5 Must-Ask Questions to Create a Great Homepage

On Tuesday we chatted about how every homepage needs one top priority or goal. When it comes to people DIYing their own sites, I'm such a believer in the power of focus, focus focus to create a great homepage.

create-a-great-homepage

Now, I'm not saying to build your entire site around one goal (although, it's not a terrible idea), but your homepage really needs to make one monster, smash impact and I think focusing your visual and content-related efforts on one goal is a great place to start.

How do you decide what your top priority should be? Here's a handy list of questions that I've put together to help you out. You may find overlap in your answers to these questions -- that's OK...keep an eye on patterns and words that repeatedly pop up!

Create a Great Homepage

  1. What's the crux of your business at the moment? Are you trying to provide information, foster a community, build a readership to sell a product in the future. The purpose of your website right now is really important.
  2. How does your website support your business? If you have an online company, your website may be your business, but it's important to clearly know the role your site plays.
  3. Are your short- and mid-range plans for your business? How can your current site play into your plans for the future? For example, if your goal is ultimately to sell a lot of stuff online, you're going to need to focus on building a list and/or traffic and your homepage -- even now needs to work toward that goal.
  4. What's your great technical or design skill at the moment? How can you use your DIY strengths (and downplay your weaknesses) in order to make a big impact? If you don't have the technical skill to program a pretty opt-in form, then collecting emails might be a TOUGH goal for your homepage -- unless, of course, you can outsource it.
  5. What are some of your secondary and tertiary goals? Make a laundry list of all the goals of your homepage. Sometimes seeing what's important, but definitely not in the top spot, can help you really refine the purpose of your homepage.

Really, you need to be giving your site's goals/priorities a thorough thinking-through just like you would for your general business or a product launch.

10 Must-Read Resources for Writing Great Business Blog Headlines

In our Tech Talk this week we talked about the big picture of what makes a great business blog. I talked about how you need focus and clarity in these three areas:

  • Your business blogging goals.
  • Your business blogging audience.
  • Your business blogging voice.

Once you've mastered those "big picture" basics you can really start to practice the more specific skills that can take your biz blog to the next level. Chief among them? Writing great business blog headlines.

I don't believe in reinventing the wheel, so this week I'm sharing 10 must-read blog posts for writing great business blog headlines.

Did I miss any of your top resources?

Kate's Tech Talks - Digital Strategy 101: Why You Need a Sitemap

In this week's episode of Kate's Tech Talks our topic of conversation is a simple -- but often overlooked -- element to creating your own website: the sitemap.

Wondering why you need a sitemap? Let me explain.

ktt-episode5-why-you-need-a-sitemap-640x375.jpg

The way I see it, sitemaps serve two purposes: helping search engines index your site and helping you organize your own content. For most website DIYers you only worry about your sitemap when submitting it to Google and even then it's an afterthought.

In reality, a sitemap is a great way to plan your content before you even start designing your site.

When you sit down and outline how your site should flow, you end up thinking through really important content and design-related aspects of your site and preemptively asking yourself important questions like...

  • Will the average visitor be able to find my best material in two clicks or less?
  • Will I be able to generate good, non-repetitive copy for each of these pages?
  • Are each of these pages essential for me to have to launch by site?

The key to creating your sitemap is to do it early, keep it simple and don't over-think it! A simple flow chart with your top line navigation items and any drop-downs below it will do the trick.

In this week's episode I share my story about how I almost overdid the menu items for Kate's Tech Talks, but sitting down and planning out my sitemap helped me to keep it super simple.

If you come away with one nugget from this week's episode make it this: less content that's higher quality and fewer pages is almost always what's best for business!

Kate's Tech Talks, Episode 4: How to Spend a Small Website Budget

ktt-episode4-how-to-spend-a-website-budget-640x375.jpg

Howdy there my dear readers and viewers. In this week's episode we're taking a reader question that covers a topic that I get asked about all the time: how to spend a small website budget. Here's the deal. Do most small business owners have 5-10k to slap down for a totally custom, brand spankin' new website? No way. Not happening. BUT, a huge percentage of you all do have small budgets to spend on things like web design, graphic design, coding, photography and other customizations that can take your website from just OK to totally rockin'. The big question is, of course...

How in the heck do you figure out how to spend the money?

I've seen lots of DIYers make the same mistake -- spending the money on lots of little things -- and I'm here to tell you that's not the best way to use your investment moolah. Allow me to share my top three strategies for how to spend your cash...and #3 might just be a little controversial among my audience.

In this week's episode I walk you through those 3 strategies for deciding how to spend a small website budget:

  • Don't spend it piecemeal.
  • Assess what you can and can't do for your biz.
  • Spend it on tangibles -- i.e. real, finished product shizz for your site.

I can't emphasize how important #3 is. I see so many DIYers buy programs or coaching sessions instead of getting a finished product. Look, if you've got lots of cash to spend by all means invest in those types of things -- BUT, I strongly suggest avoiding anything that puts more work back on you...and lots of online programs do just that.

After watching this week's episode, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what you like/love/hate doing for your business and how it compares with what you'd like to outsource.