Planning your website

Planning your website

So, you’re thinking about building your own website? Good for you! There are plenty

of tools that you can use to DIY as much of your website and marketing as you want.

Your biggest investment with this approach is time, and if you’re going to invest your time and energy

into building your website, I want to help you start off on the right foot.

 

What’s a website strategy?

Well, I’m glad you asked! It’s a few key things. Mainly, it’s working out:

  • WHO you are targeting
  • WHAT you are selling
  • HOW you’re going to make those sales

Those are the key areas are where you need to focus right now. And I’m going to help you work out how to do it! I’ve broken it down into 5 parts to make it easy to digest. A word of warning though – this isn’t a short blog post. But it is PACKED with useful information to help you get going. Right, let’s dig in.

 

Step 1: Your Ideal Customer

Before doing any sort of marketing, you need to know who you’re marketing to. You need to find your target audience. Sounds obvious, right? But have you actually spent the time to work out your ideal customer properly? This is the step that most of us skip in the beginning (I totally skipped this step when I was first starting out). And I’m not just talking about a vague idea of who you think they might be.

You need to create a fictional character – your one  ideal customer 

You should give this person a name, and possibly find a photograph to represent them. Sounds silly? It might make you feel a bit daft doing this exercise, but the results and impact on your business growth will be anything but silly. You see, when you know who it is you’re marketing towards, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place much more easily.

How does it apply to your business?

  • When you start to create your brand, you think about what this ideal customer likes and what would resonate with them.
  • When you’re deciding which products or services you can sell, you think about what this ideal customer would buy from you.
  • When you’re ready to start marketing your products and services…that’s right…you think about where your ideal customer is hanging out online, and how you can connect and nurture the relationship.

OK, so here are the things you need to do:

  • Step 1: List all the demographic characteristics of people who you would love to work with
  • Step 2: Flesh out your ideal customer by digging into their personality – what they believe in, their values, their gcallenges and pain points
  • Step 3: Work out where they hang out – what content they consume, Facebook groups, who they follow on social media and all
  • Step 4: Document a typical and Ideal day in the life of your ideal customer.

The end result? Clarity on the one person that you can direct all your marketing efforts towards.

Step 2: Research  Your Competition

I bet you are feeling pretty excited  and you just want to get right into it and  start implementing your ideas, but you need to step back for a moment. YOu need to find out what others in your industry are doing and learn from what others are doing already. 

I’m not talking about stealing other people’s ideas, just about getting inspiration and researching what works in your industry . You’ll end up with a big inspiration file that you can dip into as you’re building your own website.

How to find websites in your industry

There are a few techniques you can use, One of my favourites is the Google Keyword Planner tool. It’s free, it’s easy to use and you can access tonnes of really useful information. Here’s what you do:

  • Create a Google Adwords account
  • Find out what are some top search terms in your industry
  • Google those terms
  • Make a list of websites that are on page 1 for those terms (they’re on Page 1 of Google because they’re doing something right)

Group your research into categories

When you’re searching for websites in your industry, Come up with categories that you’re looking for while discovering those websites that inspire you.  Some ideas for categories and what to look for are:

  • Design elements – colours, font and photography
  • User experience – how the website is laid out, and how easy is it to navigate
  • Calls to Action – where are they placed, what do they look like, what is the path through the site
  • Specific page designs – create a category for Home Pages, another for About pages, etc
  • Products/services
  • Prices
  • What online marketing are they using (for example, are they gathering email subscribers)
  • Save your research in a spreadsheet

Step 3: Create your  brand identity

. Your brand identity  covers the following :

  • Design elements: logo, colour palette, photography style, font choice
  • The content on your website: what information you share
  • Your ‘tone of voice’: how you share your content, and what that sounds like
  • Core Values 
  • What products and services you offer

Pulling it all together 

Write a mission statement

A mission statement is a couple of sentences that describe the values and aims of your business. Some questions you can ask yourself to help with the process are:

  • What do you do?
  • How do you do it?
  • Who do you do it for?
  • What value are you bringing?

Narrow down your products/services

Write out your brand adjectives

You then get more clarity around what your business looks like, and how you want it to be perceived. Do some brainstorming and come up with 5 adjectives that really describe the heart and soul of your business.

Step 4: Create a website style guide

A website style guide is a 1 page document where you summarise the  design elements of your website. So when you’re ready to start designing, you’ve got solid ideas to guide you. A style guide includes:

  • A colour palette
  • Photography examples
  • Button design and colours
  • Icon ideas
  • Font decisions
  • A place for your brand adjectives to sit as a reminder

Firstly, create a mood board on Pinterest

A mood board is just a collection of visual elements that inspire and represent your brand.  You can pin images from websites as you’re organically moving around the web. You can also go back to your industry research, and pin the design elements that match in with your brand direction.

Secondly, create the style guide

Using Canva (a free graphic design tool), it’s easy to pull this together.  And that’s it. It’s really quite simple, deceptively so. But once you start building out your website, you’ll be glad that you created this reference sheet to help guide that process. Phew! We’re almost there. It’s a bit of a process, isn’t it? But just imagine trying to build your site from scratch without any of this preliminary work. You would get stumped over and over again, wasting hours and days switching fonts out, changing your mind about colours, and not even really knowing what you’re trying to achieve with the final product.

Step 5: Create your site architecture

This is documenting the layout of your website – It’s how you layout your pages, how they link to each other, and what content you include.

Step 1: List out your goals

Your website goals are the marketing reasons that you’re creating this website in the first place. I can’t emphasis enough how important this it is that you get really clear on this. A business website should be built to help bring in leads, and support your business growth. Some ideas for your website goals are:

  • Sell a service directly online
  • Sell products directly online
  • Generate leads – eg. Get prospects to call you or send through an online enquiry
  • Get subscribers on an email list – an amazing way to generate trust and loyalty
  • Build a community – a great tactic if you want to build a membership site, for example

You can (and probably will) have more than 1 goal for your site. But methodically think through each goal, and design and layout the pages so that your goal is supported.

Step 2: Create an Excel spreadsheet 

Set up 3 columns – one for goals, one for pages, and one for content For example, if you want to get subscribers for your email list you will need:

  • A Landing Page (the page where you collect the email addresses)
  • A Thank You page to send subscribers to after they’ve given you their email address

Your content would then be:

  • Opt-in lead magnet
  • Page copy
  • Images
  • A Call to Action for the Thank You page

In addition, all websites will also need

  • A Home Page
  • About Page – describe how your business can help your clients, and a little bit of personal information about who you are
  • Contact Page – if you’re a local business, it’s really important to have your physical address on the website
  • Products/Services page – depending on your business this will vary, but at least 1 page, and probably more than one, describing and outlining what you do and what you’re selling

In conclusion

Right, that’s it. We made it! Well done for getting all the way to the end. I know there’s a whole lot of stuff to digest here, but take your time and work your way through it.

When you’re ready to build your website, you’ll have done a big part of the hard work already and it will make the whole process so much easier for you! Now go ahead and build an awesome website that’s going to help you create a profitable business!

9 STEPS TO PLANNING YOUR EFFECTIVE WEBSITE

9 STEPS TO PLANNING YOUR EFFECTIVE WEBSITE

So, you’re considering building a website?  That’s a good thing. The biggest input in creating your website is your time, and if  you are going to invest your time and energy,  I would like to  help you get it right, it is important that you plan the user experience first

The reason to do this is so you end up with a website that’s effective and is designed to GROW your business.

So let’s get started… Here are the Planning steps that you need to take to create an effective website.

STEP 1:  BE CLEAR ON YOUR BUSINESS AND THE BIG PICTURE

Being clear means knowing exactly who you are as a business.

  • What is your big Vision
  • Who do you serve?
  • What is your Unique offering
  • Your core values

It’s important that you document these so that you can create a website that communicates what your business is all about.

 

STEP 2: YOUR IDEAL CLIENT

Before you proceed with your build or anything for that matter you need to know who your target audience is? Sounds obvious, right?  But have you actually spent the time to work out exactly who your ideal customer is?

You need to be very clear on this because it helps you get really focused on who your product or service offering is for and how you communicate to them.

In creating your Ideal customer there are 6 key questions you need answers to

You can read more about creating your ideal customer here

 

STEP 3: YOUR VISUAL STORY

Once you are clear about your business and you know who your ideal customer is you should begin to map out your visual storyBy this is mean you should begin to think about the visual elements that will represent your brand. Note that these visual design elements are only a part of what makes up your brand

The design elements include

  • Your logo,
  • The colours,
  • Fonts,
  • Images,

These elements help you connect with your audience and define your brand style.

 

STEP 4: DEFINE THE PURPOSE OF YOUR WEBSITE

The next step now is to decide what you want your website to do for your business?  Do you want more sales, lead generation, build awareness or just a catalogue.

Regardless of what your reason is,  it is important that you are clear on the purpose of your website.

Knowing this will guide you as you make design/layout choices and as you start to create your content.

 

STEP 5: YOUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY

Making sales online is not a simple as putting up your products and services.

Once you’ve identified your ideal client, it is important that you think about their journey and the actions you want them to take on your website that gets them to the ultimate goal of buying from your business.

What’s going to happen once they decide to buy – where will they go?

Make sure you document this journey map, you will want to input it in your design and layout choices.
Because increasing sales is a big part of why you’re creating a website, you’ll want to think through all of your customers’ interactions with your website.

So you can create a website that guides your customer through the process, professional and helps you make the sale!

 

STEP 6: YOUR SITE NAVIGATION

Once you have defined your ideal customer’s interaction you can now map out your website layout needs.

What pages will you have on your website, and which ones are important to have on the main navigation menu?

What pages link to each other? How will people interact with your website and find their way around?
My suggestion is to write up all your pages on individual sticky notes and then start arranging them until you come up with a plan that is easiest to navigate for your web visitors. Make it easy and simple for your visitors to find what they need.
Draw out the map of your website and have it to hand when you are designing or you can hand it over to your website designer.

 

STEP 7: DESIGN RESEARCH AND INSPIRATION
Before you go ahead and build anything, it is important that you carry out some research on your competitor both on content and website layouts. So that you can compare this with your layout

Look at top performers in your industry, identify trends.  There are TONS of well-designed websites – so grab your friend – google and begin your research.

If necessary register on their websites to see how things work and to help you understand the sequence of activities.
-Look at how their website organised, review their structure and test their functionality?
Write down what you like and what you don’t like about the websites you have visited so you can make YOUR website way better.
It is your opportunity to “borrow” from what others are doing that really works.

 

STEP 8: YOUR SITE CONTENT
This step requires a lot of thinking. You now know what pages your website needs, and you know what your competitors are doing within your industry

You should begin to put down content ideas for each of the pages on your website
Don’t worry, you don’t have to write up all the pages yet, but putting your content ideas gives you a starting point.

And if you’re going to hire a designer to build your website, they’ll want to know this information . One key page on your website that you need to take particular note of is your home page.  But don’t forget you need to put in as much effort for the other pages too.

Here are a few tips to start you off on your web pages

  • Be clear about the purpose of each page – why it’s there and what results you want it to produce.
  • Map out and plan the layout of each page.
  • Write up all the content keeping your layout in mind and if you have chosen to go with a designer, they will be able to advise if it is a layout that will work

 

YOUR HOMEPAGE

Your homepage is where you make the first impression, it is where you let people know who you are, what you do and who you do it for.
Remember, your homepage should not be full of text that’s overwhelming to read.
Think of your homepage more as your customer service adviser, guiding people to where you want them to go.
The most important information on your homepage should be above the fold and must be clear,

This determines whether a web visitor will continue or drop off your website.

 

 STEP 9: CHOOSE A PLATFORM

Here is where you decide what content management system you want to build your website on.

You have a number of options depending on whether you would like to host it yourself or have it hosted for you. YOur options include Squarespace, Wix, WordPress.

My preference is WordPress, and it’s the platform I would recommend that you build your website on because of its easy user interface.
Do your research, ask questions and make sure whatever platform you choose will give you the website that works best for your business.
The next step is to decide if you’re going to build your website yourself or hire someone to do it for you. There are pros and cons either way you go – just do what is best for your business!

Once you’ve pulled everything together as a first draft, ask review everything again and make sure it all works for you especially the layout and content and they support the goal(s) of your website. If they don’t then, by all means, keep tweaking till you get it right

 

In conclusion

We made it! Well done for getting all the way to the end. I know there’s a whole lot to take in, but take your time and work your way through it. Then when you’re ready to tackle that website build, you’ll have done a big part of the work.

It will certainly make the whole process so much easier for you! And don’t forget to grab the free Website Planning Workbook. It’s going to help you plan an amazing website for your business.

 

 

Installing WordPress

Installing WordPress

How TO Install with the One CLICK INSTALL 

In this lesson, I will be showing you how to Install with the one Click WordPress install

When you signed up with your hosting company or Site ground, you would have received all information required to sign into your hosting account, so what you need to do is sign into your hosting account.

When you log in, you need to access your panel i. e Your c-panel is your web hosting account dashboard, where you can manage all things related to your hosting account.

Regardless of what hosting company you have chosen, you will have a software installer, what you need to do is scroll to that section and find the Software and Services section within your c-panel

Click on Softaculus, this is just a software installer and you will be presented with a page with the variety of software you can install, what we are looking for is the W symbol hover on it and you will find a button that says “Install Now”.

Click on the install button and you will be presented with the following fields

In the Choose Protocol field : Leave this blank if you want your URL to start with just “http://”—or if you have an SSL certificate for a “https://” / HTTP www or https

or you want “www”, press the drop-down arrow and select the protocol you prefer. I recommend your domain without www, mainly because these days people rarely type in the preceding www, but it’s your preference.

 

 

Choose Domain: There should only be one domain showing—your new one—if this is a brand new web hosting account. As long as your domain name appears by default, you don’t have to do anything.

In Directory: Leave it blank if it is going to be your primary domain.

Site Settings:

Site name: Replace the generic text with your site/blog name (e.g. “Mandy  Wayne, Digital Strategist”);

Site Description: A brief description of what your website is about.

Do not check “Enable Multisite (WPMU)

Admin:

Admin username: Resist the urge to allow your admin name to be “Admin”—that is far too easy to hack! Choose something random, like “BfwUp2” as your admin name

Password : your admin name and password are not easy to guess. (Randomize your password too.)

Admin email: any email address that you want to associate with your website administration

Choose Language:

Advanced Settings: All you need to do here is enter the email address that you want WordPress to send your installation details to—and press “Install”.

On the next page, it’s just a matter of waiting patiently until your installation is complete – it should only take a few mins you are presented with a screen which shows your domain name, and your WordPress login details!

You should also receive an email to your selected mailbox with all your login details

Congratulations, you’ve just set up WordPress! It’s time to log in

 

 

 

Hey there. I’m Tosin. I help female entrepreneurs build profitable online businesses that get you the freedom and time to spend with your lived ones.

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Creating Your Business Email

Creating Your Business Email

Day 3 Build Your website challenge

 

I will show you step by step how you can create your business email from the Siteground Control panel, I will show you how to create an email account for business. SiteGround provides cPanel, so you will be able to access it to create the Email Accounts.

First, you need to login to cPanel and click on the Email Accounts icon located in the mail section.

Next, you will need to type in the new Email account you want to create and fill the necessary information for it.

 

  • Email – enter the email address you want to create. Note, that if you have more than one domain registered you will need to choose the right one.
  • Password – select a strong not easy to guess the password for your new email account. The password strength helps you make it secure enough.
  • Mailbox Quota – choose the size of the mailbox. Note, that different accounts have different maximum mailbox size. You will see a note with your specific limitation above this field.

Once you’re ready, press the Create Account button at the bottom. That’s it.

HOW TO RETRIEVE YOUR EMAILS

To receive your business emails, you have two options, you can access it via your control panel, visit the same email section and click on webmail, type in the username and password you have just created and sign up

OR

You type into your address bar yoursitename.com/webmail and it should take you to the sign in page and you use your details to log in. You will then be presented with three different email clients you can choose anyone to access your emails.

EMAIL FORWARDERS

You can set up email forwarders for your emails,  you can choose to forward the email to a pop address if it saves you logging in every time. Visit the same email section and select the forwarders option

Click on the add forwarder button and type in the address you would like to forward and in the destination section, type in the address you would like to forward to the email forwarded to and click on the add forwarder button and you are notified that it has been done

That was also easy wasn’t it

Well Done!!

 

Hey there. I’m Tosin. I help female entrepreneurs build profitable online businesses that get you the freedom and time to spend with your lived ones.

FREE – ONLINE BIZ BLUEPRINT

FREE CUSTOMER AVATAR WORKSHEET

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Choosing Your Hosting and Your Name Servers

Choosing Your Hosting and Your Name Servers

DAY 2 BUILD YOUR WEBSITE CHALLENGE

What is a Web Host

For your website to be accessible, it needs to be hosted on a server somewhere by your web host. What this means is that when someone types in your domain name, the hosting provider, directs them to the to the correct web files associated with your domain name.Choosing a reliable website host

Choosing a reliable website host is very important to the success of your business. Your web host is like your business partner, and the quality of their service could impact your business positively or negatively and is a crucial part of building a robust website which is available 24/7.

 

What criteria should we look for in a web host?

As a minimum the I will go through the things you should be looking for in a web host

  • Reliability and Uptime: This really should be top of your list. If your host server is only online half the time then you’ll be losing half your visitors, business and income! Your web host should guarantee its uptime. You won’t ever find a host that has 100% uptime – but look for web hosts that at least guarantee a minimum of 99.5% uptime
  • Support: Following on from your server’s uptime, make sure that they provide great and timely customer support whether by email or by phone. Your website’s server and network should be monitored 24/7 – all year round.
  • Data Backup: Check that the host company has the capability to back up your site, so if something happens and you lose your site, you can immediately have it restored. This is not a substitute for you also backing up your own site very regularly
  • Disk Space and Data Transfer: Don’t cut yourself short on disk space and data transfer (bandwidth/traffic) when picking a plan. Most websites consume a very small amount of disk space, but you should allow room for growth and space for email storage. Investigate if the host provides warning emails as you approach critical limits and ensure they won’t surprise you with excess fees for exceeding your monthly bandwidth traffic allowance.
  • Ease of use / Control Panel Site Management Tools: Choose a host that allows you to manage the different aspects of your web and email account yourself. An easy to use web-based control panel should be provided. Ask to see a demo of the host’s control panels. This way you can get a feel for how you’ll be managing your website’s server.
  • Specialisation. I tend to only use hosting providers who specialise in WordPress hosting as they configure their servers specifically for WordPress which usually means that they serve the pages faster and are familiar with any WordPress related issues which may arise.

There are lots of hosting providers out there, and many of them do a really great job. One word of caution, don’t choose your hosting provider on the basis of just price, make sure they satisfy these important criteria.  I recommend SiteGround for all my sites as they satisfy my checklist of features to look for in a host, and provide a great service.

 

How to set up your hosting plan

When you visit SiteGround, you will be presented with a button that takes you to the plans where you are presented with 3 options. For most small businesses, the StartUp Plan is adequate to get started with and you have the option to upgrade later if you need to.

hosting plans

 

When you click on ‘Get Started’, you’ll have the option to register a domain name OR if you already have a domain, you can specify it here and you can choose either option depending on your choice

select domain

Click on the proceed button and carry on with the fill in the client information and your payment information on the next screen to create your account.

You have an option to include SG Scanner, a service that scans your website for malicious activity and helps protect you from hackers.

purchase information

Your hosting plan is now in place. You will receive a couple of emails from Siteground confirming your account details. Don’t forget to keep them safe!

Setting Up Your Name Servers

Now that we have a domain name and a hosting plan all sorted, we now need to make sure that web visitors can find your website when they search for you online, We need to set up your name server settings on the domain registrar.

NOTE: This will only apply if you purchased your domain from nameservers like Name Cheap OR GoDaddy.

For this example, we will be using site Ground as our example and the first thing to do is to grab details of the name server details from our hosting provider, which in this case is SiteGround.

  • Log into your account, click on the My Accounts tab, and the Manage button.
  • On the page with the account management information look at the Account DNS section and copy the 2 lines of information which start ns1. and ns2.
  • If your chosen hosting provider is not SiteGround, and you’re unsure of where to find the name server settings, contact your hosting provider and they should be able to help you.

Changing the named server on your domain registration account

Now, log into your domain our domain management dashboard if you have used Name Cheap.

Select your Domain name, and click the Manage button next to your domain.

Find the Nameservers section and select Custom DNS option from the drop-down menu. Once selected you will be able to copy and paste the named server settings from your host onto the space provided. Click on the green checkmark to save the changes.

 

You may not immediately see the changes, it takes a while, between 24 to 48 days to propagate

This post is part of the Free 7-Day Build Your Own Website challenge. If you want to join in, you can register to be part of the group here: http://tosinoguzie.com/website-7-days/

Disclaimer: Some of the links that I use in this post and throughout this challenge may be affiliate links. That means that I may be paid a commission for purchases made through these links. It doesn’t cost anything more to purchase through an affiliate link, and I use any commission payouts to advertise these kinds of challenges to ensure I’m able to reach and help as many entrepreneurs like you as possible. I will only ever recommend products or services which I myself use and trust. 

Hey there. I’m Tosin. I help female entrepreneurs build profitable online businesses that get you the freedom and time to spend with your lived ones.

FREE – ONLINE BIZ BLUEPRINT

FREE CUSTOMER AVATAR WORKSHEET

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