There’s no denying that your business’ website is your number one marketing tool. It shares who you are, what you do and gives your visitors a sense of whether or not they’re in the right place. In a practical sense, a well-thought out website can help you sell your products and services while you’re asleep, help educate your clients on what it’s like to work with you and (in a nutshell) shares just how awesome you are!
In a way, it really is your business’ first employee.
If you were thinking about hiring an employee, wouldn’t you first sit down and decide things such as what you’d need them to do, what their strengths and weaknesses might be and what you’re looking for in the perfect fit?
Creating your business’ online home should be no different - a well thought-out plan is a must if you want your website to help gain you more clients, grow your mailing list and make you more money!
The art of planning and designing a website doesn’t have to be an enigma and you needn’t read 1,000 different blogs just to find the perfect plan for building your website. You just need to start planning.
In this post, we lay out all the need-to-know aspects of planning the design, structure and layout of your website. Plus, you can also grab a copy of our free e-book ‘The Ultimate Website Planner’ which will give you the step-by-step process for creating your business’ website from scratch.
Your website is your number one marketing tool.
Make sure it’s working for you - not against you!
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY OF THE ULTIMATE WEBSITE PLANNER
1. Setting Goals For Your Website
You’re probably used to sitting down and writing goals for your business but have you ever stopped to think about what the actual goal is for having a website in the first place?
In big business terms we’d call this KPI’s (or Key-Performance-Indicators). Basically, this is a form of setting targets of the amount of traffic, opt-in conversions and ultimately sales or new customers you’re aiming for.
Let’s not get bogged down in the big business terminology. Instead, think about the visions that you have for your business (even if they feel far away right now).
Are you dreaming of speaking on stage at the next Beautiful You Inspiration Day?
Do you want to launch a signature e-course that shares your expertise to hundreds of women?
Do you want to create a range of physical stationery that has your dream clients swooning?
Your website should be helping you, every single day, move a little closer to these goals becoming reality.
So instead of setting stuffy KPI’s like ‘Grow my list to 2,000 subscribers’, spend some time to set some ‘soulful’ goals for your website.
Here’s some of the goals of the JuJu Creative Hub website:
Inspire and educate over 1,000 women monthly through content available on our website.
Help 50 women annually to launch a website they love!
Guide women to overcome the fear of ‘marketing’ themselves to their tribe and create a soulful business that nourishes them and helps them achieve their big beautiful dreams.
2. Understand Your Website Visitors
If you’ve explored the JuJu Creative Hub blog in any detail, then you’ll find one of our favourite topics to talk about (apart from websites of course!) is clarifying your ‘dream client’.
When you first begin your business, creating a customer avatar or persona is one of the very first things that people will suggest that you do. This has got to be the BIGGEST struggle that we see new business’ have - they haven’t started working with their clients yet, so they build a website that’s all about themselves, rather than a site that speaks directly to the needs of their dream clients.
As you might’ve noticed, I use the term ‘dream client’ a fair bit, so it’s only fair that I share with you exactly what I believe a dream client to be.
She’s the woman that you’d most love to be in business with. She devours your blogs, because they feel like they’re written just for her. She skips on over to your free opt-in and sends you an email telling you just how fabulous you are. She checks out your services page and quickly fist-pumps the air because she just found the exact thing she was looking for.
Did you notice how all of this was based on her and what she needs? That’s because when we truly get to know our dream clients, it becomes less and less about us and more about making sure we’re showing up providing them exactly what they need.
In order to do so, we need to get to know them at an integral level. We need to understand how they think, what they’re feeling and what life’s throwing at them in this exact moment that’s making them seek out your website for inspiration, motivation or education.
When you clarify these elements you can write your about page copy, your sales pages, your blogs and even your contact form scripts with your dream client in mind so that when she jumps on your website, she knows she’s in the right place.
3. Planning Your Website Design & Layout
By now you’re likely thinking to yourself ‘When do we get to the good part, I want to start building this thing!’. I assure you, by thinking through these crucial first elements, you’ll create a website for your business that evolves with you (and doesn’t need re-doing every 3-months!).
Now that you’ve got a clear vision for who’s going to be visiting your website and what you need your website to help you achieve, it’s time for some serious planning! This all begins with gathering inspiration.
Remember that website you visited a few weeks back and it drew you right in?
Take a moment to dive back into your browser history and re-visit some of the websites you love. You might have a few saved in your bookmarks, or maybe you’re so in love with them you’ve jumped on their subscriber list!
What is is about them that’s engaging you? Is it the colours, the fonts, the way they’ve weaved their words like a magical wordsmith? Maybe it’s their high-quality full-width imagery that is oh-so-unique to their brand or maybe it’s how the layout of their site naturally flows (i.e. you find yourself on their services page rather quickly!).
Seeking inspiration from sites you love allows you to visually determine what you find attractive in a website. Don’t get me wrong, your site needs to be customer focused, but in a service-based industry, you’re going to be injecting your own personality and flair into the site, letting your dream client get to know you as they explore every facet of your new website.
4. Planning Your Website’s Navigation & Structure
Once you’ve got a look and feel for your website, the fun really begins. Before you begin thinking about weaving words together in your about page or posing for new brand photos, it’s important that you sit down and create your site roadmap.
The roadmap is how your site will flow.
It guides your new website visitor from landing on your homepage, to reading through your about page, getting clued up on all the knowledge that you’ve got to offer through your blog and then diving on over to your scrumptious service pages.
By the time they’ve gotten here they well-and-truly know that you are the person they need to hire, like yesterday!
So how does one create all of this magic?
Well, it’s not really magic at all…it’s all in the strategy.
No, that’s not a dirty word!
The strategy behind the navigation & structure of your website is about trying to get in the mindset of your dream client.
Here’s some things to think about:
What things are they looking for?
Are they on your site to find information (i.e. to read blogs) or are they ready to buy from/hire you?
What steps would the likely be going through to find the answers to their questions?
Of course if you’re just starting out you mightn’t know this yet. So don’t be afraid to have a look at how some of your favourite websites structure their content and navigation too! (I always like to check out what some of the big ‘marketing’ blogs are doing, as they usually have big-data that backs up their design decisions.
5. Your Website’s Must-Have Functionality
As Steve Jobs says, great design is not just how it looks, it’s how it works. After all, there isn’t much point to having a beautiful website that doesn’t really make it easier for you to attract, educate and eventually book clients. That my dear, is just a recipe for one major headache!!
It’s my belief that your website is the number one marketing tool in your business, after all you’ll be constantly directing people back to it - from social media, your newsletters and even your business cards.
So it’s important that your website is working for you and your clients. Think of it as your round-the-clock employee.
You’re going to need to think about what functionality you’ll need that allows you to share your client’s testimonials, deliver your amazing opt-in freebie and capture email addresses, blog your little heart out - oh and you’re probably going to want to have somewhere you can showcase your services or sell that e-book, am I right?
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all the options, then we strongly suggest that you download a copy of our free e-book ‘The Ultimate Website Planner’ because we walk you through exactly how to decide what functionality you need within it’s pages.
6. Creating Content For Your Website
By now, you’ve probably realised that there’s actually a fair bit to think about before you jump into designing your website. One of the biggest things that you’ll need to make sure you’ve got sorted, that will make building your website a whole lot easier, is organising your content.
Not only will this mean that you’ve got plenty of things to pop into your website, but in many cases your content will dictate the structure and design of the site itself.
Here’s some of the big questions you’ll need to tackle:
Will I write all of the content for my website myself?
Will I hire a copywriter to help me write some of my more important pages, such as my about and services pages?
Will I hire a copywriter to help with my entire site?
What pages will I need?
(Hint: if you’ve been following this blog, you’ll already have the answers from step number 4)
Are there any additional items I’ll need help with?
(e.g. newsletter content or privacy policies)
Will I have a blog?
If so, how many blog posts do I want to launch with?
If so, what will the main categories/topics be?
We’d always suggest starting by creating some content first yourself, to help you get a feel for how you like to talk and what you love to speak about. Do however make sure you reach out to a copywriter to proof and even improve it! If you’re looking for some great copywriters, we’ve listed some of our faves on page 27 of The Ultimate Website Planner.
7. Gathering Photos For Your Website
I know first hand just how nerve-wracking it can be to think of yourself posing in front of the camera and then… shock-horror, actually publish those photos to your website or social media platforms.
I assure you though, it’s 1000% worth every pain-staking smile.
Well if you’re a coach, creative, healer or other small business entrepreneur, you’re likely the face of your brand. Heck, your business might even be your name. There’s no denying it, the most attractive quality of your business is going to be YOU! You’re who people want to work with and they want to begin getting to know you!!
That’s why having imagery that’s aligned with your brand aesthetic and values is oh-so-important!
If you can’t afford the investment in top-quality brand-photography right now, then I’d encourage you to at least look into gathering some uber-on-point snaps via a paid stock site. You’ll find a bunch of free and paid stock resources within The Ultimate Website Planner along with some tips on planning your first photoshoot as well!
8. Building (or re-designing) Your Website
Okay, it’s finally here! The time has come to actually build your business’ online home!
You’ve done all the hard-yards and are ready to start creating!
The big question that most people will struggle with here is what website platform you’ll build your website on. Wix, Wordpress, Weebly, Showit, Squarespace, Drupal… the list goes on and it’s no wonder that we’re all left shaking our heads and tearing out our hair trying to figure which one’s which and what will be the easiest to build your new website!
There’s no denying, that Squarespace has quickly become our favourite go-to website platform to build our own websites (yes, we’ve got multiple!) and our clients! You can read all about why we love Squarespace over here.
The main reason we love Squarespace, is it’s an all-in-one solution.
You can purchase your domain through them (or get it for free if you pay for a year’s subscription up-front).
You choose your desired look and feel from their pre-designed templates.
You create your website within their platform and make the most of all of their built-in functionality (think forms, newsletters, social sharing, video embedding and so much more!).
While Squarespace is the perfect solution for those of you wanting to create your website yourself, this also mightn’t be your thing!
If you’re looking for a semi-DIY approach, that offers you all the flexibility and control but ensures your website still has that professionally designed finesse about it, we’d suggest you check out our Square Kit Designs templates.
If you’re more of the ‘hands-off’ kinda gal who loves to get back to the business of running her business (and not designing her website!), head on over and check out our work with us page, which will give you all the details you need to know about working with us to create your business’ dream online home!
We know just how exciting it can be to have an idea for your business, whether it be starting from scratch or redefining your direction and run away with the idea. We also know that taking a breath and implementing each of the steps above will ensure that your new website will launch successfully and impact on your dream clients. Who doesn’t want that?
If you’re ready to create your first website, or redesign your existing one, make sure you grab a copy of our free e-book ‘The Ultimate Website Planner’ and dive in a little deeper to each of the topics we’ve discussed above.
We always love to know what you think - let us know below if you’ve launched your website and what your favourite part was, or something you’ve struggled with in the creating process!