This is a question I have been getting a lot recently from people like us, modern experts with a mission and a message. And that makes me very happy.
The reason it makes me happy is because it is a question that shows some level of clarity.
What usually happens is that the moment an expert starts a business or thinks about growing their business, their first thoughts go to their website. Usually the only thought is that they need a website and, of course, a graphic designer is the way to go.
It is funny how time passes by and things change. When I started my first business, the usually thoughts would go to business cards… Anyway… Back to the website thoughts…
That is how most experts end up with a website that might look really good but does little from the business perspective.
For the record, I think graphic designers are awesome and they should be working on the design of websites but there are a lot of business considerations that need to come first so that great design actually contributes to the overarching goals of your site.
It is like asking an interior decorator to build your house. You need an architect first that does all the strategic planning.
This article is about helping you decide about the kind of website you need at this moment of your business growth, starting with the fact that…
1. Maybe you don’t need a website
What? Are you out of your mind? Everybody needs a website.
Well, actually when you are starting out what you really need first is clarity about who your website visitor will be and what problems you will be solving for them. Because you are starting out and because this is not 1996 anymore, you can use some other resources to start with until you actually have your first clients and some clarity. (For what to do if you don’t have a website, you can read more here https://anarosenberg.co.business/free-online-marketing-strategies). I do agree that it is kind of weird not to have a website so the resources you are going to get in that article are not a permanent solution. They are meant for the “meanwhile”. If you are investing in your first website and you are just starting out, sometimes just a one-page website is enough.
2. What is your business model?
If you know what business model you have, it is easier to answer the question of “what kind of website you need to grow your business”. By business model we mean how your business makes money. Do you sell products primarily? Do you offer services? Is it a mixture of products and services?
3. A website is not a business
Part of this confusion comes from people who talk about the Internet as if it were a business. The web is a medium, like TV or radio are media.
In the case of businesses that sell products, their websites can act as a “store”… The particular location or site of a store is not in itself a business. It is exactly the same with your website.
4. What point are you at in your business?
So going back to our business owner who has decided to give some thought to their website...
Do you know what they are going to do next? Can you guess?
In my daily experience with business owners and particularly with what I call modern experts with a mission and a message, I bet our expert is going to go and have a look at the websites of other experts in their space.
We are heading into trouble…
Just for the sake of an example, let’s say that our expert is a new coach and they have always admired Jack Canfield. Well, Jack Canfield has a wonderful website that reflects the stage of the business he is at, which is not the beginning of a business. Jack has written books, offers seminars, etc., etc., etc.
Even more dangerous than trying to model a website after someone famous in their space is to model it after another person who is as lost as they are.(This is the thing with the online world: we cannot see if what that other business owner is doing is working for them or not).
5. What is the primary goal of your website?
Decide what you want your website to do for you. Another way of thinking about this is to think about the primary action you want your visitor to take.
Do you want your visitors to call you or do you want them to sign up for a free offer you have? Do you want them to buy a product?
Get clarity about the primary goal because if you try to design a website with a multitude of goals, you might end up confusing your visitor and they are only a couple of seconds away from the back button.
6. There is a goal that nobody considers…
This is the overarching goal of any website: to position yourself correctly in the mind of your audience.
How will our expert know if they got this right?
Experts who have don’t have the right positioning usually suffer from…
- Constant wheel spinning trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace to no avail
- “I-cannot-afford-to-work-with-you” answers
- Their great services not perceived as valuable as they really are by their audiences
7. What is your message?
One way of thinking about websites is to think of them as a frame. The message is the masterpiece and the frame needs to complement it.
The other day I was in Vienna, one of my favorite cities in Europe. Every time I go there I visit the Belvedere Museum to see “The Kiss”.
Gustav Klimt is one of my favorite artists and he painted “The Kiss”. What is so particular about Klimt is his approach to frames.He used to have frames specially made for his paintings. In the case of the “The Kiss”, the frame is golden, which complements the background speckled with golden stardust of the masterpiece perfectly. You won’t notice the frame and with any other frame, the painting would not be the same.
The masterpiece of your website is your message. Keep that in mind.
Start focusing your attention to what will really grow your business exponentially: how to communicate the value of your contribution so that your best clients desire to work with you, you can do your best work with them and they get to experience the transformative effects of your contribution in their life.
Till next time… remember your awesomeness is portable. You can take it with you anywhere.