Tips For Building A Website For The First Time
Written by Eric Hess
Congratulations! You’re here to learn how to build a website for the first time. This is probably a pretty exciting thing for you and whatever new journey you’re going on!
With excitement also comes a little bit of nervousness. How am I going to learn how to build a website? How can I make it look good enough? What if I mess something up?
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! While there certainly is a learning curve with building a website for the first time, we’re here to help make it as easy as can be. Our first tip for building a website for the first time is an important one.
Pick The Best Website Builder
The first step in your journey is deciding where you are going to build your website. There are many options out there and each platform has its own set of pros and cons.
Some are simple to use but are limited in their capabilities. Others are much more complex and have tons of options, but can be hard to understand.
Don’t worry, we won’t let you make that decision on your own! We already have an entire blog to help you choose the best website builder!
Above The Fold
The newspaper industry learned that to collect an audience, they must present attention-grabbing headlines, content, and imagery on the top half of the page. This basically remains the same for websites.
Of course, websites do not have a physical fold like newspapers, the fold in this regard relates to where the bottom of a screen is.
Anything that isn’t visible immediately, that requires scrolling, is considered below the fold.
Note – The fold is different on all computers, tablets, mobile devices, etc.
Learning how to create compelling content above the fold is some people’s full-time job, but even having a basic understanding of this can make a big difference! Things to make sure you have above the fold are:
A hero image – A hero image is a large web banner image, prominently placed on a web page, generally in the front and center. This will be the first image you see on websites.
H1 Text – H1 text, or the headline that you put over the hero image is very important for grabbing attention. A new website visitor should be able to land on your site and see only the heading text and image and have a basic understanding of what you do.
H2 Text – H2 text, or the subheadline is another, usually smaller, headline that helps assure that a website visitor is on the correct page. This is where people will usually call out their niche or what separates them from others in their industry.
CTA – The CTA or Call-To-Action is usually in the form of a button. This button can lead to whatever the goal of your web traffic is. If your goal is to showcase your work, make this button go there. If your goal is to have someone buy from your site, make this button go to your online shop!
You never want to assume that someone will know how to navigate your website the way you want them too. Sometimes they need a push in the right direction.
Navigation – In most cases, you’ll want to make sure that you have a navigation bar here too. Most website builders will add this navigation bar for you, but you’ll want to make sure you give people the tools they need to navigate your website!
Alright, I know it seems like a lot of things to add but take this picture for an example. This is a landscaping company and garden center that we built a website for. You can note that everything you see on this image is “above the fold” from a MacBook perspective. You’ll notice that the H1 text explains what they do and where they are located. There is no H2 text in this example because there are 2 different CTA buttons here. The navigation is at the top and it is on all of the pages. The website design is very simple, but it has been very effective.
It’s incredibly important to make sure that your website is not only mobile-optimized but depending on your industry, you’ll want to design the website with a “mobile-first” mindset.
The reason for this is that most website traffic in 2020 is mobile. We’ve generally found that our clients with B2C businesses have more mobile traffic and B2B businesses have more desktop traffic.
Regardless, it’s very important to make sure your website looks and feels great on both desktop and mobile! The nice thing about a website builder like Squarespace is that they make your website look mobile-friendly automatically!
Answer Common Questions
Making sure that the copy, images, video, etc. on your website help answer common questions that you receive can be a huge benefit to you and your business.
First, it’ll help you simply think of the great content to add to your website. It’ll also make sure that people find the things they’re looking for when they get to your website. For example, if you’re a restaurant that has weekly specials, this should definitely be shown on your website so people don’t have to call to ask!
Same thing with common hesitations. If people always ask you about your portfolio or past successes with clients, they should definitely be on your site! That is why we added an Our Work section to our website!
Stay Away From These
There are also plenty of things you shouldn’t do on your website!
Large Image Sizes
Making sure the size of the images are as small as possible will help the overall speed of your website. A simple tool like this image compressor can really help this!
Trying too Hard For SEO
The best thing you can do to make your website search engine optimized is to be natural. Trying to cram keywords into your website can do more hard than good. Write the way you’d want to read!
Make sure that the images you use from your website aren’t illegal for you to use! There are plenty of free sites to use that will ensure you can use them! Unsplash and Pexels are two of our favorites!
Well, there you have it! There are a lot of things to consider when you’re building a website for the first time, but we hope these tips will help you out!