Peter Schroeder

@peter.e.schroeder

Building A Website With Limited Experience

How I broke down the process into three phases.

There are a lot of ways to slice this cake, but I am just going to share a little bit about how I decided to go about the process of setting up a website.

Everyone will have variables depending on where they are at, where they want to go, and what their goals are. For this reason, I will give you a quick backstory and then explain my 3 phases.

I am the co-founder of UNUM messenger, which you can learn more about here. Anyways, we are about four months into development with plans to launch our closed beta in approximately 40 days.

Based on the feedback we receive, we are going to plan out our course of action, and set a date for a hard launch.

Now that you have a little bit of a backstory, here are the 3 phases I am still currently going through to develop a website.

Phase 1 — Splash Page

As soon as I had my idea, I wanted to get something online to start getting the word out. The easiest way to do this was to set up a splash page (landing page.)

The concept was still unproven at this point, so I wanted the page to be as simple as possible. To do this, I went to Launchrock.

I knew I could get away with a super minimalistic design to get started, so I spent a few hours mocking up the page.

All I did was buy a domain (you can use a Launchrock domain for free,) chose a template, created a basic image concept, added some copy, and added a signup form. (I added the press kit in later on.)

Note: The images I used were created using Canva.

This was the end result —

It may be one of the most basic splash pages there has ever been, but it served its purpose. The result of this landing page was over 500 pre-launch signups in a little over a month.

For where we were at, this site did everything it needed to do. It allowed us to focus our time and energy on other areas, while still having a functional site.

Click here to see our Launchrock site.

Phase 2 — Wordpress Site

While we had our Launchrock site running, I was able to begin the development of a Wordpress site.

It was comforting to be able to take my time with the site since we already had our Launchrock site up.

The process was relatively straightforward. I purchased X Theme from Envato and uploaded the theme to my Wordpress site.

From there, it was a very simple process. All I did was create a Home, About Us, and Contact Us pages. With these three pages, we had an abundance of information compared to our previous splash page.

Here is how our Wordpress site looked when we released it —

Home Page
About Us Page
Contact Us Page

The other thing I had to do was migrate our pre-launch signup list from Launchrock to MailChimp. This only took a few minutes to accomplish.

We were able to roll with this site until 4 about 3 months while we could work more on branding and finalizing the conceptual layout of our app.

Phase 3 — World Domination

When we launch, we want to be ready to start growing rapidly. This means releasing all the final updates I am preparing to the site.

These updates will include:
- Final Logo & Color Scheme
- Links to the App and Google Play Store (as the clear call to actions)
- SEO Updates
- Mobile Friendly Updates
- A Feature Page Showcasing In-App Displays

Here are some screenshots of what the final website ended up looking like.

We ended up going with one page for all of our information. This helps us keep things simple and not over complicate things.

The site also got updated with the final branding.

We found a minimalistic design to be our sweet spot. People need to understand what you do without having to read a word on your site. Instead of focusing so much on the copy, build your website like your painting a picture.

To see how it turned out, visit http://www.unummessenger.com

Summary

Having very limited experience in web development / design, everything I have done up to this point has been completed through template services that anyone can learn.

The biggest lifesavers have been LaunchRock, X Theme (Wordpress Theme), Canva (Design), Wordpress (Hosting), Mailchimp (Signup), InVision (App Prototype), and MockuPhone (Phone Mockups).

When you are building something, you will need to go outside of your comfort zone to make it happen. One of the things you will need to do is learn new things.

Instead of trying to tackle something new all at once, try break it down into phases.

This will help you to begin, refine, and perfect the task at hand.

If you enjoyed this article, I would really appreciate it if you shared it, recommended it, or let me know in the comments!
Also, if you’re interested in hearing more about what were working on, sign up to hear all about it here!

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