Are you creating your very first WordPress website? You know the DIY version where you pick a theme, add some content and site back waiting for traffic. But it never appears and you not happy with the results. Keep reading as we talk about the three things you MUST do to start your WordPress project.
Creating a WordPress website is getting easier and easier with the popularity of page builders, drag and drop options and the upcoming Gutenberg changes. But that doesn't mean that you buy a theme, set up WordPress, add your content and stop creating.
Let's talk about the first steps you need to take when creating your website.
Are you a do it yourself at heart? You know the kind who hunkers down and dig in to create from scratch and pat yourself on the back when you've shared with the world. Me too! Only my guilty pleasure is home remodels and repurposing. But that doesn’t mean that I wing it.
When repurposing furniture and other items, there are some steps you need to take to prep the item and start the process. Same goes for website creation. There are a few things if you have right from the get-go, it makes the creation process go all that much smoother.
Search Google, and you’ll see ten, twenty or fifty things every website needs. Many are essential, but I’ve whittled the list down to the top three items.
Keep in mind we’re setting aside design and development and getting back to basics by addressing planning issues and items. Because let's face it your website isn't about you and you need to keep that in mind with every step.
First Step: You Need a Goal
Your website is the first step people have in learning about you and your offers. You need to make a great first impression. To do that you need to have a goal in mind of what you want from your people.
You need to set a primary goal, and it should be relevant in the top part of your website (aka the above the hold space). And there are different goals that you should be addressing with the different parts of your website.
The key to beating user overwhelm is to set a focus and try not to have your visitors do too many things at once. Especially on your home page. Your overall goal might be to sell one-t0-one services which means you may want to have your clients book a vetting call with you
You could also structure the remainder of the page to funnel visitors who are starting the buying journey with you by having them read blog posts or sign up for a freebie. But have structure to the page: important item above the fold, underneath that you can address objects and have the next action. And so on.
After the home page is laid out you'll want to move on to all the inner pages using your funnel or buying journey as a guide. Each page and action should address the end goal and how you move the visitor to help you achieve your primary goal.
Think about what kind of goal you want your visitors to achieve.
Do you need to vet your clients before signing them up? Then schedule a call it is. Are you trying to build your list and awareness? A strong opt-in will do the trick. Are you building authority? Learn more will do then.
Action: Define your funnel based on your primary goal. Use that information to create a buyers journey and outline your website structure.
Second Step: The Legalese
You know what the basics are, but it’s important to understand the why behind it. You are warning people who come to your digital space that there is a slim chance they can be harmed in some way by acting on your advice or purchasing your materials. And at the same time, you are informing them that you won’t be held responsible for those damages.
It’s like coffee. You know it’s served hot, and if you spill it on yourself, you’ll get burned. But there is that one person who will try to act like they did not know it was hot and come after you with everything they've got. Don’t let that one person get away with that in your web space.
Terms also outline of what is an acceptable use of your information. Can they share it freely with others? What are the standards for linking your information or using your brand assets? In addition to acceptable use, terms also outline your refund and return policies.
Action: Determine if you need these additional legal pages: Disclaimer, Accessibility Information, Trademarks, Patents, Corporate policies or Affiliate Disclosure
Third Step: Ways To Contact You
Having a Contact Page or ways to contact you seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised that people only give one way to get in touch with you. I’ve seen many websites leave off important contact information like an address, phone or public email.
People want to know where you are and that you are a for-real business. They need information that will not only let them get in touch with you but to add some credibility. So when adding an email address, it should be your public business email address that is branded with your site or company name and not [email protected]
Keep in mind that everyone does not want to fill out a form. Especially if on mobile or if it's super long. Sometimes a quick question is all you need to answer to make an immediate sale, but if you have no way to call you, then you’ve lost that opportunity. Or maybe someone connected with you on Twitter and they want to be sure you are the same person.
Live chats are popular now because they give a quick response. Adding a chat box is simple with the addition of a WordPress plugin, Facebook chat code or an embed from some scheduling software. Before adding a chat box though be sure that there is someone to man the chat or an option to contact you if you are away.
Action: Review your site contact information and make sure you have more than one way for people to connect with you or contact you.
So there you have it, three simple things you can add to get the ball rolling. When designing a website, I start with these three steps in the planning process. Keep in mind this is the start, and there are still ten, twenty and fifty things that will need to be added but by address bite-size chunks of information, the process won’t be overwhelming.