Step 1 - Who You Serve
1. Know Your Business Niche
Everyone has a niche to some degree if you think about it. Most (well the smart ones ) therapists and lawyers, etc., don’t cater to all walks of life. Your niche is your specific focus within your area of expertise. Examples are family attorney, sports physical therapist, therapy dog trainer, or children's speech therapist. Get as specific as you can about what you do. This doesn't mean you won't work outside your niche, it just means the clients and patients in your niche will have an easier time finding you.
2. Know Your Ideal Client Avatar (ICA)
Laser focus on who your ideal customer is. It can’t be just “everyone”. There’s a saying, “if you market to everyone, you will market to no one”. What is their age range, gender, and lifestyle? Where do they live? What are their goals? Write this out for yourself and ensure all your marketing is suited to your ICA.
3. Write Your Core Business Message (What do you do?)
Now that you know your business niche and your ideal client it's time to write your Core Business Message. What do you offer, who do you offer it to, and where do you offer it from? One sentence, three tops. You are writing this for your website visitor and Google. Let your website visitors know as soon as they get to your site exactly what it is you do, and how you can help or guide them. What problem do they have that you are solving? In the first few seconds. Let Google know where you are and what searches it should put you at the top of. This statement will go on your home page.
Step 2 - Your Business Identity
4. Business Name & Domain Name
Does it matter or doesn’t it? Apple, Google, and Amazon could be anything. Their names tell you nothing. There is one school of thought that says your name should be whatever you like best. However, if you are a startup and want to get to the top of Google easily, using a keyword in your name doesn’t hurt. Do register your domain name with a reputable company like Google Domains, GoDaddy, or Network Solutions. A ".com" extension is still king, but if you have a really terrific domain name you want to use and it’s taken you can always choose another extension. As the internet continues to grow the newer extensions will become more common.
Like your business name, your logo can be as complex or as simple as you wish. However simple is really best. You can choose to work with a logo designer and go through a branding process if you wish to create something complex and graphic. Or you can simply choose a great font and stylize your business name. When you create a logo think about where it will be used. A big square logo with lots of small text on it (the address and telephone number for example) will not work well on a website. Your logo will be in the header of your website on every page, and your header will be too wide accommodating a tall logo large enough to have small text within it legible. Very best are several versions of your logo.
If you have a simple business name that does not really describe your business a tagline is very helpful to you, your visitors, and Google. Say you have a name like Sunrise Therapy. Your tagline could be “Therapy for Kids in the Bay Area”. Or, if you have a name like Dr. James Bennett, your tagline could be “Premier Dentist of Palm Springs”. Taglines incorporate nicely with simple, elegant font-based logos.
Step 3 - Site Structure
7. Site Map
List out the pages or sections you envision on your website like a pyramid with HOME at the top. To start you may just have Home with Services, About, and Contact underneath. You may have Book a Call or Courses. You can’t build a house without architectural plans. The site map is the blueprint for your website.
Before you write your content and build your website it is very useful to have your keywords chosen. This is because you will want to incorporate your keywords into the text on your site so that Google can read them and rank you accordingly. Keywords are not really just words. They are sequences of 3-5 words called longtail keywords. Before building choose 5-10 keywords for your site. For example, a therapist website would not want to choose “therapy” as a keyword. That would mean that you are competing with every other site in the world that is using therapy as a keyword for ranking on Google. Quite simply, you don’t stand a chance. But, if you use “grief therapist in Oxnard California” for example, you have a great chance of rising to the top of search engines.
9. Calls to Action (CTA) x2
What do you want your ICA to do on your website? That is usually the call to action. Buy now, contact me, book an appointment, etc. If you don’t know exactly what you want your visitors to do (on every page!), they won’t know either. Place your CTA on your site numerous times. It will feel like there are too many, but visitors may only notice a few of them. CTA's usually appear as a button, but may be a link to another page on your website. Why 2? You may have more than one, like buy now (#1) and book a free 15-minute consultation (#2).
Step 4 - More Site Structure
10. Color Palette and Fonts
As we all know, different colors promote different feelings. There are many articles on color psychology in marketing on the web. Generally, a white background is best for health and wellness professions. You should pick about 2 (3 tops) other colors to use depending on the feeling you are going for. It's super easy to Google "blue and yellow color palette" for example. You will find countless color palettes this way and many will have the Hex codes on them (a 6 digit code assigned to every shade of every color). Your main font should be extremely easy to read. We use clear and simple fonts on all of our websites and you should too. You can add one other accent font if you wish, but keep it simple for your main content.
11. Plan to Work with You
Show your customer right away how easy it is to do business with you. This does not have to be an actual list on your website, however, 3 boxes, for example, with 1, 2, and 3 on them and the action steps underneath provide a terrific visual as to how easy it will be for your customers to work with you and help fix whatever problem it is that they have. An example is:
1. Book a free 15-minute consultation call.
2. Choose your weekly appointment time & purchase a package.
3. With the click of a button add your appointments to your Google calendar.
12. Mailing List Opt-In
This is a little form on your website that takes the visitor’s name and email address in exchange for your lead magnet (see #14). The form is connected to your email service provider (see #13). For most businesses, an email list is an extremely important part of scaling your business. Always be building your list.
13. Email Service Provider
This is how you collect emails from your ICA so you can market to them via email, or however you wish. Your Mailing List Opt-In is connected to your email service provider (Converkit, Flodesk or other). Your email list can be your post powerful tool to market your business.
Step 5 - Website Content (Finally!)
14. Lead Magnet
To grow your business you need humans to market to who are your Ideal Client Avatar. A lead magnet is something you offer on social media or in ads that will attract your ICA to your website and tempt them to give you their email address in exchange for helpful information. Ideas for lead magnets are 10% off their first service, a quiz, ebook, checklist, report, free trial offer, or a video masterclass. You get the idea. Once you start collecting email addresses from interested potential clients you will have a LIST to market to via email. Make sure your lead magnet is valuable. A rule of thumb is to create something that you think someone would actually pay $5-10 for. Show your potential customers your expertise. Your lead magnet will help your ICA get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST YOU.
15. Text for Each Page (at least home, services, about and contact)
Write out the basics of what you want to say on each page. Copywriting is the hardest part for most business owners. Remember, brevity is best. Outline your client’s problem. Tell your client what you can do for them to fix their problem. Then, tell them why you are the best person for the job. Get your text on the web page. You can make it perfect later. The important thing is getting a draft on the site. Imagine you are talking to an actual client or patient.
16. High Resolution, Professional Images for Each Page
Low resolution, amateurish pictures can take your entire site down a level and make you look untrustworthy and unsuccessful. High-resolution gorgeous images can make you look like the expert you are. Image sourcing can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort to really wow your audience with impactful visuals. Ideally use a combination of your own images and stock. Stock image sites are better than ever before and many of them are free. You can flesh out your website with some beautiful images used in imaginative ways. You must, however, be legally allowed to use all your images. You may not just screenshot an image and place it on your website. Source images from reputable free image websites or from sites like Shutterstock or Adobe Images.
Step 6 - More Website Content
17. High Resolution Image of You for Your About Page
Unless there is a solid reason why you should not (and we can't think of one), every business owner and professional should have their picture on their website. Your About page is a very popular page visited second most often after your Home page. People want to see whom they are trusting. This is particularly true of professionals like therapists, medical professionals, lawyers, etc. Make your image professional and personable.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time you likely have clients whom you can ask for recommendations for your website. You will be surprised how happy people are to supply you with some kind words for your marketing and you’ll be surprised at what they say. Don’t be afraid to ask!
19. Legal Entities
Following are the basic entities that you need for your site to be considered legal. We are not lawyers, so you may want to get actual legal advice or check out sites like rocketlawyer.com for more advice. Most of these can be created online quite simply. Note: if you have an eCommerce site and are selling products online, you will need policies associated with that.
Terms & Conditions - lays out the contractual relationship between you and your visitor.
Accessibility - allows your site to be accessible by everyone equally, regardless of disability.
Step 7 - Marketing
20. Social Media Links
Of course, you’ll want those little icons linking to your social media accounts. This is mainly to show your visitors (and Google) that you have social media accounts. The key is where you put these. You do not want people to click on these and leave your site. You worked hard to get visitors to your website and you want to keep them there so they can answer your call to action. Many business owners want to put these at top of their site in the header. You are best served to put these in the footer of your website with all your other contact information.
21. Contact Information & Hours
How will people get in touch with you? Most businesses have a contact form on their website. However, you should also give your visitor another way to contact you - a phone number, email address, or physical address (and map). Not only do your customers like to have options, Google likes to see contact information in the footer of your website (that’s the very bottom section of all the pages). Remember, if you have an answering service you can always extend your hours as long as someone is taking a message.