Step 3: Build Your 1-Page Website
This content is for Fizzle members only.
The crowning achievement of the first phase of the Fizzle roadmap will be your initial website.
Building and launching the first website represents the symbolic launch of your business. It also means it’s time to move on to building an audience and product. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves 🙂
There are two significant tricks to successfully launch your first website.
1. Make it a single page
We’ve seen hopeful business builders burn out again and again because they tried to build too much of a website. That is why we’ll teach you to build a one-page website, because it focuses your efforts toward a concrete goal.
Even though you’re not certain about the channels you’ll use to reach your audience, or the products you’ll build (these things come in the next phase), your one-page website will be the perfect foundation to build on. As you learn more about how your audience and business works you will be able to make changes, add pages and features that will actually matter.
2. Include a way for your audience to stay in touch
Ask any independent online business builder what they wish they would have done differently in their business. Actually, we did that for you. By far the most common response was: “I wish I had started building an email list sooner.”
Let’s avoid that mistake from the very beginning. Your one page website will include a way for your audience to join your email list.
Choose a CMS
This is your first big website decision: what content management system will you choose?
Yes, you have options. A content management system (CMS), allows you to build a website without writing all of the code yourself. It’s the best way to get up and running quickly when you’re not a developer.
We recommend considering three key CMSs to start from:
- Squarespace — The quickest and easiest way to get your site online. Squarespace costs between $8 and $30 a month, depending on the package you choose. This is an all-in-one package, so you won’t need a web host or other software. Squarespace lacks some of the flexibility of WordPress, but if you’re short on technical skills or patience, this might be your best bet. Works for all archetypes.
- WordPress.com — this is the hosted software version of WordPress (the one below is something you download and install on your own hosting provider). There are free plans and paid plans depending on the options you go for. This page can help you understand the differences between the fully hosted “.com” version and the self hosted “.org” version.
- WordPress.org — This is the “self hosted” version of WordPress software. It’s free, but you’ll need a web host to run it on. It’s the most flexible option, and can be customized for just about any situation (Fizzle runs on WordPress), and there are a ton of plugins and themes built for WordPress. However, it does require coding to customize. WordPress can also be one of the cheapest ways to build a great site, with some web hosts starting around $4/month. 90% of founders interviewed in Fizzle run their businesses on WordPress. Works for all archetypes.
- Shopify — Specializes in helping entrepreneurs build e-commerce websites. An all in one solution including web hosting, product management, order fulfillment, and marketing tools. Perfect for archetypes with physical products: makers, marketers, and artists.
There are other options out there, but these are the ones most starting entrepreneurs are using. All of them are great options.
As you decide on a CMS, here’s a few considerations:
- Can you use the essentials of this CMS on your own (i.e., without the help of a designer or developer)?
- Will this CMS allow for your website to grow over time?
- Does this CMS align with your business archetype? (e.g., if you are a maker, does the CMS have e-commerce tools built in? Squarespace + Shopify both include these options).
No choice is permanent, so don’t let this step keep you from moving forward. Most website CMSs provide ways to export your data into another CMS.
Do some research on each CMS, consider what might be best for you, and then choose. Make the best decision you can right now and then let’s move on.
Again, each of the options above are fantastic. You can feel good about choosing any one of them.
Choose a Host
Squarespace, WordPress.com and Shopify have built in web hosting. Skip this step if you chose either of those.
A web host is a company who stores the data from your website and makes it available on the web. Without a web host, you wouldn’t have a website.
If you chose WordPress, then you’ll need a web host. Luckily we offer free, premium site hosting with Flywheel, included in your Fizzle membership! You can check out the details here.
Choose an Email Marketing Tool
Remember, we have two requirements for your first website. One of them is to have a way to stay in touch with your audience. The best way to do that (for now) is still through email.
Before you build your one page website, you’ll want to choose an email marketing tool. We most commonly see Fizzlers being successful with these three services:
- Mailchimp — This is the provider we recommend to most entrepreneurs. It does everything you could want it to, and it’s free to start with (up to a few thousand subscribers), making it an easy place to start. Paid plans start at $10 and scale up as your email list grows.
- Aweber — Similar to Mailchimp, another solid option for getting started with email marketing. Your first month is free and then plans start at $19, scaling up with the size of your email list.
- ConvertKit — ConvertKit is user friendly and quite powerful in its functionality. It’s key feature include easy opt-in form creation, a landing page builder and advanced automation features. Pricing starts at $29 per month for your first 1,000 subscribers and scales up with the size of your list.
Watch the choosing an email service lesson for more information on choosing the right service for your business.
There are lots of other email marketing providers out there. If you want to take a look at others, do so now. But don’t take too long. All of the options above are excellent options, and all of them can export your data for you to move to another provider later. Remember: right now is about getting started and moving forward!
Build Just One page
Now we have all of the pieces in place to create your one page website. The goal for your homepage is to communicate what your business does, who it is for, and how your audience can learn more. The metric we’ll track from the site is the number of email subscribers who want to learn more about your business as it launches.
Here are some of the key elements you’ll want on your one page site:
- The name of your business
- A tagline
- A photo (of you or something related to your business)
- A short one paragraph elevator pitch
- A call to action
- An email opt-in form
It’s best to give an example: The concept of Squarespace’s Cover Pages is perfect for your one page website. If you combined a cover page with a Convertkit popup form triggered by a button on your site, then you would be in business in less than an hour.
Write Your Copy: The Elevator Pitch
Now, the part you want to get right is the copy on the page, which you should limit to a (very) short paragraph, if not just your tagline. Luckily, we have a course to help you come up with both.
Take the Telling Your Story Course to nail your messaging for your business launch.
Common Struggle: Doing too much
It is so tempting to try to do too much with your first website. You get excited, you have a few (hundred) ideas, and all of a sudden you’ve wasted weeks planning and fiddling and have almost nothing to show for it.
- This is not the time to find some badass designer to create a logo for you — use a text logo for now.
- This is not the time to build the website of your dreams — one page will accomplish our goal for now.
- This is not the time to write thousands of words of copy for your site — no one will read it.
Stick to the plan here… And the plan is:
- Choose a CMS
- Choose a host
- Choose an email marketing tool
- Create a one page website
If you get lost in the minutiae, it’ll cost you in time and energy. Launching a one-page, focused website will help you distill your idea into the a real, concrete expression that can resonate with your audience.
From this single page we’ll guide you through building new pages for your site, reaching more people through new channels, and more.