Ep 149 | Website FAQ
Getting a website up and running for your business is no easy feat. You probably have more questions then answers and when you talk to potential developers they probably speak in a language you don't understand. I'm answering some of the most commonly asked questions I get when it comes starting a website project. I hope they bring some clarity to you and help you have a more enjoyable experience.
What You'll Learn:
→ questions to ask around the platform you use
→ must have pages to include
→ figuring out the tech you'll need to integrate
→ figuring out the right content for your website.
Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:
[3:20] Choosing your platform Choose a platform that best suits your needs and expertise. Research whether an all-in-one platform or a more customizable platform fits better for the functionality that you need for your website.
[6:30] Website Layout Get started by having a Homepage, About page, Services page, Contact page, and Miscellaneous page. Keep the information simple and easy to access for your audience.
[10:20] Payment Options Look for platforms that offer nonprofits a discount on services. Have a credit card payment option to make donating easier for the donors.
[11:30] Photos Cell phones make it so easy to take photos now, so encourage your staff and volunteers to take pictures whenever working in the field. Use photos of yourself in action and showcase the impact you are making.
[13:00] Google Search Engine Use the Google Ad Grant so you can search the keywords that benefit you the most. Keep content on your website so search engines can find you more easily.
We love creating the podcast and help you grow your organization. If you like what you learned here please give us a tip and help us offset our production costs.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, hey, today I am walking you through the most frequently asked questions we get when it comes to building, prepping, designing your website. We get so many questions about, should we do it ourselves? Should we hire it out? When we hire it out, what should we look for? Where should we build our website? Tons of different questions before you even start the process. So maybe you've gone through a build before and it didn't go like you wanted. It didn't end up with what you wanted. Or maybe you're starting from scratch. Or maybe you had a great website, but your organization has grown and evolved, and now you need new features. So whether you're in any of these stages, it doesn't matter. We still get the exact same questions because here's the thing. You are great at what you do. Marketing and web development, and what's going on in the digital space may not be your jam. So I'm here to help give you some tools and resources for how you can go about making some of these critical decisions so that you end up with a product that you love. My name is Sami Bedell-Mulhern, and I am the host of the digital marketing therapy podcast. And I'm so glad that you are here listening today. Thank you for taking the time out to reduce stress when it comes to your website build. Now before we get into the episode, this episode is brought to you by our quiz, should you DIY your website. So I hope you'll head on over to thefirstclick.net/quiz, take this short quiz, and get the results and resources to help you with the right place for you to start, and how you should go about building your website. Whether it's doing it yourself, working alongside somebody or doing a fully custom website with some with the developer. So again, that's thefirstclick.net/quiz. Check it out. Let me know what you think. Let's get into the episode.
[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing, and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.
[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Okay, so we're doing a little FAQ today, all about website design. How do you get started? What makes sense? These are some of the commonly asked questions that we get. If you have another question, feel free to send it our way. We're happy to answer them. You can either drop them in the comments below this video at thefirstclick.net/YouTube. Or just shoot us a message Hello@thefirstclick.net. And we'll get back to you. But the first ones that I want to start out with are kind of all lumped together. So hosting, domain, what platform should we build on? How does that all work? Sorry about the dogs.
So this is all kind of lumped in together, because there's so many different platforms you can build on. Some of them include your hosting and domain, some of them don't. Some of them have more customization and some of them don't. So again, if you take the quiz at thefirstclick.net/quiz, it should help you out a little bit there with making some of those decisions. Now, when it comes to understanding the difference, that's what I want to talk to you about today. So your hosting is what keeps your website up so that people can see it. Now there's a couple platforms that we recommend if you're going to host your website, and that is site ground and WP Engine, both great platforms, we ourselves use SiteGround for as many clients as we can and for our own websites. But they're both great options. And it really is critical to have a hosting platform that has great customer service that has your built in SSL, which is the little thing at the top corner of the search bar that tells you that your website secure that's critical, and making sure that they can keep things up to speed and that they can keep your website up and running. Your domain is the URL that you purchase. So thefirstclick.net would be our domain. And you can do that anywhere. We always love to have it where you're hosted to have everything all in the same place. However, if you purchased it through something like GoDaddy or Google, it's totally fine to you can keep it wherever it's at. You need both of those to keep your website up and running and live for people to see. You can have multiple domains. So we have thefirstclick.co, thefirstclick.biz, I think thefirstclick.us They all redirect to thefirstclick.net. You can have multiple domains going to one hosting website. Now the platform is where things kind of get a little bit tricky. If you use something like Squarespace or Wix or Weebly, then they will have your hosting as part of the platform and sometimes the domain. You pay them a fee to keep your website up. But that includes your hosting. So when you're looking at those expenses, just remember that you're not going to be paying a hosting expense because it's part of that platform. Now, if you're doing something like WordPress, then you would definitely need to have a separate hosting account domain, because WordPress is a platform to build, but it doesn't keep your website up and running. Okay, so that's kind of some of the differences that you want to look at there. Now, why might you choose different platforms over the other, this can get pretty in depth. So you definitely want to do your research. But really, it comes down to the functionality that you need for your website, kind of what is the growth that you're doing? What is the expertise that you have in building? Squarespace and Wix and Weebly are much easier drag and drops. Some of them are more customizable than others. They all have different features. We love WordPress, because it's open source. So anybody can create a solution for all the things so it can do all of the things, it can do ecommerce, it can do robust donation pages, it can do forms in, you know, like it can do everything just depending on what you need. So it's something that can grow with you. However, it's not always the easiest to just jump in and get started with. So those are all things to consider with regards to your expertise, your level of experience, your budget, and who you have on your team that can help support the project. If you want to hire it out, I think WordPress is a great option to go.
This second question that we get a lot of is like how big does my website need to be like, how much do I really need to have on there. And we definitely recommend having five pages if you're just getting started. And that is a homepage and about page, a services and or donation page, a contact page. And then you're probably going to have a miscellaneous page, just depending on your organization where you need to put things that could be an events page, it could be a blog, it could be anything that's just unique to your organization that you need to make sure is represented on your homepage. Now you could also if you're just getting started, do one really long homepage, have your menu navigation, just drop you where you're at. You'll see that in a lot of different places. But don't overthink it. And it doesn't need to be crazy robust. So how many words do I need to have on each page? Now, the thing that I want you to remember here is it's all about the user experience. So yes, we do need words on our pages in order for search engines to understand what it is that we're talking about. But we don't want to just have a whole bunch of big paragraphs, people have to really read in order to understand the gist of your website. So what we want to have here is carefully thought out, headlines, little bullets, information, images, infographics, things that allow people to scroll the page that they're on and jump to the important information that they care about, what is it that they need. And this is especially critical with your donation page, making sure that the form for them to give is at the very top, they don't have to scroll forever to find it giving them the important quick information about where the funds are going. And making it really easy for people to find what they need. And the way to really figure this out is to test and kind of see how things play out, how people are interacting with your website. And then just paying attention to your goals, what are the goals of your organization and making sure that that information is really at the top and easy for people to access. So we talked about your donation page. And so many organizations have just an iframe. So you can just see it's embedded in the web page, in the donation page that you're looking at. It's just a white page with this like box. And you can see the forum when you scroll within the box. Or it's a button that just go straight to a Pay Pal account. Now listen, I understand that third party party resources might have an extra expense to them. But when people have a good experience when they land on your donation page, it's more likely that they're going to give you money. So I would love to see you use something like every.org or give WP which are WordPress options. But I believe every.org can do other platforms, but pay attention to the platform that you're building on and find a tool that can embed everything into your website. So it looks like it's native in your website, and it's part of the process. So the two things you're gonna want to consider here is the platform that you're building on and the CRM that you use, because we also want to make sure that it all syncs nicely so that when the donation comes through your website, it automatically goes to your donor CRM so that you can continue that cultivation and that experience with the donor with ease and also at the end of the year so you can create those end of year reports and tax letters and all that good stuff very easily. Really, so pay attention to that. But I would really, really, really challenge you to make that donation page beautiful and make it worth the experience, it's critical. Don't want to see any of your pages going straight to a Pay Pal button. It's so easy to do other things now. And it just makes you look more professional and like, you're doing great things with money.
So that leads me to payment option. So what payment options should I offer to people that are visiting my page. Now I know that there's some platforms out there that offer a discount to nonprofits, I believe stripe does. And then there's some other credit card processing companies that you can go through as well, that will give nonprofits a bit of a price break, which is great. And you can always have PayPal as an option. But I would really challenge you to also have a credit card option as well. So make sure that you're integrating some of those things in there. And talking with a professional, they often will allow you to share your statements with them. And they can kind of compare and contrast and give you some options for things that are going to save you money. So talk to your bank, talk to any credit card consultants that you know, and make that happen, because it can really make a big difference. And that's the other thing with the donation platforms. When you sync those up, a lot of times they have an option for you to have a box that they can check to cover the credit card fees, which puts more money in your pocket. So all great things that you can pay attention to.
Um, one of the other questions we get often is how do I find photos from my website. Now there's tons of free stock photography websites out there we like Pexels, we like Unsplash, there's so many, and we'll link them up in the show notes. But it's always great if you can use your own photos of you and action and the impact that you're making. And so there's a few ways that you can go about doing that. Number one, this, your iPhone is a great tool. And makes it really easy for anybody to take pictures. It doesn't have to be an iPhone, it could be a Samsung, it can be whatever. But put some in the hands of those folks that are in the field or have them use their own camera. And just take pictures, just take pictures, just challenge your staff, and your team to say, hey, I want everybody this month to take 15 pictures of things that they think are impactful based off of what they do at the organization. Collect those images and you'll have some great images that you can use for your website. If you want to, you could send them out to somebody to have them edit them and clean them up. But that's a great place to start. You don't have to spend a lot of money and hire a professional photographer to come through and do that. Now, you totally can. And I would recommend at some point to phase that into your process, to get some photography done. But really just get started with a phone and have people take pictures of what makes the most sense for where they are, and what they do, and what they think would be impactful to tell the story of how they serve the mission.
And one of the last questions that I want to make sure to cover today is how do I get my website on the first page of Google? So this is a common question we get all the time. It's easier said than done. And there's a whole lot of things that you can do. It's going to depend on a lot of factors. How competitive is what you do in your area? Are you serving a local audience, a national audience, a worldwide audience? Who is your target market? How are you really strategizing what it is that you do and how you do it. Now, here's the awesome benefit that nonprofits have right? You have the option for the Google Ad grant. And I feel like I talk about this in almost every episode, but it's so killer $10,000 a month for your organization to use the Google Ad grant. So then you can search the keywords that are most impactful for you. And you can show up in that top spot for those keywords in Google. So that's an incredible advantage that you have over all other small businesses that don't have that kind of budget. The key is that you have to have content that makes sense. So when you're thinking about how do I show up on the first page, it's really about what is the problem that I solve? And how can I get that information out to the audience that needs it. So let's say you offer after school affordable after school care for children. So you need to increase your enrollment, maybe that's your goal. So instead of just having ads that say affordable childcare, which you could, it would be more impactful to have a blog post that talks about some of the things that you provide. You might want to have a blog post about after school activities that your kid can do at home, you might want to have some blog posts about developmental information for different age groups. And once people land on those pages, there's more information to drive them to the services that you offer. So that's a great way to use Google ads. It's also important that you just have content on your page at all times in order to let search engines know more about what you are about, who you serve, so that they can serve you up in search results. And then the last thing that I'll mention is really collaborating with other organizations in working on a strategy that's called backlinks. So that's when another website links to your website, another reputable website linking to your website. So that could be things like maybe the arts and crafts store down the street that donates a lot of materials to your organization, maybe they link to your website, because they're a proud partner of yours. Maybe it is a doctor in your area that comes in once a month to do healthy kid checks. Or maybe it's a dietician who comes in and helps your team provide lunch menus that are going to be sustainable and delicious and healthy for the kiddos that are coming. So there's so many ways that you can play with this and make it work for you and your organization. So those are just some of the questions that we get a lot when it comes to building, we do have a workbook called the website redesign workbook that you can check out on your website, I will link it up in the show notes. So you can check that out if you want to go through all of the Avatar stuff, and we have a lot of resources in there about the different platforms and things of that nature. So you can definitely check that out. And if you have any questions, definitely hit us up. And we'll link all of this stuff in the show notes here at thefirstclick.net/149. But I thank you so much for listening to this episode. I hope it gives you more confidence as you jump into your new website project. And don't forget to check out the free quiz for additional resources at thefirstclip.net/quiz. I'll see you in the next one.