If you’re a small business owner, or considering getting into web design, you might wonder “is it hard to build a website?” If you’ve never built a website before, you might consider how intensive the task is. Aren’t there wizard-type builders to talk you through the process? Can you get a decent looking site by doing the work yourself? For solopreneurs and others on a tight budget, the idea of making something themselves is quite attractive.
There isn’t a clear answer to the question of “is it hard to build a website?” Some designs are more intricate than others. If you need a fully loaded shopping platform, the requirements to get it up and running are a bit different than a one-page business presence type site.
Perhaps you’re in a rush to get your name out there and just want to put a site up quickly. You figure you can always go back and add to it and refine it later.
Is It Hard to Build a Website in a Day?
At any given time, Internet Live Stats shows there are around 1.9 billion websites at the moment. Of course, the number moves every millisecond, and sites come and go. Even though not all of the live sites are not your direct competitors, they all create internet noise that can distract users from visiting and taking in your pages.
There is something to be said for getting your website up fast, especially if you want to begin attracting customers or have a legitimate place to send online visitors. When you network and meet new people, they’ll almost always ask what your website address is.
It isn’t hard to get an online presence in a day. But, is it hard to build a website in a 24-hour period? It’s pretty difficult to get everything you need in place in such a short time frame.
What do you need to know to get up and running fast? Here are the basics:
1. Secure a Domain Name
Your domain name is almost as important as the business name you choose. Is it hard to build a website? Not always, but finding a website address that suits your needs and is memorable is a complicated task. Many popular extensions are already taken.
It’s probably best to stick with a .com if possible. People are used to using .com as the most popular extension. However, there are many vanity options now, such as .agency or .pizza that can work if used creatively.
You’ll brainstorm some ideas and then check in registrar databases to see if the names are free. You can use Google Domains or GoDaddy to register your name and secure it. If you’re one of the 28% of businesses without a website, GoDaddy is very easy to use and has many advantages for newbies, including the ability to build your site within their platform.
2. Choose a Platform
Once you’ve secured your name, you have to figure out where you want to put your site. You have a couple of options. You can go with a free provider such as WordPress.com and use their content management system (CMS). You could choose a builder such as Wix or Squarespace. You could also take out your own domain hosting and build a site from scratch.
However, when looking at is it hard to build a website, and assuming you don’t have much technical knowledge, you should probably start with something that is in a drag and drop environment.
You’ll be limited in the features you can add, and you’ll be tied into their monthly fees, but you can always rebuild later. If you truly want to take out hosting and build a completely unique site, you can also choose a provider that offers WordPress hosting and installs the CMS for you. You would then add a theme and tweak the site to suit your needs.
3. Know Your Purpose
What is your purpose for your website? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Perhaps you want to sell items online. Once you understand what the goal of your site is, you’ll find it much easier to build a website.
For example, if you just want to collect leads, you’ll need a form and some kind of lead magnet.
4. Gather Images
The thing that often makes your site unique is the color palette and images you use. Most small businesses already have a style guide. Think about how trustworthy your colors and images make you seem.
In a recent survey, 61% of consumers said they trusted businesses to be more transparent than the government or media. The images you use can gain or lose trust. Choose things that truly reflect your values and products. Try to use one-of-a-kind photos and stay away from stock whenever possible.
Think about what photos help tell the story you want new site visitors to know. What is unique about your brand and why would the customer care? You can say a lot with a few words when you use the right images.
5. Write Fabulous Headlines
Your headlines can make or break your website design. Why is it hard to build a website in a day? Figuring out your messaging and the best way to get it across is difficult for most people. You can either enlist the help of a professional copywriter, or you can study other headlines to see what works.
Your headings should summarize what the page is about in a few words. You’ll want to use concrete words and action verbs. Often, people will see your headline in search engine results pages before they even look at your design. You have one chance to grab their interest and pull them in.
Some examples of fabulous headlines include:
- Solve Your Number One Security Concern
- See How Our Home Alarm Saved One Family
- Do You Stay Awake Worrying About Break Ins?
What is going to grab your target audience’s attention? Tweak your headline until you find the perfect fit.
6. Explain Your Purpose
People care most about how you can help. Your unique value proposition (UVP) is what makes you stand out from your competition. Think about your UVP through the eyes of your user. They might not care that you grew faster than the other two brands in your town. They will care that rapid growth means you garnered them a discount on the product.
7. Add a Call to Action (CTA)
Tell people what action you want them to take when they land on your website. If you’re trying to grab leads, you might add a button that says, “Get a Free Quote.” Limit the number of CTAs on your page and make sure they are clear and short.
8. Proof Everything
Take time to read through everything on your page. You might worry about whether it is hard to build a website quickly, but the errors are what can impact your bottom line. Too many typos makes a page seem unprofessional.
Take the time to carefully read over everything. Run spell checks. Put your pages through Grammarly or another proofing tool. Get a second set of eyes on your website. Other people may see problems you didn’t.
Add as You Go
Is it hard to build a website in a day? It doesn’t have to be, but ideally you will get a basic site up and then add to it and refine it as you go. A truly stellar design is much more difficult to achieve. Sometimes you need a presence so you can start building your customer base. You can always hire people as you can afford or add to your site as you go.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.