Being a world-class healthcare or fitness professional is useless if you don't have customers to serve. You have spent an insane amount of time learning your craft on how to help your clients live healthier lives. But how much of that time was on how to market yourself? I would be willing to bet almost zero.
I understand the challenges of getting clients in the doors. I worked as a personal trainer and an occupational therapist. During that time I was responsible for marketing myself. Through a lot of trial and error, I can say that having a website is a very important part of your marketing strategy. It's not the only part, but it is often described as the backbone of your digital marketing.
Your dream customers want to be able to look you up online to find out more information about what you do.
I'm going to walk you through exactly how to set up a website that gets traffic and converts that traffic to leads.
By the end of this, you will have a website that serves as your 24/7 sales team.
Table of Contents
- 10 Reasons You Need a Website
- 5 Reasons You Don't Need a Website
- Step 1 - Choose a platform
- Step 2 - Define your audience
- Step 3 - Design your website
- Step 4 - Build your website
- Step 5 - Deploy your website
- Step 6 - Increase traffic to your website
10 Reasons You Need a Website
1. Create trust
Think about your own buying habits and behaviors. If I tell you about a person or a brand, what is the first thing you do? You look them up online. You go to their social media, you go to their website and you look at their reviews. Based on what you find, you then have some sort of judgment about them based on all 3 of these factors. If they look sloppy, you assume their services are sloppy. If they look nice, you assume their services are nice.
Like it or not, we judge people based on their online presence.
2. Attract customers (SEO)
The advantage of having a website is that it helps the people that are searching for you, find you. People search the internet to solve problems. The best thing you can do for your business is to be the solution to the problem.
You do this by associating your business with certain keywords or search terms. When you create content on your website with answers to people's problems, you show up on Google. Showing up on Google means more customers.
3. An essential step in your customer's journey
It takes on average 8 touches with a potential customer before they decide to reach out. Referrals, social media, and advertisements are all potential touch points.
Your website creates one more touch point for your customers. Depending upon how well built your website is, it could be one of the strongest touch points. At the end of the day, a website is a sales page.
4. Showcase your services
It's important to tell people what you do, but it is MORE important for them to know what you don't do. You're not an expert on everything and you shouldn't try to be.
A website gives your visitors a place to self-select. A place for them to find out what you do. You want them to say "Oh hell ya! Sign me up!" or "this isn't for me."
It is better to serve 100 people well than 1,000 people sort of well. It will prevent you from a lot of painful conversations down the road.
5. Another way to contact you
The easier it is to contact you, the more likely they are to do so. A big part of having a website is about reducing the friction required to work with you. It allows you to streamline the process required to get started with you. It also prevents messages and conversations from getting lost in the shuffle.
Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok the list goes on. There are so many different platforms that it is easy to let a conversation fall off and get lost in the shuffle. One of the best ways to prevent this is to get their email. When your visitors connect with you on your website you get their email address right away.
The advantage of this is that you can set up auto-reminders to ensure you never lose contact again. The fortune is in the follow-up.
6. Control over your audience
Social media is wonderful (or terrible) in a lot of ways. It gives you direct access to millions of potential customers. But, it is important to remember that if Mark Zuckerberg wants to ban your account, he can do so.
If your entire business is on social media, you are putting yourself at a lot of risk. You can reduce that risk by taking back control over your audience.
During the pandemic, I was working with clients that had their social media posts denied. Anything "health" related was getting picked up by social media and rejected. Don't get caught relying on social media to build your business. Use it as a tool, but move that audience somewhere that you have control.
Build your own list.
7. Helps you edge out the competition
One of the best ways to get a leg up on your competition is to have an attractive website. Like it or not, people will judge you based on the appearance of your website.
Having a website can streamline the process of working with you. Improved customer experience means better reviews and better reviews mean higher search rankings. High search rankings mean more customers.
8. Ensures success over the long term
Social media platforms will come and go. Websites are not going anywhere. The good thing about having a website is that it will continue to grow along beside you and your business.
Adding new pages, updating photos, changing designs. These are all aspects of a website that can continue to evolve as you evolve. A big advantage of a website is the longer it lives on the internet the better opportunity it has to improve in search rankings. Social media is the complete opposite.
Play the long game.
9. Saves time (FAQ)
Every business owners know that their most valuable asset is their time. A website gives you a place to send people for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). It also gives them a place to find out more information about you.
If there is a question you get again and again, write a blog or a freebie guide about it. If people are often confused about what you do, create a video about what it is you do and post it on your website. If you walk people through a repeatable onboarding process. Create a separate page that tells them exactly what they can expect.
A website allows you to create systems around repeatable tasks.
10. Gathering information
We all love a good "like" on our posts, but what does that tell you about the person? Little to nothing.
Are people "liking" your post because they think you are funny, or because you are providing them valuable information? Maybe they think you are super attractive (which I'm sure you are).
Most people don't realize that you can find out a lot about your potential customer from your website. Where they click, what they read, how long they spend on the site, and where the traffic came from.
This is all valuable information that can help you make better business decisions. Otherwise, we're throwing darts blindfolded and hoping to hit a bullseye.
5 Reasons You Don't Need a Website
1. You don't want to grow
If you are already busting at the seams, then maybe (but not likely) a website isn't necessary.
I've met a lot of business owners and I can't think of a single one that said: "man, I wish had fewer customers."
The whole point of having a website is to attract new clients. If you are that person that is busting at the seams, then it sounds like a scale issue, not a customer issue.
Say it with me... DELEGATE.
2. Your newsletter is too large
I've seen newsletter lists get sold for millions and millions of dollars.
Building your list = building your business.
A massive benefit of having a website is you can set up lead funnels to collect emails and grow your newsletter. A newsletter is one of the best ways to nurture your client relationships.
Let's be honest, there is no such thing as a newsletter that is too large.
3. You want to remain anonymous
If you are doing something in the black market and don't want anyone to know who you are or what you do. Then I would agree it's best to avoid creating a website.
Yet, even if that is the case, it's not like you have to build your website around you and your personal brand. Build it around a business brand and stay clear of the spotlight.
Also, if you are doing some black market stuff, stop it.
4. You 100% trust your social media company
Do you truly believe that your current social media platform will be around forever? Do you also believe that they have your best interest in mind?
If not, it might be worth moving all that well-deserved attention to a location you have a lot more control over.
5. You don't like passive income
If you hate the idea of passive income and love trading time for money, then keep on chugging friend!
Yet, if you enjoy the idea of making money from your website traffic, we should talk.
A consistent schedule and a great blog post (like this one) can lead to all sorts of affiliate deals down the road. It's a long play, but it's a power move.
Step 1 - Choose a platform
The first website I ever built was on a platform called Dreamweaver. You've likely never heard of it and that's because it sucked. It was clunky and confusing, and there was no such thing as a template at that time. I was so frustrated by it that I didn't build another website for a very long time after that. Luckily the technology has come a long way but now there are almost too many to choose from.
WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, Weebly, Webflow, the list continues. I've used them all and as a fellow health professional, I can tell you there are some winners and some losers.
Not every tool is right for the job, but there are a few that work best for people in the healthcare & fitness industry. To save you the time of figuring it out yourself, I've narrowed it down to three.
Squarespace - Good
- - Templates
- - Ease of use
- - Mobile responsive
- - Custom design edits
- - Integrating third-party applications
- - Lack of marketing tools
With great simplicity comes great limitations. The easiest to use but if you want to make custom changes it will need a bit of "hacking." Great for getting a website onto the internet fast.
Wix - Better
- - Templates
- - Drag and drop editing
- - Marketing tools
- - It's easy to mess up the design
- - Limited customization
- - Mobile responsiveness is sub-par
My best advice for building on Wix is to start with a template and then make the minor changes that you need. Because it is a drag-and-drop platform your website layout can get real ugly real fast.
Stick to what the professionals have built and then add what you NEED (key word there).
Webflow - Best
- - 100% customizable
- - Fast load times
- - Excellent mobile responsiveness
- - Steep learning curve
- - Not great for e-commerce (for that I'd recommend Shopify)
- - No comment section on your blogs
Webflow is what is a no-code platform. As the name implies, you don't need to know how to write any code to build a website.
Webflow provides the most functionality of any of the platforms listed. I recommend starting with a template design, tweaking it as you needed, and then adding the customization that you need.
With that extra bit of customization also comes the potential to make a crappy website. It is also worth noting that Webflow does have a bit of a learning curve. Think of Adobe Photoshop, but for website building. Great for beautiful designs with extra functionality as needed.
A note about WordPress
The reason I don't recommend WordPress is that I think they are on their way out. WordPress has been around since 2003 and its age is starting to show. Clunky customization, constant plugin updates and it is losing market share. In other words, people are moving off the platform.
It had a solid run, but unless something drastic happens, I don't see them reclaiming the market. Far too many better options.
5 reasons you should build on Webflow.
I have built a lot of sites on Webflow and I have never had to sacrifice design. On the other platforms, I often find myself having to hack the platform to get the desired result.
Creating dope landing pages becomes a breeze once you learn the Webflow tools.
2. Fully responsive
There are about a million screen sizes now from the micro screen on your watch to the giant screen on your desktop. Webflow makes creating a website that responds to all screen sizes easier than ever.
It is far easier and far more responsive than any of the platform builders out there.
3. No Plugins
I'm not a fan of having a bunch of plugins on a website. I still have WordPress clients and they call me when they update their plugins and their website breaks.
Plugins also add bloat code that will slow your website down. Not good!
One of the added benefits of having a no-code platform is that it is much cleaner code.
Cleaner code = faster website.
Faster sites = better Google rankings.
Also, managing your search terms is a breeze. If you decide what phrases you want to rank for, it is easy to jump into the platform and change them.
5. Because it just WORKS
Managing your frustration levels can be a big part of managing a website (and a business). When things don't work and you can't figure out why it can be extremely frustrating. I can safely say it is actually fun building websites on Webflow because it just freaking works.
Don't get me wrong, every platform has its limitations but at this point, Webflow has the biggest bang for its buck without having to write code.
Webflow prides itself on being fun, responsive, and 100% customizable.
Step 2 - Define your audience
When I started my website agency I was trying to help everyone. Health coaches, photographers, travel agents, real estate agents, data consultants, and the list goes on. It didn't take long to realize that although a website is a website. There are a thousand micro-details that make every industry different. The colors, the photos, the text, and the integrations all varied depending upon who I was working with. It was fun to learn about a variety of industries but it made scaling a business impossible.
That's when it finally clicked for me why it is so important to choose a niche. When you see the same people over and over again you learn how to serve them better than anybody else. When you can serve somebody better than anybody else, they tell their friends about you. When they tell their friends about you, you have a customers for life.
Don't make the same mistake I did, get clear on who you serve.
Who's it for?
This is the most important question you should answer and the one most people get wrong. Most people try to serve everybody and end up serving nobody at a high level. When you pick one type of person that you want to serve, you will learn the intricate details.
You will be able to solve problems for them before they even arise. You will pick up patterns about that person that your competitors don't see. You will understand their pain points deeper than any of your competitors. You can't serve everybody at a high level, so stop trying.
Pick one avatar and go deep.
- What is the age of your avatar?
- Male or female?
- Job? If yes, what?
- What are their passions?
- What are their hobbies?
- What do they do in their free time
- What are their dislikes?
- What are their life goals, ambitions, hopes and dreams?
- What does a perfect day in their life look like?
- What type of content do they consume? How often?
- What is the solution they are looking for?
The better you can define your dream customer the more likely you are to resonate with them. Once you know who that person is, give them a name and print off a cutout of what they look like. Now you have a real-life replica of your ideal client.
It's better to be loved by 100 than liked by 1,000.
The Golden Rule
You are going to have a lot of questions about what you should do when building your website.
Let's be honest, you are going to have a lot of questions about what to do when building your business.
Let me introduce you to The Golden Rule. Whenever you are feeling stuck or unsure of what to do. Look at the cutout of your ideal client and ask this question.
"What would my ideal client want?"
Now you know what to do.
"What should my logo look like?"... what would resonate with your ideal client?
"What color's should I pick?"... what colors jives with your ideal client?
"What kind of content should I write?"... what kind of content does your ideal client like?
When stuck on what to do, lean on The Golden Rule.
What problem do you solve?
3 questions need to be answered in the first 5 seconds of someone landing on your website. Otherwise, expect them to bounce.
- What do you do?
- What problem do you solve?
- What action do you want them to take next?
Time is our most valuable resource. Don't waste people's time by trying to be clever. Help them solve their problem fast and you might land yourself a new customer.
What's the primary goal?
Please, please, please do not make the mistake of having an "online business card." That is a complete waste of the massive opportunity a website can provide you. It is important to have information about who you are and what you do, but it is so much more than that. It is a place to establish new connections. It's a place to nurture relationships. It's a place to add value to the people you want to serve.
Get clear on why you want a website in the first place.
- Fill out your contact form
- Call your phone number
- Grow your newsletter list
- Subscribe to your podcast show
- Sign up for your course
Start by picking one, you can add more later.
What keyword do you want to rank for on Google?
You don't want a website. You want a website that gets traffic and converts that traffic into leads.
Getting clear on what you want to rank for on Google from the beginning will make this process much easier.
A few tips for picking good keywords:
- - Don't be broad - "best healthcare professional."
- - Do be specific - "pelvic floor physical therapist in Austin Texas."
- - Don't confuse search intent - what are they actually searching for?
- - Do think like your customer - what words do they use?
Use a tool like Keyword Planner or Google Trends to figure out what keywords you want to rank for.
Step 3 - Design your website
The first time I noticed design was in middle school when my mom forced me to take a typing class. Looking back, I'm glad she did but at the time I thought to myself "why the hell would you organize a keyboard like this?!" I thought it was insane that you wouldn't design a keyboard in the order of an alphabet. I know better now but I'm sure your first experience with design is similar. The thing about design is that we rarely notice good design, but we definitely notice bad design.
Everything has a design, good or bad. If you don't have much experience with design, this would be a good time to invest in a template. Save yourself the pain of spending an entire weekend building a website that looks like trash.
Shoutout to Donald Miller and his StoryBrand model framework for how to lay out a website. If you have the time, I would highly recommend you read his book, but if you don't, let me give you the punchline. When someone lands on your website, you are not the hero of the story. It should not be a highlight story of how amazing you are and how great you are at helping people. Your customer is the hero of the story, you're the guide that is there to help them along in their journey.
The best example I can give you is Star Wars. If Luke Skywalker is your client, that means that you are Yoda. The focus of the website should be on the problems that Luke Skywalker faces and how you (Yoda) can help them solve those problems.
Don't get hung up on the exact model of how to lay out a website like that. Especially if you plan on using a template anyways. But keep this in mind when you are filling in the content of your website. The focus of the website is to make your customer feel like you understand their pain points. To show them that you are the solution to those pain points.
People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
White space is the area around your photos, videos, and text. It's what lets your website breathe. It prevents your visitors from feeling overwhelmed. It helps your visitors digest the information easier. Apple is known for using a lot of white space.
Every additional item you add to your website waters down all the other items. People will not cruise a site that is confusing or difficult to look at. Let your website breathe. Give elements the space they need and create additional pages if necessary.
For every page that you create, ask yourself "what is the purpose of this page?" Then only include the items necessary to deliver that message.
Some elements are big and some elements are small. Sometimes we cluster elements together and sometimes we spread them apart. This is visual heirarchy.
4 things to consider:
- Z-patterns - people read a page in a Z pattern
- Size - bigger elements draw more attention than small
- Color - contrasting colors stand out (usually your button color)
- Proximity - group similar elements together
Use big, bold and colorful to make items stand out. But use them sparingly. Most of your website should be small, quite and neutral.
The navbar is the main hub of links that usually lives on the top of your website.
There are a lot of unique designs out there that position the navbar on the side or even sometimes on the bottom. Keeps yours at the top. We are now conditioned to expect a certain flow of a website. Don't mess up that flow by getting crazy with your navbar.
Use descriptive and short menu titles. Remember, we are always trying to prevent confusion. Confused customers don't buy.
Add your call-to-action button in the top right. We'll get more into the order of your links in the development stage.
Let me start off by saying that less is more. I rarely design websites that have more than 2 primary colors. The more colors you try to incorporate into a website the more you risk making it look cluttered, confusing and sloppy. The trick is to pick 1 to 2 colors and then to use different shades of those colors.
One of my favorite tools for creating a color pallet is Adobe Color. Click "Monochromatic" and you will see what I mean by using 1 color with different shades. You can also play with "Complementary" if you're feeling like testing out the waters with 2 primary colors.
Side note about color psychology. What colors you pick definitely matters so don't cruise past this topic too quickly. If you are interested in color psychology, you can read more about it here. When picking colors just remember The Golden Rule. "What color would resonate with my ideal client?"
Let me start off by saying you don't need a logo. You can get away with using your name or the name of your business. If your logo is what is slowing you down, skip it. You can always make one or change it latter.
You have 3 options:
- Do it yourself
- Use a logo generator
- Hire someone else to do it
I've done all 3 and unless you have a background in design I would recommend options 2 or 3.
If you decide to use a logo generator a couple of my favorites are Looka and DesignHill. You will be able to generate hundreds of designs and then pay a small fee for the one you like.
If you decide to hire someone I would look for a personal recommendation. There are some services online that you can use (99 designs, Fiverr, Upwork, etc.) which are fine but less than ideal. Most of those services are a bit of shooting from the hip as they say.
A quick note on branding... Don't confuse your logo for your brand.
A brand is your reputation in the marketplace. It's what people feel and think about your business. If Nike decided to open a airline business, you'd know exactly what that airplane would look and feel like... and it wouldn't be because of the logo.
Building your brand is one of the hardest things you'll do, which also makes it the most powerful.
But enough about branding, that is a whole blog post in itself.
Just remember, a logo is a facet of your brand, but by no means is it your brand.
Images (personal free, or paid)
Do not, for the love of God, underestimate how important images are to your website. You can have the best design in the world, but if your photos are low quality or they don't make sense. It can turn a client capturing beast into a dead fish.
You have 3 options for photos:
- Personal or professional photos
- Free or stock photos
- Paid photos
I HIGHLY recommend getting your own photos taken. It is so worth it to get photos for your website that are authentic to you and your brand. It will create a personal connection with your visitors and help you stand apart from your competition.
How to have a stellar photoshoot
- - Stay on brand
- - Think lifestyle
- - Include nature
Stay on brand
When deciding what to wear at your photoshoot, think brand. Pick colors that match your color palette. Pick outfits that reflect your brand image. Pick objects that are relevant to your business.
When deciding where to do your photoshoot and how to pose. Here's a good rule of thumb. If you wouldn't do it in your everyday life, don't take a photo of you doing it. There is no bigger turn-off than being fake. Don't take fake photos. I'm talking about the classic "hands in the middle!" or arms crossed photos. Take photos of you in your natural habitat, doing natural things. The only photo that you should pose for is your "About Me" photo. And even that one could be something more fun and natural.
Mother earth has always been our greatest source of design. Taking photos in nature or include plants in the background will create a more natural vibe.
If getting your own photos taken isn't an option at this point, than you can use stock photos. My favorite sites for stock photos is Pexels, Unsplash, & Canva.
Tips when choosing photos.
- - High quality - there is nothing worse then a granulated image on a website.
- - Authenticity - if it isn't something people would actually be doing in real life, don't use it
- - Relevance - make sure it is authentic to your brand
Once you have built enough websites (like I have) you start to notice that the same photos get used over and over again. A way to avoid this and to stand out from your competition is to buy photos. A few of my favorite places to buy photos are ShutterStock & Istock. It can be worth the money if it means more customers. Always think investments.
As speed, technology and customer expectations increase year over year. Video has become an incredible way to differentiate yourself from your competition. It is one of the best ways to create a personal touch to your website that your customers can relate to. If you have the cojones to turn on your camera and record a short blurb about what you do and how you can help your customers. I highly recommend it.
3 things to consider for your video
The best way to get started is to grab a phone. Any modern phone can record a 4k (high quality) video these days. All you need is some decent lighting and a nice background and then hit RECORD. Unless you are a public speaker or naturally comfortable in front of a camera you are going to stumble. You are going to mumble. You are going to come off as awkward. Learning how to speak in front of a camera is a skill like anything. My best advice is to hit record and don't stop until you feel like you have delivered the message you want to get out. You can fix the stumbles in the editing stage.
The other amazing thing about technology these days is you can edit it right on your phone! If you want that is. There are a ton of free options as well online. The one I'd recommend is Kapwing. It has the lowest learning curve and can get your video uploaded, edited, and exported the fastest. With speed though also means it doesn't have a ton of functionality. Which is fine. You're not a professional videographer (at least I don't think so anyways).
You have quite a few options but the easiest will be YouTube. If you don't want advertisements showing up in your video, I'd recommend using Wistia.
Make sure you give it an attractive thumbnail image, a good title and subtitles. The thumbnail image and title of the video are by far the most important factors.
One of my favorite and also one of the most misunderstood topics. Copywriting is sales and marketing with words. It's the actual text you put on your website that people read and if done right, convinces those people to take action. Filling out your contact form, subscribing to your newsletter, buying your product are all determined upon how well you can communicate a message to your customer with the written word.
Now don't get me wrong, everything on a website plays a role in converting the traffic to your website. Your layout, your design, your video are all valuable parts to a website. But the words on a website take up a very large part of your website. Thus it is a very important piece of your website to get right.
3 options for copywriting
- Write it yourself
- Use artificial intelligence software like copy.ai
- Hire a professional
Write it yourself
Doing it yourself will be the cheapest option, but generally not the most effective. If you decide to do it yourself, here are a few tips.
Clarity will always beat clever. I used to call myself a "website wizard" until I realized that although it was clever. It didn't communicate at all what I actually do. Confused customers don't buy. Now I tell people "I build websites for health & fitness professionals." Clarity wins.
Write like you are talking to a 5th grader. Cool, you're educated, nobody cares. People want to know how you can solve their problem. Keep it simple.
Write like you speak. I know I know, this goes against everything you learned in school. Forget everything you learned in school about writing. Have you ever read a research paper? I bet it was the most boring and uninfluential piece of writing you've ever read in your life. Write like you speak. It is far more relatable to your audience.
Get to the point. Use less commas and more periods. If you can delete words and someone can still understand the message. D it.
We are humans. Humans are fascinated with stories. We remember stories. We tell stories. Sometimes I think we are just walking and talking story telling machines. Do your customers a favor and tell them stories. Stories about client experiences. Stories about why you do what you do. Stories about your struggles. Stories about your victories. Stories about how you improved a customers life.
Use Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The fact that we can now use computers to write copy is insane to me. There are people that have written entire books using this software. Believe it or not, the technology is actually pretty damn good.
Here's how it works. All you do is you write the basic message you are trying to convey, and then it kicks back multiple options of the same message. It will give you shorter version, longer versions or even new ways of structuring it that is easier to understand.
There are a ton of free trials of this type of software if you want to give the robots a go, but my favorite is copy.ai.
Hire a professional
Even though the robots are pretty amazing, it is worth considering hiring someone. Especially if you know someone in your industry. The written word is one of the most powerful tools on the planet. The write words in the write order can move mountains. Everything manmade in this world started with one person talking to another person.
Don't use the words on your website flippantly. They matter... a lot.
The point of a website is to provide people with enough clear and concise information to take action. A button gives them that opportunity. I wrote an entire guide on this topic but let's cover the basics.
8 tips for a ballin' button
- Action-oriented text
- Easy to read
- 1st person speech
- Above the fold
- Less is more
You want to be clear, concise, and provoke emotion or enthusiasm. Try to avoid words like “submit” or “enter”. Lean more towards action-packed words like “Get”, “Discover” or “Try”.
Don't steer too far away from your design colors, but lean towards contrasting colors to make it pop. It should stand out from the rest of the background without looking out of place. Every color has a complementary color (yellow/purple, red/green, orange/blue). So if your background is bluer, consider an orange CTA.
Go to Adobe Color and click "complementary" to see your contrasting colors.
You have unlimited shape options but I would recommend sticking to the tried and true. A rectangle with rather square or round corners. If you start using weird shapes people might not even know that it is a button. Try both and see which one looks better on your website.
Easy to read
It should be large enough to read but not so large that it feels scammy. People’s BS meters are very in tune these days so if it feels like a scam. Don’t expect them to click.
1st person speech
Michael Aagard shared a study in which he discovered that changing button text from “get your free template” to “get my free template” resulted in a 90% increase in clicks. Need I say more?
Adding words like “now!” or “today only!” can help create a sense of urgency to get people to take action. Be sure that you’re not lying about it actually only being today. As I said, people can smell a scam a mile away
Above the fold
Above the fold means that they shouldn't have to scroll to find your button. You want to keep at least one CTA visible when the website first loads. People are lazy, so make it easy on them and let them get in and get out.
Less is more
I’m sure you have heard the expression “analysis paralysis”. If people have too many choices then they make no choice at all and will bounce off your site. The fewer buttons the better. Every different button you add makes them less likely to click. Have multiple buttons but keep the text the same.
A typeface is a fancy word for "font." It's the style of the text on your website. The most common mistake people make is trying to do to much. Like choosing your color palette, less is more.
My best advice is to choose ONE font type and then use different styles to give you the hierarchy you need.
For example. You choose something like "Roboto" as your typeface. Then you can use all sorts of styles with that font type.
- Thin 100
- Light 300
- Regular 400
- Medium 500
- Bold 700
- Black 900
You can also use italics with any of those styles as well. Not to mention font sizes. I'm sure you can see choosing one font type gives far more options than you will ever need.
The only exception to this rule is your main header font. Sometimes you want a little extra "boom" from the very first thing they read when they land on your website. Otherwise, try to stick to one typeface and for sure no more than two.
Also known as the junk drawer. This is where you'll want to put the links that didn't make the cut for your navbar. Your navbar is only for the most essential links.
Your visitors will use this section to find links fast. Give the people what they want! Links to your pages and an easy way to sign up for your newsletter. If you have a newsletter. Which I highly recommend you do.
Step 4 - Build your website
Depending upon which platform (Wix, Squarespace, Webflow, etc.) you decide to build your website on will change this a smidge, but overall the concepts remain the same.
70% of internet traffic these days are on a mobile device. Think about that. The majority of people that go to your website will be on a phone. This is one of the main reasons that we always build websites with mobile first in mind.
Always double and triple check the mobile version of your website once it is built.
I wrote a whole guide on this topic but let's at least cover the basics. The size of the files (images, videos, documents, etc.) on your website will effect how fast your website loads. Slow load times means decreased customer experience and lower rankings on Google.
3 ways to increase website load times
- Compress images
- Host videos somewhere else
The images on your website are usually the biggest reason for slow load times.
- Image type - JPG images are the most compressed and will load the fastest (not for logos though)
- Image size - Balance image size with quality. Smallest image size that still maintains clear quality
- Image compression - use a free software to compress image sizes (this it what I use)
Host videos somewhere else
Avoid uploading videos onto your website. Instead, host the video on a different platform (YouTube, Wistia, etc.) and embed the video player onto your website.
Most website builders with automatically minify the code on your website. Just make sure that the box is "checked" to minify your code on your website platform.
Good navigation is one of the most important features of a website. If a website is challenging our confusing, visitors will bounce. A easy navigation bar will keep visitors around hopefully long enough to hit your contact button.
3 ways to navigate your way to success
- Cap the ends
- Mobile responsive
Cap the ends
Put the most important links on the ends and the least important links in the middle. Visitors are most likely to click the first link or the last link in the navigation bar. That is the reason you almost always see "About" as your first link and "Contact" as the last link.
Keep the navigation bar consistent across all of your pages. This way your visitors can jump page-to-page easily without getting confused or frustrated. Like I said (and will continue to say). Confused customers don't buy.
Your mobile navigation bar will (hopefully) be a drop down. When a visitor lands on your page on their phone, you don't want the navigation bar to take up the entire screen. You still want your home page to shine brightly. The way to make sure this happens is to have a hamburger style drop-down for mobile devices.
There are a lot of ways to get visitors to your website, but one of the best is to create content on your website that helps your dream customer solve a problem. We do this by creating valuable content and hosting that content on your website.
Example content includes:
- Audio clips
- Video clips
We will get more into how to drive traffic to your website at the end of this blog but the point that I want to make here is that if you can position your website as the "go-to" place for a certain topic. It makes every other aspect of getting traffic to your website easier.
Everyone you follow on the internet writes or talks about what they do and then they post it for you to find. This often starts on social media but it should always lead to a website. Don't rely on social media to build your business. Own your audience.
This is another "boring" page that you will find on websites, but this one isn't required by law. It does help prevent legal issues about your website if there is a legal dispute, but like I said, it's not required.
There are a bunch of Terms & Condition generators out there as well. Feel free to find a use one if you so choose.
Step 5 - Deploy your website
One of my favorite movies of all time is The Matrix. It was actually one of the only movies I've ever seen in the theater more than once. That was when I became fascinated with the idea of writing code. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to know a hidden language that 99% of people didn't know. It wasn't long after seeing that movie that I decided to learn to program.
It was awesome! Until it wasn't. It was hard as hell. Speaking robot? Think about how hard that is. It taught me a very valuable lesson about life. It's good to know the basics, but if there is a tool that makes your life easier, use it.
Luckily for you (and me) we no longer have to know how to write code. We don't have to know a programming language. We don't even have to know the basics of how a computer works. This frees us to focus on other important aspects of a website. Like design, branding, keywords, etc.
There are a few nerdy computer things that you do need to cover before launching your website though. Let's get into it.
When you perform a Google search you will notice there is a little blurb of text below the link. That is what a meta description is. It is a short description of what you can expect to find on the website. As you can imagine, this is very important. The more compelling the description, the more likely they are to click it.
Keep it short, simple, and to the point. The idea isn't to tell the reader everything you do. The idea is to make it clear and simple what they will find if they click the link. Google rewards clarity.
Alt Text (Alternative text)
Every image on your website should have alt text. Also known as “alt attributes”, “alt descriptions”, or “alt tags”. It is a phrase or sentence that describes an image’s contents or function on a webpage.
It serves 3 main purposes on your website.
- When keywords are in the alt text for an image it will help your website rank higher
- It serves as a description of an image if the image is unable to load
- It helps visually impaired readers navigate your website
Like all your copy on your website. Clear, concise, and simple works best.
You have quite a few options about where you can buy a domain name. Some of the most popular are Google Domains, GoDaddy and Namecheap. They don't have many benefits from one to the next. Pick whatever one suits your fancy. The more important question is what name you will choose.
3 things to consider when choosing a domain name:
The shorter the name, the easier it is to tell people and type it. Why do you think I went with "coreyhi.com" instead of "coreyhiben.com"? Short, sweet, and memorable. Think about all the most popular business names and how short they are. Apple, Nike, Amazon, you get the idea.
Keep it shrt.
Avoid any sort of dashes, slashes, or unique characters. You should be able to say the word/words and there shouldn't be any confusion.
- "Is there an underscore?"
- "Is it the number 7 or the word seven?"
- "Can you spell that for me?
All things you don't want to hear.
If you are already dialed in on your niche, you can use this to your advantage. If the word of what people are searching for is in the domain name, it will improve your search rankings.
Just be careful that you don't sacrifice short and sweet with catchy and clever.
Throughout the entire process, I have stressed how important it is to be clear over clever. This is your one opportunity to be clever. A 404-page where a visitor will go if they click on a broken link on your website. Most 404-pages are pretty generic and redirect you back to the home page.
I'm pretty proud of some of the 404-pages I've created in the past.
Having a fun and witty 404 page makes you memorable if one of your visitors happens to end up there.
By this point, you should have a live and working website! Let's talk speed baby!
A 1-second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%. 46% of users don't revisit a slow website. Even Google doesn't like slow speeds. A website that has a slow load time will actually rank lower. Madness I know, but it's a fact of life.
This is the reason I speed test all my websites with GTmetrix. There are quite a few others out there, but this one seems to be the easiest to use. Go give it a test! The nice thing about GTmetrix is it will tell you what you can do to improve your load times.
More often than not, your image sizes will be the biggest reason for a slow load time.
The best way to fix all the little mistakes on your website is to ask your closest network to cruise your site. Unless you have insane attention to detail, it is likely you missed a few things.
Everyone that visits the website will have different screen sizes which will help you find errors. Let your close network hit the site first and ask for feedback. It's also a great way to start getting the word out about what you are doing.
Keep in mind that many of these people may not be your ideal customers. Don't expect them all to understand everything on your website. It wasn't built for everyone. It was built for someone. Take the feedback that you need and leave the rest.
Step 6 - Increase traffic to your website
I wish it was enough to have a website. But it's not. This isn't Field Of Dreams. It's a great movie, but "Built it and they will come" doesn't exist in the real world.
When I first started my business I was building a lot of websites for clients. Only to have them come back to me complaining that they aren't getting any leads from their website.
9/10 after doing a quick marketing audit I would realize that they had done little to nothing to drive traffic. No link in their bio, no post on their social, no blogs written, no videos created, no ads run... nothing.
That was when I realized that I was doing a disservice to my clients.
I can build the best website in the world but if nobody knows about it, it isn't worth jack. Yet, you can have the worst website in the world, but everyone knows about it, you can do quite well.
The topic of traffic will be an entire blog at some point, but for now, let's cover the basics.
Free versus Paid Traffic
You have two options. paid eyeballs or free eyeballs.
This includes things like social media posts, blogs, videos & podcasting. They all have their pros and cons but my best advice is to pick one that you can stick to. Regardless of the outlet, you have to play the long game. Choose the one that will keep you going long after the excitement wears off.
Pros of free traffic
- It's free - you create content and you post it
- Continues traffic - it lives on the internet long after you post it. Especially if you create evergreen content.
Cons of free traffic
- It takes time - unless you already have a large following, it takes time for people to find your content.
- Success is not guaranteed - you'll likely create a lot of content before you find what works.
This includes things like Google ads, social media ads, YouTube ads & podcast ads. It's called "interruption marketing" because it shows up when you're not searching for it at that moment.
Pros of paid traffic
- It's fast - your content will get in front of people right away.
- It's easier to reach your target market - you can target those who see your content.
Cons of paid traffic
- It's not free - paying for advertisements can get costly if you don't know what you are doing
- Tweaking - it will take some trial and error to get an advertisement that works well
If you don't already have a Google Business Profile, go create one now. It is one of the easiest ways to start getting traffic to your website. Think about your own buying behaviors. How heavily do you rely on referrals and reviews? I'd bet pretty damn high.
Google and Yelp are the best places to start gathering those reviews. Having testimonials on your website helps, but people trust third-party reviews more. They know that they are less likely to be fake.
One of the biggest Google ranking factors is the quality and quantity of links to your website. If a high-traffic website refers back to your website for information. That tells Google "Hey, this person can be trusted, you should send more traffic there."
I'll admit that this can be tough to get and it can often cost you a few shekels. I've had clients that pay other websites to be able to write a blog on their website. Think about that. They paid someone else to do the work for them of writing a blog on their website. It seems crazy until you realize how important it is for other websites to link back to your website.
My best advice is to reach out to the websites that your dream customer regularly visits. See if you can collaborate with them. This is a long-play strategy but can be insanely useful.
Do not underestimate how important a newsletter is to your business. It is one of the best ways to connect with your customers on a deeper level. Think about how much time you spend checking, organizing, and managing your emails. Now think about how flakey and unreliable the content that shows up on your social media platform is.
I have clients that have had their social media accounts censored, moderated, hacked, and even deleted. If you are 100% reliant on your social media to get you new customers you are at massive risk. Use social media as a tool to get attention but then find a way to connect with them off of the platform.
Your newsletter will also help you get consistent traffic to your website. Every time you send an email campaign, you'll have links that go back to your website.
Start building your newsletter today.
List building = business building.
Now that I have officially bashed social media, I do want to highlight the brighter side. Insane reach. In all of human history, it has never been easier to connect with like-minded people across the globe.
Business has always been word-of-mouth. The internet has expanded that to a global level. We follow, like, and comment on social media because we know, like and trust them. When someone we "know" on social media recommends a product or service we are 10x more likely to buy.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylie Jenner, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson... love 'em or hate 'em, everything they talk about turns to gold or turns to dirt.
The reason this is important for you is that there are influencers in your space as well. Every industry has its thought leaders. It's your job to build a relationship with them and figure out a win/win solution.
Offering free services or products in return for a "shout-out" is a very good strategy.
- Unless you are drowning in customers, you should have a website.
- Getting clear on who the website is for is step 1.
- You can design a custom website or you can use a template.
- Build a website that is fast and clear, not cute and clever.
- Start by picking 1-way to drive traffic to your website and add more as you go.
Building a website can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. But at the end of the day, it comes down to the goals of your business.
If you are unsure of what is best for your situation hit me up on my contact page and I can point you in the right direction.
Keep hustling my friends.