When you’re building any website, there are a few hard and fast rules that will always apply. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making something simple like a website for your wedding or something more complicated like a platform to connect members of your organization, the basic principles of “how to build a website” are the same for everyone. In this blog post we’ll share the basic best practices for building a website that you should keep in mind.

Best Practices for Building a Website:

  1. Think about the big picture first, and take care of the details later

  2. When most people start building a website, the common mistake they make at the start is focusing first on very specific aspects of their site, like choosing a background picture or deciding where to put a certain block of text. While these things do matter, spending too much time on them will make a website less organized and add a great deal of time to the process of building a website. What you should do instead when you start to build a website is:

    • Outline the strategy for what you want to achieve with your website
    • Decide on the image you want to present about yourself or your brand to your visitors (i.e. your website’s “aesthetic”)
    • Start to build out the most essential, “big picture” pieces of your website

    The “big picture” pieces of your website will be determined by Step 2…

  3. Before you build out the content, create a site map

  4. An example site map:

    Think of your site map as the skeleton of your website. The bubbles and lines in your site map are the bones that connect everything you build on your website together. When you build your website map:

    • Start at “Home”, and add all the main pages you want your website to have
    • Map out which pages navigate to which, and be sure to keep your map organized (like the image above)
    • Make sure the most important parts of your website get the highest accessibility

  5. Keep your website’s content concise

  6. Nielsen group estimates that you have about 10 seconds of a visitor’s time to get their attention and keep them on your page. Having huge, unbroken blocks of text on your site is a basic error often made when building a website, and unfortunately it can be one of the most damaging as it gives your visitors reason to navigate away. To avoid this error when you build your website:

    • Write 1 to 2 sentence paragraphs and keep the language simple and easy to read
    • Use headers to get the most important information across, and keep titles short
    • Use bullet points to highlight important points, and avoid using text in images

  7. Create clear “calls to action”

  8. Think back to your site map and the main goal you had when you set out building your website. The pages at the end of each line in your site map should have a direct call to action that accomplishes the overall goal you want from the people who visit your site. Below are a few examples of good, clear calls to action:

    • has their main call to action right at the center of the homepage, and it’s perfectly placed around short text and example images that entice you to click right away.
    • On, celebrity wine sommelier Sarah Tracey has a dual call to action on her website, as the newsletter subscription page also featured embedded posts from her Instagram, working as a secondary call to action to visit her social media page.
    • Simplicity is key, and’s homepage call to action works because the short header gives a full description of the app, the background image shows the app’s eye catching user interface, and the layout naturally points your attention down to the download buttons.

  9. Keep the look and feel of your website consistent throughout

  10. After you’ve built your website strategy, drawn your site map, optimized your content, and placed your calls to action, the last consideration you need to make is the overall feel of your website. This is where you need to give special attention to images, stylization, content placement, and anything else that comprises the “aesthetic” we discussed in at the beginning of the post. Think about:

    • Keeping your website’s color palette consistent
    • Using relevant (preferably high-def) images
    • Keeping content blocks separate and avoiding overlapping images or content that create a “cluttered” look

    Learning how to build a website that perfectly accomplishes everything you envision is not as difficult as it seems. If you keep these website building best practices in mind, your website will look and feel exactly how you want and will attract the visitors you’ve targeted for it.

    This is the first in a series of blog posts we’ll be sharing about best practices on the web, so stay tuned to learn about everything from picking a domain name to making your website secure. You can also head to for more in-depth information on how to build a website including logo design, using HTML/CSS, and more. Be sure to check back next month when we’ll discuss how to make your website mobile-friendly. Until then, head over to our YouTube channel to see more internet “how to’s”.

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