Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade you’ll have heard about the WordPress Content Management System. It powers somewhere in the region of 25% of all websites online. Latest estimates put that figure close to 80 MILLION websites, by the way. Indeed, we’ve been working with WordPress, building websites, awesome sales pages, online courses and membership websites and even custom online marketing mechanisms like Loyalty programs and stock management systems, using WordPress since 2007, so it’s really second nature to us. It’s a fantastic, but flawed system.
WordPress Website Design Costs
Of course, if you have heard of WordPress, you’ll know it’s what is known as an “Open Source” Content management system (CMS), meaning it’s absolutely, 100%, always and forever, free. Also worth noting you can get WordPress themes which install into WordPress for as little as $0 up to $100 for ultra-premium themes. There is a differentiation to make here.
The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
WordPress.com and WordPress.org or not the same company, technically, though they did start out that way. WordPress.com is a hosted platform (software as service) with very limited appeal to serious marketers. Functionality and flexibility of themes and feature sets are not really controllable (you basically have to live with what they allow you). WordPress.org on the other hand is an Open Source CMS with an enormous community of developers behind it, creating and managing plugins for the community. This is the CMS you need to use for your business website.
So, while you can basically get a ‘free website’ without more than $100 outlaid, and install it in likely no more than 5 clicks, why in the world would you (should you) pay a company like ours an average of $4-6k to ‘build’ you a WordPress website? Is this whole thing a scam!? How could we ever justify that price for a WordPress website? Outrage! Lol.
The truth is probably pretty obvious, but in the interests of clarity, I’ll outline it all here so you can move with your best foot forward.
Is Building a WordPress Website Simply Choosing the Right Theme?
First, a ‘website’ is not just choosing a theme, or an aesthetic. Sure, some of the WordPress themes you can purchase for $59 or so come with demo content and look superb out of the box (we do actually use a select few of these for clients’ websites as well as totally custom designs). However, more and more, in every industry and niche, having a ‘nice looking website’ simply isn’t nearly enough to ensure that your website is a lead-generating magnet for prospects and new customers, or that it competes (and wins) against your competition. And I’m guessing your competition is pretty stiff these days, am I right? How to beat your competition with your website, you may ask?
In fact, if you watch my free “Pillars of online marketing” training series on my Youtube Channel, you’ll discover that this aesthetic aspect is little more than 1/5th of what you actually need to have a successful website for your brand.
Aesthetics form the first ‘pillar’ of online marketing, so of course you need to make sure they look attractive, clean and engaging. But after that, how do people interact with your website? What is their impression of your brand and its’ highly individual story?
You must (MUST) have a succinct, fluid User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI), Conversion Strategy, traffic generating strategies, fulfillment mechanics, analytics and funnel systems in place on your website to appropriately siphon visitors (traffic) into buckets from those who are:
Not interested and never will be
Not interested now but could be in the future
Interested right now but need more convincing
Interested right now and want to buy now
So what do you need to do this? You need a funnel. A funnel is a strategic, automated sequence of pages, communications and deliverables which engage with your prospects and place them in the appropriate ‘buckets’, as above.
Each visitor type might have a very distinct, custom user flow through the website. So those in bucket 1 will leave and never come back (and that’s ok!), those in bucket 2 will want to be added to your marketing list so you can build trust for when they are ready, those in bucket 3 will also need this, but perhaps more of a proactive prompt to purchase through a strategic email sequence, and those in bucket 4 will need to be provided with easy steps to buy from you right now.
So how does this all happen? Hint: it’s not by magic. It’s strategic down to the nth degree. We start out with the process we call “Strategic Systematic Deployment” when building out our strategy and work our way through each component in a pragmatic, logical way. Here’s the exact process we follow to build the ideal WordPress website for our clients (or even our own agency website).
STAGE 1 – Due Diligence.
We get to know the clients’ brand, the products/services, the messaging, the competitors and the marketplace. We offer website design for so many industries that this is an essential component to our process and how we set up sites for success from day one.
STAGE 2 – User Journey Mapping
(UX, UI and Conversion Strategy). We create a unique journey in ‘sketch’ format for each audience type (e.g. those in the buckets above). This is really a skeleton outline of how they will interact with the site, and a step-by-step mapping of where they go, dynamically, when faced with specific decisions or Calls to Action on the site. This MUST be custom to be successful for the client site.
STAGE 3 – Wireframes.
From the ideal, optimized User Experience & user Interface, we plot out content blocks with strategic precision. Why a message should go here or there. Why a button should be placed here as opposed to there. This process plots out the pathway to success on your site and the great thing is that using WordPress.org we can build absolutely anything we desire. Hence a custom process coming to life through intelligent design and programming.
STAGE 4 – Aesthetic Design.
We start with the brand identity, color palette and existing assets, if these are present. This is key because on the website we need to create a consistent messaging and voice for the brand as this will lead to faster trust, better engagement and higher conversion rates, when visitors interact with the site.
This process can be done A) custom (blank canvas), B) Semi-custom (utilizing a premium WordPress theme but customizing key pages on the site like the homepage, to match our custom UX/UI) or C) “stock” (i.e. taking a premium theme and living with its’ in-built UX/UI and populating the site with client content.
STAGE 5 – WordPress Website Development Service.
We take the approved aesthetic designs, built on custom UX/UI and Conversion strategy and bring it to life in the development room on a staging server. Of course, we normally use WordPress and build the site on that CMS. This can be done using a stock WordPress Theme or a fully custom website design. This process can therefore take anywhere from 3-4 days to many months depending on the complexity and functionality involved in the site.
STAGE 6 – Mobile Optimization, Testing & Migrationto Final Server.
When the desktop version of the site is set, mobile optimization will be mostly done already but this is also the ideal time to fine tune mobile optimization for multiple devices. Once that’s done, we test all the links & performance of the website (e.g. image sizes, load times) and push the thing live. It’s an oddly exciting process for us!
STAGE 7 – Analytics & Refinement
The bit that most people leave to chance is one of the biggest mistakes they make in online marketing. Without an analytical approach to y our online assets you’ll be doing everything blind. Every decision you make post-launch in terms of improving your website should be guided and informed by strong analytics (and the analysis of those analytics, by someone who knows what they are looking for).
Only by looking at user behaviors on your website, for instance, can you measure the changes you make as compared to that initial baseline. Change some text here or there, add a video in this spot, a call to action button here or there… All those things should be measured so you can ensure you never regress from the point of launch.
*You’ll also have to factor in hosting costs. We recommend WP Engine for most uses and would genuinely recommend you stay away from companies like GoDaddy, 1and1, Bluehost, Hostgator and Network Solutions.
In Conclusion – WordPress Websites Need Us 🤗
… And THAT’S why we charge between $4-6k+ on average for a website. The process above involves multiple layers and strategies that most ‘website designers’ simply are not aware of. The psychological approach to marketing, the essential nature of a fluid, frictionless UX/UI and even a conversion strategy. Those things take time, expertise and crafting to ensure they work for the client in creating a lead-generating home on the web. And if you ignore one or other, well, the website simply won’t be as successful for your business as it should be.
Add to that, the importance of ensuring your website uses a consistent brand messaging and voice that reinforces your Brand/product benefits in a way that is conducive to building trust and, well, that’s a pretty tricky thing to achieve. Which is exactly why experts like us have continued to thrive in the marketplace, because there just aren’t many of us around.
Hopefully this helps lay out the features a successful website should have and why a good WordPress agency can make the world of difference to your business if you go the semi-custom or custom route.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below for us.
If you missed Part 1; watch it first, here https://youtu.be/rt1qLn8OJ54
In this second part of the training I’ll show you the keys to the last stages of “Conversion”. Including how to design effective Calls to Action, a strategy for instant conversion success and what “Fulfillment Mechanics” mean to your long-term success in online marketing.
4 Secrets That Online Marketing Companies Won’t Tell You…
I could get in trouble for this with other online marketing companies, no doubt.
In this article I want to expose and discuss a few of the biggest secrets that online marketing companies everywhere are keeping from you, as clients, that you need to be aware of to achieve success online.
1) You Can Get it Cheaper Elsewhere – Online Marketing Companies’ Prices Vary Wildly
Secret no.1 is potentially the biggest of all because you can always get it cheaper elsewhere. There are hundreds of resources online which will connect you with web designers, developers and full-service online marketing companies around the world who can do it cheaper than your existing online marketing company, or even our web agency. It’s just a fact of life.
Next, your options are less limited than ever before and it’s now truly possible to do it yourself and build a pro website and online marketing strategy (sometimes even to an agency standard), without the need for a programmer or experience in online marketing. It can be quite the revelation.
Whether you choose to put the time into that learning curve alone is your choice, but it’s important to note that the resources are right there, at your finger tips, online.
What Content Management System to Use For Better Online Marketing Performance
If you are open to putting the effort in and spend a little time learning systems like WordPress, you can pretty effectively build a relatively professional website for less than $100.00 using ‘themes’ which are designed by industry-leading programmers and online marketing companies; some that can be installed in seconds.
If this sounds like a good option, we have a complete blueprint for doing this here.
Websites Should be an Investment
However, the reason why I’m open to revealing these secrets is that online marketing companies like ours still get all the high-paying private clients due to the fact that we specialise in offering bespoke consultancy packages based on a number of major benefits.
First, we build excellent websites, we research the niche, we offer services in all areas of digital marketing to ensure the strategy & website are polished, Search Engine Optimised, positioned correctly and effective for our clients.
That is a hard task to achieve yourself unless you have a strict blueprint to follow or someone to hold your hand through it all.
Our Recommendation In Terms Of Website Build & Online Marketing
If I had a personal recommendation for businesses, it would be to sit at either end of the scale – either do it all yourself or invest heavily in a one-to-one consultant who will develop a strategy for you and either show you how to implement it, or do it all for you.
By sitting in the ‘middle’ and opting for a mid-level-agency you’re guaranteed to get mid-level results because your agency will not be heavily invested enough in getting you what you really want… which is those high-end results.
Cheap or mid-level agencies will generally provide a nice looking website but rarely will they hit all the sweet spots between aesthetics, online strategy, SEO and so on (see below for the “four pillars”).
It’s a personal approach but one that we value (and our clients value, above all else). To see why, please read our testimonials at the base of this post.
2) “You Don’t Need to Pay $5000-10000 for a “Custom Built” Content Management Solution” From a Flashy Online Marketing Companies
Lie no.2 is simply designed as a money-recoup. Some online marketing companies spend thousands, even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, on building their own content management systems, which rarely, if ever come even close to matching the free resources available online today.
Content management systems like WordPress, e-commerce resources like Shopigy and even shopping cart solutions like Stripe… These companies have spent years and $millions employing some of the smartest coders in the world, all to bring to the table simple, easy-to-use resources which WORK and function as they should.
That is a hard pill to swallow for most web agencies who have developed their own systems but it is, nevertheless true.
So, when a small company tries to push their own CMS on you, just be wary, that’s all. Ask questions, see it in action – if it does all it says on the tin, then why not use it, but otherwise you’ll probably find better solutions out there for much less of an investment.
However, I’d suggest there’s probably already a better solution, for less money, out there already. Just do your research and ask advice.
*Caveat – While most online marketing companies can provide for clients to find their maximum potential for success online by using open-source Content Management Systems like WordPress, some companies do need bespoke solutions. This depends heavily on their industry and the functionality required of the website, so you should seek advice or do plenty of research.
3) “A Good Website Is NOT Just About Aesthetics” – REAL Online Marketing Companies Know This
Equally important are the other aspects, which a website must accomplish to be in any way “successful” for a company or an individual. These important aspects of online marketing are:
Conversion (Call to Action)
A website with traffic but content which doesn’t “engage” the visitor (i.e. that doesn’t make them want to stay on the site for more than a few seconds) is equally ineffective.
And, if you have these other factors but do not ‘convert’ the visitor into an enquiry, purchase, subscription (or whatever the goal of your website really is) then it’s all a bit wasted, isn’t it?
Online Marketing Companies & The Lack of Focus On Key Principles
Most online marketing companies pay attention to the first pillar (design/aesthetics) but either ignore completely the other important pillars or vastly undervalue them. This can prove costly for a client down the line when they realise their website is simply not working for the business, not generating leads, not securing purchases.
I can’t stand on a pedestal, in the past I was guilty of this as well. However, as I’ve grown and learned the industry and honed in on what works and what doesn’t in terms of conversion, digital marketing strategy and traffic-getting techniques, I’ve come to realise the equal importance of each of the pillars mentioned above.
If you’re going to a web designer for a new website for your business, please make sure both you (and they) are aware of and will attend to, each and every one of these pillars. It will make the difference between failure & success with your investment in a website.
4) You Can’t Get All The Free Traffic You Want – Online Marketing Requires Multiple Streams of Traffic Generation
Another myth peddled by disingenuous online marketing companies is that you can get a ton of free website traffic by using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. That may be true in the long-term but you need to put the ground work in first. It’s like earning your dues on the web, or as I say “building your credit rating”.
Some online marketing companies will provide a website and tell you that you’ll get a load of traffic by simply adding a Facebook page to your online arsenal.
The cold hard truth is that you’ll get minimal traffic from social media if you don’t have a very specific strategy to implement in the long term. Either way, to do this and get significant traffic from Facebook or Twitter et al, you will need to put in a lot of time an effort.
The Cold Hard Truth About Online Marketing Companies & Traffic Generation
The equally cold hard truth is that the only way to get real, targeted traffic as you launch your website, truthfully, is to pay for it. You can discover this strategy and more at our free traffic generation training here
You’ll need to set aside a budget for some of the modern forms of advertising online – Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, Youtube, in addition to trying to build an organic (free) audience for your website using protocols for Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and so on.
Again, this free traffic will generally take a while to generate so don’t lose focus on those important elements (*get them in place right at the start and allow them time to grow).
First, you’ll need to research what keywords are going to be ideal to target for this advertising your product. The way to do this is to use Google’s Keyword Planner. Or, get your online marketing company to do this for you if they aren’t already.
The key here is to research a plethora of very specific key terms & words that your very specific demographic is using to find your very specific product. When you identify these key terms you can, with the help of the Keyword planner, view the number of searches and competition for those terms.
The Next Steps in Traffic Generation
From that point you can start to add them to your website and online advertising campaigns to laser-in on the very people who are out there and searching for your product/service.
These secrets should be of help in pointing you in the right direction for dealing with a web agency (or doing it all yourself, which is a very viable option these days) to ensure you get maximum return on investment and a better product in the form of your website & online marketing.
Let me know if you have any questions or queries in the comments box below and make sure to like and share the content to your friends & colleagues so they can find value in it too.
If you’d like to know some major industry-insider secrets and a strategy to build an agency-standard website yourself, with no technical experience, head over to our owner, Alex Fleck’s Youtube Channel
The 5 Most Common Hurdles to Succeeding in Social Media (For Business)
Content is Key. So how do you find content to post and how do you manage your time efficiently so you don’t have to dedicate hours every day to your social media profiles?
Almost every client we’ve ever had within the ‘Social Media Marketing’ remit has had the same concerns at the inception; actually physically finding content to share – it’s an area that seems eternally confusing for clients. The main concerns tend to centre around the following five aspects, give or take, so hopefully we can help dispel the myth that social media is somehow a headache in terms of creating content for your profiles. It’s really not, if you just take a moment to stand back and think logically about it you will find a huge wealth of resources out there that you can share, use, reference and even create your own content from.
THE REASONS WHY MOST BUSINESSES FAIL AT SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
At this stage it still amazes me how many companies (particularly and specifically in the UK & Ireland) are using social media for their business… in completely the wrong way. This is most true for their Facebook profiles, where they are seriously missing the available features at their disposal.
It seems like businesses just don’t care. They are making basic mistakes, day in day out and are either proclaiming themselves to be ‘specialists’ or at least ‘knowledgeable’ in social media. Either that or they’re moaning about how social media ‘doesn’t work for us’ or complaining about how ‘that twat Zuckerburg’ has made billions and somehow using that as a reason not to use social media for the marketing of their own business.
Of course, in terms of its usefulness for business, these claims of social media’s inadequacy couldn’t be further from the truth. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of businesses worldwide are using social media to successfully achieve their individual goals. Indeed, we’ve attracted some of our best clients using social media… clients located all over the world whom we would never have been able to attract without social media.