Your website is the hub of your business.
It's your brochure. Your business face. The place where people find out who you are, what you offer, and how you can help them.
Your website supports your marketing efforts, builds customer trust, is accessible 24/7 and increases sales. Helloooo - can you think of a reason NOT to have a website??!!!
Think about the last time that you bought something online. What was it? What was the experience like? Would you buy from them again? Every action you talke online is RESEARCH for how you want to your own business to behave online ...
Your website is the best way for customers to find out your story, see if they resonate with your ethos, and best of all - it's accessible from anywhere!
It's the most professional way to put your business branding out there to the world, so make sure your branding sparkles! Afterall, it's the face of your business!
Your website also ensures self-service customer support (rad!), particularly when you have an epic FAQs page which then eliminates the endless messaging from people, whether it's via the contact page on your website, or emails or phone calls or whatever - reducing the number of questions you need to answer with a great FAQs page does everyone a favour!
So, maybe you're you in the market for a new website or maybe yours just needs an overhaul, or maybe you’re even looking to switch platforms - whatever it is, here's my 12-step process for an awesome website:
- Analyse your industry
- Check out your competitors websites
- Make a list of what you do and don't like
- Make a note of websites (in any industry) that you like; what is it that attracts you to them, what keeps you browsing, what turns you off?
- Plan your home page content!
- A clear description of what you offer.
- Someone who finds themselves on your website shouldn't have to do investigative work to figure out what, exactly, it is that you do. That means clearly stating what you offer, who you are and summing up your products or services right on the homepage. A clear description will attract your visitors' attention immediately within 2-3 seconds, and encourage them to stay on your website longer and explore.
- What are you offering?
- What action do you want people to take?
- Your story & messages
- What makes you different?
- Your branding
- Your CTA's
- A simple URL that makes sense!
- Don't make things complicated.
- Your domain name should be easy for a user to type it into a web browser or an e-mail address.
- I recommend the .com and .com.au domains as users are conditioned to type that extension when they enter a web address. If it's not available - that's OK! There are plenty of new and fun industry-specific ones.
- For non-profits or organisations, I recommend using a .org domain for branding purposes, but also recommend having a .com version of the domain in case a user accidentally types the .com address. Avoid dashes/hyphens (which can cause SEO headaches) and numbers (which can cause confusion for customers) if you can.
- An easily-navigated site map
- Clear links to the most important pages are crucial for guiding visitors to the information they're looking for.
- I recommend using dropdowns in the navigation menu so the visitor can see the content under every heading from virtually any page.
- Make it super easy for your visitors to find what they're looking for, or what you want them to know
- Easy-to-find contact information
- Don't lose a customer to a competitor because it's too difficult for them to get in touch with you!
- Attention spans are short!
- Include contact information in every page of the website in the footer (or header) to help your visitors to find you.
- Include several ways for them to contact you ~ phone, e-mail, and a standard contact form, are all good options.
- I recommend including your address, and even a link to your location in Google maps. A big mistake many business owners make is offer only one way to reach them. Make it easy for users to communicate with you on their terms.
- Customer testimonials
- Honest words from others help make your products or services more tangible to customers who are visiting you online.
- Ask for testimonials and reviews on Google and Facebook etc
- People love to hear stories and experiences from real people
- They help people discover other things that perhaps you haven't mentioned on your website, too.
- CTA's: An obvious call to action tells your visitors exactly what you want them to do
- Do you want them to call you now for a free quote, or sign up to your exclusively online-only offers, or add products to the online shopping cart, etc.
- Call attention to your CTA by using special buttons or highlighting the text
- Know the basics of SEO
- Your website's performance will disappoint you if no one can find you!
- Make it more accessible by search engine.
- Don't employ SEO types who guarantee to get you ranking well on the search engines (unless they're reputable and you've done everything you possibly can yourself!)
- Make sure you're using the correct keywords throughout your content, putting in plenty of links, naming your page titles and URLs correctly, naming your images and videos correctly.
- Fresh, quality content
- Your website is often your first impression on a customer. Give them what they're looking for, and a reason to keep coming back.
- The user is looking for something. Make sure you give it to them.
- Make sure your content is original, well written and valuable.
- Fresh content is a goldmine for SEO, as well.
- Keep your content from getting stale (and show your personality, too) by including a regularly-updated blog and connecting your social media feeds.
- A secure hosting platform
- Having your online information hijacked is a nightmare, and, if it happen to you, it can cost you customers.
- You must have a secure, trustworthy hosting company to keep the bad guys out and your content up and running
- Plus, keep your content management system updated in order to stay one step ahead of the hackers.
- OR go with an option like Wix and Shopify and they'll do it for you!
- A design and style that's friendly to online readers
- If your visitors feel like they are on the right site, they'll take the time to read the full story.
- To enhance user's experience on your website, organise the content for scanning.
- I recommend these style points for online writing to keep in mind:
- Break things down into short paragraphs, with headers if necessary
- Use bullet points
- Highlight important words or phrases.
- KISS ~ simplicity and basic colors are the best bet.
Are you ready to take your passion project or side-hustle to the internet? To give your business the HUB it deserves? Getting your business online does require a bit of heavy lifting. Trust me, it's worth it!
Getting started in the right direction is your key to success.
Step up, take action, get visible & viable!