How to Build a Website: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

In this post, I’m going to guide you through the process of building a website as well as give you some tips on how to maintain it after it’s published.

In the modern world, websites have become extremely important tools for businesses, creative industries, personal experiences, and any other kind of ideas you can think of.

The need for having an online presence is growing fast, especially since the number of sites shows a rapid growth over time. Due to all this necessity of having a website – ways to build one are getting easier by the day as well.

If you’ve never built a website, you might think it requires a lot of skill and time. Well, if you want to create it from scratch or all on your own, then yes, it might be difficult. Especially, if you have no web development skills or coding background.

However, don’t get frightened here! These web development skills aren’t such a necessity anymore when creating a website. There is an easier way to achieve this goal – thanks to website builders. Most of them excel in beginner-friendliness, so creating a website became an easy peasy task!

However, I know that it can still seem intimidating to get started if you don’t even know what’s the first step. With this in mind, I’ve put together a complete beginner’s guide on how to build a website. 

Basically, the entire website building process can be split down into five simple yet very important steps: 

  1. Choose a platform to build your website with. 
  2. Define your brand and long-term website goals. 
  3. Figure out the structure of your site. 
  4. Design and plan your content, including both written and visual content. 
  5. Publish and keep up with ongoing maintenance

Although these steps may appear a little unclear at first, don’t worry. I’m going to break each of these steps down for you and outline every important detail to make the process of building a site as easy as it gets.

So, without further ado, let’s jump straight in and learn how to build a website! 

1. Choose a Platform1.Choose a Platform

The first thing you need to consider – what platform you’re going to use. You can choose between using a content management system (CMS) or an all-inclusive website builder

Content management systems include well-known titles such as WordPress.org, Drupal, or PrestaShop. These website building options are extremely flexible and give a lot of freedom to its users, however, all of them tend to require at least basic coding background and web development knowledge.

Therefore, they’re not seen as beginner-friendly choices. Think of this as driving your own car – you have to know how to drive this car, maintain it and actually know the way to your destination.

WordPress Administration Panel

Website builders, on the other hand, are meant for regular users, that don’t have a master’s degree in web development. These builders, like Wix or Weebly, tend to be a lot more intuitive and easier for beginners to use. Many of them are aimed at those with little to no experience with code or web design.

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out of 10

UPTIME
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TEMPLATES
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FEATURES
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EASE OF USE
10
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW
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LIVE UPTIME
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UPTIME
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$ 6.00/mo
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FEATURES
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EASE OF USE
8.9
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW
Wix Website Builder

You can think of website builders like taking a taxi. The only thing you have to know is your destination, everything else is taken care of, just pay for the travel.

Same goes with the website – all you need to know is what kind of website you’re aiming for. Generally, site builders come with all-inclusive packages and a range of all kinds of various features. However, note down that different builders focus on different types of sites such as – eCommerce, blogs, or business websites.

With this in mind, I’ve looked at some of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re choosing a platform to build your website with. 

Budget

Unfortunately, not everyone has an unlimited budget to throw at their new website project. I mean, if we all did, surely we would just hire a professional web development team, right? 

Luckily, it’s possible to create your own website with even the smallest budget. In fact, some website builders even offer free subscriptions, that allow you to build a basic site at no cost whatsoever. 

Free subscriptions might seem like a great idea to begin with, but they tend to be very limited. Most free forever plans also come with branded subdomains and platform advertising.

For example, if you use a free plan with Weebly, then you’re stuck with the platform’s subdomain that would look something like this – myawesomeproject.weebly.com, and a floating Weebly’s ad on every page of your site. Doesn’t look very professional, does it?

Weebly ad on a free website

So if you’re aiming for something that is targeted for wider audiences and needs to form a professional look – be sure to take a look at what paid plans offer.

Weebly Pricing

Now, you should realize that all website builders come with different pricing structures and payment plans. Most popular platforms offer a range of subscriptions with all kinds of different features.

Base plans generally cost a few dollars per month, while more advanced options can cost anything up to hundreds or thousands per month. 

Ultimately, you should try to find a balance between price and value that the selected plan provides. Set your budget, and stick to it – you can always upgrade to more advanced subscriptions in the future. 

Needs and Priorities

If you’re planning on trying to build a website for the first time, you also need to make sure that you carefully define your needs and priorities. I’d recommend sitting down and setting the goal as well as exact things you would like to do with your website.

This will make it easier to determine what sort of features you want your website builder to have. Different builders are suited to different purposes, which means picking the right one is important from the very beginning.

Here are some of the most important things that I keep in mind whenever choosing a website building platform: 

  • Ease of use – Make sure you choose a website building platform that fits your skills. For example, don’t go with a complicated, code-centered builder if you have no coding experience. Always try out how the builder feels for you. Is it difficult to get around? Can you invest some time to adjust to it? Try to look for builders that offer a free trial (most of them do) and take advantage of this option.
  • The complexity of your website – Different website builders offer varying solutions for creating sites of different complexity levels.
    Pick a builder that fits your needs now, as you can always upgrade to a more advanced option later.
  • How much time you’re willing to spend creating your website – Some website builders specifically target those whose main priority is getting online fast without wasting any time.
    For example, if you’re looking to build a simple portfolio, where your uploaded images will be the main attraction of the website, you can surely turn to “get online fast” website builders.
  • Specific features you need – Finally, you need to identify any specific features that you want to add to your website, and choose a builder that offers these. For example, if you’re aiming to build an online store, look for a website builder that has an eCommerce plan.
    So make sure the provider clearly states that it supports these features.

Now, every website builder can advertise itself as having all these features. However, that’s usually a marketing trick. So choosing a good website builder isn’t always an easy thing to do.

Worry not! I’m here to prevent you from falling to those marketing traps. Therefore, here’s a list of short reviews of my personal favorite site builders, that I used and enjoyed the experience.

Wix

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LIVE UPTIME
99.99 %
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SPEED
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FEATURES
9.7
EASE OF USE
10
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13
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/mo
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out of 10

UPTIME
99.99 %
SPEED
287 ms
PRICE
$ 13.00/mo
TEMPLATES
10
FEATURES
9.7
EASE OF USE
10
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW

Wix is arguably the world’s most powerful website builder. It offers superb design flexibility and customization for nearly every element. Which means it’s a good choice for those who want to build a truly personalized website. 

Wix Homepage

Nevertheless, Wix remains quite easy to use, especially when compared to CMS like WordPress.org. And, it actually comes with two different editing interfaces – Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence) and the standard Wix Editor.

Wix ADI and Website Editor

Wix ADI offers powerful AI-based features that are designed to help those with little to no website building experience to get online fast and efficiently. When you start with Wix ADI, you will be guided through a short questionnaire asking you to fill in your long-term goals and what sort of website you’re trying to build.

Answers to these questions will allow Wix ADI to put together a custom design template that includes all the major features needed. Next step – ADI editor, where you will be able to add custom content and make small design changes. 

Wix ADI's Created Website

However, it’s important to note that Wix ADI (AI created website) doesn’t offer the same customization potential as the more powerful Wix Editor. But it remains a great tool if you don’t care particularly about the design or don’t have any ideas yet.

I would recommend at least giving Wix Editor a try. Why? It offers pixel-perfect drag-and-drop customizability, that allows fine-tuning of the website’s appearance. So you can craft whatever your imagination allows.

But while Wix Editor gives you freedom, it also can be a bit of a mess to get the hang of it. This is largely due to the sheer number of design tools it offers, which can be confusing initially. 

Nonetheless, don’t be discouraged by this. It might just take a little longer to get your head around it, but once you do, there are basically no limits what you can create.

Wix Editor Window

The other thing that makes Wix my main website building choice is the great range of features it offers. For example, it allowed me to add a basic eCommerce store to my site when I was building an online store.

Wix also comes with a powerful App Market which let me easily integrate things like my social media accounts and marketing tools. It also includes numerous plugins to extend a website’s functionality. 

Wix App Market

All things considered, Wix is a powerful website builder that is relatively beginner-friendly. It’s a good choice for those who are learning how to build a website. It can offer a powerful editing interface and an impressive App Market. 

Shopify

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LIVE UPTIME
99.99 %
TEMPLATES
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7.2
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FEATURES
6.5
EASE OF USE
9.5
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29
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UPTIME
99.99 %
SPEED
184 ms
PRICE
$ 29.00/mo
TEMPLATES
9.2
FEATURES
6.5
EASE OF USE
9.5
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW

Shopify is one of the world’s leading eCommerce platforms. It offers some of the most powerful online store features available, but it’s also quite beginner-friendly and easy to use. 

In my opinion, Shopify is the best choice for inexperienced web developers who want to build their own online stores. Its store management dashboard and intuitive store builder are great options for those without a lot of experience. 

Shopify Homepage

One of my favorite things about Shopify is how straightforward it makes a process of creating a new store. All you need to do is enter your email address, add a store name, some other information, and voila – you have a web store. You don’t even have to provide payment information until your two-week free trial is finished.

Next, on your website’s dashboard, you will find a range of useful tips and guidelines to help you set up your new store. It really doesn’t matter if you have no eCommerce experience because Shopify is specifically aimed at beginners

Shopify Dashboard

As you can see, Shopify’s management dashboard is quite a handy feature. Its menu options allowed me to look after pretty much everything I wanted to do with my store, be it checking orders, customizing products, or analyzing my website’s metrics using Shopify’s analytics.

Shopify provides powerful inventory management features and a way to connect marketing platforms like Google Ads and Facebook. This platform even lets you create special discounts or deals to certain customers.

As for templates, there are both paid and free options here. These themes are split into categories like electronics, health, sports, and etc. So I could always find something that fits my store. But keep in mind that premium themes are quite expensive – starting out at around $140.

Shopify Theme Selection

Ultimately, Shopify is one of the best website builders for aspiring eCommerce store owners. It’s intuitive, very easy to get started with, and comes with a range of great online store features. I mean, it’s the world’s most popular eCommerce platform for a reason. 

SITE123

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LIVE UPTIME
99.98 %
TEMPLATES
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FEATURES
8.9
EASE OF USE
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80
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out of 10

UPTIME
99.98 %
SPEED
421 ms
PRICE
$ 10.80/mo
TEMPLATES
8.9
FEATURES
8.9
EASE OF USE
10
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW

SITE123 is quite a basic website builder, but it’s a great choice for beginners who want to build a website quickly and with a minimum amount of fuss. It offers a very intuitive editing interface that allows you to build a complete website in the span of a few hours. 

The first thing I want to note here is that SITE123 is not a good choice for people who want to build large or complicated websites. If you want anything with more than a few pages and basic features, consider a more powerful builder such as Wix. 

SITE123 Homepage

So, SITE123 is probably the perfect choice to get started, you can’t mess things up and get a fully working website in no time. Its sign-up process was very easy – all I had to do is:

  • Choose a type of website I want to create;
  • Give it a title;
  • Design my website in SITE123’s editor.
SITE123's 3 steps to building a new website

Designing a website goes two ways with this website builder – either you pick a template and start customizing from there, or open SITE123’s editor and start from scratch.

For me, one of the best things about SITE123 is the great range of templates it offers. These templates are attractive and professionally designed, even if they are on the simpler side. 

SITE123 Template Selection

On top of this, SITE123 comes with a range of great features that are specifically targeted at those learning how to build a website from scratch. For example, its website editor requires absolutely no technical knowledge at all, and all of its design templates are fully mobile responsive and ready to be used on a range of different devices. 

SITE123 also has powerful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools that will help you achieve the best search engine ranking possible. There are meta tags available, an automatically generated sitemap, and a redirect tool to keep your website’s SEO at peak performance.

SITE123 Features

SITE123 also provides a plan with an eCommerce solution, so you can even add a basic online store to your website if you want to. 

If you want to learn how to build a basic website, but don’t have a lot of time to spare – then I’d recommend using SITE123. Consider taking advantage of its free forever plan to explore the website builder and work out if it goes in line with your idea.

Resources and Support

When you’re choosing a website builder, you also need to consider the resources and support available. As a beginner, it’s almost guaranteed that you will need help with some things.

So why not forget all that Googling and choose a provider with a fast-responding, professional customer support team?

When you’re looking at the learning material offered by each website builder, you should consider a couple of things: 

  • The type of customer support offered. Some website builders provide 24/7 live chat support, while others only allow you to submit email tickets or request a phone call. 
  • The number of resources available online. If you use a popular website builder like Wix or Shopify, you will find a huge number of online tutorials and other learning material. However, tutorials and help articles for less popular website builders are generally a bit harder to come by. 

For me, Shopify is a great example of a platform that provides great customer support. The Shopify Help Center contains three different sources of information – a general introduction to the platform, tips on how to sell your products whether online or in person, and guides how to run your store.

Shopify also comes with live chat, phone, email, and Twitter support. But the best feature for me was the community forum. There I found a few great discussion threads, such as “Feedback On My Store” or “Shopify Design”, where several vital points to running an online store were discussed.

Shopify's Community Forum - "Feedback On My Store" thread

Another great example is the Wix support. Not only do you get 24/7 support via phone or email, but you also get help in different languages. Including English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese.

Wix Contact Support

As you should be able to see, it’s important to make sure the website building platform you choose comes with a decent selection of help articles and resources. If it doesn’t, you might have a hard time when you encounter problems. 

CHOOSING A PLATFORM – A CONCLUSION

There are a few boxes to check before deciding on a website building platform - how will you budget this decision, what kind of a website you're thinking of building, and, of course, if a platform of your choice has enough learning material to assist a beginner while creating a site.

2. Define Your Brand2.Define Your Brand

Once you’ve selected a website building platform, you need to start thinking about designing the website itself. The first and arguably most important thing to do is define your brand. You need to make sure you develop a clear, recognizable brand so that you stand out above your competitors. 

Although you might not realize it, there are many things to consider when defining your brand. In reality, it surrounds your entire website, and you shouldn’t really make any design or management decisions without considering the impact they could have on your overall business image. 

When you’re developing your brand, you need to think about the website’s character. Some of the most important things to consider include: 

  • Your main message. State your mission and figure out exactly what you’re trying to do. 
  • Who your customers are. Ultimately, you need to make sure your brand is targeted at your most likely customers. 
  • Who your competitors are. Figuring out who your main competitors are will help you understand what works well and what sort of actions can be avoided.
  • What domain name you want. Your domain name sits at the center of your brand, and you need to make sure that it’s both memorable and relevant to your business name. 
  • Your logo. Your logo is also a key feature of your brand. Really, it should appear on anything related to your business. 

Branding is extremely important for business websites, but it’s also a good idea to define your purpose and create a consistent appearance when you’re working on personal projects. 

Now, I know that defining your brand can be something of a complicated topic. But don’t worry, I’ve explored the main aspects in more detail to help you out.  

What Is Your Product’s Message? 

Now, the first thing that you need to figure out is your product message and exactly what you’re hoping to achieve with your website. I’d recommend taking a piece of paper and a pen, sitting down, and brainstorming for an hour or two so that things are clear within your own mind.

What difference does your website content offers? How your product would improve the lives of the customers? You know, things like that.

Ultimately, you need to be able to clearly state your mission and that would help you define your voice. Your mission can be whatever you want it to be, but ultimately, it needs to be related to your website and the type of content that you’re planning on producing. This could be defined as: 

  • Selling products or services, especially if you’re going to build a dedicated eCommerce store. 
  • Creating informational content, which may or may not be the sole purpose of your website. 
  • Promoting a business or event that you own or manage. 

Most likely you already have all of it figured out, but trust me, making clear statements about the idea of your site will save you time when making decisions later.

Following the main message, you need to think about what sort of voice you’re going to use. Do you want to be fun and informal, or would you rather present yourself as a serious authority figure? Should it be inspiring, helpful, affirmative, provoking, etc.? Try to define it as clearly as you can. This will be important not only when choosing the tone of your writing but also when setting the look and feel of your website design. 

Who are Your Customers? 

At the same time, you should carefully consider what is your targeted audience. Defining your target audience will help you tailor your content and design to meet their needs. 

You may also rephrase this question to:

What kind of people are interested in the content your website offers? 

Naturally, different groups of people are attracted to different things. It’s important that the tone and style of your brand would be channeled well to your visitors. 

When you’re trying to determine who these people are, ask yourself questions like: 

  • How big is your audience? Would that be a very specific group of people or perhaps this would be important to a majority of internet users? Try to picture those people, what they do in their lives, what could be their interests and problems? This way, you can understand better what your visitors are expecting.
  • What products you’re selling, if any. You need to carefully consider the type of people who are likely to buy your products if you’re setting up an online store. 
  • Is there a specific location? In reality, your website is going to target specific linguistic or ethnic groups. Don’t forget the possible differences in cultures and lifestyles. You need to identify which ones you’re aiming for and make sure your brand is consistent with them.

Take time thinking about this. Although you might want to just start creating the website and the content, making the right setups beforehand is crucial. Imagining your visitors will help you tailor your approach.  

Who Are Your Competitors?

Similarly, identifying and analyzing your competitors is one of the most important parts of learning how to make a website. Once you understand what other websites you’re going to be drawing customers away from, you can learn from them. 

Now, a lot of people – and particularly, a lot of inexperienced, first-time website creators – don’t realize how useful competitor sites can be. In my opinion, they are one of your best resources when you’re defining your brand and designing a website. 

Some of the things you should consider when you’re analyzing competitor websites include: 

  • What they do well. Some of your competitors will excel in certain areas. Look closely at the things they excel at and, where possible, take inspiration from them. 
  • The things that they don’t do well. Similarly, when you’re looking at your competitor’s websites, you will find bad practices that stand out, simply because they’re so terrible. Note these things and make sure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes. 
  • Any special features that they include. While you’re looking at those websites, keep your eyes open for any particular design features or functions that you can implement. Note it down so that you can use it when building your own site! 

Once you’ve looked closely at your competitor websites and analyzed their good and bad practices, you need to apply this analysis to your own brand and design. Use it to help you decide how to stand out without making major mistakes. 

Note down, that simply copying your competitor won’t cut it. You have to take what’s theirs and make it better.

Choose Your Domain Name

By now you should be really starting to build up a detailed picture of what your website is going to look like and do. So now it’s time to choose a domain name that’s both relevant and engaging. 

To put things simply, your domain name is your business’ digital address. It’s the URL that people can use to find your website, and you need to make sure that it’s at least somewhat related to your site’s name. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy. Even if you have a great name for your site, the domain you want won’t always be available. This means you sometimes have to get a bit creative, either by modifying your website title or choosing a domain that’s not exactly the same as your site name.

There are a few things I’d recommend keeping in mind when choosing a domain name for your website. These include: 

  • Choosing something memorable. Basically, you want to pick a domain name that will stick in people’s minds, because this will increase the chance of repeat visits to your site. 
  • Making sure it’s easy to spell. You also need to find a domain name that’s easy to spell. Be careful if you decide to use a domain with an alternative spelling. Otherwise, people could have trouble finding you. 
  • Getting creative. At the same time, you do need to approach your domain name search with at least a little creativity. Choose something fun and engaging, but ensure that it’s at least somewhat related to your website’s name. 
  • Being careful with exotic extensions. In the past, the main domain name extensions included .com, .net, .org, and a few others. However, the selection has increased dramatically over the past few years to include a suite of exotic extensions. Even though it might seem like a good idea to use an extension like .rocks or .store, you should be careful because they can impact your SEO score and professional image. 

Choosing a domain shouldn’t be too difficult, but it will require a bit of thought. Sit down and brainstorm for a while, come up with a list of potential names, and then check which ones are available. Remember, your domain is a crucial part of your brand image, so it’s important to get it right

Create Your Logo

Finally, you need to come up with a logo that’s consistent with your brand. I’d recommend keeping your logo simple, but make sure that it’s engaging and interesting so that it helps to draw visitors to your website. 

Now, you might think that you don’t need a logo if you aren’t building a business website. This isn’t true. High-quality logos are always a good idea because they help translate your message to your readers – even if you’re only working on a small personal project. 

When it comes to creating a logo, there are several different options available. Some website builders, including Wix and Site123, offer logo creation services as part of their general subscriptions. 

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out of 10

LIVE UPTIME
99.99 %
TEMPLATES
10
PRICING
9.5
SPEED
287 ms
FEATURES
9.7
EASE OF USE
10
PRICE FROM
$
13
00
/mo
undefined

out of 10

UPTIME
99.99 %
SPEED
287 ms
PRICE
$ 13.00/mo
TEMPLATES
10
FEATURES
9.7
EASE OF USE
10
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW
undefined

out of 10

LIVE UPTIME
99.98 %
TEMPLATES
8.9
PRICING
10
SPEED
421 ms
FEATURES
8.9
EASE OF USE
10
PRICE FROM
$
10
80
/mo
undefined

out of 10

UPTIME
99.98 %
SPEED
421 ms
PRICE
$ 10.80/mo
TEMPLATES
8.9
FEATURES
8.9
EASE OF USE
10
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW
Wix Logo Maker

Alternatively, you might choose to pay someone to create your logo for you. When I need a new logo for one of my projects, I usually head to fiverr.com and employ an experienced graphic designer to put one together for me. Generally, you can get a decent logo for $5-$10, especially if you’re clear with your expectations. 

fiverr's best logo designers

When it comes to designing a logo for your website you need to make sure it’s: 

  • Consistent with your brand in terms of color and font choices. 
  • Not too complicated, but still interesting. 
  • Relevant to your industry. 

Above all, you need to make sure that your design is unique. Don’t be tempted to copy someone else’s design. Otherwise, you might find yourself facing copyright problems.

DEFINE YOUR BRAND – A CONCLUSION

Be sure to create a clear image of your brand so your clients can recognize you from your website's logo, domain name, or even a simple screenshot from your homepage. Having a distinct site's appearance will help you build authority and trust revolving around your content or products.

3. Figure Out the Structure3.Figure Out the Structure

Once you’ve spent some time defining your brand and figuring out exactly what your website needs to do, you will need to begin working with your site structure. It’s extremely important to define your website’s structure before you begin adding content. Attempting to change it once you’ve already added content can cause all sorts of unnecessary problems. 

Ultimately, your website’s structure will define how your content is presented to the readers. You need to think about things like: 

  • Menu structure. If your website is going to be small, you might get away with a simple navigation menu with a few options. But, if you’re planning on building a website with many pages and a lot of content, you will need to figure out what sub menus you’re going to use. 
  • Page structure. You also need to work out the best way to present content on your pages. Think about the type of headings you’re going to use, how and where you’re going to place visual content, and if you’re going to include some sort of advertising. 
  • Sidebar and footer structure. Finally, think about whether or not you’re going to use a sidebar, and if so, what sort of elements you want to include on it. Similarly, decide what you’re going to include in your footer and footer menus. 

To help you get started, I’ve expanded on the most important things you should keep in mind when you’re defining your website structure. 

Create a Clear Hierarchy

When you’re learning how to build a website, the most important structural consideration is your content hierarchy. You need to make sure that you present your website in a logical, easy to follow manner. Otherwise, people will become confused and the user experience will be impacted. 

When you start defining a hierarchy for your website, you should make a careful note of the most important things. Try and figure out what the most valuable sections of your website are, and place these at the top of your hierarchy

I’d recommend taking a close look at your main competitors’ websites and noting down their content structure. If they are driving high sales or visitor volumes, then the chances are that they have a strong design and well-thought-out content hierarchy. Don’t copy anyone directly, but instead take the best features and adapt them for your site in a way that makes you stand out.

On top of everything else, remember that you’re creating content for humans. Make sure you keep the user experience in mind at all times and do your best to make it as intuitive as possible. 

Once you’ve noted a clear content hierarchy, you should start thinking about exactly how you want to categorize it. 

Use a Small Number of Main Categories

Basically, you want to have a condensed menu that’s easy to follow and helps the visitor to get the important info quickly. 

The content categories you choose will form the basis of your main menu options. You, therefore, should ensure that you clearly define a small number of main categories that will form a core menu structure

Ideally, you should choose between 2 to 7 main categories. Make sure that these fit across the top of your desktop menu without becoming squashed and crowded, and ensure that they’re relevant to your main content topics. 

Now, I know from experience that it can be hard to choose relevant content categories. When I’m planning a website, I like to sit down with a pen and paper and create a category mindmap to get started. Think about: 

  • The most logical way to separate your content. The first thing you want to think about is whether there is an immediately obvious, logical way to separate your main content. If there is, use it. 
  • Engaging category names. When you’re adding your main categories to your menu, you need to label them in a way that will encourage people to click on them.
  • Any future categories you might need to add. If you’re planning on adding additional content to your website once you’ve launched, you should think about whether or not you’re going to need additional main categories. If so, you should leave some menu space for them. 

Finally, you will need to think about subcategories. If you’re going to add a lot of content to your website, then subcategories will become important. They will help people navigate your website and allow you to split your content into more manageable sized blocks. 

Consider Simplicity and Minimalism

Different design styles work for different types of websites. However, simple, minimalistic designs and content structures are becoming increasingly popular across the web. You should at least consider using some sort of minimalistic style. 

Ultimately, people in the modern world are busier than ever before. Once again, you’re writing posts for humans. No one has time to waste wading through complicated, confusing content.

Keeping your style simple and uncluttered will encourage people to continue browsing your website, improving the user experience and, ultimately, your SEO (search engine optimization). 

Keep the following in mind when  thinking about your content structure and design: 

  • Don’t use too many ads. When it comes to advertising, less is usually more. Cluttering your content with too many ads will just drive readers away. 
  • Use images carefully. As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. But only if it’s used well. Don’t clutter your website with too many pictures, and never use irrelevant visual content just to fill the space. 
  • Keep your paragraphs short and simple. There’s nothing like walls of content to drive people away from your website. Make sure that you split your paragraphs up into small, manageable sizes with no more than a few sentences each.

If I were you, I would be considering at least some level of minimalism when you’re defining your content structure. In the modern world, simple is often better. Don’t add too many features; otherwise, your website will become cluttered and hard to browse. 

Use Comprehensive Internal Linking

Finally, you need to develop at least a rough internal linking plan. Internal links are an important SEO ranking factor, and they will also encourage your readers to continue browsing your website. 

I find that the best way to create an internal link structure is to sit down, list all of your page/post titles, and then note other pages/posts that you could potentially link to. Keep these in mind when you’re creating your written content, and add in relevant links (or placeholders) wherever you can. 

You can also automate internal linking with any one of a number of third-party tools. One of my favorites is Sitebulb, which really simplifies internal linking and allows you to visualize your link structure. 

Sitebulb internal linking tool

Ultimately, I’d really recommend thinking about your internal link structure as a part of your overall content and website design. Doing so will help you identify the best way to create a consistent link profile throughout your site. 

FIGURE OUT THE STRUCTURE – A CONCLUSION

The website's structure greatly impacts the user experience. Remember, that in most cases, simplicity is a key - whether it's a menu, categories or use of visuals in your posts. Avoiding clutter and having a clear structure of a website prevents unnecessary confusion while browsing.

4. Design And Content Planning4.Design The Website and Plan Content

Honestly, I find this part the most fun – composing the visuals of your website! And although that also requires some patience and decision making, the process is much more pleasant when you can instantly see the result.

And since you’ve already figured out the character and needs of your website, choosing the most suitable template and adding the functionalities won’t be that much of a headache.

The possibilities of website builders are varying – some offer simplicity (e.g. GoDaddy website builder, SITE123), some focus on advanced customization features (e.g. Wix, Gator). To read more, check our list of best website builders.

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out of 10

LIVE UPTIME
99.98 %
TEMPLATES
8.9
PRICING
10
SPEED
421 ms
FEATURES
8.9
EASE OF USE
10
PRICE FROM
$
10
80
/mo
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out of 10

UPTIME
99.98 %
SPEED
421 ms
PRICE
$ 10.80/mo
TEMPLATES
8.9
FEATURES
8.9
EASE OF USE
10
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW
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out of 10

LIVE UPTIME
99.99 %
TEMPLATES
10
PRICING
9.5
SPEED
287 ms
FEATURES
9.7
EASE OF USE
10
PRICE FROM
$
13
00
/mo
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out of 10

UPTIME
99.99 %
SPEED
287 ms
PRICE
$ 13.00/mo
TEMPLATES
10
FEATURES
9.7
EASE OF USE
10
VISIT SITEREAD REVIEW

Designing the visual look of your website goes hand in hand with the content it reflects. So now it’s time to think about what this website of yours will consist of. 

To begin with, figure out exactly what pages and posts you want to have completed when your site goes live. Prioritize these, and make sure that they are well written and free of spelling or grammatical mistakes. 

Once you’ve put together a list of the content that you need to create, you should start thinking about keywords and other important SEO ranking factors. 

  • Do comprehensive keyword research. Before you start writing any content, use a keyword research tool to identify keywords that will bring organic traffic to your site. Identify low competition, high search volume keywords which will be easy to include naturally in your writing. 
  • Don’t be scared of long-tail keywords. There’s really not much point focusing on short, high-competition keywords. Unless you have a lot of money to spend on SEO, your chance of ranking for these is minimal. Instead, focus on longer keywords with slightly less search volume but much less competition. 
  • Optimize your images. Also, ensure that every image on your website is SEO friendly and that you write relevant titles and descriptions that include keywords wherever possible. 

Along with your general written and visual content, you should also consider other, more specialized parts of your design and overall structure. 

Use a Clear and Informative Header

To begin with, you will need to work out what your header is going to look like. Think about things like where you’re going to place your logo, how big your title will be, and what exact elements you plan on including. 

You also need to keep in mind how your website will look on different devices. The header of the mobile version of your website will probably be slightly different from that of your desktop site. Make sure that you plan both and that both end up looking attractive. 

There are a few core elements that almost all header designs should include: 

  • A logo, which is usually placed at the top left of the header. 
  • Contact information, which you will usually find at the top right. 
  • A menu, which should stretch across the top of each page, usually along the bottom of the header. 
  • A title and, sometimes, a subtitle, which basically forms the core of your website’s identity. 

On top of this, there are numerous other elements that people sometimes choose to include in their website header, such as: 

  • A search box, which allows visitors to find relevant content on your website. 
  • Social media icons leading to your social media profiles. 
  • Call to action buttons, where they are relevant. 

Basically, you need to figure out the design of your website header, ensuring you don’t allow it to become cluttered or unattractive. Remember, your overall header structure and layout will go a long way towards defining your brand. 

Use Propositions and Call to Action Buttons

It’s worth expanding slightly on the use of propositions and call to action buttons. When used correctly, these can drastically improve the performance of your website and will help you maximize visitor engagement and conversions. They are generally placed towards the top of a page and are designed to encourage a specific action. 

The first thing that you should figure out is your value proposition. Basically, a value proposition outlines exactly what a website is offering, what benefits users will get from it, and why they should continue using it. Value propositions don’t have to be complicated but they need to state what your website does and how it does it. 

Following this, you need to add some sort of call to action which encourages your readers to do a specific thing without having to think too much about it. Common calls to action include things like: 

  • Email sign-up prompts. If you want your readers to sign up for your mailing list, then you need to present the option in a logical manner that encourages activity. 
  • Checkout buttons. Similarly, if you’re trying to get your website visitors to buy something, then you need to make sure that things like “add to cart” and “checkout” buttons are large and obvious. This will keep people’s minds focused on buying and should increase your sales. 
  • Social media links. Call to action buttons are also a great way to increase your social media following. If you run some sort of content-based website that relies on high visitor numbers, it’s a good idea to include social media links as a part of your call to action strategy. 

When developing your value propositions and call to action buttons, make sure they’re immediately obvious and attractive. Place them so that they can’t be missed and really encourage people to perform some sort of action that will benefit you and your site. 

Include Social Media Buttons

As noted, social media buttons can be included as part of your call to action strategy. However, you might also choose to include your social media icons in either your header or your footer. Doing this is less pushy, and will encourage people who are really interested in your website to follow you on social media. 

At this point, you should also start thinking about what social media platforms you need to build a presence on. If you already run a business, you might already have a Facebook page and an Instagram account. If not, you need to get them – and more. 

I would recommend creating profiles on at least three or four social media platforms. Consider: 

  • Facebook. In my opinion, all websites should be linked to a Facebook page. As the world’s most popular social media platform, it’s naturally a great way to drive traffic to your website. 
  • Instagram. Instagram should also be a focus for most website owners. If you produce any sort of visual content, Instagram is a great way to engage with your readers and encourage more visitors. 
  • LinkedIn. If your website offers any sort of professional products or services, you should think about developing a strong LinkedIn presence. 
  • Twitter. Like Facebook, Twitter is a useful platform for content-based websites. Sharing blog posts and images on Twitter is a great idea and a great way to drive more visitors to your site. 

Although these are the four most popular social media platforms, there are plenty of others that you should consider, including YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Make sure you include links to all of your social media profiles somewhere on your website. 

Think About Adding a Signup Box

Depending on the type of website you’re building, you might also choose to add some sort of signup box to gather information from your visitors. Usually, signup boxes are placed at the bottom of a webpage, encouraging people to share their details and subscribe to your mailing list if they enjoyed your content. 

However, you can also add a signup box in a few other places, such as:

  • At the top of the page, as a call to action. If the main focus of your website is to gather email subscribers, you might consider adding some sort of signup box as a call to action near the top of certain pages. 
  • As a popup. You might also include email signup fields as a smart popup that appears when people perform certain actions. This sort of signup box is generally designed to increase your conversion rate. 
  • In your sidebar. Finally, you can also place signup boxes in your sidebar. Make sure that they are obvious and that people are encouraged to use them.  

Signup boxes are a crucial part of your overall website content and structure. I’d include them on every page of your website in at least some form. Make sure that they stand out, but keep them consistent with your overall design at the same time.

Of course, your website’s needs might change with time, but if you take time planning and perfecting the details, you will have less trouble fixing it after the website is launched. So don’t rush and when you’re ready, enjoy the precious moment of finally launching your website live!

DESIGN AND CONTENT PLANNING – A CONCLUSION

Cleverly placed call to action buttons, visual elements, social media buttons, and signup boxes are crucial for your website's overall look. Visual elements give life to your website - and signup boxes with social media buttons help your site generate bigger traffics.

5. Maintenance5.Maintenance

So now that all the invisible preparation work is done you can enjoy your ideas alive on a launched website. Hurray! No more mind maps and labyrinths of settings!

Well, not exactly.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they can sit back and relax once they publish their website.

But this is simply not true. Of course, the pressure will be off once your site is up and running, but you will need to perform ongoing maintenance to continue optimizing it. 

To keep your website working at its best, you should perform regular reviews of user interactions and performance. This will allow you to make small touch-ups and modifications, improving things as you move forward. 

There are a few things I would recommend focusing on when you review your website, including: 

  • Content accuracy. If you run a website with a lot of content, you need to make sure that it remains up to date and accurate. 
  • SEO. You should always focus on improving your website’s SEO score to boost your search engine rankings. 
  • Visual appeal. In some cases, you will find that making small changes to your website’s appearance improves its functionality. 
  • Security. It’s always worth reviewing your site’s security settings to ensure you aren’t at risk of a data breach. 
  • Usability. Similarly, you should regularly test elements like links, forms, and store checkouts to make sure that they are working as they should. 
  • Readability. Finally, spend a bit of time working through your content to make certain that it’s easy to read. Make small edits where necessary. 

To help you perform regular, high-quality maintenance, I’ve expanded below on a few of the most important things you should watch out for. 

Verify Your Content

First, you should regularly review your content to make sure it’s up to date and accurate. Things change over time, and this means you will need to update your written content occasionally, especially if you’re in a niche that evolves rapidly.

I’d recommend scheduling regular content audits throughout the year. Doing so will help you allocate time to review your content when needed. Some of the things you should watch out for when checking over old content include: 

  • Inconsistencies. As you’re reviewing content across your website, check that you’re consistent throughout. Don’t present different facts on different pages, or your overall message could be negatively impacted. 
  • Old content. Similarly, watch out for old or incorrect content. For example, if you run a website writing software reviews, you need to make sure that you keep your content updated as new versions are released. 
  • Incorrect formatting. No matter how careful you are, the chances are that some formatting inconsistencies will slip through when you’re learning how to make a website. Watch out for them. 

So, to put things simply, you need to review your content regularly, making sure that it’s accurate, consistent throughout your website, and formatted correctly

Review Your SEO Settings

Similarly, you should regularly review your SEO settings and work on improving your overall website optimization. Improving your SEO score will help boost your search engine ranking for relevant keywords, which should drive more organic traffic to your site. 

Now, SEO can be difficult if it’s not something you’re familiar with. Many website owners choose to employ the services of an SEO expert to help them optimize their website, but it’s certainly possible to do it yourself. 

There are plenty of comprehensive SEO guides and tutorials available, and many website builders include intuitive SEO tools that are designed for beginners. For example, the Wix SEO Wiz will guide you through the most important steps to optimize your website. 

The Wix SEO Wiz

However, it’s more than possible to learn how to perform basic SEO on your website, even if you have no experience. Make sure that you do your own research, but a few of the key things you should focus on include: 

  • Keyword placement. Make sure that you perform comprehensive keyword research whenever you create new written content. Include your keywords naturally in a way that doesn’t impact readability or the message behind your content. 
  • Image optimization. You should also focus on adding relevant titles, captions, descriptions, and alt texts to your images so that the search engines know what they are about. 
  • Meta information. Similarly, review your website’s meta description and title from time to time to ensure it remains consistent with your overall message. 

These are just a few of the most important things you should review from time to time as part of your ongoing SEO strategy. It’s important to perform regular SEO work if you want your site to rank well. 

Review Your Website’s Looks and Functionality

On top of this, it’s a good idea to regularly review your website’s overall appearance and functionality. As time goes by, web design trends change. You might decide to update small parts of your website to keep up with current design trends. 

Similarly, you might be able to use visitor data to identify parts of your website that are underperforming. Making small design changes can help improve performance and increase visitor engagement. 

For example, you might find that you’re having trouble converting visitors and getting them to sign up for your email list. Something as simple as changing the design or positioning of your signup box can make a huge difference. 

Basically, you just want to look out for things that you could improve to optimize the user experience. Ultimately, that’s what matters! 

Stay On Top of Security Updates and Backups

It has been estimated that tens of thousands of websites suffer security breaches every single day. Depending on their nature, these can be extremely damaging to you and your reputation. 

In the worst-case scenario, security problems can lead to data breaches, resulting in the loss of sensitive customer information. If things like credit card numbers or other sensitive details are stolen, you could find yourself in a world of trouble. 

Fortunately, there are numerous security programs and plugins available for almost every website building platform or content management system. When creating a website, you should include some security tools to make sure that sensitive information is safe. 

For example, if you use Wix, basic security is taken care of by the website builder itself. However, if you want to add an extra layer of security, you can use an app like McAfee Secure. 

McAfee Secure

On the other hand, if you’re using a content management system such as WordPress.org, you need to stay on top of any security updates and backups yourself. Failing to do so can leave you open to attack. 

Ultimately, website security is an extremely important consideration that is neglected by many site owners. Be vigilant about your site security to prevent unwanted hacking or data breaches. 

Test Everything

One thing you should always keep at the front of your mind is that you can never test something too much. In fact, you should try and test your entire website regularly to make sure everything is working the way that it should. 

When you’re testing your site, click through every link and try out every important feature on as many different browsers and devices as possible.

A lot of people make the mistake of performing tests on their desktop computer while ignoring mobile optimization. This can lead to issues with the mobile site that you don’t pick up, which can affect the user experience. 

As I said, you should work through as much of your website as possible. But, some of the more important things to focus on include:

  • Links. Click on all internal and external links to ensure they are working correctly and not broken or leading to the wrong page. 
  • Images. Similarly, test images on a range of devices to be sure they render properly and remain attractive. 
  • Selling features. If your website includes online store features, you need to regularly check things like add-to-cart buttons, checkouts, and anything else key to the selling process. 
  • Forms. Finally, it’s also a good idea to review your forms from time to time to ensure they’re doing what they’re supposed to. 

It’s important to note that this is by no means a complete list of the things to focus on when you’re testing your website. Basically, you should test as many features as possible, as often as possible

Delete Redundant Content

When you’re reviewing your website, you might come across redundant or unused features or tools that are taking up space without reason. If you do, remove them and free up server resources for more useful things

Here are some of the things you should look out for and remove: 

  • Unused plugins. There’s every chance that you’ve installed and activated a new plugin or app, only to stop using it after a day or two. When you’re undertaking website maintenance, remove any unused plugins or apps to prevent them from locking up some of your server resources and slowing your site down. 
  • Inactive user accounts. If you have some way of identifying inactive or unwanted user accounts, you should remove them when you come across them. 
  • Outdated information. Similarly, you should delete any outdated or irrelevant information when you’re reviewing your content. This is especially true if you come across information that is incorrect because it can harm your website’s reputation. 

Basically, you want to declutter your website from time to time, removing unused or irrelevant information, apps, plugins, and user accounts, among other things. 

Check Content Readability

Finally, you should always review your content and overall website structure with the user experience in mind. There’s every chance you will make mistakes when you’re learning how to build a website, and some of these will get through to the live version of your site. 

This means you need to pay special attention to readability and structure when you’re performing the first couple of content audits. Watch out for the following: 

  • Poor content structure. Make your written content as easy to follow as possible. When you’re performing maintenance, you should watch out for poorly written sentences, paragraphs that are too long, and anything similar. 
  • Spelling or grammar mistakes. Unless you employ a complete content management team, the chances are that small mistakes will slip through, despite your best proofreading efforts. Watch out for and correct these. 
  • Image placement. You should always pay special attention to the placement and size of the images. Make sure they’re in logical places within your written content and that you refer to all images at least briefly. 

Ultimately, this should be quite self-explanatory. The better your written content is structured, the more user-friendly it’s going to be. And, the more user-friendly it is, the better your website will perform. 

MAINTENANCE – A CONCLUSION

It's important to remember that your journey doesn't end with publishing a website. To be successful in ranking your website and gathering big amounts of traffic you will have to update your website's content, test clickable assets, and secure your domain. Even the smallest tweaks - when done repeatedly - can improve your site's user experience.

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ConclusionHow To Build a Website – The Recap

Although learning how to build a website might seem overwhelming at first, it shouldn’t scare you. Anyone with even the most limited tech skills can build their own website without having to invest a lot of time or money, especially if you follow a step-by-step guide. 

With this in mind, I decided to bring you this ultimate guide to help you make a website for the first time. I’ve covered every step of the process, and by now you should understand pretty much everything you need to get started. If you’re still a bit confused, don’t worry – things will start making more sense once you start building your first site

You should begin by choosing a platform to base your website on. I’d recommend using a website builder such as Wix, Shopify, or SITE123, especially if you don’t trust your technical skills too much yet.

Following this, you need to define your brand. Make sure that you clearly work out your product message, identify your customers, and note the things that your competitors do well. Choose a domain name, get a logo, and develop a clear understanding of your brand and overall image. 

Next, you should put together an outline of your website’s structure. Work out how you’re going to categorize your content, and think closely about what you want your menus to look like. 

Once you’ve done this, you can start to think more about your content and exactly what pages you want to start with. You should also work out what features you need to include where and define a clear value proposition and call to action.

Finally, you need to continue with ongoing maintenance after you publish your site. Perform updates where possible, and do whatever you can to improve the user experience and optimize your site’s performance. 

So, by now you should know enough to build your own website. Good luck and start building!

Grėta V.
Grėta V.

The Article Author

An experienced content writer and a diligent tester, Grėta spends a ton of time doing analysis, helpful for users of all skill levels. Whenever she’s not doing an autopsy on a website builder, she’s either listening to her Spotify playlist or watching weird stuff on YouTube.

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