So you want your website to make you more money?
I spent an amazing weekend at the Be The Change event in Orlando and I met some incredibly awesome people while I was there. I was able to walk around and talk to hundreds of business people, coaches and entrepreneurs and just get to know them and their businesses. I got to hand out more of my awesome clear plastic business cards (which were a total hit!) and I got to make some game-changing connections. But also learned a tremendous amount of things from the speakers and sessions.
One in particular was Bert Jacobs, one of the brothers who founded “Life is Good”. After an incredible hour-and-a-half talk, which was filled with tons of amazing nuggets of wisdom, hilarious cracks and even frisbees he tossed into the audience (I didn’t get one, I’m so crushed), I was left with one really important point he made. He said, that even though his company sold t-shirts, the t-shirts themselves were not the product. The product was the message and their t-shirts were just the vehicle to get the message out there.
Likewise, your website is a vehicle to carry your message, to generate leads, to drive sales, to encourage engagement and more. If you let it, your website can be the vehicle that grows your business and makes you more money. So stop treating your website like it is just a “website”, a collection of pages and information hosted on some server halfway across the country that every once in a while you take a look at to update your rates, your office hours, your services or to post that random blog post that no one reads anyways. Start treating it like it is another vehicle that carries your message and your goals to even more people.
Most websites never contribute anything to the business it was built for. Why does it fail to become a vehicle? Why does it fail to actually contribute to business growth?
Why do most websites fail to really become this vehicle?
Simply put, because there’s no goal set for the website in the first place. If there’s no goal, the website has no purpose and no venture, no mission, no business has ever been successful without a purpose. How can we even measure success if there no goal in the first place?
This is one of those things that drives me absolutely crazy… when a web developer doesn’t START by asking what the clients goals are. This results in websites that are cobbled together, that might even “look” great, but have no real purpose and just don’t accomplish much except drain time, money and sanity. Have you been there? Spending countless hours and dollars on a website, then wondered why you were even doing it in the first place? Only to wake up one morning and realize your website doesn’t actually contribute anything to your business and might actually slowly be tugging away at your precious sanity? It’s time to make money with your website!
#1. Start with the goal
There’s hope… don’t worry, I’m an optimistic kind of guy, so I wouldn’t leave you hanging on that dreary note. The first thing that should be done before any website project, or before you start the process to revitalize an existing website is to set a goal and a purpose for the website. Be clear on what message you want it to send and what goals you want to achieve. Do you want to build your email list? Generate leads? Maybe convert sales? Or maybe you are looking to generate engagement in your blog and build a community? Maybe your goal is even to generate subscriptions to an online lesson system plan system? That’s fine! Whatever it is, make sure you know what it is and get it down on paper. You can have multiple goals, just set them up in priority.
[sws_pullquote_right] The first thing that should be done before any website project, or before you start the process to revitalize an existing website is to set a goal and a purpose for the website. [/sws_pullquote_right]
Start with the easy goals. Do you want your website to make you more money? Ok, that’s a good goal… in what way? How will it make you more money? Do you want your website to tell visitors about you and your products/services? Great! Now HOW would you like it to do that? What will it sound like? What is the message you want to get across? What are the things your website can do that would help grow your business? Jot your ideas down on paper before moving forward. I suggest taking this to your web designer and getting their input as well. They may have ideas you didn’t even know were possible.
#2. Get a solid plan down
Now that you have that goal (or multiple goals), it’s time to plan how you will accomplish those goals. How does the website need to look? How should the copy read? What features need to be included on the site? All of these are items that will need to be determined before you change anything on your website. Are one of your goals to build your email list? Well, then you should probably have a capture form on the site that gives the user an info freebie in exchange for their email and you are going to want this capture form somewhere prominent, probably on the home page. Is your goal to generate sales? Well, then you might need landing pages and an e-commerce system.
One of the biggest reasons I see website projects crash and burn is just poor planning, which comes from the fact that very few have goals set in the first place. By planning out how goals will be achieved and what systems and content need to be created, you ensure that halfway through a project, a surprise doesn’t pop up and burn the whole project down.
[sws_pullquote_right] It’s true. If the project is well planned, it actually takes less time and costs less than if each part is figured out as you go along. [/sws_pullquote_right]
Did you know that it is MUCH more time consuming for a web designer to do little pieces at a time when developing a website as opposed to developing it all at once? It’s true. If the project is well planned, it actually takes less time and costs less than if each part is figured out as you go along. Think about it. If you were building a home, then just as it was about to be finished, you decided you wanted the home builder to add an indoor jacuzzi in the master bathroom… it’s going to end up costing alot more for him to add it now than if it was in the original plan. Why? Well, because it is not just a matter of installing a new jacuzzi. He first has to pull out the old smaller tub, possibly cut holes in the doorway to fit in the large jacuzzi, then rework all the plumbing. See how adding something to the plan later ends up adding more work in the long run? I see this happen all the time with web projects. Because the project was poorly planned, people don’t realize they want or need things until the site is halfway done, then when they want to add it, it either takes a long time to add or costs more money than they were prepared to spend. This causes friction with the web developer and the project falls apart or finishes without actually having everything it needs.
For example, we require our clients to have their website content ready before the project begins, even if we are hired to write it for them. This is because the website content is so absolutely critical to everything else about the website… and once you get to writing the copy, you start to discover other pages or elements you might need. It also results in a much much nicer website when the site is built to house the content, not the other way around.
Want to know the top 10 pitfalls people stumble into when building their website? Click here for a free e-book.
#3. Implement your plan
Now that you have some solid goals and plans, it’s time to implement. If you are extra web-savvy, you might be able to implement yourself, but in most cases it is more cost and time efficient to hire a professional to build the site for you. The project is much more likely to achieve goals and results when developed professionally. When choosing a professional, always ensure they are trustworthy and have great sample work and testimonials to show they know their stuff (psst, like us!). Have a meeting with them and look over their materials to ensure they are organized and are very clear about what they are offering. Make sure their process includes determining goals and planning the project before beginning. I also suggest finding someone who will build a WordPress website as it provides powerful back-end functions to maintain and update the site as well as a host of useful plugins.
[sws_pullquote_right] It is also a common “kiss of death” for websites when businesses never seem to be able to leave the planning stages. [/sws_pullquote_right]
When implementing, because you have your goals and your plan, it should all be done in one motion. Try not to break it up into phases or add and remove things unless you absolutely must do so. This can affect the final product and slow down the process. It is also a common “kiss of death” for websites when businesses never seem to be able to leave the planning stages. They go over and over the plan, making small tweaks. This is fine at first, but at some point, pull the trigger and don’t look back until the project is ready.
If you are doing it right, once your website is up and running, you will be revisiting from time to time, making tweaks to over time to optimize it and ensure it is working as efficiently as possible towards your goals.
#4. Now make sure you follow through!
And one more warning. A great website with a great plan with great implementation can be completely worthless without follow-through. Ever seen a fantastic website with a blog that hasn’t had a post in it for 6 months? No matter how good it looks, the dated content makes the site look untrustworthy. Ever been to a website where the content was outdated or prices were wrong? Ever submitted a form to receive a newsletter, freebie or a quote and never heard back because the business didn’t follow up? Whatever features and functions you build into the site, have a plan of how you will follow through and ensure it creates the most results for you. If you are going to have a blog, post often! Provide fantastic content and send that content out in your newsletters. Be consistent with your newsletter so your list knows what to expect. If your website is designed to generate leads or sales, make sure you follow up on those leads and sales right away and keep sales copy, prices and product information up to date.
[sws_pullquote_right] A great website with a great plan with great implementation can be completely worthless without follow-through.[/sws_pullquote_right]
Websites also need periodic updates and maintenance. Make sure the site doesn’t fall into a state of disrepair. If built correctly, a good WordPress website will only need some minor tweaks a couple times a year such as updating the WordPress version and any plugins installed or making minor tweaks to the code to update for newer browsers.
So how do you make your company’s website your vehicle to business growth?
So, how do you develop a website that is a vehicle to communicate your unique message, generate leads, convert sales or accomplish any other goals you might have set? How do you build a money making machine that grows your business? How do you make money with your website?
- You set goals
- You plan
- You implement
- You follow through
Looking for some help?
Ready to get a WordPress website that is results-focused and revolves around your goals? Ready to take your plan and have it implemented to create that vehicle that helps take your business to the next level? Ready for some help building that plan and setting up steps and processes to follow through with your new-found web presence? Then schedule your 30-minute consultation with us to discuss how we can help you grow your business by clicking on the orange button below.