You know you need a website. Whether you sell products or services, whether your clients are local or far away, it’s a no-brainer that having an online presence is essential. But your business is custom cupcakes, not coding, and you feel paralyzed just thinking about getting started. Your paralysis is completely normal, and completely curable! I’ve developed these five steps to calm new-website overwhelm and get you on the path to your new online home.
1. Put on blinders. Seriously, step away from the Pinterest. When we’re at a loss, our first instincts are often to look at other people’s papers, or in this case, other people’s websites. She sells medieval reproduction hair accessories, too, so your website should be just like hers, right? Wrong. The first step to figuring out what’s right for you is stepping out of the comparison game. So close your other browser windows, grab a notebook and pen, and get comfy. Ready? Let’s get started.
2. Look at your business from a bird’s-eye view. Before you give your website a second thought, it’s important to take a good look at your business from the top down. Look at where you are right now. What is the product or service you provide? Who is your ideal client? What is the size of your sales? What does your typical day look like? What are your top three goals for your business right now? Don’t rush through this step – give it the time and reflection it deserves.
3. Figure out your website’s why. Your website can be all the things, but it doesn’t have to be, and probably shouldn’t. It’s not just there to be pretty and fancy. Every page and post should have a purpose that supports and furthers the goals of your business. Pull out the goals you developed in Step 2. How can your future website support these goals? Can it highlight all your contact info to help new clients find you? Can it showcase your portfolio to help establish your credibility? Can it house that big-time online store you’re ready to graduate to?
4. Lay the groundwork for a game plan. Before you dive into picking a platform or hiring a developer, there are still a few questions you should ask yourself. What’s your comfort level with technology? Even if you’re not a web developer, many platforms are great for beginners who are comfortable with a small amount of DIY. How much time do you have to devote to your website? Beyond the initial launch, how much maintenance are you willing to take on? Lastly, what kind of budget do you have to start and maintain your website?
5. Research and get started! Sure, you can Google, but the objective is to avoid overwhelm. I recommend asking web-savvy friends, or a Facebook group, where you can have a dialogue about your needs and figure out the best way forward for platforms, design, and development. Armed with the information you uncovered in the steps above, you should have a much better idea of your needs and be able to confidently navigate the available options.
What questions do you have about getting your website off the ground? Leave a comment below!