How to build your own website: A primer

A website should make a strong first impression. It’s often the first time any potential client or customer will see your company. It better shine.

However, you don’t know where to start. You have an idea of how you want your website to look, but you can’t execute your plans because you don’t know how. You need to clearly define your website’s goal: is it meant to educate your customers about your services, to sell your products, or a combination of the two. You also need to focus on a specific audience - your key market, so you can target your content to the right customers.

With all these considerations, it’ll be tempting to just pay someone to build your site. But if you don’t have several thousand dollars to spare, there are plenty of options to build a website on your own.

To get you started, here are some things to consider when you’re building a website.

 

  1. Domain Name: The domain name is the very first thing you need for your website. This is your web address that will be forever associated with your business. For businesses, choosing a domain name is a no-brainer: get the one that’s closest to your actual business name. This makes it easier for your visitors and potential customers to remember.

 

.com domains remain the strongest, but they’re also the most popular, meaning you could have some trouble finding the perfect one. .net is a decent backup, but if you do find the .com domain you want, it may benefit you to acquire the .net. Also, country specific domains can have great value for search engine ranking, such as .au for Australia, but these do have restrictions.

 

2.              Logo and Branding – Having a logo for your business is important. It creates a unique identity that people can remember. This is also true for your website—having a business logo on all your pages creates a unifying theme that helps visitors remember your brand.

 

Design a logo that best suits your business. You don’t have to create something too intricate. Choose one that’s easily recognizable, something that your visitors could easily recall and associate with your business.

 

You should also stick to a color palette you think is optimal for your site. You should also decide on an “official” font family to use on all your website pages, including blogs. This creates a more professional, tailored, and uniform image for your business.

 

3.              Content – Your website’s content is the key to getting the visits you want for your business. You should feature unique, high quality content that delivers more information about your business to your visitors. Whether your goal is to educate or convince them to buy, always put a premium on the content.

 

Moreover, you should also create content not only for your target customers, but also for search engines. Your site should be optimized for web searches, so a bit of SEO knowledge is a plus.

 

Don’t worry about cramming a lot of information into just one web page. A website consists of multiple web pages about different aspects of your business. At the very least, you should have the following:

 

·       HOME: The Homepage - or Main page - provides an overview of your business, including the name, location, and a pitch as to what products or services you’re offering.

·       PRODUCTS/SERVICES: This is where you provide the details about specific products or services your company offers. Prepare a few sentences to describe each. You can also have the prices listed on this page. If you want, you can also use this page to sell (giving them the option to purchase with just a click of a button).

·       ABOUT: The About page is where you can provide more information about your business/company. Use this page to build customers’ trust with your story. You can include organizational memberships like BBB, awards and recognitions, and customer testimonials.

·       CONTACT US: This is the section where you put your contact information. You can list your business address, phone number, email, operating hours, and social media accounts. If possible, embed a Google map to point them in the right direction. Some businesses just use a contact form where customers can leave their own information and will be contacted directly at a later time.

·       CTA – Your website should always have a call-to-action, to make sure that you’re pushing your visitors in the right direction. In fact, you should have at least one CTA on each page and more, depending on the layout, design, and content of each page. If your aim is to sell a product or a service, you can encourage them to “buy now” or “sign up for a free trial,” for example.  If you want them to contact you directly, or at least give their contact information to you, a “learn more” button can lead them to a contact form where they would leave their phone number or email address. Your CTA should be engaging, but not too pushy. 

 

4.              Social Links – Before, this section was part of the About or Contact Us pages. But now that there’s an ever-growing number of social networking platforms that you can use for your business, it is better to have your social links included in the footer of each page of the website. You can use embedded icons to link Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social accounts of your business.

 

5.              Testimonials and Guarantees – Your website is a great way to earn your customers’ trust. This is why you need a dedicated section for testimonials from your satisfied clients. A simple quote or even an embedded star-rating system can really improve your image. A Guarantee section contains your company’s statement about the quality of products or services that you’re offering. This affirms your commitment to providing only the best for your customers.

 

6.              Blog – This is where you can expound on your products or services, and highlight their key features fully. It’s also a powerful way to help establish your authority in a specific business industry and/or niche. Note that you need to do a bit of writing for your blog so that you can properly convey your message to your target audience. You can create an editorial calendar to plan your content in order to cover all essential topics to educate your clients in a timely manner.

 

Other Tips:

  • Content should be easy on the eyes: strive for balance between images and texts and make sure the colors correspond to your brand
  • Include images for your products or services. It’s easier for visitors to decide to buy or learn more about what you offer if they see an actual image of the product you’re offering or a snapshot of your services instead of just staring at a block of text descriptions.
  • Don’t overload your visitors with information. According to research, the human attention span is only 8 seconds. If they don’t see any value in your content within a few seconds, they’ll leave your site and move onto something else. You can divide your texts into smaller, easier to read paragraphs. You should also break the monotony by inserting images, videos, or text blocks just so they can refresh their eyes and keep them interested.

 

Websites play a crucial role in creating an online reputation for your business. Building and maintaining your own website can be very costly. However, with proper research and the right attitude, you can build a website of your own using free web builders available today.

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