12 Steps to Build a Better Website

Small Business Website – 12 Step Process

Use these 12 Steps to Build a Better Website – professional process.

You need to build or rebuild your small business website. Here is a straightforward guide for designing and developing a modern Responsive website powered by a content management system (CMS). Responsive website refers to the websites design ability to be optimized for all screen sizes and devices.

The following #techsavvy small business website design and development process outline is freely provided by Mark Derho. Build your website yourself, or effectively manage the building a modern search-optimized Responsive WordPress website and save money and time.

Please share these 12 Steps to Build a Better Website if you find them helpful 

I personally use recommend free WordPress.org for building your website; an Open-GPL License, PHP-based, CMS Blog and Website Builder. WordPress.org does not offer web hosting.

WordPress is the top CMS and powers 25% of all sites across the web; a free website content management system (CMS) which is versatile, powerful and the most popular small business website design and development platform in the world. WordPress is open-source and free to use and modify and is supported by a robust online community.

I do not personally recommend WordPress.com for site hosting or building your website. It is powered by WordPress.org (Open and Free) but is a limited version, more similar to Wix and SquareSpace. I  also do not recommend GoDaddy Website Builder, Wix, SquareSpace or the many other WYSIWYG’s.

Grow your small business – we can help!

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12 Steps to Build a Better Website

  1. Business Research – Small Business Owner (SBO)
  2. Specialty SEO and Keyword Research – Tools
  3. Domain and Hosting
  4. Server Security
  5. Source Images and Content
  6. Plan and Mock-up
  7. Design Webpages
  8. Write Content
  9. Organic (on-page) Search Engine Optimization
  10. Analytics and Site Reporting
  11. Website Documentation
  12. Quality Assurance Testing

Website Design

I want to build your website. Tech Savvy NYC is a digital marketing agency.

1) Business Research – Small Business Owner (SBO)

  1. Business knowledge
  2. Industry knowledge
  3. Ideas and goals
  4. Participate in website building process

Meeting in-person is ideal if possible to discuss the individual business directly with the business owner. Spending 1-1 time and absorbing business knowledge about the owners own small business is usually a great investment of time. They have unique insight and information regarding their own business. It is also important to work with the SBO to establish time and financial expectations.

SBO’s know about their competitors and have industry knowledge about what differentiates their products or service. SBO special insight earned though financial investment and actual experience is unparalleled. This experience usually extends to the industry in which they compete and often the local community in which they operate.

SBO’s may also wish to take this opportunity to discuss business and marketing goals and ideas, plot a tiered-strategy, and determine specific courses of action. More doors can open after proving technology capability.

One of the most clear benefits of working directly with the SBO is having them participate in the website building process. Suggesting WordPress themes and design styles for review, and asking the SBO to show you examples of websites they like gives you an idea of what they want and like… which expedites the mock-up process.

SBO’s are well served to participate in the website building process to integrate business goals and leverage unique industry and business knowledge.

– Mark Derho

Finally, the more involved the SBO in building the website, the more ownership they are apt and able to take for the final result. The client will be happiest when the result reflect what they want and expect to see.

2) Specialty SEO and Keyword Research / Tools

  1. Competitor source code
  2. Google AdWords Keyword Planner
  3. MOZ Open Data Explorer
  4. SEO Site Checkup
  5. Similar Web
  6. Spyfu

SEO Research is a large-part of what makes-up being an SEO profesional. Though the subject cannot nearly be covered in entirety here or briefly.


My strong recommendation is to grow your small business with measurable SEO optimization goals, and realize value from your website. An SEO and website audit includes a competitive review and keyword research. With a #techsavvy project plan with a clear outline plus modern talent and strategies, local businesses can often rank on the first page of Google and generate quality leads quickly. Realize the enormous potential of SEO with modern strategies and the services of a small business digital marketing agency.

Do it right the first time, measure and improve.

– Mark Derho

3) Domain and Hosting

  1. Establish or transfer domain
  2. Establish or transfer hosting account
  3. Setup staging server for development
  4. Install WordPress CMS
  5. Install preferred WordPress Responsive Theme
  6. Install all Plugins
  7. Website Migration

4) Server Security

  1. Purchase SSL Certificate and manage process
  2. Install SSL Certificate
  3. Website security measures

I’ll (1) install your SSL certificate and (2) validate it for up 10 years and (3) update your website URL’s to HTTPS. Green padlock trust indicator and website security.

– Mark Derho

5) Source Images and Content

  1. Original photography
  2. Stock photos or video
  3. Articles

6) Plan and Mock-up

  1. Define page structure (navigation menu)
  2. Document individual page functionality
  3. Design mock-up of website pages
    1. Balsamiq

7) Design Webpages

  1. Determine color pallette
  2. Create coordinated and branded icons and logos
  3. Unique SEO optimized H1 (x1) and H2 (x2) headers to each page
  4. Add Keywords
  5. Insert images and media
  6. Integrate API’s and Plugins

8) Write Content

  1. Write original keyword-optimized text content based on research
  2. Place content in pages replacing FPO text
  3. Organically search-optimize content, while maintaining readability

9) Organic (on-page) Search Engine Optimization

  1. Optimize pages per Yoast SEO
  2. Manually optimize all content, titles, headers, tags, images, links, etc.
  3. XML Sitemap

10) Analytics and Website Reporting

  1. Install Google Analytics
  2. Install Google Search Console

11) Website Documentation

  1. User Guides
  2. Disclaimers
  3. Waivers
  4. FAQ’s

12) Quality Assurance Testing

  1. Functionality
  2. Spelling
  3. Browsers
  4. Devices
  5. Operating Systems
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