Along the years of designing and building websites, we've seen these 10 points be key for success:
1) Don't use a fixed (WordPress or other) theme. Some use fixed themes for short-term convenience reasons, but as your business grows, you may have to change the whole thing or rely on a developer to adjust the theme.
Get inspiration from themes and existing websites, and then use a framework like Divi (we love it!) that makes all imaginable configurations possible as your business grows. If you are any tiny bit tech-savy, you will be able to makes changes to your site yourself.
2) Don't just make it pretty. Sure, go for a stunning website that makes a big impression - however, visual beauty is not the only thing that counts.
Also have a clear goal for what you want your website to do for you. Is it an electronic business card that positions you as a thought leader and attracts people to your social media? Is it an online shop window for your physical point of business that people find on Google and nudges them to come visit? Is it a hub to grow your community? Is it home for your membership site that you nourish with free offers on sign-up? It is the place where people are inspired to buy your products/courses/programs? Gear everything towards the first action that you want people to take.
3) Don't just make it functional. There is a difference between web design and web development, and sometimes a developer only can't do the whole job for you. If the look of your website isn't as great as your business is, it misses to communicate your value.
Work with someone who does both design and development. A great-looking visual brand is a huge asset that brings your signature vibe across in an instant.
4) Don't make it about you. This is a biggie. We are all tempted to tell people about ourselves and what we do, but the truth is that your website visitors are more interested in something else.
Make it for them. Put yourself in your website visitors' shoes and make the site work from their perspective. They come in looking for advancement for themselves, so they want to know what's in it for them. Most of us need help with this, because we are so "in" in our own businesses that it can be hard to see things from an outside point of view. It is crucial, though, because you are not the one your website is made for - it is made for your visitors.
5) Don't rely on dry facts. Clear information is important, but at the end of the day we are emotion-driven beings. Facts alone can be surprisingly ineffective when it comes to moving people to take action.
People who visit your website are looking for inspiration and life-enhancing experiences. Tell them your touching story and make them dream. Use facts to make them envision new possibilities. Give them hope and reasons to trustingly look forward to something new and greater.
6) Don't try to convince people with descriptions. Stick to clear information that brings the main points across, keeping in mind that people do not spend time reading things that aren't hugely valuable to them. Descriptions also stay at the level of the mind, and convincing the mind can be a tricky thing as doubts and questions are often lurking around.
Provide your website visitors quick and direct access to solutions. Establish contact by giving free content that brings them real value. Allow them to get part of your knowledge or services for free, so they can assess whether your offer is a match to what they are looking for. This can help bring you more committed, great clients who do not need any convincing.
7) Don't go with anything that doesn't feel like you. There are no should's. When people recommend certain ways to go, keep in mind that what works for others might not work for you, and vice versa. If something doesn’t feel right to you, then it’s not.
Get clear on your signature way of being and doing, and bringing it powerfully forth in your visuals and strategy. Make your brand, your visuals, your marketing strategy and everything in between congruent with who you truly are and what you do best. If your flow is in writing, make your blog or book be the leading star. If you love teaching on video, invest in good gear and design a great setting for filming, and gear your website to make full use of you teaching. Always rely on your best assets, strengths and abilities.
8) Don't leave any parts of you out. There is nothing wrong about everything that really resonates with you. Even if your friend or spouse or business coach wouldn't warm up to something that you think is important, don't take their opinion for a truth before checking more thoroughly. Chances are that they may not be your ideal biz audience, albeit important for you otherwise.
The point of having your own business is for you to make full use of everything you are, right? To express yourself fully, and to feel fully alive... When you are fully alive, you are most energised, and able to make the biggest impact on the people you work with. So it makes all the sense to bring forth everything that lights you up, because that's what you've truly got to give.
9) Don't change colours or fonts along the way. You audience needs to build trust in you, and that trust may be broken with inconsistent use of colours or fonts, leading to confusion.
Keep a consistent look and feel to everything you publish. Make your ads, leaflets and business cards match with your website. Get a designer to make your Instagram quotes or to teach you tools to make your feed consistent with your visual brand. Make your profile photos harmonious across all platforms. Stick to your signature look and feel to build a clear, consistent and trustworthy picture of you and your business.