So you want to build a website…… but you don’t know where to start? Let us help you!
After building over 1000 websites for small businesses across Australia, we have created the ultimate, easy-to-follow guide to help you build your own website. We outline the components you need to organise to create a website that will be visually appealing, have excellent images and engaging content. Not to mention appropriate on-page SEO and mobile optimisation.
Element 1 - Create a page outline for your navigation bar
Here’s the deal: This is the first step to helping you organise your information intuitively for readers to learn about your business. You may have a bunch of ideas and need help laying them out - or you may have none! No matter which of these you are, the good news is that we can TELL YOU what an ideal page outline is based on years of experience and modelling the best websites on the internet. We will split these out into the Core pages and the Optional pages, so I can show you a logical and intuitive progression for how to build your pages.
Home - this is your overview page with links to your other pages for more information. This page needs to have a compelling introduction and layout on the top of the fold, with optimal image layout and calls to action. It’s the make-or-break which will determine if a reader will stay on your site long enough to contact you.
About Us - whatever your business, this page should profile your biography and experience to demonstrate your capability. Ensure you mention and link to any industry associations you are a part of as Google loves relevant outbound links. Having a photo of yourself or your team always adds impact to help readers know who they are connecting with - there’s nothing more powerful than genuine smiling eyes to go with your excellent bio.
Services - outline your main offerings under sub-headings. There’s a good chance that you provide a number of services or specialisations, so this where you want to explain what each of them are for the benefit of your readers.
Contact Us - the most important page which contains your contact details, phone, email, address, Google map and a contact form. These should be easy to access, with a single click to email you.
Once you have the core pages organised, you may need various additional pages depending on your business type and industry. Here is a list of pages to consider adding:
There are numerous more pages to help you build a website, however these are the main ones that will apply for most businesses.
Element 2 - Set your logo and header with an effective layout
What kind of logo do you need? A logo can have two forms - you can have a text & symbol combination or a simpler font logo that is just text-based. Either of these is fine and will depend on your own business needs. Often, a professional text-based logo with your business name is more than enough to make your website look professional and nothing else is necessary. If you want to print out business cards, letterheads and other offline marketing, you may like to consider a graphic design logo service to create a distinctive logo for your brand identity and consistency. This involves engaging a graphic designer to generate several logo concepts with symbol and font combinations to represent your new brand. It’s best if you can provide your designer with some guidance on your colour preferences and examples of other logos you like otherwise it can be a lot of guessing in the dark and tastes can be subjective.
Once you have decided which logo you want, this needs to go into your header, either left-aligned or centre-aligned as your template allows. Other important things to include in your website header include a tag line that explains or summarises your business or service (if your business is not obvious), along with your phone number and/or other contact links including your email and social media. This needs to be in immediate view on landing (on top of the fold) so that if your reader’s attention span is not high, there are easy calls to action to reach you. Keep it simple and relevant. Contact us if you are ready for a graphic logo design today. We turnaround 3 logo concepts in 3 days.
Element 3 - Write engaging content on EVERY page - the “Goldilocks” approach
All your content needs to capture your reader! From a compelling home page to friendly tag lines and footer lines, your content should create a warm and inviting vibe to your reader while also conveying your experience in the field. Here is where I recommend the Goldilocks approach: Not too salesy and not too weak….. your content needs to be just right. So: what makes it ‘just right’? Good question. It’s getting the balance of showcasing your best business advantages such as your experience, knowledge, competitive edges, reliability, business differentiation and doing this confidently….. without the sleaze. Your writing needs to demonstrate a genuine confidence from your experience without being too pushy or desperate for a sale. Encourage enquiries regularly through calls to action (email links, phone number in your header and footer) and social media links to connect with you more. The balance must also come from not being too “weak” in your content writing. We have many clients who tell us they do not want to appear to “salesy” or push their service to readers which is a fair point! It’s the easiest way to turn off a reader when your only agenda is to sell something. However writing that is too neutral or factual just won’t appeal to everyone, so there needs to be some level of “showcasing” your best features because ultimately the enquiries will come from showing that you can benefit your reader by solving their problem.
If I had to give a single best tip for content writing to make it effective, what would it be? To regularly highlight the value you can bring to your reader - emphasise the benefits of your service or product with an aim to solving their problem. The more specific your words and the less sensationalist, the more real it reads and is likely to convince your reader to enquire with you.
Check out our Ultimate Blueprint for Writing Killer Copywriting
Element 4 - Source AMAZING high quality images to bring your site to life
How do you choose the right images for your site? This is one of the most important features you can hone in on. Anyone can find images to use, the success and effectiveness of getting impact from your images is from discerning crappy quality from good quality. Here is a
Element 5 - Choose a banner style for the home page - a slideshow, static banner or no banner
Check out the best websites on the internet… you will find that they largely fall into three main layouts on the page:
Which one to choose? It doesn’t matter so much as how you use your layout - whatever feature you incorporate, ensure there is enough text, images and calls to action to balance what the reader sees to give them a full imaginative picture of your business service.
Element 6 - Incorporate calls to action regularly
What is a call to action? It’s a prompt for the lead to call, email or socially connect with you. These needs to be sprinkled regularly between your content, in your header and footer - have your phone number displayed prominently in one of them (doesn’t hurt to have both), have a contact form on your home page and contact page which captures the lead information you need e.g. their phone number and email address.
Make your own email address clickable to open an email window that they can contact you from directly. Have your social media buttons prominent so they can like your Facebook, add you on LinkedIn, pin you on Pinterest and review you on Google.
Repetition is a good thing to the extent that they may lose the information as they keep scrolling. However too many CTAs can be overkill and annoying so ensure the balance is right for your audience.
Element 7 - On-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - Consciously choosing keywords that people are searching on Google
What is on-page SEO you ask? Good question. It’s an essential component to helping your website get found for searches relating to your business and region. This is where you need to do a Google keyword analysis to identify related keywords to your industry. Go to the Google Keyword Planner and use the tools section to find related keywords with high search volumes that you want to target. Now that you have these keywords, how do you use them? Here are 4 important ways to use them:
Important - as always, do not keyword stuff, use them unnaturally or overuse them. These will bring penalties to your site. Use them once as appropriate and don’t overthink it beyond that.
Element 8 - Footer layout
Finally, you want to have a clever footer as this will be seen on every page, along with your header. It’s crucial to have quicklinks to every page on your site, to make navigation easy and allow your audience to jump to what they need without delay. Re-iterating your contact details is always helpful as well as a Google map if relevant. Create links to external reviews and have a single catchy line that summarises your business advantage as the final enticement to get them to enquire.