Do you know how to build a great website for success? Any online business, no matter what it is, should have its own website.
Your website is a reflection of you, and what your business represents. But it also has to draw visitors and keep them there.
Below is a great infographic that shows 15 steps to consider before you start building. And I’ll go into more detail for you, below. They are all actionable steps that can make a world of difference for your online business.
And if you’re interested in learning all you need to know, to create a solid foundation for your business, CLICK HERE.
- 1 15 Steps To Building A Killer Website
- 2 Conclusion
15 Steps To Building A Killer Website
#1. Domain Name
The first thing to consider is your domain name. This is the name of your business and should represent what your business is about.
It should also be a name you can brand. This means it should be memorable, easy to say, easy to spell, and easily pronounced. Though I don’t mind my business name, I often wish I had picked something shorter, lol.
I’ve written an entire article on Creating A Domain Name, that you should check out. It covers all the areas you really need to consider…
Many domain registries offer unusual extensions now, which can be fun for bloggers. If its a logical extension of the name, then they can also be easily remembered. But many still recommend using .com for your extension if at all possible.
My personal opinion is “if you like it, and can brand it, do it!”. Because your website is your online presence, you need to represent your personality.
Are you stuck for ideas? Or maybe your preferred choice isn’t available? Try adding a verb in front of the name. For instance, if you like the name “backcountrycamping.com but it was taken, add “trybackcountrycamping.com”. It’s a tad long, but it works for me.
If you’re totally drawing a blank, try using a domain name generator like:
- Lean Domain Search – Just enter your keyword and this generator will bring up a HUGE list of ideas.
- Name Mesh – This site draws names from a 6 million word database, and all available extensions. I’ll warn you now though, it’s very addicting, haha.
Website hosting is where you “park” your website. And there is a vast array of companies that offer different hosting plans.
You really need to take your time here. Do your research and compare all the features.
I know how tempting it is to go with the cheapest plan, but they’re usually cheap for a reason. I’ve heard many horror stories from people who started out this way because they were on a tight budget. But it just isn’t worth it in the end.
Many reasons you’ll see ads for low prices is because:
- They’re listing the first month only. When you signed up thinking that’s all you’ll pay each month, you find out that the actual monthly cost is considerably more.
- It’s only the base price. If you want an SSL certificate (which you most certainly want), or any other added security, email, support, etc., there is an additional cost for each item.
Here is my article on Website Hosting.
When researching online, it’s important to look at their uptime stats, their level of provided security and privacy, and how easy it is to receive support when something goes wrong. Read customer reviews to get a real-world idea of what their other customers think.
Some companies I would recommend are:
- Wealthy Affiliate – This is who I use, and for the same price as another quality hosting company, you also get online marketing training, tools, and the world’s largest community support.
- BlueHost – This is my second choice for a quality hosting platform.
OK, I’ll be honest with you here. I’m not a programmer and just love that my website was up and running in under a minute. I spend time “prettying it up” for looks and user ease, but that’s about it.
As far as deciding if I should use flash, java, or PHP is way out of my skill set, LOL.
Those of you who clearly understand the importance of this for any of your graphics, most likely have your favourite choice.
By now you’ve probably decided what niche you’re in. It can be anything, really. But what are you doing with this niche? Is it something that you’re an expert in and wish to instruct, or possibly something you want to sell?
There are so many things you can do with a website, from a teaching point of view to an e-commerce store.
It will be much easier to set up your website with this knowledge in hand. With today’s technology and the ease of using “website builders”, they can set you up with whatever theme you choose. But you need to choose, lol.
The style of the website for an e-commerce store will need to look entirely different to a blogging site. This is why knowing your ultimate purpose is important. But don’t let this intimidate you. It’s not difficult to change your theme down the road if you need to.
I highly recommend you use WordPress. It’s the favoured platform used online for many reasons. These are just a few:
- It’s easily moved from one host to another.
- It has a TON of free plugins for just about anything you can dream up.
- There are thousands of themes.
- The themes are responsive (will adapt to a mobile screen)
Many web hosts support WordPress. But make sure if this is what you want to use. Some hosting platforms use their own proprietary websites that can’t be moved.
Here’s an article on Building Your Website that you may find interesting.
- WordPress.org – Do some research on the different types of themes available. WordPress gives you the largest range by far. Please don’t confuse this with WordPress.com!!
#5. Colour and Layout
My being an artist, this is always the fun part for me. It comes naturally. But what if you’re not an artist, and have no idea what a colour wheel is? LOL
Don’t fret, there are lots of places online to help you out. This important thing to remember is that choosing your colours and layout is more important than you realize.
Did you know that colour has a psychological effect on your reader’s behaviour and decision-making? Yes, it’s true!
This is why so many restaurants spend time and effort coming up with a colour scheme for their seating area. Some colours will actually make you feel hungry. The hungrier you are, the more you’ll spend!
It’s the same with your website. Does your choice make them feel safe? Do you give a sense of authority or cheerfulness? It’s amazing what colour can do for you.
- Take a look at this article on “How to Use the Psychology of Colors When Marketing“. This will give you an idea of which colours you may wish to choose, and why.
#6. Site Map
Sitemaps are very important for your website’s SEO. You will want to add your site’s XML sitemap to Google Search Console so that Google knows which pages you consider to be quality landing pages.
Again, this is where WordPress can make life so much easier, using Yoast or All In One SEO plugins. I prefer the All In One, (as does Google), and adding your XML sitemap is a breeze.
Now, as for your reader’s navigation, personally, I have a search bar in my header. When your website starts to grow with hundreds of articles, there’s no way you can show everything on your home page.
This is when things like search bars, menu’s, category listing, etc. are needed for easy navigation of your site. I find nothing more frustrating than when I find a site that could be useful for me but can’t find the article I’m searching for.
- XML-Sitemaps.com is a free service to use, to generate your sitemap. It can then be downloaded onto your computer.
- Google Search Console – If you haven’t already set up your account, do that first and then add your XML sitemap. The will walk you through each step.
Every business, regardless of what it is you do, needs content. And what I mean by content is articles. If you’re a blogger, you’re writing blogs about your topic. If you’re an e-commerce store, you’re writing descriptions of the items you sell. If you offer services, you’re writing about what it is you can do to help your reader’s with their questions or problems.
Whatever you write about, it must be easy to read and offer value to your visitor. “Value” being the KEY word here. If you just offer “fluff”, for the sake of filling up a page, you won’t have any returning customers.
It’s important to show your readers how you can help them, and why your product or service can benefit them. If you can do that, you’ll find your traffic growing, as well as your sales.
Here is an article on How To Create Great Content.
- The article above shows you some awesome tips for creating a great article, as well as boosting your SEO.
- The video below talks about your “WHY”. Simon shows you how to approach your visitors to encourage them to buy your products or services. The best product in the world won’t matter if people don’t believe in you. Tell them why you’re helping them, what you believe in, and they’ll buy!
This is a question you would have tackled when you chose your niche. The narrower the niche, the better. You don’t want to try to please everyone, just one targeted segment.
That being said, you need to get to know this segment. How old are they? Where do they live? What concerns do they have? The questions are endless. It just depends on who you’re targeting.
Once you have a good idea who your audience is, you can now use the appropriate images, writing style, and website layout to attract them. What attracts people in their twenties is drastically different from seniors. How you talk to a millennial is very different than to a baby boomer.
- This is what I do: I sit down with paper and pen (OK, I’m aging myself, lol) and write out each different personality I want to reach. Because my desire is to help people start their own online business, my audience is fairly broad. So I try to write specifically for each one.
- The college student looking for a way to pay off student loans.
- The stay at home parent needing a second income.
- The empty nester wanting vacation funds.
- The retiree needing supplemental income.
- Once you’ve got your list done, then break the details down even more. Give them a name, what they wish for, what they’re concerned about. Make them real! It’s easier to write and design your website for them when you can picture them.
- This article on Find Your Audience can give you TONS of ideas.
You know the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” right? It’s the same for your income streams. And the easiest income stream is the one you don’t have to work for, LOL. I’m talking about advertising.
Google Adsense is probably the most commonly used one, but there are many more companies that pay out even more when these ads are clicked. Some companies will only allow you to apply when you can prove you have a certain amount of traffic for a month, but Google Adsense will let you apply at any time.
If you notice this article you’re reading, you’ll see advertising in two to four spots, depending on the length of the post I write. The key is to NOT overdo it. That’ll just drive your visitor away.
You want the ads to blend into your content, not detract from it. I like mine to flow with my overall writing template, and I place them above headings when I can. You have the choice to place them where you want, or you can let Google place them. I prefer to have placement control in my content!
- If you are just starting out, then use Google Adsense.
- If you’re more established and have at least 25K sessions per month (according to Google Analytics), then try applying with Mediavine. They’re the cream of the crop in my opinion!
This is a great way to start and grow your email list, but it’s also abused on many sites. With all the options available now, with email capture services, its easy to get carried away and add too many.
When I visit a site that has two or three things pop up in my face in the first 5 seconds, I usually leave, lol.
On my site, you would have just gotten one. It may currently pop-up immediately, or maybe after some time, or maybe when you leave. I will often test different timings to see what’s most effective.
What I won’t do is add all three at one time, LOL. If you want, maybe add a permanent ad on your sidebar or footer. But whatever you do, put yourself in your visitor’s shoes. Is it annoying?
- If you’re starting to see your traffic growing, it’s probably time to start creating your email list. There are many options here, but I would highly recommend Thrive Leads for your lead capture possibilities. I’m actually a Thrive Member, so I have access to all their plugins. I wouldn’t do without them!
- When you’ve created the design you want, test it out on your friends. This is a great way to get an honest answer to the “annoying” factor, haha!
This goes hand in hand with #5, colour and layout. Keep the theme design you chose clean and attractive. And most importantly, easy to navigate.
I feel much more relaxed on a clean, organized, and well-designed website. If I land on one that overly busy, confusing, or just plain hard on the eyes, I’d rather leave than try to figure it out.
If you wish your visitors to stay, and hopefully return, then you have to give them a reason to. If they struggled, in any way, on their first visit, you’ll lose them.
Remember, the first impression is the most important!
- If you’re not sure about your own design or wanting to make a change, check out your competition. Getting ideas from other successful sites can be really useful.
- Make sure everything is RESPONSIVE. If it won’t adapt to mobile screens, you won’t rank. Check out Google’s own responsive tool called “Mobile Friendly Test“.
- Check out the latest trends online. We’re seeing more videos on homepages, bolder colours, mismatched grid layouts (this one drives me nuts, lol), and 3D effects.
Buttons are very effective for your “call to actions”. They are very visible and tell your reader exactly what you want them to do.
I’ve seen too many articles where the reader is left hanging at the end because there was no clear direction for them to take. Readers like to be told what to do next, whether it a “buy now”, or “register here”, or “download PDF”.
You can also add images, or bold text if you prefer. Just remember to make your call to action stand out! You’ll notice that I will use an image for my call to action, at the bottom of this article. And sometimes I’ll use both if its a long post.
- There are many free sites online to create buttons for you to download. Try Button Optimizer to generate a button that jumps out at your reader.
- “Red” is a great high energy colour, whereas “Blue” is calming and provides a sense of security.
Depending on the theme you chose for your website, you may have options to add an image to your background. I’ve visited many websites that have done this effectively. But others haven’t. And this is because they are writing their content on top of the image.
It can be very difficult to read text on images. It’s distracting and there often isn’t enough contrast between the colour of the font and the image.
You want your readers to have a positive experience when reading your article, or homepage. Don’t give them any reason to leave your site.
- Ensure that your content is written on a blank, white background when possible. Black (or dark grey) text on white is the easiest for your audience to read.
Images are very important for an attractive article, as well as a way to break up blocks of text. And they are excellent to use when describing your product or service.
You must remember that most people won’t actually read your article, they scan it. So when you add images, they are a form of communication to your reader.
It’s also best to add larger images that span the width of your page, instead of adding a tiny image off to the side of your paragraph.
Also, make sure you’re not uploading an image too large for your theme. If you’re noticing that your blog upload speed is slow, it’s usually a result of image size.
- Add relevant images to your content whenever possible. They must be relevant, or it will just confuse your reader.
- Give some white space above and below your image for “breathing room”.
- For the fast loading time, always scale your images to a proper size, then compress them before adding them to your content.
- Personally, I use Photoshop for scaling, but if that’s not a possibility for you, there are many free sites online that can do this for you. For example LunaPic, or Resize Your Image.
- Compressing your image is easy with TinyPNG. I use this all the time!
- Update your older content to improve their appeal. I go back and update an article about once per week.
I touched on this above, under design, but it deserves its own section. This is a very important function for your website. Your visitor wants to be able to navigate your site with ease. When they’re looking for something, they are impatient.
If your visitor can’t find their answer quickly, they’ll move on to someplace they can.
Create a menu that will direct your visitor to each important segment of your website. Can they access your blog with ease? If they want to contact you, is your contact information readily available? If you have an e-commerce store, can they find a certain product without having to scroll through your entire inventory?
It’s also important to use conventional names for your menu. Many website owners will try to be unique by adding unconventional names. For instance, instead of “Contact”, they’ll use “Talk To Us”. It may make sense to many, but even if there’s a few who don’t understand, you could lose a potential customer.
- Ensure you have proper menus to make it easy for your reader to find what they’re looking for.
- Are your menu labels easy to understand? Trying to be “cute” may be too confusing.
So there you have it. 15 actionable steps to ensure your site will be successful. Where some of these steps are vital for your SEO practices, they’re also important for your readers.
The one thing all website owners hope for is their visitors wanting to dig deeper into their site because they find it interesting.
There is always so much to learn to be successful online. And there are always areas we can improve. Your website is one of those areas.
Are you new to online marketing? Or are you trying to do it on your own? It can be near impossible without proper training.
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Have you created your own website yet? Or are you still researching how to do it? I hope my article gave you some ideas you may not have thought of yet.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I’d love to hear from you.