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    13 Tools And Tips For Making An Awesome Website For Your Side Hustle

    Don't code? No problem.

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    Growing your business is a journey, and one of the first steps is creating a website. If you’re not the most tech-savvy person, have no fear!

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    Here are 13 tools and tips you can use to help make building your website a breeze. And good news: You won't need a computer science degree to pull it off.

    1. Get to know your audience.

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    Marketing to your audience may sound like an obvious tip but it’s easy to confuse your users' needs with design choices that reflect your own interests. So before you touch a key, take the time to figure out who your audience is and what they want. Your website should speak to your audience, so do some research and learn their language. Take a step back and think about what your clients want and would engage them the most.

    2. Choose a platform with features that can actually make building a website super simple.

    Screenshot of Squarespace website builder
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    Creating your own site can seem intimidating, but sites like Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress are great places to start if website design isn't exactly your thing because they allow you to bypass all the coding confusion and simply make your website. So, if computers aren't your forte, don't worry about it. Through easy drag-and-drop systems and templates, you can manage and move content on your site without coding.

    3. When you're choosing a domain name, go for a dot-com.

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    Compared to “.net” or “.co”, or other web address extensions, “.com" is the most familiar to users. So, to play it safe and avoid losing customers who don't trust extensions other than “.com,” use this domain. Other domain extensions may look unique and interesting, but in this case, it may be best to stick with what’s popular.

    4. Use SEO to rank on Google. / Via

    SEO stands for search engine optimization and it can help you boost traffic to your site. When people look up your business, products, or services on Google, you want your site to pop up on the first page of search results. There are many SEO strategies you can use to help your site rank, like choosing the right domain name, for example. Use a keyword in the name that people would type into the search bar to find your business. This will help your website come up on the first or second page when someone searches for a business that offers your services.

    There's a lot more to it than that, and this beginner's SEO guide from Moz is a good place to start if you want to learn more. However, if search engine optimization isn't your thing, you might consider hiring an SEO strategist on Upwork or Fiverr instead.

    5. Keep your website safe.

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    You wouldn't type your credit card number into a sketchy site, so why should your customers and clients? By using a security certificate, which is also known as an SSL certificate, you can protect users' private information that they put into your website. “This shows trusted users and Google that your website is safe to collect information from potential customers,” says Eric Florence, a cybersecurity analyst for “This certificate is a must-have if you sell products on your website as you will most likely collect credit card info.”

    If you're on a website and you see a little lock icon in the URL bar of your browser and the URL starts with https, then that means that it has an SSL certificate. If you need to get an SSL for your site, you can get a digital certificate from an official certificate authority following this guide from Google.

    6. Site speed is super important.

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    Too many bells and whistles on your website can slow it down. And when that happens, Google doesn’t rank you high in the search engine results pages. It actually punishes you for it. The reason is simple: People don't stay on slow sites. In fact, one in four visitors leave a website that takes more than four seconds to load. Make sure you check how fast your website runs and avoid adding anything that causes your site to slow down.

    Plus, a messy website is a major turnoff for users and will have your bounce-back rate (aka how fast people leave your site) through the roof. When building your website, make sure users can find information easily. Don’t overdo it with pictures, text, or information. Simplicity is key when building a website and too much stuff can overwhelm users.

    7. Include text...but not too much.

    An example of the Grammarly program.
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    We get it: You want consumers to know as much about your business as possible. Unfortunately, too much information can actually be a bad thing. Avoid using too much text on a page. And don't be afraid to have large spaces between text or images. You want users to be able to scan your site and find what they need. So, stay away from big words and keep language conversational.

    Also, when adding content, the last thing you want to see is a typo on your site. Use programs like Grammarly and other spell-check tools to help you catch tiny grammatical or spelling errors.

    8. And make sure your photos and graphics are eye-catching and on-brand.

    Example of Canva's editing format.
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    You want visitors to remember your website as interesting and attractive. And with the right pictures, they will. Just make sure they're on-brand and creative. Sites like Canva (which is free) can help you create charming banners and graphics for your website. It’s also way easier to use than Photoshop (if that isn't your forte). Just keep in mind that too many big graphics can hurt your site’s loading speed.

    9. Add a call to action to your site to turn visitors into customers.

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    After people visit your site, you want them to come back and eventually become loyal customers. On your website, give users the option of booking an appointment, signing up for your newsletter, or starting a free trial. These are call-to-action tools that give users a chance to interact with your brand and stay in contact. If you're not sure what your CTA should say, this guide from Grammarly might help point you in the right direction.

    10. And use e-commerce tools like Shopify to sell your products online.

    An example of Shopify's program.
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    People are shopping online now more than ever; so if you're selling a product, it's really important to make it available to buy on your site. Shopify is a popular option among small business owners because it's super easy to use and provides you with your own website, SSL certificate, and shopping cart recovery.

    11. Check out the competition.

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    Look at your competition's website. What do they do well and what makes you want to close the tab? Doing this shows you what to avoid and helps you gather ideas for your own website. Just be sure to make your site your own.

    12. If you want to use ads, try A/B testing them to figure out what works best for your business.

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    If you're putting ads on your site or social media, take the time to compare them through A/B testing. This is when you create two similar ads and see which one performs better and gains more traffic. Doing this will help you make better decisions for your business and produce the best ads on your site and social media.

    13. And finally, always offer communication options.

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    Don’t you just hate it when you have a question about a product but the company's site doesn't provide any way to reach them? Like you, users appreciate contact options. When making your site, include your business’s phone number and email address or a widget that allows customers to contact you through the website. Luckily, if you're using one of the platforms mentioned in #1, you'll find that they have contact form templates so you can add one to your site in a snap.

    And don't be afraid to add your social media. Some clients feel more comfortable sliding in your DMs than picking up the phone. Just make sure you give users as many contact options as you can.

    Is there anything we missed? Share your best tips for making a small business website in the comments below.

    For more moneymaking and saving tips, check out our other personal finance posts.