So you’ve decided to start your own wedding planning business to pair your passion with your clients’ vision and create magic - congratulations! Feels good doesn’t it?
Now that you’re officially in business it’s important to get everything set up right so that you can stand out from the crowd and put your best face forward as a wedding planner.
Oftentimes (if you’re anything like me!) you won’t be in a position to throw all kinds of money at hiring people to do #allthethings for you when you’re just getting started, so you’ll be DIYing everything.
So….let’s talk about your website. Nowadays it’s easier than ever to get a nice, polished website up and running all on your own. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy!
Having a great website is really important and a step you absolutely cannot skip over. But too often new business owners stress out about getting things just right, and discredit their ability to do more than they think they could.
Maybe hiring a designer to build a beautiful website for you will be the best option for you - there's nothing wrong with that at all!
But if that’s not an option for you at this point, this post will walk you through exactly what you need to do get your own website set up - all by yourself! (I promise - it doesn’t have to be painful!)
Since I created my website on Squarespace, that is the platform I’m going to walk you through in this post. Here are the steps you need to follow to begin getting your own website set up.
1. Choose a template
Squarespace has a TON of beautiful, functional design template to choose from to give your website a polished, professional look that is very customizable. You can look through all the different options here and choose the template you like the most.
Remember that they are customizable, so make sure to take note of the functionality of each template to ensure you'll be able to do everything you want to using the template you choose.
2. Buy your domain name
Squarespace allows you a 14-day trial to test out the platform and decide whether you like it or not - without registering a custom domain name. But if you know that you'll be using Squarespace, you can just purchase the domain name and hosting package that is best for you. Pro tip: you can purchase domains outside of Squarespace, BUT the website setup process is a lot simpler when you just get the domain and hosting directly through Squarespace. You can click here to learn more about getting your Squarespace domain set up.
3. Customize the look & feel
Once you have chosen your template and have your domain name and hosting plan set up, you're ready to move onto the fun part - dressing up your new website! Make your way over to the Style Editor which is where you can make adjustments to colors, fonts, template layouts, etc and upload your own branding elements. Here is an overview of how to move forward in customizing the style of your website.
If you are in a super duper hurry to get something up and running fast, you can always set up a cover page with your basic information. This allows you to work in the background to make everything pretty and your potential clients only see that one pretty page. Click here to learn more about how to set up your cover page. I am currently updating things here at WDA and I have a cover page set up. I put a link to the blog on the cover page itself allowing visitors to access the blog. It's a great tool to help you get going in no time.
4. Set up pages & navigation
Now it's time to build the content of your website and make sure that it's easy navigable. Think as simply as possible - less is more here! Instead of thinking of aaaallllllll the millions of things you could put on your website, start with the end in mind. Think of what the purpose of your website is and make decisions about what you'll put on your website based on whether it serves that end goal purpose or not.
For each section of your website you'll create a page and then (with most pages) you'll link to each page in the menu bar (or two menu bars, if you desire and your theme allows it). Click here to learn how to set up individual pages on your new site.
5. Link to your opt-in & social accounts
Once all of the core content and layout of your website is set, you want to link to all of your social accounts and start promoting your new website (especially if you plan to have blog content!) Squarespace is pretty intuitive so you should see the various places you can link to your social profiles and even email.
Hopefully that helps get you started on the right track. As you're building, feel free to pop any specific questions you may have in the comments below and I'd be happy to help guide you in the right direction!
I'm no expert but I have created 3 websites using Squarespace (My BFF designer friend Whitlee created my first one and taught me well!). If you feel stuck or have a question, feel free to hop on my FB page and ask away.
And, to help you stay focused on only the essentials as you build your new website, be sure to print out this handy little checklist that lists out everything you need to make sure to include!