Starting a new site can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of putting together a quality home for your brand and give you a handy checklist to building a professional website.
Building a Professional Website in 6 Steps
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Building a Professional Website: Hosting
The first thing you’ll need for a site is a place to host it a- domain. A clear, memorable domain name establishes credibility for your business, helps you to appear in searches, and makes it easier for potential customers to find you.
The cost of a domain name varies depending on a number of factors, including the extension (.com v.s. .net, for example) and the hosting plan you choose. GoDaddy recommends budgeting $2 to $20 a year for a new domain name.
Consider including keywords related to your product in your URL. If you are selling t-shirts, for example, BryceShirtMarket.com may be better than BryceMarket.com. SEMRush and Google Keywords Planner are both helpful tools for finding the terms that potential customers are searching for online.
Building a Professional Website: Branding
Does your business already have a logo? A communication style? A preferred color palette? The next step in getting your site off the ground is figuring out what will make it personalized and styled for you.
Consider working with a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork to get a logo made. Alternately, you can take a crack at making one yourself with Gimp, or another similar free design tool.
Think about the brand archetype that you feel would suit your business and connect with your customers. Not sure what this will look like for you? Take a look at the tone of your social media and the social media profiles of brands that you follow. What resonates with you?
Having these elements taken care of at the beginning will come in handy as you start putting together your site.
Building a Professional Website: Pages
Break down the content you want to include on your site into pages. This will give you a sense of the scope of the project- how many sections you will need, what can be included in each page, and how the site navigation will work.
It’s significantly easier to start with an understanding of what you want than to begin building your site and create pages as you need them. It will also help you to avoid repeating yourself.
This process doesn’t have to be particularly complex, either. We partnered with our friends at Inspace Creative to write this post. Check out this example from them here:
Building a Professional Website: Images
At this point, you should have an idea of your branding and a bit of your visual style. Stock photos can be a great way to bring your site to life, and, contrary to popular belief, they don’t have to be cheesy.
Sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay are loaded with high-quality images. Dig in, and search for terms that connect metaphorically for your message. This can be as simple as using a photo of a plant on a page titled “Growth.”
As a general rule, look for unlicensed, royalty-free images. Often you’ll see the phrase no attribution required. This means that you can use the photo without crediting the author. Of course, you can also buy images, and if that’s the route you choose to take, great!
You can also include your own photos, particularly if you are selling products on your site. Check out our guide to creating killer product images that convert here.
Building a Professional Website: Messaging
Now you can start writing out the content for the individual pages on your site. Remember that consumers expect to absorb information quickly online- in general, you will only have a few sentences to get across your message.
Break your text into smaller chunks than you generally would in print, and separate sections with larger headings and subheadings.
Video can be a powerful tool. Consider compressing longer information sections into video form. This can work as a complement to your existing written content, too- i.e. a brief written section on your “About” page with a five-minute video exploring the history and mission of your company.
Building a Professional Website: SEO
Search Engine Optimization is intimidating at times, but there are a lot of tools and hacks out there to get you started. As mentioned above, SemRush and Google Keywords Planner can help you figure out what potential customers are searching for. Find a couple of key phrases that relate to your site and consistently include them in your copy and headings.
Adding alt-text to images and including keywords along with your description of the image itself can be a quick way to improve your SEO score.
Backlinks are a powerful way to establish authority for your site. Look into guest posting opportunities on outside blogs, or partner with other entrepreneurs in complementary niches to share each other’s products.
While each of these steps will take some work, the overall process of building a professional website doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Want to try out a simple and powerful platform that will grow your business? Selz offers a free 14-day trial. Sign up here.