6 Basic Things to Know Before Building Your Website

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By Devon Higgins

You know you need a website for your business, buy you have no idea where to start. What do I want to talk about on my website? Will my site be mainly for sharing information or for actually selling my products and services? How do I lay out my site? What platform should I use?

To answer these questions, here are some basic concepts that you need to get right so you can have a stunning website that pleases, performs, and converts.

1. Choose a design with an objective in mind

Planning your website requires some visualization and analysis on your part. Your site’s design largely depends on what exactly you want to do with it. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Who is your target market?
  • What information is important to them?
  • How interactive you want your site to be?
  • What are the features that you need or want on your website?

In addition, knowing your audience, their needs, and their buying behavior also helps you plan out a website that is attractive and useful to them.

2. Know your website’s capabilities, features, and limitations

The easiest way to create a website is to use a customizable, mobile-friendly design. But before rushing in on the first template that catches your eye, it is best to know that design’s capabilities, features, and limitations.

Also, note that some website designs are created with a specific purpose in mind. For example, one design may be ideal for photographers due to its gallery views and album options. Another may be ideal for small businesses with lots of promotional videos and landing pages.

3. Ensure that your site’s navigation is easy to use and understand

Have you ever visited a site that is difficult to navigate? In just minutes, frustration sets in and you leave the website, right? When you did that, you just added a point to the site’s bounce rate.

Avoid high bounce rates (i.e. the percentage of visitors who visit your site and then leave instead of viewing your other pages) on your own site by making your navigation easy, simple, and logical.

Here’s a short checklist to ensure easy and convenient navigation throughout your site:

  • Never use more than two words in a menu item
  • Make sure all menu items link to the correct pages
  • Make sure all internal and external links are working. Nobody wants to run into a 404 error.
  • Nest sub pages in a drop-down menu under your main menu. For example, nest your specific albums for Wedding, Portrait, and Events under the My Work menu item.

4. Publish interesting and useful blog posts

Blogs started out as online diaries that documented personal experiences and opinions. But in today’s online landscape, blogging opens up so many opportunities in terms of online marketing. At the end of the day, your content is king. The content on your website (yes, this includes your blog) can be the main reason why you end up on the first page of Google. This is why today, blogs are of utmost importance if you want your website to be seen by the masses.

Blogs are a key tool in being able to connect with your audience, share insights about your business/industry, and prove yourself as a thought leader to your clients and leads. Adding a blog to your website provides you with a lot of advantages.

5. Add social media sharing buttons

Having a stunning website is just half the battle. Now that you’ve built a stunning website, you’ll need to let the world know that it exists.

This is where social media comes in. Use your social media accounts to announce your business to your market, share useful information, interact with your audience, and more. Make sure you have the “big three”, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—they are the world’s biggest and most popular social media channels. Check too if for industry-specific social media channels.

Ensure that your new website has social media capabilities. In addition, you need to make sure your social media channels are active and updated. You can do this by adding links to relevant articles, posting photos, replying to your readers, initiating contests, and more.

6. Get a reputable web designer to work on your site

A skilled and experienced web design team can be critical to your websites success. A web design team can work on your design according to your preferences, suggest features to customize your site, deal with technical issues that may arise, assist you in solving problems, and so much more.

With a custom web design, you enjoy a whole lot of benefits. Additionally, your web team may know new trends in web design that they can implement on your site.

However, for some people going the custom route may not be an option due to budget limitations or personal design preferences. If that’s the case for you, there are plenty alternatives to create a website that suits your specific budget and needs. There are plenty of website builder platforms available that allow you to create, customize and manage your website all on your own. Whether you go for a DIY approach or opt for a customized website, Folio Websites has a plan that suits your needs.

Devon Higgins

Devon came to FolioWebsites with a background in digital marketing and communications. With a BA in Marketing from Michigan State University and previous experience working with both big business and non-profits, Devon brings a well-rounded perspective to the team. Outside of FolioWebsites, you can find Devon coaching and playing soccer, socializing in downtown Grand Rapids, or going on adventures throughout the great state of Michigan.

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