We’re in the modern era, and everything is changing.
Now we’re on the Internet, and the Internet is a medium you need to be on. Some old-fashioned folk resist, but as our recent podcast guest Jon Butt says, “Get with it, granddad. You’ve got to.”
In that interview Jon, the Founder of Marketing for Owners, laid out what you need for a simple, effective website. This post is based on his answers.
Why should we build a website in the first place?
For those of you building your business/brand on Youtube, Snapchat, or Instagram, understand something: those platforms are not yours. They can go away anytime soon, and they’re out of your control.
You need your own hub. Those free social media outlets should be used for one thing: to bring people to your website.
Sure, you might say. I’ve got a website. So what? What does it do? At the most, it’s a glorified brochure online.
In reality, a website has only two possible functions (unless you’re a government):
- To sell stuff.
- To get a lead from someone so you can sell to them at a later, more suitable date.
Other than that, it’s an expensive and useless brochure or hobby.
OK, so how do you build a good website that will cause people to trust you enough to give out their info?
For starters, the website is just a website.
People get overly involved with design. They look at other examples and say, “I want that but with the text a shade to the left, and purple because that’s my wife’s favorite color…”
They’re wasting time and energy. People aren’t coming to your website to look at it. They didn’t find you: they found a link to an answer to a question they had. When it comes to your website, they care about what’s on it—not it.
Here are a few basic steps for creating a website.
1) Use WordPress
Don’t pay someone else to build your website, or if you do, have something that’s yours.
WordPress is so confusing, because there’s a WordPress.com, the free hosted version. Don’t do that. We’re talking about WordPress.org, also free but you get it hosted yourself at somewhere like Bluehost. It doesn’t cost much.
2) Choose a Theme
Now you need a theme. But again, don’t worry about designers: there are ready-made themes that look straight-out-of-the-box. Just be careful of these, because there are dangerous free ones. You can get malware in the free ones, and anything that’s free is going to be outdated soon.
Jon recommends StudioPress.com for themes.
3) Start Gathering Content
Beyond the bones of your website, you need to create helpful information. Whatever your business is, people have questions about it. You need to provide the answers.
If you’re in a business, think to yourself:
What are the 10 most common questions we’ve ever been asked?
Write them down, then think of something else:
What are the 10 questions people should ask but never do?
Finally, go to your staff and ask them to do the same exercise, and before you know it, you’ll have a list of things to write about that will keep you going all year. You just need to answer those questions.
4) Find Useful Plugins
Next, get plugins like SumoMe. You’ve seen popups on a website asking if you want something for free in exchange for your email. That’s them getting your lead, getting you onto a list.
Once you’re on that list, if you’re doing it right, they’re going to gradually build a relationship with you. Eventually, when you’re ready to make a purchase, you’re going to think, Those are the guys for us.
That’s what SumoMe does.
5) Use an Email Service Provider
SumoMe will help you collect email addresses. For the actual emailing, you should never ever use your own email. You need an email service provider.
You can set up emails in there to be delivered to someone so many days after they sign up. This all happens when you’re asleep, or on holiday, or doing whatever it is you like to do: it’s automatic. It happens in the background; you only have to write it once.
As you can see, creating an effective website is simple, if not perfectly easy. Just remember the purpose of the website and try not to get caught up in minute details. Your website is for selling or future selling . . . as long as it’s set up for one of those things, you’re in a good spot.
If you’ve got a website and you’re not selling anything yet but you want to use it, check out freemarketingcourse.co and sign up for Jon’s course.
If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.