Creating or rebuilding a website?
Don’t rush in and build a website that lacks real-world impact—it’s the classic rookie mistake!
Domains, platforms, themes—they’re the common starting point, but just a tiny piece of the puzzle. You need to get clear—and get comprehensive—before you get started.
We’ve distilled two decades of web experience into the digital gold you need to build a website that truly builds your business!
Here’s how you do it…
1. Know your people
Ask ‘Who’s this website really for?’ Then ask ‘What do they need from my website?’. Everything’s built on that. So use ‘avatars’ or ‘ideal clients’ to answer those questions. Otherwise you’ll be flying blind on website structure, content and language.
Remember the saying: ‘content that speaks to everyone reaches no-one!’.
2. Clarify your strategy
If your website isn’t part of an overall marketing strategy, you probably shouldn’t build it! You need to understand exactly how your website fits into your marketing ecosystem. Does it lead people? Capture emails? Do you sell stuff on it? Knowing precisely how your website supports your business is crucial.
3. Plan your pathways
The web is the biggest haystack in history—don’t make your website a beautiful needle that no-one ever finds! You need a website promotion plan that maps the pathways into the site. Are you advertising on Facebook? Google? By email? By word of mouth? Knowing how people will arrive at your site puts you in the driver’s seat.
Read The 19 Channels you can use to get traction.
Use the The Traction Bullseye to grow your business.
4. Define visitor actions
Visiting a website shouldn’t be a spectator sport. What actions do you want visitors to take? Is it completing a contact form? Adding an event to their calendar?Downloading a free offer in exchange for their email address? Sharing something on social media? Or signing up and paying for a program, course or workshop?
Simply build your website around user actions, not aesthetics.
Build trust by offering your website visitors free resources and information that creates value and makes their life easier. Like this one.
5. Set your budget
Don’t skimp on resourcing your website! In today’s world, a website is never just an add-on. It’s the real business. You get what you pay for, and a website knocked up on the cheap rarely serves business growth. Imagine your website as a premises—would you get a shopfront with no signage and a leaky roof? Lay solid foundations with a budget based on revenue or marketing spend.
Websites always go over budget. Either in time, or money, and almost always in stress! We all underestimate the energy required for solid content. We all underestimate the time and cost of designing and building the websites our businesses deserve. If it’s an agency building it, you may stay on budget. If you’re building it yourself, you’ll go waaaay over budget.
7. Define website success
What does website success mean to your business? Is it launching Stage One in six weeks? Is it launching and getting 1,000 new visitors each week?
Is it about attracting 15 new paying clients each month? Whatever success means for your business, write it down now. Be optimistic, be realistic, and then be aware that tracking targets is what business is all about.
8. Define your scope
Single page brochure website? Showing upcoming events? Or separate landing pages for each of your products and services? It’s time to define the scope of your website in service of your business needs. Our previous steps have all led to this decision. Notice that you set the budget before the scope? This keeps things real when defining your scope 🙂
Don’t get blocked by thinking every feature has to be implemented and your website has to be perfect before you launch. In the words of Ryan Levesque, “You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going”. Get it live as soon as you can!
9. Plan your build
Even simple websites are big projects. Complex websites can be huge projects, and can get overwhelming.
Be gentle with yourself! If your website’s more than just a couple of pages, and includes things like events and booking integrations, then you need to plan the build in separate stages. Make your ‘Minimum Loveable Website’ the first stage, then focus on finishing and launching it.
10. Set a launch date
Deadlines motivate and focus you.. Set a launch date for your website, and work towards it.
Give yourself some flexibility—these things often take longer than planned. Avoid unnecessary stress by not planning other marketing activities that rely on your site being live by a particular date.
11. Miss the launch date!
Kind of like the budget, right?! Websites are never ready by the launch date! They’re notoriously over-budget, notoriously delayed. The bottleneck is almost always content—communicating what really matters just takes longer than we expect.
12. Use project tools
Especially important if you’re collaborating with others. Email is not a project management tool! Try Trello—it’s free, awesome, and is used to track tasks through stages, to collaborate on task lists, comments, content, screenshots and files tied to every task.
13. Find a web mentor
Whether building the website yourself, or outsourcing to a pro, you need someone who can guide you through the process. Make sure your mentor is focused on content and outcomes—the last thing you want is an old-school web designers or developers still obsessed with just ‘great aesthetics’ or ‘clean code’.
#codango #developer #development #coder #coding
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