Blog > 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Website Building
Posted By Jack Ricketts
If you’re thinking about starting a website for your business, you’re probably aware that there will be somewhat of a learning curve to getting started.
Luckily, with a website builder like Create, you can cut that learning curve in half as you don’t need to learn how to code and you can build pages by dragging and dropping the styled Content Blocks you like into position.
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But while it’s easy to put a website together, knowing what works and fulfilling your potential online still takes some learning.
It’s taken me years to get to where I am today. I’m comfortable building a website that works and strategising my marketing for it. However, when I look back, I realise I could have reduced my learning curve dramatically if I had known these 5 simple tips.
If you take these tips on board when you start your website, you can skip months of trial and error and get stuck straight into building a website that’s going to help your business flourish online:
1.Pick an Out-The-Box Website Builder
(Hint: Not WordPress)
When I first got into website building, I was creating a website for a small restaurant in my hometown. I didn’t know how to code, so I was using the same CMS that half the web has also felt compelled to use; WordPress.
After a painful setup of linking my hosting, domain and “1-click WordPress Install” and building the site itself, there came a week where I was puzzling over how to improve the speed of my site. I had downloaded plugin after plugin to optimise almost every aspect of the website’s performance. I just couldn’t get the results I was looking for.
One day, I was discussing my woes with a family relative who happened to work at this website builder called Create (This is going to sound like a plug but this is a true story). He asked what my pagespeed score was and then proceeded to show me a selection of sites built with Create that all scored higher, without the website owners ever having to lift a finger to improve their own scores.
Not only this, but I also learnt that nobody on Create had to deal with the whole complicated hosting and CMS setup that had taken me months to feel even remotely comfortable with when it comes to WordPress. It would take me hours following a tedious process to setup a website whereas Create Trials could start building a site in minutes.
For years, I thought WordPress was the only effective way to build a website without needing to know code. Yet here I was, having spent a week trying to do something that others get out-the-box with Create.
Don’t get me wrong, WordPress has some fantastic capabilities for experienced website builders who want a custom solution. The problem was, at that point in my journey, I didn’t have that experience.
I would have been far better off using Create, benefitting from the support they offer and focusing on building a beautiful and effective website rather than trying to learn every backend technicality in order to get my pages working at the bare minimum.
This is especially true if you’re a business owner and you’ve got 101 other things to be worrying about aside from having to get your website to work!
Very soon after my discussion on PageSpeed, I heard about a job opening at Create and put my application in. The rest is history and here I am, working at a company that I know has a solution that genuinely helps and inspires people to create stunning websites without weighing them down with the technicals that the team here are experienced at handling.
2.There’s Only One Thing You Need To Know About SEO
When learning how to build a website, understanding SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) sounds like a completely separate and daunting subject to have to approach in order to get your site found.
It’s understandable. To fully get to grips with all the nuances and develop a process to reliably bring traffic to your site can take years of learning and work.
However, in the beginning, it’s not necessary to know everything about SEO. There is only one guiding principle that you need to understand that will help you build a solid foundation to improve your rankings from.
Create a site your target audience is going to love.
It’s so easy to get caught up trying to find ways to game the search engines and write for robots. This isn’t what Google wants. They want to show the pages that are the most useful to people searching for any given term.
If you spend your time answering your audience’s questions, creating a great user experience and ultimately just making choices based on what’s best for your users, you’ll already be a step ahead of the competition. Most are busy looking for a silver bullet to shoot them to SERP success that just doesn’t exist.
Once you’re comfortable with this and want to start learning more about SEO, your next step is keyword research. This will show you how to find the right opportunities and can dramatically help improve your website’s visibility in the search results.
3.Establish a Website Objective
For all the website’s I’ve built, a simple fact remains true throughout - less can be so much more.
In this context, I’m referring to the objective of your pages. When I first started building websites, I tried to do so much. I wanted to add exciting features, I wanted people to read my blog, I wanted them to follow me on social.
Prioritising all of these ideas detracted from the real purpose of my website which was to make sales.
It can be overwhelming for your visitors when you try to tell them about everything you do at once. When you strip back all these other less important objectives and focus on creating a journey that leads to completing your one main objective, you’ll find much more success online.
I’ve covered this idea and how you can approach this concept with your website in detail in my blog; Website Objectives - The Secret to Consistently Growing Online.
The best place to start applying this principle is your home page. Think about where you want to lead your visitors, step-by-step, so that they’re in the best position possible to make an informed decision to purchase or enquire. Once you’ve established this journey, all your other pages and content should find ways to lead back into it.
4.There Are Eco Choices To Be Made in Everything
When considering sustainability, it’s easy to associate green choices with decisions like using less plastic, taking the bike instead of the car when possible, and reducing the amount of meat you eat each week.
The sad truth is that almost every decision we make each day can potentially come at a cost to the environment, the truth of the matter is just kept quiet.
The internet is the same, and only in the past few years has the carbon impact of unsustainable server farms come more into the light.
Picture it… buildings the size of multiple football fields stacked floor to ceiling with web servers that demand energy all day long. These are where websites are stored and how the internet is run.
The vast majority of website hosts don’t have a sustainability policy in place and aren’t making any effort to reduce their carbon demands. However, there are those out there that are using renewable energy or engaging in carbon reduction schemes where they can to be more sustainable. The best bit is that they don’t even come at an increased cost to carbon intensive options
Create choses hosting suppliers who are either using renewable energy now or are purchasing REGO credits. This is included with all our packages as standard. All our hosting suppliers are on a journey towards being fully powered by renewables in the next few years too. This is just one part of Create’s Green Initiative to raise awareness of environmental issues and combat climate change. You can find out all about our mission on our Sustainability page.
It takes a little more time to research our choices but it’s entirely necessary for all of us in order to challenge the unsustainable status quo and fight climate change. Picking a sustainable host is a simple but effective way to reduce your businesses scope 3 digital emissions and lead as an example to other businesses and your community.
If you already have a website, you can check to see if it is running sustainably using our Website Eco-Checker >>
5.It’s Easier With a Supportive Community
It has taken me close to a decade to get to where I am now when it comes to building websites. For the first five years, I started out on my own. I had to painstakingly try and figure out every piece of information, look up what each word meant to decipher wordy articles and clumsily build websites that would later need to be restructured to reach their full potential.
Progress was very slow, until I found a community that helped budding website builders such as myself. I could learn from what others had learnt, I could read and look up the answers to my questions and, better yet, I could ask my own questions.
It’s safe to say, I am where I am today through the help from this community. My learning curve went from a long, slow, uphill climb to rocketing me to more advanced concepts and building websites that worked.
At Create, we have our own community over on Facebook called The Create Members Group. If you have a website with us, you can join us and ask questions, get feedback on your pages, and learn from the experience of other members that have been successful online.
If you’re starting out, don’t start out alone. It can be disheartening not having anyone to bounce off of and having to struggle through problems on your own. Other people can help you get where you want to be much faster, and even just having that support and people that you’re able to celebrate your success with can make the whole experience of building a website so much more rewarding.
You can dramatically improve your learning curve when it comes to building websites by learning these 5 key points:
Pick an Out-The-Box Website Builder - You don’t need to learn hosting, ftp, plugins and backend systems. A website builder like Create helps you focus on building your site.
There’s Only One Thing You Need To Know About SEO - and that is to build for your user. Everything else will follow if you genuinely put the experience of your users first.
Establish a Website Objective - This will help free up your website from distractions and keep you focused on the results that will drive success for your website.
There Are Eco Choices To Be Made in Everything - Be careful which host you pick. Some are not carbon efficient and can affect your Scope 3 digital emissions.
It’s Easier With a Supportive Community - Don’t struggle solving problems on your own. A community can help lift you up and find success far faster than going it alone.
If this is your first time finding Create, it’s our goal to support small businesses in getting online and growing. We’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs build and control their own websites without needing to know how to code. With the support of a dedicated Account Manager and our continually growing community, we want to help you grow too.
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