In the online age that we live in, having a professional website is an absolute necessity for nearly all career choices and business ventures. A great website can simultaneously operate as a marketing tool, a store platform, a display of works and skills, a communication channel, and an engine for branding. If you want a website that can multitask all of these duties with force, Wix is just what you need.
In this post, we will provide a step-by-step guide explaining how to create a website. In addition to walking you through the technicalities and details of building your own site, we will also focus on key issues in branding and marketing to guarantee that your site is as effective as it is beautiful.
Without further ado, here are the steps to create a professional website:
- Strategize your brand
- Approach the design
- Prioritize usability
- Prepare for search engines
- Professionalize your site
- Go mobile
- Keep visitors engaged
1. Strategize your brand
Your first task is to devise a detailed branding strategy. You don’t want to start creating a website before you have a solid idea of the site’s purpose, intended audience, guiding visual philosophy, or tone of voice. All of these should become clear to you as you pursue the following:
- Identify your target market: Who are they? Which demographic groups do they belong to? What do they like to do? How do they see themselves? How will your business or website influence their lives?
- Research your competitors: Do some market research to get a feel on what the competition is doing, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how you can carve a niche for yourself in the field.
- Define your brand identity: If you had to describe your brand in three words, what would they be? What is the vision that motivates your brand? Think of your brand’s personality and extract from it tangible traits like brand colors, vocabulary and style.
- Prepare consistent branding material: Now it’s time to get practical and prepare the materials that will soon be featured on your site and across your other branding assets. Make sure to create your own logo, as well as images, slogans, videos, textual content and more. These elements should all correspond to your brand identity and serve your branding strategy.
2. Approach the design
From choosing the right website color scheme, to crafting the right layout for your site, there are many aspects to take into account when it comes to the web design itself. If you already know how to design a website and have some previous experience, you can to build your site starting from a blank canvas. Or if you’d rather, you can select a professionally designed template that will act as the base of your design. If you choose the latter, you’ll be able to create a professional website in three easy steps:
- Choose a template: Website templates give you a solid foundation for designing your site. Wix offers a vast selection of professional website templates for a range of themes, styles and purposes. Whether you’re creating a personal website, online store, or any other type of site, find the template that best suits your vision. Ideally, the one you pick will already be structured according to your needs and in line with your branding strategy.
- Customize your template: Once your heart is set on a template, it’s time to turn it into your very own site by customizing and editing. Add in all your content, including text, images, videos, links and audio. Next, refine the design to fit your brand, playing around with color schemes, page order, shapes, font choice and more. Your customizing can be as basic or as elaborate as you want it to be. For inspiration, take a look at this selection of striking Wix websites, created from three different templates. Notice how the original templates have been adapted to result in unique, individually-designed sites.
- Tweak the look: There is much more to creating a website than just choosing the best fonts, colors and images. You can incorporate a variety of media features to enhance your overall aesthetic. Try adding background videos or animation to your website design for added movement, or parallax scrolling to craft a sense of depth.
3. Prioritize usability
Your website needs to catch the eye of any potential customer, but to ensure that visitors will keep browsing, you must also provide a positive user experience. A beautiful website that does not function properly will not get you far. As you create your professional website, pay attention to these important points:
- Navigation flow: For optimal website navigation, make sure the site structure is clear and intuitive. Visitors should be able to easily navigate between pages and subpages using the main menu or internal links.
- Content hierarchy: Hierarchy is one of the seven principles of design, which is why you should pay extra attention to it. Your aim is to guide visitors through your site in the order that best suits your interest. When planning your website layout, make sure that the most crucial aspects are the most prominent. Reflect this hierarchy in your design, emphasizing the most important elements through size, color and placement on the page. For example, if you want people to subscribe to your service, make sure your ‘Subscribe’ button stands out on the page. This landing page explaining how to create a blog clearly demonstrates content hierarchy done right, with large headers and eye-catching buttons.
- Calls-to-action: CTAs are the short messages that invite site visitors to take direct action. They can encourage visitors to “Register Free,” “Get Yours Today” or “Subscribe.” In short, they tell the visitors explicitly what you want them to do. Check out these effective call-to-action examples before adding them to your site.
- Readability: What’s the point of having a website if your content is practically illegible? Readability is a basic principle in typography. Make sure to use clear fonts and comfortable font sizes, that your text colors contrast well with the background colors, and that you have enough empty space (“whitespace”) around your written content.
- Footer: The bottom part of your site is known as the website footer (the top is the “header”). Footers are not immediately visible to site visitors, but they can be used in a number of ways to enhance usability. Consider adding your contact information to the footer, including buttons linking to social media channels. You could also display a simplified site map that links to all your pages, as well as a brief explanation of who you are, or a site disclaimer text.
4. Prepare for search engines
Getting your site to rank prominently on search results is one of the most valuable ways to increase your traffic, which is why it’s so important to consider search engine optimization (SEO) in the early stages of creating your site. A key part of online marketing, SEO is a science in its own right. Its key elements are:
- Keyword research: Put yourself in the shoes of your potential site visitor or client. Which questions or phrases might they search for on Google that could lead them to your website? The keywords within their search queries will guide your SEO strategy. Using keyword research tools, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which keywords you should be targeting.
- Text: Every piece of text on your website, from your menu to your FAQ page, blog, footer or bio section, should be written with SEO in mind. While there are many SEO tips to boost your website, the general idea is to find subtle and elegant ways to integrate your keywords into your site’s textual content without compromising on quality. Search engine crawlers are smart, and they could down-rank you if they think you sound too much like an ad.
- Meta tags: Search engines like Google read your metadata. It’s up to you to control what it is that they see and how they present your site in search results. After looking into the psychology of SEO, take the time to add custom meta tags to your site with the goal of optimizing your content.
- Alt text: Images also play a prominent role in your SEO efforts. Every image that you upload to your website should have alt text (short for ‘alternative text’) added to it. Alt text is a very short line that explains to search engines what the image depicts. In turn, this allows your images to be ‘found’ in search results, which is why it’s important to write SEO friendly alt text for all your images.
- Link building: Broadly put, your ranking on search engine results is likely to improve if you have other websites linking to your site. You can start by submitting your website to directories, making sure that all your social media profiles link to your site, and encouraging site visitors to share your content as well.
Keep in mind that SEO is a long-term process that does not end once your website is launched. You will need to continue to refine it as you go along in order to win sustainable results.
5. Professionalize your site
In addition to acting as the online face of your business or service, you should ask yourself how your website can further enhance your professional success. Depending on your industry or field, your site could be offering a number of features that will make it more appealing to your target market. For example:
- Wix Bookings: The ideal solution for booking appointments online that helps you take bookings and get payments, as well as manage your schedule more efficiently and showcase your services in their best light.
- Wix Stores: The most convenient way to create and manage an online store, which includes professional features such as advanced marketing tools, secure online payments and multiple sales channels. There are hundreds of design features to ensure you present your products in the most enticing way. You can start building your website from scratch or pick one of these online store templates.
- Wix Fitness: A powerful all-in-one solution for fitness experts. Advanced gym management software, online booking and payments, and convenient staff and schedule management help you run your business smoothly. Whether you’ve been in the industry for a while or are wondering how to start a fitness business, this platform will give you the professional tools you need.
- Wix Music: A cutting-edge platform for musicians who want to promote their music online and expand their audience while maintaining total creative freedom. Wix Music allows you to sell your music directly on your website and keep 100% of the profits.
- Essential apps: The Wix App Market holds a large selection of apps that will help you fulfill your website’s potential to the max. Consider, for instance, a tool to track your visitor analytics, a countdown timer to help increase your sales, sophisticated text animation to impress your visitors and many, many more.
6. Go mobile
Making sure your website functions just as well on mobile as it does on desktop is crucial in this day and age. In fact, mobile usage stats indicate that mobile devices account for 52% of web page views worldwide. Not only that, but since Google implemented mobile-first indexing, websites are ranked on search results predominantly by their mobile versions. Clearly, it’s worth investing your time in optimizing your mobile website.
If you’re creating your site using Wix, the mobile editor automatically converts your desktop design into a mobile-friendly site. You can then adjust the layout and design to suit mobile devices, paying particular attention to readability, text sizing and navigation.
For users who are looking for full control over breakpoints, Editor X is an advanced creation platform from Wix, made exclusively for designers and agencies. It combines cutting-edge, responsive design with intuitive drag-and-drop on a flexible new canvas. This gives you absolute design control, so you can see and design your site at any viewport size.
7. Keep visitors engaged
Once your website goes live you will see that the main challenge shifts to attracting and maintaining visitors. You can prepare for this task by adding features that actively reach out to visitors and keep your online content dynamic.
- Newsletter: Want to master email marketing like a pro? Wix’s email marketing solution lets you create effective campaigns using fully customizable layouts, marketing automation tools, easy-to-read stats tracking and more. Check out these newsletter design ideas for inspiration.
- Blog: There are many reasons why starting a blog is well worth your time and effort. Other than the fact that you can work towards monetizing your blog, having a blog can positively impact your site’s traffic. This guide on SEO for bloggers explains more. Content-wise, having your own blog will let you communicate your message and ideas in a more personal tone, as well as demonstrating your level of professionalism in your field. Before you begin, browse this selection of high quality blog examples.
- Social feed: Active on social media? Let your site visitors know by encouraging them to connect with you on other platforms. On top of adding a social bar to your site, check out the social apps Wix offers, allowing you to link your site with your social accounts or even display your social activities directly on your site. Read up on social media marketing to make the most out of your channels.