If you are in business or working on a project that you want the world to know about, I’m betting that you’re thinking about your website. But do you worry that your site isn’t "professional" or "high-tech" enough to go live? Have you written only some of the necessary content for it, but stalled out because you feel like it’s not perfect? Have you even stopped short of creating a website at all because of your fears that it’s not going to be right?
I see this happen way too often: when you’re just starting out in business, often you feel like you cannot move forward until you have a website. You think the website is the holy grail, that you can’t make offers, can’t let people know about your offerings, products, and services–or anything else–until the website is up.
Hang on. Before you throw up your hands in defeat, there are two things you should consider.
The very first question is the most simple (and will actually surprise you!):
Do you truly need a website?
In my opinion, in most cases, a website is not actually needed to begin to let other people know about and have them buy your offerings. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have a website – far from it. But if you are holding back from inviting people into your programs, products and offerings because you don’t have a website yet, it is self-sabotage.
If your website isn’t completely as you want it to be, that shouldn’t hold you back either. Definitely work on improving your site, but don’t let "site shame" block you from spreading your message. When you first start your business, you don’t need to focus on having a fancy, high-tech site. Just focus on getting the information out there. I promise you: even if you LOVE your website when it’s first up, you’ll want to change it within 3-5 years anyway!
Assuming you do need and want a website, the second question to ask is:
What are you using your website for? Or, what’s the deep "why" behind your site?
Being crystal clear on the purpose of your website is essential to creating an effective website. This goes back to a Soulful Coaching foundational principle: always be clear on and connected to the WHY of your project as you create it.
There are two main reasons for having a website:
- It’s an informational place online for people that you’ve already met to learn more about you – for example, it’s a place you refer people you’ve met via networking or referrals so that they can learn more about you AFTER they’ve already connected with you in some way. The main purpose here is for these folks to gather more information about you as they decide if they want to invest in your offerings.
- To have an informational place online where people who are just meeting you for the first time can get to know you and then take the next step to stay in contact with you – for example, if someone lands on your website through a google search or from a JV partnership. The visit to your website is their FIRST connection with you and the main purpose here is for these folks to decide to sign up to be part of your newsletter community.
These two reasons may sound similar, but in fact, how you set up your website and content will depend on which of these is your primary reason for having a website.
Important Components of a Successful Website
Whether your website is for people who’ve already met you or people who are just starting to connect with you, there are some components for a successful website you want to consider no matter what. A website consists of pages, sometimes only a few and sometimes many more. As your business expands, your website’s pages may expand. However, these three pages are the most crucial:
- Home page: This is where you include your soul-centered vision, soul-centered mission, and your sacred message. You needn’t literally arrange these elements in this explicit order, but this is where these pieces will appear. In your copy, you’ll most likely want to activate your reader’s interest by talking about what their obstacles are and what their vision for themselves is (as it relates to your offering) and then how you or your product can help them with that. You’ll also have a call to action (more on that below) on the page as well.
- About Me/About My Business page: This is where you will include personal information about who you are. I highly recommend against a dry bio listing that just lists the facts of your experience. Instead, create a compelling story about what brought you to your work, why you chose to serve in this way, and what you’re all about. Your bio page is an opportunity to connect deeply and personally with your readers.
- Offerings/Services page: This is where you talk about your products or services so that people will know how you can help them. Let people know how you can bring people from where they are now to where they’d like to be in the future – you are the bridge.
Additionally, there are elements of your website that can appear on any or all pages that will serve to build your community and your credibility. These are:
- Call to Action: Another really important component of a soul-centered website is that each page should have a space for people to sign up to become part of your community. This is your opportunity to capture people who come to your website. If they’re not ready to buy your offering at that exact moment, research shows that they probably won’t come back later – simply because they move on to other things and forget! By providing a space for people to give you their name & email address, then the opportunity to reach out is on you, rather than taking the risk that they’ll remember to come back to your website at another time.
- CTA Location: Position the call to action on the top right-hand corner of the page. Depending on your site and industry, you may want to include it on every page. It should be set off or standing out by making it in a different color or put a box around it. Let people know how signing up will benefit them. I recommend that you give a freebie of some kind that they will receive if they sign up – people love freebies. It needn’t be something super complicated; it could be a one-pager of top ten tips, or ten things you wish you’d known, etc. Give something appealing enough to make people want it and give you their email address to get it.
- Personal Connection: Making things personal makes for better connections. I highly recommend that you include at least one picture of yourself so people can connect with you in a visual way. Have lots of graphic images on your pages to break up the text. This will make it easier for people to read.
- Testimonials: Real feedback from actual clients is an asset that continues to build that personal connection with prospects. Additionally, testimonials allow your clients to speak for you. Include as many testimonials as you can!
Now, take a look at your existing website or your plans for one. As you incorporate these recommendations, remember that each one is to serve your goals of increasing visibility, meeting the needs of your clients or prospects, and delivering to them the information they seek. Let me know how you progress!