In 2021, nearly everyone has moved online to do business, interact, and build social connections. Brands and the people behind them are leveraging the web to maintain their resilience and showcase everything they have to offer.
At the same time, maintaining a website can be time-consuming, and getting on the correct path toward achieving your online goals can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t have to manage a website by yourself. Find out how to build a stunning website in 2021 in the guide below.
Know Your Purpose Of Your Website First
The first step is to define a purpose for your website. Ask yourself what objectives you want to accomplish. For example:
- Promote products and services
- Start a blog
- Share your portfolio
- Generate leads
- Offer promotions
- Connect with customers
- Display product brochures
Additionally, you may want to reflect on your expectations for your website. How much traffic, revenue, customers, or leads does your page need to generate to make the investment worth-while?
Once you’ve established clear goals, you’re ready to identify your target audience and design a website that strategically attracts the traffic you want.
Step 1: Strategize
Before you can select a web hosting service and start building your website, you need a plan that guides you through the decision-making processes.
You might want to consider the following aspects of your website and develop your understanding of structural elements that will impact the overall design.
- What pages will your website have? (Main menu, about us, shopping cart, blog, etc.)
- What information do you want to display on the homepage?
- Are you going to include a blog?
- How much content will you be uploading? (Large images and videos, or only plain text?)
- Which functions will you use? (Chatbot, appointment forms, online payments, etc.)
Creating a sitemap or outline can help you better overview the features you’ll need or not need for your website.
Step 2: Choose a Domain
A domain name is the virtual location where you can find a specific website. For example, www.yourcompany.com is a domain, which you get through a web hosting service provider.
Unless you’re creating a website for personal use, you’ll probably want a domain name that includes your brand identity. Most businesses typically choose a .com or .net extension.
Other questions to ask yourself when selecting a domain name are:
- Is the name clear and concise?
- Does the domain name match your brand and content?
- Could visitors have trouble spelling the name?
- Is the desired name taken? If the domain already exists, you may have to consider an alternative.
One way to shorten lengthy names is to use abbreviations. Finally, avoid terms that are too generic since this could make it more difficult for search engines to rank your content.
Step 3: Select a Web Host
Next, you’ll need to select a web hosting service provider. These servers host the space where your website will exist. Most providers offer various hosting plans for a monthly or annual fee, depending on the services you need.
Three primary categories of hosting services include managed, shared, and VPS hosting. If you’re looking for the fastest-loading option, managed hosting can support your website with a personalized server while offering the highest level of security. Web hosting services can include the following:
- One website to an unlimited number of websites
- One or multiple registered domain names
- Limited or unlimited traffic
- Cloud-based storage space
- Customized email address
- SSL certificate
- Customer support
The speed of your website is also impacted by the service and provider you choose. A website builder is one of the simplest options available, but these often don’t include an abundance of customizable features. For example, free website builders often leave out some of the business essentials, such as email addresses.
Content Management Systems
If you want more functionality controls, a Content Management System (CMS) offers many useful tools. You can download plugins, or applications, that simplify the addition of complex elements. For example, plugins can add an online store or course to your website with the click of a button.
Some CMS services include WordPress, Drupal, and Typo3. The most popular CMS is WordPress using Flywheel hosting services, which you can use to download a template, or upload a custom website template, depending on your technical skills.
The design settings are relatively intuitive to set up, but free templates may not always include all of the features you’re looking for. In this case, you may need a programmer to make changes to the template’s HTML and CSS script or create a custom theme for you.
Step 4: Design Your Website
After choosing a domain name and service provider, you’re ready to log in as the admin and customize your website. Now, your content outline and initial preparations come into play. You’ll want to configure your website’s settings to be representative of your brand or idea.
Although you don’t have to be a design expert to personalize a website template, it helps to be aware of design trends that can make your website more attractive. Other best practices to keep in mind are listed below.
- Navigation – Make your website easy to navigate so visitors can find what they’re looking for quickly.
- Main Menu – A visible main menu allows visitors to jump from one section to another without the need to scroll endlessly.
- Pages – Pages typically link to your products, services, a blog, contact form, gallery, or other categories within your website.
- Mobile compatibility – Most website builders and many CMS services enable you to preview your website to see the resulting appearance on a PC, Smartphone, or tablet device. In 2021, optimizing your website for compatibility with mobile devices is essential.
- Colors – Most likely, you’ll want to select colors from your company’s brand or logo along with other complementary hues.
- Text – The right typography can give your website the feeling and image you’re trying to achieve. Similarly, the wrong font styles, sizes, and colors can be distracting, hard to read, or optically unpleasant.
- Call to Action – Encourage visitors to take specific follow-up action. (Call your shop, retrieve a quote, sign up for your newsletter, etc.)
After adjusting the main layout, you can begin to add text, images, videos, embedded Social Media links, and other content to your website.
Step 5: Promote Your Online Presence
Once you finish designing your website and uploading content, you’re ready to launch, but the work is just getting started! Growing your website requires continual effort, updates, and new content to attract visitors, make sales, or increase revenues, depending on your initial goals.
Promotion and Marketing for your website can help attract new visitors. For example, if your brand already has a Social Media presence, informing followers about content and product updates can help drive traffic to your site.
Search Engine Optimization
Optimizing your content for search engines like Google is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves using best practices that rank websites higher in the search results. Some top SEO tactics for 2021 include:
- Performing keyword research
- Optimizing meta titles and meta descriptions
- Revamping old content with updated links and information
- Adding internal links
- Use more H2 and H3 headings
If you’re using WordPress, a plugin called Yoast can help you optimize your SEO practices. Additionally, remember to prioritize the resolution of any usability, speed, and compatibility issues that could jeopardize your standing in the search engine results. Finally, ensure that all of the content you share is high-quality and aligns with your brand identity.
Overcome Website Maintenance Challenges
As a business owner, personal brand, or entrepreneur, investing in a website is a must in 2021. But, maintaining your online presence can be a full-time job itself. Many obstacles can pop up and sabotage your hard work.
- Speed – Over time, as you add new content, you may need to upgrade to a different web hosting service to avoid lag times.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires ongoing research into algorithm changes and updates that impact whether or not your site appears on Google’s first-page results or not.
- Functionality – Adding new elements such as a store, virtual classroom, and security features can require time-consuming efforts on the admin’s part, especially if you want to customize the design to match your branding.
- Security – In 2021, your website needs an HTTPS security certificate. Older HTTP domains are more vulnerable to data breaches.
- Monetization – If you intend to monetize your website but don’t have a product or service of your own, you may face learning curves setting up email marketing or advertising initiatives.
These challenges can consume valuable time you could be spending on more valuable business efforts. Additionally, a DIY approach can be frustrating and fail to deliver the desired results.
Outside the Box Design Can Help
How you invest your time is more decisive than ever to business success in 2021, and business owners need a strategy that prioritizes long-term profitability. By outsourcing your website design projects to Outside the Box Design, you can focus confidently on other areas of your brand, knowing that your online presence is being proactively maintained.
Our web design teams can provide customized animations, illustrations, layouts, and typography that give your website a highly professional visual appeal. Additionally, we can embed interconnective elements that enable real-time communication with customers and a consistent experience across all devices.
Learn more about Website Design in 2021 from the content specialists at Outside the Box Design.