Designing and building a website is a process that requires both creative and technical skills. Previously, if you wanted to get a website designed and built, you needed to either learn how to do it yourself or hire someone with the necessary skills. Most often, you needed to hire a professional.
The options available to you were either to hire a freelancer or hire an agency. Now, each has its own pros and cons. Agencies assure you control over quality and timely deliverables but it comes at a hefty price. On the other hand, freelancers are quite cost-effective to hire but there is control over the quality of the end product.
With advancements in technology, there is now a solution that allows you to control the type and quality of a website while still being cost-effective, and this control is achieved in a simple manner—by doing it yourself. There are multiple website builders available in the market, and each has its own set of pros and cons. Here is a step-by-step guide on designing your own website.
- What is the purpose of your website?
Is your website going to be a personal blog or portfolio, or do you plan to use it for business? The answer to this question will help determine the features you need and the overall design of your website.
- Where will your website be hosted?
Your website will need to be hosted on a web server in order for it to be accessible to people online. You can either host your website yourself or pay a web hosting company to do it for you.
- Who is your target audience?
Are you targeting a specific group of people with your website? Consider the age, gender, interests and location of your target audience when designing your website.
- Why do you want a website?
Are you looking to sell products or services online? Do you want to share your knowledge or connect with like-minded people? Knowing the purpose of your website will help you determine its design and features.
- How complex do you want your website to be?
This is the most preliminary question that you need to answer when you deciding to build your own website. A one-page website will be much simpler to design than an ecommerce site with dozens of pages.
These are the main questions that need to be answered to have a basic direction for designing your website.
Now that you’ve defined your website’s purpose and target audience, it’s time to start thinking about the design. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin the design process:
Defining your website’s purpose and strategy
The first step in designing your website is to define its purpose. That might sound like a no-brainer—of course you know why you’re building a website. But it’s important to take the time to think about your goals for the site and how you want it to help you achieve your business objectives.
Your website’s purpose will be the foundation for your entire design, so it’s important to get it right. Your strategy hinges on what you are trying to achieve. This has to be the focal point of your strategy because your website has to convey consistency throughout.
Research your competition
One of the best ways to understand what you should include on your website is to see what your competition is doing. This research will give you a good sense of the common features and elements that websites in your industry typically have.
It will also help you identify any areas where you could distinguish yourself from the competition with a unique feature or element on your website. Designing a website cannot be just based on the designers’ perception but a culmination of all the research into what is best for fulfilling the abovementioned purpose.
Set your goals:
Now that you have a good understanding of what your competition is doing, it’s time to start thinking about what you want your website to achieve. Some common goals for business websites include:
- Generating leads
- Increasing sales
- Improving customer service
- Building brand awareness
Choose your platform:
There are numerous DIY online tools that allow you to create and design your own website even without knowing a single line of code.
These platforms have numerous competencies, which we will discuss a little later in the article.
Choosing a CMS platform
A content management system (CMS) is a software that helps you create, edit, publish and manage your website’s content. It is important to choose a CMS platform that is easy to use and has the features that you need for your website. Some of the popular CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Magento.
Deciding on a CMS platform quite early allows you to avoid potential headaches later on. If you are unsure about which platform to choose, we recommend WordPress as it is relatively easy to use and has a large community of users and developers.
Select a template/theme
After you have finalized the platform you want to use, it’s time to select a template or theme for your website. Most DIY website platforms offer a wide variety of both free and paid themes.
A template is the layout of your website. Similar to the structure of your house, a template forms the foundation for you to add the customizing elements and design your website.
Add and optimize your content
Once you have a design that you’re happy with, it’s time to start adding content. This is where most DIYers get stuck. They have a beautiful site, but they don’t know what to say.
The key is to think about your audience and what they want to know. Write content that is helpful, informative, and inspires them to take action.
Building the website:
Now that you have the over steps in mind. Lets discuss how you can make the actual website. Here are the following steps:
Step 1: Choose the right website builder
A huge number of people use various website builders to design their websites. When it comes to designing a website, popular brands like Wix and Squarespace report 100 million and 3.79 million subscribers, respectively. Finding the right one for you depends on a number of factors:
- Ease of use: If you’re not familiar with website design or coding, you’ll want a platform that is easy to use and doesn’t require any technical skills. With the help of drag-and-drop interfaces, you can focus completely on the design and layout without worrying about the technical details.
- Budget: Choosing a plan that suits your needs and is favorable for your wallet takes a bit of searching. There are many platforms with various subscription plans.
- Design Flexibility: If you want complete creative control over your website’s design, you’ll need a platform that gives you the ability to customize every element on your site. This includes colors, fonts, layouts, and more.
- Features: Determine what features you need and make sure the platform you choose offers them. Some common features include e-commerce, contact forms, blog posts, and social media integration.
- Help & Support: When you encounter an issue with your website, you’ll want to know that there’s someone to help you solve it. Look for a platform with comprehensive help and support resources, such as a knowledge base, FAQs, community forums, and live chat.
- Customer score and reviews: Checking out what other customers have to say about a platform can give you valuable insights into its features, ease of use, customer support, and more.
Based on the above factors: Here are a few popular choices:
Wix is a popular website builder with a user-friendly platform, extensive features, and helpful customer support. With over 200m users, Wix is the biggest website builder out there. The key fact that most users like about Wix is its flexibility – you can create any kind of website with it– and its choice of themes– there are over 500 templates to choose from– for freelancers and small businesses.
The pricing options are varied:
- For a basic working website, it is absolutely free to build a website.
- For an ad-free website with a custom domain, there is Wix Combo option (Rs 125/month).
- Finally, for more details on pricing, you can visit the Wix website.
Wix is not the cheapest website builder. Therefore, you need to be aware for your budget while using Wix. Additionally, it is not ideal for larger websites (excess of 30 pages).
is the second most popular website builder. It is a little bit more expensive than Wix, but it makes up for it in terms of design options. Squarespace has a limited but select number of themes– each one is absolutely gorgeous and can be used for any type of website.
The pricing starts at Rs 144/month. There is a 14-day free trial option that most users try.
Squarespace users need to invest a bit of time to get a great result. Additionally, it is not ideal for larger websites.
Weebly is the third most popular website builder. It has a very user-friendly interface and offers a lot of features for free.
The Weebly pricing starts at Rs 90/month, making it the most affordable website builder on this list. The free plan includes a Weebly subdomain, 500MB storage, and basic eCommerce features.
Weebly is a good option if you are on a budget and are looking for an easy to use website builder. Although if you want a website builder that looks a bit more modern or is frequently updated, your are better off going for Wix.
Step 2: Choose a unique and relevant domain name
The first step is to choose a domain name for your website. Your domain name should be reflective of your business or personal brand.
If you are a business, try to include keywords in your domain name that describe what you do. For example, if you are a plumbing company, you could include the word “plumbing” in your domain name.
If you are a personal brand, try to use your name as your domain name. For example, if your name is John Smith, you could use “JohnSmith.com” as your domain name.
If the domain name you want is already taken, you could try adding a dash in between words or using a different extension (such as .net or .co).
Step 3: Picking a design template you love
The next step is to find a design template that you love and that reflects the style of your business or personal brand.
You can browse through the designs on your chosen website platform or look for inspiration elsewhere online. Once you’ve found a design you like, it’s time to start customizing it to make it your own.
Step 4: Customize your template
Now it’s time to add your own personal touch to your website. Depending on the platform you chose in step 1, this might involve editing the HTML or CSS code, or simply changing some colors and fonts in the built-in editor.
If you’re not comfortable working with code, don’t worry – there are plenty of other ways to customize your site.
You can upload your own logo, change the background image or color, and add your own photos and videos. Most website platforms also let you choose from a selection of pre-made themes, or even install third-party themes created by other designers.
Customization includes the following:
- Adding new pages to your navigation
- Changing size, colours, and font of buttons
- Adding new elements like contact forms and menus
- Editing the images on your homepage gallery
- Choosing a different colour palette
- Linking/embedding social media channels
Step 5: Add your content
Now it’s time to start adding your own content to the website. This is the fun part!
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to write all the content for your website. This includes the text for your pages as well as any images or videos you want to include.
If you’re using a template, you can simply replace the existing content with your own. Most templates will already have placeholder text and images that you can easily replace.
When writing your content, keep the following in mind:
- Write for your audience: Always keep your target audience in mind when writing content for your website. Write in a style and tone that appeals to them.
- Keep it short and sweet: No one likes to read huge blocks of text. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and to the point.
- Use headlines and subheadings: Breaking up your content with headlines and subheadings makes it easier to read. It also gives you a chance to highlight important information that you want to emphasize.
Step 6: Choose and download apps
There are a number of different apps that you can add to your website to make it more interactive and user-friendly. Here are a few popular ones:
- Content Management System (CMS): A CMS is an app that helps you manage your website content. It makes it easy to add, delete, and edit your content. There are a number of different CMS options available, including WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
- E-commerce: If you want to sell products or services on your website, you’ll need an e-commerce app. Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform that allows you to set up an online store quickly and easily.
- Form Builder: A form builder app lets you create forms to gather information from your website visitors. You can then use this information to contact leads or customers, or even generate sales.
- Analytics: Analytics apps help you track your website’s traffic and performance. This information can be useful for understanding how well your website is doing, and for making changes to improve your results.
Step 7: Mobile Responsive:
Make sure that your website is mobile responsive because a large portion of web traffic now comes from mobile devices. Ensuring the responsiveness of your website across a range of device sizes is crucial element of designing your website. There are multiple ways to make a website mobile responsive, but the most common method is to use CSS media queries.
Step 8: Preview and test your website
Now that you’ve added all of your content and design elements, it’s time to preview and test your website. This will help you make sure everything looks and works the way you want it to before you launch your site.
To preview your website, click the “Preview” button in the upper right-hand corner of the editor. This will open your website in a new tab, where you can scroll through all of the pages and click on all of the links to test them.
If you find any problems, go back to the editor and make the necessary changes. Once you’re happy with how everything looks and works, you can move on to the next step.
Step 9: Publish your website
Now that your website is complete, it’s time to publish it so the world can see it! To do this, click on the “Publish” button in the upper right-hand corner of the editor.
While this may seem like a lot of work, once you get the hang of it, designing a website becomes much easier and more fun. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your creativity and learn new skills. So what are you waiting for? Get started today and design your very own website!
Although designing a website sounds very viable and exciting, without extensive experience, it is a bit difficult to develop that professional and refined touch that is exclusive to professionals. There are numerous top-rated web development companies, like Pixel Street, that have a team of dedicated designers and web developers who are skilled in using various platforms and can help you develop an amazing website!!