If you want to learn how to build a great website, there are a number of things you’ll want to take into consideration. I’m going to cover quite a bit if ground here, so feel free to bookmark this site for future reference. Below is a list of topics I will be covering and most topics will have a series of sub-topics as well.
- Build A Great Looking Website
- Using Images
- User Friendly
- SEO Friendly
- Informative & Helpful
Building A Great Looking Website
You don’t need to be a professional graphic designer to have a great looking website. In fact, there can be beauty in simplicity. A great looking website is easy on the eyes and well organized. There are many flamboyant people out there who want their personality to show through in the design of their site but your site is NOT all about YOU!
Then, there is the other extreme. People don’t want to take the time to look through all of the available WordPress themes so they choose “whatever” and just start building. Of course, themes are not final and can always be changed later. Themes should be thought of as templates to be modified.
Note: Try to avoid using a black background with white letters. They look cool but they are hard on aging eyes. (Video gaming sites are an exception)
I like to choose themes with lots of white space (some color outside of the content area is fine) and no header image. I see many websites with pre-installed header images that have nothing to do with the content of the website. It’s easy enough to create a great looking, custom header to fill the white space.
The video below shows you how to create a custom header using cooltext.com and is installed on the EASE WordPress theme.
If you want to build a great looking and engaging website, it’s important to learn how to use images. Images add visual appeal for your users and make your site look more professional. They may even lead your visitor to an affiliate sales page that could earn you a few bucks! There are a few simple guidelines I use when uploading images to my sites:
- No Images To The Left
- No Staggering Images From Left To Right
- 300 Pixels Or Less To The Right
- 300+ Pixels In The Center
Understanding Image Links
Having your images linked (clickable) can be useful but it can also be harmful if not used properly. There are 2 reasons why you may want your images to be clickable.
- To Show An Expanded Version (Helpful for small print)
- To Send You Visitor To Another Page Or Site
If you do decide to leave some of your images linked, make sure they open in a new window. The reason for this is, if your visitor decides to “close” the window rather than clicking “back”, they will end up leaving your site all together! I have done this quite a few times and I have always ended up looking for another site.
The image to the right is an example of how I post most of my images. If want your visitor to have the option of viewing an expanded version, the link will be automatically set by default and you won’t have to do a thing. If you want to sand them to a specific page or site, there is an option to add a custom url.
Building A User Friendly Site
A great website must be user friendly! But, what exactly does “user friendly” mean? For me, a user friendly site means that I can access all of the content “above the fold“. If you’re not familiar with the term “above the fold”, it simply means everything you can see when landing on a site without having to scroll down.
This is why I choose to have a horizontal menu just below my header image and a category widget close to the top of my side bar.
Some of my posts can be found in a dropdown menu while ALL of my posts can be found in one or more CATEGORIES in the sidebar to the right. Your visitors probably won’t view most of your pages but at least they are easily accessible. If your visitors need to hunt for your articles, they will probably never be read.
Build A SEO Friendly Site
Great websites often achieve high rankings for a number of keyword phrases within a certain niche. Not just any keyword phrases mind you. Anybody can get a first page ranking in Google for a keyword phrase that isn’t searched for. An effective SEO strategy will help you rank for the keyword phrases that count! Learn more about effective SEO strategies.
Build An Informative & Helpful Site
Have you ever landed on a website with little or no information but plenty of affiliate links and banners? I call those sites “banner farms”. I leave sites like that immediately as I’m sure you would. I don’t mind seeing advertising on a website and I don’t mind that the site owner is ultimately trying to sell something. (I would be a hypocrite otherwise!)
However, I do want enough content to make an informed decision to purchase. I am not going to “Buy Now” just because I am told to do so! If I am satisfied with the information I receive on a site, I will gladly buy through an affiliate link.
Don’t Be The Pushy Sales Person
We have all dealt with these people in car lots, or certain retail stores. Most likely, you will just deal with it since you have already taken time out of your day and driven to that store. Online however, is a much different story. One click of the mouse and you’re history! You only have a very small window of time to convince a visitor that they should read your article. If you hit them with a sales pitch right away, you will probably lose them.
The best way to sell anything through your website is not to sell. Rather, you’ll want to inform. People will buy through recommendations that follow great information. Don’t just rehash the same information that can be found on any site. Go “above and beyond“. Your readers will appreciate that and they are more likely to like you and trust you.
Building A Profitable Website
Last but not least, a great website is profitable. (Or at least potentially profitable) Building a profitable website takes time, patience and a lot of effort. Rome.com wasn’t built in a day 🙂 Great websites are built one great article at a time. I don’t claim to be a great writer, but there are certain elements that I believe make a great article.
- Interesting Headlines
- Visual Appeal
- Helpful And Informative
- Conversational (Don’t be a robot)
- Written With Intent
Take your time when writing articles for your site. If it takes you 3 days to build 1 great article, then that’s what it takes. If you put too much pressure on yourself, you may end up publishing a lot of sub-par content that isn’t helpful to anyone. It takes a bit of practice to build great looking webpages with quality content but it can be learned by almost anyone. Hopefully, some of the suggestions here will help you build a great website of your own!