This week, we will be talking about what you should consider before you start designing or building your WordPress website. What is your overall online strategy?
Saturday September the 17th 2016
WordPress Weekly New Stories Covered This Week.
1 – Headway Themes Confirms Financial Difficulties, Issues Apology to Customers
2 – Zerif Lite Suspended from WordPress Theme Directory, 300K Users Left Without Updates
3 – Review Signal Publishes 2016 WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks
Extra Bonus Content
Main Topic: What’s Your Overall Online Strategy?
This week, the WP-Tonic podcast panel talked about how online strategy and business are closely related. Every web consultant has encountered projects where there was no overarching goal. To have a successful website project, there must be time and effort put towards defining an end goal. Jackie said you will be disappointed if you don’t figure out why you need a website in the first place.
It is good to start with the “Why?” before you get caught up in making things look pretty. Start with the outcome and work backwards from there. Kim alluded to the fact that it takes a lot of work to build a brand. One of the first steps is thinking about who your ideal customer is, and designing all your marketing for that customer.
Jonathan, Sallie, and the rest of the panel talked about how you need a plan to drive traffic to your site. You can’t simply expect to “build it, and they will come.” Sallie said a lot of people will be put off by the fact that you charge for something, and it’s not really the amount that you’re charging, but rather the idea that they have to pay anything at all. There will always be people like this, but you have to find the people who are your ideal customers, and are willing and prepared to purchase what you have to offer.
One point that Jackie brought up is, it is hard to build a brand from scratch. If you are starting from nothing, you have to be prepared to put in some work to build up your brand visibility. If you have an audience before you launch a new product or new service, that helps immensely. One thing not mentioned explicitly in this discussion, but important to know, is that the real work starts a couple years before you launch a product. That’s the time you should be building up an audience and building up credibility and buzz in the market. Then when you launch, you’ll have some traffic and revenue.
Jonathan had a really insight that we focus on traffic, and we forget that it’s not traffic, but people. Real people come to your site, and if there’s nothing relevant there to attract them, then you won’t get anyone coming to your site. Sallie said you have to focus not just on numbers, but for people who want what you offer. She said the secret to SEO is to “be relevant”.
Kim talked about the preparation that goes into a membership site. She said it is a lot of responsibility, and the first thing she asks prospects is how much content they are going to commit to producing on a consistent basis.
Jackie said a common mistake is putting all of your web design budget on the container, and nothing on the content. At that point, having a website won’t really matter at all. She said if you have amazing content, people will always come. Jonathan and Sallie said that customers expect a little bit of design sophistication, but agreed that content creation is one of the most overlooked steps of the web design process.
One of the biggest factors in a successful site is whether site visitors are having a good experience on your site. They need to be able to find what they are looking for and not have obstacles in the way.
Kim said that it is important to plan your business model realistically, and focus your marketing efforts accordingly. The less your average transactions are, the more customers you will need to stay afloat.
Jonathan said a poorly designed site can hurt your business more than it can help. Sallie said if your only users don’t expect much, then that might be fine, but most consumers expect a certain amount of polish, or they won’t take you seriously. Be aware of what your competitor sites look like, and what content is on their sites. It is important to evaluate your site against your competition in a realistic fashion.
In the bonus content on YouTube, the panel made a compelling case for spending a small bit of your web design budget on a paid discovery phase, so planning and strategy can be addressed. Without strategy or discovery, web projects can be directionless and meandering.
Jonathan pointed out there is a hue cognitive dissonance between purchasing traditional media like radio or TV and purchasing a website. Even late night TV commercials cost more than many business websites, and many people have strange expectations when it comes to purchasing web design as opposed to purchasing print, TV, radio, or outdoor media.
The podcast extras closed out by talking about business and strategy, which is one thing that is seldom mentioned on many other WordPress podcasts, but is so critical to success.