To create a successful website…
you need to slow down and make time for an inner journey.
Most tutorials promise you a “website in a weekend,” and in a way, this is true. You can install a “shell”—a structure for your content—in a weekend or, with a bit of tech savvy, in a few hours. You can even add content.
So why take time and go on an inner journey —the hero’s journey—to website creation?
Do you really need a website?
The inner journey starts when you question if you actual need a website.
Today, an internet presence is very often a required part of doing business. It is the go-to location to find products, information and more about a business or non-profit.
An initial exploration will help you to clarify if you, too, need a new or revised website.
For some, the decision to create a website is exciting and for others, totally intimidating. Like the first speech you did in grade school, you feel excited, vulnerable and exposed.
- what content to share,
- how should the design look,
- will it attract your ideal customer,
- who is your ideal customer and
- what might your friends or family think.
Fortunately today, generating a website structure is easier than previously. WordPress and other content management systems (CMS) provide a code package in an easy to install format—even for the technically challenged.
Additionally, you can use a high-quality premium theme—a template—as a basis for a beautifully designed, functional website. The Genesis Framework* is one option amid a number of providers who offer quality themes.
Whether you installed the website structure (the CMS) yourself or with some help, you are now faced with an empty space that needs filling. After all—
Nature abhors a vacuum but why do most people hasten to fill in the blanks with garbage? —Vanna Bonta
What remains the same, even today, is the inner exploration that leads to the outer birthing of written, graphic, video or other content necessary to create a valuable website.
So, take a moment, slow down and breathe. This part of creating a site is likely not going to happen in a weekend.
Find the stepping-stone path beneath your feet
Not all goals for building or revising a website are the same. To create a website that reflects your values, you need to discover your motivations for being online. Part of the hero’s journey is making your motivations conscious so you have a path beneath your feet.
Start by listing your motivations for being online.
- Not sure of your motivations? Start with the one motivation that most of us generally share, financial—often, to make money.
- Write down the motivation(s) you know (or just use “to make money”) in the center of a blank piece of paper.
- Set a timer for 11 minutes.
- Keep your pen touching the paper and hand moving continuously until the timer goes off.
- Do not stop to think, simply write what comes. It does not matter if the words appear to be motivations or not. Just keep writing.
- After the timer goes off, review the words and make a list of the motivations discovered.
- If your motivations are still hidden, you can persist and do the exercise again. Or ask a friend or hire a guide to help you brainstorm.
- Once you have your list, keep it handy. It is a reference guide.
You also need to find the values you want to share and your desired outcomes.
You can use the same free association exercise.
Where many go astray isn’t so much in their lack of motivations—after all, we are all motivated in some way—
The fault lies when our objectives and/or motivations are unclear, conflicting, or muddy because we haven’t approached the question with a true, clear purpose…. —Michael Port, Steal the Show
Inner journey to reflected values
The heart of the website creation process, for many entrepreneurs, small businesses or non-profits, often begins when they look at the empty space online and wonder, what is next?
Doing the above exercise will help you start to fill in the vacuum with content that reflects your values and attracts your ideal customer. Finding your motivations, values and desired outcomes can take you a long way toward knowing what to say and how to say it to convert site visitors to customers.
So take a deep breath, slow down and know that—
When we love, we are courageous; and courage has nothing to do with being fearless,
it’s about being willing to experience fear, even dread, to do what we must, without guarantee of outcome. —Vanna Bonta
That is a hero’s journey—facing the fear so we can move through our challenges and find clarity.
*(I use the Genesis Framework as a basis to build customized themes. Using a quality premium theme, I can guarantee my work and it makes my job easier. However, I am not affiliated with Genesis or StudioPress.)
Want help finding your stepping-stone path?
I would be honored to help you find your unique stepping stone path to build your sustainable website. Share your challenges or confusions in the comments below.