Follow the yellow brick road to an effective online presence
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companions follow the yellow brick road and face numerous challenges on the journey to find answers.
Each companion is searching for a different answer—
Yet each is seeking home—a place of confidence and security in the world.
Why it is important that your website is your online home base
Just like the four intrepid Oz travelers who are more resourceful after they find “home,” your online presence is also empowered when you have a home base. And your website is just that—your online home.
It is the location you return to time and again.
- It’s where visitors get to know, like and trust you.
- It is the place where financial transactions happen when your loyal fans morph into paying customers.
- It is the place where you are seen as an authority and your evergreen content resides.
- It is the location on the internet that is controlled by you.
From home base, most of us enjoy going out with friends to a pub, restaurant or for an outing. You hang out, have a few good laughs, share an intimate moment, grab a drink or two. Perhaps it’s a chance to escape your messy home office or a break from the kids.
And in the end, you happily return home.
Similarly, there are times when you “go out” and connect with others on social media and you invite them to your home by linking back to your website.
1) Brain—The smart way to build a sustainable foundation for your online presence
Your online hosting is the foundation of your website. It should be separate from your website, yet support it.
Have you ever driven past a house hanging out in the “air?” Most likely, termites or rot ate the foundation. Because your house actually sits on top of its foundation, you can jack it up and build a new foundation without having to rebuild the whole house.
Similarly, if your host goes out of business or you simply don’t like their new fees, with an agile built website, you can simply move to a new host without having to rebuild your site.
There are many viable options to build and host a website today. All of them result in a website. Yet all are not equally sustainable. Your website host should be like the foundation of your house. The base layer with your site built on top.
What’s the brainy way to build your website on a solid foundation?
Wix, a popular proprietary solution, offers free and paid website hosting and services. (Note, this is not about singling out Wix. They are simply one choice amid many proprietary website hosting companies.) Wix users get an all-in-one solution that integrates the website and hosting. They are inseparable.
So why is building your site on proprietary hosting not always smart or sustainable?
The Wix.com help center says, “Your Wix site and all of its content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers, and cannot be transferred elsewhere.”
That single statement means that your website is not hosted on a solid foundation. If the foundation rots, your whole site is gone. And if you decide to move your website for any reason—maybe you need a feature that Wix does not offer or, like Facebook, they suddenly decide to charge for something that was free—you are forced to rebuild your complete site, not just the foundation.
Just like proprietary hosting, there are many non-proprietary choices to build your website. WordPress, a popular non-proprietary website software is one choice. There is WordPress.com, which includes hosting, and WordPress.org, which does not.
Each option has its pluses and minuses, however, either choice is smart. It is smart because you own your site.
Your website is built separately from, and lays on top of, the hosting and so can be easily moved. WordPress.com support says, “It’s your content; you can do whatever you like with it….select the Export tab to download a copy of your blog’s content.”
Moving to a new website host should not change your relationship or lock any doors between you and your audience. When you build your website on someone else’s platform, like Wix, they, not you, hold the lock and key to your home.
2) Courage—Have the courage to design a unique, functional and user-friendly website
It takes courage to design a site that is easy for your visitor to navigate and clearly expresses your unique services or products, but this opens the door for sustainability.
The human brain is drawn to CLARITY and away from confusion. If customers are confused about what you offer, they’ll look past you for somebody who can say it clearly. —Don Miller, StoryBrand
How being courageous and sharing your voice creates sustainability
- More of your audience walks through your open door because they resonate with your unique, clearly stated offering. They are your tribe.
- We all have up and down days. When you feel discouraged, visiting your own website reminders you of what’s important and gives you the energy to persist.
- Your user-friendly site makes it easy for your visitors to engage. Instead of wandering the sidewalks looking for your front door, you’ve boldly laid out a clear path to your brightly colored door that won’t be missed. Your online visitor simply follows the colored next step button to purchase what you are selling.
- It is a place that connects you and your potential customer when you have the courage to let them “see” you. When they see you and feel seen by you, they can relax and know they are buying from a trusted new friend.
3) Heart—Empathy allows you to walk in your reader’s shoes
We all want a crystal ball so we know the exact words to write on our website and in our marketing copy to attract our perfect customers. Besides intuition, empathy is the closest we get.
Your sustainable online presence is an alive place. It is not just about set it and forget it. Content Marketing is an empathetic path to business growth. When you adopt the content marketing path, you are now in business both to make money and to serve your audience.
One major aspect of growing your business is about developing relationships.
To serve and engage your site visitors—to build relationships—you need to understand more than just their surface challenge and offer them a solution. You need to connect with empathy to their deeper fears and struggles and meet them there to help guide them to a solution.
Companies tend to sell solutions to EXTERNAL problems, but people buy solutions to INTERNAL problems.
If we can identify that internal frustration, put it into words, and offer to resolve it, something special happens. We bond with our customers. They feel understood. They engage with the rest of our message in a more meaningful way. —Don Miller, StoryBrand
We all want to be seen, heard, and met. When you can listen to your target audiences’ deeper challenges and reflect that back to them in their words, you are meeting them at the heart.
4) Family—love them or not, they are generally homebase
For Dorothy, wandering in the Land of Oz, she wanted to return to Aunty Em and the familiarity of home. As solopreneurs and business owners, your colleagues, employees and customers are your family.
And it is often those you invite to your home that become your strongest and longest lasting relationships. The sustainable ones.
We all seek to build relationships—to be found and connect—online and offline. Even when you network in-person, people often take the next step to get to know, like and trust you by looking at your website. And yes, many people today have a social media presence, likely multiple, yet your website is still your online home.
Just like Dorothy, we value family and home. It is a place we feel most comfortable. A place that often refuels and sustains us.
When your home is something you are proud of, you are delighted to open the door and invite others in to spend time with you. This results in shared experiences—an opportunity to get to bond.
This is the same for your website, your online home. It is a place where you want to feel comfortable, because, unlike the place you live, your online home’s door is always open—24/7.
When you share something of value with your audience, you build relationships. Those who resonate with your values and need what you offer become loyal customers.
Most of us like to make a good first impression. Greet your site visitors like family and let them know they are welcome. Ideally, they will return many times and engage with you.
The 4 tips to help you super charge your online presence
- Brain—Build your website on a solid foundation
- Courage—Use and share your unique voice to attract your ideal tribe
- Heart—Practice empathy to understand your customer’s needs even before they know what they are
- Family—Build a website home that you are proud of. Then invite your guests in, offer them a treat, and make them feel special
Want further help super charging your online presence?
Have questions you’d love answered to move further along the path to a super-charged website? Sign up for a free 20 minute chat below and I’ll be in touch.