The best part is you don’t need to hire someone to build a custom-made design that will cost you thousands of dollars. Instead, you can use a website builder to create an interactive website that delights your visitors.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of building an interactive website in 10 easy steps.
1. Know Your Audience
The first step is to do market research to define your audience and identify the different buyer personas you’re targeting. Knowing your audience will help you provide the interactive experience they’re looking for, define your brand voice, and build a website structure that makes sense.
For this, you can build onto the existing research you’ve done to develop your product and use visitor metrics if you already have a website. Ask questions like:
- Who are your visitors in terms of demographics, location, behavior, etc.?
- How do they find your website? What search queries are they using?
- How can you provide an interactive experience that meets their needs?
2. Define Your Website Structure
The structure of your website is the skeleton you’ll build on. It needs to be easy for first-time visitors to navigate. If you confuse users, they’ll simply leave. The structure is not directly related to the interactivity of your website, but it helps lay the groundwork for it.
When you think about your website’s structure, start thinking about the different points of interaction you want to implement and what structure would make your website easy to navigate. A flat, horizontal structure is ideal for smaller websites with only a few categories, while a siloed structure works well for websites with many pages or products.
3. Choose the Interactive Elements You Want to Feature
Decide which interactive elements you’ll use and where they fit in the structure. Some examples include:
- Navigation menus
- Internal links
- Search bars
- Interactive graphics
- Downloadable content
- Embedded multimedia content
It’s important to note that it's better to use just a few of these elements at a time, so your website doesn't look cluttered.
4. Pick a Design
Next, you need to have someone build your design or simply pick a design theme from your preferred website builder. SEO-friendly website builders like Wix and SITE123 are an excellent alternative to custom-made websites, especially if you’re just getting started.
Pick a simple, clean design theme that will be easier to build and maintain. It will also provide a better user experience overall.
5. Make Sure Your Design Is Mobile-Friendly
Make sure you’ve selected a responsive, mobile-friendly design. Nearly 60% of web traffic comes from mobile, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on those users.
Thankfully, most themes provided by website builders are mobile-friendly, and most web designers understand the importance of responsive design.
6. Build Your Website
Now comes the fun part! Based on the structure, theme, and interactive elements you chose, you now need to actually build your website. Be sure to consider expert-backed web design tips during this step.
Most website builders have drag-and-drop editors that enable you to add or remove elements as needed, which is ideal for interactive websites.
7. Create a Simple, Easy-To-Use Navigation Menu
One of the first and most essential elements of an interactive website is its navigation menu. The navigation menu will help your users find their way around and interact with your website with ease.
Design your navigation menu based on your website structure from Step 2, and make sure it displays well on mobile devices too.
8. Create and Add Interactive Elements
To create and embed interactive elements, you can use plugins. For example, Wix has 250+ ready-to-use plugins on its Wix App Market.
You don’t have to do everything at once—In fact, it’s better if you don’t. Add new elements one by one and take the time to analyze the results. This will help you identify what works best for your audience and what doesn’t.
If you suddenly lose traffic or your conversion rate drops, you need to be able to take a step back and address the issue. If you have added five new elements overnight, you won’t know which one you need to fix or remove. Roll out new interactive elements every week or even every second week.
9. Optimize for Speed and Performance
Nothing can sour the user experience like a sluggish website that takes too long to load. These factors can be easy to forget when building an interactive website. There are many things you can do to optimize your site for speed and performance, but here are some of the basics:
- Resize large images
- Keep plugins and your website builder up to date
- Use a content delivery network
- Use the right hosting service for your website’s traffic
10. Collect and Analyze Data
The last step involves continuous analysis and optimization. Collect data on your users' interactions with your website and take the time to analyze it to see what drives results and what doesn't.
The goal is to identify:
- What brings users to your website
- How they interact with it
- What persuades them to take an action
- What makes them leave
The last point is crucial, as it’ll give you an idea of the issues you need to address to improve the user experience even further. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are excellent starting points, as they enable you to look into user behavior and the website's performance.
Building an Interactive Website Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
You can improve user engagement, boost brand awareness, and drive more sales with an interactive website. And the good news is that you can get started right away with a website builder like SITE123 or Wix by following the steps outlined above. Alternatively, you can hire someone to build a customized website from scratch and tweak every detail exactly as you want.