How To Make a Website In 7 Steps
- Sign up. Choose the best website builder that suits your specific needs.
- Select a template. Find a design that will be a good starting point for your site or, start from scratch.
- Customize your content. Edit text, add images & videos and link to your social channels and more.
- Add finishing touches. Customize final elements and add any needed features or apps.
- Choose the right domain. Purchase new or connect an already existing domain name to your website.
- Go live. Save and publish your site to share it with the world.
- Keep it current. Update your site on a regular basis, so its content is always relevant.
It all starts with choosing the best website builder for your needs. Once you’ve made your choice, signing up is a pretty simple process; it often only entails entering your email address or signing up with your Facebook or Google account credentials. While some may require payment up front, most platforms are based on a freemium pricing strategy, meaning that basic functions (site creation, etc.) will be free, but they will charge for additional features and upgrade options. All that to say: you probably won’t need your credit card handy to get started. Once you decide to upgrade, prices range from the price of a cup of coffee to some pretty serious cash.
Select a Template.
Once your account is set up, you’ll be able to start creating your website. While most platforms give you the option to start a website from scratch, it’s usually much easier to work off of a ready-made template. Many site building platforms offer templates designed specifically for specific industries and businesses. It’s generally good practice to select one that is made for your business type, as it’ll already come with features that will benefit your website and its audience. Another reason for going the template route is you’ll most likely end up with a website that looks professional and well-designed, even after you’ve customized it. Important note: some platforms will give you the ability to change templates at any point (should you change your mind) and some won’t – meaning you’ll need to start from the beginning. If that’s the case, make sure you choose a template you’ll be happy to stick with.
Customize Your Content.
A ready-made template is a fantastic starting point, but you’ll need to customize for it to look like and function as your own website. While some platforms let you access the code, most work with drag and drop technology which makes changing your template pretty straightforward. Start with swapping in your business name and logo, connect your social channels to the appropriate icons, and add your contact info in the provided places. From there, you can change any and all texts, add your images and videos, and play with different color schemes, fonts, and accents.
Suggestion: while some platforms offer mobile editing, it’s often easier to work on a laptop or desktop computer.
Add finishing touches.
When you’ve finished the with the elements above, you can start to play with some of the more detailed features available to you. Depending on the website builder you’ve chosen, your options will vary, but most offer plenty of features for you to try out on your site. Design elements include buttons and icons, images and clip art, photo and video galleries, and even advanced features like 3D parallax scrolling and different transition effects between pages. Most site builders also offer web apps and services that you can connect to your site, making tasks like email marketing and Google Adwords very accessible and streamlined. Once you’re close to finished, look to see if your website builder has a ‘preview’ button (most do). This will let you see what your website will look like when it’s live on the web, so you can make adjustments and perfect it before you publish it.
Choose the right domain.
In order to publish your website, you’ll need to have a domain to connect it to. Some website building platforms offer a package deal that includes a free domain, while others will not – in which case you’ll need to purchase one from a domain registrar. The process isn’t complicated, but you’ll need to decide on a good solid name beforehand. It’s best practice to go with one that is easy to remember while still being in-line with your business name and/or brand. Once you’ve figured out which name you’re going with, you’ll need to choose a domain extension. In today’s competitive online market, .com names can be hard to find. But don’t worry – there are plenty of cool domain extensions, some even specifically made with your industry in mind. Choose from straightforward ones like .org or .web or fun ones like .restaurant, .music, or .beauty. Read more about how to choose the best domain name for your site.
Now that you have everything in place, your website is ready to be seen on the web. Find the ‘publish’ button on your platform’s editor or dashboard. Most platforms will ask if you meant to push this button or not, just in case you accidentally hit it. Once you approve it, your website will be viewable on the web – and you’ll be able to start directing traffic toward it. Many platforms are putting lots of effort into making their sites more Google friendly – helping get your SEO (search engine optimization) off to a better start. Once your website is live, it may take 4 days to 4 weeks for search engines to crawl for and then index it. All this to say, you may not see as much traffic as you might like for a little while. But there are steps you can take to improve your SEO.
Keep It Current.
If you want your website to reach the goals you’ve set for it, you’ll need to keep it updated. Fresh content (new products, sales announcements, blog posts, etc.) is essential both for your audience as well as for search engines. If you want to keep the organic traffic incoming, search engines will favor a website that is regularly maintained. Give them as well as your audience a reason to come and check in, and even create share-worthy content for your social channels. Updating your website regularly will only benefit it.