Defining the Successful Website
It’s always a good idea, before you start any project or activity that requires some effort, to take a few moments to visualize what success would look like. There’s no question that this is important before you start the process of creating a successful website. So what would the requirements of your successful website be? Here are the ten requirements I think are most important for your businesses’ successful website:
- Gets found easily by search engines, especially Google
- Brings in targeted traffic (your “right people”)
- Is easy to navigate and search
- Is “sticky”. Visitors hang around and look at several pages of information
- Showcases your products/services and evokes interest in them
- Captures leads, to help you convert visitors to clients
- Looks professional (design, lack of typos, writing style, no broken links)
- Has an emotional feel appropriate to your business and you as an entrepreneur
- Is easily maintained by you, keeping your costs down
- Generates INCOME for your business
A Web Designer Isn’t The Right Place To Start
Most business owners, knowing no better, do what they think they’re supposed to do and hire a Web Designer. I saw an example of this earlier this week – a business owner who has a gorgeous site, visually. Yet it attracts no traffic, and the few people who land on it from links in her promotional materials probably leave quickly, as it’s hard to navigate and not focused on the customer. On the Website Grader tool I use to get a quick summary of the site setup from a marketing perspective – it scored an 8 out of a possible 100. Ugh.
So yeah, I’m biased, but my bias is on your side. I think you’re better off starting with a marketing and technology coach who really “gets” web marketing – with someone like me who really understands what it takes to fill all of the requirements above. Then, once the site has good structural “bones”, set up properly, you can hire a designer to do any amount of graphics and appearance customization you want.
I’d be happy to work with your designer. I don’t pretend to be one, and I can’t so much as draw good stick figures, although I can recommend a guy who can make stick figures get your message across, if that’s what you want. I know several great designers, but let’s get the structure built right before we worry about the paint and decorating.
You Want the Right Technology
I cringe when I see small business owners having sites built for them on anything but WordPress. It bothers me, because there are only two reasons it happens:
- The website creator doesn’t know any better. They don’t know WordPress, so they sell what they know.
- The website creator wants to be able to charge for every update and piece of new content.
I know it sounds like I may be overgeneralizing here, but when it comes to most small business websites, given the state of the technology, WordPress is the right tool for the job. Unless you need a very complex membership, media or retail site, which most small businesses don’t, WordPress has everything you want – and no other solution is simultaneously as powerful, effective, and easy to use by the average person.
Building the Successful Website
Let me give you a couple of examples from just last week. A company I’ve been working with sells medical equipment. I was excited to work with them because I saw huge potential. Their website was out of date, coded manually in html, was never updated, and brought in no business. They were hard to find on search engines.
We moved them to WordPress and started a training program at their office, where I’d come in once a week to show their staff how to update the site, build traffic, and use social media. I’d visit for a few hours every week or two, and do hands-on training on laptops in their boardroom. We had four sessions scheduled, but after the third session, the results were already huge. They’d gone from 39 to 81 on Website Grader. They’d had multiple email inquiries about products on the website, and they were scoring in first place on Google for each of their top three keywords. Most exciting, they did the majority of the work themselves, so now they know how to maintain that #1 position without additional expense. THAT is a successful website!
She set up content on her new WordPress site as I suggested, learning how to write about her site using keywords, and how to add images “the right way”. In less than 10 days from the date the domain name was registered, she has a serious possible buyer scheduled to see her property, who found her through the website. See what she has to say about building a successful website on the Testimonials page. She’s already working on another site!
(update: Connie contacted me two days ago – she now has two prospective buyers, an offer from one of them, and a bidding war shaping up on her gorgeous property!)
Need a Successful Website?
Let’s talk. It won’t cost you anything to discuss what you’d really like from your website with me. Drop me a line through my contact form and we’ll set up a time for an initial consultation, where we can discuss the elements most necessary for your successful website.