Are you contemplating creating a website but don’t know where to start? There is a lot to consider, but the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you know what the most important parts are. Whether the purpose of your website will be for business or personal and social reasons, you will want to put some thought into the design to make sure it’s appealing and will attract users. Here are a few must-have features and tips to get you started.
Domain Name and Host
First of all, you will need to decide on a name for your website. If you already have a company name then you will most likely want to use that. If not, think about the overall purpose of your website. How can you sum up what you are trying to achieve? Do some brainstorming and come up with a few ideas to choose from.
Once you have your domain name selected and purchased, you will need to find a host. A host will allow you to build your website and be accessible to the internet. There are both free and paid versions and your needs will determine which is best for you.
Software and Support
A website can’t be built, or function, without the proper software and programming. You will need to consider safety features as well to prevent hacking and keep any financial information and transactions secure. What goes on behind the scenes to make everything work is just as important as the content you provide.
If you are unfamiliar with web development, hiring a knowledgeable professional to aid in the creation of your website is a good idea and will ensure the end product is of high quality.
After the initial setup is finished, you can start to add your content. Decide how specific or broad you will be with your content. If your website is health-based, are you going to talk strictly about good health habits and have resources on quality fat burners? Or will your focus be more open and include alternative modalities, blog posts, and additional resources? Either way is good, as long as you have a plan and organize your content in a way that makes sense.
Other factors to consider are if you will be supplying information only or selling a product or service, and the prevalence of images with your written content. The type and amount of content you provide will determine the best way to organize your website.
Design and Layout
Visitors to your website will only stick around long enough to see what you have to offer if your website is visually appealing and easy to understand. Choose colorful images and organize your content in a way that makes it simple to find things. Divide everything into sections with menus and links to immediately get to the desired page.
Provide plenty of useful information, but don’t make the design too busy or the important details will get lost in the confusion. How your website pages are organized will make all the difference when it comes to user interest and satisfaction.
Another big part of appealing to your site users is navigation. How is your website structured? Can it be used by anyone? Is everything easy to find without frustration and confusion? Keep in mind that not everyone in your customer base or audience may be knowledgeable about computers, and the skills needed to explore the site should be minimal.
You should also think about how accessible your site and content are. Is it useable with any internet browser? Will your visitors be able to get the same experience and view all functions from a mobile device as on a desktop? Links to social media accounts are also a good thing to include so interested users can follow your updates and share interesting information that they have found on your website.
If you are going to be featuring any products on your website, then taking great quality images is vital. Choose the proper lighting and take detailed shots that best represent the product. You will also need to decide how to display these images. Is selling the main function and goal of your website? If so, then all images should be organized by category and accompanied by product descriptions, and displayed prominently on the page.
Include your brand logo in a highly visible place to keep your company name in the minds of users. When you sell products, feature the same logo on packaging materials for a cohesive company image.
Customers and casual views alike both want to be engaged by your website. If the content is uninteresting or not pleasant to look at, they will likely exit the website without perusing the entire thing. Prevent this from happening by offering an interactive experience.
Include some tutorials or information videos to get to know the purpose of your website and explain key features. Offer a virtual guide through the site. Customer service is a crucial part of your website. Consider an interactive live chat function to provide users with immediate assistance and answers to their pressing problems, along with more traditional phone number and email options.
After you have your website running smoothly and you start to see the number of visitors increasing, it’s time for the next step. All websites need regular updates and maintenance to stay relevant. You should add fresh content often, fix all problems that arise and contribute new features and improvements.
Constant attention and adjustments will need to be made to keep the interest of your users and make sure your content is up to date and competitive. This includes both your niche area content and making updates and replacements to your software programs as new editions are released and superior technology is developed.
Designing a website tailored to your exact needs can be exciting. It lets you have complete control over the features to include and focus on. With a good foundation of technology to support it, your website will be a beautifully crafted work of art that lets you share your message with a broad user base and gain the traffic and interest it needs to be a successful venture.