It takes skill to make good food, but anyone can cook.
Nowadays the same is true for webpage creation. Knowing how to code provides more freedom in building a website, but I’ve gotten by without knowing how to do it. And so could you.
How to build a website
Why anybody can build a website
Programmers have developed do-it-yourself website creators for normal people. Speaking in terms of difficulty, I’d say anyone who can use Microsoft Word can make their own website.
There are actual website creators like Wix, Squarespace and many others. There’s also what I use, premium WordPress themes.
To explain quickly:
WordPress is a website/blogging manager. At a click of a button or three you can add pages, images and all sorts of content to your website. WordPress is not exactly a self-explanatory software, but neither is Microsoft Word. It is, however, easy to get the grasp of, also like Word.
Website developers make WordPress themes, which are essentially website designs that overlay the WordPress software. Premium themes exist that come with a bunch of features, themes that are easy to control and beautiful niche specific designs (like for a restaurant, spa, or a gym website). The theme that this site was built upon cost only $59 (a one-time fee). The theme, called BeTheme, is the best one I’ve ever used.
That site and the whole in Envato marketplace (which ThemeForest is a part of) just may change your work life.
As I’ve done and as many others can, you could go ahead and buy a theme, follow the instructions it comes with and make a website. Using themes takes time to get accustomed to, but it’s not that hard.
Now the above will give you website, but will it give you a good one?
How to build a website
Let the learning begin because I’m about to drop some knowledge!
Why do you or your client want to website?
Every website should have a number one goal, i.e. get people to call the store, to make sales, to promote a video, to campaign for cause, etc. Until this question is answered, a website should not be worked on.
A website needs to talk to the visitor.
To say that in a less douchey way, you need to think of the website and its content as a form of communication.
What is it that you want to say to the visitor?
What messages should be prioritized?
Is there an obvious organization that can be used to group these messages together?
Think of this as the site map. What would be found in the site’s navigation menu?
Remember you can communicate with words (text and audio) and visuals (site design, pictures/graphics and videos).
Think about what you want to say and say what you mean.
Where to find good content.
First impression: the landing screen.
Going back to #2, what is the number one message you want to communicate?
The very first time someone goes to your website you only have a few seconds to convince them to stay.
Go over your website in waves to find improvements and errors.
Try getting a second pair of eyes to overlook everything. You can get a free 5-minute video review of your website at peek.usertesting.com
You can also check how your website will look on different screen sizes, phones and tablets at quirktools.com/screenfly.
And before I get to #6, let me say I respect web designers and you should too. This is an art one could probably spend a lifetime trying to perfect. Needless to say, this guide is only sufficient in giving you the basics of making a good website.
Arguably the most important of all of these:
How in the fuck are you going to get people to visit your website?
There’s many ways to procure visitors. There’s SEO, PPC advertising (Google, Facebook, YouTube and so many other places), traditional advertising, social media marketing, PR and countless options I can’t even think of. But I can help you answer this question.