Once you decide it’s time to overhaul your consulting website, it’s tempting to immediately start reaching out to developers (or asking for referrals).
Instead, spend a little upfront time making five strategic decisions that will not only drive your project, but save you time, money and aggravation along the way.
#1: Who is your ideal client/buyer? Until you are exquisitely clear on your audience, your site will feel generic—maybe even fluffy—and definitely not worth more than a quick glance. Your site analytics will show visitors landing, spending 5-8 seconds and then leaving, never to return.
Deeply knowing your audience allows you to dial into what they care about, their most difficult challenges and their biggest dreams, how they think and how they talk. It gives you a Rosetta Stone to speak their language and viscerally connect in those first few seconds they land on your site.
#2: What visitor experience will most closely convey what it’s like to work with you? Know thy audience AND know thyself.
Are you a creative, insightful sort? Then use words and images that demonstrate that (and can’t be mistaken for anyone else). If you’re more of the rocket scientist type, integrate data and research into your copy and downloads.
Your goal here is to align every point of your website experience with what it’s actually like to work with you. That not only makes your ideal audience lean in and start bonding with you, it also ensures you’ve already won them over by the time you meet.
#3: What is your overriding message? This is all about the transformation you’re promising your ideal audience: how are they better off after experiencing you or buying your stuff?
If you haven’t gotten full clarity on this yet, try drafting a few “heck yeah” headlines that Jonathan Stark and I talk about here.
Heck yeah headlines laser focus your website copy on the exact people you want to help and the big problem they’re wrestling with. They are big neon clues to your overriding message.
#4: What is the one thing you want your website visitors to do? Your website has a purpose: to engage your ideal audience to take action. So what specific action is the most important for this platform?
For authority sites, the big website banana is usually subscribing to your email list. Especially if you’re selling expensive custom engagements where there is no “buy now” button—you’ve got to pull your ideal clients and buyers into your orbit and keep them warm until they’re ready to engage.
You’ll probably want to build an email sales funnel from the website—and if you’re doing this for the first time it may well impact how you put your website team together.
#5: Are you committed to building authority? Once you decide to build market authority, you’ve started a process that forever changes how you think about and use your website.
As an authority builder, you view your site as an external touchstone for your tribe and a highly valuable business asset. It’s where your content lives and works for you.
It not only showcases your wisdom (articles, blog posts, white papers, podcast, video shows, etc.), but automates and leverages how you engage with your audience.
Starting to overhaul your website without answering these five critical questions is like trying to pack your suitcase without knowing if you’re going to Antarctica or Paris.
Decide where you’re headed first.
Related: Deciding To Be Notorious