The checklist below is for small business owners who want more leads and new clients from their website. If you want something other than more business from your website, this isn’t for you. But if you’re a business owner focused on growth, you’ll want to print this checklist. Then use it. I guarantee you’ll be happy with the new business your website delivers.
Ready to begin?
1. Make a list of measurable results you want from your new website.
How many more leads do you want a month from your online marketing efforts? How many more phone calls? How many new customers?
You want a goal to shoot for. You want to measure whether your website redesign is successful or not.
Web designers will tell you that they can’t guarantee you will hit these numbers. They’re right. They can’t and that’s OK. But they will do their best to make your updated website a lead generating machine if you tell them it’s the focus of your website redesign. If you tell them you’re measuring the success of the redesign based on increasing the number of leads, phone calls, etc.
As a business owner you can work on improving your website after your initial re-launch. You can keep working to improve your internet marketing activities until you hit the numbers you want.
2. Who do you want your website to talk to? Who are your ideal prospects?
When a prospective client lands on your updated website you want them to know that your website is designed for them. You want them to know that your website offers solutions designed specifically with them in mind. By defining your ideal prospect well, your website designer will be able to create a website that really “speaks” to your ideal prospects.
That is why I recommend making up a character or a customer persona that represents your ideal client. Name them. Write down if they play golf, if they’re married. Do they have kids? Do they go to church? What is their job title? How old are they? Do they live in a small town? Do they live in the suburbs? What magazines or TV shows do they like?
The more details you can create about your imaginary ideal prospect, the better information you can share with your website designer. You’re able to find out more information about creating a customer or prospect persona here.
3. Besides your product or service, what do your customers get when they do business with you?
This is your website’s elevator pitch. You want this on your home page. If you were in an elevator with a big prospective customer, you only have a few seconds to tell the customer why they should do business with you. Your website’s home page is your opportunity to communicate in a few seconds why they should stay on your website. You have to tell them why your website benefits them. Grab your prospects with your elevator pitch, or they will leave your website in seconds.
4. List the other benefits of doing business with you
Make sure you put together a good solid list of benefits of doing business with you. People usually look at several websites before choosing one company to buy from. By putting together a more comprehensive list of benefits than your competitors, you have a better chance of being chosen as the best company to buy from.
5. Plan your website and blog as the “hub” of your online selling and marketing program
Most small business owners think that if they can get to the top of the search engines with certain keywords, they’ re golden. Nothing wrong with getting to the top of the search engines. But because of iPhones and Blackberrys peoples habits have changed. Now people spend more time on Facebook than on search engines.
Besides getting listed at the top of the search engines, you have to reach people on their mobile phones, Facebook and other social media. You want your website to be a hub or home base for your online marketing materials. Then ”push” your information to the spokes, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
6. Include a blog in your redesign plans.
Search engines love blogs. Matt Cutts, Google’s spokesperson on search engine strategy, recommends WordPress blogs because they automatically create web pages that the search engines like.
Social media loves blogs. Blogs are an easy way to “push” your content to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media. Blogs help you reach prospects who aren’t actively searching for your product or service. It also helps keep your company in front of prospects before the have a need to do business with you.
If you want to hear more about what Matt Cutts recommends, watch this video.
7. List what your prospect does online at each stage of the buying process.
In a previous blog post I went into the details of this process. You want to create web content that helps potential clients at each of the 5 stages of the buying process.
8. What do you want people to do next?
Plan a baby step to bring prospects closer to doing business with you once they get to your website. A baby step could be signing up for a free report or white paper. It could be signing up for a free conference call. But create a baby step. Make it easy for people to start a conversation with your business.
9. After a prospect makes that initial contact, have the next step in the communication process already set-up
Once a prospect takes a baby step to start the conversation with you, put them on your e-mail newsletter list. Put them on your mailing list or e-mail them 10 tips e-mailed over a period of time. Grow your list of prospects and keep communicating with them. Develop a level of trust by delivering quality information.
10. Automate your follow-up program
Use services like MailChimp, aWeber, RSS feeds, or Networked Blogs to automatically share your information across the web. You can also use services like HootSuite and TweetDeck to send timed tweets throughout a week or month. Personally, I use TweetDeck.
11. Gather testimonials, certificates, awards and other badges of trust
Because anyone can have a website built, you have to include as many “badges” of third party endorsements as possible on your website. These badges aren’t the primary focus of any of your web pages. But you want to wow prospective clients with third party proof that your business is trustworthy. Putting the right badges or “flare” on your pages can increase your conversion rates 10% – 40%.
12. Put together a list of your clients (especially well known companies or people)
Birds of a feather flock together, right? People want to know if you understand their industry. People want to know if you have a history of doing great work. Listing clients, especially famous clients or well respected clients in a specific industry or niche, helps more people want to do business with you.
13. Create ideas for linkbait
Links to your website from other websites have value. Search engines give websites with more incoming links (also called backlinks) more authority. If important websites link to your website, but they don’t link to your competitors’ websites, you have more authority. Therefore you get higher search engine rankings.
When you create something on your website with the goal of getting a lot of people linking to it, that’s called creating linkbait. You’ve probably seen lists of the top 100 cities ranked for the best places to start a business or something similar. That’s linkbait.
The main idea is to create compelling content for your website that people will want to link to. On a mortgage lending website, I added mortgage calculators and I also gave away the code or script so other websites could easily put calculators on their websites. It worked very well. We also had a link back to our website in the code. Thousands of websites put our calculators on their websites which automatically linked back to us. That’s a good example of linkbait.
You’re able to find out more about linkbait here.
14. Make sure your website redesign includes tools for easily updating your own website
There are several software platforms now that make it easy for you to update your own website. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, DotNetNuke are some of the most popular. You should find website designers who will build your website using these platforms.
15. Gather photos and bios of people in your organization
People want to do business with other people. They also want to know that the people they’re doing business with are experts and will do a great job for them. They want to know that they’re working with a real company qualified to serve them well. By adding photos and biographies of your key personnel, you’ll prove that you’re a business they can trust.
16. Put together your logo graphics, brochures, product photos (if needed), past advertising samples and other collateral materials
Once you’ve completed this checklist, you’re now prepared to hire a website redesign company. You will know what you want. You’ll have everything a good website design company needs to do a good job for you.
If you have any questions, ask us. If you have any experiences with the web redesign process, we’d like to hear from you.
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