Website Building Process


Website building

Most people think that building a website is simply a matter of choosing a domain name, getting a hosting company and building a few pages and then suddenly people will find that website and buy their product or service (more about this setup process here). In other words “build it and they will come.”

The fact is, a successful online business requires quite a bit more than that.

A good analogy would be building a house. A house with just a foundation and some bare walls and a roof does not make a home. That home must be on a street with an address, and it must be furnished and landscaped before anyone can find it or even want to visit.

A website must have the content that will let the search engines know where it is and what the site is about. Until the Search Engines like it and add it to their index, there’s no way for anyone to find it during a search.

It must also have the content that will move a visitor through the Sales Cycle for that business and help them to make a decision to buy that product or service. The site’s content must motivate people to make that decision.

Why Build A Website?

People build websites for many reasons.

  • They have an offline business and they want to drive new customers to that business
  • They want to start an online business and sell products or services on their site — or perhaps sell other people’s products (affiliate marketing).
  • They want to spread their brand by sharing their business “story” online.

Whatever your reasons for building a website, there is a process that must be followed for that website to be successful. And what happens on the website itself is only part of that process.

Yes, the website is the hub of the online business, but driving traffic to that website involves meeting people “where they are now” on search engines, social media, niche directories, or other online locations where potential customers are likely to meet. The belief that “build it and they will come” is old news and does not work in today’s online marketplace. You must proactively promote and market your website in a number of ways. Most companies never “get” this and that’s why most websites never deliver the goods.

So there are many tactics that must be used for your site to succeed.

  • Market/Keyword Research
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Sales Cycle Analysis
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Creation of The Sales Funnel
  • Implementation of A Tracking System

Even if you already have a brick-and-morter business, and you are mainly trying to drive traffic to that business from your website, your site must move your prospects to make a decision to call you, or visit your store. So that means the site must have the content that will do that.

So for an online business the process comes down to this. You must get people to your website, and then move them through your Sales Cycle, and then get them to take action to solve their problem by choosing your products or services. Often that means a phone call, filling out a contact form, or an offline visit.

But the beauty of Online Marketing, and a great website when it works, is you will have a promotion and advertising tool that will work for you 24/7 to bring new customers and new business directly to you. Some think it’s the the best form of marketing ever invented.

The Process

When building a website for any business we follow this basic process…

Phase 1 – Keyword/Market Research

We begin with a thorough Keyword/Market Research of your business market. If you are building an online business from scratch and don’t already have an offline business, we’ll brainstorm various Niche ideas until we find one that fits you and your skill set but also shows an opportunity to make money.

Each page of your site must be built around a keyword phrase. Choosing the right keyword phrase is the difference between a site getting traffic or not. But the right phrases can also bring targeted traffic that has buying intention and is ready to buy your product or service — now.

Many companies build sites without considering the best keywords for their market and for getting traffic that is warmed up and ready to buy. We make sure your site is built on the solid ground of in-demand keywords and clear buying intention. But we also make sure we find a sweet spot where the keyword competition is not so great that you can never rank on the first page of Google. This balance of in-demand keywords and the lowest possible competition is the key formula for success online.

We use various market research tools and techniques for this research. We go beyond just Keyword Research and do Market Research. We want to thoroughly understand the marketplace of your niche and understand the problems in that niche and your competition very well. Convincing visitors that you can solve problems better than your competition is the key.

The sites on the first page of Google for your chosen keywords will need to be beatable. If we can’t get on the first page then success will be unlikely. So a big part of the research is finding the “sweet spot” in the niche where you CAN get on the first page. We use tools that let us analyze all the sites on the first page of Google to see whether they can be beat through Search Engine Optimization or not.

Once we have a large range of keywords to work with we create a Site Blueprint. This Blueprint is an Excel spreadsheet that lays out the projected content for your site and this Blueprint will evolve and be updated as we build out your site. The Blueprint takes into account the content for “sweet spot” keywords we’ve found, but also takes into account the Sales Cycle content that we need to lead your visitors to take action to solve their problem. This is the Most Wanted Response we want to elicit from our visitors.

We’ll develop the site navigation from this Blueprint. Our navigation will need to be very much in-sync with your Sales Cycle and the Sales Funnel we want to move people into. Learn more about the Sales Funnel here.

Once we understand your niche, you will begin to analyze the Sales Cycle for that niche. To help do that we will ask you to fill out a Sales Cycle Worksheet that will help us think through the Problem/Solution Profile for your niche.

The Big Picture

To get an overview of our views of online marketing you can watch the videos on this page and this page. They will help you understand how we feel the online “touchpoints” fit into your online marketing and all your content.

Once we decide on the sweet spot of a niche, main theme keyword, and a domain name, you will get your own hosting for your WordPress site. I recommend BlueHost. We’ve been using them since 2006 and they have been very good, especially as it applies to WordPress.

Phase 2 – Site Building

The tool you use to build your site is important, but often over-emphasized. Yes you want one that creates a good-looking website, but in the long run, how the site looks is far less important than the content that is on the website. If our site is built correctly and has the right content it will do two things…

  • Please the Search Engines and get them to rank us highly in the Search Engines
  • Move Visitors To Buy Your Product or Service

So whatever tool you choose, whether it’s a common website building software like Dreamweaver, Kompozer, GoDaddy, etc., or an online Content Management System, like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, the tool you use must be able to deliver on the two factors above.

Now most all of these tools can do what’s required. The problem is, most websites don’t have the right content to actually achieve the goals above. That content has to be written and created by people not software. No website design tool does it for you. That’s why we have to learn what it takes to please the search engines and what content is required to move people to take action.

We learn much of this when we do our Market/Keyword Research. So when we start building the site we’ll have a thorough idea of what pages to build and what keywords to build them around. Of course each page will be optimized using the latest SEO “on-page” techniques. We want to make sure our site’s “foundation” is built on solid ground and can grow and adapt as needed.

During the process a question that often comes is who should write the content. It’s always best that your “voice” and point of view come through in your content so you should be heavily involved with this process. But we can do most of the writing for you if you wish.

Again it’s important to develop a point-of-view and to brand yourself as, first as an expert and authority in your niche, and over time as a market leader. You’ll eventually need to spend time on Twitter, Facebook, and other Social Media sites and niche blogs spreading your brand to others who are interested in your niche.

Imagery

Images are very important. A picture is worth a thousand words so we’ll be identifying stock images that connect emotionally with your visitors and also keep them reading. We want to communicate your value proposition in images as well as words. We usually add 1 to 2 images per page.

If you write the content we may edit it for both marketing content and for the best formatting for online viewing. Reading on a website is difficult so most people skim a page before they commit to actually reading. So taking this into account is critical to keep people on your site longer.

Look and Feel

When someone visits your site the first few seconds are critical. If they don’t find what they are looking for, visitors often leave within the first 10 seconds. This is called your Bounce Rate.

To keep them there they must immediately feel your site is professional and provides what they are looking for. The Look & Feel must connect emotionally to the Common Emotional Context (CEC) of your niche. The CEC is the reason they come to your site and the reason you created it. There must be a shared passion expressed in the imagery of your site. That connection is what will keep them on your site and get them to read your content.

We’ll also add email newsletter signups to develop relationships with your visitors. Google Analytics will be added from the beginning so we can see where traffic comes from and where they go on your site.

We’ll also add videos from YouTube that we can embed on the site. Ideally we should also create your own videos that again brand you as an authority in your niche. This is an excellent way to create credibility for you and develop some trust. Putting a face on your site is an important credibility booster.

Phase 3 – Building Your Brand

Google loves a site that is constantly growing. A site that doesn’t change says “nobody’s home.”For that reason, continually adding great new content is critical to your Search Engine Optimzation. Because your site will have a blog section as well, you can be adding content yourself via blog posts. Training on how to do this is part of your purchase.

We’ll build out your site until we have at least 20-25 pages, and your pages and Navigation include all stages in the Sales Cycle. Understanding your particular niche’s Sales Cycle is important. Once people get to your site you MUST move them through the cycle to get them to buy. Learn more here

Once we have enough content we can begin to do the “off page” tactics that will bring in additional traffic but primarily improve your site’s authority in your niche. This includes doing blog commenting, content exchanges, getting one-way links through social networking and bookmarking sites, and writing articles for article syndication. This is a very important process. You’ll want to get hundreds and maybe thousands of these “backlinks” to your site. It may even take more if you are in a very competitive niche.

Traffic Analysis

Once the site is getting enough traffic, we can begin to analyze that traffic with Google Analytics (learn more about Google Analytics and website tracking here). Through analytics we’ll begin to see what pages and keywords are most popular. This will give us the information we need to understand them, and to change and adapt your site to meet your visitor’s needs. You’ll create more content based on what your visitors like and adapt your monetization based on their problems and the solutions you’ve found and analyzed.

At any given time you can take over some or all of these steps and/or we can train you as we go. This has to be your site and built around your strengths and abilities. We’re there to fill in any gaps in what needs to be done and to train you so that you can take full ownership at some point if you wish. If you would like us to provide ongoing site maintenance, that is possible as well.

Creating credibility for yourself is a critical first step for your site. Until you have credibility and your visitors like and trust you, you’ll have a hard time convincing them to do anything, including staying around and coming back. Of course your content plays an important role in creating this credibility, so finding ways to build trust is always “between the lines” on all content on your site. Videos are excellent for making a faster and more powerful connection than just words can do.

As to how long it will take and how much it will cost it really depends. Roughly $2000 for 20 pages is about right but as you can see from above and looking at my Online Marketing Blueprint, there is more to building an online business than just page count. You may end up having more “pages” on other sites (backlinks) as you do on your own.

The ongoing Search Engine Optimization is something that will need to continue indefinitely. This is something you can do yourself once you know how. For an overview of what is involved take a look at this page on my site…

Online Coaching Sessions

For you to succeed in the long run there is much for you to learn. Your education is critical to your success and we take that education seriously. We want to help you understand Online Marketing and the opportunity is offers, and ongoing training and being available to answer questions is critical to that education.

If you’d like to discuss our website building process in more detail, or would like a free consultation to discuss your needs, you can contact us here.


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