Build a website that engages your customer and positvely impacts your business.
A website is a vital part of your marketing plan. Whether you are a wedding coordinator, yoga instructor, or photographer, your prospective clients will likely research your business before contacting you. Since your website is often the first impression of your business, it is vital that you create a website that achieves your marketing goals. By being well-planned, your website will positively impact your business.
Slapping together a website and hoping for the best is a recipe for failure. Canadians are spending an average of 3-4 hours per day online. They range from informational (news, blogs), to businesses, to anything you can think of. So how does your website stand out? Answer: You need a plan that targets your ideal customer. Every piece of marketing you do once you decide your ideal customer will speak to them. Breathe easy. When I was first starting my business I was overwhelmed by how much competition there was. How does anyone get noticed amid billions of websites?
The good news is that by devising a plan you can win this battle. Develop a strategy for your website. Your website should display content that speaks to your ideal client, allows for a simple journey through your website, and functions properly.
Get a plan!
When it comes to creating your website, the first items you’ll need is a pen and paper. What?! Hear me out. You need a plan. Write it down. Nothing fancy. Answer the following questions:
Hint: A blog is great if you actually provide content, but if you don’t have time to do this or don’t have a third-party service to provide content I would advise not having a blog at all. Empty blogs can make your business appear closed—not what you are aiming for.
Do your research
Plan your user journey
Think, write, and talk to your ideal customer about how your services can benefit them and solve their problem. Plan how you want your user to move through your website. Break it down on paper so that each service you provide has a page. A user journey is the path a user travels through your website. The journey the user takes should be simple and allow them to achieve their goal. It could be receiving an opt-in or booking you for a service. Providing your user with a simple journey through your website increases trust and keeps your prospective client happy. Everyone has experienced websites that make them so frustrated that they end up leaving. I recently left a subscription stock photo site because downloading my already paid for photos was a frustrating experience. I cancelled my subscription because I couldn’t stand having to go through this difficult process every time I wanted a photo, despite their photography being appealing. By allowing your user to attain their goal (for example, purchase a product or schedule an appointment) you’ll make your client’s experience with your website a positive one.
Tailor your content
Once you’ve planned your user journey you’ll have a better idea of what content you should discuss and how to present it. When I first write copy for a webpage or article I break down what I’m going to talk about with headlines and subheadlines, then fill in the rest. Remember that people only scan online articles—they don’t read them word for word. It is important to put your main points in your first paragraph, or if it’s a landing page, above-the-fold. Explain how you’re going to help solve your client’s problem and express empathy for their problem. You are a person, not a robot. Show your personality. People trust authentic conversations, not industry jargon.
Your website should function properly
The first aspect of your website is that it should be technically sound. If you have broken links, slow loading pages, or broken forms then you’ll lose your prospective client. Do a technical audit of your website several times a year to ensure that the website is operating as it should. If you hire a web developer, they will be able to make sure the technical aspects of having a high ranking website are implemented. They will consider the speed of your website, whether the site can be indexed correctly by search engines, and if there are any technical aspects that are negatively affecting your rank. Your website should be designed for all devices. The majority of online traffic is mobile. By not making your website responsive you are losing a large portion of your potential audience.
By devising a plan on how your website should flow your users will have a positive experience. This will increase trust with your prospective client. Design the site with your ideal client in mind. The layout, content, and design elements should reflect your ideal client’s motivations and move them forward in your sales funnel. As a service provider, your website will often be the first spot where they interact with your business. Give them a great experience and you may just start a very rewarding relationship. Did you find this post helpful? Comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on planning a website. What parts of the process do you struggle with?