You can create or commission a new website or upgrade an old website. A new website can be wonderful! You brand new website is like a shiny object. However, shiny objects can leave us wanting. As the saying goes, all that glitters is not gold.
Or, put another way, a website alone is not enough. Whether you have built a new web site or upgraded an existing site, sooner or later, you may discover that your new website may require additional powers.
If you want to move forward, improve your impact online, get more enquiries, increase the number of your followers, boost your sales, and more, you need more than just a website. I suggest you need an action plan made up of key steps.
Some Problems Identified And Some Tips
Even in 'normal' times, business environments are ... challenging. At the time of writing, yes, we might be in the throes of another economic recession. Such a recession, this time, might be 'quick to recover from' or it could be prolonged. We don't know. As I've suggested on previous occasions, if you allow a little tongue-in-cheek humour, the future is definitely an enigma wrapped inside a riddle.
Yet, here's some good news: we don't need to be put off by challenging times. Sometimes, challenges create new opportunities that in easier times might not be available or obvious. Moreover, sometimes, smaller, more nimble, quicker-to-act companies and organisations can thrive better than larger organisations, that are often locked into hard-to-change 'generational patterns'. So don't be put off assuming that a small size company can't make it work on the web.
Handy tip suggestion: always strive to foster a positive attitude even and especially if surrounded by a sea of negativity. Why: in such circumstances, your 'difference' is like a superpower: use it. Keep your eye firmly focused on what your want to do. Apply your own Key Steps Plan (KSP) as suggested below.
Nevertheless, if you are not a well known 'personality', I suggest that without a suitable accompanying Key Steps Plan, your new 'shiny object' website can seem like just another grain of sand in the Sahara desert.
Handy tip: in a rushing world that seems to thrive on instant results, 'always on', impatience, and more, I suggest you strive to slow down when you can, and read more on topics related to what you want to do. Perhaps we can even think of listening to podcasts as a form of reading except we use ears instead of eyes. You're reading this now, which arguably puts you way ahead of someone else who isn't reading it or has not yet found this website. So books, articles, online sources, there is a wealth of useful information available to all of us on the web. Sometimes, it's so easy to forget about all the great online tools we have within easy reach.
When we publish new web pages online, what if most of your potential customers or clients never get to access your latest articles? How would you feel? Perhaps many writers and online publishers might feel disheartened at best.
At least in the early days, the more you write, perhaps the less likely your new web pages will get noticed, unless you have additional publicity help.
As a rough guide to what's normal, without additional help, if we publish online every day, for people who might be interested in what we have to offer, perhaps:
- At least 75% won't know your daily article exists.
- Of those that do find your latest article, maybe at least 80% might not remember what your wrote. Why?
If you accept the ideas above, you may feel downcast, despondent, crestfallen. Yet let's think this through for a few moments.
Handy tip: it's all about attention, time, individual interests, compulsions. The reality is, what I describe above is probably quite normal. People, users, clients and customers aren't necessarily ignoring you, like us, they all have a life to live. Most everyone is busy living their lives. Few are waiting with bated breath to devour the secrets we may reveal in our latest articles. Yet some are: the hand-risers, and more tend to move more quickly, act more decisively.
If we're lucky, skimming and scanning web article headlines seems popular — a quick way to get an idea of what an article is about and whether it is relevant to us right now. This tendency hints at our impatience amid the busy-ness of life.
If we're even luckier, a few stoic folks will get to read all or most of our articles' content and we hope take some benefit from them. These are often the readers (of course), the action makers (likely), and the change makers (probably).
For me, when not working, I quite enjoy solving puzzles, sudoku, crosswords, etc. What I've found with sudoku is that we can solve them in different ways. For me, I've developed a system that is probably different to the way most folks solve their sudoku. For me, the system works every time (at least to-date).
So what has sudoku got to do with websites? The answer is about how having a system, a method, a winning strategy can help with building and promoting a website too. What seems to make a difference is having the right system in place.
Let's dig deeper into how you too can win online.
Why We Always Have A Brand
Yes, companies and organisations have a brand. Yet whether we're aware, or not, we as individuals all have a brand too, simply by being who we are and giving out signals.
Moreover, if we don't think about and strive to influence to our benefit our own personal brand, circumstances, external events, and other people tend to manage our brand for us! What's more, they don't ask: the world strives to shape you come what may. Your best remedy is to work on how to shape yourself as much as you can — the world then gets what's left. That's called personal control.
So if we strive to take some direction and guidance, we can affect and shape our brand — how we are perceived by others — by being the main driver of our personal brand ourselves. Not leaving our impressions to chance, fate, changing circumstances, has benefits.
While everyone has a personal brand, some of us may be more well known to others. For example, a household name celebrity today is already known to larger numbers of people. So educating the public about such a person calls for much less work than for someone who is less known. So while most of us may feel that we are essentially 'unknown', when using a Key Steps Plan, we can address the problem in ways that are more under our control — yet still keep more of our privacy.
And yes, even introverts like I am, can become publicly known yet still enjoy privacy and 'quiet times'. Remember, to make a splash today, you don't need to make a loud noise. Instead, you create something else, that I call an AP — an Attention Point. Attention Points get us noticed.
Handy tip: In our wold today, what is one of the Key Steps you need? I suggest one answer is getting — and keeping for long enough — the attention of people who are looking for the solution that your product or service provides. Enduring attention is even better.
To get attention, involves at least two Key Steps.
- First, your clients and customers first need to know you exist, that you're standing by ready to help: we do this through various forms of advertising — personal branding is one form.
- Second, your challenge is to persuade enough numbers of people from whom you have got their attention for a while, that your approach can help them get closer to their goals: we commonly call this marketing.
Nevertheless, if you are not a well known 'personality', I suggest that without a suitable accompanying Key Steps Plan, your new 'shiny object' website can seem like just another grain of sand in dunes that seem to stretch far into the distance.
Toward A Solution: Steps Are Good, Key Steps Are Better
To me, one observation seems obvious: for businesses especially, a website alone is not enough to endure and thrive online today. Yet I wonder how many folks pour all, or most, of their effort and resources into creating their new website, thinking that their new 'shiny object' will be all they need? That their clients and customers will flock to the dazzling sight like fans milling around their favourite celebrity.
While unlikely for most, let's never say never, so big congratulations to those that do manage to 'pull off' such magic.
An outstanding website is essential. Yet are most websites today — even new ones — outstanding? As a rough measure of what I mean by outstanding, I suggest your website needs all of the following characteristics:
- Designed for people. Why: the web is for people. Only people buy your products and services. So people come first.
- Crafted to display on both smaller screen mobile devices, smart phones, tablet computers as well as larger screen devices: computers, notebooks, desktops, and yes, smart TVs too. While people are important, people 'connect' to our websites using devices. So how our websites perform with electronic devices can make all the difference to our ongoing results.
- Fast loading. If you web pages load quickly on both mobile devices and desktop devices, your visitors are happier. Search engines also take note of how fast, or slow, your web pages load: fast is definitely better. Fast loading web pages reduce stress on search engine servers, so when search engines list our web pages for free, why not help them save money: it's just a nice thing that we website owners can do isn't it?
- Accessible: by accessible, we mean people who may have a range of disabilities can still interact with your website when using a screen reader. Even today, most websites fail miserably with low accessibility scores. Accessible web sites tend to also be more usable for everyone too. Are governments, blocs, and official institutions 'waking up' to actually promoting 'fairness to all' on the web? Put another way, how can a website offer a great 'page experience' if the host website is not even accessible? Will search engines that 'walk-the-talk' have one premium website search listing for accessible, usable websites, and another listing for ... 'everyone else'? Is it best to think ahead, get your website accessibility in order ASAP if you want to get listed in premium listings and stay fit for the future?
- Designed for the modern web. A surprising fact is that a website can look beautiful yet still be designed poorly — be completely unfit for today's web. Websites are best designed to meet the latest, modern standards. The best websites have much more depth that even what normal sighted users can see.
- Static website design. 'Static' means you may not need a database online as part of your website. Every online website database is a direct or potential target for criminals that seek to break into your website and cause havoc, hold you to ransom, put you out of business, or make you legally liable for outcomes that were not your fault. When designed and set up properly, static websites are highly secure as there is no online website database to break into.
- Optimised for search engines too. We used to call this area SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. Today, it's much more than that. My key point is, in the design, construction, and content creation areas of a website, we can build in consideration for the kinds of technical information search engines need or can use to better understand a website. Often, SEO means including normally hidden or non-obvious codes. A good static website design can insert most of these codes for you automatically as you work on your website, while you focus on creating content for your website pages. As a non-technical user, you won't need to be concerned: just follow the simple guidelines provided about creating content.
Side note: previously, we could have helped you directly with creating your Key Steps Plan (KSP). Every business and organisation is different even if at first glance you think you're organisation is just another 'standard' company. So between us, we would find what makes you unique and in combination with a new website, built for today's standards, we could work with you to create your Key Steps Plan. Your KSP is crucial, essential.
Suggested Next Steps
While we're not accepting orders to build new high performance websites right now, including the creation of individual Key Steps Plans, the information in this article can help you get a head start right now, should you choose that option.
- So do make a plan.
- Read this article again, slowly. Better still, save a copy on your device that you can refer to again.
- Make a start. Today is good. No need to wait to get started.
- Understand or define what makes you or your company unique. Find your 'angle'.
- Identify the different ways how you can get your website in front of those special people who may decide to buy your products or services: this is the key area. The rest is about creating great deals and persuading buyers why they should choose you.
- Then start to take action. Without associated action, all plans are merely little works of fiction and fantasy.
Remember, while planning is good, actioning your plan is what brings your Key Steps Plan to life. Good luck and have fun with all this.