With a working website, you have a way to reach a broad online audience. This gives you not only the opportunity to communicate about your brand, products and services. But it can also give you the possibility to have an online store or a way to collect bookings automatically. The options are virtually limitless these days!
Creating a website is not as easy as you might think and it is best to leave the technical parts to the experts. In that way you can focus on the most important part of your online platform - Content. Content is still king and you will need lots of it to communicate your message to your preferred audience.
But we know that you can't just let go of the creation of your most important asset. So we created a list of things you definitely need, should think about and definitely consider for your website.
By the end of this article you will know the ins and outs of website creating and your new knowledge will make it easier for you to communicate with the webdesign agency of your choice.
Determine your goal
Before starting your website design process, you need to be crystal clear on what you want to achieve from the whole process. There are different types of website that serve different purposes, such as:
A company website with broad business information.
An online store to help you sell your products or services.
A portfolio to illustrate your art or expertise in a particular field.
A landing page to promote a marketing campaign.
A blog to share your knowledge in a particular field.
An event website to display various events, such as weddings, parties, and company events.
Every website should have one main goal. But it does not mean that it has to be the only goal. For instance, an online store can also have a blog to describe and market its products.
Determine the layout
The first impression that the visitors get when they land on your website is essential in retaining them before they increase your bounce rate. A great visual appeal of your website is crucial in improving the user experience.
To design the perfect layout for your website, note down all the features that you need to incorporate on your website. You may also get inspiration from other sites to design the perfect layout that integrates all the components on your website with compromising on the accessibility of each feature.
Get your domain name
Your domain name is your address on the internet that the visitors see on their browser after the 'www.' Registering a unique and a personal domain name is essential in designing a practical website. A website that has an original domain name is more trustworthy, and it is a crucial part in your website SEO strategy. Many startups look for an available domain name first before deciding on the name of their new company.
Consider these tips when choosing your website domain:
The longer the domain name, the higher the chances for your visitors to misspell it.
Avoid difficult words, special characters and numbers that may complicate your domain name.
Your domain name should incorporate your brand name to avoid confusion.
Put a hint of what you do in your domain name
If your preferred domain name is already taken, try to see if a slightly different variation of your target domain name is still available.
Create a draft overview of the structure of your website. Also called a wireframe. Use this to visual overview see which pages you would like to create and how you would like to link them to each other.
When you are creating your website content, remember to put quality over quantity. Ensure that all the content you create is in line with your brand guidelines. All the features should represent who you are. Your colors, the logo, images, videos, and the text should be build based upon your brand identity. Remember to link all the pages and link them back to the homepage to improve the website navigation process.
Integrate the right pages
Although every website is unique, there are some website pages that are a must have. Here is a list of the pages that each site should think about:
The homepage is essential to improve the first impression of your website. The homepage is the door to your website and the first feature that a visitor usually sees when they land on your site. As such, your homepage should be clean and organized with an easy to read layout. Therefore, integrate only the most crucial details on your homepage, such as the logo, slogan, homepage menu, and a prompt button.
Make sure that these details appear on top of the homepage so that they can be visible to all the visitors. Lighten up this page with your company visuals and give them a short look into other sections of the website like your product overview or blog.
Product service page:
This is the page that contains the products or services that you have to offer. It is from this page that your customers will get convinced to purchase a certain product or subscribe to a particular service. It is necessary to add high-quality features to this page to describe and illustrate your products as precisely as possible. Also, be clear about relevant topics such as the shipping process, return policy, warranty, etc.
The About page is essential in describing who you are. It's this page that you use to tell your story, background, inspiration, your business values, and any other relevant information that helps to describe who you are.
The contact page contains your contact details, such as your phone number, email, postal address, and social media links. It's essential to moderate the information on the contact section to make it visually clean. You can also add a contact form so visitors can quickly ask you a question.
Adding a blog section to your website is essential to boost the amount of traffic to your website. It is also a necessary tool for your SEO strategy. Through a blog post, you will be able to fully describe your products, share inspiring stories,and you can showcase your expertise in a particular area through your blog articles.
After a worthwhile customer experience, most customers will recommend the product to their family and friends. Include a testimonial section where you can showcase happy client stories about you and your brand.
Boost the user experience
When creating a website, it is significant to assess its usability to improve the user experience. It is obvious that you need to design the website with your customers in mind. So make sure that your visitors can use your website intuitively. Consider the following ideas to improve the user experience on your site:
Layout: Create an easy to absorb layout of your pages. Choose the main topic of the page and stick to it. Implement as little distractions as possible.
Colors: A great color palette will go a long way in improving the visual appeal of your website. When you apply a consistent choice of colors you will make your website more memorable and identifiable by your visitors.
CTAs. The call-to-action buttons guide your visitors into doing what you want them to do. These may include buttons, such as 'Login,' 'Buy Me,' 'Subscribe,' 'Register,' etc. Make sure that the CTAs are clear enough to capture the attention of the customers.
Fonts: Apart from creating quality content, it's essential to make the content as readable as possible. Therefore, pick the fonts that are easy to read on both a desktop device and a smartphone. Besides, ensure that the fonts align with your brand identity. To avoid visual distraction, stick to maximum three fonts per page.
Menu: The top menu of your website is crucial in ensuring that the visitors can navigate from one section to another easily. The menu should appear on every page on your website. You can go for a fixed menu that stays put as the customer scrolls through the different pages of your website. You will improve the user experience by ensuring that the visitor does not have to go all the way up to access the menu. For a mobile device website, remember to keep the number of the categories to a minimum to avoid overloading the small device screen.
Graphical elements: The non-sticky elements on your website are excellent in improving the user experience. They include animations, videos, and graphic illustrations. It is important to keep these features to a moderate number to avoid slowing down the performance of your website.
The scroll effects: These effects appear as the customers scroll up or down the page. Scroll effects create a beautiful sophisticated look with great transitions that draw the attention of the customers. For instance, Parallax scrolling is a modern 3D web design scrolling trend that helps to create seamless transitions across your website pages. Other scrolling effects include reveal and zoom-in.
White space: the white spaces are the areas on your website that do not contain anything. In modern web design trends, larger white spaces are preferred as they create a feeling of breathing spaces between the features on your website, such as the images and the content.
Optimize for the Google search engine
Getting your website to rank higher on the Google search engine is your next big mission. The Google search bots use a lot of algorithms to determine the ranking of the pages on the Google search results page. The quality of your content, the competitiveness of your business, backlinks, and the quality of keywords, among other factors, contribute to the SEO of your website. Getting a higher Google ranking is an activity that requires time, patience, and persistence.
Fortunately, there are some steps that you could take to improve your SEO:
Keywords: To create the right keywords, ask yourself about the words or phrases that a potential customer will put on the Google search bar to get to your website, or a similar site. Then, pick the main keyword together with some secondary words, and put them in strategic locations on your website. You can add the keywords to the titles, meta descriptions, homepage, image alt texts, etc. However, do not overuse the keywords because Google penalizes keyword stuffing.
On-page SEO: This concept implies telling the Google search engine what each page on your website is all about. Pay attention to your META data. Do not overlook these features because they play a significant role in helping your website to be ranked higher by Google.
Hierarchy: The Google bots prefer well-structured pages. Therefore, put the most important features and content first. Then, build your text and description around definite headers. Apart from improving the SEO, structuring the content and using headers will enhance the user experience.
Local SEO: Localization is another web design trend that is essential to improve the local search engine optimization for your website. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, you will want your business website to rank higher for people that search for your services and products in your area. You need to register to Google my Business for a higher chance to be found by Google maps.
Image alt text: the Google search bots know everything about anything, but they cannot actually see your images. So you need to add some clear descriptions to your images to help the Google bots to read the content and context of your images. The image alt text is not visible to the visitors, but they are essential in improving your website SEO.
Internal linking: create a better connection between your pages to improve the website navigation process. Add relevant links on each page, to invite the customers to browse on and discover more relevant content on your website.
Add some professional tools that you need
In the 21st century, the internet is one of the best market places for your business. Research has it that in 2018 more than 1.8 million people purchased goods online. As such, your website should have the tools necessary to provide a smooth business process.
Bookings: If you offer services to people let them book in a convenient way through an online booking tool. Most people are hesitant to pick up the phone and call to see if a certain time slot is available. Avoid friction and let them book (and pay) instantly.
eCommerce: Sell your products, even when your stores are closed. Or even better, start selling without the need to open a physical store. Selling online has never been easier and it is a growing success as more and more people get used to it.
Hotel reservation: A hotel website should incorporate key features to help you to manage your reservations and help the visitors to book in their preferred language. Also, you should be able to send hotel reservation confirmation emails and take payments online.
Music: If you are a band and need a music website which has more capabilities than a portfolio website. You should integrate the right music tools to help you expand your audience and to sell your music online. Have a calendar to plan gigs and a subscribing tool so you can keep fans up to date of new releases and gigs.
Photography: Photographs can be tricky online. You don't want to upload a huge file as it will load slow and slowdown your whole website. But you can't make them too small as they will look pixelated and don't show your products in the best way possible.
But what if I told you that we can let you upload files up to 15mb and make sure that they are hosted on a server which preloads them to the right size of the devices that you are viewing them on. Always the right quality, from a mobile phone to a computer or a 4k TV without compromising the speed of your website or your image quality.
Improve accessibility: It is essential to make your website accessible to everyone. If your business is based in different countries or locations, you need customers in all those regions to get the same services. If you need to venture into new markets, you will be expecting that the people from the different areas might not be speaking the same language, so you need to create a multi-lingual website to offer the customers the content in their language. This factor is essential in improving the user experience. As such, you need to add a tool that can help you translate your content seamlessly.
Connect with your customers
Engaging with your website visitors is essential to improve the user experience. Today, customers want to engage with you actively.
A live chat can be essential to provide fast customer support and to help undecided customers find their way into buying a particular product.
To help get the highest conversion rate from your social media platforms, you need to have the best social media content ideas and the right tools to design social media graphics. And you need to connect your website to your social media accounts. You could add social media icons in the footer of your site so they are displayed on every page.
Email marketing is still a significant way of driving more traffic to your website. Send a newsletter to inform your customers about your latest sales, promote blog articles, celebrate some discounts and achievements.
You may place a subscribe button on your homepage, contact page or in the footer to invite your visitors to subscribe.
Optimize for mobile
Modern website trends are focusing on mobile phone optimization. Today, the majority of internet traffic comes from mobile devices. So it is essential to optimize your site for the smartphone device. When creating a mobile-friendly website, you need to consider witch features you want to display on your homepage and keep them to a minimum to avoid long scrolls for your audience. Note that Google is prioritizing mobile phone efficiency when ranking your website on the Google search engine.
Review your content
It is essential to let someone double check your website content. Your website has to be flawless, with all the features functioning as required. Someone who happily will test all features, can give constructive feedback on the content and is able to spot spelling errors
When reviewing your website, remember to check the following:
Triple check your content for spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Check if the navigation process is easy and intuitive. Will people easily find their way to certain pages that are a bit more hidden. People need information instantly, so if they can't find the information they are looking for in a few clicks they might leave without ever coming back.
Mobile version optimization:
Check the efficiency of the mobile version. It is best to review the website from a few different devices.
Check if all the links are working. Ensure that the pages do not return a 404 error, Design your links to open in a new tab to prevent your customers from leaving the current page or your website.
Check if all the SEO elements are implemented correctly, such as the alt texts, page descriptions, and meta titles.
Publish your website
When you believe that everything is working correctly, It is time to publish your website.
Connect your website to website tracking tools to assess the performance. Google Analytics is an essential tool to know the number of visitors who visit your website, how long they stayed, and their general behavior on the site.
The Google search console is essential in understanding how your website is ranking on the Google search engine. Here, you will get all the final details about the traffic to your website, including the keywords you could benefit from.
Heatmap tools are also crucial in showing you exactly which section of your pages, your visitors are clicking. These features will help you to fine tune your site and features correctly.
Alright now you are fully up to speed and ready to get your website project started!
We are sure that this step by step guide to create a professional website will help you in your online journey. Do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any additional questions.