Every business and serious enterprise of any kind needs a good website in order to be considered legitimate. And honestly, a bad website is even worse than no website at all.
Problem is, not everyone has the funds to hire a top tier web designer. But wait – it is possible to create your own beautifully styled, smoothly-running website even if you have no idea how.
Read on to find out.
Choose the right web host
Before you do any designing, you need to choose a web host. This service will maintain the files that make up your website and keep them available online.
As you research your options, look for one that includes the kind of extras that you might struggle to source on your own. An SSL certificate – the thing that makes websites safe for browsing and for conducting business – is one important feature that you definitely need.
You also want to choose a host that makes it super easy to buy your domain name and to install a content management platform. WordPress is very popular, powering over 35% of the world’s websites, and is quite user-friendly, too.
Use a WYSIWYG editor
WYSIWYG stands for “What you see is what you get,” and refers to editing software that allows you to drag and drop elements of the website. No HTML coding is necessary on your part, though of course it still happens on the backend.
If you use a program like WordPress or Wix, you’ll find a huge selection of templates to work from. Simply customize your favorite to be relevant to your site. Other popular WYSIWYG editors include Adobe Dreamweaver, Amaya, and Microsoft Expression.
Google My Business Website Builder
Google can help you establish a basic one-page website that focuses primarily on how customers can reach you. Available to businesses that have a Google My Business account (it’s free), this page allows you to choose a template into which information from your GMB listing is attractively populated.
This website integrates with Google Maps to help customers find your location and also has fields for further URL addresses that might take visitors to your booking platform, product listing, or other relevant site. Up to 9 photos can be included, but choose the order of upload wisely because you can’t reorganize them.
When you publish your site, Google will assign a URL that includes your business followed by .business.site. To have a domain that is simply your-business-name.com, you’ll need to pay.
It does not hurt to launch your web presence with a Google My Business website. However, you may grow out of it quickly and should then look at designing a more detailed site with help from the advice below.
Along the way you are sure to run into questions. Web design is a highly technical undertaking, and even though there are many products that make it doable for novices, it can still be a challenge to translate your dream site into a reality.
Thankfully, for everything that can be done, you’ll find an online tutorial to guide you through it. Find a YouTuber that you like in the tech niche and commit the hours to educating yourself before, during, and after your web design experience. After all, you will surely want to grow your site as time goes on.
Optimize for search
Not only do you need a website, but you need it to be easily reachable for your customers or followers. A big part of that is making sure that your site ranks well with search engines. You want your website to rank on the first page of search results for the niche you occupy, because 75% of people never click over to the second page.
A LOT goes into the SEO process, so definitely fire up YouTube and learn all you can on the topic.
But SEO is about more than the keywords. You need to update your website regularly with high quality content and pay attention to your page load speed – slow speeds are noticed by Google and drop your page rank. You should also include outbound links in your text and consider adding additional multimedia elements.
Don’t forget about the mobile experience
Even though you will be designing your new website on a laptop, the majority of your visitors will be interacting with it on a mobile device. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it isn’t truly successful. Most designers give you the option to see how the page will look and work on mobile devices as you go – be sure to do this often.
Once your site is live, navigate there on a mobile device yourself. Follow every link and perform every action you want your visitors to take. Things can look very different between computer and mobile screens.
Web design and development is certainly a challenging and complex undertaking. But new tools make it possible to accomplish with little to no advance knowledge. And the cool thing is that while you may start without any skills, you will have tons by the time you push that site live. You’ll never really finish, though. Websites are dynamic and should be continually improved and updated.
So take all those creative ideas and make them a reality. You can do it!