Would you believe me if I told you the tech is the last thing you should start with when planning your website?
When you have everything planned upfront, you simply need to take that plan and put it into the tech.
Want to learn what to put into that plan? Listen to the Podcast below.
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Learn How to Start Planning Your Website – Transcript
Hey, everybody, Gisèle Grenier here. I’d like to ask you a question. Can you imagine trying to build a house without a plan? How would you hire the contractors and even order supplies without the plan, never mind trying to get a building permit. But aside from that, it’s just not going to work, right?
Now, a website, specifically, your website, although very different in substance, is the same thing. You can’t build a website without a solid plan. Like when I talk with new clients, most of them are all worried about the tech involved in building the website. Would you believe me if I told you the tech is the last thing you should start with? When you have everything planned upfront, you simply need to take that plan and put it into the tech.
OK, now I can hear you saying, Oh, but Gisèle, I know nothing about Web design. OK, so I’m here to tell you that if you’re committed to following the plan and learning just some basic skills, you can do it. Now I’m going to you up front, you don’t need to take a bunch of notes because I have a complimentary bonus to give you at the end. So you just need to watch or listen. Now, I’ve made some notes for myself, so I didn’t miss out on anything.
When you’re planning your website, there are a few questions basically to start the process. Do you have a logo? Who is your ideal customer? Do you know who your competition is? What services or products are you going to offer to your ideal customer? And this is kind of important. What’s your website name? Also known as your domain name. What’s your business called? is it a formal name or your personal name? So just to break this down, I chose It’s Just G for my business and what my website name, because 9 out of 10 people spell Gisèle Grenier incorrectly and giselegrenier.com is also hard to spell and mostly It’s Just G is just that. It’s me, myself and I… Just G.
So some examples of what you can offer for actual services, especially if you’re starting out, it could just be one to one services. And you can do that until you can find out what people are looking for and you can build up some testimonials, you can also build digital products such as ebooks, online courses, videos, templates, music files, or software and apps. If you create physical products, it could be gifts, artwork, jewelry, dog treats, clothes, or even electronics.
Now, if you currently don’t have any digital or physical products. But you want to build yourself a website and have it be more than just like a portfolio, one to one services is a great way to start, because, with one-to-one services, you’re working directly with clients to solve a problem they’re having, and as you do all that work and be building up a portfolio, gathering testimonials, and you can be able to tweak what you’re already doing to do it even better to serve your ideal customer.
Now, when we talk about your visual brand so you can create a mood board on Pinterest, you can choose visual branding colors based on your ideal customer profile, you can create a simple logo.
You can choose your fonts, but keep it really simple because you can always tweak it down the road. Oh and here’s the biggy and I wonder how many eyeballs are going to roll on this one. Your biography photo, a.k.a. your selfie. Take fresh selfie photos and I mean a lot of them.
So what I like to do is if I’m having a particularly good hair day, I will set up the camera up in my creative studio, in my office, and in the living room downstairs where I do a lot of my creative writing. And what I’ll do is I’ll go back and forth between those things because it’s different lighting, different situations. And I’ll also do wardrobe changes. And I know it sounds like a lot of planning, but just in a few hours and having my smartphone set on rapid burst photo and you’d have to check your settings to see if that’s available, I can easily, easily take four to five hundred pictures in about two hours and then a little remote control that you can pick up on Amazon I think for five bucks really helps as well.
Taking fresh selfie photos and I’m pretty sure you’re saying that you don’t like taking pictures of yourself. And I say this from a place of love and putting it very politely. Get over it. People want to buy from people if they’re on your website and they can’t see who you are now unless you’re a big, big brand, you’ll have less chance of making a connection or even a sale if you remain anonymous. So now when we talk about planning the structure of your website as part of the plan, just focus on the most essential website pages, then you can add more as you need them down the road.
So now I’m talking also about a one-page website and a multiple page website because a one-page website is just a condensed version. So you have to ask yourself, are you going to blog? Will you be selling products? If so, how many? Will you be offering services? If so, what are they? Will you be taking online bookings for appointments? Will you be taking online payments? Are you going to be offering videos or a podcast?
So there are some questions, so if we break it down more into the plan, let’s start with your home page. Now, this is where people are going to learn who you are, what you do, and who you serve, and the benefits of working with you. Now, on the homepage, your visitors will have to learn this within seven seconds of landing on that page. I don’t know who did that study, but apparently, seven seconds is the key number.
So what I like to do is start with a hero section at the very top of the website, and this is where you’re going to create your introduction statement that tells the website visitors who you are, what you do, who you do for, and what the result is. So if I take mine and you can go to itsjustg.com to take a look at it.
So basically, if I were starting from scratch, I would say, well, I create, and then what do you create? For “who”, so and then the benefits and what you do, so mine would be “I create WordPress website templates and layouts for business owners so they can learn how to build, manage and grow their website and online business to get their products and services in front of the right audience.” Now, that’s a mouthful. And what I would do is I would kind of tweak that down a little bit. What do I really focus on?
Well, I may create WordPress websites, templates, and layouts for business owners. But my primary focus is training, so I show business owners how to build, manage and grow their website, and the WordPress website, templates, and layouts really are just a tool for you to use. Now, when I say that I show business owners, that’s really vague, I show female business owners, I show female solopreneurs.
The difference is solopreneurs just one person. Business owners, you can still work from home, but you have a team or you can have a brick and mortar business. But I primarily focus on female solopreneurs and business owners. Do you see how specific I’m getting here, because the more specific you are, the faster you’ll be making a connection. You want to avoid people contacting you that you don’t want to work with. Let’s say you design outfits for premature babies.
Would you want people contacting you for outfits for seven-year-olds? Well no. So that’s why on your homepage, you would specifically say I design clothing for premature babies. That way, anybody else is not going to bother wasting your time. Hopefully, that makes sense. And then the next thing to create is basically your about page and the about page, oh my God, that is a critical page you need to have because this is where you expand on your introduction message that’s on your homepage and then also make it human.
Add a few fun facts and photos and humanizing the page doesn’t make it so corporate. Remember, people like to buy from people. Then, of course, you need the products and services page and this is where you sell your products and services, regardless if they’re physical or digital, and when you’re deciding on, you know, products and services, if it’s physical products, then we have to get into e-commerce. And it’s not as difficult as it used to be.
But if it’s just services, you really can just make a section to expand on what you do and maybe give some scenarios. People you’ve worked with, if you’re just starting out, you can write down the type of services you’d like to offer to your ideal customer. Now for a blog section. This one is optional but highly recommended now in full transparency. I have to admit this one I balked at because I didn’t like the idea of writing a blog, but it’s been proven to be one of the best ways to position yourself as an expert and to provide free and valuable information to your ideal customer so she can get to know, like and trust you without having to spend a dime.
Now, personally, I’ve added videos and audio files into my blog for testing to see what my ideal customer “you” like best. And the other thing is that when you’re creating a blog, whether it’s a blog or a written blog, a video blog or podcast, you’re creating content on your website on a regular basis. Google loves that. Now, the other thing that you need to do is figure out how your website visitors are going to contact you if they have questions, you need to make it easy for them instead of just giving them an email address, which also attracts spam people.
So having a nice formatted form works really, really well. Again, the tech is so much easier now than when I was designing websites, you know, 15 years ago. Now, once you have your key pages or sections figured out. You just write out the content for each of these pages or sections. I will tell you right now that writing content is probably the hardest things that I’ve noticed my clients have. And they don’t like to write content.
They can build, they can sell, but nobody likes to write the content. What I would like you to do is basically imagine your ideal customer is on your website reading your page. What does she want to know? what does she want to know about the product? What does she want to know about the service? So what you can do is you can even have a friend just read it to see if it makes any sense. Now, if you have trouble figuring out what to write, dictate it into your phone instead, or you can even use it online dictation service, such as speechnotes.co and it’s a free service. Get it started, just get the pages started and then add additional pages down the road as your business grows.
Keep it simple and just get it done. Now, a side note, you can have a one page website with all these components above that I’ve just talked about in sections, or you can have a full website with individual pages. The choice is yours. If you’re just starting out, start with a one-page website because it’s the fastest. When your done your plan, you can have your website built after learning just some basic skills on how to do it.
You can have your website built literally in an afternoon. So now this sounds like a lot to be thinking about, right? Can you imagine if you were setting up a new brick and mortar business? OK, believe it or not, that’s even harder, but you still need a plan either way.
All right, so here’s the juicy stuff, so to make it simple and easy for you, I’d like to invite you to join my free eight-day mini-course on how to plan your website in eight steps.
So one step a day is all you need to commit to, but the beauty of this course is that it’s so flexible in how fast or slow you want to work with it. Now, I’ve had clients who basically downloaded the material every single day because it’s delivered by email and you get one lesson per day. And they just had everything emailed to them and after eight days, they read it all over again. And then they take a whole weekend to complete everything because they’re already in a certain mindset.
And I’ve had some clients who have received the email on day one and do the day one task, then wait for day two and do the day two task. It’s completely up to you. Just don’t take too long to complete it, because the longer you wait, the more fragmented your thoughts are going to be and you’re not going to be focused.
I may be calling this a mini-course, but it’s not so mini. You’re going to learn to build an ideal customer profile, choose the right fonts, brand colors, and photos for your ideal customer. You’ll also get to design a simple logo, create a website layout sketch, and then finally get to the website pages and content. You’re going to get a full series of workbooks, one for each step for eight days, so you may be asking, well, how long do you need to spend doing this? Well, everybody’s different.
Everybody learns in different ways. You can expect to spend one to three hours per day depending on what needs to be done. For example, if you already have a logo, you can skip this day and you can spend one or two days working on researching website layouts, you’re in control over how much time you spend on it. Just don’t lose momentum or procrastinate. Now, one thing I will suggest that you do get off of social, turn your phone off, just turn everything off and just focus, OK?
You remove the distractions and just get this done. At the end of this free course, you’ll have a fully documented plan for building your website. So get this free website planning course now by clicking the button that’s below in the show notes. And if you have any questions I’m only an email or virtual call away.
I help female business owners build, manage and grow their first website fast, so it looks custom and high end without the tech overwhelm.
Website Designer, Developer and Coach