Make-or-Break Steps to Take Before Building Your Website That Most Business Owners Miss
I believe that no matter what you do, or what industry you’re in... you’ve gotta know why your website exists in the first place.
It’s not going to do you, your business, or your website visitors any good to just have a website that exists for the sake of existing.
Before we start, let me jump in.
When I started designing websites for clients, I kept seeing a recurring problem both before the design process and during it.
Business owners would come to me and say, “Katie we need to re-do our website. It's old, stale, and doesn't represent us anymore...we don't even have our recent work up there.
Also we need to get the Facebook page going, so can you post a bunch of pictures of us working on this project and link it to the website? Oh, and the phone number needs to be at the top in big text - I just know when people see our newest stuff we need to make sure they have our number right there to call us.”
So you might be thinking… “So, what's wrong with all that? I don't get it.”
In a word, everything.
See, this business owner is a lot like ones I meet all the time.
They mean well and know they need a website, so they figure if they put as much out there as they can about who they are, what they do, and their work, people will be flocking to their business and be begging them to take their money.
Are you chuckling yet?
Yeah. I bet you see it now, too.
They're making it ALL about them. Not their audience. We'll cover how to speak to your audience in the next few posts...
But there's one more BIG reason why this is all wrong.
It's because there's no clear focus of what purpose the website serves for the business.
Moreover, there isn't a goal laid out for visitors to reach when they're
on the site. They have no strategic plan for profitability from the website.
...No way to capitalize on the traffic they get. No way to capture leads.
No compelling reason for visitors to stay on the site, click around, and take action.
Yet they wanted to use Facebook to drive traffic to this soon-to-be redesigned website that in no way was being setup to convert that traffic!
And it's not just the case with Facebook... it would be true for any and all marketing strategies they would do.
All roads lead to your website.
And if your website was built at a dead end, your visitors will turn right. back. around.
After seeing so many business owners making these kinds of costly mistakes, I knew there was a way to show them the full picture of what they could be missing out on.
But when I went searching online to find if other web designers dealt with similar issues, I came up pretty empty-handed. I couldn’t believe it - either people were really focused on the design aesthetics of building a website, or they were focused on building a profitable business, but never both.
Yet time and again after sharing this perspective of profit + website, my clients just “got it.” That's when I knew I was on to something.
Ever since then I've been helping my clients map out their online strategies to create profitable websites that fuel their businesses.
I hope now you see why this is an absolutely crucial starting point for your website, as everything you do from this point forward needs to come back to this point.
The purpose and goal of your website will determine which steps you’re going to take moving forward in order to have your website work for you around the clock.
Focus: Purpose & Goal
Alright, so let’s dive in to finding your website’s purpose and goals so we’ll know which way to run with the next few lessons.
Your website's purpose: what role does your website play in your business? What does it do for visitors who come to it?
Your website's goal: the ultimate action(s) you want visitors to take on your website.
So let’s say you sell a service. The purpose of your website could be to become a resource to your audience by providing useful information about your industry, establishing you as an expert in your field. The goal could be for visitors to book a session or consultation with you.
Have a blog? The purpose of your website may be to educate and entertain people about one or many topics and build a following. The goal of the site could be to build an audience by collecting email addresses.
You could even have a combination of these! Maybe you’re a graphic designer that sells services, have a blog loaded with great tips and tools about design, and also have an e-course about how to use a graphic design software.
Now let’s map out what we want people to do on our site to achieve the goal of our website.
Think about what actions you want people to take on your website.
What steps can you map out that gets people to take an action toward that goal?
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you own a hair salon.
Purpose: Showcase your salon’s expertise and drive business to your brick-and-mortar salon.
Goal: Get people to book an appointment with a stylist through the website, or to call the salon to book.
Now, you could have a huge button smack-dab in the middle of the homepage that says BOOK NOW. But, if someone who’s never heard of your salon before just came to your site, is that really realistic that they’ll be booking the second they jump on?
Probably not. I mean, would you do that?
So being realistic here, what would be a reasonable sequence of events to get them to hit the final button to book?
Here are some ways they could do this:
On homepage, have a ‘Services’ section >> Call Us Button
or ‘See our Work’ section >> Book Button
or Meet the Stylists >> Check Availability Button.
You can see that we have several different options here that ultimately lead to the same goal. You can have one of these, but I suggest having multiple.
That way, people can search the site and have multiple opportunities to take action on the goal you’ve set up for them.
Having just one of these leaves room for missed opportunities for taking action.
I’ll give you another example.
Perhaps you’re the graphic designer we brushed over earlier.
Maybe your goal is to get people to sign up for your e-course or book you for services.
Either way before they buy from you, you’ll likely have to do some relationship-building.
You’ll want people to sign up for something like an opt-in incentive you give away for free, like a download, worksheet, checklist, etc.
You can go right here and read my article “Why Every Business & Blogger Needs an Email List + How to Grow it” if you don’t know what an opt-in incentive is, or need some ideas of what you should offer.
This way, your website visitors can learn something from you, and see your expertise and value.
Now you have their contact information so you can follow up with them in the future about your e-course and services, and you’ll start building a list of hot prospects for your business.
So if the action you want someone to take is to sign up for that offer, you’ll need to put it somewhere where it can be easily found and clicked on, like your homepage.
Let’s get goin’!
Today’s post has some homework for you to do:
Define your website’s purpose and goal(s).
Identify the key action steps you want people to take when they’re on your site.
Make a roadmap of these steps, starting on your homepage.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: KATIE BRIMMER
Hey! I'm Katie. I help service-based business owners just like you create stunning websites & smart marketing strategies designed to help you stand out online so you can start turning visitors into paying clients and take your business to the next level.
What's the purpose and goal of your website? If you've already started mapping out your site, what changes will you get started with after reading this?
Leave a comment below and tell me, tell me, tell me!