Who does not want to have a website these days? Every freelancer, entrepreneur, a startup, small to medium companies, and let’s not forget the multinationals wants to have an online presence. Why? Simply because that is how their customers can easily know about them and trust them.
Being in this business for over 10 years, I have seen hundreds of websites been built and rebuilt for one purpose alone – better quality and technology upgradation. If you wish to do one of those “Do-it-yourself” websites, you still might require some technical assistance. Many fail to understand that besides the marketing, website is a whole world in its own and one aspect cannot just make it successful. Here are my 10 tips to building a successful website.
- Plan for the project
Take a notepad and start brainstorming on the ideas of your website. This needs to include the look and feel of the website, the sections or categories of the services or product that you have, keyword analysis, and layout of the website. If you are good at creating workflows, design a simple diagram about the website’s structure which can help you at later stages.
- Keyword Analysis
Next step is identify the keywords that customers use to search your service or product in the Google’s search result. This is the main and difficult part for most. You need to understand the Google Adwords and use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find the popular keywords related to your category. Select the ones with the higher volume and check each of them for competition in Google Search.
- Select a Reliable Web Host and Available Domain Name
Keeping in line with Google SEO, a keyword sensitive domain name is a great choice. The difficult part is to understand whether you want the domain name for branding purpose or for better Google search. Choose a .com domain name because it has an inherent quality of gaining trust easily as compared to others.
For hosting, choose a company that has the ability to grow if you anticipate more traffic in the next few months. If your website’s success is based on huge traffic, then VPS hosting will be best for you. If the traffic is normal, then a shared hosting account will suffice. Cheap hosting does not always guarantee a great service. So, try to look for a hosting that is neither cheap nor expensive.
- Build a Website from Scratch or using a Content Management System
Using a Content Management System (CMS) is the most common choice people opt for when they frequently need to update or expand the website content. If you know the HTML coding skills, then you can build a static basic website that does not have a backend, and is a non-expensive solution. On the other hand, WordPress blog will be best if your website publishes news. Or if you are on a budget, you can choose from hundreds of WordPress Themes and Plugins to build your own website.
- Website Templates
Whether it a regular website or a CMS based website, a ready to use template is always a good choice when the design-budget is limited. Do not get caught up in the looks of the design because it can always lead to problems in the long run if you are not familiar with it. Stick with the design layout that you created in the first step. You can add special effects such as animations or Flash templates, but then again, it requires knowledge of the Adobe family.
- Content for the Website
The keyword analysis that you did in Step 2, comes in play here. When writing the content of the website be mindful that in order to rank up in Google Search, the usage of a set of 3 to 5 keywords in each page or website section is recommended. Again, this can be adjusted depending on the length of the text. The most important thing is to use the keywords in the Page Titles and Headings. That is why people spend more time on the content writing of the website.
- Build the Website
The building process is very limited when using a CMS based website. Other than installing some extensions such as SEO plugin or a search engine module, it is a fairly simple process. On the other hand, when building a website from scratch, the website template needs to be converted in a website. Different header tags (h1, h2 and h3) are used together with “alt” attribute inside the image tags. Do not use Meta keywords as search engines mostly ignores them. However, you can use Meta description as a preview of description about your website.
- Test your Website
Testing phase! Once the website is built, it is time to check the errors, issues, and problems in different web browsers. Have a beta testing done by people around you – not part of the project.
- Website Statistics
One more step before you publish the website – understanding how you can see the visitor statistics on your website. Software like Google Analytics is currently the best possible solution for easy and quick learning. This software can be used to learn the bounce rate, page hits, views, reach and so much more. All you have to do, is create a profile in Google Analytics and add a tracking code on every page of your website. You are all set then.
- Publish and Promote the Website
Once you publish the website, the next and final step is to promote it so that the reach can be increased. There are many ways to do it. You can formally write a press release to your customers or partners about the launch of new website. You can use word-of-mouth marketing, or spread it in using a community if you are part of any. Other than these, there are paid advertising options as well which you can choose from depending on your budget.
Now that you have the basics of setting up and launching your own website, have a fun time in the world of websites.