Get started with really understanding what a website is and what it is meant to do for a business and its customers.
Welcome to episode 2 of this truly life changing series on building a great website. You may argue that it’s not really life-changing and the phrase life-changing should be used for more important aspects of life. I would then agree and probably re-consider some of my life decisions. Like choosing to spend endless hours making a course for college students while I could be starting a family, or learning a new language. Whatever.
The point is – I’m sure you’re going to love this series.
And in this episode, we’re going to tackle the question - “What is a website?”. It might be an odd question to ask, maybe even a bit patronizing but it’s very important to start with this simple question. But.. that's the catch. Do you really know what a website is? or rather.. Do you reaaaaally know what a website is meant to do?
Well, you might say YES! A website is meant to promote a business or service. Well, you could be right in saying that. You might say, a website is meant to raise awareness about a particular business or organisation. Which is also true. You might even say, a website could also be a sales platform to sell a business or brand's products. Correct again.
But there is one KEY ingredient that most businesses forget about which makes so many websites out there so ineffective. And that key ingredient is also the reason we felt it necessary to add this episode and not just get straight into it.. But let's keep you hanging for a while and look at an example.
Imagine you walked into a denim store to buy a pair of jeans. You are met at the door by a brand representative and here’s how the conversation goes:
Brand Rep: Hi there, we have the best jeans in town. It's made from the finest material available.
You: Umm, Good afternoon to you too! Brand Rep: Last year, we even won the award for the best jeans in our category. You: Right. I'm just here to look around. Brand Rep: Here is our flagship jeans on a model that looks nothing like you. You: I'm really just here to look around. Brand Rep: Take a look at our corporate brochure. It has photos of our leadership team You: Can you please show me where I can get a size 40 slim fit jeans? Brand Rep: Last year, we went on this amazing team retreat to Bali. Here is a photo of us rock climbing. You: I think i'm going to leave.
It doesn't take a masters degree to figure out what went wrong with that interaction. And yet, so many websites out there do this exact thing. They talk about themselves, their brand values, their services, their awards, their culture, and their pets without thinking about their visitor. Which is why, the key ingredient is - Always start with your visitor!
Your website is your store. It's a digital representation of your brand. It is a store whose doors are open 24/7 and constantly welcoming visitors. It needs to be designed and built for them. And that's the first thing we want you to take away from this course. Websites need to begin and end with the visitor. It's meant to first serve the visitor and not the company. It's meant to give the visitor the information needed to take the next step towards engaging with the brand.
Here is another way to look at this: Every visitor coming to a website is on a journey. They are on a journey coming from somewhere looking to go somewhere.The website is meant to facilitate that journey and push them forward.
If you apply this thinking to building websites you’ll realise one very important rule - not all your visitors are the same or on the same journey. One visitor might just be getting to know the brand while another might already know the brand and wants to buy something right away. The former needs more information about the brand while the latter needs to be given the chance to buy on the spot.
Now you might ask, how on earth is one website supposed to cater to people on different journeys? Well, we’ll talk more about that in the next chapter.
But – this is the key differentiator between the websites you will build and 90% of the websites you see out there. Building a website to showcase your brand is what everyone else is doing. But building your website keeping your audience in mind is what we call great marketing.
We don’t want to just build pretty websites that die a lonely death somewhere on the internet. We want to build highly converting websites that make people come back for more. And that’s exactly what you’re going to learn how to do in this series - all that without writing a single line of code. Now, let’s go over what the next few weeks of your life is gonna look like, or next few days if you really want to go crazy.
We’re going to break this course into 3 parts.
Understanding how websites work, an introduction to Webflow, and actually building a website on webflow.
And finally, hosting a website.
Chapter 2 is specifically focused on helping you understand a brand or business. As a freelancer, you will need to understand a business, its model, customers and goals in order to build a website that actually works.
For your website to be able to serve your visitors in the best way possible you need to have an understanding of the brand you’re building the website for. We’ll walk you through how Webflow works and everything you need to understand the tool. And here’s the fun part - we will actually build a website with you. You’ll carry out the entire process of building a website. That’s right.
In Chapter 4, we’ll focus on how you get a website onto the big web. It’s important for you to understand where they're stored, and how they show up on your browser when you type in their URL. You will be introduced to the world of domains, hosting and servers! It's not as scary as it sounds.
By the time we’re done with you, you’ll be able to pull up some top notch websites for a client or a project. Alright, that’s enough talk. Let’s get into this.