Hey there, welcome to episode 40 of the Small Business Made Simple Podcast.
Want to know the bad thing about episode 40 – it means episode 52 is only 12 weeks away, which means it’s only 12 weeks til 2020 …. Sorry!
And if you’re still listening after that, thank you for lending me your ears today – I know you have lots of choices, so I sincerely appreciate me being one of them!
Today’s episode is brought to you by my new downable Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads. This is a workbook full of exercises, tips and tricks on how to get your first Facebook ad hitting the goal you need it too. To download it now, go to www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/ads – Facebook Ads will change your business forever if you get them right!
Today I am talking websites. Not just websites, but I wanted to share with you my experiences with building my brand-new website.
You see, just this week, I launched my new website. It was truly like having a baby – and I’ve had 3 so I can say that. It’s definitely been a long journey, not quite 40 weeks like growing a bub, but a lengthy journey at that.
I really wanted to share with you the things I learnt, the things that are important and the things that we/I got hung up about when it came to be building my new website.
I’m hoping my journey, my lessons, my wisdom might help you along yours, whether you’re thinking of doing a website, having just done one or aren’t quite sure where to start.
But first, of course, everyone’s favourite section of the podcast – the discovery of the week!
THIS WEEK’S DISCOVERY!
Because I am talking about my new website this week on the podcast, I thought it would be good to tell you about Leadpages, a program that I built my now “old” website in.
Leadpages helps small businesses connect with an audience, collect leads, and close sales. Easily build websites, landing pages, pop-ups, alert bars, and beyond.
And when I say easily built – I mean it! Templates are so simple to use and to choose and if you’re building pages to collect leads or for conversion, it has a lead-o—meter to tell you how good or bad your page is!
I really love this program. Even though I have a new website, I will still use it, just not as often.
The think I love about it most is that I can think up a lead magnet for a podcast episode, build a lead page to collect leads, make it live, plug it into the back of my WordPress site and have it out to the world in about 20 minutes. No need to involve a web designer or a coder – just me and my copy!
If you’re interested in Leadpages, there’s a link in my show notes for it.
As I have always said I will let you know when I am an affiliate for something, and this link is an affiliate link. But you don’t have to use it, you can just google Leadpages.
By using my link, you get something, and I do too!
Hey and if you have a little discovery, or something you use in your business that you’d like to share, please do so. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me @smallbusinessmadesimple. I really love to know what tools you use to help make your life simpler!
MY WEBSITE JOURNEY
First I’m going to set a bit of a back story. About 12 months ago I had the dream job. Well that’s what I thought and when it came crashing down like a building just been torn down by explosives, I knew I either had to pull my big girl undies up or go get a job.
There’s nothing wrong with having a J O B but for me, the thought of having to be somewhere at 8.30 am and not being able to leave until 5 ish or having to ask for the morning off to go to a school event etc, almost made me break out in hives – so getting a job wasn’t really an option.
So Social Media and Marketing Australia was born, as was this podcast and one of the essential assets my business needed, other than social accounts, was a website.
By this time, it was December, everyone was shutting down for Christmas, my website designer wasn’t returning my calls and, to be honest, cash wasn’t flowing.
So, I built my own website. Yep, I built the whole entire thing. I built it in Leadpages – which is, of course, this week’s discovery.
It was built over a couple of days and has moved with me as my business grew, as I needed new pages etc. It was a $500 investment life saver.
But even as I built it, I knew it wasn’t going to have the SEO I needed, doing a blog was almost impossible and well it’s just didn’t really reflect me, not like my new one does.
But it was 100% a means to an end at the time.
It was in about January that I posted a post on one of my favourite Facebook Groups – Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine and asked for website developers to reach out to me as I was looking for one to help out and build me my website.
Like I said, I had one, but I knew it wasn’t going to last for long. I was going to outgrow it and my brand was going to outgrow it.
The lovely Sarah from A Lined Design was one of the people who responded to be post, she sent me some links of examples of pages she’d done, and I did some research on her and her past websites.
And that was it. It’s exactly where I left my website building thoughts and ideas.
Business was really pumping; it was getting busy and I was down in the trenches building this new business and seeing where I could take it.
Until about mid-April – so about 4 months after I initially posted in the group and Sarah had responded, I contacted Sarah again.
It was time. And I guess that’s a big lesson in business for all of us, in fact in life. We all learnt something from Footloose the movie – there’s a time for everything.
I wasn’t ready until now. I knew this was going to be a big investment, but now it was ready. I was in boots and all!
Boots and all is a little bit of a lie – it took 6 months and I have to say that not much of that was Sarah’s fault. When you get an email on Monday asking for something and you don’t respond til Friday, it’s bound to hold things up!
But Boy was it worth waiting for! I’d love you to go have a look – www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au
Like I said at the beginning, I wanted to share some of the things I learnt and answer some of the most common questions I had and still will have as I’ve built this baby!
- What platform did I build on and why?
WordPress. Honestly, since learning my lesson with my very first website which was built on a proprietary platform (meaning they owned it, and I had little or no control of it) I have been a word press convert. Every website since has been built on WordPress and I know it, I understand it and I felt comfortable to operate the back end of it.
- How much did it cost?
Now this question is a bit like the length of a piece of string. Every website will be different in costing, but mine will have cost me around 6k in the end I think. So that, for me, is about middle of the range for websites.
You can get good ones for about $1,000 bucks upwards – depending what you need it for. And this I’ll discuss shortly. Or of course you can go templated like on Shopify or Wix for very little money at all! Depends on your goals – which is so important.
- How do you choose a developer? Two words, research and gut. I was pretty lucky to get the one I did. Putting a post in Facebook groups asking for developers can be hit or miss – but I definitely hit.
I did my research, looked at the sites Sarah had made, read reviews, and listened to my gut that said pretty much this chick is going to be awesome.
I’m not saying that I haven’t tested her over the past 5 months, I’m pretty sure she’d sworn into a pillow once or twice when I’ve changed my mind or haven’t provided information or have needed convincing, but 5 months on I still know I made the right choice.
In fact, I think I tested her most when I went through my first review of the website, and I didn’t like it. I know.. I felt really bad telling her and the people pleaser in me said “don’t worry, just say you love it and change it later”.
It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t me or my brand and although I’d approved the stock photos used, I couldn’t image what I’d agreed to until I saw it. I’m a visual person. And well, I just didn’t like it. So, I said so, she probably screamed blue murder, smile and said ok – let’s start again.
And we did, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it now.
So, what did I learn whilst building my new website:
- Know exactly what you want your website to do. What’s the goal? One of my favourite sayings is “if you don’t know which road to take, any road will do”. And it’s true. So, when going to a website designer, know exactly what you want your website to achieve.
For me it was conversions. I wanted a website that would convert. Yes I wanted one that would give a great user experience, be informational, give great value to anyone who landed on their but at the end of the day it’s all about the money honey – so I needed a website that would attract people who are interested in what I do, and one day might do business with me.
You’ll see on my website there’s some freaking fabulous free tools available, a shop to purchase things from and ways to stay in my world on every day – whether that be download my freebies or join my Facebook group, Like minded business owners or start to follow me on Instagram.
It’s about conversion.
The other thing I needed my website to do is host my online courses. My first one is coming out in mid-October – Facebook Ads for Beginners – and you’ll be able to create an account on my website and go through the course whilst on the site (or have the option to download it and do in offline as well).
It was absolutely imperative these two objectives were met. They were my goal and Sarah and I worked backwards from there.
- Do your research. This is so important because one of the first questions your web developer is going to ask you is, so what do you like? Your web developer, if they are like my Sarah, doesn’t really know you yet, doesn’t know your brand or our story or your business values, so it’s up to you to do some research and go back to them with a series of websites that you like or you like elements from.
And be prepared to hard questions too. Sarah would say to me, what do you like about X website? Sometimes I just wasn’t sure – I just liked it. I found this a hard process. But I also found that finding websites you don’t like or elements you don’t like is almost as important!
- You aren’t the expert. This one cost my dearly in time. I was in love with my logo that I created when creating my Leadpages website and I was a little attached to it – so I found out. The design expert, aka Sarah, kept telling me that the elements of the logo especially, wasn’t representing my brand or me or my industry in the way it should.
I didn’t listen.
I fought her on this. I was attached to my brand and wasn’t listening to reason.
After a month, I told you it cost me dearly in time, I woke one morning, sat at my desk and thought “I’m not the expert, she is” – let her do her job. And I did. And the result was fabulous.
Sometimes you need to recognise we aren’t the expert at somethings, we don’t know what’s best sometimes, because we are too close to it, in the words of Frozen “let it go …”.
- You need to invest in photos, whether those photos be stock photos or professional photographer photos, they can literally make or break the success of your website. The photos on my website, if you have a look and are interested, have probably cost me around $1600. So, a sizeable investment. But the result is fabulous.
You don’t want to spend all this time creating wonderful content, content your ideal client will want to consume, and have your photos let your site down because it doesn’t “look” professional/attractive enough. After all it will be the photos that a person will see first when they land on your page. And if it’s important to know who you are and what you do, in the first 6 seconds of someone landing on your page, then a photo, that tells a 1000 words, needs to be good – oh so good.
- It’s your website – you have to love it and it has to represent you or your brand in the way you need it too.
If your brand is professional or sells high end clothes and your website looks like something you got for free from Wix, then that’s not good branding. Don’t get me wrong, Wix can be great for some businesses, but it’s not for all businesses – just like Shopify templates – good for some, not good for others.
If you’re going through the building process or the drafting process or the hand over process and it’s not what you wanted, expected or liked, say something.
If you’d don’t love it, then who will? But I’ll caveat that with point 3. above – you aren’t the expert, so even though you don’t like it – be willing to listen. There could be reasons why it’s like it is you can’t see. But I’ll caveat that too by saying, trust your gut. You know your clients better than anyone else.
My final point, point 6, is not to look at a website or the development of a website as an expense – it’s actually a business asset.
Once you have something that does what you need it to, looks the way you need it to and reaches the goals you set for it, you have a business asset.
And it’s an asset worth investing in, especially coming into 2020 – which will no doubt, see even high stats of online spending and googling!
If you have any questions about my journey or your own website, I’d love to hear from you.
Head into my Facebook group – Like Minded Business Owners . If you haven’t joined yet, the link is in the show notes or just go to Facebook and search Like Minded Business Owners. It’s another great way to stay on top of what’s going on in the world of social media and marketing! It’s full of people just like you with questions just like you – so come join the fun – it’s only missing you!
I’ll be back next Thursday with some more marketing know-how and another discovery of course.
If you’re enjoying this podcast, don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode and share this with a friend. And maybe leave me a rating and a review wherever you listen in. Those things are like gold for podcasters like me! PS – you can leave more than one rating and review – just saying!
But that is all for Episode 39. I’d love to connect with you all on social – so let’s get social on social – I’m on all the platforms, so let’s do that!
…….. and remember small business peeps, as my opening song says, there’s no point in dreaming small!