When you decide to go at it alone and make your website, this brave new frontier takes a bit of planning and perseverance. Where do you start? Where do you end?
The truth is that everyone’s website is always going to be a work in progress. There will always be technological advances and industry trends that drive us to update and improve what’s on our website already.
If you’re running a startup business, you may want to start with a simple website design. Aside from being affordable, you have more control over running and managing your website.
This guide will help you see the benefits of creating your website, especially if you’re running an online store.
Why Do You Need to Make a Website in the First Place?
The internet and all the devices that connect to it have transformed how modern customers find and learn about businesses. A professional website gives businesses the opportunity to be discovered by users. Aside from providing useful information to users, a website also serves practical functions for businesses, such as selling products and services online or hiring new staff.
The thing is many people who start to build their websites get tired and stop eventually. They may just keep a local business listing instead of a website. Similarly, they may only set up a social media profile and discard the website. While local listings and social media are great, they aren’t the same. Websites are the core hub that all your business channels connect to. On the other hand, local business listings help local searchers find you faster, and social media helps you interact directly with your customers.
Let’s take a closer look at six reasons why you should definitely make a website.
Allows Potential Customers to Learn More About You
One of the most significant reasons to make a website for your business is to give potential customers somewhere they can research your products or services, find contact information if they have questions, or even buy from you online. Some users may not even know you exist yet, and a website allows them to discover you.
A website determines whether a business is legit or not. This is where visitors can certify that what’s being offered to them comes from a reliable business that they can trust. Once you establish trust in your customers, engagement and possible purchases will follow.
Search Engine Visibility
By creating a website that uses search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, your web pages can be found on Google, Bing, and any other search engine. While this typically involves expert consultation, the benefits of a good SEO strategy are generous. When your web pages start to rank, your website traffic and potential leads increase significantly.
Stay on Top of the Competition
If you don’t have a professional website, every competitor that has one is a step ahead of you when it comes to capturing customers. Most consumers research and purchase products from brand websites. So, if you don’t have one, you’re losing a huge portion of potential sales.
Pro tip: By taking a look at what competitors are doing online, you can gauge what strategies would work for your business, and where you can innovate and possibly answer unmet needs. For example, if they have a 25% off sale on their website, you could offer 40% off or offer free shipping.
Branding and Differentiation
A website allows you to showcase your brand identity, unique value proposition, and what sets your business apart from competitors. This is the perfect avenue to highlight what makes your business better than your competitors. This could be your craftsmanship, customer service, pricing, or specialized expertise.
Scalability and Growth
A website provides a scalable platform that can grow with your business, accommodate expansions, introduce new offerings, and support evolving customer needs. What’s better is that as your business grows, you can also upgrade to the next web hosting plan. You don’t need to worry about your website now being able to handle your website expansion.
Should You Make Your Website or Hire a Designer Instead?
The answer is completely dependent on each business’s individual needs and situation. Some may intend to create a website using a DIY website builder but realistically have no time. Others may have complex website needs that require a web development and/or design expert. However, most business owners just don’t have the budget for custom development, and that’s fine! Everyone has a unique situation.
But if you’ve decided on making your website, here are its benefits:
The Benefits When You Design Your Website
If you need a little validation before you get started, we’ve compiled a list of many benefits.
Design Control and Unlimited Editing Freedom
A website builder is a tool that allows you to create a website easily. It has a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to drag and drop elements to the canvas to create the website that you need. It has pre-designed templates that you can customize so that website design is seamless. It’s good for beginners, too because it doesn’t require coding experience.
With a website builder, you’ll have complete control over the design of your website. You can customize the images and layout of your website to perfectly match the design you have in mind. The best part is not having to ask someone else to do these small tweaks every time. From color scheme to placement of copy, you’re in control, and you can modify the design whenever you want based on your or your customers’ changing preferences.
Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about not having access to your content management system (CMS) or contacting your website designer whenever you need something altered because you can make the changes yourself. You’ll have complete freedom for current and future website updates.
You Can Set Your Budget
By using a website builder to make your website, you have the power to choose the plan you want that fits your budget to design a website. Sometimes working with a custom website developer means that costs can arise that weren’t planned. There’s always value in being able to set a modest budget and stick to it.
Enhanced Learning Experience
Designing your website provides a valuable learning experience. You gain knowledge and skills in web design, development, and content management, empowering you to make informed decisions and take charge of your online presence.
Increased Familiarity with Your Website
Designing your website allows you to become intimately familiar with its structure and functionality. This familiarity enables you to navigate and troubleshoot issues more effectively, saving time and frustration in the long run.
Full Ownership and Control
When you design your website, you retain full ownership and control over the content, design, and data. This ensures that you have the final say in all aspects of your website and can make decisions that align with your business objectives.
Empowerment and Independence
Creating your own website empowers you to take charge of your online presence. You are not reliant on external parties to make updates or changes, giving you independence and control over your digital identity.
Designing your own website can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Seeing your ideas come to life and having a website that represents your business exactly as you envision can bring a sense of pride and personal accomplishment.
Brainstorm: What to Include When I Make My Website
Here are things that you should consider when you make your website:
Use Copy and Imagery That Shows Off Your Personality
Think about the target audience for your website and the type of high-quality content that will impress visitors. Let visitors feel like they’re getting to know you by writing website content from a first-person point of view. Focus on messaging that shows how you can help those who visit your website. Be genuine with your messaging, but have an editor look at it to ensure you’re not publishing spelling or grammatical errors on your site (or whether you’re rambling too much). You could also feature a short video where you’re talking directly to your website viewers.
The more thoughtful the content on your business website is, the more likely it is to engage website visitors and give them a good user experience. A company blog, a testimonials page, a case study description, or even a list of awards and achievements allow your business to give those who find you online plenty to be intrigued by. Plus, a website filled with rich content will naturally do better in the search results.
Use Relevant Long-Tail Keywords
You’ll increase the chances of people finding your website if you use relevant and specific long-tail keywords. Consider your target audience and think about what they’re searching for (besides your business name). Use a keyword tool to gauge which popular terms related to your brand are being searched and where there are opportunities to stand out.
For example, if you want to promote yourself as a yoga expert in hopes of getting hired for more corporate gigs outside your studio, think about yoga-related words and how to include keywords related to your location when writing descriptions and pages for your website. Adding a blog to your website can help to integrate fewer brand-related keywords into your site that are searched more often.
Demonstrate Accomplishments and Goals
When it comes to proof points, we gave a couple of examples above like testimonials or talking about how long ago your company started to show experience and reliability. There are many things you could include to help convince potential customers to choose you.
Here’s the complete list:
- Written testimonials from people you’ve worked with
- A portfolio showing off projects you’re proud of
- Examples of awards and recognition you’ve received
- Statistics regarding how you’ve made an impact
- Number of years in business
- Your personal education, experience, or accomplishments as a business leader in the company
- Industry certifications or accreditations
- Number of followers on social media (if it’s high!)
- Celebrity endorsements
- Website statistics that show how many people have already viewed something (when it’s a high number on a product or service page or even a real estate listing). Website visitors may perceive your product or service as popular and will be motivated to purchase the product or avail of the service.
Include Your Contact Information
Once you’ve piqued the interest of people who have read about you on your site, make sure they can get in touch with you to learn more. Make it easy for people who come to your website to forge a deeper connection with you by explicitly displaying contact information. This could be a phone number or an email address.
If your business is on social media, you should include those channels on your contact page as well. The easier it is for people to reach you through your website, the more likely they’ll engage with you and get to know more about your products or services.
Step by Step: How to Make a Website
Here’s a step-by-step process on how to make a website:
Select your website builder
There’s a lot to choose from in terms of which website builder to use. Web.com offers an easy and affordable website builder with a domain and hosting.
Since you’re going to maintain a website for years to come, choose a reliable website builder that’s fundamental for your business.
Choosing one with built-in hosting is going to help you when it’s time to publish. Your website, at the end of the day, is a series of coded documents, images, and videos (if applicable) that are stored on a server. Your host provides server space for your website and keeps that server up and running so your website is always available for visitors.
Some business owners try hosting their own websites on their own servers, but that’s an option best reserved for people who know how to manage, patch, and upgrade their servers. Think about it:
- If your website crashed, would you have the know-how to get it back up and running?
- If an attacker put malware on your server, would you have the ability to fix it?
- If there are a lot of visitors on your website, will your site be able to handle the traffic?
For most business owners, the answer to the questions is “no.” It’s much easier to choose a website builder that has hosting included and that offers great technical support. In the long run, the small monthly charge you’ll pay for your website maker is worth not having to host it yourself, especially when you consider things like server malfunctions or website crashes.
Select a Template
When you start to look at website templates, you’ll find a number of options. Options are good in one sense because it ensures diversity across internet websites. In another sense, a wide selection of colors, layouts, and design elements may be hard to choose from when you’re making a website.
If you have a logo, letterhead, brochures, business cards, or ads, you’ve already done at least some visual branding for your business. If you like your logo and your brand messaging, you should choose a template that fits with what you’ve already created.
If you don’t have any existing material, instead of just browsing through templates in hopes of stumbling upon the perfect design, start by thinking about what you want in a website. Is it a bold look? A sophisticated feel? Perhaps you want a black background. All of this is helpful to note in advance to help you settle on a design template when the time comes.
If you’re unsure, surf the web. Take note of websites that catch your attention. You should also take a look at your competitors’ websites to consider what they do well and what they don’t.
Once you have selected a template, you will likely be prompted to add text to your web pages one by one inside the builder experience. Some builders make you do this manually. Either way, take the time to do a rough draft of your copy as you build out each website page. A few things to keep in mind when writing copy:
- Explain what makes you better than your competitors
- Include both action words that describe the things you do best and descriptive words that describe your products or the services you provide
- Talk about your values or your company culture
- Call out what you are and what you’re not (if that’s important in your business, i.e. “we use only natural ingredients”)
- Include call-to-action (CTAs) to prompt your users to take action
If you’re describing yourself with words like “groundbreaking” and “innovative”, make sure your website design reflects that too!
In addition to crafting a persuasive and strong message with your copy, it’s important to think about what your copy looks like. Most people don’t read everything on a web page unless they’re reading an article on a news site or blog. They scan quickly over the copy to find what’s most relevant to them. For this reason:
- Write short paragraphs, preferably with no more than six sentences.
- Use headings and lists to make your copy easy to scan.
- Avoid excessive bolding, underlining, italics, or all caps, and use legible fonts.
Emphasize important information like your store hours, your address, or your phone number by making it distinct from a more general copy. You can place important items in a different place, surround them with borders or backgrounds, add icons, or play with sizing or other formatting. Whatever visuals you’ve decided on, make sure they’re consistent throughout.
Remember that you can come back to improve and refine your copy as much as you want since you’re designing your own website. So don’t let copy block you. Just get down anything that fills out each page and circle back to copy at the end and then again during the feedback phase.
Add Logos and Images
With most of the copy written, add all your visual elements like your logo and images on different pages. With most of these pages already laid out, you’ll have a good idea of how to position them and you’ll adjust everything next.
Make sure all images look professional. They should be high-resolution and use proper lighting. If you’re displaying photos of your own products, consider hiring a photographer to capture them so they have a clean and professional look. If you don’t have products to showcase, you can likely get by with stock photography. Some builders have a selection of free images built in.
The best images make people experience feelings, so choose images that give you those same feelings of excitement, awe, or inspiration that you’re trying to invoke in others.
Adjust On-Page Elements
Even though you used a template, you should still be able to customize many on-page elements of your website like font size or color scheme for example.
Do certain colors appeal to you or best represent your business? Use color combinations that represent your brand, are nice to look at, and make your copy easy to read.
Make sure your product pages have titles with proper H1 or H2 formatting. Make use of no more than 1-2 fonts on one page and keep it consistent throughout the site.
As humans, we process visual images much faster than text. Your website can help convey messages faster by including strong, relevant imagery. Whether you use real photography or animation, you can use imagery to better communicate messages and create a more engaging experience for your website visitors. Think about incorporating videos or GIFs too!
When you’re creating a website, keep the navigation of the entire site simple. Then also keep the layout of each page simple and not too cluttered. You may want to resize certain elements of the page or move them around.
Publish Your Website under a Domain Name
Publish your website under a domain name of your choice. The most common extensions are .com, .org, and .net.
Your domain name should match your business name as closely as possible or should be something distinctive that’s easy for customers to remember. In addition to having your domain name in your web address, you’ll also be using it in your email addresses.
Promote Your Website
Once your website goes live, promote it. Include it on your business cards, social media pages, local business listings, and any advertisements you have. You’ll eventually get traffic once people know about your website.
Bonus: 3 Extra Tips for Making Your Website
Tip #1: Plan in Advance
Building a website should start just like building a house: with a clear set of plans. Before you even start the process of making a website, plan out how many pages the website will have, what pages will be in the main navigation, what each page will focus on, and what colors and design you have in mind. It could take time to hire a photographer and select the right photos if necessary. By planning in advance, you can ensure you have everything you need to make a site when you’re ready to get started.
Tip #2: Focus on User Experience
You may have a great idea for a website in mind, but if it isn’t easy for a user to use or for a potential customer to get to a lead form or purchase, it’s not going to work. As a successful small business owner, you need to create a website that’s simple for future customers to use and navigate. Think clean, organized designs, and navigation. This will result in a positive customer experience.
Tip #3: Test Your Website on Mobile
Majority of online searches nowadays are being made on smartphones. A mobile-friendly website has become more important than ever for online success. Consumers expect to find information quickly, and the majority of them find businesses through mobile searches. Test to make sure your live website is responsive to mobile formats! In addition, the mobile version of your site should load information quickly.
In addition to the points above, don’t forget to track your website’s performance to see if your efforts are going well. Google Analytics, for example, helps you track your performance to see if your website is doing well or not. It gives you insights on how your users are engaging with your website and more.
Create an Aesthetic and Functional Website Today
In the old days, businesses had to rely on skilled web programmers to create their websites. However, with the advent of DIY tools like website builders, the game has changed. Now you have the power to build your own website even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy,
Web.com’s DIY Site Builder provides a simple and intuitive platform to design and customize your website. You’ll have the freedom to choose from stylish templates, drag and drop design elements, add your own content, and even make updates whenever you want.
Start building a website now!