The Two Things your Website really needs to be Truly Awesome
Now you’ve decided where and how you’re going to create your new website - now for the fun part - actually creating it. But what does your website need?
This lesson will reveal the two most important things to get right for your website and look in depth at the design elements and content types you can include on your site, and how they help your site visitors discover more about your brand and business.
Your free download with this lesson is your 'Website Awesome-ness Audit' Checklist (<< Click that link to download it, or the image below) .
And, in case you missed it in Lesson 1, here is your week 2 checklist so you can track your progress on this week's lessons.
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Aaaand - Your bonus lesson this week will guide you through creating a content plan for your new website (Which is going to help you decide on the best types of content for your website!) To get access to the free exclusive bonus lessons, join us in The Badass BusinessMum's Club (and get access to the private Facebook group and your exclusive 69-page productivity workbook joining bonus!)
So, now you're ready, let's get started....
4 things a good website does for your business
Your website creates an experience for your website visitors / potential customers
Their visit to your website might be the first encounter they’ve had with your business so a well designed, well organised site with engaging content is a must for a first good impression. There are four very important things your website does for your business (if you’ve got it right!)
>> Provides information
Your website needs to answer the questions of your potential customers. You need to tell them about you, your business and answer their questions about your products or services.
>> Builds trust
Your website is your way of letting customers know that you’re a real, trustworthy, human being that is going to deliver on what they’re sending you their hard-earned cash for. So how do you do that? Create a personal connection with your potential customers, give them a glimpse of ‘behind the scenes’ and show your personality so they know you’re a real live person.
>> Sets you up as the ‘expert’
Share your knowledge, experience and qualifications on your website so your potential customers see you are good at what you do. Use customer testimonials and case studies, only use your very best work for your portfolio, give away information in your blog and provide useful resources for your customers that compliment what you can do for them.
>> Introduces your customers to your ‘brand experience’
What do you want your customers to associate your brand with? What three words do you want your website visitors to use to describe their experience with your brand? Use your website to show people what to expect from working with or purchasing from you.
The two essential elements of a successful website
There are lots of things your website needs - pages, information, calls to action, subscription forms, images… but all this comes from just two things you need to get right and your website won’t work with one and not the other
<< Beautiful site design >>
Your website needs to be attractive to look at. It doesn’t matter how awesome your content is, if it’s badly designed, it’s unlikely anyone will stick around long enough to find out. This may be unfair - but it’s the truth.
To find out more about designing an attractive website, make sure you’re here for Branding week, and sign up for The BadassBusinessMum’s Club weekly email to discover how to create a style guide for your website.
As well as looking attractive, it needs to be easy to read, easy to navigate and be well organised. The different ‘parts’ of your website need to link and work together seamlessly so your site visitors don’t run screaming for the hills when they can’t find what they’re looking for or can’t even tell what it is that you can do for them!
>> The essential website elements
Your website header is the first thing your visitors see. Your header should tell visitors at a glance what your business is about. Generally your header will have your business name or logo and your tagline. Social media icons and email subscription forms are often included in website headers. Your header is prime online real estate so it needs to be reserved for the really important stuff!
Your top navigation bar needs to point your visitors in the direction of the most important pages / sections of your website. It needs to send your customers to the right places to get their questions about your business and products answered.
Depending on who you talk to, sidebars are essential online real estate or a waste of space so I leave it up to you to decide if you want one or not! If you do have one they are great places for a short mini bio (and a photo of you!) so your visitor can see the face behind the business, email list subscription forms, promoting your top products, sharing your top blog posts and linking to your social media accounts.
Footers are often forgotten about or abandoned. Left with just the links to the boring legal pages and your website copyright information. But think for a second about who is reading your footer. If you’ve got someone who’s read right down to the bottom of whichever page they’ve landed on they must be really interested in your content. So why not include an email subscription form, social media links, links to your products or services page or customer testimonials. Give the person who got right to the bottom of your page / blog post somewhere to go to next.
Your pages are the ‘meat’ of your website. This is your about page, FAQs, ordering information, portfolio, testimonials, free resources, sales pages. This is where you need to wow your visitors with your sparkling personality, wit and skills and convert them to customers.
Blog (optional in theory but essential really!)
For some of you reading this your blog is your business, but for others it might be optional. However, I highly recommend that you have a blog as part of your website. Blogs help with marketing, proving your expertise, sharing your personality, SEO, building trust, growing your email list and providing information about, and the experience of, your business. I go in depth on blogs in lesson 2 of week 7.
Your homepage is the ‘front page’ of your website (though it’s not necessarily where your visitors will arrive at your site). It can be any page of your website (eg; my blog is my homepage) but it needs to provide an introduction to your business and let website visitors know what your business is about - what you do and how you can help them. Use inviting images and calls to action to direct potential customers where you want them to go.
<< Informative and engaging content >>
Content is… well, all the ‘stuff’ on your website. If your website was a cake, the design is all the pretty icing and sugar flowers on the outside - the content is all the yummy sponge and chocolate chips and jam and icing on the inside! The design makes you give it more than a second glance, the content is what makes you come back for another bite (or visit if we’re back to talking about websites!)
There are many different types of content, that fulfil a variety of purposes. The right content for you will ultimately depend on your business and your customers, but here’s a little breakdown of the different types.
>> The different types of content
Text is the obvious type of content that comes to mind when you’re creating your website, especially if it’s a blog you’re creating. Text does many things - it provides information, can be a call to action, explain how something works, tells a story and is essential for SEO!
Your website images include your photographs, icons and graphics such as your logo. Images tell a story visually, break up big blocks of text, make your website look pretty, grab attention (eg; on social media, especially Pinterest), provide instruction (eg; in a tutorial), help reinforce your brand identity and display your products (or are your products if you’re an artist or a photographer).
Video is getting more and more popular every day. It’s a quick way to get a point across, is more personal than text, making it easier to show your personality and make connections with your viewers, it can be interactive and is valuable for using in tutorials. Video can be informal (eg; Periscope), interactive (eg; Google Hangouts) or an edited, pro looking ‘production’ (eg; a training webinar)
Infographics are information in graphic form (which is why they’re handily called infographics!) They are excellent ways of presenting important facts and/or essential information in an easily digestible way. They are incredibly shareable, especially on Pinterest and are excellent for summarising the important points you are making in a blog post or longer website article.
Don’t panic, I’m not harping back to the days when all websites launched into song as soon as you landed on them. I’m talking about podcasts, or music if you’re a musician. Podcasts are great for interviews, being more personal and interactive than text with a natural flow of conversation. A podcast is a great resource for busy people who can listen on the go during the school run or their commute.
Diagrams / charts / screenshots
Diagrams, charts and screenshots are used to provide evidence to back up a point you’re making. They help to build trust in you because you can prove what you’re saying is true (eg; sharing your Google Analytics screenshots in blog income reports). Diagrams can break up text, condensing long descriptions into images, which are sometimes easier to digest and charts make data easier to understand by visualising it.
Downloads / printables
Downloads and printables are becoming increasingly popular - as incentives for email subscriptions (like the bonuses from this course when you join The Badass BusinessMum's Club), extra freebies, product samples and blog content upgrades (like the 'Website Awesome-ness Audit' checklist free with this post!) Downloads help build your authority as an expert when you provide in-depth information as a content upgrade (eg; worksheets, checklists or e-guides) and create a ‘brand experience’ by supplying samples of your products (eg; styled photography, a sample of an e-course or a printable piece of your artwork)
Your content needs to grab your readers’ attention and wow them enough that they stay on your website, read all your blog posts, sign up for your email list and then buy something! (disclaimer: they might not do all of those things on their first visit - but excellent content makes them more likely to return to your site in the future!)
>> Your content needs to
Fulfil a purpose
The purpose of your content will depend on your business and the goals of your website, but don’t just create content for the sake of having it on your site or as a ‘filler’. Your content needs to have a reason for being on your site, whether that is to promote your products or provide advice to your customers. (This post tells you how to create a brand vision for your business and use it as the foundation of your website and content creation)
Be well organised
Organise your blog post categories in a logical way, make sure your readers can find the important pages from your navigation menu, use links to help your site visitors find content that is relevant to them, break your products into categories, organise your galleries by topic and use tags to make it easy to find related content across your blog. Make it really easy for your site visitors to find what they are looking for!
Be easy to read
Use a font that’s easy on the eye, break up long blocks of text into short paragraphs, use headings and lists to summarise important points, use images to break up text and give your readers’ eyes a rest and use formatting (bold, italics, colour, text size) to add emphasis and make your blog posts and written content easy to scan.
It doesn't matter if it’s text, photographs or a diagram - make sure your content has been edited. Check for spelling and grammar, accuracy of any facts you've used (include links to the source to show you actually have done your research!), make sure your photographs are sharp, well lit and show off your products in the best way, links point to the right place and your information is up to date, test out your printables to make sure they look good when printed, optimise your images for the internet so they don’t slow down the load speed of your site… just make sure you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s! People will forgive the odd typo but if your content is full of glaring errors, it will look like you can’t be bothered!
Be on brand
Your content is part of your brand experience. It needs to show your potential customers what your brand is all about and your content needs to match your brand’s visual identity. If your branding is all about pastel colours and flowers and then every other word in your written content is f*ck, you are going to confuse people! If your tagline says you give advice to DIY classic car fixer-uppers, they’re going to run away and hide if your tutorials are full of technical terms and show them how to use tools only the pros actually own! When you are doing the final editing of your content, the ‘on brand-ness’ is one of the things you need to get right.
So now you've read those 2000+ words (yeah, this post got kinda long!) and your brain is going round and round and you've got as many new questions as I've just given you answers - I'm going to let you in on two little secrets that are going to help you get your website beautifully branded and full of useful, engaging content
Your Style Guide - your style guide is a detailed guide (just for you) to the look and overall style of your website. Your style guide contains details of your colour palette, fonts, visual inspiration and your personal ‘style rules’ (and lots of other things I’ll go into detail about in the branding lessons during week 4!)
Your Content Plan - Plan all the content on your website (eg; blog posts, images, page content and your header / footer / sidebar content) and create a roadmap of how it all fits together, and stays consistent to your brand and relevant to your business. Your content plan will help you create a website where all your content serves a purpose that benefits your business.
To get your hands on your Free Content Plan (e-guide and worksheets) and Style Guide (another e-guide and worksheets) join us in The Badass BusinessMum's Club.
If you’re not a member - join us below! (You also get access to the private Facebook group, your 69-page Productivity workbook joining bonus and weekly badass business lessons delivered straight to your inbox).
Time to Take Action! Turn your website content from blah to badass! Start brainstorming ways to use different types of content to expand your audience and keep them coming back for more. And don't forget - you can always update, or republish any old content that doesn't up to scratch! Download your free Website Awesome-ness Audit and give your content the once-over. Keep it handy for when you've worked through the content plan in your bonus lesson as well.
Don't forget to join us in The Badass BusinessMum's Club to get your Content Plan Bonus Lesson!
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