Having a website is vital to any sized business, and if you’ve just decided to start a business you may be wondering how to build a website. In this article, we explain the different options for building a website and lay out the basic steps to creating a site for your company.
Decide what your goals are
The first thing to consider when building a site is what type of website will it be. This will be determined by the goal of your website. There are many different business goals but some of the most common include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Increase lead generation/lead conversion rate
- Increase direct sales/sales conversion rate
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Increase employment applications
Once you’ve decided on your main goal you can determine what type of website you need, as well as the design and structure of the site.
Choose a website builder, a premade framework or a custom build
There are three main options for SME’s to create their website. A website builder such as Squarespace or Wix, a premade framework like Wordpress or Magento or a custom website made unique to your specification. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and will depend on your budget and coding ability.
Website builders offer cheap and basic websites which anyone can create. They offer SMEs a quick solution for when you need a website in a hurry but they don’t allow for much customisation or creativity. We discuss the pros and cons in more detail in our article, Should I build my website with Wix, which specifically covers WIX but is true of many website builders.
Premade website frameworks such as WordPress are a step up from website builders, offering more flexibility for an affordable price. If you have some basic knowledge in code you can create a good website but more advanced requirements like security and an online shop will require the help of a more experienced web developer. These types of content management systems (CMS) are great for companies looking to market their website using blogs and SEO tactics. Premade frameworks can also encompass eCommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify or X-cart. These are great for companies looking to sell online but like CMS require more knowledgeable developers to get the best out of them.
A custom build will allow you complete control over the design and development of the site but can be more expensive. You will need an experienced design team to bring your company website to life but with the right development company you will gain a polished and highly professional website.
The steps to build a website
Although each website is a unique project there are core milestones for each site. We could talk endlessly about the different stages and have produced articles on our blog about these different aspects, but below is a brief outline of each.
Once you have your goal in place you can start to discuss the design of your website. This is not just about the look of the site but the whole structure. When we say design we really mean planning. This stage can take a great deal of time if you have a particularly complicated or large site with lots of information but it is good to spend the time at this point to get into as much detail as possible. We’ve talked about how to design a website here, with the brief outline being as follows:
- Understand your audience and outline the purpose of your website
- Define your brand
- Research design trends and preferred styling options
- Choose your platform (impacts on your design options)
- Plan your content
- Design mock-ups of key pages
- Implement the designs
- Test and iterate
Once designed, the website initial structure and the implementation of the design can be started. The build aspect will be dependent on the type of website you have chosen, ranging from drag and drop to full custom code. Each development stage will be unique to the company and website. It’s important to make sure the build continues to match the designs through the process but changes should be considered if they are in the best interest for the company.
Write and add content
In the design phase, you should have planned your content so now is the time to write it. Ensure that the content you write reflects your brand, is spell checked and grammatically coherent. You can employ a professional copywriter to help on this or go one step better and hire an SEO copywriter so your website is more accessible through search engines. Once you have gathered all your content, add it into the website and review again. You may notice that you need to change the format or add more content to make your website look fuller or more informational.
Remember legal parts
Domains, Hosting and Security
One thing often overlooked before a build is where the website will be held. You need a domain for the website to be controlled and you need somewhere to put your website files and database. If you are using a website builder they often provide hosting included but for frameworks and custom builds you will need dedicated website hosting. It is also important to ensure your website is safe and secure before launch. There are many things to ensure this but some of the main things to consider is where is it hosted, can it be maintained effectively and does it have an SSL. Speak to your web development company about what they can provide.
Now your website is in place it’s time to start promoting! Talk to your marketing team and get in place all the digital marketing you need to achieve your goal. If you build they will come, does not work in the world of websites so you must create some inbound marketing channels to get your website to the right people. This could be through search engines, social media or good old fashion paper adverts, but you must be able to get your website in front of the right people so you can achieve your goals.
Build your website
We hope you’ve found our article informative and now know the basic steps in how to build a website. If you would like to discuss your website needs, please get in touch with our development team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0345 200 26 50 to talk to us.