How to Design a Website: A Guide to Getting Started
Only 64 percent of small businesses have a website. Do you have a website? Are you looking to create a website but don’t know where to start?
Creating the right website is vital. About 94 percent of consumers say your website must be easy to navigate. This means you should listen to your customers as you design your website.
Keep reading to learn how to design a website.
Set Your Goal
Before you start designing your website and choosing a theme, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve. What are your goals?
Do you want to:
- Sell products online
- Create a business site to grow and manage your business
- Create a portfolio for your art
- Design a blog to showcase your knowledge
- Market your restaurant, share menus, and gather reservations
Once you have your goals in place, now it’s time to start designing your site. Keeping your goals in mind will help you create the right design.
Choose the Right Website Builder
Now, you need to find the right website builder. You need to find one that matches your needs. Website builders allow anyone can build a site no matter their technical skill.
Website builders handle the technical jargon and you can focus on the content and design. Some website builders, like Wix, offer temples, while others offer drag-and-drop interfaces making it similar to creating a PowerPoint presentation.
You will have to find a plan for hosting your site that meets your budget. You can also work with a design agency that will handle all these details for you making life much easier. Discover more here on hiring the right design agency.
Find the Best Domain Name
The most important decision is choosing your domain. It’s your site’s address and how customers remember your site. You will have to figure out what names are taken, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t find the best domain for your company or brand.
When choosing a domain, you want to consider the following:
- Must be easy to spell and say so customers can remember and also share
- Go with .com, .org, or.net because these are tried and true and what people remember
- Keep it short and sweet and stick to under 14 characters
- Use your name
- Avoid hyphens and numbers because it is harder to remember
Try to come up with at least five to 10 potential and then see what domain names are available by using a Domain Checker.
Choose the Perfect Design
Now it’s time to start thinking about the design. If you want it to be successful, you don’t want to just copy your competitor’s designs. So you can start by analyzing and studying successful websites in your business to figure out what works.
As you look at these sites, take look at the color scheme, fonts, and layout. You can’t copy that but you can get some ideas for your website.
Some website builders already have templates to help you with picking a font. You don’t want more than two different types of fonts. Make sure the font is easy to read—you don’t need it to be fancy.
For your photos, you should watch the size because it can slow down the website’s loading speed. You should also use photos of people to connect with emotions.
For templates, the menus are very important. This is how you create the navigation for your website. You can choose to have the menu at the top, bottom, or sidebar.
You can also use different widget tools. These are tools like search bars, archives, and calendars. Widgets are helpful depending on the purpose of your website.
Now, you need to work on the content for your site. If you are using a template, you still need to fill in the information for your company. Your site should definitely have these pages:
- Home page
- Contact page
- About page
When deciding what content to add, consider what information is the most helpful to your visitors. For example, if you are having a blog on your website, you can highlight your blog on your homepage.
Then you need to decide what other pages you need on top of these pages. If you are selling products, divide them by category. If you are selling services, be sure to list your services and possibly a page for each service.
Be careful about links. You don’t want to pull your visitor’s attention away from your site. Don’t place links to places or sites where visitors could get lost (i.e. Pinterest or Facebook).
As you start writing content for your site, you want to work on your search results. Organic traffic from search engines is a result of search engine optimization (SEO). You want your site to be toward the top of a person’s search.
To do this, research terms for your industry and business. Make sure you use these terms organically, and whatever you do, do not overuse these terms. This is known as keyword stuffing and sites like Google will penalize you in the search results.
Don’t forget your call to action! This is what you want your visitors to do—schedule an appointment, buy your products, or visit your blog.
Preview and Test Your Website
After you fill in all your information, you are probably excited to publish your website and share it. Take a step back because you want to make sure it’s ready.
Be sure to look at things like:
- Spelling and grammar
- Buttons and menu operations
- Formatting for consistency
- Load time (is it quick)
- Mobile phone views (does it work for mobile devices)
Most of all, does your website fulfill its purpose? You want to put your best product forward, so send it to friends and family for their review as well. You want people that will provide honest opinions before your website goes live.
That’s How to Design a Website
Now that you know the basics of how to design a website, you can get ready to launch your site. Make sure you find the right website builder or contact a professional web design agency. Take your time and test your website before it goes live!
Looking for more advice on your website or any other technical advice? Check out our Technology section today!