How to make your website
Creating a website can seem like a daunting task. Especially when you see other websites that have so many pages and seemingly endless content.
The good news is that at the core of your website there are 3 key pages or sections you need. The rest is optional.
The reason for this is that the main purpose of your website is to answer the questions potential customers ask: what kind of people you work with, what you will work with them on and why they can trust you to deliver.
As well as answering these questions, your website is a great place to publish your content in the form of blog posts or guides, and gives you an easy place to direct people to learn more.
The most important thing to remember about your website is that you own it. Unlike social media, where you are subject to the whims of social channel algorithms, rules and popularity, your website is yours and you are in control.
This guide is a companion to Reframing Marketing. It uses answers to some of the exercises and prompts in that book. To get the most out of this guide, you may want to work your way through the book first.
What kind of website do I need?
When you first start you may want to create a 1 page website. This is your homepage and it will provide a concise overview of what you do and answer the questions people have. It’s a great foundation to build on. I highly recommend Create.net as a place to make a website. They have great templates to get you started and also offer an affordable design and build service.
If you are a little further along in your journey and have more information to share, then I suggest you start with the following 3 pages and build from there.
If you already have a website that you want to update then look at these 3 pages first and then work from there.
The 3 pages your website needs are
- Home page – where you answer the questions people ask: who, what and why, and direct them to your other content.
- Methods page – this is where you show them how to get from where they are now to where they want to be.
- Product page – this is where you explain what working with you looks and feels like, make your promise and invite people to take the first step.
A website is never finished, it is just the current version. You will keep coming back to update, change and revise the content as you learn more and your understanding of your client, product and method evolves.
Creating your homepage
Your homepage is where you answer the questions people ask: who, what and why.
This page doesn’t need to be too long or detailed. You can include all the details on one page, or if you have more to say, split it into a few different pages if you think that works best for you.
An effective homepage has these sections:
In one short sentence, describe who you’re working with, what you’re doing with them and what you’re promising. This sentence lets people know very quickly if they’ve come to the right place.
People spend less than a second deciding if they are on the right site, so this sentence needs to be short and use language that the client can easily understand. We work on all these elements in the book, so once you have worked through this you can use the Commit box in the plan to create this sentence easily.
This is where we empathise with them and show them that we understand where they are now. If appropriate, you can begin to explain some of the frustrations they are having and some of the thoughts and feelings they are experiencing. In the book you have explored these in the ‘Why’ prompts section, so you can use your answers to the ‘Why change’ and ‘Why now’ prompts.
This section helps the person to feel that they are in the right place and that they are beginning to feel that they fit in.
This section is about creating tension, with care. Do not release the tension here, we will do that in the next section. This section may feel a bit tense to read, that is ok, this is what motivates the change and this tension is expected and will soon be released.
To relieve some of the tension, we set out how you can help. We do this with your promise and your offer.
We release some of the tension and reassure them that you are someone who can guide them. We don’t solve the problem completely, we just reassure them that there is a way to get where they want to go. You can use your answers to the prompt ‘Why your offer’ here.
This section is where you build trust in yourself. It’s where you tell your story. You can always link to an About Me page if you want to use a longer version of your story. For this section, keep it short. You have already worked on this in the ‘Why You’ prompt and the ‘Story’ section of the book, so you can take elements of this story from there. As storytelling expert Susan Payton says, “People want a reason to buy from you. Your story is that reason.”
I also think it’s really important to include a photo of you here. People want to get to know you and build trust. That is harder to do without a photo.
This is where you describe how they can get from where they are now to where they want to be. As we discovered in the Mapping Your Method section of the book, this doesn’t have to be a linear journey. Keep this section short and link to your method page if you want to go into more detail. Later in this guide I will explain how to create this page.
You can use your answer to the ‘Why Your Method’ prompt to describe why your method can help them get where they want to go.
In this final section you invite people to take the first step in working with you.
If you are making a website with more than one page, this is where you can show the different ways people can work with you – your product(s) – and link to your product page(s).
If you are making a one-page website, this is where you set expectations about the time, energy and money required and explain the first step.
To make the first step clear we use the 123 sequence.
When you buy something in a shop, you can see, feel and inspect it before you buy it. When you’re ready, you take it to the counter and pay for it. You get the thing and the transaction is complete.
A transaction on a website is different, especially if you’re not buying something physical. You have to explain what the next step is and what happens after a person takes that next step. What you are doing here is contracting with the potential client by clearly explaining the steps that will take place.
Ideally this process will be as simple as 123:
- You do this
- I do this
- You get this
For example: You book a call, I show you how working together can work for you, you get where you want to go.
What about the rest?
This is all you need on the homepage. It is most effective when presented in this order, and the amount of detail you go into is, of course, up to you.
After 20 years of building websites, I can tell you that the ones that work best are the ones that are simple and concise. People will probably have questions, they will probably want to know more, so they will want to take that first step.
Once you have your homepage, you can add other pages. The homepage alone is enough to get you started, so don’t wait too long once it’s ready. Remember, you can always update it as you create the other pages – after all, a website is never finished.
At this point you can add a blog to share content. There are lots of content ideas in the book and the Connect section will help you plan what content to create and how to share it.
You can also add an About Me page to tell your story.
You may also want to go into more detail about your method and product. Here is an effective way to create these pages.
Creating your method webpage
Creating a dedicated page for your method is well worth the effort. It is often the most visited page on my clients’ websites. It’s where people go to find out more, and it’s where you direct people who want to know more about your work. By separating your method from your product, you create a page that educates and inspires people’s thoughts and ideas. It allows you to talk openly about it in podcasts, videos or face-to-face without feeling like you are selling.
You’ll be pleased to hear that this page is easy to create because you’ve already done the work in the Mapping Your Method chapter to create the website.
These are the sections your page should contain. As before, you can create your own titles and include pictures, diagrams, illustrations and videos wherever you like. Be creative and make it your own, but I would encourage you not to stray too far from the order of the sections as the flow is important.
In this section you describe where the client is now, what they are thinking, feeling and doing, and how this might affect them. This can be a paragraph, bullet points or a short story.
This is where you explain your method. Use the description you created and include your illustration. Break this section into smaller sections to make it easier for people to digest. You might also want to make a video of yourself explaining your method – it’s a great way for people to get to know you.
This is where you describe what the client’s life will be like after they have worked with you. What might they think, feel and do, and how will this change affect them? This can be a paragraph, bullet points or a short story.
This is the signpost to the product page. Keep it short and don’t explain too much, just let people know where to go when they’re ready.
Create your product page
A product page is where you can go into more detail about the product (or service) you are offering to your potential client.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to explain your method or how it works, you’ve done that on the method page. This page simply confirms what will happen if someone chooses to work with you, what working with you looks and feels like, and why they can trust you to guide them.
Separating this product offer from the method allows us to talk about the method without it feeling ‘salesy’, it also means that there is a dedicated space for the ‘sale’ to be considered and then committed to. In this way it feels like the person is making an informed and independent decision when they are ready to commit to the work. It’s also where you confirm the promise you’re making and the details of exactly what they’re committing to, which gives people more confidence in making that commitment.
Having a clear offer to point people to when they’re ready to commit means you can then spend time and energy helping them to think about whether it’s right for them. It means you can talk more confidently about the work you do and create lots of content about the ways you can work with people, knowing that when people are ready to commit, the first step you ask them to take is ready for them and you are ready for them to say yes.
This is a guide to the sections you might want to create on your product page. It has some similar sections to your homepage, don;t copy and paste from there, try and articulate the same thing in a slightly different way. People don;t read every word on your website every time they visit and there is likely to be some time between reading your homepage and this page so don;t worry about repetition. You can create your own titles and include images, diagrams, illustrations and videos wherever you like. Be creative and make it your own, but I would encourage you not to deviate too far from the order of the sections as the flow is important.
Describe your promise in one very short sentence.
Use your ‘why change’ and ‘why now’ answers to establish that the person is in the right place and that they’re beginning to feel they fit. Do not release the tension here, we will do that in the next section. This section should feel a bit tense. This is what motivates change and this tension is expected and will be released soon.
Set out your promise and offer, using your answer to the ‘Why your offer’ prompt. This is where we release the tension and reassure them that you are someone who can lead them.
This is where you reassure them that you are best placed to guide them to where they want to go. You can always link to an About Me page if you want to use a longer version of your story on your website. For this section, keep it short. You have already worked on this in the Why section, so you can take elements of this story from there.
Use your answer to the ‘Why Your Method’ prompt to describe why your method can help them get where they want to go. You don’t have to explain the whole method, you can link to the method page you created to explain more.
In this final section, use your answer to the ‘Why Invest’ prompt to set expectations about the time, energy and money required.
You can use the same First Step from your home page here.
How to get the most out of your website
Once you have created your website, the next step is to invite people to visit it.
You can do this by giving links to your method and product pages to people you speak to who might be interested in working with you. Remember, you can now talk about your method with confidence and clarity because it is no longer a ‘sale’.
You can also create blog posts and share links to them on social media and with your email list. In the Commitment section of the book there is a whole section on what content to create, how to create content the easy way and a workflow to make it easier to create content on a regular basis.
If you build your website using this guide, please let me know. I’d love to see what you’ve created. You can connect with me on LinkedIn and either send me a message or tag me in a post. If you would like some support with your website or have a question that is not covered in this guide, you can book a 1-2-1 session with me.