Making a successful website will be different for everyone, but there are several steps you can take to both increase the odds of success and quicken how long this takes.
With a low barrier to entry for creating websites, there are more people than ever before trying to start their site. With the internet being full of millions of informative sites and entertaining blogs, competition is very high.
In this article, I'll go through each aspect of building a successful website and give you the right pointers along the way about crucial things you have to consider. Let's get right to it.
Step 1: Define Your Website Goals
The first step in creating a successful website is to define your goals. What do you want your website to achieve? Do you want to make money, provide information, or share your thoughts and experiences with others?
Once you know what you want your website to achieve, you can develop a plan to reach those goals. This is where things can start to get a little more tricky, as there are many different ways to achieve success online.
For example, if a website is monetized via display advertising revenue, driving traffic from search engines plays a huge role. On the other hand, a site that sells products or services might need a large flow of high-quality leads coming from things like pay-per-click ads and email marketing campaigns.
In addition, your goals can also change over time. As your website matures and you learn more about your audience, you might focus on different goals compared to previous ones. That is why it’s essential to have a starting point and a plan for where you want your website to go.
As you’re defining your website goals, and if you're going to focus on search engine optimization (more on this later), make sure your keyword research is top-notch. The benefit of choosing the right keywords as you focus on SEO is that it can bring free traffic to your website once your search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings pick up.
Step 2: Pick A Domain And Hosting Provider
Once you know your website goals, the next step is to pick a domain name and hosting provider. This can be a daunting task, as there are hundreds of providers to choose from.
When choosing a domain name, it's essential to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, make sure it's easy to remember and type into a web browser. Secondly, try and pick a domain that reflects the topic of your website. For example, if you're running a website about gardening, then try and register a domain name like GardeningTips.com or something that reflects what you do. If you're running a business website, then try and register a domain name that reflects your company's name or the products and services you offer.
Thirdly, make sure the domain is available. This might seem like an obvious point, but many domains have been taken and are now being used as a parking page (a web page with no actual content used to generate advertising revenue). If you find a domain name that you really like, my advice is to go ahead and immediately buy it.
When it comes to hosting providers, the options are also endless. The important thing is to find one that fits your needs and budget. I recommend going with a provider that offers cPanel (or a similar control panel) as this will give you more flexibility in terms of what you can do with your website.
Also, select a reputable hosting provider that offers excellent technical support. This is critical, as you don't want to be stuck with a provider that can't help you when you need it.Also, if you're using your website for eCommerce purposes, choose a good e-commerce platform. There are many different options to choose from, but I recommend Shopify or BigCommerce as they offer many features and support. Building an online store can be a daunting task, but these platforms make it a lot easier. In addition, headless eCommerce provides many benefits for businesses, so it might be worth looking into.
Step 3: Plan Out Your Site Organization
Once you have your domain and hosting sorted out, it's time to start planning out the organization of your website. This is where you'll decide on the layout of your pages and how everything will be structured.
The best way to approach this is by sketching out a simple wireframe of your website. This will help you get a better idea of how everything will look and feel. In addition, it will also help you if you want to get something custom-coded to your website.
There are many different ways to structure a website, but I generally recommend using a three-column layout. This allows for plenty of space for content while still keeping the design clean and easy to navigate.
When it comes to creating your pages, keep things simple. Don't cram too much information onto a single page, as this can be overwhelming for your visitors. Instead, break your content down into manageable chunks and use clear and concise titles to help guide people through your website.
Also, make sure to use practical web design principles like contrast, alignment, and whitespace to make your website look professional and polished.
Consider SEO basics principles like using keywords in your titles and headings as you design your website. This will help you rank higher in the search engine results pages and bring more website traffic.
By optimizing for SEO, you can make your website more successful with minimal effort. Some simple tweaks to your website's design and content can go a long way in improving your search engine rankings.
Many website builders include SEO modules that will optimize your site automatically, so there's no excuse not to do it.
Step 4: Write Your Website Copy
Once you've designed the layout and structure of your website, the next step is to write your copy.
Your content can make or break your website – it's what people experience when they come to your site. It's essential to spend time writing valuable and engaging content for this reason.
It would help if you always stuck to "less is more" regarding the number of words on a page. This will help you avoid overwhelming visitors with walls of text that nobody wants to read.
Instead, focus on getting across just enough information in an easy-to-understand format. For example, use bullet points and numbered lists where possible as these tend to be easy for people to follow and scan through quickly.
Also, consider using images to help illustrate your points. These can break up the content and make it more readable. This is particularly important if you're writing something that's quite lengthy or detailed, like an ebook or a whitepaper.
If you need inspiration for creating engaging content, then take a look at some of the top websites in your industry. See what other people are doing and get ideas from there.
Remember to use headlines where possible, as these will help guide people through your website and grab their attention when they first arrive on your page. The trick here is to avoid clickbait (like "this one thing will change your life.") unless you want to come across as very unprofessional. Instead, be clear and specific about what you're writing, and try to write headlines that are informative and helpful.
Spend as much time as needed on the title of your page, as this is displayed prominently in search engine results pages (SERPs). It would also help if you spent some time coming up with an engaging meta description for your website’s main pages. This is also an important aspect that entices readers to click through to your site.
Finding ways to stand out from your competition is often the best way to get ahead in any business. Business websites are no different – particularly in some of the very competitive sectors such as online marketing and sales.
As you progress, try and work out how you can make your website stand out from the crowd to have a better chance of success. For example, incorporating social media platforms as part of your marketing strategy (more on this later) can help give your site an extra dimension and introduce it to new people.
One thing that's perhaps less obvious about web design is navigation. Try to keep this simple by using logical category headings at the top of each page to allow visitors to find what they are looking for on your site quickly. Internal links are beneficial, too, as they'll direct people through the various sections of your website more easily. Always include a "home" link on each page of your website so that people can quickly return to the main page if they somehow get lost.
Create A Blog
Starting a blog and making money can become a reality when you know how to do it the right way. Not only can a blog help increase website traffic, but it can also help develop better customer relationships, position you as an expert in your field, and boost your website's SEO ranking.
When creating a blog, be sure to keep the following in mind:
Here are seven ways to make money blogging that you should consider if creating a blog is something you'd be interested in trying.
Implement The Best Content Management System
Something that will help manage your website content is using the suitable CMS (or "content management system"). This type of software allows you to add, delete and edit pages from one central location.
There are many great platforms for this purpose, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Choose something user-friendly and easy to learn so that you or someone else can make changes to your site when required.
The good thing here is that most providers will offer a package including web hosting, a domain name, and the CMS all in one place. This shouldn’t cost much these days and should start from just a few dollars per month. You should also get help installing the software, as it can be frustrating for beginners.
Regularly creating and publishing quality content is key to the success of your website. This is especially important if you want people to keep coming back to your site, which should be one of the goals of a successful website.
Step 5: Optimize Your Landing Pages
While all your website's pages are essential, the landing pages are arguably the most crucial. A landing page is a page that your visitors will see when they first visit your website, so it's essential to make an excellent first impression.
There are many different ways to optimize your landing pages, but I recommend following these general tips:
If you follow these tips, your landing pages will be more likely to engage visitors and further encourage them to explore your website. This is an excellent way to make your website more successful and generate higher conversion rates.
Step 6: Don't Forget About Mobile Devices
Website design is no longer just about desktop computers – it's now equally important to ensure that your website looks good and functions correctly on mobile devices.
A great website design will automatically adapt to fit the screen size of whatever device it's being viewed on, so there's no need to create separate websites for different devices. This is known as responsive web design, and it's something that all website owners should be using nowadays.
If you're not sure if your website is responsive, the website builder of your choice should be able to give you a report on how well it functions on mobile devices. If any areas need improvement, customer support should be well on hand to help you get any problems fixed.
Step 7: Have A Plan For Marketing
No matter how great your website is, it won't be successful unless you plan to market it. If you want to create a successful website, you will need to think of how you’re going to do this before you start the whole process; this means coming up with a strategy that outlines how you will attract visitors to your site and convince them to stay.
There are many different ways to market a website, but some of the most common methods include:
A strong marketing plan is essential for the success of your website - without one, you'll have a much harder time attracting new visitors and convincing them to stay on your site. Make sure that you take the time to think carefully about how you will achieve this.
Having a plan for how people will find your website is very important. I suggest creating a plan for each different type of marketing channel that you might want to use. Things like SEO and social media might be easier (and more long-term) than paid advertising, so you might want to start with those first.
Alternatively, some people might hire a marketing consultant to help them create and execute a successful marketing plan. This can be a great way to ensure that you're doing everything possible to promote your website.
Please don't underestimate the difficulty of marketing your website once it's live. It can be hard work, but if you don't put effort into attracting new visitors, then nobody will ever find your site or learn about all of your great content.
Step 8: Testing Everything Before It's Time To Go Live
After investing so much time and effort into creating your website, it can be tempting to launch it immediately. I understand that urge - but if you want your site to succeed, I strongly recommend holding off for a few days until you've had the chance to test everything thoroughly.
There are usually minor errors or bugs on some web pages, so do yourself a favor and check everything one last time before opening up your site to the public. You don't want visitors to get frustrated because they can't find what they're looking for due to simple coding problems or formatting issues.
It's also essential to ensure that all of your links work properly. It may sound like an annoying thing to deal with now, but fixing minor errors later might take much longer than if you take care of them during the testing phase.
You can test many other things while your website is in development, but these are some of the most important ones. If you can iron out all the kinks before launch, then you'll be much more likely to have a successful website.
Of course, it's impossible to catch every mistake - that's why it's always essential to have a plan for post-launch bug fixes and updates. No website is perfect, but you can minimize problems by testing everything as thoroughly as possible before going live.
Once you're satisfied that your website is ready for the world, it's time to go public. This can be an exciting (and nerve-wracking) moment, but if you've adequately prepared, things should go smoothly.
You can also have a press release ready to send out announcing your new website once it launches. You can also contact famous bloggers and websites in your industry to let them know about your new site and invite them to mention it to their audience.
This will help you get the initial boost you need to attract new visitors. There are often thousands of websites launching each day, but if yours is featured on a popular blog, that could be enough to put it above the rest and get some momentum going.
Step 9: Monitor Your Site
Don't let your website sit around for months before doing anything else to check how it’s progressing. The best way to get the most out of your website is to monitor how well it's constantly performing.You should keep an eye on your site's rankings in search engines (using free tools like Google Analytics - more on this in the next section), but don't be afraid to try paid services like SEMrush or Ahrefs if you think they could help you get more visitors.
It can also be helpful to track where all of your traffic is coming from, so do some primary market research and find out what other websites are linking back to yours. This will help you learn more about what works for marketing your content online.
Planning for this kind of activity in advance can be difficult, but it's essential to have a rough idea of how you want to track your success before you go live. Once you have the data in front of you, try to identify any trends or problems so that you can fix them as soon as possible.
Even if everything is going well at first, nobody wants their website to stagnate - so keep checking back to see how things progress over time.
Install Google Search Console And Google Analytics
As soon as your website goes live, you want to start keeping an eye on the flowing traffic. Google Search Console and Google Analytics are great ways to do this. These tools will help you identify where all of your visitors are coming from and what they're searching for when they get to your site. You'll also find how long they spend on each page during their visit.
Many people think that webmaster tools are only meant for established sites, but there are many benefits for new websites.
If you don't already have such tools set up for your site, you should do it as soon as possible. They’re entirely free and can be extremely useful when you're trying to figure out who is visiting your content - and why.
Use Your Analytics
Once you've installed these tools, open them up regularly and start checking through the most critical data from past periods.
Apart from the usual metrics (such as the number of impressions and visits to your website), you can also look at this data differently. For example, if you notice that visitors spend a lot of time on one page or another, consider writing more content like it. You might even want to set up a blog section with regularly updated posts for the subject matter in question. This is an easy way to ensure that your site stays fresh and can provide value beyond its original purpose.
Another thing you should do when using analytics is to take note of the keywords people are searching for in search engines. This will tell you what your target audience thinks is important and may give you some ideas about how best to attract them again in the future.
Learn From Heat Mapping
Heat mapping is another excellent way to track how people interact with your website. This tool records where people are clicking on your pages and produces a graphical representation of the data so that you can see it all in one place. From there, you can start to make decisions about what content is working (and why) and adjust your site accordingly.
When looking at heat map data, one thing to keep in mind is that it's not always accurate, but it can still be a helpful guide for making decisions. For example, if you see that most of your visitors click on a specific part of the page, you know that you need to focus your efforts there. You might also find that visitors aren't clicking on certain things that you thought they would - and this is a sign that it's not important enough for them.
Heat mapping can also tell you how long people spend on each site page, which is a handy thing to know. It might seem like a short amount of time isn't worth worrying about, but breaking down analytics data by the minute can provide insight into what works and why and give you clues on what the next action steps should be.
Making a successful website is not easy. You need to identify why someone would want to visit your website and what value you can provide.
While the above steps might seem like a lot of work, it will all be worth it in the end. There are many tools to help make the process easier, but the most important thing is never to stop learning and evolving your website to provide as much value as possible and meet your audience's needs better.