What Your WordPress Site Says About You – WPCP: 018
One thing that has become crystal clear to me (and this may seem totally obvious) is that when I set my mind on something with clear intentions the validation and support shows up left and right! I know… a little ‘woo woo’ maybe, but that’s O.K., a little ‘woo woo’ never hurt anyone.
As my business has grown so has my knowledge and skill level (how else do you grow a business, right?). What I’ve found MOST interesting during this process is how something that I’ve learned, heard or “should have” implemented earlier (but didn’t), now makes sense. Let’s look at a few examples of what I’m referring to (in no specific order):
[icon name=icon-bullhorn]Build Your List
[icon name=icon-bullhorn]It’s All About Relationships
[icon name=icon-bullhorn]You Have to Create Valuable Content (and lots of it)
[icon name=icon-bullhorn]You Need To Share Your Work
[icon name=icon-bullhorn]Support Other People
[icon name=icon-bullhorn]Measure What’s Working
[icon name=icon-bullhorn]What Do You Want To Accomplish With Your Site?
Some of these things I’ve talked about quite a bit on the site and in some of the more recent podcast episodes. What I want to focus on is the very last point:
“What Do You Want To Accomplish With Your Site?”
If you haven’t answered this question yet, you need to. I can guarantee that if you don’t know what you want to accomplish with your site, your visitors and readers certainly won’t have a clue!
Unfortunately this says a LOT about you.
Of course I’m speaking from experience having learned ALL of the above points the hard way (well, maybe not the hard way, just the LONG way). The kicker with this though is that it isn’t something that most people know right off the bat. It takes time and commitment to figure it out. You may have an idea of what you want to accomplish with your site – and that’s great. Start from there.
You HAVE to be willing to course correct along the way!
I was working with a coaching client last month and she was mentioning a product she wanted to create (she does WordPress site work, training, etc.) and when she mentioned an idea for a product she was going to create I asked her ONE simple question that shifted things for her (and she decided NOT to create the product):
“How do you know people want that?”
You probably know that her answer was, “I don’t”. Just because we have an idea doesn’t mean it solves a problem for other people (and by other people I mean our audience, but more on that in a minute). I came up with an analogy that to me, perfectly describes creating something when you have no idea if it’s needed. It’s like going to the grocery store and buying food for a dinner party for 20 people when you haven’t invited them. You’re just hoping they’ll show up?
Kind of cookoo, don’t you think?
The difference is that with the dinner party you know you’re wasting time, money and food. With the product you’re wasting time and money… IF you value your time. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that do things without equating the value of their time to the project. I’m not saying everything you do needs to have a price point attached to it (that’s just ridonkulous), what I am saying is that you’re running a business and if you’re not making money it isn’t much of a business is it?
When people land on your site for the first time, what’s the message you’re sending out?
And before you answer this in defense of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, I just want to remind you that it’s quite alright for this to be something that evolves, grows and changes along the way, as long as you’re conscious of the message.
O.K., you want another example. I get it.
I had a client who hired me to do a new site for him for a side business he was starting (he had a full time job). SUPER nice guy, seemed to have a clear understanding of what he was doing and why he was doing it. We go through the normal process – logos, select logo, mockups, select mockup, code the site, etc. I should have known as soon as the site was coded and some of the requests started coming in that this was going sideways (one can always be hopeful, right?), but I kept thinking, nah, we’re good. Before you know he wants to know how to change the header, put things in widgets, add this, take out that… you get the picture.
I go to view his site and see there are a handful of banner ads in the sidebars and footer widgets.
NOTHING in terms of new content.
What do you think a first impression is going to be when someone gets to this site? And I know, I’m talking about a new site, these things take time.
One of the hardest things to do is to look at your site objectively. Especially if you’ve created it or been very involved in creating it. You take it personally. But I can guarantee you’ll take it less personally if you get clear on what you want to accomplish with your site first, then look at the things you’ve done with (or to) your site to see if they line up with what it is you hope to accomplish.
Where to go from here
Now that this sounds a little ranty and pessimistic, let’s look at how to course correct and get on the right track (and yep, I’m a work in progress too, constantly changing, tweaking and learning, so know that I’m in the trenches with you, not barking at you).
The first thing you need to do is get some clarity.
- Get clear on what you want to accomplish with your site (ex: build a WordPress site where I can provide value through blog posts and videos, establish my expertise, create loyal fans and offer them products to solve specific problems). This might seem kind of generic, but it’s a great place to start.
- Ask someone you respect and trust to give you their impression of your site and whether or not your message is clear.
- If it’s not, start adjusting it.
- And measure.
- Measure. Measure. Measure.
- If it’s not working don’t get all flipperty and piss and moan. Shift gears a bit and keep going (you know the old saying, Insanity is doing the same thing expecting a different result).
Just because I’m on a roll with examples today, let’s look at another one, shall we?
I have a friend who has a great Facebook app for contests (don’t worry, I’m not avoiding her name because she’s ficticious, I want to do an interview for the podcast with her and she’s rolling out a new site design this week, so I don’t want to spoil things).
What would be your FIRST impression if you went to her site and she didn’t have anything written about Facebook and was never active on Facebook? You probably wouldn’t take her very seriously, would you?
If your WordPress site is for fun and you simply want to share everything under the sun about you, your life and your business, more power to you, but I wouldn’t say that what you’re doing is a business.
Harsh, maybe. True, yes.
I think it’s great to include personal pieces of yourself in your business and your site. I do it ALL the time, but it’s in alignment with what I’m trying to accomplish here. One of my goals and intentions with my business and this site is to simply be myself. Authentic and transparent (I don’t care how overused those words are, they fit).
So when I share personal pieces of my life they’re directly related (most of the time) to my business as well. My business IS a part of my life and I know that when I share personal things with my audience it makes me more relatable.
My last bit of advice with this
Step back from your site and try to view it from a visitor’s perspective. I’ve started doing that lately and I can tell you that you’ll be seeing some changes on my site as well (I’ll share them as they’re implemented).
If you’re gone through a reworking of your site or have found a process that helps you get clear about all this then I would LOVE to hear your experiences! Leave them in the comments below or leave me a voicemail through SpeakPipe on the site.
Links from this episode
Design Your Own Blog: How to Declutter + Organize Your Blog’s Sidebar