Have you ever wondered what the difference between an average and a great website is? Well, there’s a 7-step process to building a great website.
It starts from defining the project, planning it, sketching the layout, designing and building the website, testing and optimizing it, launching it, and ends with regularly maintaining and updating your website.
Let’s discuss and elaborate on each step to understand the nitty-gritty of the subsequent processes.
1. Define the Project
The first thing to consider before building a website is defining the project in the clearest way possible. You need to define for whom you are building the website. Is it for your own purpose? Is it for your existing business or a new startup? Is it for an individual client or an agency?
Afterward, you can fill these questionnaires that include the core variables of the project.
Business and User Goals of The Project
Business and user goals vary from project to project. For instance, your business goal could be to sell premium tech news subscriptions while the user goal could be getting high-quality genuine tech news for an affordable price.
The Target Audience
A website made for selling remote-controlled toys for kids would be completely different from the one built for selling anti-aging makeup products. Be as specific as you can because it really makes sense. In most cases, you’ll get the information about the target audience from your clients. Your potential client’s profile could be: tech-savvy men and women, 18 to 28 years old, living in the United States, earning over $2500/month.
Determining the budget before initiating the website project is a must-do task. The time and cost factors have a close relation to the output of the project. You can quote a per hour, per page, or per project rate.
Formulate at least 10-15 key questions and get these in writing before the commencement of any project.
2. Plan the Project
There are many cases where you are supposed to build a website with dummy texts and update the content after completion. But, that’s not how the planning works. Your website should be aligned with your content. That’s why it’s important to get the web copy first and build the website later. You can also help your client to find some content like adding free images or writing a copy (charge it separately.)
Whenever you’re dealing with a bigger project, plan out the content hierarchy. It’s like the sitemap where you determine all the pages that the website needs and relate them to one another. You should plan all the sections for each page and order the content accordingly.
3. Sketch the Layout
Remember that every website possesses a personality; design it to strengthen the relationship between visitors and the site. Take a pen and paper or any design software like Figma to get the ideas out of your head. Think about all the components that you would need, refer to various websites, and see how you can use those components in your layout patterns. It involves several iterations as you get inspiration, experiment, and apply different components and layouts until you find a good solution.
You shouldn’t run after making it perfect in one go. You don’t need to sketch everything. You’ll get the spark when you’re ready to start building the website.
4. Design and Build the Website
Now, it’s high time to utilize all the decisions, images, content, sketches, and designs from the previous steps and start building the website using HTML and CSS. You need to design the visual styles of the components and layouts from the selected list. For this, you can use the client’s branding (if it exists) for making intelligent design decisions like the colors, icons, typography, frames, and similar items.
A great website has a powerful functional program for the backend. Also, the navigation is efficient and appealing. It’s essential to have a clean and SEO-friendly code so that the search engine spiders identify it in a better way. Use high-quality original content that echoes your brand’s USP.
You can consider building an active blog so that the visitors would know about the latest industry-related information from your site. Don’t forget to follow the responsive design principles and match your design to the website personality.
5. Test and Optimize the Site
The number of internet browsers is growing day by day. It’s vital to test the compatibility of your website with multiple browsers, especially all the major browsers like Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox, and even the old Internet Explorer.
Nevertheless, the usefulness of the DevTools is undeniable. It would be best to test the website on actual mobile devices, especially when it comes to Mac.
You should learn more about search engine optimization and try to optimize all the images as much as possible. Observe the loading time of your website and try to shorten it to enhance customer retention. Make your website accessible by fixing the color contrast issues and using semantic HTML. You should run the Lighthouse performance test to fix the reported issues.
6. Launch the Masterpiece
Once the website is ready, and you have received the client’s approval, it’s time to launch your masterpiece and share it with the entire world. You should upload your website files to a good hosting platform. If you are a beginner, then you can use the free plan of Netlify. You should always ensure that whatever platform you choose, it should be super-fast as well as considerably efficient.
Connect the domain name (if it already exists) or buy a new one. Try to get a domain name that reveals the brand at the very first glance. You can get a hosting platform and a domain name in the early phase even before commencing the website project. Make sure to seek the domain that is memorable, quick, and easy to spell. That’s the final step for your website project and you are good to launch your website.
7. Maintain and Update the Website Regularly
You should keep your website well maintained and attractive to engage and retain customers consistently. Monitor your website on a regular basis to capture any immediate issues. You should run a backup, check all your forms, pages, 404 errors, and update software and plugin (if any) on a weekly basis. You should check the load speed of your website, review security scans, analyze the stats, and update existing blogs every month.
That’s not the end. You should review your website design, structure, images, and graphics, too. There’s always room for improvement. Don’t forget to check if your website domain is renewed on yearly basis. If your website has an active blog, then see how you can update the top-performing blogs so that they stay relevant for the present time.
Your Great Website Is Now Ready
Your website is no less than an asset for your business. Having a sleek website counts on your side as you can easily convince potential customers. With a beautiful design, consistent layout, fast and accurate response, your website is the virtual identifier of your product or service. Code it with love and maintain it with care.
Learn how to set up a WordPress website from start to finish with our guide to hosting, customization, and theming.
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