Looking forward to create a website for yourself, your brand, business or an organization? Don’t know where to begin? This guide contains everything that is essential for creating A Successful Website.
This article is for you if you are beginning your journey to learn to create a website or already have a basic understanding of how websites are created and decided to build your own. The guide lists essentials to create a better website, in 2019. And even if you already have a website, these essentials help you make it better.
Let’s get right into it!
Let’s start with the basics, “What is a website”? As per the definition, “a collection of related web pages, including multimedia content, identified with a domain name and published on a web server” (As found on Wikipedia).
Either you might say, “Everyone knows that”, “I’ve googled it” or you may be wondering. A collection of web pages? Domain name and web server? Where do I get that? And if it’s just some pages together then why do so many people and businesses consider it a must have in 2019?
If you understand that, Congratulations! And even if you don’t quite understand all of it, it’s okay. By the end of this article, your clouds of doubt will vanish! 🙂
It’s 2019 and everyone wants their website to be stunningly beautiful, attract more customers or stand out from the crowd.
How to do that? This Guide helps you with exactly that! For achieving quality results you need to proceed one step at a time. I’ve broken down this whole guide into different groups that you can complete at your own pace.
Now let’s get to work.
First of all,
This is the most important step that people often overlook and jump right into creating a website. Then at a later stage complain about platform not being the right choice, website not having enough rich content like “content just does not feel right”. Then ask us to create content for their business domain. Remember this, “It’s your business and there is no one better than YOU for it’s content!” Research is the Key and it’s free!
Step 1: Find Your Purpose And Set Your Goals
Introspect. Start with asking yourself this basic question:
Why do you want to create this website in the first place and what do you plan to achieve with it?
- Promote your new business or brand?
- Sell your products and services online?
- Share your thoughts via a blog?
- Showcase your portfolio?
- Extend your brick-and-mortar business online?
- Engage with your audience?
You can pretty much create a website for anything. Though I suggest you figure out NOW what exactly do you want from this website and who your target audience is. That is your purpose. This will be your guide for everything else that you do to make your website a success.
Also while you’re jotting down your purpose, don’t forget to set a few goals that align with your purpose.
Your goals can be anything from the number of leads you want to generate, to build your brand, engage with your audience or increase the number of customers and revenue from your website.
Step 2: Outline And Curate Your Content
Now that you’re clear with your Purpose and Goals, let’s move forward to gather content relevant to your goals.
One can’t build something successful unless all the right contents are known. Similarly, for you to create your website – and a successful one, you need to figure out what type of content you want out there. What will make your customers and audience come to your website?
Again, it’s your own business people! Get really into it! Gather all the content that you can possibly think of which best describes your business, purpose and goals. Also, it helps or adds value to your audience in some way.
I know this sounds like too much work right now, but trust me it’s worth the effort. To prevent you from feeling too overwhelmed, let’s start with basics one step at a time.
Let’s summarise on what curating and gathering content requires.
- Pages – List down all the pages that you require on your website. Start small and list down the very basic pages that your website should have other than a Homepage like an About Us page, a Blog (more on that in a minute), a separate Contact Us page with some more information than your homepage, a page for the Products and Services you offer. List down all these pages that you feel are important. If it’s still a little difficult to figure out, go check out some related websites on the internet who provide same services or products as you. Remember, never copy and paste the same content, create your own. It’s just to give you an idea.
- Text Content – Now that your website has a page structure, start to jot down what do you want to convey when a person visits a particular page. Create a rough draft at first. For example, an About Us page can convey what you and your business believes in, how you started, put your pictures up and if your brand name means something special explain how it fits right for your niche. It’s okay to not have a finished content from the very beginning, write down bullet points for what a page will hold and later on you can draft it at your own pace.
- Media Content – How would you feel if you visited someone’s website and there was only text all over the website and no pictures? Pretty bland, right? You’d probably leave the website in a matter of seconds. That’s where the media content plays an important role. Images and Videos on your website that are related to you and your business often catch your audience’s attention. Scrolling through a long text of your history and suddenly see pictures of you and/or your business makes them connect to you on a more personal level. It’s okay use available media content on the internet, but carefully cherry-pick the ones that actually complement your niche and the text content you’ll have throughout your website. There are websites like ShutterStock, Pexels, Unplash which provide high quality stock images that you can use. They have their own terms, read them before you proceed.
- CTAs (Call To Action) – Smart Call-to-Actions are the most important part of any website which help all these businesses convert their online visitors into customers. There’s a lot to be said about the CTAs. Probably I’ll be doing an in-depth article on it next. But for now, let’s stick to CTAs for our website. The term CTA or Call-to-Action does not necessarily clear things up for everyone. But I know this example might.
I’m sure you might have visited the Netflix website. By now all the pending web-series would be already on your mind. I know it’s tempting, but leaving all that aside, have you ever noticed that it has a theme and it’s trial button is bright red same as that of the Netflix logo. If you want to have a look, open a browser window and visit the Netflix website. The “Watch free for 30 Days” Button instantly grabs your attention as soon as the page loads. This is a CTA. Note it’s placement and the colour scheme used to make it look like the most important part of the page. Note how it’s placed on the very first page in the very first section. This is what tempts you to sign-up on their website, because it’s an offer calling you to start using their service.
In short, CTAs are visual cues to guide your audience and customers to take some action on your website.
This is pretty much it. Also, keep curating your content at regular intervals. Go over your content and keep relevant material so your audience stays engaged. You can also try changing how your content looks and how it is placed every once in a while. Decide on the fonts, pictures, placement of content and media that you feel are complementing your content.
You’re ready with your content. Now let’s move forward to create your very own website!
Step 3: Register A Domain
Don’t let this technical jargon intimidate you. Domain or Domain Name simple means your website’s address on the internet where people can find you or your business or organization.
Now this is one of the most important decisions that you need to make since this defines your brand, business or organization on the internet.
Domain Name consists of three parts:
- Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD/TLD) – The top level domain is kind of like the extension of media files. As different extensions mean different types of files, different TLDs are used for websites for different purposes. In webentechnologies.com, the “.com” is the top level domain. This is the most common type of TLD. Some of the other TLDs are “.in” – for India; these are country specific, “.org” – for organizations, “.biz” – for businesses, “.net” – was intended for use by companies involved in networking technology but today it’s used by many different types of businesses.
- Root Domain or Second-Level Domain (SLD) – This is the keyword that comes before the extension and is responsible for your unique identity which acts as your address on the internet. In our domain webentechnologies.com, “webenetechnologies” is the SLD. We had to get the next best SLD since “webentech.com” is not available.
- Sub Domain – Also known as third level domain. It is an easier way to create a web address under the SLD for specific or unique content with a website. It can be used to serve content for the parent website or can be used to serve a different content altogether. This is usually the case when you have a very large website and many portions to it. For example, shop.example.com, blog.example.com etc. You can leave this out for now as I mentioned it just for your knowledge.
If you’re wondering what could go wrong, imagine yourself selling hard cover books online and you decide to name your online store “ebookstore.com”. This would make people interested in buying e-books believe that you sell them and when they visit your website they’ll be disappointed. It can also happen the other way around and people interested in buying hard-cover books i.e. your actual customers and audience might think that you only sell e-books and never visit your website!
Always purchase domains from reputed sources. We personally prefer GoDaddy. Also, if you’re choosing a platform (Ex: Shopify, for e-commerce websites) that provides this service for a better price you can purchase directly from them and they will even provide you with any additional support for directly setting up your website with your domain.
If you’re having trouble deciding the perfect domain, we’ll help you find one!
Step 4: Choose A Platform and Hosting
Now it’s time to pick out a platform for creating our website. Whether you want to create a new website or rebuild an old one, it’s success depends highly on the platform of your choosing. By now, you may have done a quick Google Search and found some of the common candidates such as WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Drupal etc.
Which one do you choose?
It all depends on who you are and what you want to do. Let me explain.
On the top of the our list is WordPress which covers 33% of the market. It has it’s perks like open-source and free platform, flexibility in building a website, beginner friendly, SEO from the start, different plugins to help you achieve anything and almost everything without writing a single line of code.
Next comes Wix, with a major advantage with it’s website builder being free. But then again, it’s own blog is hosted on WordPress. That should tell you something.
For highly customised solutions or if you can’t find the time to create a website yourself, you can opt to take the hired help route by hiring developers who develop your website for you.
To quickly get you started our suggested platform is WordPress.
As great as this sounds, it’s not always the best solution for every type of web development requirement out there. But for starting out on your own, this is a very nifty and powerful tool! It also allows you to add blogs and start an e-commerce store if you require one at anytime.
The ultimate takeaway: No matter which platform you choose, you need to do you research before deciding a winner. And if you’re having a hard time deciding one, we’re always here to help.
Simply put, hosting is where your website resides physically on the internet, so that when someone enters your domain name (Ex: example.com) your domain provider redirects them to wherever your website is located on the internet and display the contents requested.
There are new providers with Hosting Service coming out everyday but we personally recommend HostGator, GoDaddy and Digital Ocean as they have simple methods for you to host and deploy your websites. They also provide with one click install for platforms like WordPress, Drupal etc. You can check out their website to know if your platform is supported.
If you’re building an e-commerce website and if you are okay with spending a little more than usual, then you can opt for a platform like Shopify as they host all their customer websites on their server and charge for it at the time of subscription.
If you can’t find a suitable hosting platform or their plans seem confusing to you, we’ll help you find the best option tailored to your needs.
BUILD AND LAUNCH!
Let’s begin by installing the platform. For brevity, we will continue with WordPress as the platform. You can also choose any other platform and they have their own website builders as explained above, and work in a similar fashion. For example, Wix and Shopify have their own builders, and they also call their ready made templates as themes, plugins are known as apps (in Shopify) and so on and so forth. Don’t worry, they provide you with a tour when you get started to ease you in.
If you have a plan from GoDaddy or HostGator, they provide the facility for one click installation. This minimizes your work as you don’t have to worry about nitty gritty details which are handled by your hosts. You only concern at this point remains for configuring your website’s settings.
Now, choose the theme that matches you or your business, your goals and the content that we have outlined in the previous steps. You can search for the themes online too, but usually all these platforms have their own theme stores from where you can preview and pick out the theme which you feel is the best suited for you.
Research for Best Practices and Current Trends in Web Design.
Yes, the research never really stops! And no, you don’t have to become a web design ninja overnight, but here are some pointers for you to keep in mind while designing your website.
- Keep it Simple – Always choose a theme or design which is easy simple to use. Visitor on your website should not get confused or find it overwhelming. May it be your homepage to your products and services page to your blog page keep it straightforward and to the point.
- Keep it Easy – Navigating your website should be easy, otherwise your visitor might not stay. Keep your main navigation menus clearly visible on all devices. Avoid having multiple menus on a single page until absolutely necessary. Instead, create sub-menus within primary menu and arrange them category wise or according to easy accessibility like alphabetically if your selling products.
- Select the colour scheme which matches your brand – Colour Scheme affects your website as much as your media and content. Pick the colours that fit your brand and identity as they help showcase your quintessence throughout. Like the Netflix example for the CTAs.
- Typography and Placement – You have all your content outlined and curated but how you present that content is also of utmost importance. So figure out from picking out the right fonts and colours to how and where a certain content will be portrayed on a page.
- Never cram your content – There is no need to cram every corner of the page with information. Format your content and media well. Space out your content on the page accordingly.
- Accessibility – Make sure your website is accessible to everyone. Even people with special abilities. Recently ADA Compliance has been in the news a lot as not all websites are compliant. Don’t make that mistake and focus on expanding your audience.
- Mobile Friendly – This goes without saying but still needs to be reminded time and again. Nearly 60% of people worldwide, access websites through mobile devices. This should be enough to make you understand the importance of a mobile friendly website.
- SEO Friendly – People often consider this as a marketing strategy. Personally, I feel this is one of the most important part to focus on from the start i.e. while creating a website. Having a good SEO from the start increases your chances to rank for your niche on search engines and thus getting more visitors. More on this in the marketing strategies.
- GDPR Compliance – General Data Protection Regulation is one of the most recent and important change brought for data privacy protection. These rules and regulations were first set by European Union in 2016, but since the global nature of internet nearly all the online services are affected. These guidelines regulate how the companies collect, manage and share personal data of users. You can read more about it here.
- Keep it Human – In the end, nothing keeps your visitors more engaged than feeling a personal connection to you and your brand. Try and engage with your audience on a personal level through your website and content. Steer away from monotonous content and create your own, let your audience see your perspective.
If you don’t have the time to learn these skills and wiggle room in your budget, you can always hire us and we’ll help you out!
This is the moment what you’ve been waiting for! Launch your website for the world to see. Pat yourself on the back — you’ve earned it!
Your website is live and most of your work related to the website is done, but you also want the people to know that you’ve launched and you are out there right? Which brings us to our next step after the launch.
MARKETING AND PROMOTION
You have successfully created your website, now it’s time to reach out to the world. Here are some techniques which are easy and affordable even if you’re just starting out.
SEO is a group of different strategies and methods employed on a website to appear in the top results on search engines.
Consider this, how many times have you searched for something on Google and have visited the 2nd page of the results looking for something? Hardly right, because the most related content to your search query is often found and displayed on the very first page and this is all done thanks to SEO. It helps search engines match your search query to contents on every web page and return results in the order of most relevant results first. Different search engines base their rankings on variety of factors and thus keep in mind the following:
- Create A Sitemap – Sitemap is basically a list of all the pages and contents of your website. Creating a sitemap allows differents search engines crawlers see and connect different pages and content on your website to present relevant information in results.
- Find your focus keywords – Think about the words or phrases people may use to find what you have to offer. Focus on your niche and use tools like Google Trends to figure out what keywords and phrases people search for while finding products or services similar to you.
- Optimize your content around your set of keywords – After figuring out the keywords, plan your content around these keywords and use them in your headings, posts and content. Make sure your content flow does not look too crammed up with these keywords. Use them to the right amount.
- Be Regular – Regularly posting new content and updating your old content has shown to improve search engine rankings.
Having done a good SEO of your website moves you up the search results. When you advertise say using Google AdWords you pay to move up those search results, but you only pay when someone clicks the advertisement and lands on your website. You can choose what you want to advertise, choose keywords to target and even add relevant images to appeal to your audience.
Oldest trick in the book. It is basically collecting and making a list of people’s email who may be your audience or prospective customer.
You can collect emails in certain ways:
- Website Forms – Keep clearly visible contact us forms for your audience and potential customers for them to be able to ask you their queries and questions. Craft a personalised response for each of these queries individually.
- Newsletters – Newsletter is another great way for you to collect email addresses. If used properly it can be quite a powerful tool in your email marketing strategy and showcase your brand. Create a newsletter and keep your audience updated on things like what you are currently working on, share news about your niche, latest offers and upcoming events.
- Offers – Entice your customer. Give your audience or customers offers like a discount or coupons for a purchase in exchange for their email address.
- Loyalty Program – If you are building a brand you can think about starting a loyalty program. You can offer them early access to your newest products or services.
Always keep your audience engaged and stay away from sending any spam or irrelevant content. Think of creative ways you can interact with your audience via emails and keep them engaged. Keep in touch with all your subscribers, new and old.
Social Media Marketing
Recently there has been a major uprise in the number of social platforms. There’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. These are the best platforms for you to target your audience. No need to dive into all at once. You can do a little research and find out where majority of your audience hangs out and select that platform. Each of these platforms have paid advertisements as well. Create a strategy that balances between paid and free marketing. Leverage your feeds and stories for free advertising and marketing or run targeted advertisements to reach your audience.
Writing blogs helps you to establish yourself or your brand as an expert. It tells your audience that you know what you’re doing and know it very well. It helps you build reputation.
So jot down some topics that you might be able to help with and start writing!
Backlinks are the links that may direct people to your website or a particular page. A page with a lot of backlinks performs better and ranks higher in the search results. Get yourself some of those by contacting influencers and brands related to your niche and ask them to endorse you.
RE-ITERATE AND IMPROVISE
At last, you’ve successfully created your website and have your strategies in motion. The steps in this guide help you get running, but not all the businesses or their websites are same.
You can keep in mind the following and always stay updated:
- Set new goals and update old ones every few weeks or months.
- Always keep your content up-to-date.
- Test different SEO parameters and strategies and keep a check as to which of these parameters work best for you and bring more traffic to your website.
- Set benchmarks at regular intervals.
- Keep re-iterating and retracing the guide and make changes wherever you feel necessary. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches and methods as it will let you know what works best for you and your business.
- Check for broken links and remove or re-link them to proper page or content.
- Keep your contact information up-to-date.
- Check and make sure the forms on your website work. Check every once in a while.
- Engage with your customers regularly, get feedback and tweak accordingly for your niche.
- Review your traffic. Use Google Analytics to provide you with insights about your website. Studying these statistics will help you plan your content which attracts more visitors to stay longer on your website.
- Always keep your website secure. For starters, keep your SSL certificates up-to-date.
This helps you to figure out where you need to improvise. As always, keep moving forward and keep building! We wish you the best for all your endeavours.
And always remember, “A website is never complete”. Keep improving, keep adding more content everyday and stay fresh!
About the Author
Full Stack Developer with a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology working in the field since 2015. He has worked at Start-ups in Bangalore and Mumbai with a dream to have his own Start-up some day. Thus the inception of Weben Tech in 2017.