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How To Build A Great Website

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Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list.

We've outlined 5 steps (and several examples) on how to get started.

We cover things like:

  • Best platforms to use
  • Examples of great websites
  • Design hacks
  • ... and much more!

#1 Pick a Domain Name

Choosing a domain name is one of the first steps you'll want to take when building a website, as this is how customers will ultimately find your website.

You may want to consider a domain name that's easy to remember, easy to type and easy to say.

An "easy" and accessible domain name also plays a big factor in your SEO. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Try to pick a .com extension if possible
  • Try to pick a domain name with less than 15 characters
  • Try to be typable and memorable (consider avoiding hyphens and numbers in the domain name)
  • Use keywords effectively for SEO purposes

There are tons of different platforms you can use to register your domain name. We've outlined a few of the most common ones below with their expected costs.

  • GoDaddy GoDaddy is the worlds largest domain name registrar and pricing starts at $9.99/yr
  • Domain.com Domain.com specializes in domain names, web hosting, VPS hosting, SSL certificates, email and starts at $9.99/yr
  • Namecheap offers domain transfers, app integration, SSL certificates, email and starts at $8.88/yr

#2 Choose a Web Hosting Plan

Web hosting is essentially where all of the files on your website live - so it's important to choose a reliable plan.

There are a few different ways to host your platform. We've broken down the difference between Hosted vs Self Hosted websites:

Hosted Platforms (more common)

Hosted platforms are typically an "all in one" purchase, meaning the platform provides both the software/design to actually build your website AND the storage that all your files live in (known as web hosting).

Here are a few examples:

One of the perks of choosing a hosted platform is that it's low maintenance compared to self-hosted platforms - things like software updates are typically managed by the hosting team.

Self-Hosted Platforms (less common)

With a self-hosted platform, the developer typically builds the website using their preferred software and then chooses a web hosting platform to store the website.

The most common example would be: Wordpress + BlueHost

#3 Choose Your Platform

Depending on your business, it's critical that you choose the right platform to build your website on.

The last thing you want is to spend days/weeks building your website only to find out that you should have used a different platform.

To help support your decision, we've highlighted the top platforms to use in 2020 and explain why they may be a good fit for your business.

#4 Start Designing your Website

Now that you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.

Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.

One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.

If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.

Celeste Druve, founder of Viper by KCH talks about her experience outsourcing a web designer:

When we began, we each saved up $800 dollars to throw in. We spent it getting some contracts drawn up from a lawyer to incorporate and have an operating agreement. We (poorly) designed our first website but once we had some money we had someone redesign it and make us a pitch deck. Although we were a startup, we didn’t want to look like it so we tried to keep all our aesthetics well branded. Our initial branding looked way different than it does now.

We made our own website at first but it was pretty tragic so we ended up hiring someone. We got played by our first two graphic designers and that taught us to be way less trusting and smarter about money and contracts. That was a big lesson.

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Celeste Durve, on starting VIPER by KCH ($40,000 revenue/mo) full story

Examples of Great Websites

What makes a great website? We've given you a few examples below!

Matt Griffin, founder of Combat Flip Flops does a great job when it comes to professional design and a clear CTA to buy his product.

Check it out:

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The idea first happened in 2009 and my fellow Ranger, Donald Lee, registered our website name. We sat on it for over a year until my sister-in-law married Andy Sewrey.

Andy learned about the mission, started working on designs, and helped us bring the idea into a digital rendering form. From there we started floating images and messaging on Facebook. Followers gave us feedback and input until we had a design good enough to prototype.

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Matt Griffin, on starting Combat Flip Flops ($350,000 revenue/mo) full story

Another great example is the Swoveralls website, created by Kyle Bergman.

Here's another great example of what a Shopify website looks like.

Just by scrolling down the website in the first 20 seconds, he gives you a clear idea as to what type of product being sold and what makes the product so unique:

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Kyle Bergman, on starting The Great Fantastic ($17,000 revenue/mo) full story

#5 Implement Page Structure On Your Site

Once the basic structure of your site is complete, it's important to focus on the specific pages you are going to have on your site.

There are certain pages that may be more important than others, and this may depend on your specific business.

We've listed out the general pages you may want to consider, and their importance:

Home Page:

Your home page is arguably one of the most critical pages of your website, as it's the very first impression your customer will have of your product.

Your home page also impacts SEO and the way Google ranks you.

Check out how captivating [Photobooth Supply's] home page is. Founder, Brandon Wong has a really unique promo video play as soon as you land on their website.

He also states the company's objective in just eight words over that animation, which is highly effective.

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About Page

The about page is a great place for your customers to go once they understand your brand and are looking to learn more.

The about page is the perfect opportunity to talk about what makes your product so unique.

You may want to consider diving deeper into your mission and value here- this often builds rapport with your customer.

Contact Page

Think of this as the "seal the deal" page.

Consider making this page easily accessible for your customers and also try to provide them with multiple ways of contacting (message box, physical email they can click, and a phone number).

Bonus: add a live chat feature on the contact page. Crisp and Drift are great chat features to look into.

Blog Page

By having a blog on your website, you're covering these basic factors:

  • Driving more customers to your website
  • Building trust with your customers (they'll think of you as a leader in the space)
  • Complimenting SEO efforts

You may want to consider producing new and relevant content 1-2x per week. At the very least, perhaps you can experiment with a blog and see where it goes.

Here's how I published 142 blog posts in 12 months.

Conclusion

And that's it! Building a website doesn't have to be a daunting task and can be implemented easily with the right tools and software in place.

Are you in the process of building a website or looking to get started on your next business idea? Join our community to learn more!

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Pat Walls,   Founder of Starter Story