Less than 64% of small and medium-sized businesses use their websites to reach more customers and sell their products. Statistics show that for such businesses, 70–80% of potential customers could be lost without a website.
In this guide, we will help you figure out how to create your own website when you are not a pro in programming. At the end of the article, there’s a list of helpful services you may want to check out.
The first thing you need to decide on is what kind of website you want, and then start working on its structure. Here are some of the most popular types of websites:
A single-page website describing a product or service.
Pros: it is easiest and fastest to create. A landing page only takes a couple of days and a website builder – after that, you can launch ads immediately to kick off sales.
Cons: a landing page works with a limited amount of information only, otherwise your visitors will be overloaded with content. If you have a lot of different products to sell or stories to tell, a landing page is not an option.
A multi-page website with a focus on offering lots of products and services. It includes a homepage, product catalog, pages for each product, and user’s personal account with a shopping cart to place orders. An online store needs to be integrated with payment services and a content management system (CMS).
Pros: an online store is pretty much like a supermarket where you don't have to pay rent or wages to cashiers, security guards and salesmen as all these processes are automated. All you need to do is launch ad campaigns, process orders, and organize delivery. To create a small online store, you can use a website builder.
Cons: website builders will not be enough for a large online store. Instead, you will have to hire in-house developers or engage an agency. The cost of creating an online store varies from USD 1,000 to USD 10,000 depending on its size and functionality. Also, factor in at least USD 500 annually for technical support.
A multi-page website that focuses on content and contains a main page, sections, and articles. It can be a standalone information resource, a branded media website maintained by a business, or a corporate blog as part of an existing website to drive better SEO performance. In any case, it requires CMS integration.
Pros: an independent information portal or a blog as part of an existing website is a powerful tool to grow traffic organically. This way, you can generate lots of free organic traffic. A small blog can be created using a website builder.
Cons: again, website builders will not do for a large-scale information portal. Instead, you will have to hire in-house developers or engage an agency. The cost of creating such a website varies from USD 200 to USD 6,000 depending on its size and functionality.
A multi-page website that operates as an online office and provides information on the company and its products and services, and all the relevant data for job seekers, partners, investors, and the mass media.
Pros: a corporate website is fairly easy to put together. Basically, this is a set of landing pages with static content that only needs to be updated every so often. A simple corporate website can be created using a website builder.
Cons: a corporate website is a publicity project. It does not focus on direct sales and, unlike an online store or landing page, will not generate quick returns. That said, the average cost of a corporate website developed by professionals varies from USD 10,000 to USD 35,000 depending on the size and functionality.
Read more on how to build your online presence as an artist.
Website structure is how different sections and pages on your site are linked with each other.
For example, the structure can look this way:
For a landing page, you can put together the structure in any word processor (Microsoft Word or Google Docs).
For a multi-page website, a structure is best depicted as a mind map, where each page is a new branch.
Look into your competitors to understand what kinds of websites are used by businesses in your niche. In addition to direct competitors, also pay attention to related market categories. For example, if you have a flower delivery website, it may be worth checking out websites that sell small gifts and confectionery.
Analyzing the competition will give you an understanding of what works well in the market. As part of this exercise, answer the following questions:
Gather up links to websites you like, and describe what specifically you like about them. Going forward, you can use this list as a reference when creating your own website.
A website prototype is a simple scheme that shows where the page’s key elements are located: header, main content, illustrations, buttons, and contacts.
You can create a prototype on paper or using special online tools such as Balsamiq or Moqups.
Another way to prototype a website is to create a presentation where each slide will be one semantic block. This works best for prototyping landing pages.
Content means all the information on your website: texts, images, and videos. Make sure your content is informative and exciting for your audience.
A well-written text keeps the attention of users, turning them into potential customers. Here are some tips on how to write better texts for your website:
Images make a website more engaging visually and help its visitors better understand the content you offer. Here are some tips on how to choose images for your website:
Videos can be a powerful tool to attract and retain user attention. However, they take a lot of time and money to create, so make sure you only use videos on your website in specific scenarios:
If you use video on your website, make sure it is of good quality, professionally edited and lasts from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to keep the attention of visitors. Also bear in mind that not all users can turn on the sound, so add subtitles or a text description.
On top of that, pay attention to the size of your video. If it is too large, it will affect the page’s loading speed. As a result, users may close your website without even seeing its content. So the best solution is to first upload the video on YouTube and then embed it on your website. It is also best if you turn off the autoplay to avoid overloading the network.
Now that you have a prototype and content, you can start designing your website. You don’t have to be a professional designer to make it look nice and stylish.
There is a variety of website building platforms that offer ready-made design templates, including Wix, Tilda, and WordPress. Choose a template you like and customize it to your style and brand.
Wix is a cloud-based website building platform that offers a wide selection of templates. To design a website on Wix, follow these steps:
Tilda is a platform that is perfect for creating visually appealing websites with a focus on typography. Designing on Tilda includes the following steps:
The most popular platform for creating websites, WordPress provides complete freedom in design and functionality. Designing with WordPress requires a bit more time and technical skills:
After choosing an idea, creating a structure and prototype, filling the website with content, and designing it, the next step is to connect a domain and set up advertising and analytics.
A domain name is the address of your website on the Internet. You can buy it from a hosting provider in your country. Website builders such as Wix, Tilda, and WordPress also offer domain purchase during the website creation process.
When choosing a domain name, try to include the name of your company or a popular word from your industry. Avoid choosing names that are too long or complicated so that visitors can easily read and remember the website address.
The final stage in creating a website is connecting web analytics – a tool to monitor how visitors interact with your website and to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.
To get the most out of web analytics, you need to set up event tracking for all major actions on the website: clicking a button, filling out a form, adding a product to the cart, making a payment, etc. With events, you can track user behavior on your website, such as:
Another important aspect is the page loading speed. The higher it is, the faster your website opens on users’ devices. To check the speed, you can use a service called PageSpeed Insights.
The speed is affected by a variety of factors, such as server configuration, image compression, using lightweight versions of pages, physical proximity of the hosting server location to the user, and stable connectivity on the user's device.
One of the easiest ways to improve page loading speed is to optimize images. For tips on how to manage the size of images, check out this guide.
After the website is ready, it needs to be tested to check the functioning of all pages, buttons and forms and to make sure all the content is displayed the right way.
In large companies, this is done by dedicated professionals called testers.
If you don’t have one, you can test your website yourself. To do this, go through the entire path from opening the main page to filling out a form or making a purchase. Make sure that nothing gets in your way as you go, i.e. no banner pops up on your entire screen, all pages load within 1–3 seconds, all buttons work properly, and contact data and content are displayed as intended.
After you do the testing yourself, we suggest you ask a friend and then a customer to do the same – this way, you can cover the maximum number of potential scenarios of interacting with the website. Collect feedback and go through all the errors before launching any ad campaigns and attracting lots of users to your website.
There is no point in waiting for visitors to come rushing to your website immediately after it is created. Search engines can take up to six months to process the website content and start showing it in search results.
To bring in the first visitors to your website, you need to promote it: direct users to it from your social media pages, set up contextual and targeted advertising, and use other marketing strategies.
For more details on how to attract and retain users, go to our article “23 Powerful Marketing Tactics to Promote Your Product in 2023”.