The process to begin building a website is the same whether you are making a personal website, a blog, an eCommerce site, or a website to promote your business.
Some key steps, when completed, alleviate some of the stress and time later down the road. These steps are also the same whether you plan to build your website yourself or hire a designer or developer to create it for you. A full video and additional training on creating your website can be viewed throughout the online course. To access the course, visit the Home page and Sign Up today.
Before you even begin to go through these steps make sure you’ve identified the PURPOSE of your website. Keep in mind the website is not for you. It’s for your audience. So you may love looking at black background websites with neon green and yellow flashing text a la late 90’s web design. But I can assure you, that is not the standard Internet users are used to today and is unlikely to keep someone on your site for more than a half second.
The purpose of your website can really be anything, but it needs to be defined. You may intend for browsers to share your cause, purchase your product, hire you for your service, visit your brick and mortar store, or keep returning for more and more content. Whatever it is – write it down, keep it in front of you while you go through the remainder of the process to build your site.
5 Steps to complete before you make a website
1. The first step is to identify the target audience. You’ve likely already done this in a business plan or for traditional marketing. So take it one step further and find your target audience online.
Who are they? Where do they hang out?
What forums or social media channels do they frequent?
What are their online habits?
2. Find general websites that appeal to you
Look at other websites paying attention to aesthetics, navigation, ease of use, bells and whistles as well as what makes you run away from the site as soon as you arrive.
Look at the colors used. Are they adding to the purpose of the website or distracting?
Is navigation easier when access from a bar at the top of a site or the left or right side of the site?
3. Be your customer and research competitor’s websites
Figure out what keywords your target customer will be using in a search to find your website (Hint, ask your friends, family and network, who know much less about your topic than you do, what phrases they would use to search)
Browse the web with those keywords looking at what kinds of websites appear with those phrases
Research your competition’s online presence
Make a list of what is working and what is failing in regard to their website
4. Wireframe the website
Sketch out your website including number of pages, type of content on each page, general layout of the pages
5. GATHER CONTENT
I cannot stress this enough! Identify and pull together the copy (text for headlines, navigation, paragraphs, etc) for each page, images to be used and a list of those you need to acquire, graphics, videos, additional elements specific to your site.
Walking through these steps before building the site will save you time down the road. If skipped, you may find yourself revamping the site constantly to add this element or that style or color to really target your audience. You may find the website design project itself stalled until you are able to produce the content needed to flesh out the site in preparation for the official launch. Or you may build an entire website that caters to a demographic wholly uninterested in your site and thus will have spent the resources in vain.
Do yourself a favor and prepare the website before you ever begin to build the pages themselves.
For hands-on, step-by-step guidance on these steps and the rest of the process to building a website, Sign Up for the online course today.