Create Your Website With The New Canva Websites Feature
You may or may not know that I love all things Canva! I was an early adopter of Canva and have been with them for many, many years as they have developed and evolved. They are pioneers in the design space and it goes without saying that they have made designers out of non designers for as long as I can remember!
One thing that a maker, creator or budding entrepreneur needs is a great website. Ive written plenty of blog posts about websites for bloggers, but small businesses, those just starting up, also need a place to call home on the interwebs!
But, budget is often limited in those early days and finding something to take care of your online needs without blowing your non existence budget is hard.
Small business owners never fear! Canva has just launched (currently in BETA) their latest offering, Canva Websites! Fully responsive Canva Websites, complete with your very own domain. And its shaping up to be one of the best things I have ever seen in the build your own website landscape.
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What is Canva Websites?
All small business owners need a web presence and many of them stress out at the prospect of having to get this sorted. Particularly the cost involved in having to hire a web designer to handle even the most basic of websites to get their brand online.
Canva has just launched their latest product offering, Canva Websites.
Fully responsive, SEO friendly, build your own websites. Designed to be completely user friendly, modern and beautiful. Canva Websites, as a first iteration, allows non designers (no coding needed!) to easily build their own one page websites, super fast, on any device and with no design experience necessary.
How do you get the beta version of Canva? Canva Websites (Beta) is rolling out now to all users (May 2022), so you’ll soon get a prompt to ask of you want to try the Beta version in your account.
Who is Canva Websites for?
You might be wondering, is Canva Websites free? Yes, Canva websites is free to use. There are some features that are only available to Pro users, but you can definitely design and build your own website for free using Canva.
Canva Websites is for everybody! But, I have to say, that this first iteration allows people to build only one page websites (for now). So, it’s more suited to small business owners, event creators, solopreneurs, sports teams, or other organisations who want a quick and easy way to get online fast, without the need to get a costly web designer involved.
If you need to show a synopsis of your brand, create a landing page for your portfolio, design a website for your wedding event or have a place online for your bio, then this is the thing for you!
How do you build a website using Canva Websites?
Start building your new one page website in Canva Websites by searching for “Websites” in your Canva toolbar. You can build your new website on your desktop or use the Canva App and design your new site on your phone or tablet.
The next thing you need to do is think about the look and feel of your website, what sort of colours do you want to use? Do you have a specific colour palette you use for your brand? Do you have an idea of the look and the vibe you’re aiming to achieve on your site?
There’s loads of great templates to choose from or create your very own Canva website design from scratch if you’re feeling creative! And, you’ll find that the design templates that Canva has available are REALLY GOOD.
Some of the other website builder sites have pretty average templates and you do need a good level of skill to be able to up spec your web design (often having to resort to getting the pros in!) – but the Canva website templates are actually pretty nice I’ve gotta say.
Now’s the fun part- the content! Website content consists of two things… the first is assets, or imagery and the second is words, or copy.
Its a great idea to maybe make a mood board of all the colours and images you would like ot use on your site. You can use your own images or find great images either directly on Canva or use a free image library like Unsplash or Pexels to source assets. Be mindful that you need to only use imagery that is yours or you have sourced from Canvas image library a free stock library.
I like to create a word doc or similar where I map out my webpage flow- this is also called a wireframe. Here I configure where various sections will go, and what sort of images and copy will go in each section.
For instance, you might start with an about me section, introducing your brand and who you are and what you do, a section on what sort of products or services you offer, a section dedicated to customer testimonials, one with recent news or FAQ (frequently asked questions) and finally a section on how people can contact you. You’ll also want to make sure you pop your social media links at the bottom of your page too!
If you’re not a wordsmith, or are just struggling with copywriting for your website, then head on over to Jasper and give their website copy template a whirl. Jasper can help you when write SEO friendly (that means the search engine will love you and rank you!) website copy in a matter of minutes (no, seriously, it takes minutes). Just enter a couple of keywords and Jasper does the rest for you. It’s a GAME CHANGER!
The drag and drop or WYSIWYG editor is simple and super easy to figure out. You don’t need any degree of skill to be able to drive Canva Websites. This makes it super easy to be able to see what you are creating on the fly. Simply move and add elements as you would with any Canva design.
One of the most nifty features I’ve found on the new Canva Websites tool is that you can easily switch up the colour scheme to match your brand. It’s so easy to see what your site will look like with a different colour with the click of a button.
Once you are happy with your website design you can preview your website before you publish. You can see how your site will look on multiple devices including on a tablet, on your desktop or on a mobile phone.
Next, pick a Canva domain or use your own. And publish your fully responsive site to the web!
What can I do to make my Canva Website stand out?
Any website can make a statement. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve! Firstly, ensure that your brand is well planned out. Think about the colours and fonts and types of imagery you’ll use to showcase your unique style.
Next think about white space. think about giving your content space to breath and allowing your audience the opportunity to effortlessly go form one section to the next.
Finally, use imagery to your advantage. A picture is worth a thousand words!
Pro tip: Don’t forget about SEO! Make sure you’ve got great meta data on all imagery and that your copy (the words on your website) are optimised for search. Simple things you can do to make sure your website is found by Google and other SERPs (search engine results pages) is to be sure to use keywords (strings of words) that match your business. You can read much more about SEO here.
Can I use my own domain with Canva Websites?
Yes, yes you can. And, you definitely should. Although, if you don’t want to – you can totally continue on the free Canva plan and just keep the Canva domain, which is perfectly fine.
You can also buy a domain name directly from Canva for a super reasonable price (starting at $18.99, and depending on the suffix you require, .com, .net etc) – yippee! This part is so so good, or if you have a domain name registered elsewhere already – then you can totally use that too.
You need to be a Canva Pro member to link your own domain- but thats totally worth it as Canva’s plans are super cheap (around $20 per month if you pay monthly, cheaper if you pay yearly) and for all the other amazing Pro features you get with the plan- this is just the icing on the cake.
Can I track analytics on Canva Websites?
Yes! Just click on the Insights tab (top right of your screen) and you will be able to see not only traffic but also website engagement. Powerful tools and metrics to help get your business on track. Check which country your visitors are coming from, how many page views your site has amassed and which device your audience is viewing from – choose between 7, 30 or 90 days.
Can I add a shopping cart with Canva Websites?
Right now, no you cannot add a shopping cart to a new Canva Website. However, this is iteration number one and I believe that Canva will quickly follow up this first release with much more features. For a fully functional ecommerce website I recommend using a self hosted WordPress site.
This is a massive play for Canva. The build your own website space is crammed with some great incumbents, and some not so great ones! Squarespace, Wix and Weebly play in this domain and have done so for many many years. Plus, then there’s WordPress.com. Perhaps the biggest player of them all.
Squarespace vs Canva Websites? It’s a no brainer for me. Canva Websites wins every time!
Having said that. When Canva first launched many people simply didn’t see the need for such a service, boy were they wrong!
Canva Websites means that small businesses and those people who just want a simple, straight forward website, can do this themselves. No need for expensive web designers.
The advantage I think Canva has here over some of the incumbents is that they already have a massive community of avid fans and supporters, they know design and know it well, and they know how consumers operate. They get the pain points of their customers and know what makes their lives easier, and what doesn’t.
Ultimately, as well, the product is actually really, really good. The pages are super easy to add, and the templates are brilliant. The WYSIWYG editor is really easy to use and you have a massive amount of room to play with colours and designs. The best thing too, is that this is all included in your Canva Pro subscription. Which means you’re not left paying multiple companies the big bucks on a monthly basis.
So, if you are a small business, a solopreneur or a hobbyist just starting out – give Canva Websites a try and see just how easy it is to create your very own slice of the world wide web.