Nicole Rosenloecher is a talented Professional Organizer, and she’s my girlfriend. As part of our plans for 2017 we’re going to develop her business, NNLifestyling with a fully functioning marketing apparatus. The same infrastructure building that I do for my clients will be applied that her organizing business. The strategic plans are being developed, with conversations around business models, pricing and strategy.

The first step in this process is to revamp her website. Your website is a direct reflection of you, the business and the way you want to be presented in the marketplace.

Once your website is created you can earn SEO benefits, attract people into your site, link to it from various community groups, and share your message concisely. The look of your site affects your brand, your advertising and even your business cards.

So, here are five steps to create your website.

 

Step 1 – Research Your Competition

Look at your competitors. See what you love and don’t about their sites. What are they communicating, and where can you improve? Look for the trends that are coming up in the messaging of your competitors’ sites. Where do your offerings overlap, and where is there a place for a unique offer to the market?

Look at the simplicity or sophistication of the sites you see. Identify nuances in the business models being offered. Are these sites using video and pictures offering free downloads of valuable information? Are your competitors capturing user information, or is it more like a brochure?

Finally, see if you can identify the other channels your competitors are on. Look at the links from the sites into social media. Take a note of the ecosystem your competitors operate in.

 

Step 2 – Research Templates

If you are starting out you are probably looking for a WordPress, Wix or Squarespace site template. You can find templates from Shopify if you are selling products online.

Go to various stores where templates can be searched including the Envato Market. Do a search for the top themes based on the type of site you want to create. For example, search for news / publication, business, education, food and coffee shop. You do these searches and you’ll find themes that fit the look and feel you’d expect for these types of sites. Make a note of the themes that you like.

As you do your competitor research you’ll find most of them are probably derived from WordPress themes. Pay attention to those as well.

If you find a site that you like and you want to know the theme it is using checkout this site. It will tell you which theme the site is using: http://www.mythemedetector.com/

 

Step 3 – Define Your Site Pages

After doing your research identify the pages you want from your site. Take a site that you like, change it and make it your own. Capture elements from different sites to make it your own. You’ll need a homepage and a blog. Do you want a site that scrolls down one page with multiple sections? Do you want those sections to link to different pages? Capture the essence of how your industry communicates and take inspiration.

Work with a designer to create the site you want to build. Get a quote once you share exactly the type of site you want to make. In order to communicate your site pages create some simple PowerPoint slides of your site. Link to individual pages from other sites that you like. The more detail you can share with your designer the less expensive your site will cost and the closer it will be to the creation you want. Add some notes and caption for the site that you want to build. The clearer you communicate your site to your designer the better work they will do, and the more money you’ll save.

 

Step 4 – Create Your Site

I’ve always been told in creating a site that the site’s pages change based on the copy on the site. So, it’s better to define the copy first, and then build the pages. I, on the other hand, like to see the site designed with mock copy, and then build my copy into the site. Either way, work together with your designer to bring your site to life. The more you learn about your site’s systems, WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, or a different platform, the more work you can do and the less you have to pay someone else. After building a few sites I know much more about WordPress than I ever thought I’d know. That knowledge now saves me money making site changes, and I can communicate more clearly with my designer.

 

Step 5 – Finalize

You’ll invariably spend some time making changes to the pictures, the copy and the layout of your site. It won’t be right on the first pass, but with a little bit of sweat equity, you’ll make the site come alive. Your theme may have access to stock photos. If it doesn’t use a few different resources for photos including Google Search, Flickr and Abobe Stock. If you are hosting videos use YouTube as an easy and free service, and be sure to turn off ads on your video.