You’re wondering “What do I need to build a website? What are the necessary website requirements?”
Every time you find a gorgeous-looking website online you’re certain that this website was built by a team of professional developers.
Know what? A while ago I had the same impression too and, so I decided to learn how to code.
However, a few years later I found out I was wrong and that you don’t have to learn programming languages to just build a website.
All you must do is take advantage of tools that can help you build a website while you have zero coding experience.
Before we look at the 8 necessary website requirements let’s first see why you should build a website.
Why you should build a website
At this point in time the virtual world is dominating the real world… everyone is constantly on their mobile phones scrolling through social media feeds trying to satisfy their short-term needs.
Besides looking at funny videos and where their friends checked in lately, people use the Internet (i.e. the virtual world) for good purposes as well.
They try, for example, to find useful information online and solutions to their daily problems in the form of services and products.
If you offer any type of services or products, if you are an online entrepreneur, a coach, a therapist, a plumber, a teacher or a grocery store owner it’s almost certain that people are looking for what you have to offer online.
So, for them to find you, you need to establish a digital presence. A digital presence can be further divided in two things:
- Social media presence
- Website presence
The Social Media Trap
Social media presence basically means having set up social media profiles for your business on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest etc.
Creating these profiles is super easy (even for dummies) and that’s why most of the times people start creating social media profiles before they create their website.
Setting up these accounts is a good practice but it’s not enough… if you rely on having a digital presence only through social media then you won’t go far.
The reason for that is simply because you don’t have enough control over those platforms, meaning that you can’t do anything you want on Facebook for example…
The things you can do are limited to displaying basic information about you and posting stuff online. In other words, you can’t change the blue color of Facebook or you can’t display a contact form for your online visitors.
You can’t create a unique online experience without a website.
Fortunately, these things (and many more) can be done through a website. And depending on the platform you choose for building your website you can have almost full control over your digital presence.
Website Requirements Checklist
If you are convinced by now that you need a website, then continue reading to see 8 website requirements for building a website.
These 8 website requirements are the bare minimum that you’ll need assuming that you don’t want to build an eCommerce store or a mobile application.
#1 Register a Domain Name
The first thing you need is to register a domain name.
A domain name is your website’s digital identification number that makes it unique among million other websites.
The domain name of the website that you’re currently on is lifeproficiency.com.
A domain name is divided into its subdomain (lifeproficiency) and its top-level domain (.com).
You should always aim to register a .com domain as it’s the most popular and recognized by most people.
If a .com is not available other good alternatives are .co or your country’s top-level domain (.co.uk, .nl, .gr, .ca, .de).
How can I register a domain name?
There are companies that are domain name registrars and offer this type of service.
Another alternative is to buy a domain name through a hosting provider like SiteGround (see requirement #3).
If you decide to not buy hosting separately, I would recommend either Namecheap or GoDaddy (they are not much different).
If you end up buying hosting, my recommendation is to buy your domain name through SiteGround, so as you have both hosting and domain name in one place.
#2 Choose website building software
Website building software helps you build a website yourself without having to hire a website developer to do it.
It offers you a visual editor that helps you build your website by drugging and dropping elements (text, images etc.) into your pages.
There are many website builders to choose from. Below are 4 of the most popular ones.
- WordPress: Probably the most popular one. It can integrate with any other service out there and the customization it offers can give you full control over your website.
- Wix: A good choice for beginners. Wix can help you build a simple website fast.
However, its administrator dashboard (the place where you manage everything) is not so straightforward and it’s also a bit buggy which can get you frustrated.
Also, Wix doesn’t let you edit the code of its templates and in some cases you (or a developer you hired) may need to.
- Weebly: Another great option for people who are afraid of technology, as it’s an easy to use platform.
- Squarespace: Design oriented that has probably the most beautifully designed templates among all four choices.
Squarespace, however, doesn’t offer full code access to heavily customize your design.
If you want to be 100% flexible and have a fast, secure, beautifully designed and conversion optimized website then you need WordPress.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
Two types of WordPress platforms exist: wordpress.org and wordpress.com.
WordPress.com is a site that will let you create a free blog and provide free hosting, but your domain name will always end with wordpress.com.
I do not recommend you use wordpress.com. WordPress.org is what the big boys use.
#3 Get Website Hosting
Website hosting are the servers (i.e. computers on a remote location that are always on) where your website lives in.
You’ll have to take care of hosting only if you decide to choose WordPress as your website builder.
The other 3 platforms manage the hosting part for you.
I’ve done a lot of research to find the best hosting solution for WordPress.
And ‘best’ in this case means a server that makes your website load fast and it’s also affordable. For that I recommend SiteGround.
#4 Get a business email address
This one you shouldn’t skip. There’s always this type of people (myself included) who may say: “Oh they are using a Gmail email account for their business. That’s not professional at all”.
In other words, when you use an firstname.lastname@example.org email address for your business, people think that you’re not taking things seriously.
If you opt in for WordPress and Siteground you can get free business email addresses (email@example.com) along with your Siteground subscription.
If you go with one of the other 3 platforms (Wix, Weebly or Squarespace) then you can use Gmail’s G Suite service which offers you a business email address for $5 per month.
#5 Make sure your website has an SSL certificate
What is this again? When a website has an SSL certificate installed then its URL starts with https and web browsers (Google Chrome etc.) show a lock symbol on the left side of the URL bar.
However, when you don’t have one then your URL will start with http and web browsers will display a Not Secure message in the URL bar.
Why should I bother having an SSL certificate?
Because of 3 reasons:
- People have started noticing the absence of it, so having one works as a trust factor towards your website’s visitors.
- If you ever decide to accept credit card payments on your website, you won’t be able to do it without an SSL certificate.
- It helps you rank on Google search results. In other words, Google will penalize your website and not rank it high enough, if you don’t have an SSL certificate installed.
An SSL certificate is available with all 4 website builders mentioned in this article. All you have to do is find out how to enable it (if it’s not enabled already by default).
#6 Choose a Website Template Design
Using templates when you start building your website is a brilliant choice. Why? Because most of the times these templates are designed by professional designers.
If you are not a website designer, it's easy to create a poorly designed website.
But if you load a template into your website and start editing its content then the result can look way better.
If you are using a fully managed website builder (Wix, Squarespace and Weebly) they provide you with free template designs.
If you are using a free self-hosted website builder, like WordPress, you can get the best template designs at Thrive Themes.
Thrive Themes are a series of conversion optimized WordPress plugins that help you build beautiful websites that can attract visitors.
They are extremely powerful as besides template designs, they provide you with tools for email marketing, quiz builders… even online courses hosting!
#7 High quality images
A website can’t exist only with text. You need images, in order to convey messages efficiently and complement your text.
Where do I get high quality images?
You can either:
- Pull out your mobile phone or camera and start taking pictures of objects, nature, people (including yourself) and put them on your website
- If you don’t have good enough skills to do the above, you can either find a photographer to help you on popular freelancing sites like Freelancer.com or Upwork
- Online you can find and use royalty-free high-quality images called stock images. Websites where you can look are:
Pexels.com (free), Pixabay.com (free), Unsplash.com (free), Shutterstock.com (paid)
#8 Image editors
Most of the times the images you’ll either take with a camera or download from a stock images website will need some modification.
You may want to make them smaller in size (you should actually do that) or you may want to adjust things like the contrast or the saturation of an image.
If you have satisfied all the above 8 website requirements, you’ll be able to create a nice-looking website and offer a decent user experience to your online visitors.
With that said, you can add to the mix 2 more things. They are optional when you start up, but you may end up needing them in the long term.
BONUS #9 Logo Design
When you are starting out a logo is non-mandatory to have. What you can have instead is the name of your company displayed on your website in a nice-looking font.
Later though you may want to change that to an actual logo. You have 2 options here:
BONUS #10 Get Analytics
- how many people visited your website,
- from which location or device, they accessed your website
- how long they stayed on your site
- how visitors came to your site (through Google, social media etc.)
- your most popular pages
You don’t need Google analytics in the beginning, but after a certain point you may want to know what happens on your website...
Are people actually visiting it or did you do all the above in vain?
Another more advanced analytics tool you can use is Hotjar that helps you understand your users' behavior in a more visual way.
Recap of tools Recommendations (aka What i use)
- Domain Name Registrar: SiteGround
- Website Builder: WordPress - Best overall builder that gives you full control
- Website Hosting (for WordPress): SiteGround
- Business Email Address: SiteGround
- SSL Certificate: SiteGround
- Website Template Design: Thrive Themes
- High Quality Images: Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash & Shutterstock
- Image Editors: Photoshop & Pixlr
- Logo Design: Canva & Fiverr
- Analytics: Google Analytics & Hotjar
Take action! Your personalized tool set
These website requirements were a lot, weren't they? What’s the best combination of tools for your specific case though?
I’ve created a short quiz that will reveal to you what website building software you should use depending on your background and the time you have available.