to keep it simple. Then you go down a rabbit hole and we got the plugins and themes and content management systems and you’ve wasted all that time. It’s best to know what you want to do first and then do your research before you start delving into the tools.
Yeah, definitely. I think a good thing to remember is what is insanely popular. This is why we use WordPress for all our websites is because if we got hit by a bus, our clients would be able to google any problem and no doubt someone on the internet will be the answer to that problem because WordPress is so popular. Same with Shopify or with Canva or that email marketing software like MailChimp or ConvertKit, those kind of things. If they are well-know, if people trust them, if they’ve got good reviews and you’ve done that research beforehand, the likelihood is you’re going to be able to find quick solutions to your problems. If you use something a little bit out there that hasn’t been heard of before, maybe …
Even if it’s cheaper.
Even if it’s cheaper.
This is the point, don’t always go with the cheapest option-
… just to save money when another tool might actually be built a lot better. It might be quicker to get something done. You might be able to go live sooner rather than you try and do everything for free and then spend a year trying to hook it all up because there’s no support. This is the same with free plugins, free templates, even cheap, really, really cheap freelancers. You’re not going to get everything you need to. You just need to do your research and don’t be afraid to put your hand in your pocket if it’s a ton here and there.
Another thing as well is, and this again is more of a mindset thing, when you are thinking about yourself and you’re thinking about your website and it’s easy to see how you can become overwhelmed, just try and remember that this is not for you. This website is not yours. It’s for your customers. This is something that we’ve been talking about a lot recently. It’s the fact that when you think about your customers as the audience and you only think about them and you think about what questions are they going to ask, what questions are they looking for online, then it’s easy to see how you can create a quick and easy website and get it live sooner rather than later.
But when you’re thinking about yourself and all the fancy features, then it does get a little bit more complicated and more time consuming. That’s when you can go down these rabbit holes. Try and remember that. Actually stick it on your wall in front of your computer and think that my website might belong to me, but it’s not mine. It’s for my customers. That is so important that people understand that.
I think people get very wrapped up in what their competition is doing. Oh, they’ve got a fancy hover feature. I want one of those. Really it’s about them and they’re not thinking about their customers. I can honestly say hand in heart that I hardly spend anytime thinking about who our competition is or going on their websites at all. It just doesn’t take a penny of our mindset, does it, because we know that that’s not going to be productive. We have to focus on what our clients or potential clients will be asking when they’re on our website, what do they actually need. Don’t start looking at your competition and thinking about, “Okay. Well, I need a Whizzy thing because they’ve got this Whizzy thing,” and that kind of thing.
This is why people make so many mistakes when it comes to websites because they end up copying people, “Oh, they’ve got a slider image. I want a slider image. They’ve got like a Twitter feed in the bottom of their homepage. I want a Twitter feed.” We go down a road that we shouldn’t be going down anyway. Never mind, “I just want this fancy feature,” that’s when we do start actually looking at competitors and trying to get what they’ve got. Yeah, it’s a great point actually.
Okay. The next thing is actually really important. This is how we grew our business a few years ago. This was kind of the biggest shift that we made and it was to find a community, a supportive community, that can help move your business forward. Not just your website, not just a “I’m going to join a WordPress group,” actually join a community that’s going to help move your business forward, get your website live quicker. Maybe join an accountability group and actually have people around you that are going to move you in the right direction. There’s nothing worst than feeling alone when it comes to running a business. It’s even worse if you’re trying to do the techie stuff yourself.
You could ask a question in a forum that you’re a part of, this could be a paid community, it could be a free community, that you could spend eight hours trying to solve. Well, somebody else has already solved that problem. Find some communities that you can be a part of, whether it’s paid communities or free communities. We’ve got people in our community that ask questions all the time because they know that we’ll probably know the answer or somebody else in the community will have. They don’t have to spend all that time, an entire Sunday given up because they can’t get this plugin to work.
It makes you feel so much better, doesn’t it, when you got other people in the same boat and you’ve got experts to ask that are willing to help. It makes such a huge difference in your business. We’re part of … I don’t know how many communities we’ve got.
Like too many. Like five or six maybe.
Be our friends. Yeah, five or six communities. Honestly it makes a massive difference in our business because yeah, like you said, you can just ask that question and someone will know the answer.
We get great content ideas from this as well. On the flip side, we were talking a minute ago about having your website work for your customers and not just for you, it’s great when you’re in a community and somebody asks a question that you know the answer to and you’re like, “Actually I’ve answered this so many times myself to my own clients. I’m actually going to write a blog post about it.” A lot of the content ideas that we get are questions that we see other people ask as part of forums and communities as well.
People don’t just go in their normal Facebook page or Twitter and just say, “I’m struggling to get this plugin to work or why is my website not showing up in Google,” but they do ask those questions in sort of niche industry specific communities.
Definitely. Okay. What’s the final thing then what we can be doing to avoid overwhelm?
This is really important. This is to get a good host. A good reliable company to host your website. Not just somebody that can do it for the cheapest, but somebody who actually offers great support. We get people contacting us all the time saying, “Oh, we’ve been with this company for a few years now, but the website keeps going down and the support is really bad. Can you point us in the right direction? Can you help us? Can we move the website to you guys,” even though we don’t host websites. We don’t have a server in our back bedroom. We actually use companies to host as well. It’s just that because we’ve seen the good, bad and the ugly, people come to us and ask the question.
We do have a few companies we recommend, but more than anything, it’s about finding someone that’s going to be beneficial to you. If you have thousands and thousands of visitors coming to your website, then do some research about who the best person is to use. If you’re just starting a brand new website for instance, then we might have somebody else to recommend as a host. It’s all about finding someone that has a great support desk, somebody that can be there, someone who’s got live chat. They can pick up the phone and cal them if your website goes down. That should always be your first point of call and that would help you overcome that overwhelm if you are struggling because something has gone wrong.
Yeah, because you can guarantee you’re going to get overwhelmed very quickly if your website has gone down. We’ve seen it when people have launched major things. They’ve got thousands of visitors to their website. This one always annoys me as well. I think it annoys me because I think you pointed it out to me. When companies say, “Oh, we were so popular our website went down,” I’m like, “Mate, that’s not a good thing.”
Yeah. What is that about?
Like, “I’m really pleased I’ve lost all these sales. Woo hoo.”
I know. That’s like a badge of honor, ain’t it?
Yeah. We always find really strange. We just kind of shake our heads like get a good host then. You’re clearly not investing in a good host. That shows you up really. It’s not a good thing if your website goes down during a major launch. Yeah, I think it’s just something that you have to look at, invest, in do your research. But yeah, like Martin said, think about things like live … Live chat with hosts is just wonderful. If you can just speak to them and someone is there a minute later just replying to you and helping you, either they’ll solve the problem or just show you how to solve it, that’s just so incredibly powerful because it can save you so much time and so much stress as well.
I mean you’ve got to understand that when you’re building your own website, you’re the one who has to think about the domain name and where that is. You’ve got a domain name with one company. You’ve got your host with another. You might have your emails with somebody else. That’s why it’s great having a great reliable host because you can actually just contact them and actually say, “This is the situation. What do I need to do?” If you’re submitting a support ticket and they don’t get back to you for 48 hours and you want it to launch on Friday night, then it’s going to be tricky. That’s why it’s so important. We do have a company to recommend.
If you go to jammydigital.com/hosting, feel free to contact us and we’ll send you a tutorial video as well on that. It’s just a case of what’s best for you I think more than anything. But yeah, you do need a good host. Part of the reason a lot of websites get hacked as well is because of hosts. Again that’s another reason you might get overwhelmed. Okay, my website’s been hacked. What do I do now? Where do I start?
Why is my website in Russian?
I don’t remember selling these products. What’s this?
What are these dodgy things?
Getting a good host will prevent a lot of the ability for somebody to hack, but you can also install a software. You can get pretty cheap software from a good host that will scan your website for any malware and malicious kind of viruses and stuff like that. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by it, which is why you need to get a good host.
Yeah, definitely. Definitely.
That’s pretty much it. There’s a few things there that should help you avoid overwhelm. I’m sure there’s plenty of other things as well, but for you, it’s about growing your business. You are the business owner or you’re the marketing inside a business. It’s about you thinking about promoting your products and services, reaching your audience, and making sure that they’re becoming inquiries rather than just visitors. That’s what you should be thinking about. Not the technical stuff. Not your hosting and your domain name stuff. Yes, you might have to do it, but seek help when you need to and do your research.
I think the point is as well is that we’re not actually saying that you have to invest a lot to avoid overwhelm. If you are new to business and you think, “Well, I can’t do that because I’m just on my own. I’m just starting out. I haven’t got much money,” like Martin said, you can hire people off Upwork for quite cheap. Just go for a reliable host that’s well-known. You’ve got that chat support. These things don’t cost a lot of money-
… but they are worth it because it will save you so, so much time and then you can go ahead and build your business. I hope you found this episode useful. Everyone has struggled with this in the past. Hopefully now you can use a few of tips to help you overcome it. If you didn’t already know, we do have a free Facebook group. We’d love you to join. Head over to jammydigital.com/facebook. We do training, free website critiques, and we’d love to help you get better results from your websites. Feel free to join and say hello. That’s it for today’s episode. We’ll see you next time on the Mark Your Mark Online Podcast.