If you are planning a website I am about to save you a ton of stress, time and money!
By explaining how you should plan a versatile ‘evolving’ website, that changes as your marketing changes.
A website is a marketing tool
Long gone are the days of static ‘brochure’ websites. They were sufficient when the internet was young and it was easy to win business.
These days, there are so many websites selling similar services to a similar audience, due to globalisation the competition is fierce!
The winners are the businesses who can adapt and change and market themselves better than their competitors.
A website is the heart of online marketing, so a stale website is a stale business that isn’t growing or adapting.
No matter what stage of business you are at, once people hear about you they will check you out online. That means they will Google your name and look for your website.
Below I am going to explain the different stages of business and how your website evolves according to your marketing.
Stage 1a: Getting established
This is you if you are in the first year of business and finding your first few clients.
Marketing strategy: Face to face networking
You will be meeting people face to face. You will be selling your products and services during informal chats. You will set up 1 to 1 meetings, in person or on the telephone where you will be able to close your deals.
If this is your marketing strategy then you need the simplest of all websites. The purpose of your website is to support what you say offline. People visiting your site will know you already so you don’t have to go overboard about building a super fancy website.
People interested in working with you will probably Google your business name or your name so your website needs to have good on page SEO for it to show up in Google.
Potential clients are looking to find out more about you and to see if you are legit.
A one page website is sufficient for you if this is your main method of marketing.
You don’t need to go into too much detail about anything on your website because you are sharing the detail in your face to face meetings.
When to evolve?
There are three specific moments you may choose to evolve your website.
- You are getting enquiries and spending too much time answering questions. You want to direct people to your website to find out the details before contacting you.
- When you are no longer satisfied with the amount of business you get from networking. You may want to expand your reach and try other marketing strategies.
- You feel like you have a message to share and you want to start a blog.
Stage 1b: Getting busy – time saver pages
You want to expand your website to answer questions and provide more details about the services or products you are selling. You are getting more busy with work and don’t want to spend hours on the phone repeating yourself.
This is the time to add sales pages (or detailed services pages) to your website.
You may also want to add event listings, class bookings or appointment booking pages.
Your website can save you a lot of time so use it to its full potential.
When to evolve to the next stage?
When you want to expand your reach organically and find clients outside of your current networking circles but you don’t have a large marketing budget.
Stage 2: Increase visibility, status and grow an organic following
When you are no longer happy with the amount of work of quality of clients from networking you may want to try social media and search engines to expand your reach and increase your visibility. You may also want to increase your ‘expert’ status so people on social media pay attention to you.
Marketing strategy: Sharing blog content on social media
Writing a blog and sharing it on social media can be part of a wider social media strategy. If you haven’t started a blog yet, now is the time to do that.
A blog where you share value to your audience shows you as an expert and helps you to stay top of mind with them. See visibility boosters sections for the extra website features you need once you have a blog.
You also need to make sure you have ‘social media sharing’ set up on your website. This means you have sharing buttons people can use to share your blog to various social media channels and you have blog images set up in such a way that when your blog is shared it shows up professionally on the social media platform.
You will also want to put links to your social media accounts on your website so people know where to find you.
- Blog index page
- Blog category page template
- Individual blog layout template
- Add social media links
- Add social sharing
Marketing strategy: Search engine optimisation / visibility
If blogging is one of your marketing strategies, it is worth investing in search engine optimisation. Optimising your blog for search engines helps you to get found on Google for more than your business name.
It’s not just your blog that can benefit from SEO. The detailed services pages you have created can also be optimised for search engines.
If you are serious about SEO, you need to remember it is a long game and benefits can take a long time to see. SEO planning needs a lot more consideration.
You need to keep google happy by having a fast website and setting up your ‘technical seo’ so only the pages you want to appear in google appear.
You also need to set up analytics – google analytics and search console.
Each page you want to be found on Google needs planning, that means good content, keywords research and image SEO.
- Connect analytics
- Improve website speed
- Improve website technical SEO
- Improve website on page SEO
Marketing strategy: Email marketing
You may want to grow an email list so you can share your blog with them and inform them of your products and services.
- You will want to put a sign up form on your website somewhere
- You may want to integrated an opt-in incentive (lead magnet)
- You will need a dedicated opt-in page and thank you page
When to evolve to the next stage?
When you want to take your business tot he next level and have a budget big enough to sustain paid adverts.
Stage 3: Scale your business with paid adverts
You are ready for massive growth, but is your website ready?
If you are paying for ads you need to be sending traffic to dedicated landing pages – that means, pages with no distractions, no typical header or footer, and one specific call to action. You need to make sure you can create landing pages with your website or you will be forced to purchase landing page software (like LeadPages)
- Pixels – you need to add tracking pixels to your website
- Landing pages – you need to create unique landing pages
- Connecting email marketing – gathering email addresses may be part of your ad campaign, if so you need to add an opt-in form.
- Improve Speed – if you are not blogging you may not have looked at your website speed but sending paid traffic to slow website pages will lose you money.
- Connect analytics if you haven’t done so already
I wanted to show you how your website evolves according to your marketing. I have deliberately left of features like e-commerce, training portals etc since these features don’t depend on your marketing and they don’t apply to everyone.
I wanted you to understand that you should start off with the simplest website possible and evolve it as your marketing needs evolve.
You don’t need an all singing all dancing website when you start out in business, just one that is sufficient to help you get clients.
Have you already get a website? How did it start off? Has it evolved?