Thanks to the existence of website builder services and powerful Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, building your very own website is now becoming easy and fast. Just like any Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects, your new website will be more appealing if you plan ahead before you jump in. That means you need to understand first what are the most important elements of a great website i.e. essential features that help people to find your website, navigate it, connect with you and so much more. Let’s group these important website components into two categories: things your visitors will notice when they landed to your website, and things that work “behind the scenes”. In order to have an effective website, both sets of elements must exist and when your website is well constructed, they all work together. Here’s what you’ll need:
1) Reliable Web Hosting Service
Once you already picked up your own domain name, the next thing you need is a reliable web hosting service. Think of your web host provider as similar to a landlord who rents you space for a physical store. They provide and maintain the server space where your site files “live” and allows your visitors to come by and explore your site. Like a good landlord, a trustable web hosting provider will provide excellent service, ongoing server maintenance and improvements, and good customer service support. If you pick a host with a website builder included just like ServerFreak’s Website Builder hosting plan, you can snap together the framework of your site in just a few minutes.
2) A Content Management System (CMS)
Your content management system works behind the scenes to help you organize and maintain parts of your website such as meta data and site pages, and it makes it convenient for visitors to find their way around your site. Alternatively, you can create your own if you have some knowledge on coding. Or you can utilize WordPress, which is the most popular CMS around. There are thousands of plugins, themes, and templates available to help customize WordPress sites. Learning how all those elements work together can take time. To get a site up and running faster, especially if it’s your first site, a website builder will include its own content management system as part of its all-in-one service.
3) SEO Basics
Learning how to get your website ranked in the search engines for targeted keywords is a must-know skill and added advantage because competition among webmasters is getting stiffed nowadays with millions of sites on the internet now in competition for a spot on the 1st page of search results. Hence, you’ll need to follow and implement several Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices in order for your website to get found. To execute this, you need identify which keywords visitors are using (or will use) to locate your website – the more specific and local the better, especially if your site serves a local or regional audience. Distribute those important keywords wisely in your meta data, media tags and file names and also site copy. There are other important aspects of SEO that you cannot simply ignore, like mobile-friendly optimization and fast page load times of your website.
4) Analytics Tools
The best analytics tool available is the Google Analytics tool. Google Analytics is the most popular and easy to use resource, it is free and it integrates easily with WordPress and some website builder tools. It is crucial for you to understand how Google Analytics works because this will allow you to know how people are finding your site, which pages they spend the most time on, and how well different elements of your site convert.
5) Inventory Management
Inventory management is crucial when selling products on website. You need to keep track of which product is in stock, what’s sold and what’s on order. When inventory management is integrated with checkout process and your shop pages, both you and your clients will know whether an item is available to purchase.
6) Mobile Friendly Template and Theme
Another important factor for a successful website is to optimize your website for various devices: desktops, laptops, tablets and especially mobile phones. You need to install a mobile-optimized or responsive design so that your website can load fast, easy to read, and easy to navigate on the phones, which are the way most web users search now on the internet. In addition, Google also favours website that is mobile-friendly by rewarding them with better position in the search engine results.
7) Sections That Visitors Expect
Have you ever landed on a brand new online website that felt a bit off and did not feel quite right? Chances are that feeling of ‘wrongness’ was caused by the site missing some elements you’ve come to expect: a home page that inform you what’s the site is all about, an “About Us” section that shows there are real people behind the website, and “Contact Us” section which enable readers or customers to reach you if they have any feedback or questions.
Humans are visual beings and likely to be attracted by meaningful and captivating images. Hence, it is important to incorporate images into your website or blogs instead of posting articles alone. Our eyes are naturally drawn to images, especially if they move and make noise, and images are a must if you’re selling merchandise online. People will also want to see a photo of you in your “About Us” section. For search engine optimization (SEO) purpose, you need to select images that are optimized to look good and load fast, and be sure to tag and name your website’s images in ways that use your SEO keywords.
9) Social Media Links and Integration
Social media marketing is a great way to promote your website but there is no need to register for every single social media marketing account out there. Most importantly, select a few popular social media account such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and integrate these accounts to your website with the use of website builder. Each time you make a new post on your website, the widgets will show your latest posts and the plugin will share the latest post updates to all of your linked social media account at the same time.
10) Shopping Cart and Payment Tools
If your site includes a shop, you’ll want a reliable, easy to use shopping cart and payment tools like PayPal or Square that are popular with most online shoppers. Most e-commerce platforms integrate well with WordPress, and many website builders can help you set up shopping and checkout tools in a snap.
If you are running e-commerce website, it is crucial to integrate a reliable, easy-to-use shopping cart and payment processors such as Paypal or Stripe that are popular with most online shoppers. Although WordPress can be used to run e-commerce sites (known as Woocommerce), you may also use website builders such as Weebly or Wix to assist you in setting up shopping and checkout funnels for your online store with ease.
Now that you know the basics your site needs to succeed, you’re ready to get started! Check out our options for getting it done, including ServerFreak’s Website Builder hosting plan that includes all the elements on this list.