Steps To Building A Great Website

A website is typically the hub of your digital marketing strategy. In most cases, all roads eventually lead to your site to find information, make a purchase or sign up for services, contact your company, or get service and support when needed. And while social media can help with quick sales, information sharing and customer service, it’s critical that you’re using your website to its fullest potential as well. Some customers may not use social media and some will need more details or resources than can be provided via social platforms. It’s also the most common action to head straight to a search engine when looking for most products and services, so you want a website that is well optimized and ready to draw tons of traffic.

Steps To Building A Great Website

When you decide to build a website or create an updated version of your existing site, there are some important steps that you may not initially realize need to be done. The most important are the steps before you start building the site. Clarifying your goals and needs, as well as having a plan for how you’ll attract customers and how they will use your site, are all critical to sort out prior to getting started. And once your site is built, there are several technical optimization steps that need to be taken prior to launching it to ensure search engines can properly crawl and index your content. 

Here are the steps we take at Digital Monk to ensure your website is not only beautiful and well-functioning, but also attractive to search engines and effective in helping you reach your marketing goals.

  1. Clarify the details – First and foremost, you need to be crystal clear on your goals, messaging and target customer personas. Craft a strategy using this information that details how customers will find your site, which key pages they will land on and how the journey will work for them. Be sure to consider your social media, content, SEO and advertising strategy so that your site can be set up to support the buying journey from each tactic you plan to use. 

  2. Map it out – In this step, you want to dig more into how you want visitors to move through your website. Think about the following:

    What information do they need to know?

  • What information do they already have? Where are they in the sales funnel based on where they found you?

  • What actions do you want them to take?

  • How will they contact you to get started?

  • Are there micro conversions they might complete?

    Use this information to create a list of pages that you’ll need and a Navigation menu. Then you can plot out which pages will have which information on them, starting with your Home page which will lead visitors to most of your other key pages as well. 

  1. Create an outline – This step is often called wireframing and the purpose is to get a sense of what content will be on which page (planned in the previous step), but also to start considering how that will be designed and how it will look on the page. You’ll want to do this for each different page type you will create. If you offer 6 services and all 6 pages are going to follow a similar format, you’ll only need to do this step once. By outlining each page, you can get a sense of what needs to be included. If you’re very set on what to include, do this before Step 4. If you’re not quite sure how you want to display your information, you may want to do this in conjunction with Step 4. 

  2. Choose a theme, template or custom design – Check for themes that might be very similar to your idea and needs. Sometimes you can look through templates from your industry or related industries to find something that is a very close fit. This can save time and money, especially if you are not a developer. In our case, reviewing templates with a client helps them to get a sense of which features and elements they would like to see so designs can be created from there. How you execute this part of the process will depend on whether you are working with a graphic designer and/or web developer, or if you’re completing the site on your own. 

    Once you’ve decided on a design, your pages can be outlined to ensure you know what content, information, tools and resources need to be on each page prior to starting any development. 

  3. Write the content – Now that you’ve got an outline for your site – what you need to say, in which order and how, you can write the content to fit into the template or design you’ve come up with. Remember to consider your audience when writing your copy. Be sure you’re speaking in a way they will connect with and give the right amount of information to help them, but not overwhelm them. And always be consistent in your copy. Have your groups of pages follow a similar format, keep phrasing, casing, fonts, headers grammar and spelling consistent and consider having someone who doesn’t work for you review the copy before you move forward. 

  4. Source images and creative elements – Pictures tell a big part of the story on your website and videos can be a critical tool. So can the creative elements you use to display information in unique ways. It’s important to match these elements to your brand and so they work together cohesively with your design and copy. Consider using your own images as much as possible and that they are high quality images. If you do not have the ability to use your own images for any reason, choose quality stock photography and always make sure you have permission to reproduce the images on your own site. Images should be optimized for SEO before being placed on the site. 

  5. Develop the site – Now comes the time to put all of the pieces together. You’ve mapped out how the pages will look, what copy goes where and have collected all of the images and creative elements you need so now it’s time to put it all together on the pages. This part can vary widely in complexity depending on how you’ve chosen to build the site. If you’re using a website theme or template, you’ll just drag and drop and fill in the blanks. You may have also chosen to work with a developer, which is highly recommended, so at this point, you would provide them with all of the assets, information and designs and let them get to work making it happen. Any apps, widgets and plugins your site will need to function properly will be installed and tested in this stage as well. 

  6. Review & test – Once the site is built, you’ll want to check it over the site for consistency; that image sizes are the same and they work in harmony on each page, that everything is on brand, and that spelling, font sizes, type casing and colours are consistent. Test that all links work, the widgets and apps are functional and that any plugins are properly pulling the right information. This is your chance to ensure everything is done right, looks good and functions well before you go live.

  7. Optimize your site – Before your site is live (this step can also be done after launching the site), you’ll want to optimize the content. Be sure your URL structure is easy for search engines to index, your meta and alt tags are all entered and your keywords have been used efficiently. There is a lot of technical know-how required for effective SEO optimization so you may want to hire support for this step. A great SEO company can help you to craft the initial strategy and then optimize the site prior to launching it. 

  8. Go live – When you’re sure the site looks and works as best as possible, it’s time for the most exciting step – getting it live!

    Getting your site live may take a few steps depending on your unique situation. If you are using a site builder, the instructions may be included. Otherwise, you’ll need to consider if you currently have another site using your domain name or if this is the first launch on that domain. 

Creating a website is not a simple task. It takes thought, planning and time to get it right, but it’s well worth the effort when you reap the benefits. A site that is well thought out and effective at supporting your customers will generate business for you. And if you plan it well, it can generate business for you for several years before having to be replaced.

If you need support through any stage, or the whole process, of creating a website that will be effective in search and your customers will love, we can help! Reach out today to get started.

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