Published: 04 May 2016
This poster by Lemongraphic is a great summary of the steps professionals follow when creating a new website. The process is split into 3 steps covering how to design and build a website, and including planning your website, designing and building the site, and finally launching it.
If you want your website to succeed you’ll need a plan. You should start with the basics, consider who your audience is and what you want the website to do.
Map out how you want your website to be organised, this is sometimes called the information architecture. What will be the main sections of your website, what sub-pages will you need, what content will you be putting on the website.
You should spend a little time on keyword research, make sure you use common terms for page titles that people actually search for.
Plan your website’s navigation. Make it easy for people to move between sections naturally, as the need arises. Try to predict what information your viewers are looking for and make it easy for them to find it. Include navigation elements like breadcrumbs that show the viewer where they are.
Think about each page you want to create. What is its main purpose and how does it fit in with the rest of the website? What information do you need to include on the page, and more importantly what information do you leave out.
If the main goal of the page is to sell you product then you’ll want to include a call to action. However, you don’t want to waffle on about the technical specification unless it’s really important. You can alway create more sub-pages for frequently asked questions or in-depth technical discussions.
It’s time to make your site look good, but it’s not just about looks. Usability is about designing a good experience into your website. The better your viewers experience, the longer they will spend on your site. They will be more likely to return in the future and to convert into customers.
Choose the basic design elements that you want to use, you should try to match any existing branding material you have. Define a limited colour palate that is appealing and fits your business. Find a clear, easy to read font for the main text and a good headline font. Avoid using more than 2-3 fonts unless there is a good reason. Limiting the choices here will help to give your websites design consistency and coherence.
Once the site is built it’s the business owners chance to test it. This isn’t just about finding bugs, the site needs to work for your customers and you know them better than your web designer.
Finally its launch time but the work isn’t over yet, you need to register the site with search engines. You can register the site with Google through the search console. It’s free to use and you can sign in with your Gmail account. To register the website with Bing use their webmaster tools website.
The final step to creating your website is an ongoing processing of analysis and improvement. You can register for Google Analytics to help you track the performance of your site, and for more advanced users there are tools for A/B testing.
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