Being present on social media is great for your brand’s marketing. You can display your products, ideas, and all your values through different visuals and messaging. Even more, you can also interact with your audience easily. However, there is a catch. Twitter and TikTok can ban you, and your Facebook and Instagram profiles can be deleted. That is the number one reason why you should build an app and a professional website for your brand. Building A Great Website can serve many purposes at once, including marketing, selling goods or services, showcasing abilities, connecting people, and driving brand awareness. It’s like having a unique launchpad from which you can blast off your business into the digital universe and conquer the market. And it is something no one can take away from you (except when you don’t pay for your domain on time).
Building A Great Website
Although building a website can seem like an intimidating task, there are several ways you can approach it, and all of them are pretty easy. This guide will walk you through seven simple but crucial steps you must take.
1. Create a Brand Strategy- Building A Great Website
The first thing you need is an outlined, consistent strategy that will be implemented throughout your online presence. Think of your website as a book cover—what do they usually look like? They frequently foreshadow what is to come. The cover itself is designed in a way that resembles the spirit of the story, while the loglines (a one-sentence synopsis) and reviews speak about its tone of voice.
You can approach the brand strategy in a very similar way. You should aim for five objectives:
- Determine your target audience– Who are these people? What kind of demographic do they belong to? What do they identify with? What are the values they nourish? How is your website going to help them?
- Conduct market research- When starting, find inspiration through your competitors. Try figuring out what makes you feel certain ways about their websites. Is it the design that makes you tingle, or is it the content they provide? By figuring out their strengths and weaknesses, you can implement that knowledge into your own strategy.
- Define your objectives- What is the main purpose of your website? Are you going to sell products, or you’re going to use them as a personal portfolio? Based on its purpose, your website should be designed accordingly, so invest a good amount of time in defining the goals you want to achieve with it.
- Construct your brand identity- It is all about your mission and vision. Every brand has its own personality that is resembled by the values it hones. This personality also has its recognizable color scheme, the language they speak, as well as an overall style.
- Get your branding materials in order- This is where the fun begins. From developing a logo to creating stunning visuals, and slogans, everything your brand “wears” should be prepared before the launch of your website.
2. Get Web Hosting and a Domain Name
To put it simply, a web host is a service that enables the distribution and accessibility of one’s website through the World Wide Web. It’s similar to renting a piece of web real estate from which to share content.
There are different types of hosting, depending on your needs:
1. Shared Hosting- Building A Great Website
This is a perfect starting point, as it’s the cheapest option on the market. If you go for a shared host, your website will be hosted on the same server as many others. The downside of shared hosting is that your website could be slower than others as you are sharing the digital space with different brands.
2. VPS Hosting- Building A Great Website
VPS hosts allow users to have their own isolated sections of a larger physical server. This means that your website is in your hands and can be tailored to your requirements..Compared to shared hosting, it is more expensive but it is also faster and gives you more freedom. Websites that already have a substantial following and are seeing audience growth would greatly benefit from this.
3. Dedicated Hosting- Building A Great Website
If your website is super big or if you require full access to the server, dedicated hosting is the way to go. Using a dedicated host means you won’t be sharing the server resources with anyone else. This is the best option for large corporate or eCommerce websites that have surpassed VPS or another kind of hosting, but it is also the most expensive.
There are so many different companies that offer you hosting services, but the one you choose should be in line with your budget, expectations, and goals.
3. Choosing the Domain Name
Just like your house or apartment has an address, your website has its own domain name that lands users on your homepage. That “brndle.com” is inside your browser bar—that’s our domain.
The most important thing to know about the domain name is that it should be memorable. Therefore, aim for a short name with a familiar extension. People are familiar with the a.com extension because it is used by some of the most popular websites, such as YouTube and Instagram. However, if you want to stand out and be easier to remember, you can select from the 500+ domain extensions available on the market.
Once you have your branding strategy, domain, and hosting, it’s time to start building!
4. Building a Website- Building A Great Website
Website design, or building, represents the process of crafting a user-friendly layout that resembles your brand. Professional web developers usually start with a blank website template, but you don’t need to. Most websites nowadays are created with WordPress, and if you like some of your competitors’ web pages, you can do a WordPress theme check and see what kind of template they used to build them.
With templates, you can skip the often-happening creative block and start with a structure that’s already been made. There are a plethora of professionally designed website themes, styles, and forms to choose from. No matter what kind of website you’re hoping to build—personal, commercial, etc.—you should start with a good template. The best choice will be one that fits your specific needs and is in line with your business goals as a whole.
5. Don’t Shy Away From Customization
All templates are customizable, and you should take that into consideration. Designing a website is about more than just picking out some pretty colors and pictures to put up. Multiple media components can be incorporated to improve the visual appeal. For more motion and depth in your website design, try including background videos or animation.
Keep in mind that if your website is image-heavy, stick to lightweight file formats such as PNG, JPEG, and GIF, as they will appear in the best quality and won’t affect the speed of your site like other ones.
6. Choosing a Content Management System (CMS)
Building a website without any coding knowledge would be impossible if there were no content management systems. It gives you an easy-to-use interface for making, managing, changing, and distributing all digital content. As an alternative to coding, you can alter the look and feel of your site by downloading and using premade themes and plug-ins.
There are many different CMS on the market, but some of the most popular and user-friendly are:
- WordPress – ideal for freelancers and small businesses; highly customizable with thousands of templates and plug-ins (as well as tutorials on how to make a website).
- Wix – not “purely” a CMS, but offers an extremely intuitive drag-and-drop system that involves almost no previous web development knowledge, with a built-in CMS.
- Ghost – great for bloggers; lightweight, intuitive, and simple to manage.
- Webflow – perfect for designers and agencies; a “visual” CMS, requires a bit of HTML, CSS, and web design knowledge.
Those three are the most affordable ones for starting out, but as your business grows bigger, there are different options with more possibilities (that require more technical knowledge and professional help) like Drupal, Joomla, or even Sitecore.
7. Creating a User Experience- Building A Great Website
Your website needs to be visually appealing to attract new customers, but it also needs to offer a satisfying experience for existing ones so that they stay on your site. Even if your website looks nice, you won’t get the results you want if it doesn’t work well. Sometimes it is best to get a fresh pair of eyes on the project, such as qa outsourcing, to help you avoid all the possible flaws. There are several key points to a good user experience that you would want to achieve.
Intuitive Structure- Building A Great Website
The architecture of your site should be clear, understandable, and have a clear navigational flow. Anyone who visits it should be able to navigate through the menus, subpages, and internal links without having to figure out how to do so.
Good Layout- Building A Great Website
Hierarchy is one of the seven rules of design, so it’s important to pay close attention to it. You want to guide visitors through your site in a way that makes the most sense to you. Highlight the elements of your website’s layout that are most crucial.
You can demonstrate this hierarchy in your design by making the most crucial elements stand out (e.g., by making them larger, bolder, or more front and center). If you want people to sign up for your newsletter, for instance, you should make the “Subscribe” button easy to find. Clear CTA (call-to-action) buttons, just like the “Subscribe” one, are a great way to help people navigate through your site.
Readability- Building A Great Website
If the layout is good but no one can read the text on your pages, you’re doing it wrong. For any type of typography to work, it needs to follow the basic rule of readability. Use legible fonts in readable sizes, choose text colors that stand out against their backgrounds, and give your writing plenty of breathing room by including appropriate amounts of spacing.
8. Search Engine Optimization- Building A Great Website
Making your website visible on search engines (like Google, Yahoo, or Bing) and ranking it high on result pages is crucial. This is one of the best ways to increase organic traffic to your site with little to no expenses. Befriending all online algorithms is a science of its own, but we will mention some of the basic principles you can follow.
1. Keyword Selection
Put yourself in the position of a potential website user you would like to target. What kind of information are they searching for online? What solutions do they require? What kind of questions do they have? This is the way of thinking you should have when researching and selecting keywords for most of your web pages.
All of the text you include, whether it’s in the contact or about sections, the header or footer, or practically anything else, should be written with SEO in mind. Especially when you start publishing content on your blog, you can follow some basic principles of SEO content writing that will help you increase the health of your website and position it as a reliable source of information.
2. Meta Tags
This one is not about Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram; it’s about the text that search engines read, called metadata. HTML code, which every site has, includes meta tags. They improve your site’s readability for search engines. In turn, that affects how your website ranks in related search results. Meta tags also tell browsers how to load your site based on the information they contain. Basically, they can fix your website so that it looks good on mobile devices as well as desktop ones.
3. Link Building
When other sites link to yours, it generally helps your search engine rankings. Your first steps should be to add your business website to online directories, set up links from your social media profiles to your site, and make it easy for people to share your content. Therefore, links to your business will be read as reliable sources of information by the search engine, thus making the website itself rank better.
Important note: Working on SEO isn’t done once the website development is done. It is an ever-going process that needs to be revisited regularly in order to achieve sustainable results.
6. Mobile Optimization- Building A Great Website
According to Statista, over 50% of global web traffic is done via mobile, so optimizing your website for it is important to keep everyone engaged. And it doesn’t only matter to users; Google introduced mobile-first indexing, pushing forward sites that have engaging mobile versions.
This means that your website’s layout and design should be made with smartphones in mind. Some web-building platforms, such as Wix, offer built-in mobile editors that make the optimization process easier. The most important part of this process is keeping your site readable, with functional navigation, and with proper text sizing across all mobile devices.
7. Create a Content Strategy and Start Publishing
As soon as your professional website goes live, you’ll find that the biggest challenge is to keep new visitors interested and retain the ones you already have. One way to get ready for this is to craft a content marketing strategy, which lays out the steps to take in creating, publishing, and promoting content with the goal of increasing brand loyalty and trust.
A simple content marketing strategy can include the following:
- Blog Posts: You can increase your reader base and, by extension, your product’s customer base if you write about a wide range of topics; write tutorials, how-to guides, tips for best [insert subject/problem], and personal stories, all relevant to your business. Just remember to keep it SEO-friendly and promote it on your social media!
- Newsletters: Keep your users updated on any new content, promotions, or loyalty programs you may offer; anything enticing enough that makes them click that CTA is great.
- Photo Galleries: Upload photos of your products or any other relevant visuals that have “alt text”, a short line explaining to search engines what the image is.
- In order to keep your website up and running, do some routine check-ups:
- See if any of the links you provided are broken;
- Update your contact information when you make any important changes;
- Keep an eye out for any SEO trends and updates that can help you keep the site healthy.
Conclusion on Building A Great Website
And that’s about it! If you follow all seven of these steps, you will be able to build your first professional website with almost no expenses and a bunch of new knowledge. And you know what? Just like a website, knowledge is something no one can take away from you.