Recently at a Women in Business retreat I ran, we did an “audit” on the participants website. And it got me thinking about website in general, so I’m sharing with you my experiences with building my lovely website!
When I launched the latest version of my website, was truly like having a baby – and I’ve had 3 so I can say that!
It was definitely a long journey (not quite 40 weeks like growing a bub) but a lengthy journey none-the-less.
So I’m giving my top tips about this process, including 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, have had one done and needing a refresh, or even if you aren’t quite sure where to start.
So, my FAQ’s – these are the most common questions I get asked about my website.
1. 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 WordPress 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.
2. 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 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.
3. 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:
1. 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! I wanted it to be simple to use where people could create an account and access the course material
It was absolutely imperative these two objectives were met. They were my goal and Sarah and I worked backwards from there.
2.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! They don’t know your brand or your 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!
3. 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 …”.
4. 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.
5. 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.
When 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, then SAY SOMETHING! Feedback in this process is vital.
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.
6. A website is not 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 given the increased customer/client expectations that have come with everything the last 18 months have thrown at us – which is the expectation that a business have a website presence – 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.
How can I help you?
If you are looking to build or revamp your website, I can definitely help guide you in this process.
Book in for a Discovery call with me!
If you’d like to book a call – get in touch – send me a message on any of the social platforms or book a call at http://bit.ly/Discoverwithjenn
There is also my Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group if you aren’t already a member and become a part of a wonderful community, please jump over and join in – the group is so willing to share their experiences and expertise!
Or you can DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I conduct my business today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this blog post today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR!
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast.