You have the big idea, and now you need to bring it to life. There are several ways that you can create a website that will work for your needs. But not every way will give you the functionality and design that you really want.
There can be as many steps as you like in the process, but you really only need five or so to start with.
What are your website goals?
Once you have the initial idea for the website, there are many more layers you need to get ready for the foundations.
Defining the purpose of your website will give you an understanding of what the website will look like and the functionality it will require.
There are two main questions that you need to ask yourself in the defining process – the first question is what you need the website to do, and the second question is who will it be doing it for.
Some of the primary purposes of a website are as follows:
- When you are still growing your business, an essential web presence, you need to have an online point of view.
- A blog that needs to be easily updated, display posts, navigate and engage readers (typically image heavy).
- Web-based offering services, displaying prices, contact options, plans and more.
- Selling products, an image-heavy, often updated website, is at the forefront of the design.
Define exactly what the website needs to do so that you don’t get bogged down with pages and plugins you don’t need. Excessive plugins is an issue for many new websites, and more specifically people who chose to DIY the entire process.
Having a clear idea of what the website needs to have on it will also prevent you from getting lost in the sea of themes that look nice – but don’t really work for you.
Following ‘the what’, you need to consider ‘the who’. Who will be using your website, where will the visitor start their journey, how can you engage with the customer and the demographics.
Mapping Out Your Website
Many people use large boards to begin to map out the bones of the website, but you can just as easily use software to do it. Consider the possible sections your website will need (and why it is required).
Take a look at each of the top line items and what would come under those headings.
Simple menus can have a single level; more complex websites may have up to 4 levels. The more complicated the navigation structure, the more likely it is people will have a more difficult time finding what they are looking for.
Keep UX in mind at all times; build your website for humans.
Now you have the two vital parts of the foundations, you will create a prototype.
Using a staging site, you will go through creating all of the pages and fill them with placeholder content.
During this build, you will be testing the functionality and making sure things like newsletter sign-up is working, checking sandboxes, and stuff like that contact form are working as expected.
During this stage, you will understand if you over or underestimated the number of menu levels and pages you need during this stage.
It is essential to do this before you consider putting a design on your site. If using a web designer, these changes will become lengthy and may begin to stack up in terms of cost – delaying your launch.
Note: You may have chosen to add a WordPress theme to your website immediately. This can help many people visualise their website but, ultimately, can make changing things more difficult.
Once the basic layout and functions have been tested, and you are sure everything should be, you can work with a web designer.
The prototype website lets the designer know where everything needs to be and how the website will work—allowing them to create content that meets the purpose and needs of the website.
You will also deliver all of the foundations to the web designer, things like the target audience, the website’s purpose, and the content that will be on there.
Your web design will usually offer 1-3 different options, and you can discuss which one you’d like to move forward with.
Remember that the design isn’t the final piece of the puzzle here; your website’s purpose will need to have the site rebuilt in CSS3 and HTML5 at a minimum.
All of the integrations that you intend to use will be factored into the design.
The HTML Process
The HTML templates for your website will be built and tested across multiple browsers, and this typically comes with some issues. The code will be reduced on each page to ensure that it runs quickly and has all of the functionality outlined in the initial stages.
A new website has the unique opportunity to create an SEO strategy and execute it from the start, rather than need to go back in and optimise later.
You will need to optimize all on-page texts, H1, H2, META descriptions, tags, ALT text on images, and have the keywords prominently throughout the website.
As you cover the niche, you will often see keywords naturally appear, and you won’t need to work too hard for them. Keyword research can still help you to include related keywords and searches. This can help you get better rankings on search engines.
As a new website, you will need to make sure that you submit your Sitemap to Google to be indexed too. This just means that Google can crawl your website and present your content in search results quicker than if you don’t submit one.
You can also choose which pages you want to have indexed and which you don’t.
Creating a website that is built to last and communicates directly with your audience can be a delightful experience. It is vital to know at what point you need to have professionals step in.
A full-service WordPress design and build company can make the process even more enjoyable. Infinity3 are WordPress experts and can bring your vision to life.