So, you’ve got a great idea or a new business, and you’re ready to create a website. Do you know what it takes to not only develop a new site but make sure it stands up to your competitors on the web? Bellaworks web designers are ready to share the six most important aspects of building a business website, and what you should be asking if you’re searching for a web designer near you.
What do you need to create a website?
To build a successful website, you’ll need to consider:
There are plenty of free web design companies that will make it seem like creating a site is a simple, done-in-an-hour task. You can absolutely purchase a domain name and put your logo on a home page in that amount of time, but to truly make an impact on the web, there are a few more considerations that can make or break your online performance. A great web development partner will help you navigate these steps and set you up for success.
Your website is the digital face of your company and needs to, above all, accurately represent your brand. When a client visits your site, they should immediately be able to identify who you are, what you do, and which benefits make you stand out. Developing a brand is a process that involves asking yourself questions like:
- What traits does my brand embody? How does it look, sound, and feel?
- What are our business values?
- What are our key benefits to our audience?
And, of course, you’ll need to have a defined logo, color schemes, and typography standards (we go into why every small business needs a great logo here). This step is key to ensuring that your site helps you build brand equity and awareness with your audience. If you don’t prioritize branding your website, you risk losing customers or confusing site visitors with inconsistent visuals and messaging. If you’d like to learn more about creating a brand strategy for your website, consider collaborating with a professional.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is how people will find your business on the web. After all, your beautifully designed website is only serving you if it builds connections and drives engagement with your target audience.
As we leave keyword stuffing in the past, more and more SEO depends on both on-page copy and back-end coding. There are plenty of trendy SEO strategies out there (some of which can actually harm your online performance), but the best way to build trust with your audience and satisfy Google’s crawlers is to:
- Pay attention to the details in your site’s code
- Create quality content that provides valuable information for your audience
Take a look at this post on the basics of SEO for more on getting started.
Setting up the back-end of your site correctly from the beginning saves time, money, and headaches trying to figure out why your awesome business doesn’t show up when people search for your products or services on Google. If you’re up on the latest coding requirements for satisfying Google’s algorithm, then you’re good to go to create a high-performing site. But, if coding just isn’t your thing, this is an area where we’d recommend consulting with an SEO expert.
Site structure matters both for visitor accessibility and for satisfying search engines. The general rule of thumb for website architecture says that a visitor should be able to get to any page on your site in 3 clicks or less. If you achieve this, your site is both easy (and enjoyable) to use for your customers and well-organized from Google’s perspective. Making sure your site stays easily navigable isn’t necessarily as simple as it seems. This is especially true if your business requires a high volume of pages or pages that regularly need to change (such as product pages). This article from Yoast dives deep into how to design your linking structure, categories, and content.
If you’ve already done some research on web design for your business, you may have come across the terms UI and UX. UI stands for User Interface, and UX stands for User Experience. Both refer to the experience a user has when they visit your website, and often you’ll hear web designers talk about UI or UX optimization. When you design a website with UX in mind, you essentially say “Hey, my customers are the ones who’ll need to be able to engage and interact with this website – what is it that they need?”. If you choose to create a custom website with a web development team, they’ll be able to:
- Create specific functionalities for your business
What actions do you want users to take on your website? Will they need to make a purchase? Sign up for a newsletter? Your designer will be able to arrange your site elements to make these actions seamless and straightforward.
- Leverage human psychology
UX research tells us that certain behavior patterns repeat themselves throughout communities – and we can use them to our advantage when creating a user-friendly site. Things like reading patterns, image response, and emotional associations with color should all inform a website’s design
- Personalize your site.
Along with great branding, your site’s UX should reflect your tone and style as a business. Calls to action, workflows, forms, and even error messages can be a part of a comprehensive design strategy that puts users first and builds your brand.
We’ll be honest: this is an area when many of our web clients say they’d like to do it themselves. And we get it! You know your business best and may be concerned that an outside writer may not be able to speak in your voice. Here comes the but: BUT, a professional copywriter knows what written content will generate leads and boost engagement on the web. Also, they are experts at learning a brand’s voice and writing in that tone to maintain consistency and professionalism across the board.
Copywriting is often one of the most neglected areas of web design, even though it plays a huge role in pleasing search engines and converting prospects once they arrive at your site. If you’re reviewing existing website copy for your business, consider this:
- Are you clearly communicating your business’s biggest benefits?
- Are your headlines catchy, professional, and in line with your brand’s tone?
- Does your copy fit in well with your web design? Is it driving action and conversions?
- And the big one: are you including relevant keywords based on SEO research to drive search engine results?
A digital copywriter has expertise in optimizing the text on your site so you can spend more time doing what you do best. They understand details like: how many words should be featured on each section of a webpage, how many bullet points are too many, and exactly how many characters can be in the title of a blog to show up on Google. If you’re partnering with a digital marketing agency to design your website, don’t forget to ask about their copywriting services to make sure every word on your site is working for you.
Picture this: you’ve just bought a brand new, beautiful car. Then you take it home, and you willingly hand the keys to a stranger who fills it up with the wrong gasoline, burns out the engine, and then steals the whole car. That’s what you’re doing if you don’t prioritize finding a high-quality, secure host for your website. Subpar hosting services can result in:
- Slow loading speeds, frustrated customers, and poor SEO
- Bugs or hacks that prevent your site from smooth operations
- A lack of dedicated customer service to make sure your plugins and applications stay up to date.
Don’t overlook the importance of a trustworthy hosting service, and do your research to make sure your host will keep your website safe and secure.
Can I create a website for free?
The short answer is: yes. There are free services that let you choose a template and drop in your logo, business name, and copy. By working with a professional web design team, you ensure that none of the six steps we went over in this article are overlooked. When you consider that the number of companies doing business online is growing every day, standing out from competitors becomes a daunting challenge. That’s where the detailed service and expertise from web developers can really make a difference. At Bellaworks, we go over this checklist before every website launch:
We’re here to guide you through the exciting and complex process of creating a professional website that supports a comprehensive brand strategy. If you’re ready to get started building your business online or still have questions about what goes into making a website, feel free to reach out to our team for a free consultation and quote.
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A fresh look at content should be the starting point for anyone beginning a website project - whether it be a website refresh or a new site.
Download "Content That Connects," and you'll receive a full guide to getting started with your website project by looking at your content. You'll learn how to talk about your business, your services, and your value. All of this will help you think through the strategy behind your website.