Just a few years ago, creating a website was a slow, long, and costly process. Even the most basic websites could take weeks to go live.
Thankfully, things have improved.
Today, you can build a beautiful, modern, and feature-rich website for your business in a fraction of the time. The cost is even lower now as compared to the past.
What hasn’t changed though, is the importance of carefully planning every aspect of your website before you start developing it.
In this post, I’m going to share the exact steps in creating a website. Ideally, this guide should make sure that your website comes out exactly as you want.
1. Have a Clear Objective for Creating Your Website
What do you want to achieve with your site?
Do you only want a corporate website that serves as a customer touchpoint?
Or are you looking to create a site where you can actively engage with your prospects? Or are you simply creating one to publish new content, grow your subscriber base, and sell your products and services?
The answer to this question will determine the features and the resources required to create your site. But more importantly, it will determine your site’s role in the broader context of your marketing and branding strategy.
Therefore, write down all the expectations you have from your website and the things you want to achieve with it.
2. Understand the Needs of Your Audience
You’re creating a website so that your existing and potential customers can use it to connect and engage with you.
But do you even know what they want from your site?
Understanding the problems and the needs of your target audience is crucial in creating a successful website. For this, you need to conduct market research and find out what your target audience wants from you.
For example, if they’re looking to purchase products online, you’d have to create a website with eCommerce features.
If they want to see video tutorials and read new content about your products and services, then create a blog!
In short, you cannot create an effective website unless you completely understand what your target audience wants from it.
3. Choose the Right Platform to Build Your Site
Websites can be created using different platforms, languages, and technologies. You can either go for a custom developed site or use a Content Management System (CMS).
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It powers more than 27% of the web and commands a whopping 76.4% CMS market share.
There are other CMS software like Joomla, Blogger, Drupal, Squarespace, Wix and many others. All of them have their pros and cons which is why you need to carefully select the platform that fits your business needs.
4. Create a High Level Website Structure
Before the development phase, you need to create a high-level structure of your website. Determine the number of pages on your site, how they’ll interlink with each other, and the hierarchy they’ll follow. Study the role they’ll play in the overall user experience of your site.
Most corporate websites use the following pages.
– About the Company
– The Team
– Shop (in eCommerce sites)
– Company Blog
– Contact Page
However, there’s no standard formula for the number of pages on a site. It all depends on the objectives of your brand.
5. Develop Your Site’s Brand Assets
Your website’s design should clearly reflect all the core elements of your brand.
This includes a recognizable logo, a memorable punchline that summarizes your core offer, your brand’s color theme. Your branding voice and visual elements should also run consistently across all pages.
Don’t underestimate this part because it has a huge impact on how your site is perceived by your audience. To give you an idea, here’s a demonstration of the emotions that different colors evoke in your audience. It only shows how the world’s leading brands have used them.
It’s best to hire a professional designer to help you find the ideal colors that truly represent your brand.
It’s a time-consuming exercise but has a long-term impact on your business.
6. Write Compelling Copy for Your Key Pages
The quality of your site’s written content largely determines whether people stay and explore your services or bounce back immediately.
Research shows that Home and About is the most frequently visited pages of most websites. Therefore pay special attention to the words you choose to describe your company and your services on these pages.
To create compelling copy, always think from your customer’s perspective. Answer their biggest questions and clearly tell them what they should do to solve their problems. You can do so by using a clear Call to Action.
HubSpot’s homepage is a really good example to follow.
The moment you land on this page, it immediately tells you what it can do for you (the main heading). In addition, it also states what it requires from you (the call to action button).
This leaves no room for confusion and results in a high conversion rate.
7. Chalk Out a Content Marketing Plan for your Site
Content marketing is a strategy used to attract clients and leads. Most brands do so by publishing useful, actionable, and high-value content that answers the questions of your audience.
This helps you build a rapport with your prospects as a result. Moreover, they eventually trust your advice and prefer buying from you.
Research shows that sites with good content marketing generate 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than a static website.
You need to consider your site’s content marketing plan during the development stage because it requires several fundamental changes. For example, if you want to actively pursue content marketing, you’d need to have a blog on your site.
Similarly, you’d have to include other engagement tools such as social sharing widgets and, moderate the comments on your site.
All of this requires prior planning.
8. Test Device Compatibility and Optimize Performance
According to a recent study, more than 50% of the global internet traffic now originates from mobile devices.
This is why your website needs to be compatible with smartphones, tablets, mobile phones, and desktop devices.
You can use Google Mobile-Friendly Test to see if your site is compatible across different screen dimensions.
Similarly, you need to optimize your site’s performance. Find ways to make it load quickly and do not make users wait for the elements to load. For this, you can use the Google Page Speed tool to see where your site stands.
Are You Ready To Launch Your Website?
I have summarized the key steps involved in creating a website. There’s a lot of technical detail in each of these points that I’ve intentionally skipped. As a business owner, you should not get caught in the technicalities of your website, leave that to the experts. Your job is to ensure that your site’s direction is aligned with your core business objectives. Make sure that this has everything that your customers expect from it.
Need advice on how to make your site more user-friendly? Get in touch now.