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How to create a professional website: step-by-step guide

How to create a professional website

A professional website can simultaneously operate as a marketing tool, a store platform, a display of talent, a communication channel, and an engine for branding. Essentially, it opens up the entire world to you and your business, giving you a unique platform to accomplish nearly anything.

In this post, we will provide a step-by-step guide explaining how to make a website and walk you through the technicalities and details of building your own professional site, which may differ from building a personal site. We will also focus on branding and marketing essentials to guarantee your site is as effective as it is beautiful.

Or get started by understanding more about creating a website with AI from these best AI website builders.

How to create a professional website

01. Strategize your brand

Start with outlining a clear and consistent brand strategy that will impact each touchstone of your site, from the overall website purpose, to the guiding visual philosophy and tone of voice. All of these should become clear as you pursue the following:

  • Identify your target market: Who are they? Which demographic groups do they belong to? What do they like to do? How do your target audience see themselves? How will your business or website influence their lives?

  • Research your competitors: Do some market research to get a feel on what the competition is doing, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how you can carve a niche for yourself in the field.

  • Define your brand identity: If you had to describe your brand in three words, what would they be? What is the vision that motivates your brand? Think of your brand’s personality and extract from it tangible traits like brand colors, vocabulary and style.

  • Prepare consistent branding material: Now it’s time to get practical and prepare the materials that will soon be featured on your site and across your other branding assets. Make sure to create your own logo, as well as images, slogans, videos, textual content and more. These elements should all correspond to your brand identity and serve your branding strategy.

Learn more: Website name ideas

Create a branded website

02. Master the web design

From choosing the right website color scheme, to crafting the right layout for your site, you have to take into account many aspects of professional website design. If you already know how to build a website from scratch and have some previous experience, you can build your site starting from a blank website template, deciding whether you want to create a static website or a dynamic one. If you're worried about how long it takes to build a website, and want save some time, you can also create a professional website with Wix's HTML website creator in the following three steps:

  • Choose a template or start with AI: Using a website builder with What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) software, like Wix, you don't need any code to create your site—it's already built into the interface. The platform provides customers with customizable website templates as a solid foundation for designing their sites from scratch. There is a vast selection of professional website templates for a range of themes, styles and purposes. Whether you’re creating a personal website, using an online store builder or any other type of site, find the template that best suits your vision. Ideally, the one you pick will already be structured according to your needs and in line with your business goals (Learn more about starting a business). Alternatively, you can let Wix's AI website maker design your site for you, and then customize it later on. This means you don't need to be well-versed in HTML, CSS or other web development lingo. Simply chat with AI and let Wix's artificial design intelligence work its magic. Learn more about how to create a website with AI. If you are an expert, check out Wix Studio for features such as responsive AI and a web creation platform built for agencies.

  • Customize your template: It’s time to turn it into your very own site by customizing and editing. Add in all your content, including text, videos, links and images. Wix recommends using JPEG, PNG and GIF files for images to ensure they appear their best on your site. Next, refine the design using the editor's site and theme design to easily align your site design with your brand. Customization can be as basic or as elaborate as you want it to be. For inspiration, take a look at this selection of striking Wix websites, created from three different templates. Notice how the original simple website templates have been adapted to result in unique, individually-designed sites.

Customize your website template

  • Tweak the look: There is much more to creating a website than just choosing the best fonts, colors and images. You can incorporate a variety of media features to enhance your overall aesthetic. Try adding background videos or animation to your website design for added movement, or parallax scrolling to craft a sense of depth.

Waste no time and create your site from start to finish with Wix's website builder.

03. Prioritize website usability

Your website needs to catch the eye of any potential customer, but to ensure that visitors will keep browsing, you must also provide a positive user experience. A beautiful website that does not function properly will not get you far. As you create a professional website, pay attention to these important points:

  • Navigation flow: For optimal website navigation, make sure the site structure is clear and intuitive. Visitors should be able to easily navigate between pages and subpages using the main menu or internal links.

  • Content hierarchy: Hierarchy is one of the seven principles of design, which is why you should pay extra attention to it. Your aim is to guide visitors through your site in the order that best suits your interest. When thinking through how to plan a website, make sure that the most crucial layout elements are the most prominent. Reflect this hierarchy in your design, emphasizing the most important elements through size, color and placement on the page. For example, if you want people to subscribe to your service, make sure your ‘Subscribe’ button stands out on the page. This landing page explaining how to create a blog with a blog creator, clearly demonstrates content hierarchy done right, with large headers and eye-catching buttons.

  • Calls-to-action: CTAs are the short messages that invite site visitors to take direct action. They can encourage visitors to “Register Free,” “Get Yours Today” or “Subscribe.” In short, they tell the visitors explicitly what you want them to do and make it easy for them to trust what will happen after clicking a button.

  • Readability: Readability is a basic principle in typography. Make sure to use clear fonts and comfortable font sizes, that your text colors contrast well with the background colors, and that you have enough empty space (whitespace) around your written content. Check out our guide for more details on how to make website accessible.

  • Footer: The bottom part of your site is known as the website footer (the top is the header). Footers are not immediately visible to site visitors, but they can be used in a number of ways to enhance usability. Consider adding your contact information to the footer, including buttons linking to social media channels and your privacy policy. You could also display a simplified site map that links to all your pages, as well as a brief explanation of who you are, or a site disclaimer text.

04. Optimize for search engines

Getting your site to rank prominently on search results is one of the most valuable ways to increase your traffic. This is why it’s so important to prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) in the early stages of creating your professional website. A key part of online marketing, SEO is a science in its own right. Its key elements are:

  • Keyword research: Put yourself in the shoes of your potential site visitor or client. Which questions or phrases might they search for on Google that could lead them to your website? The keywords within their search queries will guide your SEO strategy. Using keyword research tools, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which keywords you should be targeting. This can also be helpful for choosing a domain name that's relevant and searchable.

  • Text: Every piece of text on your website, from your menu to your FAQ page, blog, footer or bio section, should be written with SEO in mind. While there are many SEO tips to boost your website, the general idea is to find subtle and elegant ways to integrate your keywords into your site’s textual content without compromising on quality. Search engine crawlers are smart, and they could down-rank you if they think you sound too much like an ad.

  • Meta tags: Search engines like Google read your metadata. It’s up to you to control what it is that they see and how they present your site in search results. It is well worth it to take the time to add custom meta tags to your site with the goal of optimizing your content and helping search engines understand what your pages contain.

Adding meta tags to your website

  • Alt text: Images also play a prominent role in your SEO efforts. Every image that you upload to your website should have alt text (short for alternative text) added to it. Alt text is a very short line that explains to search engines what the image depicts. In turn, this allows your images to be ‘found’ in search results, which is why it’s important to write SEO friendly alt text for all your images.

  • Link building: Broadly put, your ranking on search engine results is likely to improve if you have other websites linking to your site. You can start by submitting your professional website to directories, making sure that all your social media profiles link to your site, and encouraging site visitors to share your content as well.

Keep in mind that SEO is a long-term process that does not end once your website launches. You will need to continue to refine it as you go along in order to achieve sustainable results.

05. Professionalize your website

In addition to acting as the online face of your business or service, you should ask yourself how your website can further enhance your professional success. Depending on your industry or field, your site could be offering a number of features that will make it more appealing to your target market:

  • Scheduling software: Is an ideal solution for managing appointments online and helps you take bookings and get payments more efficiently, as well as showcase your services in their best light.

  • Online store: It’s never been easier to create and manage an eCommerce website, which includes professional features such as advanced marketing tools, secure online payments and multiple sales channels. You can start building your website from scratch or pick one of these online store templates.

  • Fitness website: As you build a fitness business, you need an all-in-one solution with gym management software, online booking and payments, and convenient staff and scheduling options.

  • Music website: Sell your music directly on your website with Wix, and keep 100% of the profits. You will also be able to expand your audience while maintaining total creative freedom.

  • Essential apps: The Wix App Market holds a large selection of apps that will help you fulfill your website’s potential to the max. Consider, for instance, a tool to track your visitor analytics, a countdown timer to help increase your sales, and sophisticated text animation to impress your visitors.

06. Optimize for mobile

Making sure your website functions just as well on mobile as it does on desktop is crucial in this day and age. In fact, mobile usage stats indicate that mobile devices account for over 50% of web page views worldwide. Not only that, but since Google implemented mobile-first indexing, websites are ranked on search results predominantly by their mobile versions. Clearly, it’s worth investing your time in optimizing your mobile website.

When you create a professional website with Wix, the mobile editor automatically converts your desktop design into a mobile-friendly site. You can then adjust the layout and design to suit mobile devices, paying particular attention to readability, text sizing and navigation. You can even make your website an app for users to download to their smartphones.

For users who are looking for full control over breakpoints, Wix Studio is an advanced creation platform built exclusively for designers and agencies. It combines cutting-edge, responsive design with intuitive drag-and-drop on a flexible new canvas. This gives you absolute design control, so you can design your site at any viewport size.

07. Launch a content marketing plan

Once your professional website goes live, you will see that the main challenge shifts to attracting and maintaining visitors. You can prepare for this task by developing a content marketing strategy, or the nuts and bolts of creating, publishing and promoting content that builds brand loyalty and trust. Here are two ways to launch a content marketing plan:

Make newsletters: Marketing emails, like a newsletter, can generate traffic using relevant and enticing content that makes a reader want to click. You can make your own successful email marketing campaign with Wix using fully customizable layouts, marketing automation tools, easy-to-read stats tracking, and more.

Start a blog: There are many reasons why blogging is well worth your time and effort. Besides the fact that you can use it to monetize a website, having a blog can positively impact your site’s traffic. By covering a wide array of topics, you can draw in more readers and in turn more users to your product or service. Blog articles can also be repurposed and shared on social media.

Content-wise, having your own blog will let you communicate your message and ideas in a more personal tone, as well as demonstrating your level of professionalism in your field.

Social media is another great way to reach a wider audience. When you update your website, you can share the news on your social media channels. However, don't just promote your website. Engage with your audience in a genuine way, too.

08. Maintain your professional website

As your professional website grows traffic and attracts more site visitors, you’ll need it running like a well-oiled machine. While website maintenance can feel like a big chore, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are some easy steps you can take to stay on top of your site with little investment. These include updating your content, like on your contact form, responding to customer reviews, checking online inventory and removing broken links or updating your privacy policy. Maintaining helps keep your audience engaged and your site looking professional.

It's also important to check your software and add-ons for updates at least monthly. Outdated software can be a security risk, even if you have strong website security measures in place.

Tip: Need a catchy title for your website's domain or subdomain? Use a website name generator for inspiration and ideas.

When it comes to creating a professional website you'll want to make sure you use a website builder, whether do it yourself or headless, that comes with advanced website infrastructure. This means with web hosting provided automatically, the chance to choose and connect a domain name and security that delivers 24/7 monitoring.

How to create a professional website FAQ

Can I build my own professional website?

Yes. All you need to do is choose a website builder, like Wix, find the right professional website templates and get creating. With Wix, your web hosting and web security are taken care of, so you can focus on the design and content of your site.

Can I create a professional website for free?

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