Shopping for a Website? Read This First.

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This is a real post that I pulled, word for word, from a Facebook group the other day:

“Hi there - I am looking for a web designer and/or web developer to be working with to make my website up and running. I am a {occupation} and would like to have a website that captures me and the work I do, converts, and invites traffic. I already have a domain and I’ve registered with WordPress and bought the {theme name} but I am willing to work with another platform for a good enough reason and the right people. Happy to see your portfolios. :)”

Spoiler Alert: This person is not going to get a website that drives traffic and converts. At least not right away and certainly not from the criteria listed. 

To understand why, I am going to break this post down and then I am going to rewrite it so that it is more effective in communicating what is needed and attracting the right talent. 

Ready? Let’s begin the breakdown.

This person lists four things that they want from their website:

  1. Captures the business owner’s personality
  2. Captures the work they do
  3. Converts
  4. Invites traffic

I am going to state this plainly. The criteria listed is a wishlist. What it needs to be is a list of goals. What’s the difference? Goals are actionable. They have a proposed target. They have due dates. They also should focus on the customer, not the company. The goals may be for the company, but they are about the customer. This person hasn’t even thought about the customer. In fact, half of the criteria, the first half, is about them. The customer is never even mentioned.

I am now going to state this loud and clear: This 👏 is not 👏 this 👏 person’s 👏 fault. This is a person who is very passionate about what they do and they want to do it for a living. This person may have years of experience in their field but what they do not have is an understanding of what it really takes to have a working and converting website. 

Obtaining that knowledge is hard. The website companies do not easily give this knowledge because it is not their job nor is it in their best interest. Their job is to get you into their sales funnel. They want you to be a paying customer while you figure it out. They offer information in scattered bits through blog posts and videos. This is the long road to knowledge and it’s also why so many online small businesses fail. Many small business owners burn through their bit of savings trying to learn along the way. Many find the road too long and get discouraged. 

That person, the one who wrote that post asking for website help, is why this website exists. Because creating website strategies is what I do and am passionate about. I have been doing it for years. I have worked with all types of businesses both small and large, individuals and giant corporations. I have also owned my own businesses including an online service and a brick-and-mortar retail store. I have stood in your shoes, I have felt your frustration, and I know what you are going through. I also know how to get you through it. 

This website, Laurel for Websites, is for you. If you have a small business website or are thinking about getting one. If you are ready to invest in the knowledge you need to succeed or you just need some quick fixes and tips. This website is going to be the place where you can get tools, get advice, and even become part of a community. A community that doesn’t capture your data or make you endlessly scroll through ads. 

I am building this site as fast as I can to get all these benefits and features to you. Like many small business owners, it’s just me, so I ask that you stay with me. Sign up for the newsletter. Take a free course. Follow along on Instagram. It will be worth it. It may keep you from writing posts like the one above. 

Speaking of, how should that person have written their post? Let’s take another look and rewrite it.

The first thing a post involving a website design or redesign inquiry should do is let anyone who might be interested know that you did your homework. Show them that you mean business by bringing something to the table. An example could look like this:

Hello! I am seeking an individual or company for the design and build of a small business website. The website will be service-based, focusing on one target audience. Information about the target audience will be included in a Business Exploration Brief, which I will provide.

The above paragraph clearly states that a website design and build is needed. It also tells its readers that this person understands their business and their audience. Even more importantly, it offers website professionals something to work with in the form of a brief. This tells them they don’t have to chase or pull the information out. This means less work for them resulting in more savings for the person needing the website.

The post has now demonstrated that the person understands their business. It also attracts talent by letting people know they have something to work with. Now it’s time to state what the designer/builder needs to deliver. 

I am looking for an individual/agency who can provide quarterly revisions based on the performance of the website. A list of website launch goals is included in the Business Exploration Brief. The individual or agency will be able to advise, make recommendations, and perform website updates based on the performance of the goals and objectives. 

The original post asks for a website that "converts and invites traffic". This tells website professionals that the poster has little to no knowledge of what is involved for their website to be successful. This adds, heavily, to the cost of the website. 

A conversion, by definition, is what happens when a website visitor completes a desired action. A sale is a conversion, but it is one in a series of many conversations that need to happen on your website. If you don’t have any idea what other conversions need to happen before or after a sale, then no website professional is going to be able to deliver.

When you have goals for your website performance, you can add measurements of time in which you would like to see that goal completed. In the new post, it’s quarterly. This is good for you and for the website professionals. You need to revise sections of your website based on the performance of your goals and you need a website professional who can provide those changes. This lets them know there will be a discussion about cost and the number of revisions. Not having this conversation is what leads to surprise costs when you do need something on your website changed.

After you have proven your knowledge, informed them that you are giving them something to work with, and stated your requirements that need to be discussed, you can go ahead and finish with your website details such as it’s currently on WordPress and that you have already purchased a theme. 

The finished version will look something like this:

Hello! I am seeking an individual or company for the design and build of a small business website. The website will be service-based, focusing on one target audience. Information about the target audience will be included in a Business Exploration Brief, which I will provide.
I am looking for an individual/agency who can provide quarterly revisions based on the performance of the website. A list of website launch goals is included in the Business Exploration Brief. The individual or agency will be able to advise, make recommendations, and perform website updates based on the performance of the goals and objectives. 
I have an existing WordPress website theme and my domain is currently hosted with {hosting company}. If interested, please send me a DM/email with details about your company. Please include dates and times available to discuss the project further. Thank you for your interest and I look forward to working with you.

If you compare this version with the original it’s easy to see which one will pull in more inquiries as well as attract talented professionals. The question now is, how do you create a Business Exploration Brief? One that breaks down your business, your ideal customer, and your website goals? One that can be easily modified, updated, and shared? All this and more are going to be taught in my upcoming course, The Get A Successful Website Course

The course is going to be live soon and can be taken at your own pace, in your own time, and as many times as you want.  Until then, browse around what is available already. You will find things to do now and more is going to be added every day so be sure to sign up for the newsletter. 

Learn More & Sign Up to the waitlist for the Get A Successful Website Course.

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