First Steps to Creating a Website

by | Jul 24, 2023

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any business. A well-designed website serves as a virtual storefront, allowing potential customers to explore your products or services and learn more about your brand. If you’re ready to take your business online and create a website, this guide will walk you through the essential first steps to get started.

Establishing Your Goals For Your Website

Before diving into the website creation process, it’s essential to establish clear goals and objectives for your website. Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your online presence. Are you looking to generate leads, sell products directly, provide information, or establish your brand identity? Understanding your goals will help us shape the overall design and functionality of your website.

How Will You Structure & Design Your Website?

Organizing your website’s structure and navigation is also vital for user experience. Start by creating a sitemap that outlines the main sections and pages of your website. This may look different for everyone depending on your business. For example, a dental website sitemap could have pages that outline different treatment options, a staff page to meet the dentists, and a page with information on how to schedule an appointment. Different types of websites will have different pages and sections. It’s important to consider how you want your visitors to navigate through your content, ensuring it is intuitive and easy to follow. A well-structured website makes it effortless for users to find the information they are seeking.

The design of your website plays a significant role in attracting and retaining visitors. Create a visually appealing and user-friendly interface that aligns with your brand identity. Choose a color scheme, typography, and imagery that convey the right message and appeal to your target audience. Keep the design clean, consistent, and intuitive, ensuring effortless navigation and readability across devices.When meeting with clients to work on the design of a website, we start by asking if they already have a branding package. If the client only has a logo, we use their logo to pull colors and create a palette with 5-6 colors. Different colors evoke specific emotions and associations. For example, warm tones like red and orange can convey energy and passion, while cool blues and greens evoke a sense of calmness and tranquility. Understanding the psychological impact of colors helps in aligning the color scheme with the intended message and brand identity. Clients are given two options of color palettes to choose from to represent their brand.

Clients are also sent an on-boarding form when we start a project and this asks questions about the design and feel of the site. Some of the questions we ask clients are: Do you have any branding for your business? Will a logo revision be needed? Do you have any recent photography from the past 5 years? What is the primary goal of your website? Is there a design theme to your office or branding? Do you gravitate towards vibrant colors or neutral colors? Do you have a tagline? Are there any websites that you love? etc. These questions allow us to inform decisions for the design.

Fonts are usually determined by the feedback given on the on-boarding form. Mood boards can also be created to help get the look and feel clients are looking for nailed. A well-crafted mood board should evoke a specific mood or atmosphere. Consider the emotions you want your website visitors to experience. Do you aim for a vibrant and energetic vibe, or a calm and serene ambiance? Select images and colors that align with the desired emotional response.

Design styles are really important because different styles can portray the type of business you are and the message you are trying to convey to your customers. Some clients may want a website with a more professional feel versus others who may want a funky vibe. This can all be conveyed on a website through the color scheme, typography and branding. Design styles on websites act as a language, speaking to visitors and conveying messages beyond words. By carefully selecting a design style that aligns with your brand’s values, target audience, and intended message, you can create a visually compelling website that captivates users, communicates effectively, and leaves a lasting impression. Since this is so important, we work with clients to determine exactly what they are looking for during the on-boarding and design process.

Now It’s Time To Build Your Dream Website

After collecting this information about your design and layout, our production team will begin the wire-framing process. Wireframes serve as a skeletal representation of your website’s structure and layout. They focus on organizing content, determining page hierarchy, and mapping out navigation. Wireframes are typically created to allow you to visualize the website’s structure without getting distracted by visual design elements.

Once the wireframe is approved, we will proceed to the design phase, where we will work with developers to transform the wireframe into a visually appealing and interactive mockup. They will create a comprehensive representation of how your website will look and function. The mockup will showcase the website’s color scheme, typography, imagery, and other visual elements, allowing you to envision the final product. We also offer professional photography and videography for small businesses so your website can have pictures and videos that show off your company.

The mockup is not a final product but rather a starting point for collaborative feedback and refinement. Our team will share the mockup with you, seeking your input and suggestions. Your feedback is crucial in this stage as it ensures the design aligns with your expectations and preferences. Together, we will make necessary revisions and adjustments until it accurately represents your desired website design.

After multiple rounds of feedback and refinement, we will present the finalized mockup for your approval. Once you are satisfied with the design and functionality, we will build out your site with our content writers and web developers.

Prioritizing The User Experience On Your Website

Before launching your site, we will do testing to make sure everything is user-friendly and technically sound. In addition, our website hosting service offers routine maintenance checks to keep your site live and secure and make sure everything is working correctly. We monitor website performance, uptime, and speed, addressing any issues promptly. Regular backups and security checks are conducted to safeguard your website and protect it from potential threats. Additionally, we stay on top of software updates, ensuring that your website is running on the latest versions of content management systems, plugins, and other essential components.

After creating your website, our agency also performs search engine optimization (SEO) maintenance. We conduct keyword research, analyze website analytics, and optimize meta tags, headings, and content to ensure that your website is easily discoverable by search engines. By staying on top of algorithm changes and best practices, they help your website maintain a competitive edge in search rankings.

Looking For A Website To Match the Quality of Your Business?

Our company offers website design for a variety of clients including dentists, orthodontists, chiropractors, optometrists, financial advisors, and many more small businesses. Our team creates affordable websites and provides video and photography services to get your website started. If your business is seeking a new website, visit our website to get started!

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Harris & Ward

Harris & Ward

Harris & Ward specializes in Small Business and Healthcare Marketing for Dentists, Chiropractors, Veterinarians, and More. Follow our blog for tips and information about modern marketing.

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