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hello and welcome my name is J Douglas and I'm the founder of how to get online an educational resource for small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to get online in this video series I'm going to show you how to make your own website from scratch this website will be a fully functioning website representative of what a real small business owner or entrepreneur might need I'll guide you through the entire process and show you the most practical affordable and direct approach to build and maintain your own website without any programming this guide is meant for real small business owners and entrepreneurs who have no experience in web design yet are looking to make their own professional website and achieve a successful online presence for their business for example meet Sarah Sarah is a small business owner who runs a local bakery business she's been successful so far getting customers to visit her bakery through word-of-mouth but now she wants to expand to a larger number of customers in the area in order to do this she's going to need a website but she doesn't have the budget to hire a professional web designer so she decided that she wants to make her own website although there's just one problem she's not quite sure how to do that sarah has heard it's pretty easy to make a website but she's still confused on where to start or what service to even use she's seen a lot of commercials for making a website advertised by many different companies and even some online tutorials about making a website with WordPress no Sarah not he'd be a fictional cartoon character running a made-up business but her scenario is very real and in this video series I'm going to use Sarah as an example to guide you through the entire process and cover everything you need to know about making your own website I want to disclose that making a website a good website is a challenging task it's going to take some time it's true that anyone can make their own website nowadays but there's still a lot of work and a lot of planning that goes into the whole process you can't just make your entire website on day you should realistically expect to dedicate a couple hours a day for a week or more while applying what you've learned from this guide to make things easier I've structured this entire guide into five main steps which you can watch pause and follow along with I'd recommend that you watch all five steps first before you even begin to follow along so that you can get a better understanding of what you'll be doing throughout this whole video series then after you've finished watching all five steps return back to step one and re-watch this time follow along and do the steps as you can see we have a lot of material to cover so let's get started the planning stage is a very important step think of it as the foundation for your website before you can start building you need to plan on what you'll be building the planning stage involves determining the purpose of your website and what functionality and features your website will need to accomplish that purpose creating a site outline to help you construct the basic layout of all the pages your website will have analyzing your competitors and their existing websites to discover what works and what doesn't adjusting and tweaking the site outline based off of the new information you found from your competitor analysis brainstorming and writing basic content for each of those pages and lastly choosing a domain name for the address of your website watch long as I show Sarah how to accomplish the planning stage for her needs and then you can apply this to your own real world business when you start out the very first thing you need to do is determine the purpose of your website for example Sarah thinks she knows why she needs a web site she needs one to give her bakery business exposure and to bring in more customers that's the ultimate purpose for her of course that's the fundamental purpose for every business to gain exposure and bring in customers while that is the endgame that's not really the main purpose Sarah's website should have the main purpose is to inform people about her bakery and provide them with adequate information to help them decide on whether or not her bakery is the right choice for them Sarah's website must be beneficial for her customers first before it can be beneficial for her with that mentality in mind we can start to outline all the pages our website will need in order to accomplish that purpose we can also start thinking about the functionality and features each page will need as well I'm going to show you how to create a sight outline I personally find it easier to create one by simply drawing it out on a piece of paper so let's get started first of all every website needs a home page which is basically an introductory page or landing page that people will first see when they visit the website the home page should serve as an entrance point displaying pertinent information and facilitating navigation to other pages across the website for Sara her home page might have content highlighting important information about her bakery such as location details contact info special deals new menu items pictures and other basic info after the home page will need to continue our outline by adding several more main level pages for example we'll add a menu page an about page and a contact page which all seem pretty standard for a bakery website the menu page will list all the delicious snacks and goodies her bakery has to offer the about page will be a simple informational page with a bio and history of Sarah and her bakery business the contact page will list the bakery's contact information such as a Google map of the bakery's address and a contact form for email next we'll add an item page under the menu page the item page will list a single item from her menu so that her customers can learn more about the item in detail the page might have a detailed description along with various photos of the item furthermore it might even have an Add to Cart button so that customers can order that item online if they desire since the item page is directly related to the menu page we'll add it below the menu on our site outline it is good practice to structure our outline this way by grouping similar pages together as it creates a logical and efficient layout when Sara's website is complete the URL structure of the item page might look something like WW Sara's bakery comm / menu / individual item page now in theory there would be many item pages to add essentially as many items as Sara's bakery has to offer in this case Sarah might even have to restructure the outline by adding category pages to further organize the hierarchy of her website then the URL of a particular item page might look something like this ww Sarah's bakery comm slash menu category slash individual item page to help clarify this a realistic the URL example might be named like this ww Sarah's bakery com slash menu slash cakes slash raspberry chocolate delight cake it's important to understand how to organize the pages of your website and properly structure them when you create your site outline as you can see Sarah's site outline is already starting to give us a clearer picture of what her website will entail now at this point there are probably many more pages Sarah would want to add to her outline however just randomly thinking of pages off the top of her head might be a little difficult the next part is to analyze Sarah's competitors and see what they have on their websites this part is fairly straightforward just find other competing businesses that are successful and take a look at their already existing websites look over their website and see what it offers look for good ideas that you may want to incorporate on your own website now I'm not saying to just copy everything from your competitors I'm saying to use your competitors as inspiration to create your own unique website after carefully analyzing our competitors websites Sarah has found some good new ideas and has decided to add more pages to her site outline when creating your own site outline remember to carefully consider the purpose of your website and what your website will need to fulfill that purpose you should include however many pages it takes to provide all the information your site's visitors will need for the sake of keeping this tutorial short I'll end our outline here just understand the concept of organizing your web pages into a hierarchy to make your website efficient and well-structured and also understand that you spend some time determining what pages your website will entail continuing on with the planning stage the next part is to brainstorm the basic content that will go on to each page of your website's outline grab another piece of paper and choose a page on your site outline that you want to brainstorm then start writing down a rough draft of what you want to put on that page you can also make notes to include things besides text like important images videos or anything else that you want to add your written content does not have to be perfect at this point as you can rewrite it and revise it later on at any time for now just write a rough draft of what you want to put on each page brainstorming and writing out each of your pages content will help to ensure that you're not missing anything in your site's outline the last part of the planning stage is to determine a domain name for your website a domain name is your website's address on the web so you need to choose a good one it's really important for your website and business as it adds a professional touch improves brand recognition and makes it easier for visitors to find and remember you here are some tips for choosing a great domain name when you first begin your domain name search it helps to have a small set of phrases or keywords in mind that best describe the domain name you're seeking think of several descriptive keywords as a starting point to brainstorm alternative ideas for example if Sarah's comm is already taken consider Sarah's bakery calm or Sarah's bakery and cafe calm however try to avoid domain names like Sarah's bakery to calm or best bakery in Boston calm as that can appear spammy and unprofessional when choosing a domain name put your business name somewhere in there as part of it for brand recognition remember that your visitors may arrive at your website by typing in your address directly into their browser bar aim for 20 characters or less to maximize your type and traffic make sure your domain name is easy to remember and spell adding numbers and non alphabet characters to your domain name it looks unprofessional and can also cause confusion likely to result in loss of traffic to your site so it's best to avoid these if possible dot-com is the most popular top-level domain or TLD that most consumers are familiar with however it's okay to choose a different TLD other than com because there are so many different websites online these days dot-com addresses are becoming scarce err and harder to acquire it is now completely acceptable to choose one of the many new TLDs that are available for Sarah the domain name Sarah's bakery com would be a great choice however if it's already taken she could go with Sarah's bakery eat or Sarah bakery cafe or even Sara's bakery dot restaurant be sure to check that your potential domain name isn't trademarked copyrighted or being used by another business it's also a good idea to check the history of your desired domain name it may have previously been used by someone who went out of business now that we have a clearer picture of our site it's almost time to start building it but first we'll need to find the right platform and tools to do this there are many different ways to go about building a website traditionally you would build a website from scratch by writing HTML and CSS code along with some JavaScript or other scripting language depending upon the complexity of your website unfortunately this would mean that you would need to learn all these different languages which is highly impractical for the average small business owner who doesn't have that much time because of this web developers and designers start to invent new platforms that required less technical know-how today there are numerous such platforms available for example you could use a CMS technology like WordPress WordPress is a great choice that gives you powerful functionality and features many professional websites on the internet today use WordPress and I would highly recommend it myself however WordPress is still a complicated platform to learn and for someone who has never built a website before it can be quite challenging and frustrating it can also end up being more expensive when you need to hire a professional WordPress developer to help you create a custom design or fix any errors that you may have unintentionally created on your website for the average small business owner the best option is to use a website builder website builders are by far the easiest way for beginners and require very little technical know-how it's also very affordable and you can often make your own website for under $15 a month compare that to hundreds if not thousands of dollars so you could easily spend if you were to hire a professional web designer furthermore many modern website builders allow their templates to be highly customized so that you can create a unique looking website without your customers even realizing that it was made from a template and you can easily do this without any programming simply drag-and-drop the content around to arranging a design in this video series I'm going to use a website builder to show you how to make a website I'm using a website builder because it's the most practical affordable an all-around easiest way for a beginner getting back to our fictional example with Sarah and our bakery business I'm going to show Sarah what website builder to use and how to properly set it up first we need to pick a website builder that we're going to use there are a wide variety of website builders out there to choose from each with their own pros and cons in this video series I'm going to use Wix the Wix website builder is one of the easiest and most popular choices available it has pretty much everything a small business owner needs to make their own website so for right now it's a perfect match for Sarah and her bakery business note although using what's yourself would be easier to follow along with in this video series note that is not required feel free to use any website builder you want as you should be able to apply the principles that you have learned from this guide to almost any other website builder out there so let's get started as you can see here I'm going to visit ww-what comm and sign up for a free account next you'll need to set things up by choosing a template a template will serve as the basic design through your website for Sarah she's going to browse templates under the appropriate category restaurants and then Cafe and Bakery most website builders should have templates designed for a variety of different business types note all the templates you saw a moment ago were designed by Wix meant for businesses who operate within that specific category most website builders try to design templates that are already set to go that means that these templates were designed so that you can just replace pictures and text with your own and change basic coloring schemes to match your branding of course no template is perfect and you can typically customize these templates further it really depends on your creative ability and how much time you want to dedicate towards designing your own website for some small business owners they may prefer to simply choose a template and just stick with it for others they may prefer a more custom and spend some extra time customizing the template this really depends upon you and how well the existing templates already match what your website needs I also want to point out that the customizability of your template does depend on your website builder as well some website builders give you greater control over the design of your template where others have less control one of the reasons why I chose Wix will because they give you a high level of control over the design getting back to our own example most website builders should allow you to preview each template in Wix you can hover over a template and click view to get a better look at the template once you find a template that you like click Edit to use this template then click Save to confirm your choice most website builders will usually ask you to choose a name and/or a temporary URL for your website when you click Save for the first time just type in a short descriptive name for your website don't worry if it doesn't sound professional this is just a temporary name and address that the website builder will use the address you have chosen here will not be visible until you click publish since the site is not ready yet click done without publishing your site you should only publish when your site is finished and ready to be viewed by your visitors also when you do publish you'll want to avoid the free URL address that website builders give you this address is completely unprofessional and something that you should not use for your business remember you'll want to use your own professional domain name that you decided on in the planning stage back in step 1 unfortunately most website builders require a premium plan to do this and you will need to upgrade so let's get this task out of the way scroll to the top menu and hover over upgrade and then click on compare plans as with any website builder you will need to choose a paid plan to unlock all the features a professional website will have there's no way around this and sticking with the free plan will only give your business a cheap unprofessional appearance carefully look over the plans your website builder offers and choose one that matches your needs since Sarah's planning to sell some bakery goods on her website she's going to choose the e-commerce plan select the plan that you need and complete the checkout process now that we have this done it's time for the next step which is a step we've all been waiting for building your website log back into your website builders main dashboard in our case we'll log back into Wix you should see the new website you saved in the previous video remember if you're using a different website builder your screen will differ but the idea is the same click something like edit site to start we are now within the website builders editor as you can probably guess this is where we design build and edit our website since any good website builder comes with documentation on how to use it there's really no point for me to cover this instead I'll cover the best practices for building a website and guide you through the entire process so that you can use your own website builder to properly build your own website but in order to do this I need you to pause this video and read your website builders documentation now that you're familiar with the editor I want to discuss the basic structural elements or sections of a web page it's important to understand how almost every web page on our website is structured by these kalman elements you will need this understanding to build your own web pages let's take a look at a single web page from five different websites you'll see vastly differing content functionality and design but they will all have these common elements a header a navigation menu a main content column one or more sidebars and a footer there are very few sites that don't at least loosely follow these basic structural elements of a web page you'll need to understand this when building your own website not only because it's good practice but because virtually every template your website builder offers will utilize this structure also the header navigation menu and footer typically remain the same meaning that if you edit or make a change on any one of these elements that change will reflect across every page of your website not just the single page you are currently on you can see this when we navigate to different pages across the website only the main content column and sidebars typically change note most website builders keep the navigation menu within the header and thus collectively refer to both as the header now that you understand the basic structure of a page let's discuss the basic structure of content on a page content is ultimately the most important aspect of any website and structuring and content semantically on a web page is just good practice doing so will also provide many benefits for your website down the road such as ranking well on search engines which we'll cover later on in this video series it is important to learn how the various headings h1 h2 h3 and so on should be ordered their pages content should start with an h1 heading because the h1 heading is your top level or main heading it's followed by h2 headings and then the h2s are followed by the less important h3 s and so on typically there's only one h1 heading on a single page but there may be multiple lower degree headings such as h2s and H threes also another common mistake that's easy for a beginner to make is to style text to give the visual appearance of headings it's tempting to simply change the text formatting by increasing font size or making it bold or whatever however this is not a heading and is incorrect use actual heading tags the h1 through h6 tags for all content headings now that you understand the importance of structuring both your page and its content let's talk about changing the design of your website's template this is the physical appearance of your website which as you may suspect is also very important as I mentioned in the previous step website builders by nature are meant to offer pre-designed templates that are effective and ready to go you pick a template that matches your style and then you make some quick edits by swapping out text and images and you're basically done however you are by no means limited to the template you have selected here in Wix I can fully customize the template or even delete it and redesign it from scratch as I mentioned earlier the design of your website depends on your creativity and the dedication you're willing to put into it although most modern website builders today do come with some nicely pre-designed templates there are a few important modifications to make regardless of what template you choose when you pick a template for your own website at the bare minimum you'll want to make the following modifications the first is color using the right colors on your website is not only important for the design but for your business branding and product marketing as well if your business already has an existing color scheme then you'll want to use those colors on your website if you don't then now is the time to determine a good new color scheme note color psychology is often used in marketing different colors have different meanings associated with them and is a good idea to choose a color that matches your type of business just look around and you'll see evidence of this marketing strategy fast food restaurants are usually red and orange banks and financial institutions are often blue while luxury products are typically packaged in black on the web colors are determined by using a hexadecimal value for example the color red is defined as hashtag FF 0 0 0 in hexadecimal it's important to understand and use your website's colors in their X decimal value as you'll need it to get the exact color down at time when you determine your website's colors write down each of the colors hexadecimal value and a notepad so that you can always reference them later these colors are important and now a part of your business branding after you determine your website colors you can start swapping them into your template some website builders like Wix allow you to add and save your colors within the editor to make using them later easier note if you're having difficulty choosing a good color scheme there are several great tools you can find online including this color wheel from Adobe the next modification for your template is typography typography and the font faces you choose have an impact on multiple aspects of your website including readability mood perceived article length user experience and more just like with color there is a psychology to it that can give your viewer an impression about your message before they even begin to actually read it spend time looking at the different fonts your website builder provides remember you want to choose a style that best expresses all the multiple aspects typography conveys in general is best to only use two or three different font types throughout your entire website for example you could use one font for your headings and another font for your body text and if needed you could use a third font perhaps for the navigation menu or for Contin then needs to stand out from the others be sure to choose fonts that go well together once you've chosen your new font faces you'll want to check out the font size font size is typically measured in pixels for most website builders make sure your font size is legible for your readers especially for the body text most body text on a web page is usually about 16 pixels in size headings are typically larger and of course they vary depending upon your website's design and the font face you choose it is okay to use multiple sizes for different headings for example an h1 heading can be 36 pixels in size while an h2 heading might only be 30 pixels in size and an h3 might even be 24 Axel's in general just remember to use fonts on your website that matched the mood and style of your business that looked good together and they're sized appropriately so that your text is legible the last modification for any template is changing the default images fortunately images are very easily swappable in website builders and you should do so although it may be tempting to use the stack images that come with your website template it's better to swap them out with your own custom ones especially for local small business owners you should almost always use images of your own real business for example Sara shouldn't use stock images of a bakery shop she should use real images of her own bakery shop and most definitely she'd want to use real images of the goodies she bakes every day not just a stock image of a generic product note I want to mention that stock images are not always a bad choice most website builders like Wix offer a variety of free and paid stock images that you can use on your website these images are professionally shot and usually look really good using stock images really depends on the type of business you have and how you use them that being said more often than not using your own real images are usually the best choice for a small business if you don't have a good camera or are not very skilled in photography just have a friend do this or hire a local professional photographer using relevant good quality images that are your own are well worth the extra costs and time another common issue regardless of whether you're using stock images or your own is editing the image so that it perfectly blends in with the design of your website and by editing I mean more than just cropping resizing or enhancing the color of an image a well-designed website will use images with advanced image editing techniques as you can see in the examples below this really gives you a website a professional touch now unfortunately many small business owners won't have access or the knowledge to use Adobe Photoshop which is the industry standard tool that many professional web designers use to design web so you will be at a bit of a disadvantage here most website builders do have their own tools for basic image editing such as cropping and resizing however is typically very basic for more advanced image editing functionality there are some free image editors on the web that you can use if you'd really like to get creative you can check out our resource guide on creating website visuals for non designers to learn more so at this point you're already well on your way to having a good looking website I've already talked about modifying your templates color typography of images by applying these modifications your website should now be able to match your business's branding and utilize a unique custom design however there's just one more important aspect that relates to the design of your website that I want to talk about MS designing for mobile users in this modern day and age many of your website visitors will most likely be viewing your site on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones these devices have much smaller screen sizes than a desktop computer and thus the website will need to respond or adapt to a smaller screen size to look good on it this is technically called responsive web design you may have heard this term before as it is a popular topic it is important to make sure your website will be viewable and accessible to mobile devices most website builders will either offer responsive or adaptive templates that are suitable for both desktop and mobile viewers note that responsive design templates are ideal and hopefully soon every website builder will start to offer these in our case Wix currently offers adaptive templates we can switch editor view modes between design through the desktop and designing for the mobile in the mobile view you can make adjustments and hide less important elements to make your site look good on mobile screens you should preview your site on both modes to make sure everything looks great note the desktop and mobile versions of your website represent different viewing modes of the same website they are not separate websites therefore is best to design build and edit your entire web in the desktop view and then when finished switched to the mobile view and make the proper adjustments one last thing I want to talk about and something that you should continually keep in mind for your website is search engine optimization or SEO for sure SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in a search engines unpaid results in other words it basically means trying to get your website to rank well on search engines like Google and Bing so that people can find you when searching as you can imagine ranking well on search engines can be very beneficial for small business owners it can drive free traffic to your website including many leads and potential customers so it is very important to properly optimize your website for search engines for Sarah having new customers find and discover her bakery website on Google or Bing would be a huge advantage for her business there's a lot of work that goes into performing SEO on a website and I literally could create a whole video series on this topic alone so in the short time that we have I'm going to give you a crash course in SEO so that you can at least learn the basics there are two main components from performing SEO which is on-site and off-site just like it sounds I'm site refers to keep performing SEO work on your physical website whereas the off site refers to performing SEO work outside of your website to help clarify this some examples of on-site SEO work would include things like adding or optimizing title tags meta descriptions headings image alt attributes renaming URLs and more examples of off-site SEO work would include things like link building monitoring backlinks competitor analysis social media and more since off-site practices are outside the scope of this guide I'm going to cover the on-site practices which are important to apply when making your website there are many technical aspects when performing on-site SEO work fortunately most of these can all be easily accomplished with any good website builder in our case Wix even has an SEO wizard tool that will automatically show you what steps you can further take to optimize your website let's take a look at a typical web Paige here's an example of a webpage with an article less about freezing cookie-dough it's a blog post that Sarah wrote Emma sharing with her followers if she wants people to find her page on search engines she'll need to perform some SEO on site work to make the page more search engine friendly basically that means that she needs to make a few technical changes on the page to help search engines better understand what her page is about first she'll need to add a title tag to the page a title tag is an HTML tag that is placed inside your pages HTML code and will not be visibly seen on your page it is very important for SEO and every page on your website you contain one its purpose is to describe the contents of the page in a short concise description and search engines like Google use this title tag for ranking purposes they read the title tag description and then use it to help understand what your page is about search engines also normally display the title tag description as the link within their search engine results page furthermore title tags are commonly used by more than just search engines for example when you visit a web page your browser will display the title tag description on the menu bar and within the tab as well if you bookmark the page you'll see it again as the default name most social media platforms and other external sites will also use the title tag description as the default name when sharing for this reason title tag descriptions should be carefully constructed for both search engines and humans your description should be 60 characters or less and contain important keywords relevant to the content of the webpage they describe another important on site optimization is adding a meta description to your page just like the title tag the meta description is invisible on the page and gets placed behind the scenes in the pages HTML code the meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a more detailed description of the web page than the title tag it is commonly used on search engine result pages to display preview snippets for a given page because search engines list them at a description in this manner it's important to once again carefully construct your meta description for getting users to click on your page in the search results these short descriptions are your biggest opportunity to advertise content to searchers and to let them know exactly whether or not the given page contains the information they're looking for Meta Description should be a hundred sixty characters or less in length and contain keywords relevant to the content of the webpage they describe any website builder should allow you to easily add a title tag and meta description to each webpage in Wiggs you can easily add them by going to pages clicking the more button and I'm going to page SEO as you can see here there's a title description and keywords field note when adding your pages title tag and meta description you may notice that your website builder has a third option for meta keywords meta keywords aren't as important as they used to be and today they have no positive ranking influence on search engines like Google and Bing you can still add your relative keywords if you wish but since all major search engines ignore this I would recommend leaving it blank another important on site optimization is appropriately naming your page URL a lot of SEO work is simply about good naming conventions and accurately identifying what the content is about the same principle goes to naming your pages URL before you finish making your website is a good idea to name your pages URLs in a short descriptive manner for example Sara could name the page about freezing cookie dough with something like how to freeze cookie dough notice how the page URL is short and descriptive while containing keywords as well also note how every word is separated by a hyphen to help make the page URL more readable by humans in general it is counting practice to take your pages title tag or a shorter version of it and use that as a guideline to name your pages URL another important on site optimization is appropriately using keywords within your headings as I discussed earlier headings are used to structure content and both humans and search engines use them to help better understand what your content is about in terms of SEO use important keywords in your headings while also being careful to make sure your headings sound normal for humans as well another important on site optimization is telling search engines what your images are about since search engines currently can't understand what the image on your page is about you'll need to tell them by using what is called an alt attribute the alt attribute is basically a small piece of HTML code that specifies an alternative text for an image which will only show if the image cannot be displayed or if your viewer is using a screen reader web set filters make it really easy to add an alt tag to any image with wigs I simply click on the image and then click the Settings button if I scroll down you can see that I can easily add my image alt text in this spot right here search engines uses text to understand what the image is about therefore your alt text should be a short descriptive sentence explaining what the image is about be sure to use keywords for SEO but like with any description for search engines don't go overboard by using too many and always make it sound natural for humans one last optimization that I'd like to mention is ironically about hiding pages from search engines there may be certain pages such as your privacy policy and disclaimer page that you would actually want to hide from search engines I'm going to discuss more about these pages later on in the next video but typically these types of pages have the same text that's been copied and used among countless other websites on the web in the world of SEO this is called duplicate contents using duplicate content of any kind is a very bad practice for SEO and search engines don't like it therefore if you must use duplicate content on page you would want to hide that page from search engines by simply telling them not to index it most website builders will either call this hiding or no indexing note duplicate content is something that you always want to avoid some website builders use templates with pre-existing content that might already fit your website very well and it may be very tempting to keepa but remember that there could be thousands of websites out there already using that exact same content therefore I would highly recommend removing all the content that comes with your template and replacing it with your own original content I want to discuss ecommerce for your website as this is an important and beneficial topic for many small business owners and revenuers looking to sell something online getting back to our fictional example with Sarah and her bakery business Sarah would like for her customers to be able to shop and order some of her bakery goods directly online from her website after they placed the order online she would receive a notification of this and then shipped the order out to them via her preferred shipping method in order to do this Sarah will need to add an ecommerce store to her website fortunately most website builders support ecommerce and make it relatively easy to sell goods or services online you would add an ecommerce store to your website using a platform that your website builder provides each website builder is different and may use a different platform in our case Wix provides their own custom platform which I think works quite well note the platform your website builder uses is important as it affects the functionality and features your ecommerce store has and is limited to adding an e-commerce store is typically straightforward with most website builders in Wix we'd simply go to add store and then we would need to set up a few things like adding products coupons connecting a preferred payment method configuring shipping and tax and so on this may seem complicated but it's really pretty much self-explanatory of course this process will differ depending upon the website builder you are using once again I'm going to ask you to pause this video and refer to your website builders documentation on adding your ecommerce store this will help you understand how to add an ecommerce store using your own website builders specific platform note most website builders will require that you purchased an e-commerce plan in order to unlock and use an e-commerce store on your website as I mentioned earlier in step 2 make sure you've purchased an compatible plan I also want to point out that you can use PayPal for free on most website builders which is a simpler method for selling in a line keep in mind though that PayPal is very limited and does not have all the advanced features you would find in an ecommerce store using the PayPal option only works well for selling a few simple items if you're deciding between a complete ecommerce store or PayPal this really depends on the business you have and what kind of features you'll need when selling typically if you plan on selling a large number of products or require advanced e-commerce functionality then upgrading to the e-commerce plan is a better choice at this point you should by now have read your website builders documentation on e-commerce and have a good understanding of how to physically add an e-commerce store to your website since the technical aspect of doing this is fairly straightforward and is covered in your website builders documentation I want to focus on e-commerce best practices for displaying your default store pages so let's get started I just added an e-commerce store to Sarah's website within the Wix editor as you can see here I am in preview mode viewing the e-commerce store which is listing example products that Wix has automatically added to the store most website builders will Auto populate your store with example products that you can either delete or swap out within your editor let's take a look at one this example page serves as a placeholder with helpful dummy text and images to help you visualize the basic layout of the page naturally Sarah will need to replace this content with her own this page is called the product page and your platform uses this as a template to display each individual product that you have within your ecommerce store for example if I go back and then click on another product you'll see that we're now viewing a different product yet the page itself looks the same the product page is perhaps the most important page on the ecommerce store as typically this is where your viewer will decide to either purchase your product or not the first step to a good product page is crafting a well-written product title and description both the product title and description must provide accurate and descriptive information about the product remember your customers cannot touch or feel the product so it is your responsibility to describe it to them furthermore keep search engine optimization in mind by adding your targeted keywords within both your title and description feel free to include headings and bullet points within the product description as well also avoid using duplicate titles and descriptions and never copy or paste the generic manufacturers information which is already being used all over the Internet remember you want to avoid duplicate and lastly don't be afraid to craft a product description with 1000 words or more if the product warrants it the next step to a good product page is to use quality images and/or videos to showcase your product any image or video should be of the highest quality possible– hiring a professional photographer or investing in a good camera and some great lighting is money well spent for small products consider purchasing a professional photography box it will really make your product stand out the images you use are a reflection of your product and they will greatly affect your viewers buying decision also use multiple images with different angles so that the viewer can get an accurate all-around look at the product lastly don't forget about your images alt attribute add an alt description to each page for SEO another step to a good product page is adding social media share buttons this will encourage your customers to share the product with others to increase your products visibility another step to a good product page is adding customer reviews about the product note that unfortunately not all website builders may support this feature but if yours does this is something that you should definitely consider adding listing real customer reviews about your product will not only drive more sales but will help customers better understand if the product in question is right for them customer reviews are proven sales drivers and something the majority of consumers will want to see before deciding to make it purchase now that you have a good product page in place let's go back to the store page we saw earlier and talked about categorizing products all e-commerce platforms will allow you to apply your products to a category so that you can organize your products in a more efficient manner for example say Sarah added several dozen products to her ecommerce store she will want to better organize her products by grouping similar ones into categories such as adding her strawberry bliss shortcake and raspberry delight chocolate cake to a category named something like cakes while adding her 20 or carrot cupcake to a category name something like cupcakes this is just good practice and will keep your store in better order note in wigs they call this collections instead of categories as you can see here I've restructured Sarah's store page by using categories this is much better than the original default layout now that we have the store page properly categorized and a good product page in place the next page is within your store are typically for the shopping cart and for the purchase confirmation or Thank You page as Wix calls it these pages typically are ready to go so there's not too much work to do here but it's still a good idea to check them with Wix we have very limited customization on these particular pages such as changing the basic font font size and font color just like with the product page be sure to apply the style that best matches the same styling should be consistent throughout your entire ecommerce store last but not least you'll need to add your policy pages these are your business's return policy Terms & Conditions policy and the privacy policy which is required by law in the US any e-commerce platform should provide an option for you to easily add this information in wigs you can go to my store manage your store store settings and scroll down until you see policies then you can simply copy and paste your policies into their appropriate spots if I click preview checkout page you can see that Wix will add these to the bottom of your stores checkout page it's also a good practice to add these links to the bottom of every page within your footer so that your viewers can easily find your policies furthermore you'll most likely want to hide these policy pages from search engines as these types of pages are irrelevant and often contain duplicate content which remember is bad for SEO note if you don't have any existing policies you'll need to create them there are a variety of free policy generators online that you can use to help serve as a basic template for your business I would recommend checking these out and consulting with your lawyer as well to make sure your policies adhere to any laws and regulations as I briefly mentioned earlier in step two your website will not be visible to the public until you publish it publishing your website is really easy simply log into your website editor and click publish it's that easy your website will now be live and ready for your customers to view note remember to assign the professional domain name you chose in step two to your website to give it a professional URL address be sure to test your website by logging out of your website builder and visiting it via your new domain name address browse through every page and make sure everything looks good at this point you now officially have a website congratulations however before I in this video series I want to conclude it by discussing what you can do next and how to successfully manage your website now that's built managing and maintaining your website is where the real work comes in unfortunately you can't just build a website and leave it alone expecting it to help your business grow you need to continually work on it think of your website as an investment that requires your continual care and attention before it can yield any return this means continually keeping your website up to date like adding new content updating existing content and removing old content so that all information on your website is accurate for your viewers you need to test it and tweak it and continually optimize it for better conversion rates furthermore you'll need to market your website and actively review website traffic and behavior along with a variety of other tasks now some of these do depend on how much time and money you have available but in general the more tasks you accomplish the more you keep your website competitive and successful so at the very least here's some further tests to complete along with some additional things that you may want to consider first and foremost you should get a professional email address set up now that you have a website using a professional email address with your domain is a must for any business never respond to your customers via their email service always use a professional email address with your website domain an example of this would be something like support at my domain name.com or info at my domain name.com it is okay to create different email addresses for different purposes or departments within your business for example Sarah could use orders at Sarah's bakery com to send an order confirmation email to her customers yet display an info at sirs very calm email address on her website for general inquiries to get started on this task refer to your website builders documentation on how to create email addresses next you may want to consider adding a blog to your website a blog can be beneficial for your business in numerous ways such as the tracking weeds writing about your expertise and sharing it creating a conversation for your customers and many more to get started on this task once again refer to your website builders documentation and how to add a blog in Wix you can easily accomplish this by logging into your website builders editor and then click Add blog to get started next you may want to add Google Analytics to your website so that you can start collecting analytical data about your website in its traffic even if you don't plan on using this data anytime soon it's still a good idea to start collecting it so that you have it for when you do Google Analytics is a free service from Google but less you measure sales and conversions along with useful insights on how your visitors use your website how they arrived on your website and how you can keep them coming back ultimately this data can be very beneficial in understanding your viewers behaviors and can help you determine what works and what doesn't for your website next you should consider claiming you google my business account this depends on the type of business you have but for small business owners that do business locally with a physical address such as saira and/or bakery shop this is an important task your goal should be to rank well on Google's local search and claiming a Google my business account is the first step to accomplishing that goal if you perform a search for any local business service on Google you'll see that there's three top-rated businesses displayed at the very top of the page this section is called the 3 pack and it's understandably the coveted position for any local business owner ranking well on Google takes time which is why you should get started with a Google my business account as soon as you can this is a great way to clean your business location and brand in Google search another task to consider it is setting up and using social media virtually every major business now uses social media to communicate with customers in fact it's become such a popular customer communication tool that many customers expect it from a business large or small you can manage support queries product and service questions and share content related to your industry you don't need to be present on every social media network but you should be present on the ones that make sense next you should consider collecting online reviews to showcase on your website and if possible acquire a positive rating from the Better Business Bureau surveys show that 88% of consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of the local business when you also factor in the popularity of online directories like Yelp you'll quickly realize how important it is to start collecting online reviews and increase positive feedback for your business next to consider is paid marketing for your website any new website exists in a virtual void until you actually start marketing it even if you have a small budget paid marketing can instantly drive new visitors and potential customers to your website there are a number of marketing services available for you to consider as well I already discussed the importance of social media and you can use paid social media marketing as one method to market your website another popular method that works well for many small businesses is pay-per-click ads popular pay-per-click advertising includes Google Adwords and Bing ads pay-per-click can be very effective but also very expensive is not properly utilized define your budget and manage your ads appropriately for a good return on your investment next to consider is SEO done properly SEO can greatly help your business grow on the web however hiring a professional SEO company is an important decision that shouldn't be taken lightly do your research and take careful consideration in your hiring approach SEO can also be very expensive so make sure you have a budget set aside as you can see there's a lot more work ahead now that your new website is been built managing and maintaining your website will require hard work and dedication in order for it to succeed I would highly recommend setting aside a budget for marketing search engine optimization and other paid tests as well however if you cannot afford this just yet that's still okay at this point you can focus on the free tasks I mentioned earlier and work on keeping your website continually up-to-date for your readers remember your website is ultimately all about providing them with accurate information in an efficient manner ultimately the success of your website relies upon you keep your website up to date and instep with the latest website best practices and then eventually when you can start testing some paid marketing strategies you've reached the end of this video series and I want to thank you for watching by now you should have a solid understanding of how you can make your own website I hope that you found this video series as fun as it was for me to teach it keep in touch and good luck with your new website .

Video Discription

Try Wix for free here:
To learn more, check out our full article:

In this special video tutorial, that we created together with our partner website HowToGetOnline.com, we’re going to go through the process of creating a website step by step. I am using Wix to build a fictional bakery website for Sarah’s Bakery. Please note that you can follow the video along even if you are using a different website builder.

This is Sarah’s bakery website:

Video Contents:

0:49 Meet Sarah and her plan for the website
2:22 Outline of the 5 main steps of this video
2:53 The Planning Stage
3:52 Determining the purpose & functionality of your website
4:56 Creating a site outline (using pen and paper)
8:12 Analyse your competitors
9:28 Brainstorming content (for each individual page)
10:17 Choosing a domain name
12:51 What do I need to make a website?
15:12 Finding and setting up a website builder: further information:
16:30 Selecting a website template in Wix
19:12 Choosing a paid plan for your website
19:53 Building your website with Wix
20:47 Structural elements of a web page
23:42 Designing your website (colors, fonts, images etc.)
31:15 Design for mobile users (responsive web design)
32:44 Optimizing for search engines (SEO)
41:54 Adding an ecommerce store
51:17 Publishing your website
52:11 Managing & maintaining your website
53:17 Use a professional email address (with your domain)
58:23 Finishing up

Let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to leave a comment!