Our competition rakes in millions selling you to things that are more complex and more costly than they need to be.
I like to add value to your business by making things simpler. Sooo… I bring you… (drum roll!)…
Toby’s List of Everything You Need to Know About Building Your Small Business Website (for Small Business Owners)
This is a comprehensive list of everything you need to know about building your small business website. Period. Don’t be fooled by agencies and WordPress developers trying to sell you snake oil! This is our tried-and-true list that we give to everyone. It’s the reason I now recommend to most that they build & launch their website in 90 minutes flat (I’ve launched about 100 of these, and it is truly awe-inspiring to see the results).
Want to save thousands of dollars and earn thousands more by doing less work? Just follow these simple steps. This list cuts through the fluffy shit that agencies and WordPress developers will try to sell you and delivers you a lean, mean, profit-making machine (though, as you’ll learn, your website has almost nothing to do with your profit, and it most of the time it sucks up your profit…aaaand that’s why I created this list in the first place).
Everything You Need to Know About Building Your Small Business Website
- Define the business objective. Before building a website, figure out why the hell your business needs a (new) a website to begin with. Websites are flaky friends and cause more headaches than ice cream. They cost a lot more, too. At minimum, answer the question, “How will I measure the success of this website investment?”
- Ignore design. It doesn’t affect your business right now. Ignore everything that bugs you about your logo, web page layouts, colors, fonts, and images. A fresh, off-the-shelf template will have enough design to not lose you a sale (which is really all we can ask of a website at this point).
- Go cheap. I recommend using WordPress.com and finding someone who can help you launch quickly (like this).
- Go fast. Launch in a day. Seriously. No excuses. If you can’t get it done in a day, then it’s your fault (own it), and you need to simplify either your concept of what a website is or your process. (But know that you are not alone – we can help!).
- Iterate quickly. After launching your new site, you’ll get some feedback. Sleep on it a night, and then take the best bits and update content (copy, navigation menus, links) quickly. Say “no” to structural and design changes (see “Ignore” items below).
- Don’t do social media or blogging. Unless you are already doing it, because you like it, it’ll be a waste of time and will stop forward momentum (and is probably a waste of time even if you do like it).
- Ignore SEO. It’s not a reliable way to generate sales for you right now.
- Ignore your ego. Focus on KPIs, ROIs, goals, sales targets, etc. The trap that agencies set for you is they over-emphasize design, functionality, integrations, and other things that make you feel good while wasting precious resources when what you really need to focus on is sales. (And sales have very little to do with your website right now.)
p.s. This is the hardest one for most people.
- Ignore the haters. Ignore the objections of your team, the eye-rolls from agency professionals & WordPress developers, and especially you especially must must must ignore your own inclination to want to make this project more difficult on yourself by not following this list! (see #7 above)
- Keep this list handy and refer to it often (especially when talking to agencies and WordPress developers!).
There. So now we just saved you (and us) thousands of dollars of wasted cash, hundreds of hours of worthless work, and about 1 million headaches. What will you do with your time? Here’s a suggestion: Put the money in a passively-managed index fund and use the extra time to always be closing.
p.s. I am a WordPress developer and have been for over 10+ years. Nothing against agencies and developers personally – they are doing the best they can and are mostly nice people. But put simply, they don’t think critically about your business needs. Like all of us, they try to find the best way to promote their agendas. Most creative agencies have an approach and an agenda that is steeped in condescension and false premises. In reality, they are doing it wrong and you are paying the price. By the way, while they’ll never say this publicly, when I talk to my friends (who, like me, have vast agency experience) about this issue – they agree with me on most points.
p.p.s. Design matters greatly in the world. I’ve given lectures about the importance of design to grad students at the U of Minnesota. I generally agree with Donald Norman’s brilliant essay on the design of everyday things. Charlie Miller’s work on the design school tests is truly mind-blowing (couldn’t find a link to his doctoral thesis, but here’s a recent video of Charlie). Good design is critically-important in our world. It’s just that good design isn’t important for your business right now.