“I need a website.”

“I need snazzy copy on my site to attract more clients, can you do that?

Hmmm…I hear these things a lot and after asking a few questions, people can get overwhelmed by all of the moving parts included in a website.

Do you just need a website?

First, I’m going to talk about a “website” and how you probably don’t need just a website. Part 2 of this will be why good website copy costs more than $500. 🙂

People come to me thinking they need a website, but they actually require a few other things BEFORE they can get a website created that reflects who they are and that actually works for them.

What’s in a website?

A website is a marketing tool. Ideally, it’s something that helps you make money in your business.

It’s not just slapping up a few pages online with a clipart logo and saying “good enough.”

It also doesn’t mean spending $10,000 on a site when you don’t have a paying client yet or know what you are offering in your business.

Here are a couple of questions that will guide you to know what you really need so when you get quotes to create a website, you’re getting accurate numbers and have realistic expectations.

1. Do you have a clear and compelling message (you know what you do and who you do it for)

Side note on this one – your message is NOT your certification or modality. It’s YOU – your essence, what makes you unique and stand out. If you have a certification that is the focal point of the work you do, take some time developing your message so your audience knows right away how and why you’re different than others who hold the same certification. This will assist you in creating more collaboratively and rising above competition.

Do you have the words that not only differentiate you from others who do similar work, but is your essence reflected? Do people GET you when you tell them what you do or they read what you do on your site?

2. Do you know what your money-makers are? (Your pricing, programs, and products.)

This also refers to your business model. Your business model will influence your website content and structure. Do you have a free gift as a lead generation? Do you have a one-page site that has ONE call to action, which is to contact you? There are many possibilities here so knowing what your business model means that your website can contribute to that vs be a project that doesn’t do anything for you or your business.

3. Visibility – are you willing to be visible and be seen? Are you willing to move through the resistance that will likely come up in the process?

Putting yourself out there is not just about having gorgeous headshots (that hopefully look like the real you) and a beautiful site. It’s about your willingness to be seen, which also means your willingness to not be liked by everyone.

Being visible also requires you to make some powerful choices in your business. You can’t help everyone. You can’t do everything for everyone. What do you love to do? Who do you love to work with? Knowing these things and embodying them so you can show up powerfully both online and offline will create the magnetic energy behind your online presence that people often don’t cognitively recognize, but unconsciously feel drawn to or repelled from.

Your visibility comes from mindset and alignment and congruence with your message and business with who you really are. If you’re doing things in your business just because you “should,” but it’s not aligned with who you really are, it will be easy to find ways to hide.

4. Do you have a visual brand?

This means logo, colors, headshots you love, etc.

Branding is much bigger than the visual elements, but to simplify this, for now, I’m just going to highlight the visual brand.

Do you have a logo in the proper format? (.ai or .eps file is preferred. If you don’t know what that means, that’s okay because your designer should.)

Do you have standard colors in both PMS (Pantone Matching System) and HEX, which is the 6-digit color code so you get consistent colors for everything that gets created for your business?

What font(s) do you use? And please make sure the fonts you use are for public use and not just business use.

Here is a great article that explains fonts and the licensing.

Do you have a stylesheet? This is typically a 1+ page document that outlines your visual brand. Instagram has a great example of how to use their logo here: https://en.instagram-brand.com/assets/glyph-icon

No, you don’t have to get this detailed with a style sheet, and it’s useful so your visual brand is consistent all the time, across all platforms.

5. Do you have a website strategy?

What do you want people to do when they come to your site? Do you have an opt-in? Do you have an email sequence that gets sent to people when they do opt-in for the gift you’ll have on the site?

What do you want your website to do for your business? Having an online presence is important and there are plenty of people who build great solopreneur businesses without having one.

You do not have to have a website to make money. Is it helpful? Sure! And it completely depends on your business model.

If you sell your jewelry on Etsy.com, you can use their platform to direct customers to. And you can likely see it would be beneficial to have your own website so you don’t have to solely rely on something else to get customers.

6. Let’s talk techy-nerdy stuff:

Do you have:

  • An email manager? (Infusionsoft, Constant contact, or my favorite ConvertKit, etc.) *This is my affiliate link.
    • You can read about why I left InfustionSoft and Ontraport and use ConvertKit here.
  • A shopping cart system. I love ThriveCart and it’s a one-time cost vs a monthly cost or a system that charges per transaction.
    • If you are doing recurring payments, I highly recommend a shopping cart vs invoicing in PayPal.
  • A payment gateway. This is the system that actually charges the payment and deposits it into your account. Common gateways are PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
  • Hosting? (I don’t love GoDaddy for this and prefer to use dedicated hosting from people who do my web maintenance. I like talking to a real person who I know if something goes down.)
  • A domain purchased? I like namecheap.com to buy my domains.
  • The platform you would like to use? Squarespace, WordPress, etc. I’m a big fan of WordPress and I never recommend Wix to someone as the platform.
  • If you are using WordPress, do you already have a theme selected and purchased? I love the Divi theme, however, people either love it or hate it so experiment with a few themes and choose one that you love.
  • Extra plugins required for your site? (translation to other languages, event listing, quiz builder, etc)
  • Web maintenance? This means that when your website platform updates to a new version, your website gets updated and in doing so it doesn’t interfere with any integrations you have on your site with other plugins. This also means that your site gets protected from getting hacked, etc.

So now, take a breath. 🙂

This is usually where people start shutting down, tuning out, or distracting themselves. And this is where I thrive. I love all of this stuff.

The bottom line is if you are thinking you “need a website,” what is it that you actually need?

You can totally piece-meal this stuff and manage all of the components. You can hire one person to do it all. There are many options.

This is also the reason that when I did websites, I charged $10,000 because I did ALL of these pieces. More accurately, my team and I do. And it’s also why I only did a few done-for-you websites a year as it wasn’t my main service I offered in my business.

When people see the website outlined like this, they realize they don’t “need a website” but maybe they need to start with their message and website strategy, which is something I can usually outline for clients in a couple of hours. Then they take that and work with their own designer to get the visual brand put together. Then they turn that message into the actual copy that goes on each page.

When you get clear on what you truly need, then it’s much easier to find the right fit with a designer and copywriter.

If you truly just need a website, then that means you have the above items and just need someone to physically put it together. You hand over all of your images, text, forms, etc. and then someone builds the pages, which is the easy part IF you have all of the elements that go into the website. Hire the right person who knows what they are doing and is super familiar with the theme that you choose.

Do you just need a few of the items above? Then perhaps consider hiring out those individual pieces and then handing it over to a web developer/designer to put the actual site together.

Or if you need the whole enchilada, then hiring the right support from the beginning means it gets done right the first time as seamless as possible.

The “whole enchilada” is at least a three-month process and usually longer. Some people move faster. Some people require more space.

At the end of this work, you:

  1. Have a business model that works for you
  2. You are clear about your magic and how to communicate it. (message)
  3. Have clear copywriting for your site that communicates your magic to your ideal folks (copywriting)
  4. You have a visual brand that lights you up and your audience
  5. You are clear on what you are offering (pricing, products, and programs)
  6. You have a website strategy that works (people opt in and you have a way to nurture them and build a relationship)
  7. You have the technology handled (installing plugins, you have recommendations on which technology to use, etc)
  8. AND you have a website

Either way, know what you truly need for your online presence and you’ll make better hiring decisions to get the most bang for your buck.