These days, creating a website is a crucial decision for attracting visitors and clients in an increasingly technological world. Having an online storefront, in fact, allows you to increase your credibility, expand your activities, and grow your business.
Building a website isn't complicated, and there is now plenty of information available online that can provide precise and detailed tips for how to create a website. In this article, we'll go over the basics: the best steps to follow for creating your website.
1. A map can be handy when navigating the internet
To start, use pencil and paper to plan out your website: what will it be about? What sections will be in the menu? What about the pages? Put your site's structure on paper, as though you were creating a map: from categories like the homepage, contact page, and galleries, to the most important topics you want to cover. This task helps you organize your project, and also makes it easier to identify the main aspects you should focus on.
2. What's your name?
It's a good idea to think carefully about your website's name, which will also be the domain name. This is a key step: the name is one of the factors that will help your project rank highly in search engine results. Our tip? Choose a name that's original and that fits your subject matter: research the most commonly-used keywords in your field, and see if you can include at least one in your domain.
Speaking of tips, as with most things in life, one secret for creating a successful website is looking at what others are doing, and studying the competition. Before diving into your own adventure, lay the foundation by researching the web, looking at projects that are similar to the one you're planning, and trying to understand what makes one site receive more clicks and visitors than another.
3. Let's get in shape!
When it comes to shaping your website's design, the first step is to build an intuitive and attractive homepage. The homepage is your calling card, it's a newspaper's cover page or a store's display window. It needs to be attractive, clear, well-written, original, carefully designed, and not too heavy or redundant. The homepage should immediately let the user know what your site is about. Otherwise, instead of navigating further into your website, they'll just click out of it.
A good homepage, besides being well-designed, needs an appropriate menu which must contain a few fundamental ingredients: the "About Us" page, which introduces the site's author(s) and focus; a gallery or video section, especially if you're selling products (videos are generally the most clicked-on part of a website); contact information, so that visitors can immediately learn how to direct any questions or tips to the site's author(s); social media buttons, which allow you to easily and intuitively link your profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, etc.; and a product catalog if your website includes a sales section.
4. What about substance?
So far we've discussed the form, and how content is to be arranged, which mainly concerns your visitors' user experience. However, to turn an occasional visitor into a repeat guest on your website, it's crucial that your project contains substance as well as style, and therefore that your content meets expectations.
Whether posted in a blog or throughout your site's various pages, your content needs to be original, clear, written correctly and without mistakes, and not be too long (even though there isn't really a length limit on the web). Here are some useful guidelines:
- use short, simple phrases.
- give your text room to breathe, maybe by leaving a blank line between paragraphs or using good spacing;
- add movement by using bolding, bullet points, titles, and subtitles, all of which break up the rhythm;
- insert images or graphics that are pleasing to look at, capture attention, and help readers understand what you're talking about;
- repeat keywords that are easily identifiable by search engines (but don't overdo it). In other words, there is a wide variety of tips and tricks you can use to make your content more readable and more attractive than your competitors'.
Now that you know the basics for creating a good website, you're ready for action! The real challenge, in fact, is starting: only by moving from theory to practice can you find out if your project will succeed.
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