Choosing the Right Website Platform for your Business

Choosing the Right Website Platform for your Business

With so many website platforms in the market, choosing the right website platform for your business can be confusing and time-consuming. This article will help you get clear on what you need and what to look for when picking the right one for you.

I won’t be putting you to sleep by comparing the platforms (WordPress, Joomla, Shopify and Squarespace (just to name a few)) but rather looking at things to consider, working out your requirements and factoring in the cost.

1. What do you want from your website

Don’t just look at what you need right now (e.g. three pages of content). Take into consideration, where you want to be in five years’ time and what functionality you might need.

Think about whether you will need an online store, integration with your systems, how many products and pages you might need, if you want people to subscribe to your newsletter and whether you want to have different languages of content.

You don’t want to be moving from one platform to another in 12 months time because that can be costly, time consuming and may require some down time.

2. Email marketing

If you want to email your potential and current clients you need to consider which email marketing options are compatible with your website platform. You want them to be able to subscribe from your website and be piped through to your email marketing software so you can email them.

Some website platforms may limit you to one or two options, or it may be an extra cost to pipe them through or have email marketing. So check it out and factor in the cost. All the extras add up and if you are sticking to a budget you should factor these things in.

Email automation and nurturing your email list by sharing content, news and special offers are important for growing your business. It’ll also save you time.

 3. Analytics tools

You need analytics tools, full stop. Analytics reports will show you how many people visit, what countries they visit from, how they found your website, what pages they visit and how long they spend on your website.

All this information is important when looking at who your potential and actual clients are and how they interact with your website. It tells you what interests them and if your content is working.

Google Analytics is a free, and great tool available for some platforms like WordPress. Shopify and Wix may have their own tools but check for fees and its capability.

4. SEO capability

Look at what SEO capabilities the platform has, or is this an add-on that costs extra too? All the add-ons can add up. With WordPress, you can add free plug-ins (like Yoast SEO & All In One SEO) and it can also connect to Google Search Console so you can track things.

You want to be able to add keywords in your website/plugin to boost your ranking for example in the:

  • website description
  • image descriptions (also known as Alt Text)
  • page descriptions and much more…

And to submit a sitemap to Google. Some simple and effective SEO things to tick off the list but that can cost extra.

5. Hosting vs managed hosting

Shopify, Wix and Weebly look after your hosting for you, which some people love, but it comes at a cost. You don’t want to be moving your website from one platform to another, so chose wisely and do your research.

If you are considering using WordPress, you will need a web hosting company, like SiteGround and VentraIP, you can purchase your domain (web address) and host your website with them. Some web developers will set all this up for you and maintain it at a cost.

Tips when picking a web hosting provider:

– ensure your website has an SSL certificate (it’s a security certificate) – this can be an extra charge with some providers

– your website is backed up regularly (in case it crashes)

– you have free email (so you have a professional email address), for example, hello@yourdomain.com.au. Some domain and web hosting companies consider this an extra.

That’s all for now.

As you have guessed, to pick a website platform you have a few things to consider, and some costs to factor in. And if you don’t consider these things to being with then you might find you have to move your website from one platform to another which can cost you time, money and you will have some downtime.

If you have any questions about which platform suits your needs, feel free to contact me. I may not build websites but I have been involved with lots of website builds. manage my own websites and have experience in this area. It can feel daunting so reach out and we can talk about your options.

 

8 Steps to Creating Copy That Converts

8 Steps to Creating Copy That Converts

It can be daunting to create content for your business, because you don’t want it to be boring, unprofessional or ineffective. So it’s easier to avoid it altogether! Which is why I’ve created this article to give you the steps and confidence to write brilliant copy that connects with your customer.

1. What are you trying to achieve?

Your objective will help you to clarify what information you need to get the result you want, so start with the end in mind. Do you want to educate your customer about a particular topic? Persuade them to book an appointment, or download your e-book? Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can reverse-engineer you content to get there.

2. Know who you are writing for

If you speak to everyone, no one will listen. So speak directly to the person you are targeting. Get to know her, who is she, what’s her lifestyle, what keeps her awake at night? These insights will allow you to speak directly to her. When you tap into and use the specific words she uses, you create a stronger connection. Connection then conjures trust, and trust creates sales.

3. Think benefits, not features

Emotions make sales, logic bails. Of course, tell them about the product or service they will receive, but not first, or in too much detail. Instead, tell your customer how it will change their life, what your product or service will do for them and how it will make them feel. Turn their fears and frustrations into love and happiness and make them need your product or service.

4. Plan the structure

The flow of information is important. Start with the most attention grabbing information first and put the less important at the end. Think back to your days at school and plan what information you will include in the introduction, main body and conclusion. You have done this before, you will be fine.

5. The actual writing

Start writing, whether that’s with pen and paper, or typing it up, whatever works for you. Write clearly, don’t use big words and be concise. Don’t overload your reader with too much information, just enough to connect with them and get them to take action.

6. Personality

Write as if you are talking, make it sound like you (not a robot). Add something funny or quirky that the reader will connect with. If you are targeting stay at home mums, then write something that only she would understand to help build that connection. Let the pizazz and character of your brand shine through.

7. Edit and proofread

Go back and read over the content. Break it up with headings, use dot points and tidy up any grammar and punctuation. If you do not feel confident with the content, give it to a friend or editor to read and make some changes.

8. Publish

You can’t help someone or build your brand if you don’t press publish! Share your knowledge and love for what you do. Have the confidence to put yourself out there. If you’ve followed this guide, you’re already way ahead of most brands out there doing it on their own. You’ve got this, press publish!

Conduct a Competitor Analysis in 6 Easy Steps

Conduct a Competitor Analysis in 6 Easy Steps

I get asked alot ‘why do you need to do a competitor analysis’? It is an important part of a marketing plan, it’s not done to copy what others in the market are doing but it’s about seeing how competitors are positioning themselves.

So, what is a competitor analysis? It is the research, analysis and comparison of players in the market which allows you to see how they are positioned, what services they offer and their current strategy. This will help you differentiate yourself in the market so you can stand out. It will also let you see what prospective clients will see when selecting and what choices they have.

To conduct the analysis find their website, look at their social media channels and the ways they choose to advertise. I have put together a template for you to include all your findings (when you click on the link, the document will automatically download).

Let’s conduct the competitor analysis!

Step 1: Who are your competitors?

List a maximum of ten direct competitors, think about ones you know and also do a google search to find others. Include only ones that are in direct competition, and consider your niche and location especially if you are restricted by your product or service offerings (e.g. if you are a plumber and only service parts of Melbourne, do not include Sydney competitors).

Step 2: Look at their brand positioning and personality.

Have they marketed themselves as a leader in the industry, are they quirky or serious? Are they a luxury brand or an everyday one?

Step 3: Write down the products and services they offer.

Notice the words they use to describe them. Have they packaged them together and how? Do they offer multiple services or specialise in just a few?

Step 4: Who are they targeting?

Are they targeting small businesses, a high-end consumers or retailers – look at their offerings, pricing and channels they use to work this one out. How are they emotionally connecting with their prospective customer? What problem and solution are they focussing on?

Step 5: Look at their strengths and weaknesses.

What are they doing well, what could they improve.

Step 6: What channels are they using and how?

Are they printing out flyers and doing a letter box drop, do they have a website and monthly newsletter, which social media channels are they using (if any)? Do they have sales, do they share valuable content? Check what marketing channels they use and what they use them for.

What to do with the template and findings when you are finished: this exercise will give you insights into your competitors, what they do and how. This will help you work out your place in the market and how you can differentiate yourself.

See what others are doing well and what improvements they could make, these will give you some ideas of what you can do and what you can do differently. Remember, it’s not about copying, it’s about being unique and doing it differently!

6 Common Marketing Mistakes and How To Overcome Them

6 Common Marketing Mistakes and How To Overcome Them

Last year I was interviewed by Auspicious Arts where we talked about common marketing mistakes and how to overcome them. Our chat inspired me to write this blog post so that my readers can learn from these mistakes and get the most out of their marketing efforts.

Mistake 1: No market research

You need to know if there is a need for the product or service you are offering, who your competitors are and how to position yourself in the market. It doesn’t have to be onerous but get out there talk to people who buy similar products and services and get their insights. You can also do a survey using free online tools, or access other online material to help you understand the market.

Market research gives you very valuable insights into what people are looking for, what appeals to them and how to position yourself in the market accordingly.

Mistake 2: They don’t have an ideal client

You can’t talk or target to everyone, your message will be too diluted, won’t connect with anyone and won’t stand out in the crowd. Know who your ideal client is, who are you targeting, are they a consumer, a business owner or government and what position do they hold? Understand your ideal client, their pain points and frustrations, and then solve their problem better than anyone else.

Pick that one person that you love to work with, that one person that lights you up, and make them your ideal client. This will help you connect with them, write better content, share posts about issues that your ideal client relates to, and don’t worry you won’t scare people away doing this. It means your marketing will be consistent and people will connect with it.

Mistake 3: Doing too many things

I see this one all the time, people have amazing ideas, want to do too many things, get overwhelmed and spread themselves too thin. They either don’t get much done or the things they do aren’t strategic.

As your budget progresses and evolves, continue referring to your SMART objectives. Stay focused and remember your goals – they will always inform what your next step will be!

Mistake 4: They don’t ask for help or outsource

It can be hard to ask for help or outsource for many reasons. Even just talking about your idea or problem with someone else can give you clarity. A problem shared is a problem solved (ok, maybe halved).

As your budget progresses and evolves, continue referring to your SMART objectives. Stay focused and remember your goals – they will always inform what your next step will be!

Mistake 5: No marketing plan

Don’t yawn or stop reading yet, planning your marketing is important. It doesn’t have to take months to do this. Get a calendar and start to write down what events you want to attend (e.g. markets, expos, etc.) and what other marketing activities you want to do throughout the year.

Write down themes and ideas for content and plan ahead. If you don’t want to do a full twelve months start with three months. It will help stop that overwhelm and you can spread your marketing and budget throughout the year. Remember to tap into special dates if they relate to your ideal client (e.g. environment day, Mother’s Day and Christmas day).

Mistake 6:Don’t evaluate their marketing

This is another step in marketing which is often left out, business owners don’t look at what marketing they have done, evaluated what has worked and what hasn’t. Why is it important? It is full of marketing insights to take your marketing to the next level.

Grab a coffee and write notes after each marketing activity. For example, after going to an expo write down what was good, bad and what ideas you have to make it better next time. When a similar event comes up you are equipped and ready to take it to the next level.

Let me know your thoughts, have you seen these ‘mistakes’ out in the market? How have you seen businesses overcome them?