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4 Basic Steps to Creating an Awesome Website

Starting a web project can feel overwhelming. After all, this could be the first interaction someone has with your brand. Do you find yourself asking questions like:

  • How should I organize my content?
  • What are my readers going to be most interested in?
  • How do I increase conversions?

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. You’ve landed in the right place. Infinity’s experienced web team has built an easy-to-use blueprint to help you create an effective, engaging website for your company without all the headaches. Let’s get started!

1. Discovery

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First thing’s first. You always want to look at data. Does your company already have a website? Does it have analytics associated with it? Google Analytics is a great tool to help you understand what users are doing on your site and the most popular journeys they’re taking before dropping off. This can tell you the what.

But what about the why? Whether you have a site up and running or if this is your first website, see if you can find the time and/or budget to study your target audience. This can be done through field studies, user interviews, or competitive analysis. By observing your target audience and the competition, you should be able to collect insight on what’s most important to them.

The last part of discovery is taking the data you’ve gathered to your team. Present your objective findings, and then ask them to independently write down what success looks like for the website. Have them answer questions like:

  • What are the mandatories?
  • What would be nice to have?
  • What’s the one thing they want users to know or do?

By doing this independently first, you’re allowing the team to think without influence from others. It also allows you to see what’s frequently being requested. Once the team has had time to discuss and decide on a direction, it’s time for exploration.

2. Explore

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Exploration happens in three phases:

  1. Build your sitemap to establish content hierarchy. This is your chance to discover what you want your users to have at their fingertips. As a good rule of thumb, users should be able to get to their desired content in three clicks or less. The more clicks, the less user traffic you can expect to see reaching that page. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it’s a good boundary to set when thinking through your sitemap.
  2. Build your wireframes and mockups. Wireframes are a great way to help you organize your content within each page and establish templates. Wireframes help you answer basic questions like:
  • How many images are you going to need?
  • How much space does the copywriter have for content?
  • Are there any assets you need that you don’t already have?
  • How much content already exists?
  • Where are there holes in your content?

Wireframes give you a rough sense of how the website will look and function without being super time-consuming. Mockups should come after wireframing and should include the final website copy and images. These are high-fidelity and should give a clear picture of the website’s aesthetics and functionality.

  1. Write your content with SEO in mind. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to your website’s success. This is what allows your website to be found on search engines. Whether a user is searching for your brand or just a service/product your company offers, this is your chance to be found organically and appear at the top of the search engine list. Make sure to do your research on your target audience’s search behavior and let that guide your content. After all, if users can’t find your content, your website won’t be of much help (to users or your business).

3. Test

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Unlike a printed piece, your website is going to be viewed in a multitude of ways. It’s important that you have control over this and not the other way around. Before the website goes live, you’ll want to take three basic steps:

  • Step 1: ADA testing. If you do nothing else, make sure you do this. Having your website follow ADA compliance means people with a disability can easily access and understand your website. It will also allow your website to rank higher for SEO. If that isn’t reason enough, by not adhering to ADA rules, your company could be fined up to $75,000 for the first violation and $150,000 for additional ADA violations.
  • Step 2: Taking a mobile-first approach to web experiences has become an industry standard. Ask your web designer to mock up how they envision the site to look and perform on both desktop and Don’t make the mistake of writing or designing for desktop alone. This could lead to serious issues later if you need to reorganize or redesign content to function well on both platforms. Let the developer review the mockups and ensure everything is doable from the beginning. You’ll save yourself both time and money.
  • Step 3: Once the website is in development mode, review the site across devices and across browsers. It’s important for the designer and proofer to be part of this process as their eyes are trained to catch different elements.

If conversions are the main goal of your website, make sure to run some A/B tests once your website is live to see what users are more likely to click on. Some thought starters would be to test button colors, button styles, button locations, and CTA language. Whatever you choose, just be sure to change one variable at a time. If you change multiple elements at once, it’ll be difficult to tell which variable led to better results.

4. Listen

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Whew! You got all the approvals you needed, the website is launched, and you can finally mark this off your to-do list. While you should pat yourself on the back for a job well done, it’s important to realize your website is a living, breathing thing. Check in on your Google Analytics and see if you can spot positive or negative trends. Ask for feedback from your users using a third-party vendor. You can even send out an email to your existing customers asking for their thoughts. The users will ultimately decide how successful your website is, and it’s their opinion alone that will lead to your company’s success.

And that’s it! By following these four simple steps, you can launch your next website with confidence. After all, you’ve done all the research, you’ve asked all the right questions, and you’re committed to making those ongoing optimizations that will set your site apart from the competition. Just remember: The customer (or user in this case) is always right. Be sure to keep your customers’ needs and wants in mind when making any revisions to your website.

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