10 Steps To Do Before Creating Your Own Website

1. Creating a clear goal for your website.

Are you creating your own website for your small business because you think you need one? Or you have you been told you have to have one to survive in todays business world. For most a website is essential, but with no plan it is heading for disaster.

A survey revealed that 1 in 4 SME’s had no formal business plan in place. With out a business plan leaving them in danger of losing direction and having no plan to get their business to the next stage of growth. (https://www.talk-business.co.uk/2015/01/29/1-4-uk-smes-dont-use-business-plan/)

Have a plan and objective

So many businesses build themselves a website without having a plan a goal or an objective. Without it your website is most probably going to fail. It may look the dogs boll*cks, but how are you driving traffic to your site?  When the customer does land on your page where do they go, what do they do. How are you measuring it success?

You don’t have to be a expert marketer to put a few things in place to help you succeed. But before you do anything at all think about your goals and objectives. Goals are what you want to achieve and objectives are how you are going to accomplish them.

 

What is a business goal?

A goal tells you where you want to be, combined with objectives they can point a new business in the right direction or keep and existing business on track.

Your goal can be a number of things, there is no one goal for everyone. Yes you want a successful and rewarding business, who doesn’t. You may need a number of specific goals to achieve business success such as:

  • Increase website leads by 30%
  • Convert 10% of prospective customers into paying customers
  • Grow my email marketing list by 30%.

 

2. Create a business objective

  • Objectivesare the specific steps you and your company need to take in order to reach each of your goals. They specify what you must do — and when.

 

SMART objectives

Business objectives are often measured using the SMART system. This give you a clear understanding of your objectives and provides a clear goal for you business.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, and Time based.

Specific. Meaning that you objective must be clear. Example: increase sales, reduce carbon foot print or be as simple as drive more traffic to your website.

Measurable. You need to be able to measure your objective to see if you have succeeded. Example: Increasing website leads can be measured using google analytics.

Agreed. Everyone in your business must agree on the objectives.

Realistic. Your objectives must be realistic. Example, an ice cream parlour would not have an objective to increase it revenue to a million pound over 2 months.

Time based. Give you self a realistic amount of time to achieve your objective. Such as 6 months to increase website traffic by 50%.

 

Examples of smart objectives

  • We aim to increase our website leads by 30% via Social Media Marketing and Blogging by the end of October 2021.
  • Increasing customer conversion with better customer service and informative information on the website and social media.
  • To increase our email subscriber list by 30% within 3 months by providing a new e-book for free download.

 

3. What are you selling and to whom?

One size don’t fit all, not everyone is your customer. When I ask customers ‘who are your target market or who are you customers I cringe when I hear ‘anyone who wants it’. After a few questions we can start to see who would want your services or use your products.

 

Create a customer persona

The first step is to know your customers, who they are, what they like, their needs, behavioural pattens and their mindset. You are creating a picture of your customer so that you can walk in the shoes of your customer.

This short video explains more.

Personas or avatars as they are sometimes called, are an important step to make sure your marketing is going to achieve its objective. If you don’t create a brand or content that speaks to an audience you will be throwing mud at the walls. As we used to say at my old agency ‘you can throw mud at the walls and hope it sticks’. When the agency was at its early stages we were what you could call a jobbing agency. We would create leaflets, brochures, logs etc for any Tom, Dick or Harry. Yes we where kind of busy, but we where not growing, we had no real aim.

Every now and then some mud would stick, but eventually the mud dried, cracked and fell back off the wall. We had to throw at lot more at that wall to get the next job.

When we sat down and worked out where we were making most the profit, and what we did best and who for, we worked out who out ideal clients were. Creating personas so we could understand who our customers were, what pain points that had and were they ‘hung out’.  From that day forward every bit of marketing was aimed at our ideal clients.

The company grew and so it’s profits. Quite rapidly.

 

4. Creating content your customers are looking for

70% of internet searches are questions the other 30% are looking for brands. These are the unaware and aware customers. The aware will know exactly what they are looking for such as specific item or brand/company. My customers who know me may type in my company name and hey presto – there I am.

The unaware, are the potential customers who are looking for my type of services but have never heard of my company. These people are all potential customers, but how to I get them to find my services from the other 1000’s of companies?

Looking at your customer persona you will see the needs of your customers, if you can solve their problems, you are half way there. Maybe your target market are looking for affordable website solutions and want answers to there questions before committing.

 

5. So how do you find your customer pain points?

Research. Ask you customers, run a survey. Interviewing your customers and talking to them can help you find any problems they have and present them with the solution.

Find social media pages with similar audiences to your own. I researched a well known online website self build companies facebook page and found a couple of ongoing problems with their service. This was great information.

I ran a survey with my customers and found one of the top 5 reasons why they used my services was the customer service. The fact I always answered calls, or let them know when I could call back. That I always sorted any problems quickly, and explained things in no no jargon terms along with affordable digital marketing solutions for smaller companies.

I have built this into my marketing, along with testimonials to back up what I say.

A great book by Marcus Sheridan ‘They ask, you answer’ has great information about attracting your customers to your website. It explains how to connect with your customers online by creating blogs and pages filled with information that your customers will search for.

 

“Now, over 70% of the buying decision is made before a prospect talks to the company.” Buy the book

 

What do you search for? ‘Best website hosting company’ , ‘restaurants near me’ or ‘how do I add my website to google’. These are all questions. When you go on line and google anything make a note of what your search for, you will be surprised to find that most of your searches are questions. When you find the answer you are happy. How will your customers feel if you have given them a solution to a question they are asking?

 

6. Be open and honest.

I while ago I was asked to quote on a big project. It was beyond my scope. I could have paid freelances to do the ‘bit’s I don’t do, worked all hours of the day and night to produce them the product that wanted.

The project would have also taken time away from already paying clients, the companies who had been paying my wages for the last couple of years. I like to work but I also like to spend time with my family and this would have taken that away.

But what’s the point of this story you ask? By explained I was not the right fit for them. I followed this by recommending a larger agency that had the resources, skills and could deliver the finished product on time. They thanked me for being honest and  I ended up gaining client recommendations from them.

I was transparent and honest. I have seen ‘companies’ hide behind smoke and mirrors to get the work only to fail when they can not produce the goods. It’s not good business and can ruin a good reputation very quickly.  As I mentioned before not ‘everyone is your client’.

My website follows this train of thought – I’m telling everyone who lands on my website or social media I work with small companies, individuals who want help online. If you call you will speak to me, emails are replied by me and the project will be managed by me.

 

“I provide big and small businesses with affordable, creative website solutions. Along with 1st class customer service and ongoing support for your digital marketing”

 

7. The look and feel of your website

38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive (https://www.sweor.com/firstimpressions).

First impressions last. It is true. Have you have ever been to a networking event (remember that time you could meet people in the flesh?) and been given a flimsy badly designed business card? Did it give you a feeling of trust, professionalism and authority? Probably not. First impressions are important.

It’s the same online. If you were searching for insurance and landed on a poorly amateur looking website, what would you think? Would you trust the professional well laid out website or cobbled together one?

Adobe reported, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive. On top of that according to web credibility (http://credibility.stanford.edu/guidelines/index.html) research from Stanford, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.

Your content (words) can be well written, but if it is displayed with an badly chosen font or just sized to small it will turn customers away. Make it the best experience possible. Make content clearly laid out and to find.

 

Comic sans is not an acceptable font unless you are an 8 year old girl writing a poem about unicorns

 

8. Using ready made templates and online self build websites

Small business owners understand they should have a website, but fail to understand what it should do. A website can be an expensive outgoing. But don’t think of it as an expense, it is an investment.

I’m not against templates, there are some excellent ones. If you have zero budget it may be the only option. But remember it’s not just about ‘it looks nice’, it needs to with your content. Work out who you are selling too, what you are offering (your UVP) and create your content first before choosing a template.

By choosing a website design template first you can fall into the trap of creating copy to fit the design. I promise you, this will rarely work. It’s a bit like buying a 28” waist pair of trousers and trying to squeeze your 34” waist into them. They look good on the hanger but not on you.

 

My Facebook group has been created for UK small businesses to share ideas, ask for digital marketing advice and network. The group has weekly tips and advice along with regular free zoom tutorials to help you market your business.

 

 

Google has dominated the search engine market, maintaining an 92.47 percent market share as of June 2021. With them being the major player you have to listen to them if you want a successful website.

With google reporting that website speed is now used as a ranking factor it is important that you test the speed of your website. Another factor to choosing your template carefully. Do try and spend a few pounds on reputable template, free ones do have their limitations. Research and check out the reviews, you don’t want to spend your valuable time creating your website to find it loads very sluggish. Slow websites loose traffic and will effect your rankings.

As you create your website check it is loading fine on mobile as well as desktop browsers, along with 3g, 4g connections. According to SWEOR Nearly 8 in 10 customers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device. And with over 50% of website searches made on mobile device it’s an important that is loads fast and that the design is fluid.

 

Website template checklist

  • Plan your pages and content first
  • Choose a template that fits your content
  • Test its speed
  • Test an all browsers and devices

 

9. Adding CTA’s (Calls to action)

Having a fast loading website with great content is just two elements of meant that you need for a successful website. They read your content, they like what they see but you must tell your users what to next.

A call to action is a prompt to the user on what to do next. Usually in the form of:

  • Buy Now
  • Contact Us
  • Sign up to..

 

These will take the user to another page where they can take further action.

A call to action is a very important element of a webpage, with users often leaving the page or website without completing the task you want them to.

For example without a clear call to action a user can read your blog and leave your website without taking the action intended. You may want them to read further blogs or sign up to your newsletter. A call to action can lead the user to the next stage of the sales funnel and lead the customer to continue interacting with the website.

Call to actions can take many forms depending on the context. A call to action can be a sign off on a blog, a link within and email or a call to action button on a website.

Blogs typically use CTA’s such as

  • Read more articles on xyz
  • Share on social media
  • Sign up for more information

 

10.Website images, sliders and pop up’s

As you build your website you can get quite excited by some of the wonderful things you can do such as animated images, moving text, pop up messages prompting users to sign up and big sliding banners.

All these elements you will see on small business websites as well as big brand websites. Some use the elements well and most in my option don’t.

Images

Optimise your images, the smaller the file size the better. Optimised image will help page load times and give the end user a much better experience.

Animated text

Think about the end user and their experience, are they going to buy your services because your text slides in and flashes at them for attention? Or will the message be just as effective as just a clear heading?

Website pop ups

Is a ‘sign up’ pop up message needed while they are trying to read your content? I personally hate having to click away pop up messages to read the content on the page. It’s annoying and I usually click away. Put the message within the page or at the end.

 

Website sliders

Sliders also have their place. Only use then if you have good reason too. So many sites use them with 4 or more messages rotating at the top of the page. I rarely see more than the 2nd one. We use the internet on the go, we now consume information at a fast rate.

Digital information world state that 55% of page views get less than 15 seconds of attention. You search for information and land on a page giving you the answer to your query. With that in mind do want your users to pay attention too your other 5 or 6 services or get them to focus on the one they searched google for?

If we land on a page giving us mixed messages we tend to leave and find one that answers our search.

Use these element wisely, don’t add elements that are not enhancing the user experience.

 

Want to know more a Small Business Website Design?

If you have any questions on any of the points above send me an email or you could even join my FREE facebook group for Small Business and download my Local SEO guide. I regularly post tips, useful websites to help you build your business and regular zoom sessions on various web related subjects.

 

Read more on: CREATING A SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITE DESIGN

 

Below is some useful insights into user behavoirs from Digital Information World.

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