Before you begin creating your own website and launch it to the Internet, it’s important to know how websites work, and what are those thing you will need to put in mind before it goes live.
In this Covid 19 period, I think is the best time for anyone to use your free time well to build and design a website even without knowing anything about web development, design or coding.
Whether you want to create a website for yourself or for your business, you can easily do that by using the right tools and resources.
This step-by-step guide will help you create a website from scratch without having to spend money for freelancers, agencies or website builders.
All you need is 1-2 hours of your free time to complete the guide and set up a website.
Here are some basic terms you will need to know first:
- A website is simply a collection of web pages of codes – codes that describes the layout, format and content on a page.
- The web server is a internet-connected computer that receives the request for a web page sent by your browser.
- The browser connects your computer to the server through an IP address. The IP address is obtained by translating the domain name. (Don’t worry, this part is all done automatically by your browser so you don’t have to look up the IP addresses yourself.)
In other words, in order to display your website on the Internet, you will need:
- A website
- A domain name
- A server
What Is A website?
A website is typically a collection of web pages, images and other elements that are linked together to form a larger, structured document. Think of a website as a book and each individual page is a web page.
A website can be made up of a single page or it could have thousands of pages. Each page will have its own text, images and other elements. All web pages and elements are then placed in a folder and stored on your web host server.
Each web page is written in codes and these codes describe the layout, format and content on the page. The most common coding language used to create web pages is HTML.
The Process Of Creating a website
But just because a web page is written in codes doesn’t mean you need to be an IT geek to create one yourself. In fact, you don’t even need to know code or possess any technical skills or knowledge to create a website nowadays. Technology has advanced tremendously and there are a lot of website creators that allows you build functional and professional-looking websites without much or any technical knowledge.
If you have little to no technical knowledge and experience, the best is to use a website builder to create your website. The majority of website builders on the market are designed for the non-tech person in mind:
- Everything is online-based. There is nothing to download, nothing to install. Just open your web browser, type in the URL of the website builder, sign in and start building your website.
- No technical knowledge required. The website builders are created and managed by professionals so you don’t have to mess around with the technical aspects. You can create your entire website with all the bells and whistles without ever touching one line of code.
- It’s visual. Website builders typically use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that lets you create your website by dragging and dropping website elements into the desired location.
- Professionally-designed templates. You don’t have to worry about mismatched color schemes or disjointed layout as most website builders come with an extensive library of professional design templates.
Design Tip #1: Purpose
Each page of your website should have a clear purpose. It will most probably sell your products and services, generate leads or build your brand.
Ask yourself what your customer is going to look for on your website. Will it be information, purchase, and entertainment?
It’s easy if your website is supposed to entertain. You can share pictures, videos, podcasts or humorous art but you should remember to update it often.
If you’re creating an informational website, it means that its users will look for learning something new or understanding some topics better. Such websites should contain a knowledge base, tips and trick, “how to” guides or product pictures.
But if you’re creating an e-commerce website, you need to remember that this website is selling. This means that you need to have a nice design, high-quality pictures and persuasive copy with clear information about the benefits customer is going to get from you.
Design Tip #2: Visuals
Your website needs to be eye-catchy so visitors want to explore it. If it’s unattractive and old-fashioned, it might mean that you don’t care about improving your product or services.
Even if you’re not a web designer, you should have an impact on how your website is going to look. The best way to figure out what you want is to check your competitor’s websites and think about what you like and what would fit your brand’s personality.
You can also look for inspiration on websites like Awwwards that show best website examples of graphic design. It will let you get familiar with web design trends and form an opinion about what you like or dislike.
If you want to find pictures that are free to commercial use, you can check Pixabay, Unsplash or Flickr. Don’t rely on stock photos too much though, I’d recommend sticking to something that looks more natural.
Don’t use huge images if you don’t want your website to be slow and keep in mind to upload them in PNG or JPG format. Always use graphics and pictures that fit the content and, for heaven’s sake, don’t use anything that blinks, flashes or rotates.
Remember about whitespace so the website looks clear and aesthetic. Sometimes less is more!
Try to limit the number of different fonts to 3 and stick to the standard font families. I know that sticking to Helvetica or Arial might sound boring, but thanks to this your website will format correctly on more browsers!
Design Tip #3: Relevant, Original Content
None of your website visitors will have time to read essays about your products or services so remember about the main rule of content writing: clear communication.
Once your website visitors enters your website, make sure they know who you are, they know what you do and what kind of benefits they can get if they decide to become your customers.
Under “clear communication” I also understand a couple of less obvious things: the use of headlines and subheadings, bullet points and paragraphs.
(It’s good to remember about engine optimization before the content is written down, but since it’s a huge topic, you might want to listen to this podcast episode: SEO for dummies!)
Design Tip #4: Clear Website Navigation
Navigation is about how easy it is for people to take action and move around your website.
You can have the most beautiful website ever, but if your customers won’t be able to find the information they are looking for or get confused while encountering obstacles in the purchase process, your website won’t sell.
Think about creating a logical page hierarchy with clickable buttons and categories. Also, remember about the “three click rule” of clear navigation. This rule means that users should be able to find the information they are looking for within three clicks.
There is also a rule called the F-shaped pattern.
Most of what people see is in the top and left of the screen and we should put the most important information there. The right side of the screen is rarely explored, so we should not place there any important information, buttons or CTAs.
Your Website Is Your Business Card
You have probably seen at least a couple of really seductive websites that you didn’t want to leave.
Maybe you liked the gallery of Mulberry handbags, or maybe you couldn’t stop browsing through Quechua jackets, trying to decide which one you like the most. There was something that made those websites awesome: a design.
A good website grabs your attention and evokes emotions making you want to stay. It’s intuitive, easy to use and gives you a clear reason why you want to browse it. It has clear copy, clear CTAs and nice visuals.
But a good website is something that is not only made for a customer. Your website reflects you as a business owner and professional.
Your website is your company’s business card as people judge your brand based on what they can see on the Internet. That’s why, if you’re wondering if it makes sense to spend your time and efforts on creating an awesome website, let me tell you: it does.