How To Design A Website From Scratch: A Quick Guide

January 4, 2022
Authored by:
Ruby Ta
Featuring:

Regardless of which industry you are working in, a website of a company has an incredible impact on its general performance. A website is considered one of the most important touchpoints in the customer’s journey and affects directly whether they buy your products.

As you build your brand, there are several crucial elements that you can not ignore. Some are already familiar to you, but others need more research. It might take years of hard work to design a website. Understanding your struggle, we will be walking you through 7 crucial steps to facilitate and speed up the process of how to design a website from scratch. 

Why Do You Need A Website?

Some store owners postpone this task because they do not know how to design a website and do not want to spend more time and money. If you have the same concerns, here are some essential reasons why you should immediately design a website: 

Branding

Having a website is an effective way to emphasize your brand image in customers’ minds in a digital environment.

A full description of your brand history, inspirations, and unique selling points are expected to be shown on the website. Furthermore, brand updates and announcements also need to be officially published on the company’s website for audiences to access. 

Additionally, a website helps you increase business credibility. Even if your business already has a physical presence, a website that provides structured and high-quality materials will make it easier for customers to confirm the information and consider making purchase decisions. 

Sales Generating 

A website has a powerful influence on business revenues. The existence of a website can increase your conversion rate.

For example, if your sales team does not have enough time to provide information about store locations or working hours, a website can help salespeople focus on more customized questions and increase productivity. 

As mentioned above, a website plays an important role in the journey that customers approach your products. It’s an opportunity for customers to find your brand on the Google search result pages. Depending on your rank on Google, customers can add your brand to their intended buying lists. 

8 Steps To Design A Website From Scratch In 2022

Here are the eight essential steps to design a website from scratch that will get you the results you are looking for.

Step 1: Research and learn from your competitors

This step is extremely important when you are totally new to website creation. There are no specific requirements when you design a website, but ideally, you should do extensive research on your competitors. 

Your competitors are working in the same industry as you are, and they have a similar target market. Learning about the competition can provide you with relevant ideas for your future website. 

Researching helps you to initiate the first ideas of the website

Additionally, researching from competitors gives you more insight into your target audience. Besides absorbing the strengths of their website, you also want to learn about their limitations and turn them into plus points when you design your website. 

Remember to note down everything you can apply to your website and then move to the other steps. 

Step 2: List down everything you need for your website

Identify the purpose of your website. Many store owners just want to create an online presence for their store. Thus, the website only acts as an exhibition of their product collection. 

Meanwhile, other store owners create the website with more long-term company goals, such as generating organic traffic, showing authority, and establishing brand trust.

The website can also influence the owners’ decisions of assigning its resources, whether the business needs a stable team or just hires contemporary freelancers. This brings you to an important step:

You need to decide whether you need a team of web developers to design a website. If website maintenance is of utmost importance to you, it is recommended that you should hire a full-fledged agile team from the beginning. 

Startup businesses prefer full-stack developers whose abilities can satisfy both front-end and back-end website-building requirements. If you have little to no knowledge of website coding, it may be better to invest in hiring a specialist or a senior developer.

In the recruitment process, make sure to require your candidates to submit their portfolios so you can evaluate them based on their expertise and experience. 

Apart from the details stated above, experts also suggest that having a logo can increase a website’s impact.

A logo is one of the most important brand elements, as it stays with the business despite the market’s ever-changing nature. Thus, not only does your logo have to be unique, but it also needs to have a timeless design. Plus, a good logo has the ability to reflect the story behind your brand.

If you have yet to have any ideas for your logo, you can get inspiration from these 8 famous logos and the story behind them

Step 3: Sketch your site

You and your team need a visualization of the website. A sketch should include the pages’ layouts and the main purpose and theme of each page. Here are the four most common pages included in nearly every website: 

  • Homepage: This is the most important part of your website, as it is the first page people see when they enter your site. As viewers have a habit of skimming some websites, make sure to invest enough time and effort on this page in order to stimulate further engagements from website visitors. 
  • “About Us” page: This page is often underestimated and does not receive much attention compared to other selling pages. However, by containing the brand story and additional simple information such as locations or contacts, the “About Us” page gives customers feelings of trust and professionalism.
  • The product page: All the efforts of your marketing team are to lead customers to the product pages. Sometimes, customers already have the intention to purchase when visiting your site. Thus, provide them with beautiful pictures and descriptive information of the products on this page. 
  • The blog: This page helps you show off your field of knowledge and prove your reliability to customers. However, maintaining a blog requires frequent postings and diversified content.

Step 4: Choose your website builder or software

If you possess coding skills, it makes sense that you would choose open-source platforms like WordPress or Magento to build your website. With their own features, users have as much freedom as possible to customize the website. 

Here is a short yet helpful tutorial for choosing a website builder:

This step is regarded as the most complicated for a first-time website builder. If you have no coding knowledge, it is recommended to choose hosted platforms to simplify the entire process. 

With hosted platforms, most eCommerce store owners place their trust in Shopify. Shopify is renowned for its ease of use and a variety of additional extensions, so it will be a great building block if you choose Shopify to be the home place of your store site. 

Step 5: Customize your website layout and start adding content 

You have done most of the setup work, and it’s time to take care of the rest of the steps. The outline above has provided you with must-have components, but these steps are some optional elements to include: 

  • FAQs: As mentioned above, a website can reduce the workload of salespeople by explaining simple questions. Look for the most frequently asked questions and add the most detailed answers on the FAQs page. 
  • Reviews and Testimonials: You can showcase positive feedback from your previous customers right here. Ideally, these reviews should include photos to increase credibility. 
  • Navigation menu: This is to decide what to include in the menu of your homepage. 
  • Social Media: Insert the links of your social media channels in the social bar to maximize your brand visibility across every touchpoint. 
  • Additional integrations: There are several plugins that can assist you in managing the website, as well as your business situation. For example, Google Analytics is one of the most installed tools as it helps you track customers’ demographics and their movements on the page. 

At this step, the color palette and the main theme for your website should also be sorted out. Take time and consideration to have this step finalized because they make up the visual communication of your store. Consistency is fundamental. The text font, image, and other visual elements must tell the story of the brand. By doing so, you create a consistent connection with customers and deliver a thorough message.

Besides color consistency, there are other principles of effective visual communication you should consider. 

Step 6: Register your domain name 

It is important to consider the uniqueness of your domain name. Use a domain checker tool to see whether your preferred domain name is taken. 

The domain name includes your website name and the extension. “.com” or “.org” are regarded as two popular extensions. Consider picking up local extensions such as “co.uk” for the UK or “de” for Germany in order to leverage the local SEO. 

Besides the uniqueness, make sure the name is memorable, contains your brand name, and reflects what your business is selling

Together with the domain name, if you do not choose a hosted platform, you have to buy a website hosting platform. This helps your site connect to the Internet and increase its loading speed. Website hosting is like the house of your website. When customers enter the domain name, they will be directed to the hosting server of that website. 

Step 7: Improve SEO for your website

If SEO is unfamiliar to you, here is a brief description of what SEO is and how it works. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will decide which ranks of your content posts will be in the Google results. The Google ranks immediately impact customers’ purchasing decisions because they usually choose the first couple of articles after searching the keyword. Thus, adapting to SEO will increase your brand’s visibility to customers. 

Here are several suggestions to improve the SEO for your new website: 

  • Identify the right keywords: Think about customer behavior. What will they search about when facing a problem that needs answers? Use Ahrefs to check the keywords’ search volumes, which is the number of people searching for that keyword.
  • Know where to place keywords: There are several important places you need to insert main keywords into, such as URL links, page titles, headings, and subheadings. 
  • Provide valuable content: This is the key factor for the success of the entire website. The effort of SEO is wasted if the content is irrelevant and does not solve your customers’ concerns. 

Step 8: Proofread and preview

Choose the “Preview” option to know what your website will look like when launched. You should especially double-check the contact form to avoid potentially dismissing any customer information. Once confirming everything works well, click the “Publish” button to start increasing sales volume. 

Congratulations! You are now the owner of a website! 

Now, it’s time to ask for feedback from the field experts. Place the web link in several eCommerce communities and wait for a couple of reviews from professionals and experts. Another source to take feedback from is your friends or colleagues. They may just give you a great evaluation that could be applied to customers’ perspectives. 

How To Improve Your Website's Performance

Don’t stop just because the website exists. In order to achieve the ultimate goal (which is sales and revenues), you need to gain more knowledge and leverage of the website’s functionalities. 

Develop your style guide

Though you have a color palette and some of the visual elements stated above, you still need to develop an official style guide for long-term usage. This guide not only helps your team follow the same style, but it also helps partners implement co-marketing activities with your brand. 

An ideal style guide will include: 

  • Color palette: This is a collection of colors to be used in every visual design of the brand. There are three main elements of a color palette: primary color palettes, secondary color palettes, and neutral colors. After identifying these three components, the brand should clarify where and how to use each color. 
  • Graphics and icons: It is better to use self-designed graphics and icons in order to enhance brand trust. Graphics and icons are also generated from your color palette for a consistent brand identity. 
  • Photos: Your images must support brand consistency and aesthetic taste. For nearly every website, photos are placed to reflect the product details and help customers “touch” the products without physical contact. Thus, photos must trigger both emotional and rational feelings in your customers. 

Invest in your blog

A blog plays an important role in your website’s visibility. Only when your content is really helpful will people trust you and form beliefs that your products can solve their problems. If you are new to blogging, these are several tips: 

  • Identify your target audience:

This is an indispensable step for fresh bloggers. At this point, try to specify your customers’ profiles as much as possible. If you already have an existing group of customers, take advantage of that data. Otherwise, conduct primary market research and draw conclusions from it.

Apart from customer personas, a customer journey with potential touchpoints is recommended to get deeper insights. 

  • Partnerships:

This is a clever way to increase the credibility of your blog and your brand. Broadly speaking, two brands will cooperate to cross-promote their products and services.

Shortlist the potential brands that have a similar target audience to yours. Next, send a partnership proposal to them, which clarifies the benefits and duties of both parties. Once you get approvals, choose the blog topics and assign your team members to be in charge of it. 

Summary

Designing a website from scratch may not be easy, but its value absolutely deserves your efforts. The process is a little bit lengthy, so be patient, and your hard work will pay off. The good news is that there are many eCommerce platforms, as well as additional plugins, which soothe the website building process for newbies. 

Ready to design your logo for your new website? Get started with our logo maker!

Ruby Ta is a Brand Executive at LitExtension. She is passionate about sharing knowledge and experience in the eCommerce and technology field. Find more of her articles on this blog

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