You know some HTML and can make a web page ? That’s nice!
You can change the text and images of an “out of the box” website service, and made your own website for fifty quid? Great!
Yes, it’s actually quite easy to get a presence on the web these days, but that’s the problem. For the most part, it’s almost TOO easy. But then, there are websites, and there are websites, and if you’re in a business that needs more clients, a stream of new customers, or a way to get customers to return again and again, you’re going to need a bit MORE than just a website. You need a web marketing system.
Let’s get to business then. Here the 7 main features that your website absolutely must have for you to rise to the top of your given market.
Starting with the basics. The bottom line is that you really really need to have a website built with WordPress, and not a free blog on wordpress.com, but a self-hosted version from wordpress.org. No other content management system has the features and add-ons that you need to market and run the online elements of your business. According to ‘Built With’, WordPress now powers more than 35% of web sites on the internet. The next most popular is Drupal with a paltry 8%. Frankly, if you start with anything other than WordPress, you’re wasting your time and money, and seriously limiting your business growth potential.
2. Lead capture system.
Nobody enters their email address into a box that says “subscribe to my newsletter”. I mean, who wants MORE bloody emails? People want one of 3 things: to get out of the pain they’re in, have a better average day, or to improve their status. These have been written about plenty of times before, but I urge you to think carefully about tapping into one or more of these desires in order to attract a prospective client, then produce a quick-fix solution to help them TODAY, without them having to spend any money with you. If you can demonstrate that you can help, and you know what you’re talking about, people will enter their email address in that little box.
3. Direct connection with an auto-responder service.
Auto-ree-what-what? Auto-responder. A way to send a series of automated pre-written emails in response to someone signing up to your lead magnet (that thing I mentioned in item 1 above). So yes that means once set up, emails are being sent for you whilst you sleep. Or surf. Or work. Save yourself time, energy and hassle with a decent auto-responder system such as Active Campaign. Others do the job, like MailChimp, but not as well, and they’re not as simple to use. Already, your point-and-click Wix or 1&1 web site is starting to reveal its weaknesses.
4. A site that loads in less than 4 seconds.
Actually, it should load in less than 4 seconds ideally, but anything over 4 and you’ll potentially lose visitors (and therefore clients). Shared hosting with the same company you bought your domain name might only cost you a fiver a month, but that’s for a good reason – it’s only worth a fiver! For the same reason you wouldn’t face your clients with dirty or ripped clothes, don’t scrimp on your web site hosting. It’s your face to the world that can be seen 24/7, so make it look like you care about your appearance.
5. Good quality (free) content.
Blogging takes some effort but ultimately puts you in a league above your competitors. You’ll drastically improve your chances of getting found on Google, you’ll be demonstrating your knowledge to prospective clients, and you’ll be building a library of content which can be packaged up as paid-for content. Which leads me on to…
6. A membership system.
So don’t believe the hype that, overnight, you can have a recurring revenue stream that will fund your luxury early retirement (I’m sure those crazy marketing people are very sincere), but there’s something VERY satisfying about waking up in the morning to see that someone on the opposite side of the planet dropped £££ in to your bank account to get access to your online program. Ahhh – making money while you sleep. If you want to free yourself from the drudgery of exchanging your time for money, then you need to write, make videos, educate and inspire, then package it up and sell it online. Your web site will need a system to manage subscriptions and payments. Good luck doing that with HTML.
7. SSL, automated backups, firewall, CDN.
What??? If you don’t follow any of that, then make sure you have someone on your team who does, and make sure they know how to implement them and maintain them.
Get these 7 steps down, and you are on the way to creating and sustaining a highly successful online business that really can earn you money whilst you sleep. And who doesn’t want that?