Building A Website From Scratch: 5 Key Elements To Consider
Long gone are the days when building a website required extensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP, Java, and more. In today’s world, a beginner business, artist, entrepreneur, or freelancer can enjoy the benefits of a beautiful and reputable website without stressing too much with hiring professional programmers and designers.
It doesn’t mean, however, that you should not dedicate a significant amount of time, patience, effort, and money to building a pro website that serves your purpose and is scalable enough to help grow your business. So let’s see what you need to know and do!
1. Pick the Right Website Builder
Website builders make website development a breeze if you know their strengths, limitations, and opportunities. Some are better to create stellar designs; others make reliable e-commerce platforms. Picking one should not be that hard once you made up your mind about what your website wants to be, whom it addresses, and what outcomes you want it to yield.
Most website builders come with both free and paid plans. We recommend you play around with the free trials, see how you manage, and then decide on a paid program that fits your budget.
Moreover, we also recommend you pick a builder that allows you to stand out from the crowd in the long term. Besides enabling you to create a blog free, your website builder should also offer you some (or all) of the following benefits: a hosting service, e-commerce implementation, the use of SEO tools, SSL encryption, brand logo design, and the integration of other tools and programs, ranging from live chat to website analytics.
The most critical aspect of choosing a website builder is not what it can do for you today, but what it can do for your business growth in the next years.
2. Pick a Domain Name
Most website builders will prompt you to pick a domain name once you register with them, but take your time with this step, as once the site goes live, it is a drag to change it. Most builders offer the .com TLD, so you don’t need to worry about TLD choosing too much. Here are some rules to follow when you pick a name for your future business:
- Check the name’s availability, as there are millions of domain names already taken, even if they are not live yet. Websites like GoDaddy are the right places to start, especially since they also offer you a handful of domain name alternatives in case yours is not available.
- Make your domain name relevant to your business/purpose, as short as you can, memorable, and easy to remember.
What you need to know at this point is that usually, free website building plans offer you an URL structure along these lines: Mysite.websitebuilder.com. Such a slug does not echo professionalism or trustworthiness.
On the other hand, slugs looking like this: domainname.com are the norm. It would help if you got a paid plan with any website builder of your choice to enjoy the hosting and a professional domain name.
3. Choose the Right Template
At this point, things get a bit complicated, but with attention and patience, you can achieve your goals. Most website builders feature hundreds of templates across tens of categories. The rule of thumb here is to pick one that is relevant for your business and scalable to allow your business to develop. One of the most significant advantages of website builders is that they offer easy drag-and-drop customizations for any template you pick. It means you have the freedom to build a personal portfolio, an online fashion store, an online magazine/blogging site, a travel website, and more.
With the pre-made templates available (already featuring built-in UI and UX elements), all you need to do is match your type of entrepreneurial endeavor with the right design.
Nevertheless, there is a chance that your website looks like other websites already in existence, so here are some customization elements to consider:
- Adding new pages to the template, from an About Us story to creating a striking contact form or newsletter subscription form;
- Changing the typeface, color, size, and placement of all the texts present on your website;
- The addition of animations, bold visuals, videos, and other visual elements to make you stand out – at least on your home page;
- The addition/removal of buttons, depending on your needs;
- The addition of social media icons;
- The change of color schemes, etc.
Most website builders make web design easy, so take your time, drag and drop elements, always preview your work on both desktop and mobile devices, and settle for the best version of your future website.
4. Upload Your Content
Blogging is still one of the most substantial sales drivers in the world, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Besides images, videos, mandatory pages, contact details, etc., your website should contain original, engaging, and keyword-optimized copy, no matter if you sell books or teach people how to live healthy lives. Curated content on a blue-collar business blog helps you rank high in search engines, gain traffic, and turn visitors in leads or customers.
In the beginning, we said you should choose a website builder offering you reliable SEO tools. Now it is the best time to use them. Besides the fact that you need to write compelling headlines and search engine friendly Meta descriptions for all pages, you should also optimize your blog posts for keywords and other SEO elements.
5. Testing the Website
If you felt like the prodigy child of an artist with an engineer while tweaking your website and making it grow with your own hands so far, now it is time to put your product to the test. Luckily, most website builders allow site development with little to no errors, but this doesn’t mean you should not check everything. Twice.
- Check the site’s usability;
- Make sure the navigation bar works on all pages;
- Test for mobile responsiveness on multiple mobile devices types and screen sizes;
- Watch out for readability: lack of misspells, user-friendly fonts, etc.
- Browser compatibility testing;
- Website speed testing;
- SEO audit, together with broken link testing.
Luckily, most website builders offer their built-in tools for such tests. If you want to make sure your website is ready to go, use online tools or plugins to make sure you have everything in order.
You may expect a 404 page to pop up from time to time on new websites, but with patience and determination, you can build a fully functional, beautiful, and highly converting site from scratch. The main takeaway here is always to test your website before launch and remember that refreshing and revamping your website is a task you will have to perform regularly from now on if you want your business to grow.