Small Business

Create A Website: The Ultimate Guide (2021 Update)

create a website

Published on January 22nd, 2021

To make it in the business or entrepreneurial world, you need to have a website. But not just any website will do—you need a cutting-edge website that drives traffic and “wows” your audience.

That’s much easier said than done!

A successful website is about a lot more than creating an account on WordPress and casually advertising your new site on Google Ads. Yet, you also don’t need to be a pro in the world of web design to reap the benefits. It’s completely possible to craft a cutting-edge website without knowing coding, HTML, or CSS.

In this guide, we’ll describe how that can be possible. Project Local Downunder provides you step-by-step through the web design process, from defining your site’s goals to seeing success.

1. The Initial Planning Stage

There are a few things that all website owners want—flourishing web traffic, a minimal bounce rate, and a massive conversion rate. Many website owners will target the first goal (web traffic) and simply hope that the other two will follow naturally. But you don’t want the most people on your website; you want the right people.

You want to tailor your content toward those who are most likely to buy your products or book an appointment. To do so, you’ll need to define who your ideal client is by creating an avatar.

Here’s what you want to brainstorm about your ideal customer:

  • Demographic information, like age, education level, sex, and occupation
  • Thinking & behavioral patterns, such as interests, values, motivations, and pain points
  • A short bio explaining their story
  • A photo & a name, just to make it a bit more realistic!

Knowing who your ideal client or customer is will help you to better craft your content, develop your sales copy, and market your site through advertisements. As a result, you can drive traffic, reduce your bounce rate, and improve your conversion rate (your three goals).

2. The Marketing Strategy Stage

Web Marketing Strategy

Unless your website or business evolved from a groundbreaking idea, then one thing’s for sure: You have competition. But the goal isn’t to be the only business in your industry. Your marketing strategy should revolve around what makes yours stand out.

The best place to start is by taking a closer look at what your fiercest competitors are doing and what your audience seems to like. Market research should include the five P’s of marketing:

  • Product: What’s unique about your product/service? How do your customers benefit?
  • Price: What’s your price point? How does this compare to your competitors?
  • Place: How do customers buy your products? How will you offer a refund?
  • Promotion: What does it take to get customers to your website?
  • People: Who do you need to help your website or business succeed?

These are all concepts and ideas you likely discovered at the drawing board before launching your business years ago. But now, your focus will turn to how you’ll take advantage of all five criteria to market your site best and attract the right visitors.

3. The Traffic Driving Stage

A website that doesn’t drive traffic of any sort might as well not exist at all. So before you even launch your website and spend money on your domain, you want to figure out how you’ll draw people to your site in the first place.

If you’re a local business, this feat is more straightforward. You can bid on local keywords for PPC ads, announce your website launch to your local followers on social media, and even post flyers or take out a newspaper ad locally. If you’re feeling daring and want to stick to old-school tactics, you can even opt for marketing tactics like cold calling instead.

To drive traffic in general, you’ll have to work a little harder to see success. Your best bet is to implement SEO tactics into your content and copy, post social media ads through Instagram and Facebook, and develop well-crafted blog posts hyping up your products and services.

Perhaps even more important is tailoring your landing pages and content to what your customers are seeking. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to advertise your 50% off deal on your new product, yet send people to your website where there’s no mention of this deal. When visitors find what they’re looking for, they’re far more likely to purchase.

4. The Budgeting Stage

Just like you incurred costs when you were building your business, you should expect to spend a good chunk of money on a well-designed, crisp website. Not only do you need to set a realistic budget, but you also need to make an effort to stay within it. In many cases, an entire website will cost you well over $5,000, sometimes soaring past $40,000.

The costs you’ll have to consider include:

  • A Domain Name: $10 to $20 a year
  • Web Hosting: $3 to $300 a month
  • Email Hosting: $5 to $25 a month
  • A CMS Platform: $10 to $20 a month
  • Professional Web Design: Up to $30,000
  • Graphic Design: $5 to $2,000
  • CRM/Email Marketing: $20 to $200 a month
  • Project Management Software: $10 to $25 a month
  • Content: $5 to $500 for every 1,000 words

Precisely how much you’ll spend to launch your website (and maintain it) will depend on how much web traffic you drive and what you can handle on your own. If you have some web design experience under your belt, you might want to do what you can with your knowledge and invest more in content or blog posts instead.

5. The Web Planning Stage

The Web Planning Stage

We’re at the point where you’ll be deciding what’ll end up on your website and what ends up on the chopping block. The first thing you need to think about is what type of content you want to share and what you want visitors to do once they access your site. This strategy will have to be multifaceted, to say the least.

A good website will be well laid-out, something that’s simple to achieve with basic UX testing. Things like a logically organized navigation tool fit with accurate subcategories can make or break a customer’s willingness to buy your product. Additionally, you want to capitalize on as many visitors or possible via revenue or a recorded email address through a CTA button, such as “Add to Cart” or “Subscribe.”

The first experience that your visitors have with your site will determine what they think of your brand. That’s precisely why you want to include engaging media (photo and video), a first-person style of communication as if you’re talking to the reader, explanations as to how your website or business will improve a customer’s life, and relevant content.

By this stage, you’ll want to figure out a few other things regarding how you’ll drive organic traffic, or the people most likely to buy your products. That includes SEO (along with relevant keywords), authoritative backlinks, digital marketing, and social media use. To take these efforts a step further, take a glance at your social media metrics and impression rates to see if your current marketing strategies are working or falling flat.

6. The Domain & Hosting Stage

No website is complete without a domain name to match the industry or company name. So the first thing you’ll do is make the trip over to GoDaddy, see which domain names are available for purchase, and choose an annual plan for $20 or less. This is also something you can do if you’re creating your website from scratch from a web host like WordPress (to cut corners).

Now you have the domain name, but you don’t have the website. The first thing you’ll do with your new domain name is sign-up for web hosting through a site like HostGator. Choose a hosting plan, link it to your WordPress account, and input your newly-purchased domain name to attach it to your site.

Now, for the fun part: Designing your website and adding content. Through WordPress, the first thing you’ll do is select a theme. It’s a great idea to choose a theme representing both the color and style of your business or personality. You want as much continuity as possible, so a customer who sees your Facebook logo should see the same one on your website.

WordPress is extremely easy to use without experience. At this point, you’ll begin adding pages, creating a navigation menu, developing blog posts, using plugins (like an SEO tool), and clarifying that all pages are set to “public.” Otherwise, nobody will see it once you launch!

7. The Launch Stage

Before you even launch your website, you should’ve already started to do some marketing. Take a few months prior to launch to share the news of a new website via your business’s social media accounts, telling family and friends, or providing a notification on your current site.

Prior to the official launch date, you want to ensure that there’s something worth reading or seeing when visitors come to your site. So have at least five well-written blog posts or articles, an entirely functional product inventory, and a landing page for new users. Your future customers should be impressed the first time they visit your website!

On launch day, be prepared for a few blunders and don’t expect things to go perfectly. There’s always the chance the server gets overloaded, a link or two don’t work as intended, or the pages take a while to load. It’s what you do with these mishaps at the moment (like rectify them) that’ll determine how your official launch goes.

8. The Success Stage

The Success Stage

Post-launch, the most important thing you can do is look over the data and ensure that your website functions as intended. It’s now come full circle, and we’ll be determining success based on the traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate.

Google Analytics will be the most critical tool for a new website. This resource will help you to learn where your visitors are coming from, how many visitors you’re getting, what your bounce rate is, and what your conversion rate! You can use this data to make necessary changes to your site, such as tailoring a new landing page to a local town that drives the most traffic.

Most importantly, look at the financial data. How much are you spending on advertising, and what are you generating in income? What percentage of your customers are returning customers? What types of feedback are your customers leaving via ratings or comments? Use these answers as you move forward.

Conclusion

Creating a website is both time-consuming and expensive. However, if you take the right approach, accurately determine your ideal customer, and put in the effort to ensure satisfied visitors, then you’ll see the full fruits of your labor in a few months.