How to Build a Website
You’ve made the decision. You’re going to create a website for your business, your hobby, your family and friends, to refresh your brand, or to introduce a new product line.
Whatever the motive, you’re now staring at a blank screen. Creating a website is a little bit like writing a book. You vaguely know how you want to start and where you want to end up. You just can’t figure out how to build that bridge that will get you there.
Here are six steps that will help you set a direction and get the wheels in motion.
State Your Goals
Even if you’re stating them to an audience of one, this is a critical first step. It will help you determine a budget, creative direction, structure, and story.
Is this a small business site? Will it have e-commerce functionality, or is it more like the old-fashioned tri-fold leave-behind brochure? Have you figured out how to get a return on investment from your site, or will it be just a few web pages because it’s expected that have a site?
What do you want your target audience to do here? Buy products? Get motivated and ask to meet with you? Or just have something to remember you by after you’ve met them?
Is this website a hobby more than a business venture? That will determine your investment level of both time and capital.
Choose Your Canvas
Your canvas is the company on whose platform you can build your website. Today, many website-building services offer easy templates, including Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace. You can also hire your own web designer or company for a more high-end look and more ambitious goals.
Once that decision is made, you also need to figure out which company will host your site on their servers when you’re ready to launch. In other words, where your finished canvas will be stored. Companies specializing in web hosting include Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Bluehost, HostGator, and Squarespace.
Recruit Your Team
You need a lot of capabilities to craft an effective website. This can include a writer, graphic designer, web designer, web developer, photographers, videographers, and more. Not that every website creation will require that entire creative team, but many of those functions will be necessary.
You might have discovered that you know just enough to do it all yourself, in which case your creative team is...you. Maybe you really are a Renaissance person who does have all of those talents and capabilities. But if you do it all just good enough to sort of, get by, it will show.
You’re better off if you at least hire some experts in areas where you are weakest. You’re likely to end up with a much more professional-looking website if you get top talent where you need it most.
Craft Your Story
That’s all a website really is—a non-linear story. Maybe it’s the story of how you developed the industry’s most innovative and environmentally conscious drain opener. Or how your daughter is leading the fifth generation of your family’s Christmas tree farm. Maybe it’s just about how you came to love collecting minor league ballpark memorabilia.
Whatever your story, you’ll sit down and map it out. Use your sitemap to plot all of the critical “plot points” in your story. What should be included to tell that story succinctly and comprehensively?
In the case of the green drain opener, you’re going to want to explain how competing products are harsh on pipes and bad for the environment. You’ll want to explain how you came upon the solution. You’re a plumber by trade who was forced to use a whole lot of bad products because there was nothing better on the market. So you started experimenting …
Build your non-linear story in such a way that the reader wants to click from page to page. This might require putting a professional writer on your team to tell that story in a way that will fully engage site visitors.
Attract Your Audience
You’d probably call this job one. But before you can attract interest, you’ve got to get your target audience to your site. That means creating a digital property with content that’s optimized to be picked up and ranked as high as possible by search engines like Google.
Again, this is the job of the writer—to include keywords selected to match the words and phrases search engine users are likely to enter to try to find a site like yours.
Your web pages should be visually appealing to keep your audience with you once they’ve found you. This can be done using short paragraphs and breaking copy up with photos and subheads. Don’t intimidate readers with long copy blocks and endless scrolling. Arrange your story so that it can be subdivided onto pages that don’t look impossible to read.
Launch Your Baby
You did it. Your website is up and (hopefully) functioning as it’s supposed to. But your job is hardly over. It’s just beginning, really. You’ll now want to regularly check traffic to your site and see what’s working and what’s not.
There are all kinds of free digital apps to help you in this regard, including Google Analytics, Amazon’s Alexa, SEMRush, Sitechecker, UberSuggest, and others.
Change written content and SEO keywords often, and constantly refresh and update your site so that it looks well-cared-for and worthy of repeat visits.
If you find yourself in the market for buying or selling domain names, reach out to us at Aftermarket.com. We can help you find and appraise domain names, contact site owners, and negotiate deals at the best possible price.
Drop us a line here or send an email to email@example.com. You’ll find us to be knowledgeable, highly responsive and a great partner to work with.