For many budding entrepreneurs or small business owners, the idea of building and maintaining a website can seem as terrifying and as challenging as climbing Mount Everest. And, just like with Everest, a lot of people opt out altogether because of that fear, focusing their attention on other things and deciding to leave the website to the experts.
On one hand, the hesitation makes sense – we’ve all heard the horror stories about how hard it is to build a site from scratch, and we’ve seen how, for some businesses, a site can majorly drain time and resources that they just don’t have to spare.
But what if I told you that it doesn’t always have to be that way and that you could easily build a website that will change your business and make you money in just a few hours?
Well, you can. Here are 4 tried-and-true, foolproof elements that will help you build a website that’s guaranteed to become the foundation of your success and help you grow your business to the next level. And if you already have a site started, incorporating even 1 or 2 of these tips will make you more money and improve your business’ performance – so I suggest you sit up and take some notes.
First Thing’s First: Never Forget The Purpose of Your Website
More than anything else, your website has to be a tool and a vehicle that showcases the solutions you offer for the pain points of your ideal audience. In other words, it has to clearly show the RESULTS you can deliver and how you can help your audience overcome their problems in some important way.
In this sense, your website is an integral part of your marketing efforts. In fact, if it’s done right, it can actually be your most powerful, hands-off conversion tool, helping you turn your website visitors into converting, long-term customers by providing them with the relevant, timely, valuable information that they’re looking for.
Here’s how to make that happen.
1.Set It Up For Success
First, you have to physically and technologically set your site up for success. This requires two important elements:
A Strong Domain
First, the tech part. To get any website online, you’re going to need:
- A domain name (a web address like websitesmadeeasy.tv)
- Hosting (this is a service which allows your website to ‘live’ on the internet)
And the important work starts here. A great way to set a good first impression with your site is picking a domain name that’s meaningful and easy for people to remember. It should be professional and be a direct representation of your actual business’ name.
When shifting your business to the online landscape, you’ll ideally want your website URL to match your business name exactly. This may be difficult to attain however as almost every one or even two word names are already owned by someone else. However, you’ll want to try to keep it short and sweet, but also memorable.
Stick with using a .com, .net, or .org extension, as these are better known and they have more power in terms of SEO authority – 46.6% of all websites use .com – and if you’re going to go with something more obscure like a .tv, make sure it’s super in line with your brand, your offering, and what your audience wants to see from you.
For us, .tv made sense as we have so many video focused training tutorials for our specific audience.
Now, setting up a domain name and hosting will set you back less than $10 a month, and is an investment into your business and your future. If you’re worried about the cost, you need to know that, like all businesses, running a business online WILL have costs associated with it – but these are actually very minimal compared to running a brick and mortar business and they’re worthwhile in the long term.
Clear, Relevant Header Hero Copy (CTA)
Now, the physical setup. You header hero area is the part of your site that appears “above the fold,” meaning it’s the first thing that people see when they arrive on your page (before they scroll down or click to any other area of your site).
Such important, in-your-face real estate has to be completely dialed in. That means it needs to be compelling, concise, and valuable – your audience needs to know immediately what you do and how you can help them.
Why does this space matter so much?
The people visiting your site have high expectations and zero patience – almost literally. On average, people form an opinion of a site in 50 milliseconds (or .05 seconds!) and it takes 2.6 seconds for their eyes to land on the area of a website that most influences their first impression. If they feel like something’s off in those instances, they’ll leave and never come back.
So here’s how to make this space right:
- Be clear: You need to be 100% clear about your business and what you offer. Avoid the use of ‘‘clever’ or ‘vague’ language. If a prospect has to work out what it is you do, you’ve lost them already.
- Be concise: Short and sweet is always best. As a general rule of thumb, try and communicate your message in 10 words or less. If you can’t explain what you do in a single sentence, it may be time to re-think your messaging. Plus, they won’t stick around to read anything more.
- Be compelling: Your headline should grab your audience’s attention and make them want to read more. If your message is clear and you explain your value, that should be enough to reel them in.
Remember, keep it about who you are and what you offer that they should care about. There’s space for everything else in other places.
Establish Your Unique Selling Point (USP)
Ok, now that the first impression is done, it’s time to set yourself apart from the competition and start leading the pack. This will require:
- That you understand their pain points and bring them to the forefront.
- That you present how you can resolve their problems better than anyone else.
Essentially with these two steps, we’re going to identify the primary pain point in your prospect’s life and make them feel it – then convince them that they need your solution in order to make it better.
Step 1: Help Them Understand and Focus on their problem
First, you’ll want to bring the elephant in the room right into view and shine the spotlight right on it. By doing this, you’re cutting straight to the point of why they are on your website in the first place. They likely are searching for a problem that they have and have found you as a possible solution.
This fundamental element is true of any person in any country with any problem. This is true of all industries in all demographics.
- If you sell shoes, your potential customer has old beat up shoes that are falling apart and is need of a solution.
- If you offer health and wellness training, your potential customer feels the need to be more healthy and fit in their daily life and is in need of a solution.
- If you teach how to train dogs, your potential customer has a new puppy who gets into trouble left and right and is need of a solution.
Now is your opportunity to bring their issue up right away and focus on how bad or difficult that current problem is at this very moment.
You can make this section even more powerful by adding in as much emotion as possible, since businesses are twice as likely to make an impact on their audience if they lead with emotion rather than function.
For example, just think of a company that sells mattresses. In their television commercials, they show people waking up with extreme back pain or sore joints.
People who are tired all day long with their kids, while driving or at work, all because they didn’t get a good night’s sleep that night.
When you paint this picture and agitate the pain, you’re also communicating to your prospects that the cost of doing business with you is not just a dollar amount, but also an opportunity to solve a problem.
For example, without a good night’s sleep, they won’t have energy to do the things they love to do, they won’t be able to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. That’s the cost prospects face if they don’t do business with you!
Now, all of a sudden, your product now has a higher perceived value in the minds of your potential customers so they’re much more likely to buy.
Step 2: Present your business as the best solution to this terrible problem
Painting that picture of not only their current problem, but also helping them imagine what if I didn’t have this issue is the most powerful way of priming them to be ready for you to share your solution.
Now is your chance to present your unique mechanism – something specific that only your business offers.
The goal here is to have your visitor think this is invaluable because they can only get it from you. This offsets the chance that your audience is a Google search away from finding another service doing the exact same thing you do. It’s extremely powerful.
The key here is to keep this part of your site incredibly simple and present 3-5 big benefits your customer will achieve as a result of buying your product or service. Your end goal is to tell people exactly what their life will look like and how it will transform for the better once they use your product. This is what we call dimensionalizing the benefits.
You won’t want to just state facts about your solution, you’ll want to help your audience understand why that’s important for their life – for their benefit.
Your mattress only uses premium grade Latex Foam. So what? Why does this matter?
Think of it this way…
With premium grade Latex Foam, you’ll…
X, Y and Z so you can X, Y and Z.
So, with premium grade Latex Foam, you’ll (X) feel that softness so you can fall asleep faster, but you have (Y) the right strength so you don’t hurt your back all while (Z) keeping costs down,
So you can (X) wake up feeling refreshed (Y) with the energy and health you once did years ago all while (Z) putting more money back into your pocket.
Now we’re onto something powerful!
Keep The Journey to Purchase Simple
There’s one key thing to keep in mind here: the confused mind doesn’t buy.
In fact, there’s even a scientific name for this – “the ambiguity effect” – with the main idea being, in very simple terms, that people will naturally do anything to avoid the confusing or the unknown. As a result, you need to keep every aspect of your site as clear and simple as possible – particularly the path to purchase.
You see, if your prospect digests the information that you present in hero header and is convinced by your unique selling point, it means they’ve qualified as a potential customer – all they need to know now is how they can do business with you!
So you can’t mess this part up by overcomplicating things.
Instead, help your visitor understand how simple it is to buy your product and get the end results they’re looking for. If at any point they feel worried or anxious, then you’ll lose a potential sale, so you have to avoid ambiguity at all costs.
This requires giving prospects a clear and reassuring path. And it’s important to do this in just a few simple steps – preferably no more than three.
Returning to our mattress example, their path to purchase might be something like:
- Step 1 – Learn your sleep settings and understand which mattress is right for you
- Step 2 – Test out your mattress in one of our stores
- Step 3 – Sign here and have it delivered right to your home
Keep in mind, the rule applies to page design and your checkout as well as the copy. Up to 50% of online sales are lost when visitors can’t find content, so don’t make them look around for the right buttons to click, navigate through a 3-step checkout process, or do anything else that is going to over-complicate their experience on your site.
This cannot be stressed enough.
Create Your Blog
Finally, you need to give your new audience a reason to come back to your website tomorrow, one week from now, one month from now! But, why should they continue to care about your business, what you have to offer and think of you as the end-all solution?
Very simply, you need to establish the know, like, and trust factor by creating a blog. Now you may be rolling your eyes and thinking Really? Now we’re talking about a blog? I don’t have time for that in my business! But stay with us because this is important.
Unlike a static site or webpage, which remains more or less the same today, tomorrow and next week, a blog is always evolving, always presenting new information. Through your blog you can consistently produce valuable, fresh, relevant content that speaks to your audience’s pain points and provides immediate, specific value to them.
In this sense, blogging is one of the best ways to achieve three core business goals:
- Establish yourself as a trusted authority in your space
- Give your audience a reason to return to your site
- Increase the likelihood of people doing business with you
Plus, it helps you educate your community and build a personal connection with your audience at the same time.
And, in return, you too will see customers purchasing your products and becoming delighted, lifelong customers.
Remember, though, that to get this right you have to provide relevant, specific, valuable content for your audience on a regular basis. People who go online are usually searching for solutions to their problems and looking for products and brands that offer the answers that they’re looking for. Your blog is where you provide those answers and create tangible value for your audience. Content should be made available for free with the sole purpose of helping your audience – and, in return, people will WANT to buy from you!
So what are you waiting for? Start up your website and turn it into a money-making machine today!