Add this post to my growing list of “Things you don’t expect a web designer to say, but I’m telling you, anyway.”
(It’s right up there with Why You Truly DON’T Need Your Own Online Course and Yes, I’m Working on the Beach! No, I’m Not Getting Anything Done.)
If you build it*, will they* come?
*It being a fancy pants website with bells, whistles, frills, thrills, and multiple bags of chips.
*They being the swarming masses of happy to click, ready to buy visitors (who are also beyond pumped to join your email list).
Sadly, no. Probably not. The Internet just doesn’t do those “Field of Dreams” moments like it used to. If they made a sequel called “Website of Dreams”, the movie would end after 25 minutes with Kevin Costner crying over his Google Analytics.
If you build it, they won’t come…
…yet. Let me explain before you throw your computer at me. Roughly 500 new websites launch every single minute. (Compare that to 255 babies born every minute. It’s a fertile time on the web.) The number of live websites online hovers around a billion.
That’s one billion websites waiting to be found by the right people, all through mysterious happenstance.
I’m not saying it’s impossible. I’m saying, if you choose to build a website and wait for magic to happen, your results will be less than cinematic.
As far as digital marketing is concerned, success happens in one of two ways:
- First, you build a website.
- Then, you build an audience.
- First, you build an audience.
- Then, you build a website.
There is no Option #3 where all you do is build a website and throngs of giddy customers beg you to take their money.
Building a website and building an audience are separate steps. You can choose the order, but you can’t skip one. I know what you’re thinking: “Building a website is one thing. I can wrap my mind around that. But building an audience? What does that even mean?!”
Yes, I admit, the phrase “Build an audience” is a deceptively small package for such an enormous mission. But it’s a heckuvalot easier to say than this:
- Regularly create engaging content on your website that people love to read, watch, and share.
- Start and participate in conversations happening on social media – and pay attention to what people are saying.
- Stay visible and memorable by sharing exclusive content (not sleazy sales pitches) and updates via your email list.
- Make it easy for your website to be found in search results by continuously optimizing your content.
- Expand your reach by guest blogging, appearing on podcasts, or joining video events on established platforms.
This isn’t a checklist you go through once; building an audience is an ongoing process. It’s why we believe that a new website is just the beginning, not the end, of your marketing adventure.
Building a website, by itself, will not make “them” come.
But if you build it, promote it, listen to what people think about it, refine it, tweak it, and keep building all the while, you may just get your “Website of Dreams” moment. Your people will come. Keep it up and they will come back.