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What’s Involved in Making a Website? The 2024 Guide

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    A fresh, shiny new website? It could be just what you need to take your business to the next level this year. Whether it’s a bit of a makeover – or a brand new site from scratch – now’s a good time to do it.


    I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but I have to ask… are you sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for? I’m not trying to burst any bubbles. I swear! But I do want to make sure you’re prepared for what’s involved in building a website.

    Now personally, I love everything that comes with the website creation process. But not everyone feels the same. There’s certainly a lot of work and effort that needs to be done to get a site up and running. Especially if you’re looking to create the sort of website that you're actually proud of and that delivers leads and conversions (or whatever your business goals are).

    Speaking of which – what are your website goals? What do you want from your website?

    Well, that’s obviously up to you. But it doesn’t hurt to have a quick look at what’s happening right now. Let's get some inspiration and see what's important for 2024.

    2024 web design trends

    Web design and development trends change pretty quickly. But there are a few that seem to stick around for a while. Why? Because they really work. They actually deliver what people want. So if you’re thinking about what you want in a website, these are some good places to start.

    So what’s still hot for 2024?

    A focus on UX

    Obviously, we’ve got user experience (UX). That’s a no-brainer. You don’t want your users sitting at home screaming at their computers, do you? It’s probably best to try and avoid that if you can. So for the new year, there’s really going to be an intense focus on creating good, intuitive architecture; designs, layouts, navigation, and structure that’s just ‘natural’. Using your website should be almost like second nature. Visitors don’t want to have to dig to find what they want. They like ease. So give it to them!

    Minimalism with a zing

    In terms of design itself, we’re definitely moving into a world that’s minimalist, but with a twist. The emerging trend is for websites to look pretty simple and straightforward on the surface. A clutter-free, minimalist design – but with a few unexpected surprises that add more ‘oomph’ to the on-site experience.

    This could be something as basic as gradient backgrounds, which look clean yet add a level of depth that a plain background just can’t provide. Or something more involved like animated scrolling, where the movement of the mouse triggers an on-page action. Perhaps parallax scrolling, where the text and background scroll at different speeds. This can give your site an almost 3D effect, so it’s more like an immersive experience.

    This focus on minimalism also greatly boosts the whole UX thing we just spoke about. Less clutter = easy to use.

    A minimalist design I did, emphasising the white space resurgence which is deeply linked with minimalism.

    Eco-friendly websites

    Another important trend that we should all be paying attention to is eco-friendly websites. As the world (thankfully) is becoming more eco-conscious, people are putting more thought into the carbon impact of their websites. There are ways to test the carbon impact of a site: for example, this free Website Carbon Calculator . I wrote all about how you can ensure your website has a low carbon impact in this article .

    Known as "low-carbon websites", "eco-friendly websites" or "sustainable web design", I'm sure we're going to be seeing more and more of these pop up.

    Website carbon calculators are becoming more and more popular. Here are the results for my website (pretty impressive tbh...).


    And of course, I can’t mention web design trends without giving an honourable mention to accessibility. Yes, we’ve all been talking about accessibility for the past few years. But the fact is it’s more important now than ever. If your audience can’t access and use your site, or people with specific needs aren’t being considered, what’s the point?

    Making it happen

    Hopefully I’ve given you a few little nuggets of inspiration there, and you might be feeling a bit clearer about what’s important to you when making a website. But – and you might not want to hear this – that’s the simple part! Figuring out what you want? Piece of cake! Making it happen? Well, that’s the (slightly) more involved bit. So… just what is involved in making a website in 2024?

    The way I see it, the whole process can be split up into three separate parts: the planning, the design & development, and the optimisation. Let me walk you through it so you can see what I mean.

    Wait right there! One thing you have to get right before you go building a website is your branding. This is a whole topic in itself, but in order to make a great website and online presence you need to get at least the basics:

    • Your purpose and values
    • Target audience
    • A business name and logo
    • Your tone of voice
    • Brand colours and fonts

    Don't try and skip this, it's like building on hollow ground. Getting these bits done at least to a basic level will ensure your website is aligned with the rest of your online and marketing presence!

    Part 1: Planning & Strategy

    You know when you’ve had that one room in the house that’s desperate for a lick of paint? And then you suddenly get a moment where you think, ‘Yep, this is it, today’s the day!’ It’s a good feeling, isn’t it? It is, until you realise that you’ve got to spend the first hour masking the skirting boards!

    Let’s be honest. Planning and preparation is the boring part. No one wants to do it. You just want to dive into the deep end. But it’s an essential first step. Just as you don’t want any paint on your light switches, you don’t want a website that looks rubbish or annoys your visitors. So get planning!

    What you're making, why and who for

    At this stage, you’ll probably want to be thinking about things like…

    • Your goals: what do you want your website to achieve? What results are you expecting?
    • Your target audience: who are you making the site for? What are they expecting?
    • Your information: what do you want to share through your site, and where will it all go?
    • Your site’s functionality: what will you need your website to do for you and your users?

    I’d suggest carrying out a customer analysis and a list of website requirements (what the site “must” or “could” do or contain) at this point, and creating wireframes that act as a sort of map for the overall layout of your site. It doesn’t all have to be perfect, but if you have a rough idea of what your customers need and how you’re going to give it to them, you’re on the right track.

    I can't stress the importance of having a strong strategy and plan behind your website. Really take a look at your business goals and think about how they translate to tangible goals on your website. Your overall website strategy should account for these (as well as your target audience, the tasks you need automating and the rest of your marketing presence/touchpoints), and this should shape what is on your website.

    How to make a website

    You’re also going to want to think about how you’re going to do it. That’s a pretty big one.

    Now, I might be able to guess what you’re thinking here. ‘I’ll just use WordPress.’ Am I close? WordPress is so popular, and I can see the appeal. But I’ve also been doing this long enough to know that plenty of people who set off down the DIY route end up with me, after a wrestling match with WordPress and Wix.

    I’m not going to tell you what to do. But I would suggest thinking this through, and perhaps looking into custom-built websites, or sites built using Webflow (affiliate link, but that doesn't change how much I rate it as a website platform), which are the two methods I use to build sites for clients.

    Part 2: Design & Development

    OK, on to the good stuff!

    Once you’ve got your strategy in place, it’s time to jump into the actual development and design of your site. This is the stage that involves all the coding (or not, if you’re using something like Webflow), the building, the testing, the integrations, and all the stuff that makes it look nice.

    There’s so much that goes on in this step that I could talk you to death about it. But I won’t. It’s not your time yet. So for now, I just want to talk about four of the most critical factors:

    1. Design

    Of course, we need to get the designs all drawn up at this stage. And ideally, this should all come from your users. What sort of experience are they looking for, and how can you give them that experience?

    Are they likely to be accessing your site from a mobile device (e.g. if they’re out shopping and they want to compare prices online)? If so, a responsive design that adapts to the requirements of the device is a pretty big thing to consider.

    You can think about accessibility here, too. Are big, flashy designs really worth it if your audience doesn't have the bandwidth to load them?

    2. Copy

    It’s not just about what your site looks like, but what’s on it, too. So what’s on yours?

    Remember that web copy has become one of the most important factors on any website. And ideally, you should be looking to have your standard web copy as well as fresh, regular content to keep visitors coming back for more.

    I’d recommend starting off with research to see what your target audience is searching for, then building a content strategy around those keywords to make sure you’re connecting with the right people. If it all sounds a bit much, this is something I can help you with.

    3. SEO

    Hang on a minute. Didn’t we just cover SEO in the paragraph above? Not exactly.

    There are two types of SEO. There’s content-related SEO, which is centred on keywords. Then there’s technical SEO, which is focused on… well, pretty much everything else! There are quite literally hundreds of ranking factors that Google uses to decide where your pages should show up in the search results. And a lot of them are to do with the design and development of your site.

    So we’ve got to consider elements like your domain registration, page loading speed, responsiveness, layout, architecture, and much more.

    4. Security

    As tempting as it may be, you can’t simply create a website and then slap a security layer over the top of it. That’s like keeping all your windows wide open, but locking your front door.

    Good websites are developed with security at the forefront. You’ll need to think about things like hosting – does your chosen provider offer DDoS (denial of service attack) protection, for example? Have you properly secured the backend to prevent unauthorised access? Are you backing up your work? Do you have an SSL certificate?

    There’s a lot that goes into website security, especially at a time when attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

    Part 3: Optimisation & Performance

    Think you can take a break once you go live? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but a website owner’s job is never done. In fact, to get the most out of your website and to ensure positive results, you have to keep giving your website the TLC it deserves to help you meet your business goals.

    Websites are pretty needy. It’s not their fault, of course. It’s because the world around them changes so quickly. This means that something that was working well yesterday might not be working as well today. And may not work at all tomorrow. We need to stay on top of this to keep it delivering results.


    One of the first things to think about here is going to be tweaking. The fact is that you can do all the audience analysis that you want… but until those people are actually there and interacting with your site, you can never know for sure exactly what they’re after. No one gets it 100% spot-on the first time. You’ll need to see how people are using your site, and optimise for best results.

    And even if you tweak and do get it spot-on, the fact is that it won’t remain spot-on for long! Behaviours change. And they change rapidly. So just because users are interacting with your site in a certain way today doesn’t necessarily mean they will be tomorrow. You’ll need to be prepared to keep monitoring behaviours and adjust as needed. And it’s not just your visitors that change. You change, too. As your business grows, you’ll need to make sure your site is growing alongside you.

    It's for this reason that I roll my clients onto a Maintenance and Growth plan by default. That way, even after launching you still have someone there continuously adding to and improving your site to help meet your business goals and adapt with the times. Which brings me on to...

    Continuously adding value

    You’ve also got to think about the fact that, once your visitors have interacted with everything they want to on your site – once they’ve absorbed all the information they’re interested in – there’s nothing left for them. Good site owners are continually adding value to their pages to keep visitors coming back for more. Something as simple as a new blog post every week, for example, can turn a one-time visitor into a regular fan.

    Depending on your business and your industry, you may need to post new content more frequently – or less frequently. But whatever you find is right for you, I can step in and help out if you need me to. So many people I work with know exactly what they want to say, but just don’t have time to put into words. That’s exactly what my content writing services are here to do (offered as part of our Maintenance and Growth plans).


    You can also look at performance here. When you’re building a site, it can sometimes be difficult to connect all the dots and see how what you’re building impacts real-world outcomes. So for example, you might have been wanting to build a super eco-friendly website, but your scores aren’t as good as you’d hoped. This is the point where you can go back and use tools like image compressors, or implement lazy loading, to boost performance and help you meet your goals.

    My 97 Google lighthouse mobile performance score. Once I actually got this to 100 - a perfect score. I find optimising a little addictive...

    Not forgetting, of course, all the maintenance tasks you’ll need to carry out, like updating plugins, fixing broken links, testing forms and continuously adding value. Don’t worry – I can help with all those things!

    And one final thing: promotion

    What’s the point of going through all this to create an amazing website if no one knows it’s there?

    Whether you're promoting your website via social media like LinkedIn or Instagram, or making sure your site is getting seen via continued and adapting SEO efforts - you have to make sure you're feeding your website regular visitors for it to be effective.

    See what I mean?

    New websites are exciting. But it’s really important to understand what’s involved. It’s usually not something you can just pull together in a matter of hours. If you did, it’s pretty likely you’d make something that’s a bit of an unusable mess. Not ideal if you want to launch a new website that’s really going to deliver value.

    There’s a lot involved in making a website. And honestly, it’s only going to get more involved as design and development trends continue to evolve.

    We’re already looking at artificial intelligence infiltrating web development. New trends like augmented reality, motion design, and voice user interfaces are on the way. Are you prepared for everything that comes with building a new website?

    How I can help

    If it all seems a bit overwhelming, don’t panic. I’m a big believer in the power of collaboration. I think we work best when we work together. That’s why I’m here to support you, however I can.

    • You’ve made your own DIY website, but your business is ready to grow with a new more professional website
    • You already have a decent website, but need help to freshen it up with new content
    • You have no idea where to begin, and want me to handle it all for you

    ...If any of these ring true, check out my services to find what’s right for you.

    And remember, I’m always here to help. Get in touch with me if you have any questions. Or if you’d prefer to have a chat, schedule a free consultation with me and we’ll take it from the top.

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