22 Aug Ep. 32: Building a Successful Website
Websites. Ya can’t live without them. Yet, they also really make you want to pull your hair out. There are online do-it-yourself versions. There are agencies that can build them for you. Everyone has a sister, brother, neighbor, or friend that could build one. So which way do we go? How do we create a successful website without completely losing our mind?
This week on The Gutsy Podcast, we’re going to dig into the ins, the outs, the do’s, and the don’t’s behind building a successful website.
FIRST THINGS FIRST . . .
The very first thing I want to clear up are some of the commercials and web ads you get talking about how you can have a website in a couple of hours or that they’re quick, cheap, and easy to use.
This is often the part where I’m watching TV at home and have to bite my tongue and turn my head because while this information can be true, yes—there’s a WHOLE lot of legwork that has to go into building one before you can even put it together.
For instance, it takes time to collect photos for your website. It takes time to write the content. It takes time to figure out the structure, how many pages you want, what you’re putting where, what your call to actions are, how you want people to contact you. I mean, I could go on and on and on.
Here’s the other piece of the puzzle: To be able to build a website on some of these online platforms, you also need to have a little bit of tech-savviness. You have to understand their programming and how things function. There are some really great tools with drag and drop and they’ve, oh my gosh, they have drastically simplified the website building process since I started Worx 12 years ago. But here’s the bigger thing: time.
The largest difference between someone else building your website for you or you doing it yourself is do you want to spend the time trying to figure it out or would you rather delegate that so you can do what you came to do in the first place?
Now as part of this episode, I want to ensure I’m giving you all of your options,
Some of the best options out there for building websites (aside from the tons of agencies that can build a website for you—which I personally recommend) are online platforms. These are perfect for startup businesses who may not have the cashflow or capital to invest in a full-blown website yet. I would say one of the most popular platforms to build a website on today is Squarespace.
Squarespace is a really beautiful, simplified platform where you can drag and drop different boxes for photos, text forms, all the nitty-gritty pieces that go into a website, and they make it fairly simple for the regular user to build a website. If you’re considering building your website on your own, this is the direction I would point you in (tune in to hear all of the reasons why).
If you’re considering starting a blog, WordPress is probably a really great platform for you because honestly, that’s what this platform was originally designed for. It was for bloggers to write content and put it out into the world, and then coders and developers got ahold of it and said, Hey, you know what? This could actually be a really great platform for us to build full websites on.
One of the best features that WordPress offers is there are extensions and add-ons you can put into the website to add more functionality (BUT, there are some tricky parts. Listen in to hear more on my WordPress insights, too!).
If you’re considering starting an online shopping cart, a great option for that is a platform called Shopify.
Building an e-commerce website, which is being able to sell products online, can actually get really in depth real quick. And there’s a lot of stipulations and rules that need to be followed. Now going with a platform like Shopify, they’ve already gone through a lot of those rings for you. So it’s a great, again, kind of drag and drop platform that allows you to launch a website in a decent amount of time.
MORE THAN A STARTUP?
I think any of these platforms could be a really great start for you, but as you start to grow and evolve your business, there comes a time where the website needs to become an investment.
In your future, think of a website as kind of a strategic hub for your brand online. It’s often the first place people are going to visit to say, Hey, is this a real business and what are they all about?
A great website is going to help you increase your visibility. It’s going to build your credibility. And, most importantly, it’s going to attract new customers. But to do all those things, there has to be a strategic plan behind launching a website because let’s face it, we live in a world where anyone can build up a site, throw in some pictures, add some text and say, Tada, I have a business.
But when you’re evolving, growing your business, and really ready to take things to the next level—your website should be one of the very first things that are evaluated.
Here’s where the transition to hiring an agency or hiring someone to build your website for you really comes in handy.
TIPS TO A BOMB-ASS WEBSITE
So I’m going to peel back the layers and talk to you a little bit about our website process when we are building sites for our clients (and most importantly the questions we are asking prior to building them).
You see, building a website is not just as simple as throwing a bunch of pictures up and seeing what sticks. It really needs to go into the whole brand-essence of who you are, what you do, and how it makes a difference.
So here’s your first tip: The number one thing you want to do is identify who your core customer is.
Why is this so important?
Tip number two: Have great content that talks directly to your core customer. One of the biggest mistakes that we see on websites is the entire website talks about only the company, how long they’ve been in business, what accreditations they have, when the last time they went to the bathroom was, the office dog’s name . . . I mean you name it—it’s on there.
Customers want to be able to see themselves within your company. Yes, it’s important to talk about yourself and give people a little history. And yes, if you have an office dog, by all means put him on there. But here’s the thing: When you know your core customer inside and out, you also know what makes them tick. You know what makes them excited and you also know the pain-points to why they are coming to you in the first place.
Successful websites have content that leans into that.
Tip number three: Know your brand. Your branding is such an important base for when you’re building a website. So we want to make sure cohesiveness and consistency are across the board. No matter where anyone is experiencing your brand—it should look the same, talk the same, act the same, smell the same. Whatever the characteristics are of your brand, it should be identical across the board.
Tip number four: Part of building a successful website is ensuring that your branding is consistent first before you even start building a website. So really you have to go back to home base here. If you’ve been frustrated or challenged by your brand before you build a website is the time to figure those things out. Not after—because building a website is an investment. It’s either going to be an investment of your time or it’s going to be an investment of your money. And when you launch that bad boy, you want to make sure it is singing the song that fills your heart and represents who you are as a company to the highest degree.
Tip number 5: Create convenience for your user. There is nothing more frustrating than going to a website and knowing what you’re looking for or what you’re trying to do and not being able to navigate your way around it. One of the simplest ways to do this is ensuring, again, you are leading people through your website.
MUCH, MUCH MORE
Now, there is a whole lot more nitty-gritty stuff that goes into building a successful website, but these are some bite-sized pieces to hopefully at least lead you down the right direction. But there is a strategy behind building a website and this is where I recommend bringing in a professional that can help you do these things because guess what guys? You’re busy as shit trying to run a let alone trying to figure out at 2:00 AM how to make some online platform work for you.
I always tell our clients, everyone starts somewhere and that’s okay.
But if you’re thinking, Alright, Laura, it’s time. I need you guys to help me. I want you to shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let her know that you listened to the website podcast episode and she’s going to give you 15 minutes to just spill your gutsy—fo’ FREE. Tell us what’s going on, and you know, we can see where the world takes us. We’d be happy to take that off your plate.
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