If you want to build a successful brand and business, you have to start by creating a strong foundation regardless of the type of company you are planning to launch.
That means designing a smart website using SEO and digital marketing techniques are just a few of the things you should consider before you establish yourself as an authority in your industry. To build a successful website form scratch you should consider the following steps.
Table of contents:
8 vital steps to achieve all your goals
Before you even start thinking about website design or web development, you have to take the time to understand your audience and your industry.
- a) What are your customers looking for?
Do they prefer visual content [images, videos] or are they more likely to read short-form paragraphs/articles?
- b) What kind of tone should you take with your website and your content?
If you’re a law firm, you’ll want to come across as professional and trustworthy but if you are a family-owned restaurant, you might want to focus on being friendly and approachable.
- c) What should they know about your products or services?
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are offering and be able to articulate that through your website and other marketing channels.
- d) What are your competitors doing?
Your research should include a competitive analysis. Look at what your competitors are doing right and wrong and find ways to improve upon their strategies.
Scan your competition - the results of the first and second page of Google search should be your main competitors.
e.g., If you are an Accountant, then search for "accountant/accountants in London".
Now that you have a better understanding of your competition and audience, it’s time to start thinking about your ambitions. Your website should be designed with goals in mind.
- a) Are you planning to generate leads for your business?
If so, make sure your website has a strong call-to-action that encourages visitors to sign up for your mailing list or request consultation/call-back.
- b) Do you want to generate online sales?
If you planning to sell online, your website should be designed with eCommerce in mind. That means having a user-friendly shopping cart, security features and an easy checkout process is just a few things you should consider.
- c) Are you trying to raise brand awareness?
If so, make sure your website is optimised for SEO and that you’re using digital marketing techniques such as social media and content marketing to drive traffic to your site.
The point is, keep your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Take notes of your goals and ideas including your favourite website layout, design and functionality. This will help you communicate your ideas better to the web designer or web agency.
Probably the second most important factor after setting your goals and business plan. You must have a realistic idea of how much you are willing to spend on your website design. It's not always easy to determine the cost of a project, especially if you don't have any previous experience.
Price will differ based on the size and complexity, as well as who you hire to design and develop your website. But keep in mind that a WEBSITE is an investment rather than an expense, mostly because you expect a return on investment.
- a) Are you planning to hire a professional or you'll use a "DIY" website builder?
Both have pros and cons and will largely depend on your budget and web design skill.
- b) How many pages will your website have?
Standard website design:
- Freelance designer: £100 - £299/page or £15 - £35/h
- Web design agency: £199 - £499/page
eCommerce website design:
- Freelance designer: £2000 - £4000/project or £15 - £35/h
- Web design agency: from £3000/project or £399 - £599/page
- c) Do you need branding, digital marketing services or a maintenance package after launch?
- Branding: from £99 for logo design
- Digital marketing services: from £199 plus additional marketing budget
- Maintenance package: from £50/month
- D) How much does it cost to build and maintain a website?
Website Feature Upfront Website Cost
Domain Name £7 - £20/year
Website Hosting £5 - £30/month
SSL Certificate £0 - £100/year
Plugins & Integrations £0 - £100/month
eCommerce Functionality £20 - £1000/month
If you planning to build a successful business that will last, you should invest in your website design and consider hiring a professional. Because there is a big difference between websites that are designed by professionals and by first-time website builders/users.
Choosing the right company or designer is critical for the success of your project. To find a reputable web design agency or freelancer, we suggest following these steps:
- a) Ask for referrals from friends or business partners
In most cases, there is a family member or friend who recently worked with a web design company/designer. They can give you honest feedback about their experience with the designer/agency and the quality of work.
- b) Check out their online reviews and portfolios
The next step is to check out the designer's/agency's online reviews and portfolio of previous work. This will give you a good idea of their design style and the types of projects they have worked on.
- c) Schedule an introductory meeting or video call
If you like what you see, the next step is to schedule an introductory meeting or video call with the designer/agency. This is an opportunity for you to get to know them better and to see if they are a good fit for your project.
- d) Compare prices
Once you have all this information, you can compare prices and choose the designer/agency that is the best fit for your project.
Trust your gut feeling. If you have a good feeling about the designer/agency, they are probably the right fit for you. It doesn't have to be the most expensive designer or the largest agency, but the one that you feel most comfortable with.
Depending on the size and complexity of your website project and if it's built using a template or from scratch, the timeline can range from a few weeks to several months. Use the time wisely and buy your domain name, get all your content ready, schedule regular check-ins with your designer/agency and finally plan out your digital marketing strategy.
- Simple website design (3-5 pages): 2-4 weeks
- Medium website design (6-10 pages): 4-6 weeks
- Complex website design (11+ pages): 8+ weeks
If you are working with a professional, they will likely give you a timeline for the project. If you are doing it yourself, we recommend setting a realistic timeline and then adding an extra week or two to account for any unforeseen delays.
6. Webmaster Tools
Install Google Analytics and Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools, to get access to critical data that will help you evaluate traffic and site performance.
- a) Google analytics
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that gives you insight into how your website is being used and how visitors are interacting with it.
- b) Google search console or Bing webmaster
Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are free services that allow you to submit your website to be indexed by the major search engines and to get detailed information about your website's traffic and performance.
- c) Other tools
There are many great tools that can help you measure traffic, ranking, backlinks and more. Some of our favourites are Seobility, Moz, and Ubersuggest.
Make sure you check your site performance or traffic data regularly [weekly or at least 1 a month] so you can identify any potential problems and take action to fix them, especially if you haven't signed up for any maintenance page. Also, the above-mentioned tools will help you measure your digital marketing efforts to see if they are working.
7. Digital Marketing and SEO
You must also be patient after launching your website as it can take weeks or even a few months to show up in Google searches and gain organic traffic. Your ranking will largely depend on how well your website SEO has been optimized and what digital marketing services have you chosen.
- a) Search engine optimization "SEO"
- Basic OnPage SEO is included in your web design but if you want to achieve a higher ranking you should consider full OnPage search engine optimization which covers all aspects of your website including technical SEO, title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, images, etc.
Price: from £99/page [homepage and services pages are recommended]
- OffPage SEO is the process of building backlinks to your website from other websites. This can be done through guest blogging, social media, forums, and other methods.
Price: from £100 [highly recommended]
- b) Social media marketing
Social media marketing is a great way to connect with potential and current customers. It can also help improve your website's search engine ranking. The most popular are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with LinkedIn and YouTube not far behind.
Price: £5 - £10/day [1-3 months are suggested]
- c) Pay-per-click "PPC"
PPC advertising is a form of paid digital marketing where you can pay to have your website displayed at the top of search engine results pages like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These are known as "sponsored results" and they appear above the organic search results.
Price: £5 - £20/day [1-3 months are suggested]
- d) Email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and promote your website. You can use it to send newsletters, updates, special offers, and more.
Price: £10 - £200/month depending on the size of your mailing list
Your job hasn't ended yet, if you want your business to thrive, you'll have to market it and designate a budget for it. A common rule of thumb is to allocate 5-10% of your total budget for marketing and website promotion.
The most important thing is not to give up and keep trying different digital marketing strategies until you find the one that works best for your business. Lastly, if you want to generate organic traffic to your site, link-building is crucial!
Stay active and engaged with your audience by regularly publishing new content on your site or social media networks and occasionally share special offers. This will not only keep your website fresh but also encourage people to come back and visit your site again.
- a) Adding new content
This could be in the form of new blog posts, new products, new services, or anything else that is relevant to your business.
- b) Sharing special offers
People love getting a good deal, so make sure to share any special offers or discounts that you are running with your audience. This could be a coupon code, a sale, or anything else that would save them money.
Your website is a living entity that needs to be nurtured and taken care of regardless of the sector you are in.
e.g., If you are a plumber, you may post weekly on your social media network to give people helpful tips on how to take care of their plumbing or what have you been up to that week in terms of new projects.
Your website is your window to the online world, and it must look good, inside and out. If your website is outdated or doesn't reflect your company's branding, it will reflect poorly on your business.
Make sure you're putting your best foot forward with a website that is up-to-date, informative and visually appealing. Your success can depend on it!!!