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The best ways to use your website to grow your business

As a web developer, I obviously am a pretty big supporter of websites for businesses. What I do not support however, is a website that has little other purpose other than just existing.

Having a website in this day and age is obviously important (and can add a level of validity to businesses that might not have a physical storefront), but I’ve found that some people are unawares of just how useful a website can be.

 


 

Have a goal in mind

Every page on your website should be guiding the viewer to take a certain action. Whether it’s subscribing to a blog, buying a product, following your business on social media, etc., your website is there to accomplish a task for you (not just take up space on a server). When working with your web designer/developer to build your site, make sure that your ultimate goal is at the forefront of every decision.

Understand your market.

Your website should cater to your market. If your ideal client spends most of their time traveling and is rarely in front of a computer, then make sure your designer takes a “mobile first” approach, and designs a website that will be incredibly easy to navigate on mobile devices. Alternately, if you know your potential clients spend a lot of time on a particular social media platform, make sure that your website is built with social-sharing capabilities in mind. Regardless of where your target market is spending their digital time, your website should be built to cater to that.

Find a way to make your job easier.

What do you have a hard time with? Analytics? Social media? Blogging? Newsletters? General site upkeep? Be sure to explain how you are running your business to your web developer. Take the time to explain any challenges or pain-points you’ve been facing in the business lately. It is very likely that they can build your site in a way that makes your life easier, but they need to know what that would look like first.

Track your success.

What does success look like to you? If you’ve already established a goal for your website, how will you know if that goal is being reached? Is it through page visits, subscriber rates, social media followers, purchases, client leads, etc? Make sure you discuss with your developer what you want to achieve, and how you want to measure that achievement.

There you have it folks. It sounds relatively simple, but in my experience, the websites that have been built with these things in mind are incredibly useful to their owners. Don’t forget, your website is a tool!

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-SP

3 THINGS YOU NEED FOR A KILLER WEBSITE

Unless you work in the field, it’s hard to know exactly what you might need in a website, or what constitutes a “standard” website today.

While every website is going to be different, here are 3 things that you are absolutely going to want:

 

  1. The ability to update/edit your website yourself.
    • If you’ve ever used Facebook or Twitter, you’ve used a “Content Management System”, or CMS, without knowing it. A CMS is a framework, that automatically formats and styles the information you enter into it. 
    • Modern (good) websites function in the same way. Your web designer/developer will build you a framework that you will be free to scale and update as you see fit.
    • The most widely used CMS for websites today is WordPress. I could go into why WordPress is freaking amaze-balls, but I should probably save that for a post all its own.
  2. The ability to easily integrate with your social media accounts and email clients.
    • Your website is a tool! Connecting with and growing your audience/target market should be at the forefront of every good website!
    • This means different things to different people:
      • For some it will mean a compelling blog that automatically updates on all of their social platforms.
      • For others this might mean utilizing Facebook ads and Google Analytics to understand where their leads are coming from.
      • There are literally entire careers surrounding the vast range of digital marketing, but all that matter in this context is that you have a website that can handle whatever you choose to throw at it (once again, I cannot say enough for WordPress).
  3. The ability to backup your information.
    • Whether your site is built on WordPress, or one of the other CMS platforms, a solid backup system is essential. A good backup system will automatically store a copy of the most recent version of your website, so if something goes wrong with a server or an update, you can just “restore” your website with the backup version.
    • This is actually pretty simple to do, and no decent web developer would create a site without a backup system in place… but I’ve seen some crazy things in my time and I always feel better mentioning it.
    • For WordPress, I prefer Backup WordPress. It’s an easy-to-use plugin that automatically backs up your site at whatever interval you (or your developer) sees fit. It can also integrate with Dropbox, and automatically upload a copy of each backup to your Dropbox account (which is good).

 

Like I said before… there are like a billion other things I could list in this post, but that sounds like it would be freaking awful to read.

In the next few months I’ll be releasing a Content Guide to help people gather/organize the content needed to build a killer website! Subscribe to my list to get first dibs (and other freebies/shockingly helpful advice)! Woo!

 

-sp