10 Steps To Making Your Own Professional Website That Gets You Opportunities Fast
When you want to be an expert and leader in you field, a part of you knows you need a website.
A website that shows not only who you are and what you do, but helps you build credibility and get the speaking opportunities, clients or job you've been looking for in your career.
Question is where do you start?
Most people start in one of these three wrong places:
#1 - They feel overwhelmed because they can't imagine why they'd need a website or how to create one. And so, they park the idea as something to do later. However, every professional and entrepreneur needs one and you can read this post to find out why. The short story is, it's necessary to build credibility and become influencial in your field.
#2 - They can't design websites and immediately jump to hire a web designer. They put all their faith in their web designer, hoping their dream website will be built. Except, it costs way more than what they budgeted for and their website doesn't get them the results they need.
#3 - Or they DIY their website. And even if it turns out exactly how they wanted, no one visits their website apart from their mother and they don't know how to use their website to generate work or business opportunities.
If you want to create a website that converts ... i.e. a website that gives you the opportunities you're looking for in your career, avoid starting in these three places.
The first thing I advise all my clients do BEFORE they begin creating a website is to know how to make a website that's effective in getting you anything you want. Whether it's speaking opportunities, a new job, book sales or new clients.
If you've already got a website up and running, that's okay. Simply run through these steps and identify the things you've missed out to make your website generate better results.
#1 - Get clear on the purpose of what you do and the purpose of your website
This might sound obvious, but many people aren't clear on why they do what they do and what opportunities they want the website to give them.
But if you don't know why you're doing what you do, what impact you want to have in people's lives and how you want to get paid to do this work through your website... then you don't have a website that converts.
Instead, you have a website with some information about you, but there's no clear reason to visit your website regularly nor is there a call to action for the people visiting your website.
So pause and get clear on what you want to do with your career, what impact you want to have in the world and the role your website will play in making this impact.
#2 - What's the best platform for sharing your message
A mistake many people make when hiring a web designer (or creating a website themselves) is not knowing what website platform will be the most powerful for getting their message out there.
I've lost count of the number of horror stories I've heard of professionals paying thousands of dollars for a website they can't change. They need to contact the website designer to make changes. This is frustrating because your website remains static.
And unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether you're a first time blogger or it's a company website for the biggest brands in the world, the first version of any website is always the worst.
In time, you learn about what works and what doesn't and it's incredibly important you choose a platform that makes it easy for you to make changes to your website anytime and with the least amount of tech knowledge possible.
There are a variety of platforms to use. The best place to start is to look for a Content Management System. In other words, a website that allows you to create, share and manage as much content as you want. You can edit your "Homepage", your "About me" page or your shop's products just as easily as you'd edit text in Evernote or Word.
The ones I recommend you choose from are Squarespace, Wix and Wordpress. I'll write a comparison on these three later. But if I was to recommend one, Squarespace is the winner. It's the most mobile friendly and professional looking of the three.
#3 - Name your website after your name or product offer
The websites that take off the most do one of these two things.
Firstly, the website is named after you or your company name. People remember names, they remember faces and if they like you, they'll always recognise your name in anything you do. Whether you're spotted on a podcast, at a talk or you write a book, if people see the name they recognise, it helps you build credibility and helps you become known.
The second best name is to use a name reflective of your product offer. For example, Matthew Hussey, probably the most famous dating expert I've come across has a website called "howtogettheguy.com." Even though he has his own "matthewhussey.com" website, he uses the How to Get the Guy one to attract women looking to get the guy. Toneitup.com is another great example because it attracts women who are looking to tone up.
When you use a popular search phrase, your website helps to show up at the top of google listings and attract the exact clients you want.
#4 - Define your brand
The next step is to get clear on what your brand is.
Many people create a website not knowing what their brand is, or worse, thinking their brand is simply a logo, tagline or some colours you put on your website. But it's not.
Your brand is what people say about you when you aren't in the room. It's what they think of when they come across you or your website for the first time. If you're unsure what a brand is, click here to read a more detailed explanation.
When you create a brand that reflects how you want to be perceived and it resonates with the people you want to attract, your website transforms into a magnet.
You attract the exact readers, clients, speaking or job opportunities you want.
#5 - Website Inspiration Research
Once you know what your brand is, you'll be ready to begin creating your website.
To get some ideas for what kind of look and feel will best represent your brand, find some inspiration.
Look at websites created by experts and leaders in different industries and identify what parts of their website you like and what things you don't like.
This will help you visualise what your dream website should look like.
#6 - Create your brand style guide
A brand style guide is a visual document that shows how you want your brand and website to look and feel.
Think of it as your brand rulebook. It includes guidelines for what your brand must look like.
In this document put in your finalised logo, your fonts, colour scheme and some imagery that reflects your tone of voice and how you want people to feel when they visit your website.
Creating this after you've defined your brand and found some inspiration for what you want your website to look like makes building the website so much easier.
Because by the time you're ready to build the website, you'll have all the visual assets ready and will simply need to follow the rules you set out.
#7 - Map out your website visitor journey to identify the content you need
The only way your website visitors will convert into leads for client, job or speaking opportunities is if you have a simple journey people can follow when they visit your website.
I wish I had known this when I first started making websites... but journey mapping is so underrated for early stage entrepreneurs and professionals.
Big corporations include this in their web design process and there's a key reason for this. When someone lands on your website, they don't intuitively know where to go.
Most people visit a website, scroll down really quickly (if at all) and then exit ... all in less than 60 seconds.
And it's not surprising. Visiting a website you've never seen before is like visiting a grocery store you've never seen before. Even if you know what you're looking for, unless there are signs to quickly point you in the direction of what you need, you'll get lost and decide to leave.
So take the time to map out the journey you want people to follow on your website. When you do this, you'll identify exactly what pages and content you need to get people to take the actions you want them to take ... whether it's joining your email list or buying a product.
#8 - Pick a template
Now you're clear on what you want your website to look and feel like and you know what journey you want people to complete, you're ready to pick a pre-made website design template.
You can usually get a free one or buy one from the website platform you're using.
Many people pick a template really early on... but this is a mistake because the purpose of a template is for it to powerfully enable you to do the things you want.
Choosing a template that best represents your brand and allows you to create the journey you want, works. Templates that look visually appealing but don't reflect your brand nor allow you to do what's necessary to get clients or opportunities, don't work.
#9 - Put in your content
This is self explanatory.
#10 - Build your email list.
Last but not least, before you launch, make sure you have a system in place for growing your email list.
People often don't think they need an email list... instead they think they need lots of followers on social media to have influence. But this isn't true.
The most valuable asset all professionals, entrepreneurs and businesses have is their email list. Because your email list is like having someones personal number. You can never lose it unless they ask you to not contact them again.
Social media networks own your profile and they could delete your account at any time. If they delete your account, not only would you lose everything you posted, you'd lose all the connections you made with people over the years. You'd have no way of contacting people.
In addition to this, email lists help you build genuine relationships with the people you want to connect with. E-mailing people every week helps you transform website visitors into fans who could be interested in buying your products or services any time you send them the email.
This is a whole other topic. Good news is, I've created an entire video on how to grow your email list. To watch it, click here:
And that's it!
My intention is to help you gain a deeper understanding of how to create a website that gets you clients, speaking or amazing work opportunities. So please leave a comment below if you have any questions.
Hundreds of incredible people read this blog every week and your comment may help someone else get a breakthrough too. I can't wait to read your comment.