If building a Web site for your business sounds like one huge, expensive headache, think agan. In this article, I am going to show you how to get your business online in a matter of hours without spending a fortune.
I am also going to show you what you need in place to convert your web visitors into sales prospects. After all, this is the main reason why you are marketing your business online.
What Do You Need?
As a minimum, you need three things:
- a hosted WordPress site
- a domain name and
- a landing page creation tool
In addition, I recommend you have an email automation tool, to manage your subscribers.
Let me take you through an example.
A short while ago, I was asked to help get our Mexican subsidiary set up with a Web site, so they had somewhere to send prospective customers. They also planned to run a Google Adword campaign and needed somewhere to direct the ad traffic. They could handle producing Spanish content but had no idea how to get this content online. In addition to the Web site, they also wanted to be able to send out emails to their customer list, which included links the new website.
So let’s go through the steps.
Get a Good Domain Name
First, you need a domain name for your site. You may already have one, but if you don’t, you need to choose one that represents your business. I recommend www.hover.com as a good place to help you choose. Another suggestion is to use www.bluehost.com. Bluehost is a hosting company, but they offer a free domain name with most of their packages.
The domain name you chose may just be your company name or your name if you are a solopreneur. Ideally, try to get a .com. You may not get your first choice, but Hover gives you alternatives that may work, or even be better than your original idea.
If you are building your personal brand, using your name is worth considering. If your name is John Smith, it is probably already taken, but if your name is less common, you may get lucky. As a backup, a .net or .online may be worth taking instead.
Hosting Your Site
At this point, I want to reiterate, you do not need a lot of technical skills for any of this.
WordPress.org is still the best place to host your website. Its plugins and integrations make it the ‘hub’ from which you can add the components you need. It is also an excellent blogging platform. However, I don’t build a lot of my content on WordPress. More on that later.
Finding a Hosting Provider
I recommend setting up your WordPress hosting using Bluehost.com. They are probably the best WordPress hosting company, plus they include a free domain name in their package. This makes setting things up a little easier because you don’t have to worry about setting up DNS forwarding for your domain. If you don’t know what DNS forwarding is, chose Bluehost! I have used Hostgator.com, which is also worth a look. For this exercise, all you need is somewhere to host your WordPress site.
Once you have opened your Bluehost or Hostgator account, you will be given the opt-in to do a 1-click WordPress install. Go ahead and do this, making a note of the login details to your account and your WordPress site. You will need these to manage your site.
Setting up a Basic Design
OK, this is my opinion, but I don’t believe I am alone.
The WordPress design interface is not very intuitive and not easy to learn. When I first started my business, I tried to design my site on WordPress and spent hours and hours trying to get it looking half decent.
Outsource the Design
I am not going to go into detail about this here, but there is the option to outsource the design work. It will take a little longer than a day, but I encourage you to do this, once you have some content. The cool thing is that it doesn’t cost very much to do.
Click here for my Fiverr design tips and contacts
Landing Pages and Sales Funnels
Using Leadpages to Design and Build your site.
This is where I stray from the norm. As I said before, I have found that WordPress isn’t the easiest place for a beginner to build a website. There are some theme builder packages, like Divi from Elegant Themes, or Thrive Themes, but I still much prefer to use the Drag and Drop templates within Leadpages to build my Web pages. The bonus is that you also learn how to build sales funnels.
Leadpages, in case you didn’t know, is a landing page platform. This means that it is used to design and host pages that are optimized to convert visitors into prospects when they ‘land’ on your website.
In our example, I initially needed 4 pages, for my colleagues’ web site. A home page and three pages that talked about specific products and services they offer. These would be built using Leadpages. The idea would be to direct Google Adwords campaigns to these pages. Each landing page would also include a “call to action” or CTA.
We would also add links to emails they sent out to their email list, that would point to these pages. If they wanted to also run Facebook or LinkedIn ads, they could also use these landing pages as targets for these ads.
A CTA is a link offering something of value to the visitor, such as an ebook or mini-course, in exchange for leaving their name and email address. Where you don’t have offer is not available, it could be a simple “request a quote” or “contact” button.
It is really easy to build web pages using Leadpages. The good news is that those web pages can also be optimized to convert your web traffic into prospects. You can include CTAs throughout. You can also add menus to link to other pages so it feels like a website.
So let’s go back to our example.
Initially, I needed 4 pages, for my colleagues’ web site. A home page and three pages that talked about specific products and services they offer. The idea would be to direct Google Adwords campaigns to these landing pages. They would also add links to emails they sent out to their email list, that would point to these pages.
Creating the Landing Pages
This is where Leadpages really helped. For each page, you start by selecting a drag and drop sales page template. The page comes pre-laid out with a series of sections. This is where we can add content using “Widgets” for things like Headlines, Text, Images, and Videos. You are also able to add “Call to Action” buttons that open up web forms or “Leadboxes” where visitors can enter their information to request a quotation or gain access to an ebook.
A lead magnet is something that may be of value to your audience, that you can offer them in exchange for their email address. It is typically an ebook, list of resources, tip sheet or even a mini-course.
In our example, my colleagues wanted to offer something that would entice visitors to enter their email address. We had an ebook on “How to Deal with Ransomware”, which had been translated into Spanish. Ransomware is a form of computer virus that locks computers and will only unlock them if a ransom is paid to the person or organization that sent the virus. We decided to use this ebook as the focus for one of our pages and also a Google Ad campaign.
Once we have chosen our sales page template, we added a Headline section, which includes a button to access the Leadbox form and the Leadmagnet. Some people recommend just having this on a landing page. In my view, I think you need to provide a bit more information about your company on the page and maybe links to other pages on the site. However, the call to action should be the focal point on the page.
If you want to learn more about how I use Leadpages to create web pages, I have an ebook that goes into more detail. Here is a link to where you can sign up to download it.
Creating a Home Page
A home page can take on several different forms, but most people use it as a place where people can quickly learn about what their business does and also navigation to the rest of the Web site. For this reason, a home page will often have a number of sections as well as a navigation menu in the header section.
In our example, we wanted to have headline sections highlighting current offers, followed by links to other services.
Linking to WordPress
If you remember, your domain is directed to your WordPress site, so you need to link your pages to that site. This is a simple process using the Leadpages WordPress plugin. Just type in your web address and login to your WordPress site. Select “Plugins” and “Add New”.
Then go to your home page in Leadpages and select “publishing options”. You will see the option to publish in WordPress and a link to the latest plugin. Download it as a .zip file. Note, that Safari will automatically unzip the file, so use a different browser such as Google Chrome.
You then return to WordPress and drag the zip file into the “choose file” button to upload the plugin. Activate it and you will see “Leadpages” listed in the left sidebar menu.
Select Leadpages and you will be given the option to add new Leadpages. Start with the homepage. Set this as “Home Page”. This will then be the page people land on when they type in your domain. Do the same with the other page, except that you select “Normal Page”.
You now have your basic web site set up. If you are running ads, you can direct them to the relevant page, which should be optimized for each ad. This will give your visitors a positive experience and should lead to conversion into prospects.
Email List Building and Management
One last thing we should mention is how to capture email addresses and what to do with them. To do this, you need an email automation tool. Examples include ConvertKit, Active Campaign, MailChimp, and Drip.
I have used all of these and recommend Drip for most business applications. Drip has the advantage of being free for up to 100 subscribers, so you can set things up at no cost, while you start to build your subscriber list. It is now owned by Leadpages, so the integration is excellent.
Sending Out Mails That You Can Track
If you have an existing email subscriber list, you can use Drip to send out emails with links to the Web pages that you built in Leadpages. This helps you and your subscribers as follows:
- Your subscriber can choose which offer or service they want to learn more about, without having to read through a lengthy email. They just click on a link and they are taken to the appropriate landing page.
- You can track who clicks on which link, so you can start to profile your subscribers. You can then follow up with emails and offers that are specific to each subscribers area of interest.
Here is how you do it:
First, set yourself up with a free Drip account using the following link:
Capturing New Email Addresses
Remember those Calls to Action or CTA’s we put into our landing pages. If you haven’t already done so, add these as buttons in the appropriate sections on your pages.
When you log in to Leadpages and select a Leadpage to edit, you can add a button widget anywhere on a page. Clicking on the button will give you the option to direct traffic to a web form or “Leadbox”. You can either edit an existing Leadbox or create a new one from the standard template. As with when you are creating Leadpages, you can add widgets for Headlines, Images, and text fields. If you click on the submit button, this will open up a configuration window where you can change the fields in the form to suit.
The final step is to set up notification and add your Leadmagnet. For both of these, first go back to the main Leadpages menu, and click on your name in the top right. This will reveal a drop-down menu that includes the fields for Integrations and Lead Magnets.
Select Integrations and find the “Drip” icon. Select it and add your Drip account. You can now go back to any Leadbox configuration window and add Drip to your notifications. This means that anyone who completes the Leadbox form will be automatically added to your Drip subscribers list. You can even add them to a specific email campaign if you have one set up.
If you select “Lead Magnets” in the main menu, you can upload your ebook or another giveaway as a Leadmagnet. You can then link to your lead magnet to your Leadbox so that new subscribers are sent the lead magnet when they enter their details. The lead magnet will be sent out to your subscriber through your Drip account so you can validate that it is a genuine email address.