“Everyone else is doing it!” That’s an excuse most kids give their parents, but it’s not a good reason for having a website for your business, even if it’s true!
We’ve already covered some statistics and relational reasons why you need to have a website, and if you read that article, you might have walked away agreeing with me, but not sure where to start. I walk my clients through these questions but believe if they’re already on your mind it will help knowing where to start when thinking about how a website can truly benefit your small business.
What comes first, the website design or the content?
I say neither! The mission or purpose of the website is more important to think about first. There’s a series of questions you can follow down the rabbit hole to help discover this, but I’ll just touch on a few.
Why do you even need a website?
Why do you need a website? To connect with your audience/customers? Why do you want to connect with them? To give them information about how you can help them, or perhaps ways they can provide feedback or contact you? Do you need a website to support your customers by providing links to a class you offer? Do you need a platform to host your videos?
What is the Why? What is your goal for actually having a website?
Who do you want to reach?
There’s no reason going through all the bother creating a website and making it look pretty and banging your head trying to write just the perfect copy if you have no idea who you are trying to reach! Hopefully, if you have an established business already you have this one down pat. Whether you already know your ideal client or not, it’s a good idea to spend time considering this or revisiting it. Your Who in real-life can sometimes be different than those you are trying to reach online.
There’s a lot of talk about really knowing who your ideal client is…their age, race, religion, favorite coffee, morning routine… and while this is good and helpful, many get caught up in these specifics without really thinking about how all of that relates to the person wanting to be your client. Take it further and truly understand their pain point, what keeps them up at night and how you can help them.
Knowing who you are doing all this work for will help you make sure your website is created to do exactly what you need it to accomplish so it will have much better chances of reaching your ideal audience and help you in ways to push your business further.
What are you hoping to accomplish with your website?
A website can do many things for your business. It can capture contact information for you to woo readers and make them into customers. Once you attract a visitor, do you want them to engage with you by contacting you directly? Should they simply read the information you’ve provided, for example telling them about a sale your store is having? Would you like them to sign up for your newsletter? What would you like them to do as a result of visiting your website?
Where would you like your visitors to go?
One thing you may not have thought about yet, but will be helpful if you do take time to think about, is where would you like your visitors to go? When they’re done reading or scanning each page, where would you like them to go next? (In some instances you may want to ask what you’d like them to do next.)
The answer to this question may be tied to the answers you’ve given to other questions on this page.
For example, if you’re letting your reader know you offer customized stationary, you’ll want to take them to your shop or to the page where you describe what services you offer.
You need to make it perfectly clear How your visitors can get there.
In other words, if you’re trying to gather contact information so you can reach your readers with future special offers, you’re going to need a place for them to share their information with you. So you’d more than likely place a Call to Action or sign up form after the information they just read. Take the above example of offering customized stationary. Simply letting them know you offer the service without clearly telling them the next step to take won’t get your services sold.
If the main goal is to get your reader to know about your services and hopefully hire you, make it perfectly clear how they should get there with the placement of an attractive button at the appropriate place within your pages.
These answers to the How question don’t need to appear on every page of your site, but you should think about this when creating each page within your site so your reader never hits a page and doesn’t have a place to go next if they want to keep learning more. Also, keep the goal of your website as a whole in mind when creating these smaller goals within each page.
My signature service is creating one-page websites. A one-page website doesn’t contain as much text as a multi-page website, but that makes these questions almost more vital to creating a strategic layout. A website should take a visitor on a journey, and knowing the destination (or goal) of the journey is incredibly useful in achieving the desired outcome!
Before you think solely about the words that will go on on your website or the way it will look, think about the Why, Who, What, Where and How of your site. Gathering all of your thoughts on these ideas will help you get started creating your site based on a purpose.
(I know I left out the When. You’ll think about that as you actually lay out your website pages. You don’t want your reader taking action at the wrong times!)
If you’re interested in getting online and have thought through the above questions, I’d love to help! check out my services page!