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How to build a professional website

It's all about simplicity.
A strong professional website is great way to stand out from the crowd.iStock

Whether you’re a small business looking to branch out or someone looking to change career paths or strengthen their personal brand, having a professional website is a great way to scale your efforts.

But it’s something that people don’t always recognize or take advantage of says, Adam Wozney, the community manager at Wix, a company that provides free online website-building templates.

“Having a website is the perfect way to differentiate yourself from your competition,” he explains. “It’s something that can really showcase who you are in a unique way and it’s 100 percent customizable.”

Wozney gave us some tips for creating a successful professional website:

Identify one clear goal

Before you even begin to tackle the design, the first thing you should do is make a list of all the possible goals you have for your website —whether it’s getting people to follow you on social media, subscribe to your blog or YouTube channel or maybe even purchase a product— and then narrow it down to one main goal, says Wozney.

He gives the example of Google’s landing page: “Google has been around for 17-plus years, and has their home page really changed in that time? No. Because they have one singular goal — they want people to search for things.” Plus, “with so much online, it very easy to get lost in the shuffle,” he explains.

Keep the design simple

When it comes to creating a strong website, simplicity is key, says Wozney. That means using a maximum of four colors and three fonts. “Anything more just feels cluttered and it becomes visually difficult to read,” he explains.

Overall, when plugging in content, you should be thinking of your website as a newspaper, he adds: “You have the headline, subheadline, the text — and that’s it.”

SEO optimize

Making sure that your website is search engine optimized is the best way to drive traffic to your page, says Wozney. The easier it is for search engines to read your content, the more likely it is that you’ll show up in organic results, which is why it’s important to keep your copy simple. “When it comes to content, you should make sure you’re writing it for an eighth-grade audience,” he explains. You should also be including keywords throughout. “Say you’re a coffee shop in Brooklyn, you might say: We have the best coffee in Brooklyn,” he continues. “Just make sure keywords don’t exceed more than four to 5 percent of your copy.”

Update content

It’s important to keep a regular pulse on your website and update your content once in awhile, Wozney explains. If you’re photographer who has 300 new pictures to upload, rather than putting them all up at once, he suggests uploading 50 when your website launches, and then setting up a schedule where you post a couple of new pictures once or twice a week. “Keeping active on your website through uploading pictures or copy is a great way to let search engines know, ‘Hey, I’m alive, and I’m posting things that are relevant to the people searching for exactly what I’m talking about,” explains Wozney, “and that’s just another factor that goes into getting found online.”

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