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WEBSITE BUILDING BASICS #2 – The WHY, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW

[This is episode #2 in a new series called Website Building Basics. This series is for you, artists, small business owners, and other creative people. I’m hoping it will help you with common questions you may have. If you have more questions, please feel free to comment and I’ll feature your question in future posts!]

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Photo credit: Aimee Low Source: Morguefile

Last month, we talked about the three questions I get most often from prospective clients:

  • How much will a website cost?
  • How long will it take to build my website?
  • What should I put on my site?

Let’s answer these questions…with more questions. How fun!

1. WHY do you want this website? Most people will answer “everybody needs a site now to stay competitive.” That much is true, but why do YOU need this website? What are your goals? Do you plan to sell things on this website? Do you need to count on internet searches to be found? Are you willing to do content marketing? Do you want to create an online community? Do you want to have a place to send prospects so they can read up on your processes? Every business owner is going to have a different group of answers to this question.

2. Once you know the WHY, you need to think about the WHAT. What will go on this site? There’s always the usual stuff, like your contact info, location, info about your business, what problems your service solves and why you’re better than your competition. You need to write all of that information down. It doesn’t matter if it’s not polished yet. Just get it down on paper or into a text document on your computer. Do a big brain dump of what you want people to know about you and your services. You can fine-tune and edit later on (or better yet, hire a copywriter or editor to help you!). I’ve got a content writing workbook that I give to all new website design clients that is most helpful in this area.

3. WHERE. Where do you want to host the site? What is website hosting? (It’s where your site files live so customers can access your site.) This may be the easiest question to answer, though it also depends on your personal preference and what exactly your site is trying to accomplish. You don’t want to go with $10/year hosting if you’re planning on building a high-traffic e-commerce site.

4 WHEN will your site be ready? It will be ready as quickly as humanly possible. This depends upon site size and functionality, depth of content, how ready you are to get to work, how dedicated you are to your project, among other things. For example, if you are late getting materials to me, I can’t do anything, and your job may start to overlap with other projects I have on deck.

5 Search Engine Visibility, Call to Action and ROI (return on investment): This is your HOW. What is this website worth to you? Are you using it strictly as a brochure with a contact form? Or is this a lead-generating tool? If it’s the former, you should have a very detailed plan on how you’re getting people to your site, because static websites with unchanging content do not do well in the search engines. If your site is vibrant and alive with ways for your prospects to interact and get new, fresh information from you on a regular basis, it will do a much better job for you. You need to be prepared to work at your site on an ongoing basis. You’ll want a very specific set of actions for your prospects to take, whether it’s signing up for a mailing list, liking your Facebook page, or buying an ebook. If 5 people a week buy a $5 ebook from you and one of those book purchasers signs up for your $5000 coaching program every month, then isn’t that site worth an investment more than $500? (And believe me, $500 will not necessarily get you a site that will do all of that for you.)

So there you have the very basics of some of thing things you need to consider when you’re ready for a new (or revamped) website. Visiting my Get Started page will set you on a journey of discovery which will help you when you get to the stage of where you want to hire a developer/designer for your project.

Be nice. Be real. Be happy.