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How to Build a Website
A website provides the perfect platform for a business to grow its online presence, as it helps reach a wider audience while also increasing trust and authority.
Whether you are a long-serving electrician looking to expand your clientele or a start-up with a great business plan, a digital presence can make a real difference in how you reach new customers.
Here at Advance Online, we like to think of ourselves as something of experts in how to build a website, and our guide explains what to do and the steps you need to take to create one of your own.
Decide on a Purpose
So, you have decided to build a website, but why?
A website provides several functions, from selling goods and setting appointments to collecting data and building brand awareness. Establishing your website’s purpose provides a clearer vision and direction when tackling many of the following steps.
Choose How You Want to Build a Website
Having decided on a purpose, the next stage is to choose how you want to build a website. When going it alone, there are typically two options to choose, a website builder such as Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy or Shopify, or a content management system (CMS) like WordPress.
A website builder is often much easier to navigate and offers a dedicated level of support, though this comes at a price. On the other hand, a CMS provides an extensive range of features for customisation, but these do require a deeper understanding to get the most out of the platform.
To ensure you pick the best option between WordPress or a website builder, consider the following factors:
- Overall cost involved
- Level of knowledge required
- Amount of support provided
Choose a Domain Name
When it is time to choose a domain name, you want to go with something that instantly recognises who you are and what you do. This decision is perhaps easier said than done, but the right name can make a noticeable difference.
A domain name can also have an effect upon SEO, so taking this into consideration when choosing is essential. Factors such as using relevant keywords, the domain’s age and its top-level domain (TLD) can all have an impact.
The difference between a good domain name and a bad one can easily be identified by several key points, for example:
A Good Domain Name
- A short and simple domain name is easy to remember. Keeping a name to two to three words is typically recommended
- Relevant keywords, such as location and profession, can help make a website easier to find when searched. Using a location can also make it simpler to target local customers
- The company name, particularly if it contains a targeted keyword, is also an excellent option for a domain name.
A Bad Domain Name
- Misspelt words are confusing and can make a site appear suspicious
- Overly long names are often much easier to misspell and trickier to remember for users, making it harder for a website to be found
- Dashes and numbers are easy to forget and tricky to type correctly
You will also want to consider the costs involved, as a higher-level domain typically costs more than a standard name. Don’t forget to check if your domain name is actually available, which can easily be done through a web domain checker.
Choose a Hosting Service
Having chosen how you plan to build your website, the next step should be choosing a hosting service alongside it. A hosting service is essentially a business that provides the required services for your website to appear on the internet. There are different available hosting services, all of which come under either shared, dedicated or virtual private server plans.
Shared servers: A server and its resources are shared by several users, making it a more affordable option.
Dedicated servers: A server and its resources are the sole ownership of a single user. This is more expensive than shared servers, but users have an increased level of security and improved performance as resources are not shared.
Virtual private servers: Halfway between shared and dedicated, a virtual private server offers the advantages of a dedicated server. However, there is only an allocated number of specific resources available.
Another crucial consideration when it comes to choosing a hosting service is security. Most servers provide their own level of protection, though this isn’t always strong enough to fully defend against cyber-attacks.
Create a Keyword Sitemap
Having settled on a hosting service, you will want to create a sitemap, which is essentially a blueprint of the website that details all of its pages and navigation menus. The creation of a sitemap helps develop the overall layout of the website, detailing which pages target which keywords and help avoid the risk of keyword cannibalisation. You can use tools such as Slickplan to make the task easier.
Create a Memorable Interface
A website’s interface is essential for success, and you will want yours to be as user-friendly as possible. First, choose a theme – this is typically determined by whether your focus is on e-commerce, blogging, portfolio, etc.
Next, you will need to settle on a style. When choosing a website colour palette, you will want something identifiable and appealing to your users. Most website builders offer a range of pre-built themes allowing for the creation of an attractive-looking website with ease.
Create and Customise Content
When creating content, focus on developing informative and easy-to-understand copy relevant to your audience. You will also want to include clear calls-to-action and navigation buttons alongside regularly updating the content to ensure it remains fresh, up-to-date and optimised for SEO.
You will want to create tailored content for each page of your website, including each of the following:
Carry Out On-Site SEO Checks
Once your website is created, you will want to conduct the relevant on-site search engine optimisation (SEO) checks to ensure it appears towards the top of the search results for your target keywords. This process includes:
- Target title tags and meta description
- Appropriate keyword density
- Unique and optimised images with alt tags
- Check and resolve any keyword cannibalisation
You can use a website crawler, such as Screaming Frog, to help with the SEO checks, or install a browser plugin like SEO Pro Extension to audit your staging website page by page.
Publish Your Website
Having performed all the above steps, you are now ready to publish your website. Most site builders have a clear ‘publish website’ button to allow you to do this easily.
Congratulations, your brand-new website is now live and available for all the world to see.
Install Useful Webmaster Tools
Now that your website is live, there are still a few steps left to take in our guide to building a website to ensure you remain on the right track and achieve success.
Analysing your site’s performance once live is essential for maximising potential, improving rankings and effectively competing against your digital rivals. Effective webmaster tools, such as analytics, Google Search Console and uptime robot, allow you to analyse site performance and traffic through data such as bounce rate (how many users visit just a single page and leave), keywords which draw users to your site and website errors.
This collected data allows you to see areas where improvement is required, which helps to guide future strategies for building your website and business.
Another vital step is ensuring website speed. A slow-performing website is often unpopular with search engine algorithms and can quickly drive users away. On-site and off-site optimisation can improve speed, while a website performance plugin, such as WP Rocket or Perfmatters, can also make a noticeable difference.
Continue to Build Your Website as Your Business Grows
Now that the foundations are in place and you know how to build a website, your next steps should be to continue building your online presence alongside your business. Continually updating a website ensures it remains relevant, maintains search engine rankings and guarantees a level of security.
Regularly reviewing and refreshing your website content is an essential part of your site maintenance as it ensures you remain up to date on best SEO practices. Practices, such as promoting your website through content marketing, social media and affiliate links, can also be a great way of driving traffic to your website to help it grow.
Following these steps will guarantee your website has the best possible chance of keeping up with your business as they develop together while ensuring all your hard work in building a website was not in vain.
How to Build a Website: Final Thoughts
Building a website doesn’t need to be daunting. By following our simple step-by-step guide, you will soon have a website you can be proud of, and one that will help you reach your customer base.
However, if you still feel that building an effective, secure website is beyond your technical expertise, or you simply don’t have the time, you should consider employing a web design agency to build and maintain your website for you.
Here at Advance Online, our experienced team of web designers and SEO specialists can build and optimise a website that’s guaranteed to work. If you would like to know more then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Combining precise location data and clear business information with live customer feedback, Google Maps has increasingly become a reliable source of information for consumers.
For a local business owner, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be a daunting endeavour, but it’s also essential
A vital consideration for any business with a digital presence, SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimisation, is essential for several reasons, ranging from credibility to visibility.
Any local business owner who has carried out SEO tasks or paid someone else to do the work, has most likely been left wondering how long it will take for their website to rank on Google.
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