Everyone goes online these days to find information, do their research and pick out products or services to buy. That’s why your own websites or online portfolio should be the best it can be, helping to attract and retain visitors while turning them into paying customers.

But how you make your websites a success depends on a number of things. From its usability and content to its design and marketing – there are lots of ways to ensure your websites or online portfolio is working as it should.

I’ve put together these ’60 ways to create successful websites’ in the hope that you’ll benefit from having a strong online presence that’s turning web visitors into customers. If you’ve got any of your own suggestions, by all means please add them by commenting below.

Understanding your users

Before you even begin to design or build your website, it’s essential to go through a research process. There is no point in building a site unless you know who you’re building it for and that means you could mess up your navigation, design and content. If you follow these next 10 steps, you’ll not only plan a website that works – you’ll be satisfying the needs of the people you’re targeting. Do this now before you do anything else and you’ll also save money in the long run. Because poor planning can lead to expensive mistakes.

1. Know your customer: To get started, find out who your customers are by carrying out some initial research. Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? Are you targeting men only? Or just women? There’s no point in building a targeted website if you don’t know who your audience is.
2. User Research: Once you’ve established who you’re targeting, do some user research.  Find out what people need. Ask people direct and see what they look for the most when browsing other websites. Understanding people’s needs will help you to create the right focus and content for your site.
3. Understand what you want to learn: Before you start learning about the people you’re targeting, think about what you actually want to learn and why you want to learn it. User Research can reveal everything from shopping behaviour to getting a broader understanding of people’s web browsing habits. Don’t go around in confusing circles, actually think about what you want to learn about your target audience.
4. Go out there and ask questions: Now you understand what you want to learn about people, you should think about carrying out some proper market research. But remember, you really need to ask the right questions. Consider why people will go to your website, what they’ll learn there and what they’ll need to achieve their objectives of landing on your website.
5. Find out who to research: Are you going to research existing customers or potential new ones? Once you’ve identified who you want to research, you’ll have to find them. You can do this via formal or informal market research. If you go formal, you can hire a market research company and get them to speak to people themselves. But as the formal approach can be expensive, why not do things yourself and ask people via social media channels or even just speak to family and friends?

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