As more people are turning to the internet for shopping, information, news, and more, it’s essential for brands to establish a strong online presence if they want to stay competitive and gain customers. A great website gives you an online presence where you can sell products or services online, gain a wider reach, connect with customers quickly, and gain brand recognition and credibility within your industry.
This article will show you how to build a website that meets all your needs.
1- Decide what type of website you want to create
Like any aspect of building a business, a website requires thoughtful planning. Before you begin to design and develop your website, you need to establish a solid foundation of why you’re creating a website in the first place.
Think about whether or not you want your website to be a blog where you share knowledge, maybe you’re wanting a home for your podcast, or even a page for your portfolio of work. Once you establish why you’re creating a website, you can then go on to do these planning steps:
- Establish tangible goals
- Define your brand
- Conduct research on competition
Once you’re able to provide answers for these essential steps, you can begin to build a website tailored to your unique business needs, and that will attract your ideal audience.
Establish tangible goals
Selling products or services online changes how you build your website. If that’s what you’re looking to do, then understanding how to make an online store using an e-commerce store builder site for small businesses is what you need to do before you think about your goals.
A great question to ask yourself when building a website is, “What do I want my website to accomplish for business?” Whether it’s increasing revenue or website traffic, ensuring your purpose aligns with your overall brand is important.
Creating tangible goals helps you track business success. Here’s some things to consider when crafting your goals:
- Make realistic goals
- Define those goals
- Make sure they align with your mission
- Ensure they’re attainable
- Give your goals deadlines
The issue with setting big goals before you have the resources or the platform to achieve them, is running the risk of low morale and increasing the chance for failure. Most times, taking small actionable steps towards a goal is the best way to set yourself up for success.
Define your brand
As great as it would be to reach all 5 billion users online, it’s not a realistic goal. When you cast too wide of a net, it’s harder for people to recognize you. It’s better to cater to the people who closely align with your brand’s niche so you can develop a loyal audience and establish better brand recognition.
Understanding who your target audience is and tailoring your language to what they need, gives you a better chance of persuading them to act by buying your product, subscribing, or whatever you want your call to action (CTA) to be.
Conduct research on competition
Carrying out research on your competitor’s online presence is an important step to identify any gaps or opportunities in your niche. Finding things like:
- Their website design
- Content strategy
- Products and services they offer, and
- Their unique value proposition (what sets them apart)
Find any strengths in the competition that you’d want to your business to also have like seamless user interface or fun, persuasive language. Similarly, pinpoint any weaknesses you’d want to avoid such as confusing navigation or content that falls flat.
Turn those areas of improvement into opportunities where you can differentiate your brand. If all your competitors fail to use mobile optimization, ensure your mobile experience is top-tier. If your competitors have bad visuals, take that as an opportunity to create stunning ones. Something you could do is identify underserved audiences like people with disabilities, senior citizens, or people shopping on a budget.
Make your brand stand out by crafting a unique value proposition. If your brand offers anything special that most brands like yours don’t offer, make sure to highlight that. Most competitors lack feature optimization options, so it’s crucial to offer that.
Extensive competitor research elevates the website you’re building. Rather than copying and pasting content or features from competition, use the insights you gain to help you make informed, strategic decisions that will attract your market audience. These things will help give you a competitive edge.
2 – Choose your domain name
Your domain name establishes your online identity, which is why it’s important to put a lot of thought into your name. It’s recommended to choose a name that’s short, catchy, and memorable. Hyphens, numbers, and long, hard-to-spell names are considered bad domain names since they hinder your chances at being seen online. It’s also recommended to choose a name that says what industry you’re in or what you offer. Boost visibility in search engines by including relevant keywords.
The most popular domains usually end in .com, .net, and .org. You don’t have to limit yourself by only searching for domains ending in .com. Newer domain options like .io or .co can increase your chances of finding the exact domain you want. If the .com domain name you want is taken, you can try adding your location or a descriptive keyword that can help you find an available option.
Do some research on the domain name you want beforehand to ensure they aren’t trademarked or taken. GoDaddy has domain name appraisal tools and more that can help you find your ideal domain name. Once you find the name you want, act fast and buy it even if you aren’t ready to build a website, because good domain names get taken up fast. If you have the means to do so, buy any misspellings to variations to protect your brand.
Domain names can range from anywhere from $1 to thousands of dollars. Most domain names can cost less than $20 a year, but premium domain names can get really high in price as they’re considered high-demand names. Always ensure your domain is synonymous with your brand.
3 – Choose a hosting plan
The hosting plan acts as the foundation for your website, which means it’s important to choose wisely when creating a website. When you choose to use a site builder, it’s likely you’ll need separate hosting. When you set up a website, you’ll need to match the hosting to your needs. For example, if you have a blog or small online store, based on your needs, shared hosting might be the best plan for you because it provides affordable, basic support. Although resources will be shared with other sites, shared hosting is cost-effective if your website traffic is light.
A virtual private server or VPS hosting separates server space for better performance, but at a higher price. This type of hosting allows for more storage and faster speeds.
Dedicated hosting is the best option for sites that see high-traffic. Dedicated hosting gives unlimited resources and priority support, but it is the most expensive option.
For most websites, it’s important to consider things like bandwidth and storage needs based on site content like images and videos. It’s wise to try and avoid restricted plans, because storage limits can restrict site growth. Business sites should look for plans that offer 24/7 support and uptime guarantees.
Look for enhanced security features like firewalls that guard against cyber threats, and backups that protect your content if problems occur. Scalable plans let your site withstand unexpected spikes in traffic. Also make sure your hosting provider offers website backups like GoDaddy in the event something crazy happens and your site goes offline.
It’s normal for website builders to bundle hosting services with domain registration, site builders, email accounts, and other tools that simply the process. Make sure to read the fine print to confirm the included features.
When you find the right web hosting platform for your business, you can get the freedom to customize your site design and content. Do lots of research to find a plan meeting your specifications that fits within your budget. A good hosting plan and strong infrastructure provide a solid foundation to build your online presence on.
4 – Choose the website building solution perfect for you
After you’ve selected your domain name and hosting plan, you need to determine how you want to build your website. When it comes to building your site, you have several options to choose from. Popular website building solutions on the market are:
- GoDaddy Website Builder
- WordPress, and
- Coding from scratch
GoDaddy Website Builder
The GoDaddy Website Builder is the best website builder that requires no coding knowledge. If you don’t consider yourself technical or you don’t have the funds to hire a professional, but need a website without learning to code, a free website builder like GoDaddy’s is the perfect option for you.
On GoDaddy’s website builder, you can add photos, customize pages, and much more in under an hour all from your mobile device. Thanks to the swipe-to-style editor, the process is made simple.
For entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to establish their online presence quickly, this type of website builder is great. They’re easy-to-use, don’t require coding, and is a great way to get your website started.
WordPress is an open source content management system that offers advanced customization. If you’re looking for more flexibility and control, then WordPress is the website builder for you. WordPress does require more technical skill than an easier website builder like GoDaddy. While having advanced knowledge of coding is not required, there are hundreds of plugins, features and options that could provide more functionality if you’re willing to learn.
With GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting, you can use Quick Start Wizard to begin building simply and easily.
Start from scratch and code it
If you choose to do everything from scratch, it requires writing all the HTML, CSS, and other code yourself. Although this option offers complete creative freedom, for most businesses, this option is unrealistic. If you would rather focus on your business and have the budget for website design, hiring a professional web designer is smart. Professional wed designers can create, host, and update your perfect website for you.
GoDaddy’s Website Design Services will match you with a pro and design you the site perfect for you. All you would have to do is provide content and images while they do all the work. The average completion time is anywhere from four to six weeks. Your site will get optimized for search and will come with social media management. GoDaddy will ensure you can get a custom website designed quickly, easily, and within budget, so take some time to consider what that may look like for you.
5 – Build your website
Now that you have your domain, hosting, and platform selected, you can build your website.
Figure out your website goals
Determine main goals for building your website. Consider things like whether you want to sell good and services, allowing customers to book appointments, start with a basic website, share information about your business, or just promote yourself. Once you determine what your website goals are, you can build around them.
Pick a website type
What kind of website are you wanting? When you pick the type of website you want, it can help you determine the types of images and content you should include on your website. For example, an interior designer might include images of projects and decor as well as a blog about interior design.
Name your website
Your name can be updated later, but up next is to choose your website name. From there, you’ll enter your contact information. This will include your phone number and the email address you want to use for your contact on your website. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, you can add your business address.
If you’re using GoDaddy’s Website Builder, you’ll go on to click Continue and let GoDaddy populate a website mockup for you to begin customizing.
Pick a theme and color scheme
Once your mockup is created, you can then go on to customize it. Try to pick a theme that aligns with your brand identity and your industry. Choose a clean, simple theme that makes navigating the website easy. Cluttered themes can distract from your content. Ensure your website is optimized across all devices. A seamless mobile experience is important.
Try and limit your color palette to only two or three colors with one dominant shade and one or two accent colors that will create cohesion. Use a dark test on a light background to ensure there’s a good contrast between the two for better readability. Pick a color scheme that compliments your logo and brand image. Complimentary hues help reinforce your branding by making it visually appealing and more memorable.
Let your site breathe by utilizing white space. Using too many colors or elements can overwhelm your site. Test out different themes and palettes using preview modes. You can view on different devices to enhance your mobile experience. As your business evolves, allow your design to evolve as well. It’s okay to regularly refresh your website’s look.
Use images on your website
Part of having content strategy that sets you apart from competition is having great images. When it comes to choosing photos for your website, here’s some things to consider:
- Use legal images. It’s not ethical to run to Google or other search engines and copy the first photo you like. You can get free stock photos from places like Pexels or Unsplash if you can’t or don’t want to take your own photos. It’s important to credit the creator anytime you post content that isn’t yours.
- Use quality images. High-quality photos can inspire and persuade viewers to take action. Blurry photos only turn potential customers away, so it’s incredibly important to pick or take photos that relate toy our brand and that your audience can resonate with.
- Ensure your images are optimized. Optimized images ensure your photos are high-quality, in the right format, dimension, and resolution so your photos won’t affect load time and are named with relevant keywords.
Choose the right fonts for you
Much like colors, photos, themes, your font should aim for readability and cohesion with your brand. Make things simple by choosing one or two fonts. Fonts like Arial or Verdana work well for body text and online because they’re easy-to-read. Avoid cursive script fonts because they are more difficult to read. Standard web-safe fonts load quickly, but if you’re wanting something different, Google Fonts offers a wider variety of font options.
For headers and highlights, use fonts rarely, and make sure unfamiliar fonts render correctly across all devices and browsers. Ensure the contrast between font colors and backgrounds are done well for maximum clarity. The point of choosing good fonts is to engage your audience without distracting from your brand message.
Create your logo
When you create your logo you want to focus on simplicity because the most effective logos are always clean and memorable. If you use imagery, shapes, fonts, and colors smartly, you can effectively show the world your brand identity.
Test your logo at different sizes. Scaling your logo helps your logo look readable and clear on all mediums whether that be business cards to online.
If you want a truly unique, high-quality logo, consider hiring a graphic designer. If you don’t have the funds to outsource, a great budget-friendly option to try is GoDaddy’s logo maker.
GoDaddy’s logo maker allows you to design your own logo and easily customize hundreds of templates. Quickly create a high-quality logo with the help of an intuitive editor and downloadable files.
Create main pages
The pages may vary depending on the purpose of your site, but every website should have five core pages. No matter how you choose to build your site, the five core pages are:
- The Home Page will be your landing page, so it needs to impress visitors from the start. The content on the home page should be inviting visitors to explore more and encourage them to act.
- Include an About Us page. An About Us allows you to tell your business story and explain how and why you got started.
- If you’re selling products and services, include a Products/Services page. This allows you to use photos that make your products stand out and it gives you the opportunity to explain the benefits and value your business offers to customers.If you have testimonials, use them! Testimonials establish credibility and allow you to share the customer’s perspective. It’s important visitors see your business is trustworthy.
- Include a Contact Us page. Give visitors the opportunity to reach you with any questions they may have. Answering questions allows you to inspire trust by giving human responses.
Optimize your website for SEO
Drive organic traffic to your site by utilizing SEO. Using keywords, links, and tech will help you ensure you’re including SEO in your business model so your website will be a success.
- Keywords: Add keywords like your region, or related services and products that help the search engine know your page is relevant and it can push it to the top.
- Links: Links from both your own website and others are important because the quality/quantity of links to your site correlates with how much search traffic your site receives. Essentially more links equal more search traffic, which equals more customers.
- Tech: With modern website builders, most technical SEO elements are already taken care of for you. That will include things like SSL certificates, configuration files, and site speed.
No matter what action you want your web visitors to take, you need to have content that compels them to act. Well-written words, high-quality imagery, and a cohesive site make a huge difference in how visitors respond to your page.
Crafting content doesn’t have to be meticulous. As a small business owner, you have a story and you know it best, which is why you can leverage your voice to establish trust with customers regardless of your writing chops. Here’s some factors to consider as you begin crafting web content:
- Audience. Keep your audience in mind as you create content. Match your content to their unique needs and ensure your content explains who you are, what you do, and why you’re better at it than competition.
- Voice. After you find your target audience you canteen begin to create a voice that matches both your brand and customers. Remember to stay true to your brand. Authenticity will always shine.
- Layout. How you lay out your content is important as the words. Images, white space, list and headings help you spread out your information in a visually appealing way. Find what works for you. Have fun with your message. Don’t be afraid to try out different tones and methods. Once you land on what works for your brand and your customers, you’re good to go!
- Consult AI. If you’re suffering from writers block, AI can assist you. It’s important to keep your voice human, so make sure to go back in and personalize and edit your content. You want to use it as an assistant. Don’t rely on AI to craft up all your content.
6 – Test and launch your site
Before you hit publish to launch your site, thoroughly review everything to ensure a seamless launch. Make sure to proofread any text for errors and formatting consistency, ensure everything from buttons to links are functional, and remove filler template content and customize all text and images. It’s important to test your site across multiple browsers like Chrome and Safari, check how mobile responsiveness is doing on phones and tablets, take a look at site speed and optimize images if they need it, sign up for Google analytics to monitor online performance once your site is live, and enable SSL certificate for security.
After thorough review, it’s time to publish your site! You can then go on to promote your site across social media platforms. If you happen to run into any mistakes after your site goes live, that’s okay, you can still make edits after launch.
If you’re on top of doing pre-launch testing, your website will be optimized for a seamless experience and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
7 – Manage, maintain and grow
After you launch your site, you need to manage, maintain, and grow your online presence. Building a website becomes a part of your business and requires a lot of time and attention in order for you see online growth. Here’s some tips to make this process easier:
- Encrypt your data and boost security by installing an SSL certificate. This can help with SEO.
- Layer in targeted keywords throughout your content to increase your search engine visibility.
- Build up backlinks by guest blogging, getting reviews, and sharing any testimonials you receive.
- Optimize your images for faster loading times.Get better SEO by adjusting HTML tags and meta descriptions.Try using paid advertising.
- Get a professional business email with your domain to establish credibility.
- Send email newsletters often to engage your subscribers. Email marketing can also drive sales.
- Post often on your social media channels to engage your audience.Utilize Google Analytics to pinpoint high-performing pages and fix under performing ones.
- Track engagement and metrics over time by testing new pages and layouts.
- Prevent hacking by installing security plugins.
- Update software often and schedule regular malware scans.
- Backup your site often case issues arise and you need to restore.
- Consider outsourcing digital marketing services and social media marketing so you can focus on business while they do the busy work.
Remember, maintaining and growing your site doesn’t stop at launch. You need to put time and attention into it to ensure it’s performing well and is seeing engagement.
Build your site today. lf you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur and think it may be a good time to start a website, consider using GoDaddy’s Website Builder to do it. It only takes a couple of hours to create a professional, high-quality site with no coding required! Create your website today.
Frequently asked questions
More and more user-friendly website builders are being created, making starting a website easier than it’s ever been. You can now create a professional and high-quality site with popular website builders like WordPress, GoDaddy’s Website Builder and more, which provide drag-and-drop editors and templates to help you easily create a professional site in hours. The learning curve is small and requires zero coding knowledge.
You can start a basic website for less than $20 a month, which includes domain registration and hosting fees. Other website builder plans that have enhanced features can range from $5-50 a month. Optional features like custom design services can add cost, but remember, they’re optional.
Make sure to take a look at any discounts or deals for annual plans and/or multi-year commitments that may come with the website builder plan you want.
It is possible to create a website for free! Many website builders include free plans that provide hosting and offer free website templates, but there are drawbacks to this. You can launch a functional website for free, but can face storage restrictions and limits on mandatory ads. Generally, the domain you get for free usually isn’t as user-friendly or attractive to put on business cards, or elsewhere. Open source CMS platforms like WordPress are free to use as well.
It’s advised to purchase your website hosting. For example, you can build and customize a free site with GoDaddy’s Website Builder, and then find and pay for the Website Builder Plan that’s budget-friendly and perfect for your business needs.
Building your own website is cheaper than hiring a professional web developer, and DIY site builders are designed for beginners and help you avoid expensive coding fees, but you have to consider weighing cost savings against time invested in learning to build a site yourself.
If you can afford hiring a web developer, it may be worth it to get a quality site launched quickly, if you can’t, then you might want to invest a bit more time learning basic website building so you can create a site you’re happy with.
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