Easily Design a Website for Your Startup Business – 2024 Guide

Written By Damien Buxton

On 17 Jan, 2024
Creating an engaging and informative website is vital for any startup business today. Whether it is an online store that needs designing or a simple one-page website, you need to build your website for your business! While the prospect of designing a website might seem overwhelming, especially for those with no CSS or HTML coding […]

Creating an engaging and informative website is vital for any startup business today. Whether it is an online store that needs designing or a simple one-page website, you need to build your website for your business!

While the prospect of designing a website might seem overwhelming, especially for those with no CSS or HTML coding or design experience, there are tools available to simplify the process.

You have many options open to you from free website builders that allow you to build websites from scratch by using customisable templates to employing a professional website design company to do it for you.

Building a website and creating your online presence should be one of the first things that you consider when setting yourself up as a startup business.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to create a website and highlight the importance of choosing a trusted agency for the task.

What You Need to Design a Website:

Before diving into the design process, there are a few prerequisites you should have in place when you decide to make a website. A website without all of the below just won’t work for your business:

  • Web Hosting: Choose a reliable web hosting platform to store your website content. Think of it as storage space online, your site gets uploaded to it and it’s where the site will get found on Google.
  • Domain Name: Register a unique and memorable domain name that reflects your business. Domain names are simply the www. part you enter into a search engine, a good start could be your company name or business name, such www.yourcompanyname.co.uk
  • SSL Certificate: Ensure the security of your business and user information with an SSL certificate. Depending on your needs you can get a simple SSL for your website for free.
  • Web Builder: Sign up for a user-friendly website builder that allows you to create your website without coding experience.
  • SEO Tool: Implement an SEO strategy from the start to enhance your website’s visibility on search engines. SEO is a way to attract website visitors and a way to increase traffic to your website. Many SEO tools come with a free trial period and it’s worth trying a few out before you buy.
  • Point of Sale: If your business involves transactions, integrate a Point of Sale (POS) system into your website.

How to Design a Website in 9 Steps:

Just understanding you need a website is only the first part of the equation, however.

Creating an online plan of what your site needs will help you improve elements such as website navigation, page layout, content and most importantly what to include based on what the user wants. These are only a few elements that all contribute to a great website, but planning is key to keeping your website visitors happy and engaging with it.

Follow these 9 steps to design a website that suits your business needs:

1. Define the Site’s Purpose: 

Clarifying the goals and objectives of your website will help bring your website together. It will also help you focus on items featured on your website to make your website easy to use. 

Consider your target audience and the desired actions you want them to take, whether it’s making a purchase, filling out a form, or engaging with your content. This clarity will guide your content strategy and influence decisions on platform, theme, and website page architecture.

Throughout your website’s design remember to always remain eagle-eyed on its purpose and not to get sidetracked.

2. Choose the Right Web Design Platform:

Once you’ve defined your website’s purpose, explore various website builders that align with your goals.

Look for platforms with user-friendly interfaces and customisable templates. Consider whether the platform caters to your specific needs, such as e-commerce, blogging, or portfolio features.

Here are some of the best and most well-known website builders:

  1. Wix: Wix is a versatile website builder with a drag-and-drop interface, catering to various business needs.
  2. Squarespace: Squarespace is known for its elegant and visually appealing templates, suitable for creative professionals and businesses.
  3. Weebly: Weebly is a user-friendly website builder, offering a straightforward approach to design and customisation.
  4. WordPress: WordPress is a powerful and highly customizable content management system (CMS) with a vast array of plugins and themes. You also can build an e-commerce store with its sister company Woocommerce
  5. Shopify: Shopify is a leading e-commerce platform, designed for businesses looking to sell products online.
  6. BigCommerce: BigCommerce is another robust e-commerce solution, that provides advanced features for online stores.
  7. Webflow: Webflow is a platform that allows for advanced design control and is suitable for both designers and non-designers.
  8. GoDaddy Website Builder: GoDaddy offers an easy-to-use website builder with various templates and hosting options.
  9. Jimdo: Jimdo is a website builder that emphasises simplicity and is suitable for small businesses and personal websites.
  10. Elementor: While not a standalone website builder itself, Elementor is a popular WordPress plugin that provides advanced design capabilities.

Before choosing a website builder, it’s essential to assess your specific needs, such as the type of website you’re building (e.g. portfolio, blog, e-commerce), your technical expertise, and your budget constraints. Each platform has its strengths and may be better suited for different purposes.

design a website as a start up showing a designer creating a website using WordPress

3. Gather Your Brand Elements:

Selecting brand elements is crucial for a cohesive and professional-looking website. Choose a colour scheme that represents your brand identity, and select fonts that convey the right tone. Incorporate high-quality images that align with your brand message, ensuring they are relevant and visually appealing.

4. Select a Website Template or Built-in Theme When You Design a Website:

Themes or templates determine the layout of your site, including the placement of images, text, and buttons. Preview different themes, considering your industry and preferences. If using a web builder like WordPress, be prepared to choose and install a theme, possibly from third-party providers.

Alternatively using WordPress also allows a bespoke website layout customised exactly to how you want it. However, for effective website design that is unique to your needs, you may have to use a professional developer.

5. Map Out Your Site:

Visualise the structure of your website by planning the number of pages and their interconnections. This includes the Homepage, Product/Service page, About Us, Blog, Contact, and any additional pages relevant to your business.

Having a clear map serves as a guide during the design process.

Like all things online, there are some nifty tools to help you plan out your site

6. Design Each Site Element:

With the template or theme and site map in mind, begin designing individual elements like the menu, header, footer, and search bar. Ensure that the menu is accessible on every page, the header is engaging with your logo prominently displayed, and the footer provides additional information like contact details and terms of service.

7. Customise Your Web Pages:

Tailor your content to specific pages based on your site’s purpose. Design an organized and eye-catching Home page, a clear and informative Product/Service page, an engaging About Us page, a well-structured Blog page, and a user-friendly Contact page. Consider adding extra pages like a custom 404 page, FAQ page, and Testimonials.

8. Test and Launch Your Website or get Your Web Designer to do it:

Before launching your website, conduct thorough testing. Check loading times, content readability, mobile responsiveness, and the functionality of elements like contact forms. Collect feedback from friends, family, and colleagues to ensure a positive user experience. Once satisfied, proceed to publish your site.

9. Optimise Your Content to Improve Your Online Presence and SEO:

After launching your website, focus on ongoing optimisation for a smooth user experience:

  • Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure your website looks and functions well on various devices.
  • Internal Linking: Use hyperlinks to connect relevant pages, enhancing user experience and SEO.
  • Media Optimization: Optimize images and videos to prevent slow loading times and improve user engagement.
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Implement SEO practices like adding alt texts to images and creating readable URLs to boost your website’s visibility.

By following these detailed steps, you’ll not only design a visually appealing website but also create a user-friendly and effective online presence for your startup business.

Design a website for a startup business whilst always focusing on SEO and user experience

Best Tools to Design a Website:

For a seamless design process, consider using these tools:

  • Website Builders: Platforms like Squarespace or Wix with features suitable for your website.
  • Design Tools: Utilise graphic design tools like Canva for editing and creating visuals.
  • Expert Marketplaces: Explore platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to find skilled website designers.
  • Logo Makers: Design your business logo alongside your website using tools like Logo Maker or Adobe Express Logo.
  • Photo Apps: Source visually appealing images from platforms like Stockphoto.com and Unsplash.

When to Design a Website (and When to Hire a Web Designer):

Deciding whether to design your website or hire a professional depends on your budget, skills, and the complexity of your site. While website builders make it accessible for anyone to design, if you have the budget and need a more intricate design, hiring a professional web designer is a viable option.

When to Design a Website Yourself:

Budget Constraints:

  • Designing your website using user-friendly platforms or website builders is a cost-effective option, especially for startups with limited budgets.
  • DIY website design eliminates the need for significant upfront expenses associated with hiring a professional web designer.

Basic Website Requirements:

  • If your website requirements are relatively straightforward, such as a portfolio site, blog, or a small business website, you may find that designing it yourself is entirely feasible.
  • Website builders often offer templates and tools that cater to common website needs without the need for advanced customisation.

Creative Control:

  • Designing your website gives you complete control over the creative process. You can experiment with different elements, layouts, and content to ensure it aligns perfectly with your vision.

Learning Experience:

  • If you enjoy learning and have the time to invest in acquiring basic web design skills, designing your website can be a valuable learning experience. It empowers you to make future updates and modifications independently.

When to Hire a Professional Web Designer:

Complex Design Requirements:

  • If your website has intricate design requirements or specific functionalities that go beyond the capabilities of website builders, hiring a professional is advisable.
  • Professionals can create custom designs tailored to your brand, ensuring a unique and sophisticated online presence.

Time Constraints:

  • If time is of the essence and you need a polished website quickly, hiring a professional can expedite the process.
  • Professionals bring expertise and efficiency to the table, delivering a finished product in a shorter timeframe.

Advanced Features and Functionality:

  • Websites requiring advanced features, intricate navigation, or complex functionalities (e.g., e-commerce platforms with extensive product databases) often benefit from the expertise of a professional web designer.
  • Professionals can integrate custom coding and ensure seamless user experiences.

Brand Image and Credibility:

  • For businesses that prioritise a strong online presence and want to establish a professional and credible brand image, investing in a professional web designer is crucial.
  • A well-designed website reflects positively on your brand and can enhance trust among visitors.
    Focus on Core Business Activities:

If your expertise lies in areas other than web design, hiring a professional allows you to focus on your core business activities. It frees up your time to concentrate on strategy, marketing, and operations.

Conclusion

Deciding whether to embark on a DIY website design journey or enlist the expertise of a professional web designer hinges on several critical considerations. If budget constraints are a primary concern, and your website requirements are relatively straightforward, opting for a DIY approach with user-friendly website builders can be a cost-effective and empowering choice.

This path grants you creative control, serves as a valuable learning experience, and eliminates significant upfront expenses.

On the other hand, if your website demands intricate design, advanced features, or specific functionalities that surpass the capabilities of standard website builders, investing in a professional web designer becomes a strategic move.

Professionals bring efficiency, expertise, and the ability to create a custom, polished design that aligns with your brand image. This choice is particularly advantageous when time is of the essence or when your business prioritises a strong online presence and brand credibility.

Ultimately, the decision rests on a delicate balance between your budget, time constraints, creative aspirations, and the complexity of your website.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can make an informed choice that sets the foundation for a successful and impactful online presence for your startup business.

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