Usually the first thing someone thinks about when they are starting a business is finding someone to build their website. Not much thought is given to what type website they need. Not much thought is given to the purpose of the website or the type content that will be on the website.
Quick side note before we get started.
The actual time to takes to physically set up a website or build a landing page is generally minimal. You register your domain name, set up hosting, install WordPress and you are off to the races. This can be done in a day or less, depending on what you are building.
But the content for your website or landing page can take some time to gather, edit, proofread, and add to the site. So if you are considering building a website, spend the majority of your time initially working on the content. Actually building the website is usually not that big of a deal.
Wireframing your website prior to actually building your website will save you some time. A wireframe is basically a physical representation of your website in a Word document. You can use tables in Word to layout your site exactly as it will appear online. This include image placement, your headline, call to action, content, links, buttons, etc. There is also software you can use to wireframe your site, but I prefer the simplicity of using a Word document.
What is the difference between a website and a landing page?
A website is designed to let people know who you are and what you do. A website will have multiple pages along with a menu to help visitors navigate the site. It generally consists of a home page, about page, services page, products page, and contact page. That would be a minimalist website. If you are selling products on your website, you will also have an ecommerce component to your website.
A landing page (or lead capture page) is basically a one page website with a thank you page with the sole purpose being to generate and collect leads. So you will have two pages – landing page and thank you page. The landing page is designed to present one thing or one offer. The landing page will consist on an image, some text, and a lead capture/optin form. The Thank you page will have a brief message and a link to download your free ebook, report, guide, checklist, or whatever you decide to give them in exchange for their email address. (You will also need to set up a professional email service provider. Constant Contact offers a great solution for businesses and you can get a free 60-day trial to see if it’s works for you.)
I’m sure you have seen a landing page at some point in your online searches. You go to the landing page and enter your email address to get their free lead magnet. The lead magnet could be a free book, free video, or some other type of free download. The intent is to get your email address so they can continue to communicate with you. (If they are doing it right, they are continuing to deliver value rather than just selling in their follow-up emails.)
While on the topic of landing pages, you may have heard the term squeeze page. A Squeeze page is a basically a landing page that is more specific. Where a landing page may have more text with more information and multiple images, a squeeze page is more focused. It will have, for example a headline, subhead, a single image, and an optin box/form with very limited text. Nothing else will be on the page.
Which do you need?
I always encourage everyone to create a WordPress landing page initially just for speed of implementation. You can create a landing page with a good headline, your logo and an optin box/form. You may also include basic information about you and your company and the services you offer all on one page. A short paragraph for each is sufficient to get started. This can be expanded later into a full-blown website if you set up your landing page using WordPress.
There are a couple of reasons for recommending setting up a basic one-page landing page to get started rather than a full-blown website.
First…by starting with a simple one-page landing page, you are up-and-running quickly. Simply register your domain name, set up hosting, install WordPress, and select a theme. You can use one of the free WordPress themes included in your installation, such as the Twenty Twenty Theme. Setting it up this way will allow you to add one page at a time to eventually expand into a full-blown website with multiple pages. Business owners, especially first time business owners, can spend months designing the perfect website. And I can promise you, no matter how great you think your website is when it’s finished, you will be changing it within a few months.
Second…a lead generation landing page is a great way to start building your email list. Business owners tend to put the cart before the horse. They want to build their website, then start generating leads. You need to be generating leads and collecting email addresses as soon as you have the business idea if you are serious abut pursuing it.
The most important asset you have in your business is your list. The most effective way to build your list is email marketing. So if you start building your list with a lead generation landing page while you are planning/developing/building your website and creating your content, you will have a ready list of prospects waiting for you when you open for business.
You have a lot of options available for building a website or creating a landing page. I will be discussing those in a future blog post.
Rapid implementation is key to making money in your business sooner rather than later. Don’t fall into the trap of spending months on your website, logo, and whatever else you can find to justify procrastination. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted early in my business researching, building the perfect website, and all the other things a lot of business owners do that delays their progress.
All the best,