A website is a necessity for almost every business today. However, a blind foray into the realm of site creation won’t do you any good. This short guide has five concrete steps to plan and build a website or have one made for you.
1. Turn Your Purpose Into A Mission
Obviously, you want to start with a purpose for your site. Why do you want one? Common purposes include attracting traffic, showcasing products, sharing knowledge, entertaining visitors, or advertising your business.
Those are all perfectly valid reasons to have a website, but they aren’t specific enough. You need to turn your purpose into a mission. The mission is the real reason why you want a site.
For example, your broad purpose could be showcasing your products, but your real goal would be selling them. Sharing knowledge could translate to building authority and eventually being paid to speak on the subjects you have expertise in. Entertaining visitors to the site can mean building a base of subscribers, and so on.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
Doing research is the only real way to find out who your audience is. To do this, you could interview your customers or ideal buyers, look at feedback online, send out surveys, check website statistics or business data, and so on.
You already have a clientele? Get to know those people. Interview previous customers or readers in person.
Interview your perfect buyers – the people you want to buy from you. Ideally, this should also have a personal touch.
You can gather feedback by sending out short surveys to previous customers and email subscribers.
If in-person interviews are impossible, visit forums and read feedback. Browse hashtags that are relevant to your niche or industry. Engaging in social listening can be very helpful.
Check the business data available to you. This is information about your services or products and how buyers engage with them. It will help to know what and when you sell, the frequency of purchases, and related data.
Finally, check website stats. Google Analytics monitors website traffic to provide insights into customer behavior.
3. Choose A Domain And Web Hosting
If the website is the building you live in, the hosting platform for your website is the plot of land it’s on. The domain is the street address.
You can buy a domain together with hosting or get them separately. The first approach is more typical.
4. Develop Your Unique Selling Proposition
Your unique selling proposition makes your offerings different from those of your competitors. Consider your services, products, or brand. Apart from considering how they differ, think about why the difference matters to customers. How would they benefit from choosing you over the competition?
This part will take a while. Don’t rush through it. Think about what your customers place value on and how you assist them in obtaining it. Consider what issues they have and how you can solve them. Differentiating your brand from your competitors is key here.
Don’t forget that unique selling propositions aren’t specific to service providers or eCommerce sites. Information is also a product. The above considerations are valid for bloggers too.
5. Integrate The Right Design Principles
Web design is a delicate thing at the intersection of art and science. It’s essential to keep a balanced website design and make sure it doesn’t veer toward one side or the other.
Grids can help in this respect. They help “compartmentalize” the design like columns improve the readability of a text file. This makes content easier to scan.
Specific design rules account for why the size of the main content area is about the same as its width divided by phi in math, or 1.62, and why sidebars tend to be about a third of the page width. The website’s base colors should be at most three. They should be part of the same color palette.
You can’t choose colors blindly. Not all colors go well together. A lot is about intuition, gut feeling, and common sense, but there is no shortage of theories on colors. If all of this feels overwhelming, it might be best to approach a professional web designer.