8 Things To Do
To Create an Effective Website for Your Business
The website for your business should create connections that can become clients. If yours is missing the mark, you may have missed one of these important steps to creating a website for your business. If you're just getting started, consider this your checklist to getting your website (and business) off on the right foot.
Before we dig in: This list may not be what you’re thinking. Nowhere on this list will you find anything to do with branding, colors, logo, web hosting, or photography (though good photography is really helpful). This is the list that proceeds that list.
These 8 things will set the foundation for your website. Then, when you’re ready to invest your time and money into a webiste:
Rather watch the video?
Know Your Ideal Client- Inside and Out
A little bit of tough love... your picture may dawn the homepage and your name might be in the domain, but the website is not really about you. It's only about you to the extent that you being you helps your ideal client solve a problem.
The website is really about your clients!
You want to create messaging that has them feeling like you’re in their head (and their heart) when it comes to the problem they’re facing. To achieve that, you want to understand that problem from their perspective and in their language.
Here are two great articles to get you started understanding your ideal client:
Get Clear and Get Moving
with this list of the first 10 steps to building your coaching or consulting business!
Know Your Competitive Advantage
Said another way, what uniquely qualifies you to offer an ideal solution? Or, what is the thing that you can brag about that the others in the “competitors” can't?
The world wide web is a huge place. There are a ton of people vying for your ideal clients' time and attention. If you want some of it, you have to let people know why your website is a good investment of their valued time.
Know what sets you above the rest and show it off!
Know The Solution You Offer and How Your Services Get Them to That Solution
The solution you offer should feel custom to your ideal client even if you’ve never actually met. They should feel (and know) that you are providing the answer to their specific needs and dreams. You create that custom feel by really getting to know your ideal client which we talked about before.
People often think of their services and their solution as interchangeable. I see it differently.
The solution is the answer to their problem. This is what their life looks like as the problem begins to reseed. People buy solutions, not services, so this is an important distinction. Craft a solution that resonates with your ideal client, meets them where they are, addresses their pain point, and takes them on a bit of a journey.
The service you offer is the vessel in which you create that solution. It’s the piece that people can put on their calendar (workshop, session, retreat, etc.), the supportive parts that make it possible (email access, daily prompts, etc.), and any tangible parts (a workbook, ebook, etc.)
Your clients should be able to see this important connection. They need to understand that by experiencing the service (in a way only you can deliver it) they get the solution they seek.
Know What Action You Want People To Take On Your Website
This may seem obvious. You might be thinking: “Duh, Karissa. I want them to become lifelong clients... today.”
That may be the longterm goal, but that's not typically the first step.
Building a business is about building relationships. Relationships aren’t instantaneous. Instead, they are nurtured over a period of steps. The intermediary steps people take between learning of you and hiring you are your chance to develop the “know, like, and trust” factor.
What is the first step a potential client would take to build a relationship with you? It could be signing up for your email list, doing a free 30-day challenge, or setting up a discovery call.
Be really clear about what that first step is and create a website that encourages that activity.
Get Out There And Talk About Your Services
Get out from behind your computer screen and talk (in person) about your services as often as you can. Aim for as many of those conversations to be with people who reflect your ideal client.
Look for feedback- spoken and unspoken. Look for when people are leaning in or perking up. Spot when people are confused. If someone is confused when you're talking about your service in person (when they can rely on body language and your tone of voice), they're going to be really confused when they read that same message on your website without that added context.
When you master communicating your message in person, you’ll find it translates much better on your website.
Deliver Your Service
If you're a coach, go coach. If you're a copywriter, go write. If you're a yoga instructor, go teach a class.
I lose people here if they're just starting out. For them it feels a little bit like the chicken and the egg. A lot of people are convinced that they can't get clients without a website and I'm recommending they go get some clients so they can have a website.
You are going to learn so much about yourself and your business from your clients (especially the early ones). You're going to learn when you really shine and what topics or services are outside your zone of genius. You'll identify trends among the clients that energize you and discover which ones drain you.
By delivering your service before you build your website, you’re bringing all of that insight into the process. There can be a steep learning curve among your early clients, and you’ll be grateful to have experienced it before creating a website.
There are plenty of ways to get your first clients without having a website. Consider referrals, utilizing social media, attending networking events, sending emails to your contacts, or offering some complimentary services.
Know What You And Your Business Stand For
While building your business, you’re going to hear a lot about creating and staying “on brand” and “finding your voice.” Think of your brand as all your efforts to indirectly tell people what they can expect of you and your services. Think of your “voice” has everything you say between the words.
Both of these things are important as you grow your business. For now, avoid putting too much pressure on getting either of these things just right. They will evolve and become more evident as you work within the business.
Consider these questions:
Based on those questions, you’ll have a list of values and characteristics. That will become the beginning identity of your website and your business.
Is it laid back and witty? Professional and earnest? Welcoming and transparent?
Breathe. Progress Over Perfection.
Putting a website out into the world can feel a bit scary and vulnerable. Trust that this too is part of the process.
Keep things in perspective. The website is not the end all be all of your business! You, your message, the way you show up in the world, and the way you serve others are too beautifully complicated for that. Your website is just one tool among many.
I see a lot of talented entrepreneurs who hold back from serving others because they're waiting for the perfect website. They wait months and even years making minor changes, claiming it isn’t ready yet, and tirelessly aiming for perfection.
You and your business are constantly evolving. Trust that the website will evolve along with you.
It’s highly unlikely that the website you have day one of your business is going to be the website you have in 2, 5, or 10 years. You won’t have to scrap it all, but it will evolve.
Do not compare. Your journey, your story, your ideal client is uniquely yours. Your website is too.
Do not compare your “day 1 website” to someone else’s year 5 or year 20 website. We are all in different places in the journey. Every stage and every path has value.
If you have created a website that communicates your message and facilitates you getting out there to serve others, hit “publish.”
If you're just getting started and you've read all this and still feel you absolutely must have an online presence to get out there in the market...
... build a simple, one-page landing page.
Your landing page can include:
Remember the goal for this landing page is to give people a place to reference when you meet them in person or online and to offer you a bit more time to develop the foundation of your business. That’s all.
I'd love to hear from you.
Which one of these eight things would you like to dig in a bit more?
Did you already build your website and what do you wish you had known at the start?