When creating a website, there are 13 important steps to follow. I’ll guide you through each step to create a beautiful website that works well. But before diving it, also check the tools you need to design a website without code.
So let’s see the ways to design it!
1. Your site purpose & audience
When creating the site, every business should start with the purpose. Decide what job you want your perfect website to do.
- For example, do you want it to be the place to show off your cool artwork, like a digital art gallery?
- Or you want it to be an online store where you can sell your handmade crafts, like a virtual market.
- You can have a blog where you write about your favorite dessert recipes, just like having your digital magazine!
Target website visitors
Next, think about the people who’ll visit your website. Are they already experts in what you offer, or are they new to it?
You’re a fantastic soccer player, and want to showcase your skills on your website.
- If your website visitors are soccer fans who know much about the game, you can use special words and terms they will understand.
- But suppose your visitors are new to soccer. In that case, you might want to explain things more simply and use friendly language, like saying “kick the ball” instead of “perform a precise strike.”
By thinking about your website’s purpose and understanding your visitors, you can design a website that truly speaks to them. It’s like creating a special place they will love to visit and enjoy. So remember, define your website’s purpose and consider your visitors to make your website extra awesome!
2. The website builder
A website builder is a platform dedicated to easily design a website without code or programming. Different website builders are available for you to try:
- WordPress builder (for more tech-skilled people looking for a presentation website or ecommerce shop) paired with a friendly page builder, and a good cache plugin.
- Squarespace platform (for a quick-to-start website or ecommerce), or
- Wix website (for a decent free website design).
The best website design software will feature premium website templates and allowing you to create everything visitors will see on your website: from menu and navigation to page layouts and complex functionalities like contact forms, opt-ins, or payments.
No matter which website builder platform you choose, it’s time to get your website with pictures, text, and even videos to the world!
3. Your web design elements
Create your brand’s mood board
A brand’s mood board is like a magical collage that helps people understand and feel your brand’s personality. It’s a special board where you collect your main design elements like:
- brand color scheme,
- pictures, and
- words that represent your brand.
Imagine you have a brand for healthy snacks. Choose bright, fresh colors like green and orange to show how energetic and natural your snacks are. Add pictures of fruits and veggies to make people hungry for your tasty treats. And integrate a playful font to show that your snacks are fun.
Create a mood board to tell a story about your brand. It helps people understand your brand and tells them who you are.
How to create a mood board?
To build your brand’s mood board, use design apps like Canva or Figma to combine colors, fonts, and images representing your brand. You can choose colors that make you happy or fonts that look fancy or friendly. It’s all about creating a look and feel that matches your brand’s personality.
When you feel stuck, look at other websites for best design inspiration. See how they use colors, fonts, relevant images and icons to create a professional web site, and understand how you can do that too.
Now, let’s create a beautifully designed website page!
4. An award-winning web template
Website design templates or themes are ready-made designs you can use to create your website. It’s similar to having a book with stickers; you just need to open the book and move stickers around as you like!
However, if you are tech-skilled, you can even change the default structure and layout to fit your business:
- You can re-organize the menu to fit your business.
- You can delete, replace or add new elements on pages to keep them relevant.
How to choose a website theme?
When choosing a web design theme, there are a few things to consider.
- First, look for a theme that is clean and simple to navigate. It’s like having a tidy room where everything is easy to find.
- It is optimized for speed. Your website will load quickly on desktop and mobile.
- It is easy to customize, even if you know little about coding. It’s like having a planner with stickers; you can move stickers around without special skills.
- It comes with updates. Your website gets updated without extra work.
Top web Design themes
Looking for a shortcut to the top website design themes? Here it is:
> Best 3 WordPress themes:
- Astra: A clean and lightweight web design theme that is highly customizable and optimized for speed. It offers a range of pre-built templates to choose from. Works well with my go-to friendly page builder, and my go-to cache plugin.
- GeneratePress: Known for its simplicity and fast performance, GeneratePress is easy to navigate and offers extensive customization options.
- OceanWP: This theme is user-friendly and responsive, making it perfect for various website types. It provides updates and is easy to change.
> Best 3 Squarespace templates:
- Brine: A versatile and clean template with a focus on customization options. It offers a clean and modern design suitable for various types of websites.
- Bedford: Known for its simplicity and ease of use, Bedford provides a sleek and clean layout that loads quickly.
- Pacific: This template offers a contemporary and clean design, making it ideal for creative businesses.
> Best 3 Wix themes:
- Breez: A minimalist and clean theme that loads quickly and is customizable to suit online meditation classes.
- Amy Kohler: This theme is visually appealing and perfect for independent professionals in the health & wellness industry. It offers a clean layout and easy customization options.
- Bakery: Ideal for clear messaging and a flawless ordering process.
With these themes and templates, you’ll get a clean design, easy navigation, fast loading, customization options, and updates. There are excellent choices for creating a professional and user-friendly website. For my WordPress website, I start with the Astra theme blank canvas and customize it using the Beaver Builder page builder.
5. Create a visual sitemap
With a visual sitemap for your website, you’ll draw all the important pieces (the pages) on your website, just like drawing a map of your neighborhood.
Why should you do it?
When you have a map drawn BEFORE building the website, you can see how all the pages of your website connect and how the puzzle pieces fit perfectly.
You can use the free Gloomaps tool to create a visual sitemap to braindump and organize your website structure. You don’t need to create an account, and it’s easy to use.
With Gloomaps, you can draw boxes for every page on your website and connect them like blocks on a map. It helps to see how everything fits together and plan where to put important information.
6. Design the navigation
Good navigation makes it easy for people to find what they want.
To build the menu, you must first create a few pages on your website. Let’s say you have a website about animals. You will need to create pages like “Home,” “About,” “Animals,” and “Contact” and then add them to the menu.
When added to the menu, you’ve created shortcuts to useful sections on your website, so users will be able to easily navigate it.
Edit a pre-set navigation
When you choose a theme, the pages and menu are already set up for you. And you need to edit the pages to make them fit your business.
Create navigation from scratch
However, if you’ve decided to skip the built-in templates and start with a “blank canvas,” you must create and add the pages to the menu.
7. Design Header and Footer
There are a few important things to consider when designing your header:
- Include your logo, the special symbol that represents your brand.
- Add the menu to help website visitors move around and find what they need.
- Add a call to action button telling people what to do: “Sign up now!” or “Buy now!”
- Have a search bar to let visitors look for specific things on your website (like searching for a book in a library).
In the footer, you can include:
- Contact details: your email address and phone number. Most people scroll to this section to find out how to reach you.
- Useful links: your social media profiles or other helpful resources.
- Sign up for the newsletter option.
These elements make your website easy to navigate and provide helpful information to visitors. So make sure to complete them!
8. Find best keywords to use
Researching the best keywords for your business BEFORE building your pages is essential.
Let me tell you why! People search for something on the internet using specific words or phrases. By knowing these magical words, you’ll create pages that focus on these “Keywords” and answer visitors’ questions. These pages may organically appear in their search results in a few weeks, bringing you FREE traffic!
Tools like Neil Patel and Squirrly SEO can help you find the best keywords with loads of traffic. So, do this research now! It will help you understand how to structure your website and what words to use in your copy to increase your chances of being found online.
Do the research now
Unfortunately, most web designers don’t do this step or will recommend you to hire an S.E.O. expert AFTER they have built the website. And you’ll have to re-think your website’s structure, re-write the text and edit the images based on these keywords. That’s double the work for double-spent money.
Find the perfect keywords now to make your website visible on Google Search.
9. Design your website
A high-converting website structure depends on your business goals, but every website needs certain web pages:
- Home Page: This is where everyone lands first, so make sure you illustrate what you do so people can understand it in seconds. Make it short, looking nice and intriguing!
- Product / Service / Portfolio Page: This page is all about what you’re offering. If you’re selling things online, you can have a page to show everything you have, like a catalog of products or services.
- About Page: This is your space to shine. Use it to tell your story, what you care about, and why you’re special compared to your competitors.
- Blog Page: If you want relevant traffic from Google, you need a blog page. Write optimized articles that people can find and read.
- Contact Page: Let people know how to reach you by giving them your phone number, email address, or even a form they can fill out.
I also recommend you have the following:
- Custom 404 Page: If you’ve trashed a page (and you don’t use a proper redirect setting), when someone tries to access it, they’ll see the 404 page. So make it fun and link it back to the homepage.
- FAQ Page: This page answers common questions that future clients might have, just like reading a helpful book without asking!
- Testimonials: This is your chance to show off a little. You can have nice things people say about you or even awards and mentions from important brands.
These are the basics. So make sure your website has these important eight pages, and consider adding some extra ones too.
Quick HINT for Media Optimization: To optimize your site, prevent low ranking, higher bounce rates, lower click-throughs, and longer loading time, use images in .webp format and ensure you don’t have too many photos or videos on each page.
10. Add extra functionalities
You can also add some extra functionalities to make your beautifully designed website even more awesome! Let’s check them out:
- Contact Form is a special form on your website where people can send messages or ask questions. It’s a virtual mailbox that connects you to your next customers!
- Freebies Optin: a cool feature where you offer something free in exchange for people’s email addresses.
- Subscribe to Newsletter: allow visitors to sign up for your Newsletter to get updates and news from you. Let them be part of your special community.
- Payments Link: buttons people can click to buy your products or services. But… you may already know about these! Cha-ching!
- Client Feedback Submission: to gather feedback from your clients or customers.
- Tracking Tools: Facebook Pixel, Google Tag Manager, and Google Analytics (or other analytics tools) are must-haves on new websites to collect important information about your visitors, like how they found your website and what they do on it.
- Interactive Chat Widget (like my Boei): a useful tool to chat with site visitors. It can be a live chat or not.
Adding these extra functionalities makes your award-winning website design even more engaging and useful for online visitors. So, get ready to take your website to the next level with these must-have features!
11. SEO tools for website traffic
Optimizing your webpages for search engines is not a choice. It is a must. I’ll show you how I do it using tools like Squirrly SEO and NeuronWriter!
Step 1: Use NeuronWriter to optimize copy on the pages
I have tried many AI-based tools for content optimization, like Jasper.ai, Copy.ai, SurferSeo.com, and Outranking.io. NeuronWriter is the most helpful assistant I found (even better, considering the one-time price on AppSumo). It suggests changes to improve your page and increase your chances of ranking higher in search results.
Step 2: Use Squirrly SEO for on-site website optimization
While creating a webpage, you can add title, copy, and images. Squirrly S.E.O. will assist you with recommendations on improving all this content. Nevertheless, the basic steps for one-site optimization are:
- Make sure the title (heading 1) includes your main keyword. It’s like putting up a big sign that tells to Google what your page is about.
- Include the keyword in the URL of your webpage. It’s like having an address that matches what people are looking for.
- Use headings that include the keyword. Headings are like chapter titles that make it easier for search engines to understand your content.
- Include 1-2 images with ALT text and description that include the keyword.
Squirrly SEO can be used for any WordPress, Squarespace or Wix website to research keywords and optimize pages. And you can grab it as a life-time plan on AppSumo.
Step 3: Inter-linking your webpages
Creating links between your web pages will make it easy for people to navigate and for search engines to understand the connections. Plus, you’ll make your website user-friendly.
12. Launch a beautiful website
Testing and launching your website is crucial to confirm it works smoothly and provides a great experience for visitors. Let’s go through the important things to consider before publishing your site:
- Test loading time: Use PageSpeed Insights to check how quickly your webpages load. Make sure you’re visitors don’t have to wait too long!
- Check content readability: Ask friends to read your website’s content and see if it’s easy to understand and it make sense to them. Ask for feedback on its design and usability too.
- Verify linking: Click on the links throughout your website to make sure they take you to the right places.
- Check it on mobile: You must have a responsive website to offer the best user experience for your site visitors. Check how your website looks on different devices, like android phones, iOS devices and tablets.
- Check it on different browsers: Open your website in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari and see that all looks and works fine.
- Test forms and other elements: Fill out forms and tap the interactive elements on your website to ensure they work properly. It’s like checking that a telephone can make a call and that buttons on a toy work when you press them.
Got no issues or concerns and your site looks great? Then it’s time to publish it.
13. Best ways to keep it growing
Remember that creating your own site is NOT a one-time process. Your website or online store is not a static thing. Keep updating it based on its performance, design trends, new built-in features, or changes in your business. Add new pages or tweak the new design based on people reactions, optimize the site’s pages. Here are a few things to do:
- keep monitor and improve for mobile devices and all screen sizes
- keep media sizes low and relevant
- always look at analytics and tweak images, titles and content properly (adding alt texts to images and using readable URLs.)
- add a blog (if you’ve not done it yet) – and use the keywords that define your business
All this feels overwhelming?