If you want to build a great website, how do you do it?
The number one mistake most people make isn’t because they’re not thinking “big enough“.
On the contrary, most mistakes occur because they’re not thinking “small enough“.
To build a great website, it doesn’t take rocket science. But too often a great idea gets bogged down in committee, or shot down by an influential person with a different agenda — and it’s too bad because everyone suffers.
The number one failure of most websites when you want to build a great website is a two-pronged failure: (1) failure to articulate the vision, and (2) failure to execute. That’s why I am a big advocate of web projects that are small and easy.
To Build a Great Website, think Small
Small is understandable. Easy is doable. After you’ve had a success or two, then you build from there. First you build a great website – then you promote it (using SEO, PPC, Blogging, Social Media, PR) – and then you enjoy the results (and you keep working on improving).
In the small and easy spirit of projects that are both understandable and doable. here are seven ideas that will help you build a great website that will yield many positive returns for your business or community.
Seven Small and Easy Steps to Build a Great Website:
1. Put one person in charge. The project leader. This person can get the best thinking of the group, but create one “decider” who represents the voice of your company or community. In the words of David Ogilvy, “There is a reason there are no statues erected to committees.” Or “A horse designed by a committee is a camel.”
2. Decide what you want it do do. Great websites seamlessly guide the user to to the intended objective, i.e. place a call, fill out a form, make a purchase. What’s the purpose of the website? What do you want it to do?
3. Be helpful. Most websites say: “Hey there, look at me, aren’t I cool?” Instead you want your website to say: “Here’s what you were looking for…, here’s how I can help…, here’s how you can take the next step.” In other words, “How can I help?”
4. Less is more. Mies Van Der Rohe created a whole branch of architecture based on this principle. Like Professor Strunk said: “Be Concise.” Use fewer words, fewer pages, less fine print. All people want to know is “Who are you? How can you help me (make more money, save money, and/or avoid pain), and “Why should I trust you?”
5. Hire the best. Pay her, and let her do her job. There’s a lot that goes into a great website and great inbound marketing… Ten mediocre web consultants you found on oDesk (a place to get really cheap talent) do not add up to one rock star. Hire the best, then go for a walk, or take a yoga class. Relax. Just breathe.
6. Don’t cut corners. Your website is a pivotal component of your business, perhaps the most important component of marketing your business. If you want to build a great website, you need to spend a little money. Low budget websites look, well…, low budget. Don’t cut corners. You’ll end up paying for it in others ways (like lost opportunities).
7. Measure your results, and act on them. Edward Deming had the right idea: You can’t improve what you don’t measure. So use your own version of Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. Gooogle Analytics is Free. WordPress Stats is Free. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. After you’ve measured, take the best and leave the rest. Measure it again, take the best and leave the rest. Rinse. Repeat.
Yes, Mr. Schumacher, when you want to build a great website, “smaller really is beautiful“.
Of course it’s always possible that I left something out. If I did, your thoughts and comments on how to build a great website are always welcome.
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