What You Need to Know to Build Your Website for Effective Results

website functionality

I was once asked, could my Facebook business page serve as my website. No. Your website is yours. Social media profiles should be your backup in case your site goes down. And it’s a way to drive people to your website. You have zero control over what happens on Facebook or the other social networks and they change their rules and features constantly. So, why do you need a website?

This video goes into detail on everything you need to consider when planning your website. This will be helpful for startups as well as existing businesses that need to revamp their website.

Essentials of Digital Marketing: Planning Your Website


Why do I need a website?

  1. Credibility & Trustworthiness
  2. 1st Impression – Branding – Online Image
  3. #1 Sales Tool – lead generation
  4. Social Proof
  5. Transparency
  6. Expertise and Authority
  7. Google can find you
  8. You own it, you control it

Here are 4 things you need to think about…

  1. What’s your purpose?
  2. What do you want the visitor to do when they land?
  3. How are you going to draw them there?
  4. What type of content will be of interest to your target?

Before you start doing anything, you have to clearly define your target market niche. You can have more than one target audience.

Are you B2B or B2C or both?

Free Download: Define Your Target Market Workbook

Once you’ve defined your target(s), learn as much as you can about them…

Consequently, you need to set SMART goals. Then you need a strategic marketing plan that outlines how you’re going to meet those goals and a tactical plan. The latter is basically your to-do list. What you’re going to do where and for how long.

What’s the User Experience (UX)?

Take into consideration all the different ways a visitor can enter your website. Just as if they were entering a physical location.

A goldfish has a higher attention span that humans.
  • There are several “entrances” to your website…
    • Home Page – usually from the search engines – your front door
    • Blog article – from social media or the search engines – a side door
    • Landing page – from search, ad, or promo post – another side door

You have 7 seconds to catch a visitor’s attention and keep it. A goldfish has an attention span of 8 seconds. If your website — and social media profiles — don’t tell a visitor what you do in 7 seconds, you’ve lost them.

Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes

  • User Interface (UI) – everything a user sees on your website
    User Experience (UX) – from discovery to finding what they need or want (or what you want them to do)
    Easy to navigate & Easy on the eyes
    Internal links – keeps the visitor longer on your site. The more time they spend on it, the greater the chances they will do something.
    Internal search – helps them find more information/products on your site and stay longer.
    Good branding – should be consistent throughout your website and social media profiles.
    Entice the visitor to do something:
  • Don’t make people think!
    Don’t make people work for what you want them to do!
    It’s all about the user!

Think of Your Target Audience

Build your website for the human reader, with the search engine in mind. That’s SEO Copywriting! Your homepage content should be long enough to clarify who you are, what you do, where you’re located (if you’re local), your value proposition, and what visitors should do next. These visitors should leave satisfied, not overwhelmed or underwhelmed — and absolutely not confused. Put yourself in your target’s shoes and think of the UI and UX.

The Buying Journey

customer buying journey

Some people will go through their buying journey faster than others. An impulse shopper sees what they want and buys it. Then you get explorers who have to read blog posts, check out your social media, read reviews, and Google you. Finally, you have those who engage you by asking questions. Ultimately, you want them to buy something or hire your services.

Other Website Considerations…

  • Domain Name – “street address” for at least 2 years
  • Hosting – “plot of land” – “rent” or “build your own”
  • Website Platform – “foundation”
  • Content – “store” (products/services) and/or “magazine” (blog)
  • Mobile first – Page Speed Test
  • Google Analytics
  • Security
    • https – SSL certificate at the hosting level
    • backups
    • firewall to block hackers
    • updates

Hosting and Structure

  • Ecommerce:
    • Pre-built “mall” like Shopify (good place to start)
    • Self-hosted – like WordPress WooCommerce (best for SEO)
  • Business:
    • Easy site builder, like GoDaddy, Weebly, or Wix – very limited and most businesses grow out of it in 3-6 months.
    • Free WordPress – very limited — free to a point — and you’ll soon outgrow it. Besides that, they charge you for upgrading and it’ll come out more expensive.
    • Self-hosted (best for SEO)

The Type of Website You Choose Depends on Your Budget

  • No or minimal budget:
    • Freebie sites…
      • All the basics covered
        • Security
        • Backups
      • Limited to
        • Branding & customization
        • SEO – usually a paid add-on
        • Functionality: widgets & integrations – more costly add-ons
  • Hosted “Managed” WordPress Website – you own everything
    • 100% customizable
    • Lots of free “themes” (templates) to choose from
    • Lots of free plugins & integrations for functionality – including SEO
    • When choosing a web host, look at their tech support and customer service reviews.

Why I Prefer WordPress

Building Your Website — Backend

  • MUST HAVE
    • Backups
    • Security – it’s not “if” you get hacked, it’s when
    • Updates – fix security issues and functionality
    • Themes – layout templates
    • Plugins & Widgets – add functionality
    • Conversion
  • Analytics

Building Your Website — Front End

DIY or Hire?

Before you hire someone, get at least 3 quotes. Keep it local, ask people you know. Look at similar companies’ websites and see who built it. Don’t just hire someone because they are recommended by your hosting service. A web designer is just that — a designer. A web developer is the more techie person. Think of it this way, do you want an interior decorator to rewire your house? That’s what happens when you just have a designer build a complicated website. Just as if you get several quotes for getting your house rewired, you need several quotes, as well as interviewing several website builders. If your website is just an online brochure with a CTA download, then you’re ok with just a designer. If you have your own ecommerce, membership site, or even a payment gateway, you need a developer.

However, keep in mind, that developers are computer people. They usually are not marketing people. If you don’t tell them how to create the best user experience, usually they don’t know. Many just create online brochures and that just doesn’t cut it anymore. They are also not copywriters. They expect you to give them the text that’s to go on the page. Lay it out clearly so there’s no doubt. Don’t leave anything “up to them”.

What could happen if you try to build your own website?

Then there’s Maintenance

Just like stuff breaks at home, stuff breaks online. There are a lot of entities involved even in the most simplest websites: the hosting service, the platform, the hackers trying to get in, compatibility of WP with the themes and plugins. Each theme and plugin has its own developers who have to keep up with the updates.

Fixing Problems

  • Where’s the problem?
  • Who’s responsible?
    • Hosting
    • Backend
    • Plugins
    • Theme
  • Who’s going to fix it?
  • Best: Subscribe to a service…

If you don’t want to have to worry about all this techie stuff, hire a maintenance service. If you have a WordPress website, I recommend OnsiteWP for backups & security — peace of mind “insurance”.

How Much is YOUR Time Worth?

startup marketing budget

You might want to outsource your website design, development and/or content creation if you have the budget. Research your options to make sure you get someone who will create content that will enhance your company’s brand image. How much is your time worth? How big is the learning curve for you to master this?

I can help you determine which is the best way for your business. Let’s start with a FREE 15-minute consult.


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