5 Things you can DIY for your Online Business

9 Apr 2019 / Freeparking Team

Congratulations! You have the idea for the product or service you’re selling, you’ve bought the domain name and hosting, and now you’re ready to start your online business. Thunderbirds are go! But before you chat to Lady Penelope about your plans for world domination and the need for some extra capital to pay all the professionals you need to hire to get you up and going, there are a couple of things you can do for yourself.

5 Things You Can Do

Yes, even you.

I assume that you’ve organised your business name by now, as you’ve gone far enough through the process to buy that domain name.

Now, set up your branding. Back in the corporate days I used to advise clients to pay good money to graphic designers to set up logos, colour palettes and corporate identities, but these days money is tight, and you need every penny you can save to keep yourself afloat until you make that big first sale! So, needs must, as they say.

  1. Corporate logo - You can create a decent logo yourself, if you follow a couple of simple rules  - don’t copy other logos, keep it simple, keep it professional  - no cartoons or stick figures. For a logo to work well you need to be able to create a high-quality jpg (for printing purposes) and a lower resolution jpg for online presentations. It’s easy enough to go onto Fivver and ask someone to do it for you but one problem with doing it this way is that there have been numerous incidences of Fivver folk stealing the idea from some other company and you don’t want that. 

    I go to public creative markets such as www.creativemarket.com or even Envato’s www.graphicriver.net These two options have numerous templates you can use legitimately. Once you’ve got something appropriate and you’ve paid the license, consider how you can personalise it. You might change the colours or use a different font. Or you might feel it’s different enough when it’s rendered with your unique company name. You can rework the templates into your special file by using any of the Adobe products or you could use www.canva.com by uploading the pic and playing with the effects and colour palettes. And that leads us to the second thing you can DIY for your online business…

  2. Colour palette  - We all know that using fifty colours on a website or in corporate branding looks exceptionally unprofessional, and some colours just look wrong, but how do you know what colours work? We can’t all use Navy Blue. 

    This article from Canva about colour symbolism is worth reading. Once you have decided a core colour then head on over to Design Seeds and look through their photo gallery of colours on their blog, or check out Color Lovers. If you have an image with the colour you want to include you can upload the image and it will pick the colours for you and spit out their HTML colour codes.

  3. Fonts – Font combinations run in trends (as do colours) and the best way to make your online presence look now is to use a fresh, now, font combination. Check out this Creative Bloq post, and don’t forget to ensure that the combinations you choose fit with your product and service and your corporate personality.

  4. Images – Again, the major issue is copying. Just don’t. Whatever you do don’t go into Google Images, grab one and use it. You will be in breach of copyright and yes, they will find you, even down here at the bottom of the South Pacific. A much safer way is to either pay for your images, create your own images, or use free Creative Commons’ licensed images. You can find many brilliant images (and layouts!) on Adobe Stock, or Envato’s Graphic River, Dreamstime and other online image sources. These images are excellent quality, though do be wary of stock images of people posed in unusual ways, and for a laugh, Google ‘bad stock photos of my job’

    If you don’t have any budget at all, then try one of these places for excellent free images you can use for your website or in social media, without attribution. Try Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels. Special shout out to NZ owned MyChillyBin who have spectacular Kiwi images.

  5. Content– All it takes is a little confidence. After all, who knows more about your subject than you? So, banish those images of your high school English teacher yelling at you about sentence fragments and get on it. Online content has a style of its own where the aim is to be conversational and invite engagement. If you’re setting up a website you will need content for About Us, Product/Services, Introduction, Blog, Contact etc.. That’s typically a minimum of 1,500 words.

Google will penalise any pages that have less than 300 words for being insignificant, so it’s important that you spend some time on it. Even if you write it all up and ask a professional copywriter to review and edit and put in SEO keywords you will cut the professional’s job and your costs in half.

So, there’s 5 things you can DIY for your Online Business. Even if you get to this stage before you employ a web developer, you will be way ahead of the crowd. Of course, you could also DIY your website development too, but that’s a subject for a future blog post.


By Vicki Jeffels
Vicki has been writing about the web since Adam was boy and used to access the information superhighway via dialup. As well as writing for the Freeparking Team, Vicki lectures in Digital Marketing and is the Managing Director of Digital Discussions.

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