Honestly? These days it seems like everyone has a website or blog. Having your own website, whether for personal use or for your business, is common and often expected. If you don’t have a website or the one you have is outdated, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the whole process of creating a website. You may be thinking, “I can’t do that!” Think again, you can.
Years ago, creating a website was a huge undertaking and was best left to professionals who had steep hourly fees. Today, you still have the opportunity to hire a professional website designer if you choose to. But, if you are just getting started and you want to test the waters before dumping a pile of cash on a professional, you can also create your own with the help of website builders and at a fraction of the cost. And if you are looking to get into blogging, but are not sure that you to commit, consider building a free site on WordPress.com just to get a feel for the platform and how it works.
Consider the following tips to ensuring that your website building journey is a positive and successful experience.
Do Your Research and Make a Plan
The tech world is full of experts who know a little bit of everything, and there’s a lot to know. As the owner of a website, you may feel pressured to appease and impress all the tech-savvy individuals out there. Before you get started, do some research and make a list of all of the things that your website should include. If you are creating a blog this includes your About Page, Contact Page, Site Index, and other things that make the visitor's experience more pleasant.
There are some “tech things” that are important to remember when creating a site but overall, you just want to satisfy the average site visitor. Just because three-quarters of American adults own a smartphone, it doesn’t mean that they have the same tech knowledge as experts. You need to test your site for mobile functionality, on multiple platforms. Add this to your list.
One of the most helpful tips, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or getting ahead of yourself, is to think like the average visitor (which may be just like you). What do you want to see on a website? What are some of your favorite features? What works and what’s frustrating?
That said, be careful not to create a site solely based on your personal preferences. There is a ton of information on the web that can help you. Check out my Blogging board on Pinterest for links to all kinds of useful information.
Realize that Simple is Better
We’ve all heard the term, “less is more,” right? Remembering this will help you keep things positive during your process. Choose readable fonts, features (like a drop down menu or search bar) that are easy to find. Select content and images that are relevant and meaningful but get straight to point.
How many times have you visited a site, which had a lot of potential, but just didn’t hold your interest or get any of your money because it was all over the place and nearly impossible to navigate? I have seen many! Even now in 2017, there are still some sites that are full of too much, and not user friendly. Don't let this be you!
And this goes or colors too. White text on a black background is not so easy to read. Multiple bright colors can actually turn visitors away. And luckily, we are no longer prone to adding tons of flashy graphics like I wrote about in 5 Things We Can Learn From the Wayback Machine. We know better now!
Start Out Aiming to Get Good Rankings
With over one billion websites on the Internet, you may wonder how you’ll ever get noticed and come up in the search results. However, you have more control than you think, and that alone can feel pretty empowering and successful. Here are a few ways to increase your visibility on the web:
Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly: More than 60 percent of web users prefer to browse and shop with their mobile device. If your site is not mobile-friendly, don’t expect to see an increase in visitors or profit. In fact, Google gives responsive sites better rankings than others.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just like it sounds, it helps you get your website closer to the top of search results. There are many online tools to help you optimize your site, but it’s always a good idea to get a basic understanding of keywords and meta descriptions. Optimize each post for SEO and you have a better chance of it showing up in search results.
Maintenance: Even though most properly constructed websites need little maintenance, it’s always smart to check in and make sure it’s running efficiently, fast, and without any glitches like broken links. Sometimes mysterious things happen. Make it a point to do maintenance on your site once a month to keep everything running smoothly.
Building a website can be an exciting and positive journey, especially if you take the opportunity to use some of the best online tools available. Once you create your site and have it live, give yourself a pat on the back and be proud of a job well done.
Need some more help? There are a tons of post about blogging here on this site, and you can feel free to post any questions.
Happy site building!