In today’s day and age, almost everything, and everyone, has a website. Businesses without them are becoming rarer by the week. Individuals (creatives, influencers, and, more generally, anyone who wants an online presence) are using websites as a way to control the information about themselves online, many of whom have zero coding experience and no knowledge of creating a website from scratch. You might be wondering how so many individuals and businesses are able to do this. The key is using a free trial website builder that comes with A.I.-driven software to help curate the perfect site.
But even with the right tool, there’s a bit of a learning curve. That’s why this guide will take you through Constant Contact’s website building platform, teaching you how to create a website that’s functional, purposeful, and optimized. Below, you’ll find:
- How to build a website
- What to include in your website
- How to optimize your website
How to build a website
There are seven steps in the process of web creation. This will have the skeleton of your website up and running and ready to be filled out with content, specialized pages, and more. Read on for our step-by-step guide to getting started.
1. Begin with an A.I.-powered website
Using Constant Contact’s website building platform, you can leverage machine learning tools to generate a website framework. All you have to do is answer some questions about your business or personal website needs, and the A.I.-powered web creation tool will build out a relevant site that’s mobile responsive, secure, and fully customizable.
2. Consider the purpose of the website
Different website designs have different functionalities. The goal of the questions in step one is to identify what functionalities you need. For example, here are some use cases for a website:
- eCommerce – If you are a business or creative individual, chances are that you’ll want the ability to sell products or services. For this, you need a safe, secure, and accessible way to take credit card information. An ecommerce platform provides this, so your online business can grow.
- Portfolio – Photographers, artists, restaurants, salons, travel guides — these are all professions and industries that need to show off their work to gain customer and client trust. If you or your business falls into a similar category, you’ll want to have your portfolio be the main focus of your website.
- Resume – Perhaps you’re an individual who wants to control the information available about them online. For this, consider highlighting a resume as your website’s main focus. In this way, instead of building out and sending resumes to potential employers, send them a link to a personal website that highlights your qualifications and accomplishments. This offers you full control of what you want to say about yourself.
3. Choose among the layout options available
Once the framework is set, there will be plenty of layout options to choose from. A bit of visualizing can help at this step. Envision your website and consider what you want visitors to see right when they enter the home page — how large is the header image? Where is the navigation bar? Does a video start playing right away? Once you start to understand what you want, pick one of the free themes that matches your overall vision.
4. Customize each piece of the layout
Not only does Constant Contact allow you to start with a near-perfect layout, but it allows you to go into the page and fully customize the site to your liking. This gives you full creative control over how users interact with your website.
5. Create the pages you want
There’s a concept called the five-page website. This includes a Home page, About page, Product or Service page, Gallery or Blog page, and a Contact page. It’s the “essentials” of a website. This is a great place to start. However, you’ll want to spend time thinking about the pages you want to include and what order to present them in. Consider a few examples:
- Say you own a pet grooming and cleaning website. You can have all of your services (and products) on one page. Or you can have one page dedicated to dogs, another for cats, and another for birds, reptiles, and fish tanks.
- Say you want to be known as the finance whiz. Perhaps you have multiple blog pages, one for personal finance and one for global economics.
- Say you run a salon. You might want your Home page to be a gallery in order to show off your expertise. In this case, you might only need four pages.
- Say you’re a photographer, building a photography website. You might want to have each page dedicated to a different portfolio or photo collection. In this case, you might have a Home page, six Gallery pages, and a Contact page (and perhaps an ecommerce platform where your viewers can support your work).
Note: There’s no one way to build a website, and there’s no right number of pages. There’s just your website, and the number of pages you need.
6. Input images into your website or use the free image library
Once you have all the pages in front of you, you’ll want to make sure there are high-quality images greeting them each step of the way. For this, use your own images or sort through Constant Contact’s growing library of more than 550,000 free stock images.
7. Employ audience growing tactics
As you grow your website, you’ll also want to grow your following. For this, you’ll need some basic methods of engaging audiences:
- Utilize an email pop-up form. Collect email addresses in order to send out newsletters and keep everyone informed of what you’re up to.
- Create subscribe buttons. Place these on your blog, your ecommerce page, and on your contact page to draw in a bigger crowd each month.
- Link your social media to your website. Start sending traffic from your social media to your website, and vice versa, by linking them all together.
With your website built and fully customized to your liking, it’s now time to get into the details that will make your website shine.
What to include in your website
By now, you know how to make a website — though there’s still much work to be done. The first thing you want to do is run through your new site page by page. Make sure you have each page filled out, full of content, and serving a purpose.
Connect the dots
From there, you’ll want to start linking them together. For example:
- On your salon’s Gallery page, you have photos of hair transformations, colorations, and beautiful styles. Combine these into categories and have buttons or links to your Products or Services page.
- If you’re building a resume website, the purpose is to get a call or email about a job. Thus, your Contact page should be linked tastefully throughout your site.
- If you have a blog, there should be a purpose. Is it to draw in readers who will then buy your product? Link to your ecommerce page. Are you trying to be a thought leader in your industry? Remember to link to your social media networks to increase your following.
This creates flow and functionality across your site.
The little details
Additionally, you’ll want to ensure a professional feel from top to bottom. This means adding the little — but important — details to your site, including a:
Your domain name, and how to choose it
Your domain is the name of your website. In our case, the domain is the name of the platform: Constant Contact and www.constantcontact.com. Wondering how to choose a domain name? Well, you’ll want to think of something that’s instantly recognizable with your business, brand, or service.
For businesses and brands, the best option is to have some variation of your company name. However, it’s not always available. If this is the case, consider using your company name and your service to create something that is uniquely yours.
Say you own a small shoemaking business named Bruins. If the domain is already taken, try some variations on your services:
Or, use your location as a way to differentiate yourself from the other site.
As a third option, change the top-level domain (TLD). The TLD is the ending part of your domain (.com, .org, .gov). There are many creative TLDs available to you through Constant Contact’s domain chooser, including:
When choosing your domain, keep one word in mind: simplicity. You want your domain name to be easily spelled, easily remembered, and simple in nature.
Your logo, and how to design one
The logo for your business or personal website can be used on business cards, products, signage, and as a way to emphasize your brand. In other words, it’s pretty important for website design.
But what if you don’t know how to create a logo? Thankfully, you don’t need graphic design skills or money to pay a designer to design your own logo. Constant Contact’s logo maker uses the same powerful A.I. technology to curate a customizable logo for your use.
All you have to do is input your business name and an optional slogan, and the logo maker will get to work. Similar to designing your website, you’ll be given logo options to choose from. From there, customize it to your heart’s content. Once you finalize the perfect logo, you can purchase and download it in high resolution.
Not sure what type of logo is for you? Here are different types of logos and how to choose the right one.
Your blog or gallery, and what to share with the world
Whether you’re a small business, a creative, an influencer, or an individual who’s looking for a job, you have something to show off to the world. A blog is an incredible way to put your ideas on digital paper and share your writing skills and creativity. Similarly, a gallery is a great way to share images, work portfolios, and how your products or services have assisted others.
If you consistently publish great content, users will return to your site to check for your next blog or gallery post. This, in turn, will grow your audience, following, and if relevant, your customer base.
How to optimize your website
Optimizing your website can mean different things for different professions and industries. For some, optimizing means doing everything possible to make your website searchable (and, more importantly, findable) on search engines like Google and Bing. For others, it means connecting your website to your omnichannel ecommerce platform and streamlining all the communication channels.
It all goes back to the purpose of your website.
Optimizing for search engines
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the term coined by marketers that determines whether a website is optimized for users to find it on search engines. In other words, if you’re a sushi restaurant in Austin, TX, you want to show up when people in your area search: “sushi restaurant austin.” Similarly, as an online beauty supply store, you want to show up in the search engine when someone types in “beauty supplies”.
You might think this happens automatically — and as far as cataloging the entire internet goes, Google and Bing do a relatively good job. However, there are a few specific SEO tips to help out the search engine, including:
- Doing keyword research and using relevant keywords and phrases to your business on your main pages
- Creating blog topics around “searchable phrases”
- Utilizing Constant Contact’s website SEO tools to optimize your pages
Optimizing your omnichannel ecommerce platform
If your goal is to sell more products and services, you want to have your website optimized for your ecommerce platform. This means internally linking your pages together so that at every opportunity or sales proposition, there’s a button to funnel your website visitors closer to the “buy now” page.
If you plan to sell products through multiple channels (Etsy, Amazon, etc.), allow your website to be the central hub that connects all these pages together.
Optimizing for mobile
Another important element to keep in mind is that your website will be viewed both on a desktop computer and on a phone. You want to make sure you have all the functionality available for both.
If you use Constant Contact’s website builder, this will automatically come optimized for mobile devices. No matter what size screen the user is viewing from, you will have a mobile-responsive website that will show up clean and functional.
Making a website with ease
Are you ready to bring your business (or yourself) online with a design-friendly website? If so, it’s never been easier to start. No need to build your website from scratch, we do all the hard work for you. To create a website, all you have to do is:
- Utilize Constant Contact’s website builder to access all of the features above
- Create the framework for your pages
- Fill it with incredible content
- Purchase a plan and publish your site
Website building has never been more simple. From there, focus on a few little details and then start sharing your website with the world. The internet, customers, and enthusiasts await you.