You want to create a successful website to share your great idea/product/service with the world.
Why is having a successful website important? Let's look at some statistics provided by Espresso Digital:
- 91% of customers have visited a store because of an online experience
- Of the small business that have websites, 69% of them are having annual sales of $1,000,000 - $2,490,000
- Over one-quarter of small businesses do not have a website
Building a website can be daunting, that's why I will guide you through the process one step at a time.
Follow along and you can make yourself a great website in no time.
Fair warning, it’s going to require a bit of work, however, you can absolutely do all of it yourself.
1) Who are you trying to help
Identifying your target audience is the most important step in building a website or even starting a business. What will your product/service achieve for them?
I used the word help on purpose. Your goal should not be to sell, it should be to help and bring value. Here is a famous quote from Henry Ford the founder of the Ford Motor Company:
A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
Think about the person you are trying to reach and not the product/service itself. Think about their needs, their thoughts, and perceptions.
One of the most helpful tactics is to try to imagine a friend or someone you know who could use your product/service and try to put yourself in their shoes.
Think like them, see like them. Visualize what they are struggling with.
2) Set a goal
Now that you have figured out who you are going to help, it's time to set a goal for your website.
Is your website for informing your friend about a certain subject? or is it to sell a certain service or product to them because you know it will make their life better?
A goal is the foundation of your whole website. Everything you do from now on will be catered to that goal. Measure all your content and design decisions against that goal.
Let's run through an example.
A dentist who is extremely talented in working with children wants to build a website. What do you think their end goal should be?
You probably guessed right, to get more families to schedule dentist appointments with her. She wants this because she knows she can make it painless and enjoyable for them.
Once you figure out the goal of your website, everything else becomes so much easier and you are ready to move to the next step.
3) Write content for your website
Writing content is one of the most exciting stages of building a website. This is where you decide what you will tell your visitors.
Here is a short video from Ann Handley an award-winning writer and content marketer to give you the motivation to write:
Don’t be scared, you don’t need to be a writing or marketing guru. Everyone can write good content. Here are some guidelines to make writing even more enjoyable for you.
Think about the problem you are solving for your friend and write about that. Don’t write about yourself and your product/service. Write about how it would help your friend.
Keep your writing conversational. That’s why it helps if you can imagine talking to a single person. Write in a way to build a personal connection.
As an example let’s say we are selling high heel shoes which are very comfortable. On our homepage we could write “The Most Comfortable High Heel Shoes” or we could write “Are you fed up with your feet hurting after wearing high heels?”.
Last but not least make sure the content you write falls in line with the goal you defined.
4) Design Your Website
Great, you have made it to the design stage! Good on you. See, it wasn’t that hard after all. A lot of work, but not hard.
It will come to you as no surprise but the design needs to be user-friendly. Visitors need to be able to use your website without thinking.
When designing always think about your friend, your goal, and ease of use.
So you might be asking what is design exactly?
You have the great content you want to show on your website, now you have to decide, where and how to place them on your pages.
Think about what pages you would need.
You definitely need a homepage. The starting page that a visitor would see when they enter your website URL in their browser. This is the page where you explain to the visitor how you can help them and entice them to interact with your website.
Now depending on your website and your goal you can decide further what kind of pages you need. For example, if you're making an e-commerce website you definitely need pages to showcase your products.
Make sure you make your design interactive, make it an experience for your friend. Add buttons to lead them to what they are looking for without running them through loads of text and images.
Take a look at the content that you wrote in step 2 and make decisions based on that.
Seo tip: Try to design in a way that visitors interact with your website at least once before leaving. Read more about it in this article.
5) Build Your Website
You're finally at the step where you can build your website.
Don’t worry you don’t have to be a tech expert to build a decent website. Breathe in...breathe out.
So let’s choose a website building tool first to get you started. I can go into in-depth analysis with it, but I want to keep it simple to make life easy for you.
If your technical knowledge is limited and you want to get a website up and going as fast as possible use:
If you have some technical knowledge and want a more flexible and complicated platform use:
Don’t spend too much time thinking about which to pick. You can try each of them for 10 minutes and see which one you like using more.
If you need a more in-depth article about this topic please leave it in the comments below and I will write one just for that.
6) Choose a Domain Name
Time to choose your domain name. The name people enter in their browsers to get to your website!
Maybe you already have a domain name in mind or maybe you need to start thinking…Believe it or not this one of the hardest steps!
Most domain names will be taken, don’t be surprised. But there are ways you can go around it.
For example, if one of your favorite domain names is taken, try adding a verb in front of it.
You can check if a domain name is available by going to
Here are some basic tips for choosing a domain name to make your life a bit easier:
- Should you use a personal name or be more general? That is easy to answer, are you making a website about you or a brand?
- Make it easy to pronounce, don’t make life hard for everyone.
- Make it easy to type, you don’t want your visitors going to another site.
- Try to keep it short and sweet.
- Avoid using numbers and hyphens. Again make it simple, you might want to do a podcast or have someone do a shout out for you.
7) Host your Website
Now it is time to put your website out there for people to see. You have come a long way and it is time to finish strong.
Putting your website online is known as hosting. There are plenty of companies out there that sell hosting. I will list two below but there are many more:
Costs range from $0-30 a year.
Go to any of these sites, type in the domain name you chose in step 6 and complete your payment!
One thing I want to bring to your attention...
Website building platforms like wix.com that I mentioned above, also provide hosting.
But I recommend that you don’t use it, buy your own hosting so if for any reason you decide to change from Wix to Weebly or any other platform, you aren’t stuck!
Once you buy your web hosting service all you need to do is put your website up. Each of the platforms has instructions on how to do so.
For example for Wix:
If you need more help in this stage leave it in the comments and I can make an in-depth guide.
That’s it. You made your first website, congratulations! I know it took quite some work but at least now you have a well-designed website, ready to serve your visitors and you.
Creating a successful website doesn’t start from building it. It requires careful planning and goal setting.
You need to follow these 7 steps in order:
Figure out who you are helping
Set a Goal for your Website
Write Content for your Website
Design your Website
Build your Website
Choose a Domain Name
Host your Website
Some guides insist on doing steps 6 and 7 first but I don’t recommend it. I want to make sure you have your website designed and ready to go before spending any extra money!
After following these steps you should have a good website ready to go.
Of course, now the real fun begins. Invite people to your website and track how they interact with your content which I will cover in another post.
If all this seems too much and you don't have the time for it...
Does this help you get started on your website? I would be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments below.