Are you planning to start or already have a small business?
If yes, you need to get a website built to promote your business online and reach a wider audience. Building a website for the first time may seem daunting at the time, as the internet is a competitive marketplace, and you might not be coding-savvy or be aware of HTML and CSS. Fortunately, many website builders are available today that can help you build a fully-functional, rich, and responsive website with little or no prior experience.
Whichever website builder you choose, it will be easier to build a website from scratch if you have a plan from start to finish and a list of essential things you should keep in mind before starting. To help you out, here is a list of 8 things you should consider when building a website for the first time.
When you are set to build a website for the first time, you’ll find a lot of competition in the marketplace. Before you start building your website, one of the best practices is to spend some time exploring the websites of your competitors.
Take a note of all the elements and features that you liked or disliked the most. This will also help you get an idea of what is working the most in the industry and get inspiration to create something new that can help you stand out.
The best way to create a website is to prepare a wireframe first. Before you dive straight into building your website, it’s better to have a visual representation of what your website will look like. This is a critical practice as it helps you determine your website's best layout and flow.
Note how many key pages and subpages does your website need? Either use a pen and paper or go for a wireframe app like Figma to draw out a sitemap and layouts for each of your website pages. Using a wireframe app, you can easily reposition elements as your thoughts evolve.
When it comes to building a website for the first time, you have two options to choose from. You can use a CMS like WordPress, which is generally more flexible but has a steeper learning curve. Or choose to have a website built with the best website builder like Wix or Squarespace, which offers less flexibility but is easy to operate and helps build a dynamic, responsive website quickly.
Whichever of the two you choose, make sure to compare the best available options. If you decide to go for a website builder, make sure it has all the necessary elements and features you wish to include in your website. Also, consider whether you want a website builder for a specific type of site or a market like that for eCommerce.
Complicated, cluttered, and difficult to navigate website designs never do well in the market. Today, users prefer websites with fewer elements that provide information that is quick and easy to read. So, go for a minimalist, elegant, and timeless design. Use minimal elements and use whitespace to avoid a cluttered, busy look. Choose simple, plain fonts that are easy to read on any device.
Simplicity doesn’t mean your website has to be plain and boring. So, do not refrain from trying out different designs and discover what works the best for you. All you need to do is make sure that you are able to provide a crisp and clean user experience.
Your domain name is how you will be known in the long run, and changing it after you’ve gained considerable traction would be highly risky. Hence, take some time to brainstorm to develop a short, memorable, and easy-to-spell domain name.
You must keep in mind certain things while registering your domain name, like avoiding hyphens and numbers. Also, make sure to weigh your choices against the prices of the available domain names. It is best to invest in a paid domain name as it gives your website a much more professional look.
If you choose a website builder instead of a CMS, your hosting options are limited to the ones offered by the particular company. However, If you decide not to go with a website builder, make sure to research the best web hosting services.
Security, scalability, and good customer support are the three critical factors you must consider while selecting your web hosting service provider. Since you’re building a website for the first time, responsive customer support comes in handy here. Also, these are often a cheaper solution if you’re not willing to spend too much money. You can opt for a free CMS (WordPress) with budget-friendly plans.
An SSL certificate stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a security protocol used by websites, a code on your web server that secures the connection between visitors’ web browsers and their servers. Moreover, it encrypts data to keep hackers from accessing it without having an encryption key.
It is essential to have an SSL certificate if you want to accept online payments from your customers through your website. They help protect customer data, build and increase customer trust. According to a survey, 54% of the respondents say they’re not likely to visit a website at all if they see a prompt that shows a problem with the security certificate. So, make sure you get an SSL certificate for your website without a miss.
If you want to improve your website's search performance, Search Engine Optimization is a must. SEO helps your website to reach the first page in Google search results. While this may seem like an impossible task at first, you will get the hang of it with time and yield the desired results.
SEO is a broad and constantly changing domain, so bear in mind that there’s a learning curve. There are ample SEO resources available in the market that you can leverage to increase your website performance—for example, Yoast, SEM Rush, Google’s SEO starter guide, etc. You need to have patience and understand that it will take some time to shoot instantly to the top. Focus on creating valuable and engaging content, and take the help of your website statistics to understand better what’s working and what isn’t.
Take a note of all your technical SEO elements like the title tags, SEO-friendly meta descriptions, and clear organization. For better performance, frequent updates and speed checks are critical as well.
A website is an ongoing project; it is never finished. Once it is out there on the internet, you will need to keep up with regular updates and invest in its maintenance. But for starters, you must take your time to plan your site and invest in the right tools to make things much easier down the road. Follow the given tips, and you’ll be able to build a website that you can be proud of!
Anuja is the Co-founder and CEO of RedAlkemi Online Pvt. Ltd., a digital marketing agency helping clients with their end to end online presence. Anuja has 30 years of work experience as a successful entrepreneur and has co-founded several ventures since 1986. She and her team are passionate about helping SMEs achieve measurable online success for their business. Anuja holds a Bachelors degree in Advertising from the Government College of Fine Arts, Chandigarh, India.