Establishing an online presence is an absolute must for any small business owner. A professional, engaging website conveys credibility and reliability and allows you to market your business online. While the process of creating a website from scratch may seem a bit daunting, you can actually create a customized website all on your own.
No matter what type of site you want to make, this complete guide on how to build a website from scratch will guide you through the process. For more tips and ideas, we also recommend checking out our website launch checklist to ensure you’ve included all the necessary elements.
If you're ready to start building your website and are just searching for a platform, we recommend Wix's website builder to get you off the ground running.
How to make a website from scratch
01. Define the goal for your website
Whether you are starting a business, blog or portfolio website, defining your website goal will maximize the benefits of your online presence. A clear understanding of your objective will help you shape your brand identity and determine what assets and design effects to include on your site. This may be different depending on if you plan to monetize your website or not. Elements you may want to consider when creating a custom site:
Once you’ve narrowed down the purpose of your website, you’ll want to create your brand identity. This is another aspect that will impact your site design, from the tone of your microcopy, to your logo, to the color of your buttons.
Take the time to get this right. Your website can have a huge impact on how your business is perceived and it's future success.
Expert top from business owner Nick Collins, Founder of Cleverchefs
When I ask my clients why they chose us over our competitors, they usually say it's because of our website. I think they can really feel our passion through the way we connect with them and stand out as a creative catering company.
A great way to get started is by creating a simple idea map with a pen and paper. Write down the type of site you plan to make in the middle of your map and think about words and phrases that describe the vibe you’re going for as well as your brand voice. Then, write each in separate circles stemming from your initial idea. Once you’ve broken down your brand into individual elements, it will be much easier to continue on to the next step of the process, such as using a logo maker to generate a logo.
Expert tip from Esin D. Habif, Product Marketing Lead (Outbound) at Wix.com
As a creator or entrepreneur, you're often wearing multiple hats. You're designing the website, you're optimizing for SEO. This means you need a website builder that makes it easy and very learnable for you to do all of those things, on the same platform and still deliver as if working with experts in those fields.
02. Conduct competitor research
To make an engaging website from scratch, it’s imperative to understand your target audience and do some competitor research. You’ll want to understand what type of content your potential visitors are interested in and what information they’re searching for.
To do this, search Google for websites similar to what you envision yours to be. Go through the relevant pages and take a look at what type of content they’re providing, whether it be blogs, community forums, social media feeds, testimonials or Q+A sections.
You can also check out the People Also Ask section on Google search results pages. This provides insight into what your audience wants to know - essentially handing you more ideas for valuable content.
03. Explore visual options for your website
The visual layout of your website is its most important element. You’ll want to take your time exploring your options before settling on the visual imagery and design. To get started, take a look at this database of professional website templates to see which one fits best your vision. Whether you’re a creative professional looking for portfolio templates, a model looking for model portfolio examples or you want to create an online store, there are dozens of customizable options to choose from. Ranging from simple website templates, to the more complex, there are plenty to draw inspiration from.
Top tip: Wix offers a wide range of templates designed for various industries and purposes. You can choose a template that aligns with your website's goals and then customize it to make it uniquely yours. Customization options include adjusting layouts, adding elements, and modifying colors.
You'll also want to consider individual visual elements for your website, including any icons and your favicon.
Then, just like the previous step, note what your competitor sites look like and check out other visual platforms, like Pinterest and Instagram. All of these examples will provide insight into what fonts, colors and web design styles and trends your audience gravitates towards. However, this isn’t to say you need to copy what’s already been done. Essentially, you want to have an understanding of the visual imagery and messaging of the audience your website is meant to serve.
Expert tip from Anna Suntsov, Blog and Social Team Lead at Wix.com
The most important thing before building a website is good research. Know what you want to do and collect strong inspirations that will contribute to your design.
04. Choose a domain name
Now comes one of the most exciting parts of making a website - choosing a domain name.
Your domain is like your website’s address and permanent home on the web. When an internet user enters your domain name, or website url into a web browser, it connects with a web server who identifies your domain by its IP address, and then delivers your site to the user. This process is also referred to as a Domain Name System.
Choosing a domain name doesn’t need to be too complex. While your name needs to be memorable and unique, domains (top-level domains) and subdomains typically include the name of your website and/or the name of your business followed by an extension like .com or .org. If you are struggling to come up with the perfect name for your business, try a website name generator to help get the ball rolling.
All domain names must be registered with a domain name registrar or registry, where the owners of any domain name can be searched and found.
Website builders like Wix offer free domain names, but you can also pay for a personalized one. This is advantageous because it will improve your website’s credibility to both people and search engines. It will show visitors that you’re a professional, trusted brand and allows people to find you more easily online.
After choosing a domain name, you'll next need to consider your web hosting service options. From shared hosting, to cloud hosting thermobie are a number of different hosted services to choose from. Wix sites all come with reliable and secure hosting for high uptime on all user sites.
05. Design your website layout
Using a low code no code website building software, you don't need any code (or in cases of no code, very little) to create your site—it's already built into the interface. Your website development is take care of for you. Additionally, WYSIWYG software like the Wix Editor reveals real-time design changes and edits to the user interface. You just need to choose your website template and develop a solid idea of what visual elements you want to include on your site. As well as build your page layouts. Then, compile all of your website design ideas to create one cohesive layout. You also need to design whether you want to create a static website or a dynamic one and think very carefully about how to incorporate user experience design into your process. This is where the bulk of your work lies.
Therefore, we’re going to break down how to make a website from scratch into actionable steps you can easily follow.
Create your sitemap
Think of this as the blueprint of your site’s architecture. Your sitemap should include all the pages you plan to create and how they connect to each other. By planning this in advance, you have a better chance of perfecting your website navigation and offering users a smooth browsing experience. The best practice here is to make sure that your site is organized in a way that a visitor shouldn’t have to click more than twice to move from one page to another.
To help achieve this, add a website menu that remains visible on every page. If you’re creating a one-page website, don’t forget to add an anchor menu that will take visitors to the desired section of your scrolling site. Either way, an important part of your menu is a clickable logo that leads visitors back to the homepage - or to the top of the page for one-page websites.
Expert tip from Adi Huri, Product Manager at WOW for Wix
“Keep in mind that the menu is the map of your website. By adding the right pages to your menu, in the right order, it can be the heart of your website’s success.”
Include necessary webpages
An inviting homepage. This is the face of your website, which means that you have to make it beautiful, yet informational. You should strive to present all the crucial elements right from the get-go. This way, clients will instantly understand who you are and what you do.
An eye-catching gallery displaying your products or services. This is the center of your site where visitors can browse through your offers. Dedicate time to write product descriptions that will grab potential customers’ attention. The same goes for your product photography to ensure that your items are displayed in their very best light.
An About page. Use this page as your online business card. It’s the spot where you can present who you are, what you stand for, your strengths, values and any other crucial information you think your visitors should know about your team and your business.
A contact section. Don’t leave your site visitors astray by making them search for your contact information. Dedicate a page to list contact numbers, email, social links and any other way users can get in touch with you. In addition, it’s a good practice to add your essential contact details on your website footer.
Optional elements you may want to consider include:
A blog. By starting a blog, you’ll be able to continuously add regular and fresh content to your website. You’ll have the chance to establish yourself as an expert in your field, while giving your SEO efforts a well-deserved boost. Give our blog maker a go, when you're ready to start.
Expert tip from Allison Lee, Editor-in-Chief at Wix.com
Blogs don’t get enough credit for their long-term advantages. In the long run, a blog can serve as a huge traffic driver and a way to connect with future customers (case in point: our Wix Blog is the first touchpoint for millions of people who may have never stumbled onto our site otherwise). That said, a blog is a long-term commitment—it requires a well thought-out strategy and consistent maintenance.
An informative FAQ page. Save yourself and your clients some time (and frustration) by including an FAQ page to provide answers to questions that may naturally come up as visitors browse your site.
An online booking system. Allow customers to schedule and pay for appointments or classes directly from your site. This way, you can spend less time playing phone tag and more time growing your empire.
A testimonials page. This provides you with the perfect place in which previous, satisfied customers can sing your praises. Nothing is more impressive to a potential client or buyer than positive, unbiased reviews.
06. Craft a website color scheme
The use of color is not only for making your site look pretty. Your color palette should align with your brand identity. Color psychology is important to take into consideration, as colors have the power to affect and evoke specific emotions and behaviors.
For example, blue has become a common color used in branding corporations and businesses, particularly in the tech field - most likely because blue is associated with stability and reliability. However, blue can also reflect sadness, hence the term “feeling blue.” Orange, for example, is generally paired with feelings of freshness and vitality. Keep in mind that the feeling correlated with a color also depends on the shade and what other colors it’s paired with. These are both important points to consider when choosing your website colors scheme.
To get started, consider your website goals. Think about the vibe you want to create and the emotions you want to convey. The more aligned your web design is with your overall branding, the more people are going to connect with your company and your website. And the stronger the personal connection, the more time they’ll spend on your site. This will have enormous effects on conversion rates and overall interest and engagement with your brand.
07. Pick the right web fonts
Just like colors, typography can also play a key role in evoking feelings. When choosing the best fonts for your website, there are a number of things to consider.
First, like all other elements on your site, your font choice should match your branding. Browse different typefaces to find one that reflects your unique personality, whether you’re youthful and contemporary or have a more traditional approach.
The three primary types of fonts include:
Serif: Fonts with a small line attached to the ends of each letter.
Sans serif: More standard, block-like typography without small lines at the ends of each character.
Script: Has a more elegant feel, with each letter connecting fluidly from one to the next.
You can also check out our article on the best fonts for websites for more detail on how to choose the best one for your site.
Whatever you go for, make sure that your font is readable on both desktop and pa devices. Remember to keep in mind Google safe fonts. In addition, stay consistent throughout your website, using the same font pairings in the same contexts throughout.
08. Prioritize your content hierarchy
In order for your visitors to feel comfortable and at home while browsing, it’s important to keep your site as organized as possible. Think about hierarchy here: you’ll want your most eye-catching and important content to be placed above the fold (in other words, the area that’s visible on your website without visitors having to scroll).
Expert top tip from Amanda Weiner, CRO Expert at Wix.com
Site hierarchy and the information you provide your visitors with is more than just how your site looks. This will also directly impact how many visitors ultimately buy your products. You’ll want to be clear about your offerings through your content, your visuals and your buttons right from the get go to ensure visitors recognize your value right away.
Furthermore, take note that some of your readers are only skimming your content. To make their lives easier, and to make your content stand out, consider how you can optimize your design so your audience can get the most out of your content.
To do so, consider which written information can be made more digestible and visual with the use of media features (videos, images and animations, infographics for example). Make certain headers and other important bits of information stand out more than others by opting for a larger font or a bright color that contrasts with the background.
Looking to create content for your website? Consider using AI tools to speed up the process for you. Read all about Wix's next steps on AI text generation for websites, and AI website creation. Or get started by understanding more about creating a website with AI from these best AI website builders.
09. Optimize for SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of optimizing your site so your pages can rank higher on search engine result pages. When launching a new website from scratch, it’s vital to set your site up for success so it can be found by Google. The more exposure you get, the more likely that prospective clients will find your site and book your services, buy your products or read your blog.
Expert tip from Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Branding at Wix.com
Leveraging SEO and integrating it into the website creation process is vital. Various studies have shown that organic search is the single greatest provider of traffic to websites - with that being even more pronounced within the B2B context. To that, traffic from organic search, when done correctly is essentially built to last (with proper maintenance over time, of course) and forms a crucial part of a site’s long-term growth.
To get started, check out Wix SEO to get a personalized SEO plan for your website. This free solution walks you through each step and will help you get your website ranking on Google by:
Helping you find and implement the right keywords
Providing guidance on how to best structure your content
Allowing you to Incorporate SEO titles and meta descriptions
Integrating with Google Search Console
In depth keyword analysis
Comparison of keyword ranking on Google
Backlink profiles of your competitors
View your best performing pages
Depending on your website goals, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of a paid SEO tool.
10. Make your site mobile friendly
As of April 2021, over 50% of internet use comes from cell phones and tablets. It’s because of this that Google established mobile-first indexing, a system in which the search engine predominantly determines website ranking based on mobile websites, not desktop. Therefore, it’s essential to invest time in your mobile design, SEO and provide a smooth and intuitive user experience for those smaller screens.
Focusing on readability and navigation, you can incorporate impressive mobile features like animation and an intuitive mobile menu.
If you want to have full control over breakpoints when creating your website from scratch, you can build your website using Editor X - an advanced creation platform from Wix, made exclusively for designers and agencies. You’ll be able to see and design your site at any viewport size, resulting in a cutting-edge, responsive design.
When creating a mobile friendly website, consider using a website builder that prioritizes performance and site speed. Wix deploys performance friendly website infrastructure, such as cache, and lazy loading, to ensure faster sites.
Once you're done with your site and happy with it, you may also want to consider making your website an app as well.
What's next after making a website?
Once you've launched your website, there are a few things you can do to keep it up and running:
Promote your website. Once your website is live, you need to let people know about it. You can promote your website through social media, email marketing, guest blogging or outreach marketing.
Expert tip from Lilach Goldis, Social Media Marketing Manager at Wix.com
Identify the social media platforms your audience is active on the most and get an in-depth understanding of what it takes to rank in them. For example, converting your Instagram carousel posts into a Reel can capture attention more effectively and boost your content's impact, ultimately leading people to visit your site.'
Keep your website updated. Your website can quickly become outdated over time, from its design to your keyword targeting and overall SEO strategy. Often, website designers find that they need to provide easier navigation with better bounce rate and other important site metrics. This is particularly important if you have found that sales on your online store are decreasing. Update your website as part of your website management strategy by adding new content on a regular basis, and make sure that your existing content is up-to-date.
Monitor your website traffic. Every published Wix website has Wix Analytics included in the Dashboard, which gives you actionable information about your website. Learn which content is working best and how your visitors behave, then use these insights to act. This information can help you improve your website and make it more user-friendly.
Secure your website. It's important to keep your website secure from hackers and malware. You can do this by installing security software and by keeping your website's software up to date. It's also crucial to use a platform that thoroughly incorporates website security such as Wix, which provides a safe foundation for your website and gathers real-time insights to detect any threats.
Expert tip from Esin D. Habif, Product Marketing Lead (Outbound) at Wix.com
What often gets forgotten when talking about choosing a website builder is the capabilities of the infrastructure that’s promised to you - the reliability of the hosting, the level of security that’s in order to protect your visitor’s data, and of course your site's speed. Even if infrastructure is not the first thought that comes to mind when it comes to making a website, if it’s not robust enough, it can cause large headaches for website owners when trying to scale a website later on.
Back up your website. It's always a good idea to back up your website regularly. This way, if something happens to your website, you can restore it from a backup. Wix has a feature called Site History, which automatically creates site revisions every time you save or publish. This means that you can go back to a previous version of your site any time you want. You can also duplicate your site at any time to create a manual backup in your Wix account. Be aware that the duplicated site is not automatically updated when your update your original site.
Looking to take your website to the next level? Check out Wix Studio.
Create a website from scratch FAQ
Can anyone create a website from scratch?
If you choose a website builder that essentially provides the infrastructure of your site, yes. You don't have to know coding in order to make a website, you just have to use the right website platform. With Wix, your entire site infrastructure is taken care of, including advanced levels of security, including public key certification via TLS, so you can focus on what matters - your design and content.
How much does it cost to make a website from scratch?
This varies depending on which website builder you choose, and if you opt to rely on their infrastructure or to hire a web developer to code your website into being, for you. With Wix you can create a website for free, or opt for a premium plan that can cost from $16 a month, depending on the type and exact features. This plan will include a custom domain, 24/7 customer support and hosting services.
Why is it important for my business to have a website?
A website is an essential part of any business's marketing strategy. It provides a way for potential customers to learn more about your business, your products or services, and how to contact you. You can also use a website to manage and run your business, from attracting clients, to using your site to manage bookings or to sell products and services and accept payments.
How can I keep my website up to date?
There are a few things you can do to keep your website up to date:
Update your content regularly. This includes adding new blog posts, articles, and other content to your website.
Fix any errors or bugs. If you find any errors or bugs on your website, fix them as soon as possible.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. More and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet, so it is important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Promote your website. Let people know about your website by promoting it on social media, in your email newsletter, and in other ways.
How can I create a website for free?
With a website builder, such as Wix, you can choose to create a website for free. This will include access to templates, hosting and advanced security features. You can also upgrade to a premium plan to register a domain name and benefit from 24/7 customer support.
How long does it take to make a website?
In general, anywhere from 1 - 6 months depending on the type of website you make and how you choose to create it. If you do it yourself, with a website builder you can set your own time frame and work reasonably fast. If you choose to work with a web designer and/or developer, it make longer. Learn more about how long it takes to build a website.
Do I need technical or coding knowledge to build a website?
If you use a website builder, like Wix, so no. You can choose from a number of customizable templates for every type of website, and use its intuitive drag and drop features and editor to make a website from scratch.
What are the most effective ways to monetize a website?
Popular ways to monetize a website include affiliate marketing, display ads with Google Adsense, sponsored content or subscription content. The strategy you choose to make money from your website will depend very much on your target audience. It's also best practice to test different strategies and diversify how you monetize your site.