Are you ready to tackle the project to build your website on your own or are you willing to bring on your favorite designer? Either way, there are a few things you need to know that will make the process easier. And… let's face it. It will keep you from going totally bonkers!
The process reminds me of my days as a house flipper. You don’t just go in and start tearing things apart (well, you might if it's your first rodeo or you REALLY like to tear things apart!). To make things work better, though, you need to do a little pre-planning. And that needs to be based on YOUR needs and goals, not someone else’s blueprint.
See, before buying any house, we would look at a lot of different pieces of the puzzle. But nothing was more important than the potential future buyer! We did have an agent tell us not to consider one house because it was a two-bedroom, one bath and we’d never recoup our money. But we knew the neighborhood, and we knew there would be someone out there who would appreciate the smallness of the house and the charm of the surroundings. And we were right!
That leads me to pre-work that anyone should do before building a new website:
1. Narrow Your Audience and Ideal Client
The first rule of marketing is to know your audience and client. Guess what? The same is true for building your website! A site that tries to be the solution for everyone becomes the solution for no one and can drive people away.
Create your client avatar and get personal with them. Think of it this way, if you can only work with one client, who would that be? What drives them to seek answers to their problems?
I found the best exercise to get real with my people was to survey who I thought I needed to help and then sit back and listen to them. You can do this by asking open-ended questions in your favorite Facebook group or forum.
2. Know Your Offer
What can you do for me? If you can’t answer this questions, then you’re not ready to build your website. Your site should flow with your profit funnel or sales process. Your funnel will give you a logical progression that your visitor can take to get a solution to their problem.
Try this: map out your sales process from the time your ideal client connects with you until they pay cash to make it happen. What is the first action you want people to take? Are you looking to get a lead, schedule a discovery call, or sell a product?
When it came to house-flipping, it was the same process. After knowing where to buy and who the updated house would appeal to, we needed to turn our efforts into a plan. There is a science to buying real estate. Besides financing, you need to outthink the competition with a sales strategy. What’s the point of buying if you're not going to be able to attract the next buyer? And then there’s the structure itself. If it’s got great bones, you’re golden, and curb appeal is everything.
3. Have a Content Strategy
You need to convey your message. When you are ready to build your website, you need content and good copy that speaks to the problems. And more importantly, you need to know what pages will be on your site and where you want people to click to get the answers.
Along with your primary copy, you’re going to need supporting content so that your website continues to grow. All content should be created to support your services or products.
Having a content strategy will allow you to have an organized and thoughtful site that will guide your reader instead of throwing them into the wild. Take some time and window-shop out on the internet and find a website you like so it will be easier to put your plan into motion, of course, without copying content or copyrighted information!
4. Decide on a Design and Layout
Finding the right look for you is the hardest decision I’ve helped people to make. It begins with research – your competition, your brand crushes, and sites you don’t care for.
You’ll want to begin with the pieces you have, including your logo, fonts, and colors. Is your brand more feminine or bad-ass? It does matter because those users view sites in completely different manners.
Try creating a mood board with screengrabs of your favorite and not-so-favorite sites. Review themes that work with your style and brand. Think about layouts: will you want a sidebar (some say it’s not necessary) or will you feature lots of images and visuals?
Stick with what’s proven and what showcases your content.
[bctt tweet=”Your design and layout should showcase your content and be more than just pretty.” username=”leedrozak”]
5. Decide if You’ll DIY it or Hire a Developer
As you're looking to see what you like and don't like, would you even know how to create it? Are you finding things that you know you'd never be able to replicate or stay away from, no matter what? When it's time to build your website you need to know the standard best practices.
Here’s the important part – do-it-yourself or get a contractor – or both. I did not start out wanting to flip houses, but I learned that I like to tear things up and then fix them. Just like web design, we don’t start out to be designers, but we realize it's a major step in our online business. With today’s tech, you don’t need to be super nerdy or need to know code as I do. But there are times that you need to realize your shortcomings. I’m no plumber and would never try to tackle any plumbing work myself, so that gets contracted out.
Let’s start with the DIY route. While it's rewarding, it’s got equally as many challenges. The pluses are the money you may save. Notice I say may because creating your site can cost you less output money at first but could cost you more in the end with missed opportunities and sales because items may not have been optimized or fully understood and taken advantage of!
If you like following directions and have a creative side, then the DIY route could be just what the bootstrap doctor ordered. With today’s themes and frameworks, it’s never been easier to “build” a website without intensive coding knowledge.
On the con side, you do need a few technical skills. And no matter what, some coding knowledge goes a long way to get things to look and feel like your brand instead of the theme. You’ll also miss out on the insider tips and tricks that a developer knows. They also know how to put the pieces together to create a user-friendly site for maximum benefit to your potential and current clients.
If you go the DIY route, there are plenty of tutorials out there for you to follow along, or you could book a Talk Tech chat with me to review all your options.
Final Words On Build Your Website
Whether you're taking this on by yourself or bringing on someone to help, a useful site begins with planning. If someone jumps right in without taking the items above into consideration, you will still get a website. But it may not be the client magnet that you were hoping for!