Building the Foundation for Your Sales Engine
Obviously, this chapter will be very important in your online business journey. Without a clean, well designed, and easy to use website, your online presence will not measure up. You need to spend the time to build a proper website, or you are at a much higher risk of failure than you would be otherwise.
Your website is your foundation. It is the equivalent of your storefront, except only in a digital landscape. It is your representation of the world. You want to put your best foot forward, don’t you?
In this chapter, we will discuss;
- Understanding the purpose of your website
- Should you hire a designer?
- Different options to build your own site
- Understanding user experience
- Understanding call to action.
- Understanding the Purpose of your Website
Although it may seem obvious, the purpose of websites can be very complex. Every site is different and every business needs to complete certain tasks in order to be successful.
Understanding your website requires you to ask yourself a few questions. For instance, is your site going to be an e-commerce site? Is this a portfolio site for you to show your work? Are you trying to collect leads? Are you selling digital products?
We spoke about different monetization methods in a previous chapter. Let’s look at how some of these options play out when building your site.
E-Commerce Sites – E-Commerce sites are without a doubt the most complicated and intricate form of websites. There are a few reasons why.
You have to hook up merchant accounts, build many different templates for products, collections, blogs, etc.
There is also a lot to understand about human psychology and copywriting. At this point, the only question you need to answer is “Am I selling things online?”
If you are, then an e-commerce website is the best option for you.
Business Websites – A business site usually is selling some kind of service.
For instance, my marketing agency sells internet marketing services to businesses. The goal of my company website is to bring in traffic and convince that traffic that we are the best option for their internet marketing needs. If I do my job correctly, people will come to the site and say “these guys look like they can help me. I will give them a call.”
Lead Generation – Some websites are built simply to collect data. You may not realize this, but many of the sites you go on every day are collecting data about you and selling that data to companies.
However, it doesn’t need to be this complex. Many websites are built simply to get phone calls or lead forms. Sometimes these leads are sold to a third party and sometimes they are kept by the business for sales.
Membership Sites – Many websites sell services or products yet combine it with a community aspect. This means that the site has its own special back end that requires a login.
These membership sites give special access to members, such as VIP credentials, special content, access to webinars or even forums to members.
My favorite membership site is and always will be CopyBlogger.
Magazine or Advertising Sites – Some websites monetize simply by selling advertising. This is a common way for websites to bring in revenue. Usually, this requires a lot of content and a large social media following.
The idea is that the more traffic a site gets, the more a company would feel compelled to purchase an ad on the website to get in front of all the users the site has. Advertising is always a great place for any new blog or business to start. Millions of people make a side income or great wages through monetizing their blog through ad revenue. A good example of an ad-supported website is The Huffington Post.
Should You Hire a Designer?
Ultimately this is a decision you will need to make for yourself. Here are some things to think about before you make the decision.
Many factors will play a role. Here is my advice…
If you can afford to hire a designer, make sure you pick one that you trust. You can choose from our list of certified web designers if you choose. If you need recommendations for a good designer and developer, reach out to me and I will point you in the right direction.
The Do It Yourself Guide to Building Your Own Business Website
Studiopress and Genesis Framework – StudioPress.com is the best place to find any pre built WordPress themes.
If you are going for a service site, magazine site or even a general business site, a StudioPress theme is your best option. It will require some back end knowledge, but StudioPress provides in-depth guides to walk you through the process.
StudioPress runs on the Genesis framework which makes it very easy for Google to access your site and will help you with SEO.
Shopify and E-Commerce Liquid Coding – If you are building an e-commerce site, I always recommend using Shopify. My personal store, New Lyfe Clothing is built and hosted on Shopify.
Shopify makes it very easy and understandable to build a professional and user-friendly online shopping experience. The store has a built-in merchant account so you can process sales, a built-in inventory management system as well as marketing tools that help you sell your products online, on Facebook, person to person or even through email marketing.
Shopify is always my first and only choice for e-commerce.
Understanding User Experience – It is very easy for designers and marketers to lose sight of this, I have made this mistake myself. It is easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of online marketing.
Line graphs and keyword rankings and other metrics make it easy to forget that the internet is a form of human interaction. It is critical to always remember that you are building websites for people.
- How does this website make someone feel?
- How easily can a person navigate through the site without getting lost or confused?
- How quickly can someone find the information they are looking for?
- Does your site quickly explain what you offer?
- Could someone describe the purpose of your business in three words?
There are a few key indicators to good user experience.
White Space – Design is a hugely important factor in user experience. Be sure to give your user room to breathe when he or she is navigating your website. Be sure to leave space in between images and text. Be sure that the text itself is easy to read. Keep an eye out for clutter and avoid it at all costs. Minimalist designs convert to the best user experience. However, there is a balance.
Through design, it is just as important to be able to catch the users attention. These “highlighted” areas are also critical.
Be sure to use bold points, headers, bullet points directional cues and quotation makes when highlighting something important? Think about making those points red or yellow.
User Experience and Navigation – Nothing will drop time on site like a confusing interface. You must be sure you are making all the information easily accessible and easy to navigate.
The easiest place to lose sight of this is through the navigation bar. Keep your navigation short and simple, and be careful of creating too many dropdowns.
An easy to use navigation will be the difference maker in people interacting with your website or simply coming to check it out and leaving.
Sales Funnels – We will talk about this further in this guide. However, when you are making your site, you need to be careful to plan ahead.
REMEMBER! The purpose of your website is to make money and to make a profit by doing work that you live. In order to do this, you must properly bring users down a sales funnel and convert a user into revenue.
Generally speaking, the first step is to get someone onto your website by drawing their interest through a piece of content or an ad.
The site itself will bring the user down a sales funnel or use storytelling to show the user how your product or service can help them.
At the end of the funnel. You still need to “close the deal.” Shopping cart abandonment is something we all must deal with, but a good sales funnel will make a huge difference between the number of people who bought from you and the number of people who “almost” bought from you.
Be sure to think about this before we get started.
Understanding Call to Action
To finish up this chapter, let’s give some more attention to “closing the deal”. Remember, the point is to convert traffic into sales. Without the sale, you don’t have a business, you have an expensive hobby.
Let’s assume that everything is working properly.
Your website is bringing in new visitors, the traffic is engaged and people are enjoying your content. Maybe you even have some sales pages built. But could we be doing better?
The final question to ask yourself is about your call to action.
Many people make the mistake of avoiding salesmanship for fear of coming off too “salesy.”
It is understandable why people feel this way, but without a proper call to action, you will spend time and money on building and marketing your website only to have a low return on your investment.
The way to solve this problem is through an effective call to action.
Don’t be shy about your intentions. Don’t be manipulative. Be honest and forthcoming in letting your users know how your services or products can help them.
Understanding call to action and how to use language to sell your products or services is an art form within itself and we will revisit this in time.