This is a series of articles about reviewing, planning and developing an outstanding website that more than easily pays its way in what it does for your business.
A few weeks ago the sun was shining and there was still a little bit of warmth left so I decided to relocate from my grey desk into the garden to work on re-planning my own website. It’s good to look at what you have already on your website, what you would like to have and how you are going to develop it further to support your business.
The following thoughts apply if you’re sitting down website planning for a new business or project, or like many people you are planning a new website after perhaps a couple of years trading.
Clear the Land
“Remove an inferior or unwanted component”
I will admit that I’m not a great gardener. But I do know quite a few people who have those green fingers. And watching them at work and seeing the odd gardening program I know that to have a beautiful garden, with an abundance of blooming flowers or baskets of scrumptious fruit you have to make sure the land is free of weeds and anything else that hinders growth.
So the first thing to do then when planning a new website is to perform an audit of any existing website and see what stays and what just has to go. I’m talking about the content, about how the website looks and any parts of your website that are not even working. More details to follow.
“Cultivation is about preparing the land for growth”
As I said previously I’ve never been a big gardener but I do remember going with my mum to a local farm to collect manure. I think it was from horses. I also remember mum having several compost heaps in the garden and having to remember to put the suitable leftovers in the compost bins.
The purpose of collecting all this foul smelling matter and using it in the garden is because it has everything needed for growing beautiful, flourishing plants.
The second aspect of planning for a successful website is to prepare the foundations well for online growth. I will be writing more about this in a new post but it involves having sound business foundations, knowing what your business is about and clearly knowing what you do and who you do it for. Watch out for more details on preparing for online growth.
Plant the Seeds
“Put (a seed, bulb, or plant) in the ground so that it can grow”
If you have your own website planning session in the garden see it as an opportunity to do something now that will develop more in the future.
I see a website as a vehicle for getting your message in front of your audience. It isn’t just about what you do, but it is also about who you are and what you value.
With time the volume of the message increases and more of the right people hear it. This will only happen with proper planning, care and attention. And if you plant these seeds in people’s minds from the start, today, you are on your way to world domination 🙂
I will write in another post with more details about what you need to consider when planning your website so that more of the right people hear your message clearly.
“The process by which a plant grows from a seed”
I remember several attempts at growing plants from seeds. The cress on the window sill was a success but the sweet peas in the airing cupboard weren’t. I didn’t even get any sprouts from the sweet pea seeds (I think it was sweet peas – sorry if they don’t grow from seeds).
If I am honest the reason I didn’t have any sweet peas was purely down to the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t ask anyone.
I do understand why people build their own websites. But there comes a point where help is needed – with the technical aspects, with the content and with the marketing strategies too. It is probably the same with many aspects of developing a successful business – you will sometimes need professional help with certain aspects.
If only I had asked someone how to grow sweet peas my house would be full of colour and that delicate fragrance every year round.
“Reduce the extent of (something) by removing superfluous or unwanted parts”
I inherited an old rose garden once. And because I haven’t cultivated my green fingers I asked a friend for help. I remember she came down and started cutting back my rose trees. They had climbed all over the place. By the time summer came around though it was a pleasure to drink tea in the garden.
Websites need the same kind of pruning. This is often referred to website maintenance and is something that needs to be thought about from the off because it takes time and experience. I have a new page about website maintenance coming soon.
“The pollination of a flower by pollen from the same flower or from another flower on the same plant”
I’ve just looked self pollination up on Google and it is a bit complicated if you look into too much detail. But it is the metaphor for your website that I like here of course.
You only need one of your website pages or blog posts to reach a great audience for it to increase the exposure for the rest of the content on your website. To mix metaphors, the snowball effect comes to mind here too.
Publish that great page that one person is waiting for and they will spread the news about what you do and how well you do it.
“Strengthening your business by using its own energy and resources”
I have to confess that I listen to The Archers. In this radio soap opera there’s a family that run an organic farm. The principal with organic farming is that you only use natural elements to encourage plants to grow. So for example, going back to my mum’s compost – she used naturally produced matter from the horses, and cows I think too, to grow the courgettes and aubergine we ate one summer – perhaps I won’t think about that too much.
Your website, if well planned, developed, designed and maintained, will generate it’s own energy that positively influences other aspects of your business.
For example, the content on this website is created from the resources I have generated. This content creates a positive influence when I attend networking events. And of course the content I create on this website helps establish me as an expert in my field and someone who knows what she is talking about.
Organic growth deserves a post of its own I think to do it justice and that is now on my list to write.
I would suggest that you think about your own website or blog and take it for a journey around this gardening metaphor sometime. Let me know what you think about the ideas here and how you might apply them to your business. My contact details are below.