If you work virtually or market your business online at all, your website is a crucial part of your business. It's one of the first things online people will see about you. Even offline people might go “check you out” after they’ve met you in person.
Think about your own website experience... you meet someone, and you go check out her website. You lurk a bit on your competition's websites to see what they're doing and what they offer. You shop. You read. You browse. You look for entertainment. And you flit from one website to the other.
So do the people coming to YOUR website. It's safe for them. They can lurk and browse and review, and you will never know if they’ve been to your website. Scary!
Even current or past clients and customers... you may think they have your website all figured out if they've been there before, but there is no long-term memory when it comes to websites. If it’s been three days, five weeks, or six months since they’ve been to your website, it might as well be a new website.
And then there's the whole conveying who you are and what you do as authentically as possible while at the same time trying to stand out from everyone else in your industry.
Whether you're designing a website from scratch, doing a major overhaul, or tweaking here and there, it's not a small thing.
You have to have a process, a system. It's not a "sit down in an hour and have it done" kind of thing. There's a lot to do.
And it will be overwhelming unless you break everything you want to do down into bite-sized chunks.
This is the real truth - there is no magic bullet or special 1-2-3 process that's going to get this big project done in an instant.
It's a daunting task, and there's no way around it...
Except to break it down into parts and take every part as it comes. If you try to look at the entire project, you WILL get overwhelmed. The only way to manage your overwhelm is to focus only on the next couple of steps in front of you. Do those, and then focus on the next two. Do those, and then focus on the next two.
And so on.
Keep the following things in mind and fold them into your Website Action Plan.
Purpose of your website - Is it a storefront, online brochure, a way to connect? Be clear on what you want to achieve with your website, and make it clear to your visitor what he can find there.
Look and feel - Because so many people are visual by nature AND you have about three seconds before you lose a new visitor, your website has to be visually appealing, which usually means clean, clear, white space, not cluttered
Content - Once you grab - or at least don't lose - your website visitor, the only reason she'll stay is if she finds valuable content and resources on your website. Plus, Google loves fresh content!
Infrastructure - If you use your website as a way to build your database, then make sure you have a good, automated system in place. If you sell products and services on your website, then you need to have the necessary pieces in place that make you look professional - and are easy to manage (i.e. a company that automatically fulfills your physical products because they get the new order notices).
Necessary elements of your website - The home page is the first most-visited page on a website, and the About page is the second-most visited page. Pay particular attention to these two pages and focus your efforts here first.
While you may not get your new website completely done in a day, you CAN work a plan every day that WILL get you there.
(If you would like some tips and tools to create your own Website Action Plan and to help you manage all that should be on your website, check out the Essentials of Content on Your Website class. You can get instant access to the 2-hour audio class, as well as all the tools, exercises, handouts, and resources. Just remember to take it a step at a time!)
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