How to Build a Professional Website: Best Practices & Benefits

Having an online presence is essential to the success of any business, budding entrepreneur, freelancer, or contractor. Fortunately, individuals can grow their brand by creating a website.

Building an engaging and professional website can boost your business's credibility. A professionally designed site also ensures it functions correctly, raises brand awareness, and makes an excellent first impression among new users who stumble across it. As a result, you can land more sales, network effectively, and provide an exceptional user experience (UX).

Whether you’ve never built a professional or personal website before or want to update your existing site, our step-by-step web development guide can teach you how to make a professional website.

What is a professional website?

A professional website is a site that’s high in quality, easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, simple, and aesthetically pleasing. The site also supplements the customer journey and provides visitors with the information they’re looking for right away.

With these characteristics, individuals are more likely to engage with your site, become loyal to your brand, and make repeat visits or purchases.

What types of careers would benefit from having a professional website?

Many types of careers can benefit from having a professional website, such as entrepreneurs, freelancers, and contractors.

For example, freelancers can use a professional website as an online resume that highlights their previous work and skills. This digital portfolio is more interactive and can be enhanced with images, videos, and testimonials.

Include videos whenever possible. According to WebFX, users spend 88% more time on pages with videos than on those without.

An entrepreneur can also have a website for their online store. This allows them to showcase their products or services to stakeholders and potential customers.

Parts of a professional website

There are a few components that your website absolutely needs to have to boost the likelihood of success. This includes mobile optimization, easy navigation, and search engine optimization.

Mobile optimization

Optimizing your website for mobile devices is critical in today's digital age. Not only are more and more people engaging with smartphones, tablets, and other types of devices daily, but search engines are also updating their indexing and ranking practices to be mobile-first.

Make sure your website is optimized for mobile. Over 58% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices.

In fact, Google is known to be a mobile-first search engine, meaning it uses the mobile version of your site to index and rank it on the SERP (search engine results pages). While Google says you don’t have to have a mobile version of your website to be on the SERP, they highly recommend doing so to improve your position.

In 2021, more than half of organic search engine visits were conducted on mobile devices, so making your website mobile-friendly is worth the effort.

Easy navigation

Ensuring your website is easy to navigate can make the browsing experience more enjoyable for visitors, which may cause them to stay on your website longer. This can also lower bounce since users aren’t immediately leaving your website. Since visitors will spend more time on your website, they may even be inclined to purchase.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your site’s navigation:

  • Organize your pages into categories
  • Have a navigation bar
  • Ensure consistency

Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your site to rank highly on search engines to drive organic traffic. Not only does it involve keyword research and content optimization (on-page SEO), but it also includes updating the back-end elements of your site and acquiring backlinks (off-page SEO).

There are many advantages to using SEO, such as:

  • Boost organic traffic
  • Lower marketing costs
  • Improves trust
  • Rank locally
  • Supports PPC and other marketing strategies
  • Increases brand awareness

How to build a professional website

Building a professional website can provide several benefits. Use the steps below to get started.

Define your goals

Defining your goals can help you create an effective strategy for your website. For example, if the goal is for users to download a white paper, you may want to integrate attention-grabbing call-to-action (CTA) buttons and use SEO to drive traffic to the page.

As you list your goals, think about the user journey and what the typical experience looks for users who land on your site. This will help you determine the type of information and pages you need to include.

It’s also a good idea to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals. Doing so allows you to outline realistic objectives and ensures you don’t stray too far from your goals.

Choose a website-building platform

Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to code to create a professional website. Instead, you can use a website-building platform. A website builder can be used by freelancers, entrepreneurs, and even startups who wish to increase their digital presence with limited or no site design experience.

However, not all website builders are created equal. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you search for a web design platform to make your website:

  • Price
  • Themes
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Third-party integrations
  • Customer support

You can also hire a freelance web designer if you rather have an expert design your business website.

Keep it simple

It’s always best to keep the content on your website simple rather than bombard users with a lot of distractions.

Prioritize your website's layout and overall design. 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive.

Remember, less is more with web design, especially when trying to convey a particular message. A clutter-free website also helps create a better user experience for visitors and allows them to pay attention to the most important information.

Additionally, sites that are more simple are often easier for users to engage with. A landing page full of call-outs, flashy animations, and colorful designs may overwhelm site visitors, resulting in higher bounce rates and low conversions.

Usability and functionality

Not only does your website have to look professional, but it also has to function well. If it doesn’t work properly, it may frustrate visitors, and they may end up going to a competitor’s site instead. In fact, ZIPPA reports that 88% of online consumers won’t return to a site after having a negative user experience, while 52% of people say they’ll lose faith in a business with a poor mobile experience.

While the numbers may seem alarming at first, there are many improvements you can make to make your site’s usability and functionality better, including:

  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly.
  • Make the site responsive regardless of the device being used.
  • Increase the speed of your website.
  • Make the design easy to read.
  • Focus on having simple navigation.

You can also test your site regularly to verify the site functions as intended. Ask friends, family, employees, site visitors, and even customers for feedback.

Create relevant content

Creating relevant content for your niche is essential because it allows you to reach your target audience and drive the right people to your website. As such, you can connect with site visitors who are likely interested in your products or services and move them through the sales process more efficiently.

Content creation also positions you as an authority and knowledgeable figure in your industry. In turn, this boosts credibility and trust, so individuals may come back to your site for answers.

Here are a few examples of the type of content you can create:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Landing pages
  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • Ebooks
  • FAQs
  • How-to videos

Optimize for search engines

Optimizing your website for search engines can help you rank higher on the SERP, meaning people are more likely to click on your site. Only .63% of Google users clicked on links on the second page of search results, so raising your position on the SERP is imperative.

A couple of ways you can optimize your site for search engines include:

  • Leverage keyword research.
  • Create relevant, authoritative, and valuable content.
  • Provide good UX.
  • Focus on on-page and off-page SEO.
  • Make your site accessible on mobile.
  • Improve loading times.
  • Benefits of building a professional website

There are many benefits to creating a professional website. Here are some of the most lucrative advantages:

  • Boost your digital presence. Having a presence online is vital since people often spend their time on their digital devices.
  • Learn more about consumers. With the right tools, your website can gather information about your customers, allowing you to create targeted sales and marketing campaigns.
  • Generate traffic and increase conversions. You can reach the right people with a high-quality website and drive traffic to your brand.

So, if you’re unsure about making a professional website, keep these benefits in mind.

You don't have to be a web designer to have a beautiful website

Creating a professional website can help your business in many different ways. Before you start building the site, it’s important to closely examine your goals. What’s the purpose of your website, and what are you trying to achieve? By following the steps outlined above, you can build an effective website that enables you to accomplish your goals.

If you have limited or no design knowledge, you can still build a beautiful website that attracts and converts visitors. Mailchimp’s website builder is free, easy to use, and intuitive. Plus, various customizable, professional templates are available, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Build your own website today in as little as under an hour.

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