Our Step by Step Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Website

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11 Jan 2022
5 min read

Creating a website is a huge step forward for any business. With a clear vision and a talented agency by your side to help bring it to life, you’ll be achieving several goals already: establishing a web presence, attracting leads, and enabling those leads to learn about your business and eventually convert. These days, our society is much more digitally literate than previous generations; however, being able to design and create a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing website can be a tall order for the average business owner to work into their already tight schedule. Moreover, maintaining the website and achieving effective SEO (search engine optimization) that attracts organic traffic is another challenge entirely. With that said, these are all hugely important steps if you’re serious about your business in this digital age. Whether you’re in eCommerce, finance, hospitality, health services or any other industry, a highly optimized website will set you apart from your competitors and serve as the foundation for your marketing and business efforts.

To help you make sense of what can be a complicated goal, we’ve put together this beginner's guide to website creation. In this guide we’ll cover the following steps for creating a website:

  1. Planning and design
  2. Choosing a website builder
  3. Choosing a website theme
  4. Conducting keyword research
  5. Writing page copy and improving search engine optimization
  6. Publishing the website

Step 1: Planning and Designing a Website

Before you can bring your beautiful (and hopefully lucrative) ideas to life, first you need to plan. As arguably the most important step in this process, it’s wise to take your time with this by thoughtfully and meaningfully designing each aspect of the website. As the saying goes: “measure twice, cut once”. The more preparation that goes into creating and designing the website, the better it will perform over time, and better yet, the other steps in this process will be easier. If you’re constantly having to edit and change the structure of the site, you’ll be losing time from actually running your business and it will hurt your search engine optimization and thus, organic traffic growth.

Step 2: Choosing a Website Builder

In the past, building a website was a tall order and was typically only done by programmers or those who were literate in coding, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. Now, it is much simpler. With so many different platforms available to host and publish your site, the natural competition amongst them has advanced web design significantly in such a short time. Creating more themes, functions, capabilities, and tools than ever before, these website builders make it easier everyday to start creating your website. While there are dozens of hosting platforms and website builders, the 4 main website builders in 2022 are:

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • Shopify

Though similar in some regards, they offer a wide variety of tools and functions to serve different purposes, so it’s crucial to understand the key differences between each one. WordPress is typically a more advanced platform better suited for larger sites that are more content heavy. WordPress also offers a multitude of advanced marketing and SEO tools to help take your business to the next level. Wix has become quite a competitor to WordPress recently due to its simple design and ease of use, however, in a slightly different space. Wix offers incredibly intuitive web design tools that are great for someone just learning to create a website. For that reason, Wix has traditionally been best suited for smaller businesses. One thing to note about Wix, however, is that they continue to improve their platform with more tools and functions so it’s easy to see why so many business owners have been turning to Wix over the last few years. Similar to Wix, Squarespace offers a simple and intuitive platform with many templates to choose from to design your site. Though these 3 platforms offer great tools and capabilities, if you’re running an eCommerce site, Shopify will be your best bet. Shopify is designed to help business owners design a clean and highly functional eCommerce website. Offering many apps and functions, Shopify can help you quickly scale your online store and improve revenue and web presence. Whichever website builder you choose, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each before making your decision to ensure you’ve made the right one for you and your business goals.

Step 3: Choosing a Website Theme

As we said, website builders these days offer such a wide variety of themes that it’s never been easier to choose one that is both aesthetically appealing to you and your consumers, and also functional. This step is fairly simple but we’ll encourage you to consider a few questions as you decide on your theme.

  • What mood and message do I want my website to convey?
  • What plugins, designs, and capabilities do I need for my website? (Some themes aren’t compatible with everything)
  • Will the theme be easy to edit?
  • How does my website theme appear for mobile users?
  • Is the theme highly responsive and does it have fast load times?

While there are certainly other factors to consider, depending on the type of business and website you run, these questions will serve as a starting point to help you understand the many variables of web design and the theme you select.

Step 4: Conducting Keyword Research

A hugely important step in website creation and maintenance, keyword research. When done correctly, this will improve page copy and search engine optimization so that consumers will find more value in your site, and search engines will rank your content more favorably and thus, improve traffic and conversion. There are many tools you can use to conduct this research such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SemRush, and many more but they all aim to achieve the same goal- finding the keywords (search terms) that your target audience is searching. Ideally, you want to find keywords with high search volume and low competition so that it’s easy to rank for on search engines and it also generates a lot of traffic. Another great way to find strong keywords is to conduct competitor research. Within the aforementioned tools, you can see which search terms your competitors are ranking for and gain insights as to how you can rank more favorably and hopefully surpass them. Keyword research is the foundation of all good SEO (search engine optimization) and so to improve your SEO and organic traffic, it all starts here.

Step 5: Writing Page Copy and Improving Search Engine Optimization

So now that we know the foundation of SEO and we’ve conducted our keyword research, it’s time to put pen to paper and develop the content of your website. To create effective page copy it’s important to remember a few things. The first is to keep it simple. While you may enjoy a long and challenging novel from time to time, your customers will not if it’s on your website. If you’re selling shoes and are writing the copy for a landing page in overly complex language like you’re Shakespeare, your potential customers will quickly get bored and move on in their purchasing journey. This is not to say you should ignore proper grammar or insult your customers’ intelligence level, but rather that customers typically want content that gets straight to the point and helps them quickly understand what you’re offering and why it benefits them. Be clear, be concise. In the same notion, another strategy to practice is emphasizing the benefits and solutions the product offers rather than just describing the product. At the end of the day, marketing is all about solving problems for your consumers. In the same example of a shoe store, most customers won’t really care about all of the technical details about how a basketball shoe is made, but rather, will the shoe improve their performance on the court?

Some important factors for SEO, aside from producing content around strong keywords, is formatting the page itself. This is called “on-page optimization”. Be sure to begin with a memorable headline that will capture a consumer’s attention from the start and then follow it up with even stronger content that grips them. Including things like bulleted or numbered lists as well as compelling and relevant pictures or graphics will also serve you well. This is because it breaks up the page into smaller, more easily digestible sections that allow consumers to skim the content and quickly get the information they need to make a decision. One of the most overlooked SEO factors, despite being one of the most important, is using CTAs (calls-to-action). Strong CTAs encourage your audience to convert into sales and also should provide a link to a page where they can convert. Remembering the little things like these will put you well on your way to creating a great website that performs well.

Step 6: Publishing the Website

This is it, congratulations! You’ve successfully designed and created a fantastic website that will improve your business for years to come. All that’s left to do is hit “publish”. Once this is done, you can continue with SEO and marketing efforts to ensure your audience can find you online and see what you’re all about.

From beginning to end, this can be a lengthy and stressful process. To avoid this, we recommend partnering with a highly experienced and creative digital agency to help you bring your dreams to life. Nxt Era Marketing will not only help you plan, design, build, and publish your website, but we will also be there afterwards to help you with all of your digital marketing needs, such as website maintenance, paid advertising, and search engine optimization. Schedule your free consultation today and find out how else we can serve you!

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