The steps for creating a website are as follows:
1.Define Your Site’s Purpose & Strategy
It sounds like such a simple point to make, but before you jump head-first into designing your website, you first need to be clear on its purpose.
Beyond simply knowing your industry and defining a content strategy, you need to think about what your USP (unique selling point) is, and how you want to come across.
People aren’t stupid. If you put yourself out there just to make a profit or raise your own profile, people will see through it. Your website’s design is directly linked to your brand, and it needs to come across as authentic and engaging.
2.Research the Latest Web Design Trends
Web design evolves quickly, but there are some more prevalent trends you can learn from. At this point, it’s important to note that just because a web trend is current, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you.
48% of people cite design as the most important factor of a website, so it’s important to take your time and look at what competitors are doing. Each sector will have different styles, so it’s vital you know whether you want to fit into your industry, or disrupt it.
3.Choose Your Platform
The first thing that springs to mind when you think of quality web design is a professional agency, right? And while top companies largely do a great job, they can be eye-wateringly expensive.
Luckily, there is another way: website builders and ecommerce platforms. These are DIY online tools that allow you to create and design your own website – without needing to know a single line of code!
Naturally, there are tons of options out there – of varying quality – but we’ve put in the legwork and researched the best on the market. Through a combination of expert research and thorough testing, we can now reveal the best options for designing your very own site.
- Wix Ecommerce
4. Select a Template / Theme
Now you’re clear on your site’s purpose, clued up on the latest web design trends, and have a platform in mind, you should have a much better idea of what you need from a template.
A template, sometimes referred to as a theme, is the layout of your site. Think of a template like the structure of your house – it forms its basic appearance, before you fill it with all your belongings.
Most platforms will offer you a range of templates to choose from, which come pre-filled with example content.
Templates are usually divided into industry categories, making it super simple to sift through them and find ones that are relevant to you. Each category will have templates with built-in features that are relevant to that industry, saving you the time and effort of adding them in later.
5. Decide on Your Branding
The time has come to start designing your website! Now, let’s put what we’ve learned into practice.
When designing your site, you should think about how everything you do relates to your overall brand. Everything from the color scheme to font style and imagery play a part in telling your brand’s story. It’s important they’re all sending the same message.
Color is one of a brand’s biggest communication tools. In fact, according to Color Matters, a signature color can boost brand recognition by 80%.
There’s a lot of psychology behind people’s perception of color, so it’s important to understand how it’s used in relation to your industry. To help you out, here’s an infographic we’ve put together that helps explain what different colors mean and how they’re used.
Most brands have one dominant color, then two or three secondary colors. Blue is the most popular color, with one third of the top 100 brands using it in their logo.
Similar to color, the font you opt for has a big impact on what people think about your website. The average website user will read about 20% of the text on any given page, so it’s crucial to entice them with an appropriate vibe.
Naturally, white-collar businesses will want to use classic styles of font. Fonts like Arial and Helvetica are synonymous with professionalism, and therefore make sense when discussing serious matters.
A more fun or playful brand, however, may wish to explore more abstract fonts. It’s important to strike a balance between interesting and readable, though – the last thing you want to do is alienate your readership.
Images are how you turn a modest website into a visual feast.
Visual content is useful for increasing clicks and engagement, but on a more basic level, images simply stick in the mind. According to one study, if we hear a piece of information, we’ll only remember 10% of it – but if you add a picture, you’ll remember an incredible 65%.
That said, be careful not to overload your site with images. Lots of high-quality images might look great, but they can slow your site down. Web users are impatient, and will vote with their keyboards if your site doesn’t load quickly.
6. Add In and Optimize Your Content
So, now you know what you want to add to your website, there are two things you need to think about: positioning and optimization.
Positioning refers to where your content sits on each page, and how it’s laid out. Optimization, meanwhile, is the process of tweaking content to help it rank higher on search engines, such as Google or Bing.
Below, we’ll discuss the technicalities of both, and explain why they’re important.
Research into reading patterns teaches us that people commonly consume content in an ‘F’ format. In simple terms, this means that website users will scan a page in a shape that resembles an F.
This is why navigation bars on websites are nearly always displayed across the top of the page. It’s the first thing people are drawn to when landing on the site.
It’s good practice to lay out your content with this in mind, so as many people as possible see the important stuff.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO, for short) is when you make changes to your website in order to increase the quality or quantity of people landing on your pages. Think of SEO like this:
If you own a racing car, the aim is to win a race. You can have the fanciest looking car, but it’s what’s under the hood that’s going to make a difference.
When you make tweaks to the engine, replace the tyres, or lighten the chassis, what you’re doing is optimizing your car. It may look the same, but you now stand a far better chance of winning the race!
SEO is much the same. Your site may not look any different, but making tweaks to content, images, and responsiveness can have a huge effect on how highly it ranks in a search engine’s results.
7. Publish Your Website
Now, it’s time to check everything works before you go live!
Ask your family, friends, and colleagues to test the site in preview mode (all website builders and ecommerce platforms will have this), and see if they find anything wrong. You can even get members of the general public to test it too, and to offer their thoughts.
Some common things you want to check for are:
- All your links work properly, and they direct users to the right page
- All your content is readable and easy to find
- You are never more than three clicks away from the homepage
- Your site looks great across desktop, mobile, and tablet
- Loading speeds are no more than 5 seconds on any page (use a free site speed tester to check this)
Always take the time to properly check your website before it goes live – first impressions count. After that, you’re ready: publish your site, and send it out into the online world!
8. Analyze and Improve
Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a live website. You can kick back and relax now, right? Well, not quite.
It’s important to keep track of how your website is performing. Without meaning to sound like a pushy personal trainer, you have to keep working and improving!