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Tom Clairmont

Tom Clairmont

Helping you pivot through your small business journey.

Website-Essential Building Block #2-Laying a Strong Foundation to Your Business

As part of the series for Essential Components of a Personal Brand Business, the topic that we should cover next is WEBSITE.
I Introduced this topic of ‘building blocks’ in Episode 26 of the Podcast and will continue that theme by breaking it down for you further in this and future episodes.

 
So in this episode, there’s a lot to talk about, but I’m only going to cover the main parts of not only a website, but a successful, money making website. Because for far too long, people have been creating websites that just end up being another expense. Another black hole for the budget. But done correctly, and with some proper planning, your website can be built with the theme of: ‘make me money’.

 
So these are the elements I’m going to discuss in this episode.
• Design
• Copy
• Lead Magnet
• Landing Page
• Do It Yourself vs. Getting Help
• Email Marketing
• Domain Name
• Hosting

Website
Some people think this is now optional, but I don’t agree. It offers value in many ways:
A properly done website validates who you are as a person and a business. Think about what it’s like for you wanted to hire someone but he/she only had a social media account on Facebook? Wouldn’t this be a red flag moment for you? Wouldn’t it feel a little sleezy or at the least very unprofessional?
How would it be if someone could only get information about you on Instagram or Twitter? I don’t know about you, but if I can’t validate information about a person who represents a business through a website, then I’m not even going to consider hiring them.

There are so many reasons that people don’t buy products and services and a lot of them are superficial. I’m not going to give anyone a significant reason to go to someone else.

I want to make it harder for them to say ‘no’, not easier.

Is there a right and a wrong way to do a website?

Well, I certainly think there is. Quick and easy isn’t always better. I understand if you’re on a tight budget, but that doesn’t mean that you cut so many corners, you’re better off not having a website after all? You don’t want this website to hurt your reputation because you didn’t reach out for help.
The goal here is to convert people through the sales process of ‘Know/Like/Trust/Try/Buy process.

Design
So let’s talk about design. To have a basic but professional design that doesn’t distract but enhance the copy that will encourage and entice the person to ultimately buy your product or services. Or at the very least again, work through the know/like/trust/try/buy process.

About 15-20 years ago, it was ok to have flashy things and banner ads on your site and cram it with as much information about everything you can think of. But the stakes have changed and what people are expecting is quite different. With all that’s being done on mobile phones now a days, a website has to perform it’s mission on the computer, tablet and cell phone. The rise of single page websites are proof of that. Just scroll down this one long page to get all that you need. You don’t have to click on Menu or any other page like most sites.

But there’s pros and cons to everything and while some may want to do that and have a single page website, I’m ok with that. It has it’s place, but I still choose to have a multi-page site but to keep the amount of content down to a minimum so that people don’t get information overload.
Now I’m not going to say that I have the perfect website, but I’m not talking about perfection. I don’t want you to think that you need to swing that perfection pendulum all the way over and use that as the litmus test of quality.

But on my site, I have a simple design, simple colors, easy to read message that focuses on the needs of others and how I can help them.
I have free digital downloads for 2 E-books that I’m sure will help people and at the same time they can get a taste of who I am, how I provide content and help people for free and to start to be at ease with the concept of working with me. These E-books are not skimpy on pages either. Yes, there’s some design elements to them to make them look nice so they’re not just a couple of white papers with dry content.

But this is what I recommend for you as well. I won’t recommend you have a website that I don’t have for myself as well.

Copy
So what do I mean about ‘copy’. I’m talking about the age old technique of selling stuff with words. Copywriting. Good copy will move people to talk action. To actually do something that moves them in the direction you want them to move in…like ‘click here’, or ‘buy this’. I mean, that’s what we really want right? We’re not in business to just say, ‘read this and think about it for awhile’, right?

We want sales. We want subscriptions. We want downloads. To not get these things turns our ‘business’ into a hobby. And this can be done in an ethical, non sleazy way. I will never recommend using sales copy to manipulate people to do something they don’t want to do.

Ethical copy just does these four things:
• Present the problem
• Amplify the problem
• Show the solution
• Call to action (CTA)

Listen to the pattern of EVERY commercial that you’ll see or hear. It’s those four things, all the time.
So now that we’ve identified the need for good copy and what good copy is, let’s talk about the 5 essential components of a good website.

5 Components Every Website Should Have

So let’s look at the 5 elements every website should have using basic copy techniques.

 
1. Pass the Grunt Test
If I put a laptop in the lap of a caveman, could this person understand these three things:
• What do you offer? In other words, what problem do you solve?
• How will it make my life better?
• What do I need to do to buy it?
Those are the questions your brain will seek to get answers to immediately when it goes to your website. And the top part of the website should answer these questions before anyone has to scroll down at all.

2. Call to Action
Active calls to action are the ones that are most effective. Things like, ‘Learn more’ and ‘Get started’ are just too passive to get the results you’ll need for a response. Remember, sales, subscriptions and downloads are what we’re looking for. Not just to provide information. There’s too much competition in the world today.

3. Failure
What’s it going to cost me to not buy the product or service? If there’s not stakes in the game for not buying what you offer, then I really don’t have much reason to buy it.
So you’ve got to spell out the scenarios and reasons. If you go with the competition you could be disappointed or maybe charged more than you should. You might get a product you don’t like. Or, if you don’t buy my product or service you could still struggle with that thing you’re struggling with, etc..

4. Success
Now, we need to do the opposite. We need to paint the picture of what they’re life will look like when they do buy our product or service.
We need to explain to them the benefits of doing business with us. Now, with this part of the message, we’ve put stakes in the game. Something bad will happen if you don’t buy my product, and something good will happen if you do.

That leads people to be very interested in what we’re selling.

5. Plan
You need to give your potential customers three steps in order to place an order. Making it simple reduces the risk they’ll feel in making an order. Something like this:
• Step one, we’re going to analyze your goals
• Step two, we’re going to give you a strategy
• Step three, I’m going to help you execute the strategy so that you can see results
Using these 5 steps will make it a lot easier for someone to do business with you.

Lead Magnet
Now there’s something called a ‘Lead Magnet’ and it’s been very popular lately; because it works. I’m sure that you’ve experienced being on a website where you get this popup that offers something for free like an E-book or free download of some sort. All you have to do is provide your email address and it’s yours.
This is a very popular method of getting people’s email addresses and we’ll focus on the purpose of that in another episode. But along with the Lead magnet, comes… a…

Landing Page
Now the landing page is, yes, another website page but it’s purpose is to redirect the person who enters their email address to a specific page of the website that will offer them their free thing that they were promised from the lead magnet.

But the purpose of the landing page is to try to continue the sales process just a little further. With the assumption that the potential customer who got this far has some sort of initial trust factor going here, would they be interested in something else?

Like maybe a bigger, better, paid E-book that only costs $4.75, or a short and simple video series that teaches something along the same lines as what the topic of the E-book was… for only $29.95 or something like that.

This is very common and is part of what’s called a ‘sales funnel’. And for the most part, if they’re done correctly, work quite well. Now I’m not going to get into the huge topic of sales funnels here, but if you want passive income, then you want a sales funnel.

So, you might be asking (because I’ve heard others ask)

“Can’t I just do it myself?”

Well, yes, you could do it all yourself if you’re an IT ninja. And you might be. But if you’re not, then my answer is usually no. You can’t do it all yourself.
There are just some things that other people need to do. Now I get it that money may be tight and you don’t have the funds to set up a sales funnel. But keep in mind that a good sales funnel will MAKE you money. This is truly an investment…when done right.

Now if you’re just paying for the function of the sales funnel yourself and do it on your own, then you may be setting yourself up for failure. Hopefully not, I want you to succeed.

But again, sometimes other people just need to do stuff for you that you shouldn’t do.

Now, you might be saying (because I’ve heard people say this)

“I’ll have someone do it for $100.”

Well, I certainly hope you don’t. Folks, I’m here to use these episodes to encourage you to do a lot of things. The purpose of this show is to show you how many things you can do and that you should think big and dream big. But please don’t pay someone $100 and expect $5000 results. When I heard people say this 20 years ago, $100 was worth more back then.. like it was worth a whopping $125 in today’s numbers. Still not that much no matter how you look at it.

The person who said it didn’t understand the importance of the matter and didn’t value professional services in the website development space.
Now to continue with the purpose of a website, you can manage ongoing communication with those that sign up for stuff through the lead magnet. It’s called

Email marketing

Again, this is a huge topic that I’m not going to get into with this episode, but I’ll cover the highlights on it in another episode. Just know that it’s very important to the topic of sales and if you have any thoughts on selling your business, it just became a lot more valuable with a large email list.
When people buy companies, they buy the list as well. I use MailerLite. It’s low budget and works just fine for what I need. You can set up custom Lead Magenets through the API feature. 

Another benefit of having a website is that you can merge it with shopping cart. Now there are people using shopping carts without websites, but this is not the norm and I don’t see it as ever being the norm in the near future anyway.

There are a lot of different kinds of cars with different features and functions but sorry, not going to get into that in this episode. A shopping cart is not what I consider part of the essential building blocks of the business. Is it important for sales? Usually. It depends on what you’re trying to do. I sell my E-products through a service called Gumroad. I didn’t have to set up a shopping cart. If you go to my website, tomclairmont.com and click on the ‘my store’ button it’ll go right to my page on Gumroad where I sell my E-books.

You can do what you want, but I find this options a lot easier and faster to set up. Do they charge a fee? Well, no, not upfront. They take a small percentage of each sale. That’s how they get their fee.

Domain name
Now before the website is even created, the topic of domain name needs to be resolved. What will you have for a domain name? If you’re not sure yet what this is about, the domain name is what you put after the www.

I had a corporate domain name for many years and still own it, but two years ago I made the transition to having a personal brand website and image so I purchased tomclairmont.com and put the old corporate name on the Internet shelf.

But getting the domain name should occur through an official domain registrar or reseller of the registrar. Just googling to see if something comes up is not an official way to determine if the domain you want is available or not.

So I recommend using:
GoDaddy or a reseller of GoDaddy, Network Solutions, Blue Host or SiteGround. Different people have their favorites but those are mine.

Hosting account

Now this website will have to physically reside on a computer server somewhere and that’s what’s called a hosting account. Usually it costs about $5-15/month depending on the type of server you’re on and the speed of the server. I recently upgraded from my low budget hosting account on GoDaddy to moving the whole thing to SiteGround. My website access speed immediately skyrocketed. Any previous issues I had with sluggishness were now gone after the switch.

And this is huge for mobile devices. If people are waiting for you website to show up on their phone for over 5 seconds then forget it, they’re clicking away from your site. They won’t wait.

So.. you’ve got the domain name name and the hosting account. Now what?

Well, I recommend the world wide standard of WordPress. All modern hosting accounts have this as a free option to install so it won’t cost you anything. After installation though, you’ll need to configure it and install what’s called plugins to add functionality to it.

Who’s going to do all this work?

Well, I recommend hiring someone that knows what they’re doing so this can all be done in a matter of days if you come up with the content for the website company you go with. They’ll set up the website but you’ll need to come up with the content.
The pictures to use (some of them should come from you) and the text to use.

Now about the text.

This is another huge topic of using quality copy that I can’t get into on this episode, but really the copy being used in your business website should be done by a professional that understands the do’s and don’ts of quality copywriting. There’s a certain textual strategy that should be followed and people that know the rules of good copywriting are the best people to do it.

So I covered a lot of ground with this episode. It’s a big topic with a lot more to it than I could get into, but if you’re either not into the details of the IT aspect of it all or if you’re making a later in life pivot and you’re finding that the business realm is a lot different than it used to be, then I hope this was all helpful.

Well I hope this helps you to think these things through and that I could offer something of value to you as you’re on this journey to having your own business.

There are many steps along the way in this process and I’d be glad to talk to you to help you through it. Just shoot me an email at [email protected]

Friends, stay encouraged, follow your dreams and don’t give up!

For more tips and tools to help you on your small business journey, just go to the Resources page. There, you’ll find some FREE, helpful downloads that will help give you clarity and a strategy as you plan your new small business launch. 

If you’d like some help in determining your path to self employment, I’d be glad to assist. Send a little information through the quick contact form at the Contact page. 

“You've reached a true decision when the pain of not taking action becomes greater than the pain of acting.”

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