Web Design Secrets
A website serves as one of the primary platforms consumers will use to interact with your business. Without a website, you’re crippling your conversions and severely limiting your outreach opportunities. Without an effective website, you’re doing even more damage by pouring resources into something with no return.
Nearly 64 percent of businesses don’t have established websites. If you’re among that percentage, and you want to build yourself a platform that’ll allow consumers to come to you, why wait? Web design is simpler, nowadays, thanks to a plethora of tools available through hosting platforms and other third-party sites.
If you have a website but it isn’t converting? Don’t leave yet—these tips will be valuable for you, too. See if you can’t learn something new that will help turn things around.
Where do you start? With your platform’s intention.
Maybe you’re building an online storefront or just a lead conversion tool to encourage larger conversations. Your website can be as complex or as simple as you’d like, but it needs to do one thing and do it well, and that serves your business.
Web Design Secrets #1: Choose and Purchase a Domain Name
Your domain name is your connection to the world. It’s your dot com, dot net, or dot biz URL that guides consumers from one website to another—and helps the right consumers find you online.
It might seem minor, but this first step does require some careful thought. Your domain name should be unique, but it also needs to be available. You’ll need to make sure no one else is using your preferred name before you can purchase it through a hosting platform.
When creating a domain name, keep the following in mind:
- Relevance: Your domain name needs to reflect your platform’s intent.
- Length: The shorter your domain name, the more memorable it will be.
- Composition: Getting creative with your domain name may help you find a title that hasn’t been taken yet, but doing so might also look unprofessional. (Think harrysbusiness1.com VERSUS 23andme.com, and be careful.)
- Brand individuality: What if the domain name you choose already has branding affiliated with it? Before you make decisions, do a quick search to ensure that you’re not violating anyone’s existing copyright.
You can also use generator tools like Domain Wheel to determine whether the address you want is available.
If your domain name is indeed up for grabs, go ahead and purchase it at one of the following platforms:
You may be able to purchase it through your hosting site, but you may want to claim the name before you move on to choosing your website host.
Web Design Secrets #2: Sign Up for a Hosting Site
With a domain name under your belt, you’ll be able to start structuring your site through a hosting platform. You’ll have the opportunity to choose between two types of platforms: done-for-you website builders, or simple hosts.
Website builders are ideal for business owners who don’t know how to code and who want to rely upon content to sell their products—think Squarespace or Wix.
Host platforms require a little more creativity and coding know-how, but they also allow business owners an additional level of operational independence.
Sometimes, a site will even offer both a website builder and an open-hosting option, giving you even more flexibility.
These days, you have dozens of options (so if you’re using one that didn’t make our list, don’t worry.)
- WP Engine
- InMotion Hosting
- A2 Hosting
- GoDaddy Hosting
- 1&1 Ionos
Web Design Secrets #3: Actually Creating Your Web Pages
Once you have a hosting site to serve as your website’s architecture, you can start to create the web pages for your site.
If you’re well-versed in the world of coding, you can build your web pages from the ground up. However, if you’re more interested in working with a template, you can rely upon WordPress and its peers to help you get started.
Want to use a website builder with a different hosting server? This is a common option as well.
To get a better understanding of what the process looks like, let’s use Bluehost and WordPress as an example.
Starting with Bluehost, you’ll need to:
- 1. Select “Create” to start forming your Bluehost account.
- 2. Choose your website hosting plan.
- 3. Choose your domain name.
- 4. Enter your personal information.
- 5. Select any interesting add-ons (domain privacy protection, site backup, search engine jumpstart).
- 6. Confirm your account through an affiliated email.
From here, you’ll be able to affiliate WordPress and the host:
- 1. In the left sidebar, click “My Sites.”
- 2. Click “Create Site” on the right-hand side of your home page.
Alternatively, you can rely upon Bluehost’s affiliated wizard to show you how to install WordPress onto the platform.
At this point, you’ll be able to log into your website courtesy of your domain name. Enter the name into your search bar as follows:
Enter your affiliated email address and password into the box that appears on the following page. Once you have, you’ll be able to maneuver through WordPress’s consumer interface. You’ll find “posts” on the sidebar, toward the top of your screen. Click on “posts,” and you’ll be able to start creating the content you want to share on your platform.
These features will all ensure your site’s functionality:
- Permalink establishment: Under “settings,” select “permalinks” to build your about page, product pages, and blog.
- Website title and tag: In “settings,” and under “general,” set the title and tagline of your site.
- Comments: It’s up to you whether you want readers to be able to comment on the content you post. You can allow or disallow comments through WordPress by going into your settings, finding the “discussion” tag, and choosing your preferred form of engagement under “default article settings.”
- Correct your time zone: While some computers will correctly provide WordPress with your time zone, you can double-check this feature under the setting’s “general” tag. Doing so will ensure that your scheduled posts appear on your website when you want them to.
Note that WordPress, as well as many other website creators, may enable you to install a theme on your site. If you choose to make use of a theme, you’ll be able to rely upon pre-existing code to provide your platform with a dedicated aesthetic.
To install a theme on a WordPress site, take the following steps:
- Click on “Appearance.”
- Next Click on “Themes.”
- Then click “Add New.”
- Select your preferred theme from the scrolling catalog.
- Click the “install” button below the theme of your choice.
Web Design Secrets #4: Create Your Site’s Content
From here, it’s up to you to create content that you think your potential consumers would find engaging. Eye-catching content includes:
- Photo collections
- News updates
- Paid advertisements
- Facebook carousels
You can better choose your preferred form of content once you have a voice and posting style in mind. Experiment with the aforementioned forms with the following in mind:
- The best content is engaging and keyword-rich.
- Your posts need to maintain a consistent tone, be that funny, serious, informative, etc.
- You’ll need a posting schedule to maintain your audience’s attention.
These tips hold true for the whole of your content-creation process. That said, not all content is text-based. You can begin generating a content queue for your digital marketing campaign using any of the following mediums:
- Blog posts: Blog posts personalize your business and offer your consumers resources to revisit, as long as they’re information-rich and not stuffed with keywords.
- Videos: With consumers taking in more video content today than they have ever before, the video offers your audience a break from walls of text. Whether you craft a video poking fun at your business or one that’s strictly informative, you need to use the visuals and audio to your advantage or else risk creating a Generic Brand Video.
- Infographic: Like videos, infographics offer the eye a break from the text of a blog post. Use infographics to more easily present complex data or statistics.
- Case studies: While case studies are highly individualized, their personalization will appeal to your audience and provide them with social proof of your product’s effectiveness.
- White papers: White papers serve as long-form content designed to draw in business leads. These can include e-books, surveys, PDF files, and downloadable content.
- Interviews: Use your professional network to find podcasts, external blogs, or other mediums through which you can talk about your work with other people inside or outside of your industry. By sharing your voice through already-established mediums, you’ll lend credibility to your business and content.
Web Design Secrets #5: Add a Shopping Cart
Want to allow your customers to shop online? One of the most important features of an e-commerce website is its shopping cart. The good news is that you don’t have to code a shopping cart by yourself. There are plenty of third-party carts available for you to install into your existing platform. These include:
- Miva Merchant
You may also be able to utilize a cart that your host of choice provides for you, depending upon the platform you choose to work with. Do note, though, that the majority of shopping cart plugins require you to work with a display window, a storefront, and a backroom. The dashboard you use through WordPress or another website host will help you manage your sales appropriately.
Be sure to have a merchant account, like the ones available through PayPal or Stripe, open and affiliated with your platform. These accounts will serve as your payment gateways and will help you protect your transactions as well as your clients’ financial information.
Web Design Secrets# 6: Test, Publish, Test Some More—and Enjoy
Created your basic content and installed your shopping cart?
GREAT WORK. You’re almost ready to publish your site.
I know it’s tempting to hit publish right this second and soak up that magical moment when your site goes live. However, it’s CRUCIAL that you test your platform before (and after) you publish it to ensure that all your features work as they should.
Platforms such as WordPress offer you the option to view your page as a preview. Go through the site and ensure that your links function, that you can access your cart and that consumers will be able to access all the content that you want them to.
Now it’s magic time. Go ahead and publish.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to perform more intensive testing and analysis. See our Analytics Tutorial here to get started.
Any of this sound overwhelming? Reach out to MV3 today.
Your business is your baby, and you want to make sure you do your first website (or your 1000th website update) correctly. Want some help?
At MV3, our professional team is here to help you find your footing online. No matter if you need help implementing a shopping cart or crafting amazing content, our experts can guide you through every process and leave your business feeling secure as you move forward toward success.
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