So you wanna build a website? Well, hold up because if you don’t go about it in the right way, you might end up wasting your time.
In this post, I’ll share the crucial first steps you need to take before you start building a website for your business—and a couple of amazing resources to help you get started building a brand and business you can be proud of.
Picking a Purpose (Your Website Is Not a Business Card)
First, a quick story. When Pat was in high school, for whatever reason all the “cool kids” started printing little business cards.
Now, none of them actually had a business, so their cards just had their name on it and maybe the sport they played.
The idea was to look cool. And Pat wanted to look cool, so he went to Kinko’s and printed out a bunch of business cards for himself. (To his memory, he was a black belt in karate.)
The Thing You Need to Do Before You Build a Website
Unfortunately, a lot of people want to have a website for the same reason Pat and his friends wanted business cards.
To look cool.
They want to look like and feel like they have something they actually don't: a business.
So what does this mean for you, aspiring website-haver? It means building a website shouldn't be your first step.
The first step is figuring out what the purpose of your website is going to be.
If you have yet to nail that purpose, to figure out who you’re serving and how you want to help them, then that’s what you need to do first.
That’s what will determine what actually goes on your website.
If you're having trouble nailing that down, check out Pat’s book Will It Fly?. It’ll help you define your niche and understand who you’re serving. Before you start building a website for your business.
Figuring out the purpose of your business is a big step, and it can't be rushed. At the end of this post I’ll share another (free!) resource that’ll help you with that step.
Getting Started with Branding: Your Business’s Name
Okay, let’s say you have an idea of who you’re serving and what your business is about. Where do you go from there?
This is where we enter the realm of branding.
There's a lot to think about here, starting with the name of your business. The name needs to be catchy, but not so catchy that it doesn't make sense in light of what the business is about.
Is yours a personal brand? Then the business name should probably be your name, or a mixture of your name and something related to the space you're in.
If you’re feeling stuck coming up with a name, the Post-it Note strategy is a fantastic brainstorming technique.
Here’s how it works:
The key to this approach is to get all the business name ideas—good, bad, it doesn't matter— out of your head so you can deal with them.
Once you’ve started narrowing the options, you need to find out if they’re fair game to use for your business. Pop those options into Google to see who else might be using them and whether or not they’re trademarked.
(We’re not lawyers here, so we highly recommend talking to one if you have any concerns about picking a name that won’t get you into trouble.)
How to Not Waste Your Time Building a Website
We’ve just been scratching the surface here, but if you’ve been thinking about starting a business and building a website, I hope this post has helped get the wheels turning for you.
For more on picking a name for your business and figuring out what kinds of content you should be creating for your website, watch Pat’s 8-minute video below.
Before we sign off, remember this: you’re not going to build a website overnight and make a million dollars tomorrow.
You’ve got to start somewhere.
And your website will always be a work in progress. It doesn't need to be perfect at the start. (Or ever. We're always working on improving ours.)
So forget about perfection, and get started creating something that will help people and get you results.
If you’re eager to do that, give the Build Your Own Brand course a look. Over just five days, it walks you through creating a brand and a website—and it’s completely free.
If you can answer “Yes” to these three questions, then Build Your Own Brand could be a perfect fit:
- Have you been thinking about starting a website for a while, but haven't because you didn't know how to start?
- Do you have an idea for an online business, but no place to showcase it?
- Is your entire business built on someone else's platform, like Facebook or Etsy?