You might be thinking that you just need a website and you’re going to start making money. Well, that’s not correct. Sorry to be blunt, but this is not the field of dreams (“if you make it they will come”), this is really “if you make it, they might show up and you will be possibly frustrated because they didn’t buy or call”, but we’re going to get to that later and how to deal with it. For now, we need to focus on your website’s purpose and it’s functionalities and how to map it all out. So, pull up a chair a hot beverage (if you’re reading this during the summertime then something cold) and let’s dive into this…
What’s Your Website’s Purpose:
You have to ask yourself several questions:
- Why am I making this site? I’m not talking about the deep meaning of “I want to quit my job”, I’m talking about what does your company do? Is it a service related company? Is it a company that can sell something online? What is it that it does?
- If you’re a service company think of your website as possibly your brochure. You want to get people there, glance around and want them to call you to schedule an appointment.
- If you’re a business that can sell online, no matter if you’re Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C). Are you planning on creating an eCommerce site?
- Who is going to write the content? Yes, you have to think about the content of your website. In the next lesson I will show you how to make a sitemap and plan out the entire content, but for now you have to know who will write the content.
- If you’re an eCommerce website or planning to be one, did you have ALL of the photos taken? If not then you best start now. Why? Now images = no sales for an eCommerce website. A lot of times the images will come out terrible and you will want to have multiples of each item. So, get started now.
- Not an eCommerce site? Well you still need images. I highly recommend you start looking at iStockphotos or just Google “stock images”, you don’t have to buy anything right now, but at least keep it at the top of your mind that you will need images.
How do You Want Your Website to Work? (Website Functionality):
What is website functionality? This is basically what do you want your website to do for you. Yes, you want it to be pretty, match your industry, etc. What I’m asking here is what do you want your website to do for you. Here are some features that I highly recommend:
- 1. Livechat: This is a great way for users who visit your website to engage with someone. It’s like having a quick hook on your site. Oh, you’re not at your desk all the time? Well, I have some news for you. There are some livechat plugins that allow for you to actually chat to people with your mobile device. I’m not saying you should be texting and driving, but at least if you’re away from your computer you can do this. Please note that most, if not all, livechats do cost money every month. This isn’t a must have for your website, but it is recommended if you are a service company.
- Analytics: Okay this is really a no brainer, I would recommend Google Analytics. What is Analytics? It tells you how many visitors are coming to your website, from where and some important demographic information.
- Contact Form? Believe it or not, I’ve actually ran into a company that doesn’t have a contact form on their website. I was blown away by it. Think of your website as your ultimate face of your business. If you don’t give people multiple ways to contact you, then how do you plan on capturing new business? Now, for your contact form you want to know what fields and questions you really want to ask the people who will be contacting you.
- Social Media Links: Yes, this is a feature too. Believe it or not, there are still some companies that tell me “social media is not for me and no one in my industry will use it”. Oh really? Well have it anyways, Google knows if you have it or not and it is possible to help you rank and even get new traffic that you might not have known existed. Which ones you’re actively using really depends on your business model, I always say leave no social platform barren. If you want to really capture your market, you have to see that there are all shapes and sizes of users so you never know where you’ll get someone.
- Blog Features: I highly recommend that you have this feature only because it can really be leveraged to provide great content to your users and pull in so much traffic. I will be going over blogs and content writing in the content marketing guide.
- Testimonials: You want people to talk about your business. Just because you’re saying that you do a great job, doesn’t mean that people will believe it. People don’t believe the business, they believe what others say about your business and its products and services. Think of it this way if you’re shopping for a TV online, do you believe what the manufacturer says about the TV OR do you scroll down to the reviews first? Most people look at those magical selling stars and buy based upon that as their final decision. So, even if you’re not an eCommerce company, you will need some solid reviews onsite & offsite.
- Responsive Website: OMG Alex! What is a responsive website? A responsive website allows your single website to be compatible for your visitor’s PC, tablet and smartphone. This is really built into the layout that you purchase or you can have it programmed out. Either way this is a feature I highly recommend.
- Speakpipe: For ANY service related company, I highly recommend https://www.speakpipe.com/. This is an amazing tool that allows your visitors to send you a message directly from the PC. The best part is, it’s Free (for now anyways).
Think of a few things that you want your website to do for you. What is the purpose of the website? Are you using it as a service company, as an eCommerce site, just informational? What do you want your website to do as functions or features? These are the things that you need to plan out now.