Chapter 1: Do you really need a website?
If you are a small business owner or you’re just starting out and secretly wish you had an online business, working from home or dreaming about quitting your 9-5 job, you may think there is no benefit in having a professional website since you can do everything on social media. Or maybe you think you can’t afford to have a professional website, so you may get a free website and do it yourself or ask your friend’s son who builds websites on weekends.
Perhaps you’re in the generation that didn’t grow up with computers, you don’t use a computer so you think your customers don’t use computers either. Maybe you think if you are not tech savvy why bother with a website anyways. Perhaps you have been relying on word of mouth for so long that you are doing very well this way, why invest in a professional website?
Here are some stats: The new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that there are now more than 4 billion people around the world using the internet. Well over half of the world’s population is now online, with the latest data showing that nearly a quarter of a billion new users came online for the first time in 2017.
More than two-thirds of the world’s population now has a mobile phone, with most people now using a smartphone. eMarketer estimates that non-voice time spent per day by smartphone users will have risen from 2 hours 18 minutes in 2014 to 2 hours 42 minutes by 2019.
Our online behavior has been changing with the rise of more affordable devices and data plans.
9 reasons you need a professional website for your business or side-hustle:
Reason #1: A professional website is the window of your business
People use the internet to gather information every day for any reason. That you are a local business or not, if you are not on the internet, someone else is and will get the business.
Finding out about your hours of operations, address, contact, or trying to find a solution to a problem, getting a menu, booking an appointment is all accessible via the internet nowadays.
You will want to have your business available virtually online where anyone can find you and contact you.
In addition to providing pertinent information, a website is also a window to your business where you can promote new products and services as well as explain, with all the tools available (text, audio, video, imagery, etc..), what your business is about and how it can benefit the viewer.
Reason #2: A professional website is always open for business
Your website is working for you 24/7. The online world is never closed and no matter where you are in the world, someone can access the information, services or products you have available at any time of the day.
Building your list, selling programs or products is no longer limited to working hours. Your professional website is doing this for you and without you.
Reason #3: A professional website enables you to target a wider audience
A website is available anywhere. The World Wide Web is available to anyone with internet access. That means your website can be viewed from anywhere in the world.
Brick and mortar stores product-based businesses can also sell to a wider audience with the help of an eCommerce store. Think of all the people who can’t get to your bricks and mortar store that you could sell your products to.
Service-based businesses can also serve anyone around the world. With the abundance of affordable communication channels, it is now possible to do business with anyone, anytime. A website makes it much easier to attract new clients in the global market.
Reason #4: Do business your way
With your website, you can do business however the way you want. You set the tone of who you are as a business owner and how you are interacting with your customers. You are free to imagine and create your online world and choose the business model that will attract your ideal customer.
Reason #5: No website means losing business
It is clear that not having a website means losing sales to another business. However a bad website is worse than having no website as it is promoting a bad image of your business.
Having a professional, polished looking website that functions easily and offers customers clear navigation, strong imagery, professional quality content and an overall experience that engages your customers enough to want to do business with you is key.
Reason #6: A professional website saves you time
Your website is also a place to educate your audience about your products and services that can be accessed anytime. You can also provide automated customer service via your website that would otherwise take time.
A vast amount of resources is available to your customer or ideal client anytime without your interaction. So you can invest your time doing what you do best.
Reason #7: You control your content and offers
You have the opportunity to make new offers, provide new and updated information, remove products, offer discounts at anytime. You can change the look of it with the push of a button and launch a new product in matter of days or hours.
Reason #8: A professional website saves you money in the long run
I have seen countless business owners believe that once you have a website, customers will come and buy. This cannot be further from the truth.
In order to be found on Google, you will need a robust SEO (SEO is a three letter acronym short for Search Engine Optimization. Search engine optimization about trying to rank higher in search engines.)
You also will need a way to capture your ideal customers’ emails to grow your list and have a way to convert those customers into repeat buyers.
If you don’t strategize your investment from the beginning, you will lose more money by having a designer redo the site and help you put the necessary elements in place so that you professional website generate leads and sales for you.
Reason #9: A professional website is not just a website
Yes, websites are becoming more user-friendly for a business owner to build their own website, and still look good. But in addition to looking good, your website needs to be the extension of your business and work for you 24/7.
Your professional website needs to be generating leads and sales.
You website needs to represent you as well as attract your ideal customer. You website needs to be more than just a website.
It needs to be a list-building & money machine.
Chapter 2: Things you need to do BEFORE you build a website
Define your WHY.
The online business journey is more like a marathon than a sprint. Is it usually a lonely path in uncharted territories for most business owners. It is a good idea to define your WHY in starting an online business.
Your why is what you will go back to when you are in periods of doubt. When your launch did not bring the numbers you expected. When you are not sure if you made the right decision.
Your why is what is at the core of your decision to become a business owner and enter the world of online business.
My WHY is my love for freedom. I want to be independent and not having to work for someone. I want the freedom to have a business without earning ceiling. I want flexibility in my time and in the way I am doing business. I also want to have the space to develop my ideas and present them to the world.
Now it’s your turn: What is YOUR why? Write your answers down in your journal and review often
Clarity = Power. You need to be extremely clear on how you want to build your online business. If you want to create any result you need to know exactly what you want. You need to be clear on your own vision. What do you want from your business? What lifestyle you want and what outcome you want? Writing it down in your journal is also important as you can refer back to it to keep you on track. Be super specific. The more specific you are, the more able to are to envision it and take the necessary actions to bring your idea or concept to reality.
Know Who You Are
As much as a professional website is a window to your business, it is also a window to who you are and what you stand for. With the choices of words, colors, imagery your website speaks to the world in a specific way. This becomes part of your branding.
If you were looking for a clean definition of personal branding, then here’s one from Dan Schawbel, author of “Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future” and owner of PersonalBrandingBlog.com:
“A personal brand is what you stand for and what makes you special. [It’s] composed of values, a mission, and a positioning statement that depict what you do and who your audience is. [It] is an indicator for how valuable you are to employers and customers at every stage of your career.”
Be also very clear on your skills and abilities and how you will promote them within your professional website. If you are not sure, ask your friends and family to help you. Know what makes you unique and how you want to leverage it.
Meet your Ideal Customer
Your ideal customer is the person you are solving a problem for. A person who will be your wildest fan and who you want to work with. You need to intimately know your ideal customer in order to be able to speak to him/her in terms that they will understand.
Take some time to define this person. You may have met that person in real life. Go spend time together. Find out what their issues are and how they see the world. Learn where they spend their time and how they invest their money. Know what lifestyle they have and what would make their life easier.
It is crucial to create a very specific description of your ideal customer and know how they think in order to appeal to them.
Once you know your ideal customer on an intimate level, you will want to infuse what you know about them into your brand, your message and your offerings.
Defining your ideal customer and their habits and focusing on their needs is what is called a niche.
Build the right online business
What kind of online business do you envision? What business model do you want to have?
It is true that when we first start in the online world this question is hard to answer. The more you are clear on this, the better it will be to make a decision regarding tools and services to build or uplevel your professional website. Now keep in mind that your business will evolve and probably change. The beauty of having an online business is that it is quick and easy to alter it.
Here are questions to push you to think about your online business model:
Do you want to sell evergreen programs?
Do you want to launch several programs a year?
Do you want to build a membership site?
Do you want to provide information?
Do you want to sell services?
And of course you may want to build all the above!
Having a clear idea about what type of online business you want to create will give you the opportunity to plan and strategize your professional website from the beginning.
Chapter 3: Your Website Pages
A website can be a one page website or a multi-page website. Usually a one page website will not have any blog posts as blog posts require additional pages to function.
A one page website can be a great way to start your online presence while you build your multi-facet site.
To be effective, your one page website MUST contain the following:
A header with a short sentence describing what the website is about and who it is for.
An opt-in form to build your list (can be an opt-in freebie or an invitation to sign up for a newsletter).
A section about who the website is for and how you are proposing to solve your ideal client’s problem.
Your services or offerings.
Who you are. A bio is a must as people need to know who you are before doing business with you.
Testimonials and social proof.
A way to contact you.
There you have it. All the information you will need on one page! And have a top menu for the user to be able to jump from one section to the other without having to scroll through the page.
Now let’s talk about a multi page website.
Starter Pages – Or Core Pages
These are the pages you absolutely must have on your site. These are called the core pages and all Professional multi-page sites must have those pages in place.
Home Page. This page can be a static page or a blog page. Or a combo of both.
About Page. This page will talk directly to your ideal customer and introduce yourself as the most amazing person to solve your ideal customer’s problem. This will of course feature your bio and perhaps some fun facts about you.
Work with me page/Services. This page is where you will outline what you offer as a service or showcase different ways your ideal customers can work with you. For example you can offer different coaching tiers, online programs, calls or through services you offer.
Blog. This is where you will see a list of your blog posts as well as a way to select what category of posts your customer may want to read.
Single Blog Posts. This is where you will expand on what your business is about, write cornerstone content and attract your ideal customer to your site. These pages are where your blog posts or articles are written. You can have videos, text, graphics on that page. You can also use this page to upsell your services, invite your customers to opt-in for your newsletter and to give you their email address.
Archive Page. This page is a search result page based on a chosen category or tag.
Contact Page. This is a page where your customers will most likely fill-out a form to contact you. It’s a great place to pre-qualify customers by asking them to select different options. It is also a place where you can tell your customers how to find you, where to find you and hours of operation.
404 Page. Most people tend to forget about the 404 – or not found page. This page is a landing page for pages that are not found on the site.
Once you have your core pages in place, you will probably want to drive traffic and build your list. Building your list is the single most important activity you will want to do in order to sell your products, programs and services online.
Opt-in page. This is where you will propose a free offer in exchange for your ideal customer’s email address. This page will have a form that is linked to your third party email marketing service such as ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp or any other service you prefer.
Opt-in thank you page. This page is where the customer will land once they have opted-in to receive your free offer. It can be a simple message such as “Please check our email for the information you have requested.”
Short Form Offer Page. This is a small product or service you offer for sale. Usually less than $20 for a tripwire program up to $97 for a small program. This page will explain what you offer and how it can benefit your ideal customer. This page will have a purchase button linked to Paypal or Stripe. You can also use a third party service such as SamCart or ThriveCart for the transaction. Some website services such as squarspace.com or kajabi.com do offer an integrated way for your customers to be able to checkout.
Once you do have your core pages and advanced pages in place, you may want to expand your online business with these additional pages:
Webinar Opt-in Page. Unlike a freebie page, this is a page where your customer can sign-up for your webinars. You will then also add to your growing list of potential clients and be able to remind them when they need to hop on the computer and learn from you.
Webinar Opt-in Success Page. Your customer need to know that their registration has been received and that they are now able to attend your webinar.
Long Form Offer Page. This is a sales page for your upper-level offers. Your upper-level offers can be courses, products or retreats that are selling for a higher price. Usually at those investment levels, you will want to use a longer form sales page to cover everything so that the user can make a purchase decision right there.
Purchase Success Page. This can be also used with your Short Form Offer Page or your service purchases. This can be a generic page guiding your client as to what comes next and to thank you for their purchase.
Shop Page. This is a page where your customers can have an overview of all the products and programs you have to offer. Just like a brick and mortar shop, this page is a shop display where they can make their selection.
Miscellaneous Pages. Depending on your business, you may want to have a press & media page, a specialty page, a free training or resources page. You can also showcase success stories, your company’s philosophy and how your roll, case studies or a Start Here page.
Membership Hub. Again depending on your business structure you may want to have a member-only login area where your client can retrieve their purchases. This can be one page or several pages depending on the complexity of your business.
You can add as many or as few pages you need. However always keep in mind that simplicity is the best. Too many option will always leave the customer confused and leaving your site.
Chapter 4: Website Copy
Don’t let website copy stop you dead in your tracks. Yes website copy can be hard. Especially if you are not clear about who you are serving and what the message is. It is important to really understand that this cannot be stopping you from getting your website up and running.
There are a few things you can do to move forward.
Start with a template. There are plenty of templates available online as a starter kit.
Hire a copywriter. Yes, absolutely! There are copywriters who only write website copy. Some a better than other. Some are more pricey than other. Some are specializing in general copy and some in sales copy.
Learn to write. Check out awesome writing courses online that will teach you to write catchy copy.
You can also attempt to write your own copy and submit it to an editor. Have your friends and family read your copy before putting it up on your site. So they can tell you if your message is clear.
You can have a great copy and a less than ideal website. The copy will sell. However if you want to have a stellar Professional Online Presence, design is critical.
Chapter 5: Website Design – Responsive Design & Mobile First Approach
You website design needs to do the following for you: represent you, attract your ideal audience and convert.
If one of those is not present, your website is not working for you.
Your website is the window to your business. In addition to “speaking the language” of your ideal customer by using the right imagery and content, your website is also a representation of you. Your philosophy, approach, message and offers.
That’s when your branding comes in play. During the branding building phase of your business, you will develop logo, font choice and colors in addition to icons and how buttons look and feel.
With a successful branding, you will create a recognizable identity that you will use throughout your messaging on all platforms you are using.
A word on branding
Do you need to have a full blown branding design done before you start working on your website? Yes and no. There are some excellent templates out there that you can use as a starting point or adopt in your business. If your budget permits it, then by all means, go ahead and get your branding done.
However keep in mind that once you start working on your business, your branding might need to be adjusted as you evolve.
According to Mobithinking:
There are over 1.2 billion mobile web users worldwide
In the U.S., 25% of mobile Web users are mobile-only (they rarely use a desktop to access the web)
Mobile apps have been downloaded 10.9 billion times
Mobile device sales are increasing across the board with over 85 percent of new handsets able to access the mobile Web
So what does that mean?
It means that any website that is not mobile-friendly will lose against the ones that are.
In other words, if you website looks great on desktop and cannot be read on a mobile screen, you are going to lose potential customers the minute they open your site on their mobile device.
So don’t ever settle for a website that will not look great and be user-friendly on desktop as well as mobile screens.
Chapter 6: Tools & Platforms
There are several good website building tools available, but they aren’t all created equal. The four most popular builders are Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and WordPress for a self-hosted solution. These four website creation tools may look similar on the surface, but there are some quite significant differences between their platforms.
Squarespace, Wix and Weebly are third party services. That means your website is hosted on their servers. You have no control over that.
Overview of Squarespace
Squarespace.com service uses pre-built website templates and drag and drop elements to create webpages.
More than 1 million people pay to keep using Squarespace after its free 14-day trial, and that’s a solid testament to the quality of results it delivers.
If you want your website to appear professional, beautifully designed, and expensive – as though you’ve invested time and money in it – then Squarespace could be the ideal website builder for you.
Pro #1: Squarespace offers wonderful templates to make your site sparkle.
Squarespace offers a decent choice of flawlessly composed layouts that instantly command attention – which is precisely what you need your site to do.
The layouts cover any styles and businesses, however they all have a simple, modern vibe that with emphasis on the use of photography and imagery. Their template’s clean lines stand out from other web designers’ formats, which can look overcrowded.
PRO #2: Mobile-responsive templates that make your site look amazing on phones and tablets with specific display sizes.
Squarespace automatically adjusts your website to fit the screen size it’s seen on, along with touchscreens of all sizes. You don’t have to create a mobile version of your site.
Even if your visitor resizes their browser window, your content – which includes photos, slideshows and movies – will automatically resize to fit.
PRO #3: No coding required.
Squarespace’s Style Editor lets you customize your template with the use of drag-and-drop controls that don’t require any coding knowledge.
The Style Editor offers you full control over fonts, colors, image opacity, sidebar width, background images, sizes, and spacing of whatever is on your Squarespace website.
You can achieve extraordinary results without being a coding ninja.
And if you are a coding ninja, you can edit your Squarespace website using CSS too.
CON #1: Less intuitive than other drag-and-drop website builders.
Once you’ve chosen your template, it’s not always obvious how to customize it. First you have to locate the Style Editor, and then you have to work out how to upload your photos.
If you’re patient, and decided to achieve the look and functionality you want, then you’ll be fine. More than high-quality – you’ll be delighted that Squarespace offers you such great control over the design of your site. But it’ll take a bit of trial and error first.
CON #2: All the customization options can be overwhelming.
There are so many methods to customize your Squarespace template that it can be overwhelming. Sometimes less is more, and an abundance of preference can be paralyzing.
CON #3: No manual mobile screen-size editor.
You need your website to look perfect on displays of all sizes, and Squarespace’s automated mobile-responsiveness offers you this automatically.
But in contrast to Wix and Weebly, Squarespace doesn’t offer a dedicated mobile editor – so you can’t create a separate template of your website for mobile and tablets.
The Device View mode gives you an concept of what your site will look like on small screens, though. And if you choose to swap off mobile responsiveness altogether, Squarespace offers you that alternative too.
Overview of Wix
Wix is one of the best drag & drop website builders available. They have over 109 million registered customers and over 2.87 million paying subscribers.
One of the reasons why people like to use Wix is that you can drag and drop any content on your site – without having to know a line of code.
They are a “pure” drag and drop website builder, so you can have full control over the creative template of your website and place your content material anywhere you like to – without restrictions.
PRO #1: Large amount of templates available
Wix currently has over 510 professional looking templates that are in line to today’s design trends (compared to other drag & drop website builders).
The aspect about Wix’s templates is that they are already structured, formatted and pre-populated with content so you have to choose your favorite one, change the preset content with your own.
So if you’re not a creative or great with designs, Wix’s templates will work very nicely for you as you won’t have to wrestle with creating your own page layout.
PRO #2: Most innovative drag-and-drop solution around
Wix is constantly introducing new and progressive features and designs which are user-friendly.
For instance, you may build 1-pager parallax designs, insert video backgrounds, growing more than one sections on your pages, all without touching any codes. Wix is surely in advance of their competitors in this respect.
Wix additionally has an artificial intelligence gadget called “Wix ADI“ (stands for synthetic design Intelligence) that allows you to build the first version of your website. It’s going to layout your web pages for you, populate your content and just make your internet site presence look professional.
This solves a variety of issues, particularly if you’re not great at design, you simply need the fastest way to setup a professional website. It’s a “Done-For-You” provider.
PRO #3: Great Support
Wix has one of the most powerful help infrastructure to be had amongst all website builders. They have help buttons everywhere. The help buttons are very visible without searching any further.
Wix additionally gives you phone & email support.
CON #1: Hard to switch templates
Although Wix has lots of pre-made templates, when you’ve picked one to use, you cannot easily switch to another template. If you do, you may need re-insert your content once more. So make sure you select the right template from the start.
CON #2: Visible classified ads on the free plan
The use of Wix’s free plan comes with massive and prominent commercial Wix logos at the side and at the bottom of the website after you launch. You’ll need to upgrade to eliminate the classified ads.
CON #3: Not designed to handle complex e-commerce sites
Wix has recently introduced more advanced e-commerce tools. These include allowing you to configure your own shipping & handling fees based on shipping destinations and the product price range. You can even set shipping & handling fees based on which state you are shipping to, allowing you to have more granular control over this. You can also set up tax rates based on your shipping destination. However for a complex e-commerce site, this might not be the best solution for you.
Overview of Weebly
Weebly is a great accessible website builder that lets you create a beautiful site without having to write a single line of code.
Its drag-and-drop enhancing tool makes building a site very easy for your project, hobby or small business, even if you’re a beginner.
But if you are knowledgeable with HTML or CSS, Weebly gives you the choice to apply them. Weebly has a code editor that lets you customize your site in depth.
PRO#1: Very user-friendly, drag & drop website builder
Weebly might be the easiest to use website builder these days. They don’t overwhelm you with an excessive variety of bells and whistles, and include all of the important basics to build a purposeful website.
Weebly’s user interface is very intuitive to use, which is good for all tiers of customers specifically if you are scared of technology. You could actually build an excellent website in a few hours.
PRO #2: Trendy template designs
Weebly has introduced templates recently that are keeping in-line with current layout trends.
All their templates also are mobile responsive so your website will be looking professional on mobile devices. Changing templates is a smooth task: 1-click step and all your current content material is transferred into the new template.
Weebly also gives you access to the templates’ HTML / CSS codes. This gives you the ability to customize your layout considerably.
PRO #3: Pre-designed page layouts
Weebly has over 40 pre-set web page layouts if you want to pick out from to get you started.
They’ve compiled effective page layouts for home, about, services, contact, restaurant menu and portfolio pages. You can select any one of them, and begin customizing or altering the layouts to make it your very own.
CON #1: Restricted template customization
Weebly lets you change the font and color scheme for every template. However, if you want to make modifications beyond that, which include changing color of the menu bar, content material blog layout, or adjusting the content material width, etc., you will need to do so with coding the HTML and CSS files.
There is no in-depth customization possible unless you are a coder.
CON #2: Slower in introducing innovative functions
Weebly is a little slower than other platforms in introducing new innovative features. However when they do, they are quite impressive and consumer-friendly. once or twice a year which is slower than what most users want
CON #3: Blog features need improvement
Weebly’s blog feature is fairly basic. Today’s needs include the capacity for a blog to link to older blog posts, highlight popular posts and featured posts. Their blog features come with social media sharing, the ability to drag and drop content but that’s about it. It is staying fairly primitive compared to other platforms.
Overview of WordPress
WordPress is a really popular internet site building tool that is being utilized by more than eighty million websites.
WordPress began out as a reasonably standard blog platform (WordPress.com), however it quickly morphed into a sophisticated website site builder (WordPress.org) that lets you create any website imaginable – such as membership, forum, ecommerce, business websites and more.
WordPress let’s you turn your content, photographs, video and more into a website.
WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
It’s vital to realize that there are variations of WordPress: a fully-hosted and self-hosted version.
WordPress.com – This is the fully-hosted model that manages your internet hosting for you. WordPress.com takes care of your web hosting needs for a month-to-month rate (sort of like how a internet site builder such as Wix or Weebly might do). This saves you the job of finding a separate internet hosting issuer and going via all the technical jargon wished to begin a internet site. The downside of this is that you are very limited in what plugins and features you can have.
WordPress.org – This is the self-hosted version. WordPress.org gives you ultimate control and flexibility over your website with none of WordPress.com’s restrictions. However, what you are giving up right here is ease of use. You will need to deal with all the technical aspects of owning, working and keeping a WordPress website. You have control over the speed, shared or dedicated space and you can move your site whenever you want.
PRO #1: Extremely customizable design, features, and functionalities
You get full access to WordPress codes so you can use and customize any premade templates and designs. With so many plugins and theme options, you can add any elements or functionalities to your website. There are practically no limits!
PRO #2: You can use third-party tools to create the website you need
If you ever choose to add a forum, a buying tool, membership access area, exit pop notices, or any advanced features, you can do it by means of installing third-party tools and software through plugins or code snippets.
PRO #3: Take control of your hosting needs to help your internet site grow
WordPress is self-hosted, so you want to select your very own hosting service (unlike a drag-and-drop internet site builder that manages the web hosting for you).
The hosting provider you select affects:
Your website loading speed – A fast-loading website helps with both your search engine ranking and consumer experience. You can enhance load speed by upgrading to higher internet hosting plans that provide you extra bandwidth (think of bandwidth as the fuel that powers your internet site – as your internet site grows, you’ll need more power to help it load faster for extra visitors).
Your website backup – Your web hosting company can help you create a backup of your complete website. So if you run into any problems, you can rapidly and easily load a previous version to make certain your website is always going to work properly.
Your website’s uptime and downtime – ‘Uptime’ is the period of time your internet site is online and working. ‘Downtime’ is the amount of time your internet site is offline and unavailable. You can manipulate this by deciding on a web hosting plans that can take care of visitors surge (which could crash your website) and ensure your ‘uptime’, so your website is live all the time.
You have to make sure you choose the right hosting service and plans, so that you can make the best decision regarding your self-hosted wordpress website.
PRO #4: Huge amount of knowledge and expert help available online
Because WordPress is open-source and free to use, you can benefit from the knowledge of a large pool of customers and developers. You can google any question and multiple answers will come available.
CON #1: You virtually need technical know-how to setup and manage your hosting
As I mentioned above, means managing your own hosting (it’s a self-hosted platform). This is unlike drag-and-drop website builders, who manage the internet hosting for you (they’re hosted platforms). Most new website owners don’t recognize the complexity of managing your own hosting. However most hosting services offer one-click installs and a helping hand for questions and guidance.
CON #2: You need coding knowledge to address and troubleshoot problems with WordPress
Which means no-one actually owns it and anyone can use and amend it. So if you have any trouble or question about your WordPress website, you can’t simply contact customer service and get help like you can with most drag-and-drop website builders.
You will need to hire a developer who can resolve your problem for a fee. One of the main issue is to find credible and dependable help. There is no “WordPress police” to monitor the quality of plugins, theme designs, online courses, designers, and developers.
Qualified help can be expensive, but can also give you a lot of headaches. So make sure you budget for the prices of help when you start a WordPress website.
CON #3: You need coding to customize your website design
With WordPress, you can’t drag and drop. If you choose to change your header image location, you will need to either change theme or rely on the knowledge of a web developer or designer.
Drag and drop functionalities? Certainly! Depending on how you want to use your site, there are many different options to do so. The two in mind are Beaver Builder and Thrive Architect. Both excellent page builders.
CON #4: There’s a learning curve with WordPress
Steep learning curve especially if you are a beginner. You need to know how to code and be technically savvy, or hire someone who is. There is a lot of information, youtube videos and such to learn how to use wordpress but you definitely need to understand how it works and how you can make your own updates.
Do you need to spend thousands of dollars to build a wordpress site? No. You can certainly start with a template – as there are thousands of them out there.
As you grow from starter to uplevel to mastery, you will want your website to be able to grow with you. You want full control on the pages you build, how many you build, if you want to add a member-only access and so forth. So make your decision wisely.
Another thing to keep in mind… there are other platforms such as Kajabi and ClickFunnels that offer an all in one website builder, CRM and funnel builder in addition to content delivery and membership site.
So depending on where you are at with your online business and what tools you need, you may consider one platform or the other.
Need help figuring out what platform you need? Contact me and I will guide you to the perfect platform for you.
Chapter 7: Website Launch Checklist
Here is a comprehensive checklist of what you need to launch your website:
Domain Name: Your domain name is the name – or address (URL) where your website will reside. You can secure you own domain name with a registrar such as godaddy.com or namecheap.com. Some online services do offer a free domain name when you sign up with their services.
Business Email Address: I am a firm believer of professional email addresses. When you are interacting with customers, it is far more credible to use a professional email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Plus, some email services will spam your emails if they come from a free email provider such as gmail or hotmail.
Choose your platform. Depending on your needs and your business expansion, you need to consider the right platform:
Wix: Best All-Around Website Builder. They have the most tools and features when it comes to drag and drop website builders. Whether you want an online booking tool, insert video backgrounds, or favor to create an online store, Wix has you covered. Squarespace: Best Design Oriented Website Builder. Their template designs are so good, they can make your website look like it has been professionally customized for your needs.
Weebly: Easiest to Use Website Builder. They’ve made it so effortless for you to use, you can build a professional looking website even if you are afraid of technology!
WordPress: Most Flexible Website Builder. You can customize your website to your whatever you want. However it is a little harder to learn for beginners.
Get your website hosting. Unless you have selected a service such as weebly, wix or squarespace, you will need to secure your hosting service where your wordpress site will reside. There are several website hosting services offering shared hosting, VPS, dedicated servers, etc.
Choose a template or hire a designer. You can go either way. You can choose a template to start with – especially if you chose to work with squarespace, their templates are amazing – you need to choose wisely your starter template. Keep in mind all the elements you need on your pages and how flexible the template is. Do you like the layout? Do you want things changed? Are you building a list and selling digital content? Will is be easy to add opt-in boxes in the content?
Have your branding elements ready. You will need to brand your website with your logo, your colors, textures and font choices. You will also want to use the chosen imagery for your brand. That’s where a branding sheet comes in handy. You will also want to use your icons and custom graphics. Please note – all templates are not super easy to change or altered to represent you and attract your ideal client. Do a smart choice regarding your template.
Source your images. There are some free options and paid options for imagery. You will also need to carefully select images that are high-quality and represent your brand and messaging. There are some free resources for imagery such as unsplash.com, 500px.com and rawpixel.com. Some paid services include istockphoto.com, bigstock.com and gettyimages.com.
Choose your image editor. It used to be that photoshop was the best thing around. Not anymore. There are now a few online tools you can use to alter, resize, enhance and transform your images such as picmonkey.com, canva.com and pixlr.com Yes there are some restrictions with those image editors but most graphic treatment can be achieved.
Choose your email service provider. We want to sell online, right? Then you will need a service that gives you the ability to build your list, manage it and communicate with it. If send your customers marketing emails and send legitimate email campaigns that you may want to automate, you will want to get an Email Service Provider. Email providers vary in the way they provide the tools to target and manage your subscribers’ lists. Mailchimp.com, constantcontact.com, aweber.com, infusionsoft.com, convertkit.com and activecampaign.com are all email service providers to name a few.
Have a freebie ready. If you want to build your list, you will want to offer a free gift of value in exchange for your customer’s email. That can be a downloadable, a video series or anything that can add value to your customer’s life or a solution to their problem. You will also need to have your optin form ready and tested.
Get Google Analytics. Some platforms offer good tracking tools such as clickfunnels.com or leadpages.co Some tools are also offered within squarespace.com or wix.com. However on a wordpress website, you will want to be able to track your traffic so you can better understand where your website traffic comes from and how your viewers behave.
SEO. Short for search engine optimization. In order for google or bing to find your website, you will need to define what the pages are about and how google should index your pages. You will need to define keywords and description for google. Imagery for social media sharing. This needs to be done for all searchable pages.
Test. Finally test your site completely before you launch it. Check all links, forms, opt-ins on all pages. Make sure your links open in a new tab or window when appropriate. This is a must before you unveil your site to the public and start promoting it.
Chapter 8: Conclusion
In conclusion, I would like to applaud you for taking this step and starting your online business.
There are a lot of options out there. There are more and more tools and most can achieve the same goal.
However you always need to keep the following in mind:
What kind of business model do I want?
What is the budget I have to start or expand?
What are the features I absolutely need now and will need in the future?
Do I want to do it all myself or do I want to hire a designer or a VA?
What tasks do I want my website to do automatically?
What kind of experience do I want my customers to have?
Here is a little piece of advice from my own experience: If you are a beginner who never had a website before on a small budget, then by all means start with a platform such as wix.com, weebly.com or squarespace.com. I love for my clients to have options. One of the platforms in my opinion that offers the most features with great designs and the possibility to move to another platform such as wordpress is squarespace.com.
If you already had a website and want to expand, depending on which platform and tools you will need, you may want to consider moving away from squarespace into wordpress.
You can absolutely start with wordpress. Lot of my clients did. You just have to make the decision based on your preferences and your needs.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need guidance or if you need to hire a designer.
I would love to help.