It is a well-known fact that every business needs a website to be successful in this day and age. For many, this is hard to face because a lot of people simply don’t have the skills to build one themselves. You do have the option, of course, of paying a developer to do this for you and paying freelancers to load your site up with the appropriate content. The costs associated with these services keep this option out of reach for many new start-ups and small business owners, however, and truthfully, even when people have this done for them, their website remains unsuccessful. That’s primarily because people don’t really know what they need starting out.
The fact of the matter is that the work involved with building a successful website should be done upfront. There are 10 steps that need to be taken before you should begin building a website or even start to have one built for you. If you already have a website, the information to follow may help you to realize why your website isn’t as successful as it could be. Either way, by just reviewing the following steps, you will be able to save yourself tons of time, money, and frustration in trying to make your website work for you as it should. The 10 steps are:
Step 1 – Strategy:
The point of all this is to create a website that is successful. In order to do that, you are going to need to take some time to think about who you are, what you’re passionate about, and what the core values of your business are. If you don’t know who you are, then how are you going to know what you need to create? When you don’t clarify, that lack of clarity comes across to the visitors of your website. Always keep in mind that when you put up a website, you are sending a message to your customers and/or visitors to that site. It is up to you whether that message is clear and professional or if it comes across as confusing and jumbled. That’s why it is so important that you begin by implementing a successful website strategy.
Another important aspect of all of this is having a clear idea of who the optimal visitor to your site will be. Who is it that you are targeting that will most likely take advantage of your product or service? A lot of what you include on your site will be based on the answer to this question. For example, statistics show that young men and women spend a vast majority of their time watching YouTube videos. That means that if your target audience primarily consists of younger consumers, you might be able to get them to interact with your site better if you include more videos than written content on your site. In other words, you need to consider what your primary visitors are going to enjoy that’s going to make them stay on your site longer. That will determine the type of content you will want to include as you build your site.
All along the way, you should keep your initial message in mind as it is the foundation of your website strategy. You’ll want to envision how you want people to move through your site and what impression you are making at every turn. As they go from page to page, are you sending a clear message of what your company and brand is all about? What pages should be included that will make it easy for your user to navigate the site? They should be able to effortlessly find their way to the pages that are set up for them to buy from. What content would make them more likely to stay on the site, interact, and buy? These are all questions you should ask yourself before moving forward to build your website.
It’s recommended that you create a mind map or a flow chart to sketch out how you’re going to build your site page by page. Of course, you can draw out a mind map on anything from a piece of notebook paper to a napkin, but if you’re fond of using the computer to save your ideas, a great piece of mind mapping software you may want to try is XMind (www.xmind.net). You can also find features that will allow you to create flow charts in most word processing programs such as the latest versions of Microsoft Word.
No matter how you go about mapping out your site, you’ll want to start by figuring out what the main categories in your top-level menu will be. Then, carefully start to map out what pages should be included in each section of your website. Be sure that as you are mapping out your site, you take time to consider what the user experience will be at each phase and if they will be able to easily find what they need.
Again, you will want to pay close attention to who your user is and what type of content they would enjoy. It’s good to have a mixture of written content, images, and video in most cases. As you plan your website and its content, take the time to examine whether or not what you are providing is in line with the message you are trying to send to people and what your overall brand is all about. There is a very helpful article on giving your brand a voice on Mashable.com. The article states:
“Content is the heart of an effective web presence. Whether you’re a retailer, a media site or a social startup, it’s compelling, up-to-date and relevant content that attracts and engages users. If your content isn’t right, your customers simply won’t engage with it in the way you hope.”
Many people are turning to Infusionsoft because it has a reputation of being fairly dependable, and it provides several different services all in one package. However, most business start ups don’t really need an extensive amount of services, and therefore, a shopping cart like SamCart or WooCommerce (which is a WordPress plug-in) might be enough for you. In any case, you will want to take some time to examine the different options and try to figure out which will work best for your particular business. A good way to do that is to look up reviews for different services online, but try to stick with those from credible sites such as BusinessNewsDaily.com or PCMag.com, as these are less likely to give you a bias review. It’s also a good idea to take time to look over the reviews that individuals have left. This is the best way to gauge what potential problems may occur with each piece of software.
The last thing that you’ll want is to pay good money to send well-targeted traffic to your website, only to find out that many of them bounced right off of it because they had trouble navigating it or using the systems within it. Obviously, sending people to your site before it has been thoroughly tested out is not a good website strategy for your business. Spend time ensuring everything is right and your message is consistent before sending in traffic, or everything that you have up to this point will be useless.
Using analytics is a great way to help your business grow. A lot of people don’t realize that they can use services like Google Analytics to see things like what buttons visitors are clicking on the most, where the most traffic is coming from, and how long people are spending on the site. That’s sad because the data you receive from such services can be an extremely valuable asset. This data helps you understand what changes you can make to your site to not only bring in more targeted traffic, but make the user’s experience more enjoyable, and ultimately, get more people to take advantage of your amazing products and/or services.
Once you get your site up, you can begin to split test variations of your pages, using different headlines, video titles, button colors, and so forth. It’s often surprising how a slight change to a page can make a substantial difference in the amount of interaction, engagement, and purchases your website receives. That is why split testing your pages is very highly recommended. If you are unfamiliar with how split testing works, there is a very good quick start guide available at Conversion-Rate-Experts.com.
I created a very simple and easy to follow Infographic which shows these 10 Steps which are also the 10 chapters of my International bestselling book called “Plan Your Website”.
To get instant access to the infographic and to start reading the first chapter of my book for free just click on the button below.