Do you know what attracts visitors the most as they visit your website? Many web designers and developers make the mistake of putting the things that matter the most to them on their site as opposed to valuing visitor experience.
It’s safe to say that it’s human nature to showcase the things you like. For example, an online business owner shares their company’s most valuable products and services on the front page of a website. But, those site elements shouldn’t devalue user experience.
So, what are the things you need to consider before creating a website?
It can be easy to say that you’re going to create a website or webpage that creates an excellent user experience. But, how are you going to do it? What are the steps you need to take to achieve that objective?
What are the elements that you need to show that can help create a buzzworthy website?
You can find the answers to those questions as you continue reading this post. Here, you’ll find three things to decide on before developing your website.
1. A Domain And A Host
Several domain names on the Internet have created a significant impact on the lives of netizens around the globe. One excellent example is Google.
Google is the most popular search engine and if you’re looking for a specific piece of information on the Internet, you have to Google it.
Hence, ask yourself this question: what’s the best domain name for your website to attract the most attention from your niche?
Perhaps, you already have a domain name in mind, such as the name of an online business. Otherwise, your domain name can be the pseudonym you use an online personality.
If you don’t have an excellent domain name yet, here are some quick tips to help you decide:
- Use relevant keywords
- Keep it short and simple
- Make it easy to pronounce and spell
- Maintain uniqueness for accountability and branding
- Research your chosen domain name to avoid duplicates
Now that you have a chosen domain name, the next thing to consider for your website is a web host. A web host or hosting service provider allows a site owner to publish their website on the Internet.
Think of a hosting provider as a landlord, while your site as an apartment. So, you’re technically “renting” a space on the Internet for online users to see.
Your website is practically invisible to almost everyone on the Internet without a reliable web host.
Web hosting might be a new concept to you, especially if you’re about to publish your first website. Take note that several types of hosting services exist, and it can be confusing for first-time site owners to choose the best option.
Here’s a quick overview of the different web hosting services to help you in that regard:
Shared Web Hosting
Shared web hosting services tend to be among the most inexpensive hosting options you can avail of for your website. The premise of shared hosting services is that you “rent” space on a server along with other sites.
Many shared hosting providers charge about $5 per month for their cheapest plans. But, you’ll probably share your server spot with hundreds or thousands of other websites.
Despite this option being a cost-efficient choice, it has its caveats. For instance, if a glitch or error happens in the shared server, all websites in the said server will become affected.
Nonetheless, shared hosting can be an ideal choice for site owners in a tight budget or for first-time website developers.
Dedicated Web Hosting
If shared web hosting is like a dormitory, then, a dedicated web server is your personal property. You buy a dedicated server (hence, its name), which means you’ll have complete control of different features.
Dedicated hosts give you peace of mind, knowing that you don’t need to worry about other websites sharing your allotted bandwidth.What happens is that you can maximize the resources granted for your page or site.
But, dedicated hosting providers tend to have expensive plans. You may find dedicated servers with prices ranging from $100 and up. Also, you might need to consider hiring a system administrator to do maintenance and repair on your server when necessary.
As such, hiring extra personnel means spending additional cash, so keep that thought in mind when opting for dedicated web hosting services.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
A VPS is a step above shared web hosting as you’re still going to share a server spot with another website. But, you’ll have medium-to-full control of specific functionalities in comparison with using shared hosting services.
Also, VPS reduces the risks of having your “neighbors” bring down your site if a glitch or error happens. Furthermore, since VPS is a step down from a dedicated server, many hosting providers should have relatively cheaper pricing plans.
After choosing a domain name and web host, now you should ask yourself, “What should the website look like when viewed by visitors?”
Web design is more than just choosing an appropriate color palette to match your brand. Choosing the right colors for your site isn’t wrong, per se, but you still need to dive deeper than the colors to make your website stand out from the rest.
So, here are some vital components of web design you should think about for your website:
The layout of your website is your site’s overall look. It has to do with the placement of the various elements that help create an awe-inspiring, clutter-free page.
Keep the following adjectives in mind when designing the layout of your site: simple, clean, intuitive, accessible, and familiar.
Also, take advantage of white space, or the margins and padding between each element. If you space each item tightly, chances are you’re going to look at a cluttered website.
Color is an essential part of the look of your site, but it’s only one piece of the entire aspect of web design.
Pay attention to your brand when choosing a color scheme. If you already have a brand, take a look at the colors associated with your brand name. For example, your logo only has two colors: purple and white.
You have different options to highlight your brand’s colors on your website. For example, you can select a monochromatic palette wherein you take advantage of the color purple’s different shades. Otherwise, you can complement the purple and white colors with analogous choices, like orange.
Make sure that the colors don’t clash on your website. If so, your online page is going to look gaudy.
You might have the best-looking website on the planet. But, if it’s not easy to navigate between internal pages, then, chances are visitors aren’t going to spend more than a few minutes sticking around your site.
Also, designing your site’s navigation shouldn’t be a place to experiment. For example, you might think that placing overly-animated hover effects will entice visitors to stick around your website for extended periods. But, this additional feature may not be a necessity and will cost extra storage space.
Many netizens go through websites for a single purpose, and that’s to gain information as quickly as possible.
Hence, make sure your site’s navigation should point to the direction of valuable information as soon as an individual sees the main page. Otherwise, that visitor will leave as quickly as they came across your site.
Aside from the color, layout, and navigation, don’t forget to think about the content of your website. Create compelling content that would want people to return to your site frequently.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO can be a confusing yet intricate subject for first-time site owners. One quick Google search will yield about 909 billion results at the time of writing. Learning the ins and outs of SEO can be time-consuming, especially if you don’t know where to start.
SEO is the process of improving a website or web page to gain “free”, “natural”, or “organic” visitors from search results. In other words, you’re going to apply specific techniques that’ll allow search engines to highlight your website. Better on- and off-site SEO means generating better chances of achieving higher ranks in search results.
But, what are these SEO techniques?
Here are three simple SEO tips to get you started in optimizing your soon-to-be website:
Research And Use Relevant Keywords
Only use relevant keywords for your brand, and nothing else. Don’t deviate from the idea of your online brand. Otherwise, search engines may penalize you for trying to corner markets that aren’t relevant to your website.
Also, people will find it annoying to reach a webpage with irrelevant content to their search string used. For example, an individual searched for cat toys, but they arrived at your website selling dog food because you optimized your site for kitty playthings.
Use keyword research tools, check competitor sites, and brainstorm potential keywords to use for your SEO branding. You can even add location strings to your keywords for specific results.
For instance, your company specializes in plumbing in California. So, you can use keywords, like “best plumbing in California”, or “professional California plumbing”.
Optimize Meta Titles And Descriptions
Once you have a list of keywords for your website, you’d want to optimize your site’s meta titles and descriptions next. Take note that the meta title and description may not be readily available to see once you or a visitor enters your site.
The meta title and description can work behind the scenes as an HTML element. If you can’t find the location of your site’s meta title and description, consider downloading a plugin that’ll help you edit these elements easily.
Next, remember to use your chosen keywords in your site’s meta title and description. However, make the text as natural as possible. Remember, you’re doing SEO to appease both search engine algorithms and your human visitors.
You’d want your keyword to be at the beginning of your title. For example, if you go back to the previous plumbing example, your meta title might look like this: “Best Plumbing Services in California – Mark the Plumber.” Then, use similar keywords for your meta description.
Both the meta title and description can have a significant impact on your site’s overall SEO. Make sure to prioritize editing these two elements before you publish your website.
Optimize For Off-Site SEO
Don’t do all the SEO on your website by editing the elements in its internal pages. Don’t forget to do off-site SEO as well.
First, you’d want to update all possible listings that are relevant to your brand. For instance, edit your Google My Business profile for your online business right after your website goes live. Mention any essential pieces of information in the listing, such as business locations and hours of operation.
Next, create or update all of your social media profiles to match your main website. You might not add a full description or full address on your social media pages, but you should still cover the essentials for people to know your brand from the beginning.
Also, don’t forget to use relevant web tools, like the Google Search Console. Use this tool to help analyze your site, providing you with feedback on how to improve your website’s SEO.
Make sure to think about your website’s domain name, web host, graphics design, and SEO before creating one. Having a web development plan is crucial to reduce the risks of errors and mishaps as you start building your online presence.
The strategy you develop should also help reduce the effort and time to create your website, so that you can publish the site sooner than later.
Let this post serve as a guide for you to create a website that’s worthy of attention for Internet users and search engines.