What I’ve Learned from Building 40 Websites in 40 Months

It was September 22nd, 2014…

I was sitting at my desk in my college apartment in Birmingham, Alabama after a long, hot baseball practice at UAB…

After just finishing up the last of 21 interviews with the best mental performance coaches in all of baseball, many of them had encouraged me to package those audio interviews (and text transcriptions) into a product.

I had a paperback copy of the finished book in my hands… All of the audios were edited into a beautiful 10-CD set… The book file was converted into an eBook.

Now what?

I knew that the information these coaches had shared with me had the power to help players, coaches, and parents…

But, how was I going to get it into their hands?

(Oh, and the wonderful NCAA wouldn’t let me use my name in any way to promote the product…)

If I just put the product on Amazon, they were going to take 50% of the profits and I would never know who actually bought it.

I subconsciously knew that I needed a website to send people to so that they could purchase the product.

I hadn’t learned anything about building websites in school… (and I can imagine that you didn’t either!)

And, so it began…

Google + YouTube University 👨🏻‍🎓

I discovered that I needed to:

  • buy a domain,
  • get a hosting account,
  • install WordPress,
  • create the graphics,
  • design the pages,
  • write the copy,
  • hook up a shopping cart,
  • configure the credit card processor,
  • create the template for the confirmation e-mails,
  • and find a way to ship them the physical product…

After all that was completed, I needed to drive traffic to my website, so I created a Twitter Account and a Facebook Page. Then, I used those social media accounts to interact with the experts I had interviewed to create the book.

The next day, I stumbled upon Jeff Walker’s book Launch and the lightbulb went off…💡(I’ll explain this further in a few weeks.)

The 21 interviewees might help me promote the product by e-mailing their lists or posting to their social media accounts.

The response from them when I decided to ‘launch’ was overwhelming and I was hooked.

I had always wanted to coach college baseball, but through this process, I saw the light…

As much as I wanted to teach young athletes how to hit, run, and throw… I discovered that what I actually wanted more was to build a ‘brand’ within a college baseball program, which is why I was always fascinated by the recruiting process.

Through the ‘launch’ of my first product, I realized a unique opportunity in the online marketing world (of sports, in particular). Soon after, several of the interviewees reached out wanting me to help them promote their products and services in a similar way that I had done with Mental Game VIP.

While I was still playing for 2 more years at UAB, I continued to dig in and learn more about web design, and all of the possibilities within digital marketing.

Naturally, several clients wanted (or needed) help upgrading their current websites, or building a new one…

So, over the past 40 months, I’ve built more than 40 websites for clients across a variety of different industries.

⚠ DISCLAIMER: I am not a web developer. I actually know very little when it comes to coding.

I’m a business/marketing consultant that happens to have experimented (and failed) enough to learn the basics of building a website, rather efficiently.

Web design is one component of what the Kaifect agency does, but a very integral one for anyone who wants to create content, products, marketing funnels, etc…

Whether you’re a solopreneur wanting to build your site from scratch, or a business owner who just wants to make basic updates, add blog posts, etc… I think it’s important that you understand these fundamental concepts and be certain that your website is aligned with your mission.

The internet is evolving very quickly and with that, the high-level concepts and strategies remain the same, but the tactics, tools, and techniques are changing rapidly.

Here’s a few important lessons I’ve learned from my experiences over the past 4 years…

1) There are many different ways to build a website.

The purpose of each client’s website is unique. It is important that their brand is visually consistent across all platforms (web, social, etc…) so that plays a large role in the process. There are 2 things I always do before beginning construction: framework the page structure -and- build a cohesive brand guide that includes the logo, colors, fonts, etc…

2) A website is simply a tool to educate your audience and engage with them.

Some people ask if they even need a website anymore with the growing popularity of social media. I wouldn’t say that every person has to have a website, but even if you only represent a personal brand, there are many advantages to having a website, such as streamlining your process for handling inquiries on speaking engagements, public appearances, sponsorship opportunities, etc…

*If you want to sell a product (digital or physical), I highly recommend having a website that serves as the hub, that you then use social media, e-mail, and paid advertising to drive traffic to.

3) If you’re serious about impacting others on a larger scale, you should have a website.

Even if you don’t have a product/service and don’t plan on ever creating/offering one, a website gives you a platform to create long form content, upload videos, host a podcast, etc… In short, your website is where you create value to give your tribe.

4) Creating quality content takes longer than you anticipate. ⌛ 

Just like writing this blog post (which I hope is valuable to you), building, designing, optimizing and testing different elements of a website take time. If you want to build your own website, I highly suggest you download this (for FREE!) and also give yourself 2-3x more time than you expect. (I’ve invested several years in doing this, making countless mistakes, staying up all night to get things fixed, and hope that this will shorten your learning curve and get your site up and running with fewer obstacles.)

5) Technology is evolving quickly, and with that, so are the capabilities of a website.

10 years ago, almost all visits to a website were from a computer. As of earlier this morning, more than 70% of all website traffic in 2018 that I am tracking analytics on is coming from users on a mobile device. From a web design perspective, that means you should be building your responsive websites for mobile first, then desktop… Until early 2017, about 50% of traffic was still on a computer.

6) There is a consistent sequence that your cold traffic goes through.

  1. Driving Traffic (Meeting a New Friend)
  2. Grabbing Their Attention (Introducing Yourself)
  3. Giving Value (Building Trust)
  4. Making a Sale (Value Exchange)

Your website needs to accommodate them regardless of which stage they’re in. You can utilize e-mail autoresponders as well to build the relationship after they’ve visited your site and/or subscribed to your list.

This is a continual learning process that I don’t anticipate will slow down anytime soon. Be patient with the process, but trust it… It’s worth the time and energy to build the platform that allows you to pursue your passions.

In web development, and every other area of life, I’m on a mission to keep getting 1% better everyday and am always open to suggestions, ideas, and feedback that you have and would love to hear from you.

The Bottom Line:

If you’re just getting started or are looking for a couple tools that might make your life easier, please click here to check out a list of useful tools to maximize the impact your website. (Again, there are many different ways to go about building a site, but this is what I’ve found to be most effective recently.)