Are you someone who wants to create a website? Well, in that case you may be part of a business looking to provide consultancy services, or may be an individual blogger selling homemade products to your internet audience, the list can go on. Whoever you might be, if you want to create a website from the scratch or want to rediscover your website by starting over again, you must have heard from others that out of the many things, your website should look ‘professional’.
Although there is no conclusive definition, in this article, we would love to share with you what we feel a professional website should look like and how to make a professional website that actually does well on the internet.
What is a Professional Website?
As mentioned above, no one can provide a universal definition for what qualifies as a professional website, simply because there is no checklist that would help categorise a website as professional. But according to us, a professional website should at least have the following characteristics:
Characteristics of a Good Website:
- Simple and meaningful:
A professional website must be simple yet meaningful. People never want to spend too much time trying to figure out how a website works, making them look at all the options given in different tabs and sections and still being confused. This just ends up being frustrating for an internet user looking for a solution to something, or wanting to buy a product/hire a service. They want to see whether the website is capable of giving them what they are looking for, and then getting it straight away without any hassle.
- Optimised for desktop and mobile version:
Let’s not forget that the rapid rise in the use of smartphones by people across the globe has been evident. So, while a professional website design should be suited for a desktop version (PC or laptop), a professional website must also be curated for the mobile version as the graphics, text, tabs and menus are to be arranged in a different manner when it comes to a mobile version, so that a website can be made more accessible for all users.
Navigation refers more to the user interface, which can be understood as the design of the website and the way it appears and interacts with the users. While creating a website, an easier navigation must be kept in mind so that a user while going through it, finds it smooth and easy. The design should not be too complex and clarity must be reflected in the arrangement of information.
- SEO along with valuable content:
SEO (search engine optimization) refers to organically using proven methods and analytics to increase the website traffic (more visitors) through your website content. Some of these include using keywords that are most often searched on the internet about a topic (for ex: best smartphones to buy in 2021, for the topic of smartphones), sharing links of your websites to other websites, social media platforms and including outbound links in your website (links to other websites). We would be discussing more on this later in this article. In a nutshell, SEO helps in bringing value to the content you show on your website by increasing the visibility so that more visitors can be gained.
Nowadays, it’s difficult to maintain a business or build a professional practice without having an online presence or a professional website. A website is an absolute necessity for any industry because it can serve as a marketing tool, a portfolio and communication platform. If budget is an issue, you don’t need to shell out thousands of dollars to create a professional website. There are free website builders like Strikingly that can get you started as well.
It’s the most practical way to get started on building a web presence for your brand or resume. A free website builder allows you to create your own space on the Internet to showcase your products and services to the world via a professional website. They don’t require an exorbitant investment. You’ll probably just need to devote some time for building your website.
Benefits of a Professional Website:
Building a website through a professional web developer can cost you anywhere between a few hundred to thousands of dollars. If you’re new to ecommerce or you want a simple website to showcase your services, it may not be practical to start your business with this kind of expense.
A good free website builder lowers the entry barrier for startups and professional services looking to leverage the Internet for building their brand. It even comes with additional services such as web hosting and domain registration if you wish to spend a little bit on a personalized website address. The low startup cost makes it an attractive option if you want to dabble into website building without making an exorbitant investment.
If you do decide to expand on your free website in the future, the cost of scaling up on a website builder is still much lower compared to getting a professional designer to do this work for you. You get to maximize your limited marketing budget without sacrificing on quality.
- Ease of use
You don’t need high level web design and programming skills to build a professional website on a free website builder. On Strikingly, for instance, we have made the process of building a website easier for you by building modern and mobile-responsive templates to help you get started. Our talented programmers and web developers have done the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is select the template that suits your brand and build your content.
With a free website builder, you have some level of control over the look and feel of your website without having to write a single line of code. You can take the time to try different ways of putting up your content, different styles and color schemes without having to pay extra. If you work through a designer, you spend every time you change your mind about your website’s design.
- Easier to Manage
With a free website builder, you don’t need to go through a lengthy process to update your site’s content. You or your staff can implement site updates in-house and there’s no need for a comprehensive training to work the platform either. A website builder’s user-friendly feature extends to content updates. This makes it more efficient for you or your team to update information such as office hours during the holidays or a new business address.
A website builder can also allow you and your team to update your site from anywhere. For instance, if you suddenly come up with a content idea while on vacation, all you need to do is login to the site builder’s platform and make the changes using any computer. Some platforms even come with mobile phone apps so you can update your site while on the go.
- SEO and User Experience
Having known about SEO earlier, you should also know that a website is useless if you cannot find it in search engines and users find it difficult to navigate through it. Website templates by Strikingly have been developed to be SEO-ready and with best web design practices in mind for a professional website. We make sure that all our templates can provide a positive user experience for your target audience. The platform also features apps to get you started on optimizing your website content for search engines.
When it comes to building a professional website, free website builders like Strikingly can become the most cost-efficient tool to get you started. All you need is a few minutes of your time and you have a fully-functional website to support your digital marketing objectives.
How to Make a Professional Website?
Let’s now move on to see what are some of the steps involved in building a website that looks professional and how you can pick the best of everything. We would also be sharing the guide of a few key aspects with you from the knowledge base that we have prepared including text and video guides. This way, we would also be guiding you on how to build a website with Strikingly.
Steps to Create a Website:
- What and Why?
The first step to create a website starts with you answering these two simple but important questions. What do you want to create: a product, service or a platform to share your experience? Answering this question helps you figure out your niche. Then comes the question of why are you creating it? This leads you to your target audience. Whether you want to sell online courses to teach investing to people interested in the stock market, or want to engage your audience while sharing food recipes with them. Knowing your purpose, niche and target audience are the prerequisite to start creating a website.
- Do your homework
After knowing about the two important answers, you should not take an action on impulse. Instead, do your research work including the study of competitors, the market trends and customer behaviour of your niche. This would help you know the benefits and disadvantages of what you have chosen and help you make an informed decision.
- Select a website building platform
Once you have done your homework, it is time to select a platform that would help you build a website for free (if you do not want to spend much on the onset of your journey) or pay some amount to acquire good features as well. Don’t worry, we have got you covered here. We allow you to build a website for free, as well as subscribe to any of our affordable pricing plans.
- Decide the look
Next, you should decide on a decent template that you think would look good for your website. In case you get overwhelmed by finding so many templates and cannot understand something, take your time. The good thing is, after this step, you can edit and customise every corner of the website later as well. At Strikingly, picking a template is easy. We have categorised them based on your needs.
Check out some of our user websites to see how picking a good template helps in making your website look good:
- Include the right features
After selecting the template, you can insert the features that you would like to add in your website. This may range from choosing the colour scheme, to adding section, pages, images and arranging them at good positions on your website. You can also add other features that may depend on whether you want to make a product website or a simple blog. The next thing you should do is publish your website.
Image taken from Strikingly
The outcome of your template and features added in the website should be in accordance with the first step (knowing your niche and target audience). Here is an example of a Strikingly user’s portfolio website:
- Optimize your Content
As mentioned earlier, SEO is extremely crucial to your website. On the internet, a website is there to gain an audience/visitors who go navigate it, and are attracted by it. Always keep in mind that you are creating a website for someone to use. Make sure to think from their perspective and then prepare the content or information to be shown.
To help you optimize your content, we have a well researched guide for you to go through.
Make sure to do a thorough keyword research before preparing content related to your niche, and also take care of alt text, meta tags, images, links, and ease in readability.
Once you have used all the necessary tools to build a professional website, published it, and have planned out your content to attract visitors to your website, it is time to engage them. This is the step where all the factors combine, the visitor views your website as a whole. To make them stay and navigate, you need to ensure that your content is engaging and straightforward. No one likes being manipulated and confused. Tell the audience what your website or business is about and then tell them why they should stay on your website and buy your product, hire your service or read your experience. This will help you carry forward and build on your audience after having built the website. Consider the following examples:
Image taken from Strikingly user’s website
You can check out some more professional website examples of our users, to take inspiration and try to figure out what kind of website you wish to build. At Strikingly, we always strive to give you the best features and make every step simpler for you so that you can easily build a professional website. We even have an affiliate program and a reseller program. The affiliate program helps you earn passive income with the help of your website and the reseller program helps you manage clients easily and give you heavy discounts on buying websites in bulk. Start your journey with Strikingly today and get one step closer to a professional website.