7 Essential Steps Before Building Your Website
Step #1: Get your brand foundation developed or redesigned
Schedule a professional photo shoot to get updated photos for your website. I suggest that you get some great headshot photos as well as some action shots to use throughout your website. Bring a few changes of clothing to get multiple images. Also try to get the colors of your clothing to best match your overall brand to remain consistent.
Ask your webmaster to begin your website by first developing the banner and masthead. A masthead is a graphic image and/or text title at the top of a web page that identifies the website. It’s important that the masthead showcases the overall look, feel and colors of your website and background. Your banner is very important because this is where your initial benefit message or unique selling proposition will go. Inside your banner you’ll also want to add your logo and photo or image. If you are the personal brand for your business, add an updated headshot photo of yourself with your tagline or credentials listed below. If your company is the brand, add an image that best complements your logo and marketing message.
Step #2: Develop copy for your HOME page
Write emotionally rich, benefit-driven copy for your site focused toward a specific target market. Begin with your home page and then add additional pages. Creating great copy will be critical to your online success. When writing your marketing copy for your site, make sure to use words that speak directly to the ideal target market. Keep in mind that this is not about YOU; it’s about the unique service you provide, the pain you relieve, and the solutions you offer. Think about the outcome of your most satisfied client and write in those terms. Below is what you should include in your home page copy.
- A strong, benefit-rich title and a results-driven message that lead viewers to action.
- A few well written paragraphs that describe the benefits of what you do and what makes you different than your competitors.
- Four to six bullet points that include the benefits and features of what you have to offer. These should be powerful offers that speak directly to your prospect. Choose your marketing words carefully and wisely to attract the type of clients you desire.
- Great testimonials from your raving fans. Be sure to add the full name of the client below the testimonial. Video testimonials are becoming even more powerful marketing tools than the written word.
Step #3: Continue to write additional pages for your website
Once your banner and home page copy have been completed, begin to add additional pages one by one. On a WordPress website, the right side of your home page will feature two boxes. One box will show your FREE offer and the other box features your branding video. Try to keep these two boxes “above the fold” (easily viewed on the computer without scrolling down the page). Your additional website page links may include: About, Speaking, Media, Articles, Coaching or Consulting, Services, Events, Blog, Testimonials and Contact.
Step #4: Pictures can be worth a thousand words
If images on your site are not professional, prospects may judge the quality of your work at first glance. The same applies to having updated professional photos of yourself online. The image you present will set the tone for your overall business quality. Invest in quality images. A few resources where you can find good quality images for purchase are iStockPhoto.com, ShutterShock.com and BigStockPhoto.com.
Step #5: Use a strong call to action
A clear, decisive call to action helps you generate sales and capture future customers. Your call to action must have a clear, explicit purpose. There’s no harm in telling people what you want from them, such as “call us for a quote” or “contact us to learn more about our consulting services,” etc. If you want people to take action you must guide them to the next step.
Step #6: Make your website easy to navigate
Once visitors are on your website, make sure they can easily find whatever it is they’re looking for. If they can’t find it easily, they will simply click away and are not likely to come back. Make sure you incorporate a clear navigation bar that takes viewers by the hand and walks them through your site. Also be careful not to add layers upon layers of sublink categories in your navigation. Generally, only two layers of depth are recommended; otherwise it becomes too unfocused. That’s the reason each website you build needs to be simple and easy to navigate. For example, if you have many different services, you may want additional websites for different divisions of your business.
Step #7: Include a sign-up form
A sign-up form helps you build a list of potential customers for promoting your business. Give your prospects a way to learn more about what you do to stay connected to them. Your database is a “Golden” marketing tool to build. Entice visitors to sign up by offering something of value in return for their contact information. If you are using a WordPress website, I suggest you add your free offer to the right side of your website page near the top.
Building a large database list of followers is extremely important for building warm leads and prospects who are open to purchasing the products, books and services you offer. You’ll want to ask for first name (only) and email address. Asking for any additional information than their first name and email will dramatically cut down on the number of viewers who sign up for your free offer. Make it easy for them to sign up.