Your business goals—serving clients all over the world, selling your products to major retailers, building a thriving community of customers who will share your work with others—all hinge on you establishing a solid web presence for your biz.
And so far, you’ve got nothing. Nada. Maybe you haven’t even bought a domain name (like www.yourbiz.com) yet.
Ugh, the confusion…the expense…it’s daunting, and enough to make you drag your heels, right?
I don’t blame you. I mean, a website is a big undertaking! Even if you’re just starting small, there’s still a lot to figure out, a fair amount of time and money invested, and (potentially, probably) a few headaches along the way.
Add to that the pressure for your website to be all sorts of FANTASTIC—because you’ve got something fabulous to offer, and you want your ideal peeps to get wind of it + LOVE it, after all—and it’s no wonder putting up your first biz site can be intimidating.
So where on earth do you start? With a plan, of course…
Plan Your (First) Website for Success
1) Begin by stating what your website needs to DO for your business. Like, what is the purpose of your business having a web presence? Is it to sell your product line? To build a community of like-minded people who can support each other? To get the word out to your ideal clients, that you’re the one they need? To provide valuable information to your tribe, that they just can’t get anywhere else?
Your answers will tell you a lot about what kind of site you’ll need, what content you might want to include, and so forth—for your website to fulfill its purpose.
2) List what pages it should have, and what content will (tentatively) go on each page. What does your audience want to know? What will they be looking for when they visit your site, and where will they expect to find it? How should you arrange/organize everything so they can easily understand?
Some things are a given—you’ll probably want some form of “About” page, as well as a “Contact” page—but beyond the basics, think about the content & ideas that are specific to your business. Maybe you have a complex product line, and you’ll want to order each product page under categories and sub-categories. Or maybe you have a unique way of doing things—and you’ll want a few pages to walk your prospective clients through your process.
3) Decide what your budget will be—that is, the amount you’re willing to spend, to make your website a reality. A lot of this is simply weighing your options, between how much time and skill you have to devote to it, your available funds, and how much of an investment you want to make in order to save time and get the desired result. Do you want to hire a designer to create and build the whole site for you, plus hire a copywriter to write all your copy? Do you want everything done for you = delivered in a nice box with a bow on top? Or do you only want someone to build the foundation of your site, and then leave you to add your own content, write your own copy, and install extra bells and whistles (like WordPress plugins)?
4) Think about how you want your website to function. In the words of the iconic Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” So ask yourself, what will work best for your brand? Besides just having a “gorgeous” appearance, the design and arrangement of your site should make it easy to navigate + pleasant to visit + simple for your visitors to find what they’re looking for.
5) Set a launch date! It doesn’t matter if you’re DIY’ing it, or if you’re coordinating a whole team of designers, copywriters, social media experts, and virtual assistants to make your website come to life. Set a specific launch date, and commit to getting your website online and ready-to-go by that date.
It’s very simple, but that one step alone will save you a heap of trouble—like that difference between completing your new website two months from now, vs. taking another nine months to beat around the bush and still having only a partially-finished site.
You know that old adage, “eat the elephant one bite at a time”?…
…Putting up your first website may seem like an impossible task, but if you take the time to plan + think it through, and take it one step at a time, you really CAN do it. And of course, the sooner you get it DONE, the sooner your online following will grow and your business (and the people you serve!) will reap the rewards.
Want me to create a FANTASTIC site for your biz? Go here to learn more about working with me…
About Barbara Austin
As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!