It’s a fact of life for many business owners: Websites are expensive. Good lead-generating websites are really expensive.
So expensive in fact, that some up-and-comers have done away with them in the hopes that a nice Facebook page or Twitter account will be enough.
Yes, you need Facebook and Twitter. But no, they cannot take the place of a good lead-generating website. Can’t afford to invest thousands in a site?
Do it in-house. Don’t know coding? These days, it’s not even necessary. There are a few tips you can implement to create a website that is not only eye catching, but will also generate many new leads for less than $100.
A WordPress Blog
You may already have a WordPress account or, as many people call it — a simple blog. What you may not be aware of is that you can use WordPress (especially a domain name that ends in .org) to create a lead-generating website, (where you can share killer content like this) for your business in about an hour, with no coding necessary, for as little as $100.
Steps to Setting Up a Lead Generating Website
Step 1: Your Domain
If you don’t already have a domain name (aka your website’s name before the .com, .co, .uk, .org, etc), choosing and registering one is the first thing you need to do. It’s simple and inexpensive.
Just go to one of the many domain websites, such as:
- 123-reg.com (only available in the UK)
Check the availability of your company name. There is a good chance it might or might not be available. If this is the case, there are a couple of options you can choose.
You can find a variation that’s available– (for example, if smithrealty.com is taken, try something like smithrealtynewyork.com).
Don’t add random numbers or try to add crazy symbols. You want to make sure that your URL is simple and easy to remember.
The other option is to see if your desired domain is available under a different extension, such as .co, .net, .biz, .info, .club, etc.
There are literally hundreds of extensions nowadays, but keep in mind that people are used to .com, .co., .net, or .uk.
It’s better to find a good variation with a standard extension than tack .guru on the end of your company name.
Step 2: Host Your Site
Here’s where WordPress.com differs from WordPress.org: On the .com version, WordPress does all of the hosting, whether it’s a free blog or a premium site with a custom domain. WordPress.org allows you to have your own host.
Why add the “middleman” of an outside host?
It gives you full control of your site, while allowing you to utilize the WordPress platform.
It’s also ad-free, while the .com version has an extra fee for no ads.
There are limitations when hosting with WordPress.com — you’ll have to use one of their themes, storage space is limited, plug-ins are limited, and you can’t use an FTP.
You will also have an extended website name like www.yoursmithrealty.wordpress.com, where if you used wordpress.org, it will drop the wordpress.com off of your website name.
Finding a host isn’t complicated or costly. Go with an established, competitive host such as HostGator in the USA or Clook UK in the UK.
Connecting your domain to your host is simple — just follow the instructions once you’ve registered. Even better, it takes just a few clicks to install WordPress from your host page.
For us here — we use Rainmaker. If you want every fabulous feature of WordPress with the fastest hosting and everything we recommend for success, but don’t want to find all the parts and stitch it together, this is for you. Did we say that we use it?
Step 3: Choose Framework and Theme
WordPress offers lots of themes. The problem is, when you simply use a wordpress theme, you wind up with a site that looks like thousands of other sites. You want your site to stand out from the rest — one that is going to be remembered and not forgotten.
There are plenty of places online to find unique themes, but we find that Genesis Child themes (themes that use the Genesis framework base to create fully customized websites) are the most versatile, and simple to use.
Think of your framework as the engine of your site, and the theme as your paint job. You can purchase both as one item, or you can buy separately, or change the theme without changing the framework.
Genesis Child themes come from Studiopress.com along with the Genesis framework.
Step 4: Add More Plugins
Plugins are similar to the apps on your smartphone, only they add different functionality to your website. With no limitations on plugins, you have an almost limitless number of options.
Don’t go overboard with superficial plugins (in website creation, you should never go overboard on anything), but you’ll definitely want to use some, such as:
- Digg Digg, which allows readers to instantly share posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.
You’re Website is Ready! Now What?
Time to start lead generating!
The first thing to keep in mind is that your website is not your Homepage. WordPress allows you to create as many pages as you need, and every one should serve a focused purpose.
You want visitors to:
- Navigate through your site page by page
- Respond to your Call to Action
- Fill in a contact form.
Give them information they can use. Draw them in with visuals — pictures, embedded video, graphics — while always keeping things true to your Brand Image.
An Effective Homepage
Your Homepage should be visually appealing and informative without giving too much information. Avoid too much text — just give visitors the basics, and invite them to click through to find out more. Use dynamic text, but, like everything else, don’t go overboard.
Updating your website is one of the most important things you can do to establish a good lead-generating website. You should be adding content regularly through WordPress.
This content can range from company news to promotions to articles containing useful, relevant information and helpful links.
Applying Basic SEO
Search Engine Optimization, better known as SEO, is a constantly-changing process that is often at the mercy of Google.
What worked yesterday might not work today, and what works today might not work tomorrow, but the one thing that will always look good to the search engines is quality.
Gone are the days when you could stuff a nonsensical article with keywords and earn pagerank.
Keywords still have relevance, you just have to use them properly — which means no shoehorning words where they don’t belong for the sake of keywording, and no keyword stuffing. You will be penalized.
To help find the most effective keywords and key phrases, it’s worth learning how to use the Google Keyword Planner, a free tool that generates keyword statistics.
The best way to use basic SEO is by utilizing a SEO plugin like WordPress SEO by Yost or the All In One SEO Pack (both free).
These plugins generate SEO scores for you and remind you to do things you might otherwise overlook, such as adding image alt-descriptions, links and meta descriptions, and, again, you can do it without coding or SEO expertise.
While we can’t possibly fit everything you need to know about lead generating into one article, with these basics, you can get started and be on your way to running an effective, incredibly inexpensive in-house website.
Have you created an in-house lead generating site using WordPress? Any tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments!
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