15 Expert Tips for Building a Website From Scratch

Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council offer their best advice for business owners looking to create or redesign their website.
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
December 10, 2020
Updated: July 13, 2021
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
December 10, 2020
Updated: July 13, 2021
Headshots of contributing members of Young Entrepreneur Council
Top row, from left: David Hern, Tony Scherba, Jason Khoo, Chris Christoff, Ashwin Sreenivas. Middle row, from left: Solomon Thimothy, John Turner, Amine Rahal, Daisy Jing, Syed Balkhi. Bottom row, from left: Blair Williams, Stephanie Wells, Thomas Griffin, Kalin Kassabov. Not Pictured: Kristin Kimberly Marquet. | Photo: YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR COUNCIL

Building or redesigning a website from the ground up is a challenging task. There are a lot of factors to consider: visual branding, your landing page copy and the overall user experience, to name just a few.

Getting one (or more) of these elements wrong can result in an unappealing website that doesnt encourage visitors to convert. Conversely, a well-designed website can draw in new customers and build a loyal following for your business.

Thats why we asked the members of the Young Entrepreneur Council to share their best advice for business owners who are creating or redesigning a website. Follow their tips to ensure your new site is in tip-top shape.

1. Expert Your First Design to Change

Understand that your first design is just that: a first. This is going to be a storyboard that changes as your business grows and pivots. Anticipate that you’ll need a redesign in the future because your hypotheses on who your customers are or what questions they want answers to may differ from initial expectations. Seek to communicate with the customer at the core and incrementally improve. David Hern, Sofer Advisors

2. Outline Your Messaging

Clearly outline what you want your site to say. Having been on both sides as the client and also the designer, I know how frustrating it can be for everyone when the messaging isnt clear. This can result in endless cycles of iteration. Getting on the same page upfront in terms of the message that needs to be delivered alleviates lots of down-the-road headaches. Tony Scherba, Yeti

3. Focus on Getting a Minimum Viable Product

Take the MVP approach for your website. Many entrepreneurs understand MVP for their business, but not for their website. When building a website, you can make it as beautiful as you like, but there will ultimately be changes due to marketing efforts like PPC, SEO and social media. So, dont worry about website perfection. Changes are inevitable through testing and optimizations. Keep it simple. Jason Khoo, Zupo

4. Set Major and Minor Goals for Your Build

Building your first site, or completing a total website overhaul, is no easy process. So, I suggest simplifying your project by creating a plan with major and minor goals. The minor goals all add up and help you complete larger tasks. Track the progress of smaller tasks with your team every week so you can stay on track. Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

5. Hire a Designer to Help You

Get a good designer to design it for you. There are a number of websites that curate designers’ portfolios (such as Dribbble). Take the time to go through and find designers you like and then pay them to design a professional website for you. The money you spend here will pay solid dividends when you actually have a website that is pleasant to look at and navigate. Ashwin Sreenivas, Helia

6. Optimize the Site for Mobile

Your website is a huge part of your business presence online. You have to make it mobile-first and optimize it for users who will land on your page through their smartphones. The trendiness of mobile web browsing right now is sky high. If you want to reduce your bounce rate and make users buy into your offers, perfect it for mobile users first. Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

7. Let Go of Your Old Design Strategies

My advice is specifically for those looking to do a complete redesign. We recently revamped our website from the ground up, and I learned that you have to let go of old design strategies, even if youre partial to them. You cant do a redesign without removing these elements and starting with a fresh idea. John Turner, SeedProd LLC

8. Design Based on Your Marketing and Financial Objectives

I would tell a business owner to focus on designing a website that converts based on marketing and financial objectives, has a strong ongoing content strategy and implements a robust SEO plan. Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

9. Consult Someone With SEO Knowledge

Hire a professional. There are too many cases in which busy business owners use a free cookie-cutter website design platform to build their website. The result is a rushed site that lacks proper UX standards and feels dated and clunky. This is anathema for SEO. Instead, hire a pro with SEO knowledge who can build you a beautiful, intuitive site. Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions

10. Plan and Prepare Content

You may opt to get stock photos or ask someone to make content for you, but at the end of the day, you need a concrete and definite plan of what the websites content must be. Design comes next. So, make a timeline and make sure your content is in line with your design and plans for your business. Daisy Jing, Banish

11. Build the Site Around the Content

Before you begin with your site design, the most important thing you need to keep ready is your content. Your website should take shape around your content and not the other way around. When you have content, youll know what to prioritize and how to structure your site. This will make for a better user experience and make your sites navigation easy. Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

12. Choose a Cohesive Color Palette

My best advice for a company starting their first website is to create a color palette. There are several AI-based color palette generators that will help you select your main brand colors and other colors that complement them. This will help you create a cohesive look around your entire site and make it very attractive. Youll also build a brand image this way, which means this step is very important. Blair Williams, MemberPress

13. Select a Quality Web Hosting Platform

If youre creating a new website or starting over from scratch, make sure to choose quality web hosting. Your web host determines how easy or difficult it is to access your site, add security, renew it yearly and more. Research what elements your website needs and look up reviews and features before committing to a web host. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

14. Start With a Clear Plan

My advice for business owners building their first website is to start with a plan. Before starting to redesign your website, you need to know what makes a good website. So start with proper research. That way, its less likely that your design will fail. Its also important to A/B test your new site before you actually launch it. Testing is a great way of getting more effective results. Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

15. Make It Flexible and Scalable

Design a website thats flexible and scalable. Consider that you may want to add pages and features as your business grows or you change direction, offer new products and so on. When considering a hosting plan, look at their prices and features for upgrading your plan. If youre outsourcing the design, ask about options and costs for scaling up. Think long term. Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

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