Use these 10 steps to DIY your site, but be warned it's not as quick as you think!
Step One -Research!
Who are your customers and what do they need from the site. Yes even if it's "only a portfolio". This should and will take quite a bit of work. It's sometimes called a persona, sometimes your ideal customer or your user. You want to know everything about them, their likes and dislikes, problems, and possible solutions. Ideally this boils down to who are making this for and how can you best meet their needs.
Step two - Content!
Now that you know what your customers need, time to start outlining and writing content. Again, quite a bit of work. Use your work from step one to drive your language and guide the flow of the site. Understanding you users will allow you to build a site they want and need. Think Craigslist, it doesn't always have to be beautiful! That site is designed with the user first and so it's basic, easy to navigate and unchanging.
Step three - Design Inspiration!
Are you using a template? (nothing wrong with that), are there other great examples you want to incorporate to make it your own? Colors, textures, voice, fonts, that meet your customers needs while conveying your style. Yep, still a lot of work. Create a mood board, research competitors, look at color theory, and most importantly make sure you refer back to steps 1 and two.
Step Four - Webflow!
I am sure you can use another website platform by why would you! Seriously, check out Webflow, they will grow with you! This is the easy step, trust me.
Step Five - Style Guide!
This one page document is where your brand will start to take shape. Colors, fonts, headings, links, main text, forms, buttons, lines, shapes, and all other elements in one spot. You guessed it, more work. This sets your site up for success. You have a one stop shop to make any changes and a source of truth. Skip this step and you'll regret it, especially when it's a year later and you want to make updates.
Step Six - Start designing!
Finally! You have arrived, well kind of. Personal preference on this one. Some designers choose to build out mock-ups in tools like Figma, XD, Invision, etc, others like to work directly in the web platform in real time. If you're using a template, go ahead and work off your content document and make changes right in the template. If you're starting from scratch, I recommend a mock-up or hand drawing. Either way, more work.
Step Seven - Critique!
Don't skip this step! Have your site critiqued preferably by a designer or target customer/user, across all screen sizes to ensure usability, messaging and responsiveness are all appropriate. This will save you from users finding broken links, missing forms, font you can't read or a page that doesn't load.
Step Eight - Revise!
Incorporate the feedback and revise what is necessary. I know, it's a lot of work but you're almost there! Feedback is a must, but remember, you did the work to determine the user needs, if the feedback sways from that, carefully think about how to make changes still meeting user goals.
Step Nine - SEO!
You know, Search Engine Optimization, how you get found on the "googs" Set up basic SEO, such as the title tags, meta-descriptions, alt-tags, favicon and WebClip images. I know it's a ton of work, but only one step to go...
Step Ten - Repeat!
Design is never done. Add in fun animations, keep making the template your own, incorporate new ideas, but remember, it should always be what your customer needs!
There you have it, the 10 simple steps to creating your first website. Have fun, and remember, if you need help, just ask!