Starting a website for the first time is a very thrilling, yet intimidating process. You imagine how you will create content and thousands of people all over the world will read it. Sounds amazing. You are feeling something that is difficult to describe.
Being enthusiastic about launching your first online project is good, but we must warn you that it won’t be all rainbows and butterflies. The path is thorny, with many pitfalls waiting for you. Easy to follow tutorial with step-by-step instructions how to start a blog or how to make a website using WordPress with build in drag and drop page builder.
That was the reason why we decided to write this article. Some things are better to consider before you leap into the unknown in order to avoid mistakes. It’s always smarter to learn on someone else’s experience.
Well, shall we begin?
7 factors to consider when you are going to develop and design your website.
When you start a website, first of all, you usually think about the technical side of things. And it looks pretty straightforward.
Here is your to-do list:
- Find a good domain name and register it.
- Pick a platform that will power your site ( most likely it will be WordPress).
- Find a decent hosting provider (most likely it will be Bluehost).
- Install WordPress.
- Pick out a WordPress theme (you may search for it right here at Dessign.net or turn to any other decent WP themes developer like ThemeRex, for example).
- Install a set of WordPress plugins you need for smooth operation of your website.
- Customize your website and fine-tune all its settings.
- Write and publish your first blog post.
All these steps seem trivial, don’t they? Maybe this is because you’re guided through most of the time. At first, your hosting company takes you by the hand. Then WordPress dashboard itself does almost the same.
So we are not going to talk about the things that you are able to figure out on your own. We are going to focus on the more challenging stuff. It includes SEO, designing images, marketing, tools, security, and more.
- Choose SEO-optimized themes
An SEO optimized theme will let you to SEO optimize your website easier. This is necessary as no matter how beautiful and interesting your website is, there is no point in it if nobody can find it on the net.
If you are a newbie, search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your content so that it ranked for certain keywords on search results of engines like Google.
SEO is a complicated term. It includes keyword research, link building (the process of gaining links to your site from other sites to improve your search rankings), and many other actions needed for best performance.
- Quality is above quantity
Don’t try to shoehorn all the elements you like into one template. It will look cheap, amateur, and cluttered. It’s always better to stick to minimalism, which is always in trend.
The rule is relevant to SEO and blogging in general. Quality content always beats quantity when it comes to blog posts.
You don’t need to publish new content daily or even weekly. If you do everything right, once a month will be alright. This will give you the whole month to promote your content.
Google gives some merit to sites with fresh content. On the contrary, it has no mercy to sites abusing that and pushing out live dozens of crappy articles a day. It worked for a while but then Google laid down the ban hammer. Now those sites are defunct.
Just a quick question. What would you prefer – ten so-so posts on your blog or a couple of really great ones? I’d rather opt for two great ones. Such kind of quality articles gathers backlinks. They have more authority and boost the value of internal links.
- Use social media to drive traffic to your website
Social media is utterly important for your blogging success. Actually one won’t work without the other.
You can’t but agree that there’s nothing more frustrating than writing an epic blog post only to see zero engagement. No comments, no shares, and one like from your mom.
This happens because most people do social media marketing wrong.
First of all, social media icons must be placed at the expected places on your web page. And they must be easy to find by the visitors.
So, how do most the website owners use social networks? They use them as publishing platforms just to show off their blog posts. Remember that social media isn’t an RSS feed.
Well, how to use social media properly?
Network and be social. Almost everything in blogging is about networking. Post your links in relevant Facebook groups.
Let’s make a long story short. To get social engagement you need to engage with other social people. Tag everyone, join Facebook groups and build relationships. This is the way to get engagement even when you are just a startup.
- Create nice images, they increase shares, backlinks, and subscribers
Creating high-quality images may be easy, affordable, and fast. Fancy imagery is really a must for a modern website. It helps to beat the competition.
Take a look at the top websites in your industry. Do they use a lot of quality images? The answer is obvious.
Cool images are necessary as they help people read your content, they keep them on your page longer, and help to digest the information easier.
Here are some of the tools that will help you create awesome images:
- Canva – This is a design tool suitable for non-designers. It’s free, with some paid stuff. It offers a $10/month version with added features, like instant image resizing for instance.
- Relay That – This tool creates images for you. You even don’t need to design it yourself. Everything you need is a click away. You can use a free version or pay $16/month for the basic package.
- Unsplash – This is a directory of free, high-quality stock photos.
- MyStock Photos – This one is similar to Unsplash, but offers even more photos.
- Iconfinder – Here you can get high-quality icons for just a dollar or two.
It’s also good to add charts and graphs to visualize your data. Such things help users process the info quicker. Besides, they look nice in the posts.
- Format your blog posts to look like a pro
Posts styling is similar to beautiful images. It increases the reader’s time on page and engagement.
The point is – people don’t read everything word-by-word. They skim through the content. The reason is that there’s too much content and too little time to read everything.
Here formatting comes handy. A well-formatted post makes it easy for the readers to scan it and understand if there’s something worth their time.
Here are some tips on formatting:
- Divide walls of text with headers and subheaders
- Use bulleted and numbered lists to highlight key information
- Bold and italicize important points (but don’t use both at the same time)
- Add quality images (it is recommended to use one every 300 words or so)
- Keep paragraphs short (no more than 3 to 5 lines – this helps with skimming and mobile reading)
- Add the call to actions to make the audience what you want them to do
What is a call to action? It is anything you want your customers to take action on. For example, it could be subscribing to a newsletter, reading another blog post, or making a purchase.
Every website must have a CTA of some kind. It can be a simple request for a share or a comment or a request for making a purchase. Every page of your website should have an outcome.
If your web page doesn’t have a CTA, you’re missing out potential sales, leads, and traffic generation opportunities.
We are not saying that every page of your site should sell something. It just needs to prompt the user with their “next step”.
CTA benefits you by improving your reach. But it also benefits you by showing off helpful content on your social media channels. People see you as an authority to go to for good information.
- Upgrade your content regularly
This point deserves a separate mention. The issue with your content is that it is not evergreen unless you put certain efforts to keep it that way.
Your content must be updated on a regular basis. It’s not difficult with all these new information popping up, new data, new techniques, methods, products, whatever that you write about.
Your audience wants to read about new things. Google loves when you write about them too. Everybody wants you to keep your content up to date. If you don’t do that, say goodbye to high Google rankings.
Almost every blogger speaks about updating the old posts. This technique can bring you 50+ traffic increase over a several months period, so why not to use it…
Here’s what you can do:
- Go to your Google Analytics, and create a list of your top 10 most visited posts.
- Update those once every month.
- Go back and expand the list to top 30-50.
- Update those every 3-5 months.
- Create a spreadsheet to make that more manageable, or a Google Cal reminder.
This post was not an all-things-considered one. We just showed you the tip of an iceberg. However, we hope the info was helpful.
Now you understand that running a website seems simple, but it is rather challenging in reality. There are so many moving parts – WordPress, writing content, editing, formatting, hosting, SEO, link building, social media, email lists, networking, and so on and so forth.
We hope our brief list was insightful, and it’s going to help you avoid some of the early mistakes that most newbie website owners make. Would you like us to expand on any of the points or add some essential tips yourself? Please feel free to submit your questions/thoughts/suggestions/ below.