How to Build a Minimum Viable (MVP) Website with Joe Troyer

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In this episode, Joe will tackle an important part of your agency’s success— building an MVP website.

We’ll explore why a web presence is crucial for marketing agencies and discuss the key elements needed to create a minimum viable product (MVP) website. Using the trusted platform WordPress, Joe will guide you through showcasing your services, expertise, and credibility through informative blog posts, compelling samples of work, and genuine client reviews.

Additionally, discover the power of conversion mechanisms and provide actionable strategies to turn website visitors into valuable prospects and customers. You’ll also gain insights into WordPress basics and the importance of regular updates and maintenance.

Get ready to elevate your agency’s web presence and unlock the secrets behind building your digital marketing agency MVP website

Why Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) Website

it is important for agencies to create a minimum viable website for the following reasons:

Credibility

Marketing agencies should prioritize building an MVP website to appear credible and professional in the eyes of potential clients. This is an integral part of the development process for agencies looking to establish their online presence, especially if you’re a startup.

Showcase Expertise

A minimum viable website allows agencies to communicate their areas of expertise, get a product to their audience, and showcase their knowledge through blog posts and informative content.

Demonstrate Work Samples

Including samples of previous work on the website helps agencies demonstrate their capabilities and provides evidence of their expertise and past successes.

Collect Reviews

Positive client reviews displayed on the website can further enhance the agency’s credibility, validate business ideas, and provide social proof of their capabilities and customer satisfaction.

Conversion Opportunities

A minimum viable website should incorporate conversion mechanisms, such as contact forms or free audits, to capture and convert website visitors into potential clients.

Essentials for Building an MVP Website

Here is a step-by-step process for creating an MVP website for a digital marketing agency:

Establish a web presence

Recognize the importance of having a web presence for credibility and marketing agency services.

Choose WordPress

Select WordPress as the preferred platform for building the website due to its versatility and popularity among agencies.

Determine the MVP elements

Identify the essential prototype elements to include in the MVP website, such as information about services, expertise, blog posts, samples of work, reviews, mobile app considerations, and conversion mechanisms.

Create service-specific blog posts

Write five to seven blog posts showcasing expertise and marketing knowledge related to the agency’s primary services. These posts can include tutorials, listicles, or statistics.

Include samples of work

Display examples of previous work or pro bono projects to demonstrate the agency’s capabilities and build credibility.

Gather client reviews

Obtain reviews from clients who can vouch for the agency’s character and services. Consider reaching out to clients via text message to request reviews.

Implement conversion mechanisms

Incorporate conversion mechanisms to convert website visitors into prospects or customers. Examples include a contact page, free audits, or valuable resources related to the agency’s niche.

Understand WordPress basics

Familiarize yourself with the fundamental aspects of WordPress, including the concept of pages and posts, media management for images, menus for navigation, themes for design control, and plugins for extending functionality.

Maintain WordPress updates

Regularly update WordPress, themes, and plugins to ensure compatibility with the latest version of the platform and maintain security.

You can create and launch an MVP website that showcases your agency’s services, expertise, and credibility while providing conversion opportunities for potential clients as soon as possible

By leveraging the expertise of a skilled developer and embracing the development process, agencies can create a minimum viable website that serves as a strong foundation for their online presence.

Topics Discussed

  • The type of content you should put on your website. (2:00)
  • Show some examples of work you have done. (3:55)
  • What do you need to understand about WordPress(6:38)
  • Pages vs. posts. (8:22)
  • Tools and settings. (10:35)
  • Page builders and plugins. (12:56)
  • Shared hosting support sucks. (16:30)
  • Wp engine is a no-brainer. (18:59)

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Joe Troyer 0:36
Today, I'm going to be giving you guys what I'm calling the digital marketing agency MVP work, press website. So what does MVP stand for? It stands for minimum viable product, right? It is a base, it is there ready for you to make the most of but all of the main elements are there. And we'll talk about what all of those main elements are in order for me to consider it minimum viable, right. But I want to make sure that you see here that I also said, Wordpress, see, at the end of the day, there's lots of page builders out there, there's lots of funnel builders out there, you you know them, we don't need to talk about them. The go to solution, the right solution, as an agency owner, I fully believe, for a website. Is WordPress. Still to this day, bar? None. So let's get into things, folks, what do you need in an MVP, a minimum viable product, a minimum viable digital agency? website, right? First off, like you just need something. It's amazing to me how many marketing agencies literally have no web presence, and then are out in the market every day saying you need a web presence. At the basic level, you just need something and you need something that makes you look credible. But you should at least talk about in general, broad strokes, the types of things that you do, I think, then you should have anywhere from five to seven blog posts to start that show expertise and marketing knowledge.

Let's say that your primary service offering is Google Maps. And your first offer, you know, your kind of core that you sell everybody, let's say is reputation management. And the reason that you do that is because they get a bunch of reviews, right? They start ranking in Google because it's a third of the ranking algorithm, right? And then they they're hooked, right? They want more, they want to write better, right? They did reputation because they wanted more calls from the internet. And now a bunch of your work is done. And you can transition them and show them here are the things that you need to do in order to rank well, right. So if those are your main services, those should be listed on your website, and then talking about the blog posts, right, you're going to want to write again, I think anywhere from five to seven blog posts that show expertise and marketing knowledge around those services around those things that you do. And that can be lots of things, right? That could be a tutorial.

That could be a listicle. That could be statistics, right? So if you're talking about reputation management, there's a ton of statistics out there. And if you go over to review grower.com, and then the resources on that Resources page, you can grab a whole list of reputation quotes that I pulled together, and the team over App Review grower, and you can opt in, you can grab those, and that's something that you could share. Okay, you should then I believe in the blog post or on the site, you should have some samples of your work. Okay, when we look out there at digital marketing agency websites, most of them have no examples of work that they've done. Okay, like literally none. Right? And that doesn't

Joe Troyer 4:06
mean if you're just getting started that you got to show like the best case study since sliced bread for you know, and show something that you don't have, I'm not saying that, right, do some pro bono work. Right? Like literally redesign a logo, or read or write a piece of content? Right, or do a GMB audit. Right. And then like, literally use those as the examples if you have no other samples of work or if you're not happy with them, folks, if you do what we talked about so far, that's more than like 90% of the marketing agency websites out there.

Next up, you should have some reviews on there. Right? We talked about reputation management. We talked about getting reviews, especially if you're going to be selling it just if you're a digital marketing agency, you should have some reviews yourself right? And getting those reviews can be really simple, right? Literally texting them. and texting somebody you've done some business with, right? texting somebody that can can vouch to your character and just asking them with conviction. And then lastly on this is that you should have some type of conversion mechanism or mechanisms, right? Like if somebody if you're building this, so when somebody goes and looks at it, that you look good, they trust your expertise, then obviously, you're going to want them to actually be able to convert into a prospect, right to convert into a customer. So you need some type of conversion mechanism or mechanisms to do that.

Right. Like the easiest one would just be like a contact us page. Right? And having that is great, right, but you probably want to take it a step further, you want to do an SEO audit. Right? What if you could do that? Right, that's going to be better than some type of SEO, you know, report or lead magnet, right? Free book about SEO, or free SEO audit, which one's better? To audit? Right? So having a couple of different conversion elements on your site, and preferably, more than just a free report? Right, you give a free ebook, you give something actionable, a free report or something more valuable, right? You don't just only have a contact us and in terms of value, right? You know, a free audit, a con, I would say like a contact page, a free audit, a free ebook, you know, think about in your niche and in your vertical? Like, what, what would it be that that your clients would want to see? Alright, so WordPress, 101.

Now that we've covered kind of the prerequisites and the things that you really got to have, let's talk about WordPress, right. So what do you have to understand? So one of the things about WordPress, that's great, is also one of the things that sucks about WordPress, right? It's like it's a catch 22. So there's always always always updates, right, like WordPress is updating all the time. And then because WordPress is updating something called plugins and themes, right? That that attached to WordPress that go inside WordPress that extend it, that add more options, add more design options, add more configuration options. Those have to be updated as well to work with the latest version of WordPress. So understand that there are always updates, the platform is always pushing forward, which is a good thing. But it leaves some maintenance that you're going to have to do number one, and it's not that hard, right?

The maintenance is really simple. The maintenance is keep the themes and the plugins up to date, and keep WordPress up to date. Even though that there's always these updates, the core of WordPress never changes. And I've been using WordPress for a really, really long time it has come so far, it's not even funny. And it used to just be a blogging platform. Obviously now it's a whole website builder, and blogging platform. But like this core things that I'm about to walk through, hasn't changed since then. So pages are pages. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. posts or posts, blog posts, right? So posts are all going to belong inside of a block. And they're going to have categories and authors associated with those posts. Pages are not going to be inside the block.

So your homepage is going to be a page right? Like your privacy policy, your terms of service are going to be a page you wouldn't want those inside your blog, because you're going to want to put those like in your header and your footer. And you don't want those just like randomly in your blog is somebody scrolling through, right? If you've got sales pages, those will be in there your service pages, those will be pages, not posts. So that's the primary difference there between pages and posts. Media media is where you upload your images, right like literally that simple. I don't host any videos in WordPress only images. All my videos are hosted outside. Menus menus is just what it sounds like Right? And your themes. And in your page builders. You can use menus and menus will be for like your header, your footer navigation themes that is how you control design, right how you control the layout, how you control the design, the usability of the site.

Plugins, though, are typically used to extend the functionality of the WordPress core functions. Right. So we've been talking about core functions here. You know, there's plugins for SEO so you can set page titles and descriptions and which pages you want to be indexed and which pages you don't want to be indexed. Those are Have you know that they extend WordPress is native abilities, then ultimately, there's other things like backup tools. And, you know, if you end up using a page builder, like Elementor, or Divi or a Thrive architect, these tools now I've started to operate, like almost like themes where they help you with design aspects, not just with site function as well. And they're plugins, right? So this completely revolutionized WordPress, I believe when these started coming out. So then users just what it sounds like, you know, you got administrators that can do everything, you got authors that can just write, etc.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, folks, the only users that I use anymore are admins, honestly, next, in tools, there's a whole menu or submitting for a sub menu for tools, one of the things that you should get comfortable with is the import and export options. At the bottom there's, there's a settings navigation. And in there, there's there's quite a few sub navigation items. But specifically, you should check out general reading discussions and permalinks. So in general is going to be like what website URL Do you want to show? Do you want to show the www version? Do you want the website homepage to be at, you know, yourdomain.com/blog? What do you want the front page to be? Which is like the root of the website? Do you want it to be like a blog style? Or do you want to have a static homepage, right? Do you want to have your blog hosted at, you know, your domain.com/blog? But that's not the homepage, right? All those things are set up in in general, I would suggest turning off comments, look at the end of the day, like nobody's going to drop a comment for you. Like, let's be realistic, like your audience coming to this website is going to be really, really small spam comments or ridiculous little taking over the internet and have been forever. comments aren't valuable, because you're not going to get real comments.

Okay, next up is permalinks. And permalinks is basically your URL structure. So what do you want your URLs to look like? If you publish a new page on your on your site? Let's say you publish? Let's say you publish a terms of service page, what do you want the URL to be? yourdomain.com? Question mark, P equals 125. Well, that's what WordPress is typically set up as default. But you can have it come up as posting. So it'd be like, literally, you know, you write up, you know, a terms of service page, you can end the title is terms of service, you can have the URL automatically without you having to edit or change it be slash term service. So back over to theme and page builders. Really, again, to recap, used to only have themes to control design. And now you have plugins like Elementor can control design. And this is a game changer. I think the first time I ever saw this was when a tool called Optimize Press first launch. And it was a way to add nice like graphics to sales pages and guarantee box and FAQ boxes and things like that super nice design. And you could add them to your pages, you could add them to your posts. And the cool thing was is that you didn't have to You didn't have to use a dedicated theme. It was a plugin, right, so integrated with any theme. And this was a frickin game changer, right? And I think it took way longer than it should have for this to really catch on. But now you got full page builders

Joe Troyer 13:57
out there that are just fantastic. For example, I used to love Divi, but I think it's just way harder to teach. And honestly, it's harder to use, I believe, than a tool like Elementor. I really really like the Elementor visual builder way more than Divi just personal preference. I think they're Debbie's hard learning curve to get past for sure. Alright, guys, so this is the deal. These days, I suggest a company called WP Engine for hosting. And I got a page on the digital triggers site by the way, which is a recommends page. And it's not like just a rehashed, you know, review page. It's all the things that I use actively inside of my business.

They're all things that that I support, I endorse, I enjoy you know, and I keep that thing current. So, if you go to digital triggers.io/wp engine, this is my affiliate that link, if you give me if you use that I will get an affiliate commission, I would be very grateful. But if you don't think I deserve it, or you just don't want to give it to me, you can just go to WP engine.com as well. And here's the deal. Like, if you've been following me for a long time, you'll know that for quite a few years, I recommended this shared hosting company. And when you talk about shared hosting companies, like they're very economical, right, they're like, you know, the Host Gators of the world, the Go Daddy's of the world sites like that really super cheap hosting, you know, $5 to $10 a month hosting accounts, and you get multiple domains. So I stumbled across a unicorn, when I started recommending those. And the reason I started recommending those is like, we were building private blog networks, and we had hundreds of domains. And, you know, cost was really a factor, you know, at 20 bucks a month per domain for really good hosting, let's say, you know, at 100 domains, that becomes a lot. Whereas with these guys, let's say get 10, five to 10 sites for you know, $5 a month, $10 a month, you know, if it comes out to $1 per domain,

Unknown Speaker 16:15
per month, right,

Joe Troyer 16:16
I got 100 or 200 sites, that's 100 to 200 bucks a month. That's not bad. Right? If I use somebody like WP Engine, and it's like $20 a month per domain, that's a lot. Right? Very different story, we're at 20 times the price. So understand that. Most of my sites were on the shared hosting sites, because they were unicorns, right, they were super cheap. But I had found this special unicorn. And what I mean by that is, in my experience, shared hosting support sucks. You're talking from somebody from a different company, different country, that doesn't understand your language that doesn't really understand the job that they're doing, meaning they don't understand WordPress, they don't understand hosting, they're not that experienced, they're kind of like a level one support person, their job is to take your message and pass it on to somebody else. Well, we've all dealt with those companies. And you know, when I have a website that's down, I need that website to come back up quickly, right, and I need the issue resolved fast. What I don't want to happen is I go from a chat, or an first email message to, you know, then getting escalated up the chain, and it taking four or five days, right to get my issue fixed. And that's what happens typically, with these shared hosting providers, it happened that I stumbled across this unicorn though. And this unicorn was like new on the scene, this company, and I'm not gonna bash them, I'm not gonna say their name out loud. But there are new on the scene.

They have amazing support, like you're talking to like their server technicians when you're asking a question, right. And so you're just getting, you know, Grade A support at shared hosting prices. The performance wasn't that great. But they had some upgrades for performance. But like all at all, it was a steal I supported them for for quite a few years. But what I found is that all these companies, these hosting companies, when they start small, they're very aggressive in price. And a lot of them tried to have really good support. And they can while they're small, but it's never sustainable. And these hosting companies, most of them are either VC backed at the beginning or they become venture capital backed over time. There's a lot of money in hosting. And when this happens, these things grow so fast, right? They grow so fast, they can't keep up with support, support goes to garbage. And so now, now you got no advantage, right? You're on shared level hosting, the sites are slow, they're getting bogged down. Because there's even more people on all the shared servers, right, and now the support sucks. So my motto has changed, right? My thought has changed. My hosting. Suggestion has changed. And for probably three years now, I've been using WP Engine. And I love them. Look, they're fast. On most of my sites, all my sites don't have to do anything to optimize for speed.

They already got it. Right. I'm pretty sure they already have like a CDN. Right? They already you know, they already do the things that you should do to have a speedy site, unless you've just like went to town doing a bunch of naughty stuff. You know, just blowing the heck out of your sight. It's probably going to be fine the way that it is. They also have like built in backups. So they do daily backups on your site for you, when you're going through the process of like backing up your site, or when you're going through the process of like upgrading WordPress and upgrading plugins. They have like an on demand backup feature too. So literally hit one button and like it's so fun. Ask them like two minutes. It's done during the backup. And then I'm like, Update All Plugins. Wait for it to be done. Check out the site. Is it good? Yep, it's good. All right, now I need to go update the theme. Alright, great. Let me do a backup quick. Two minutes later, I

Unknown Speaker 20:13
great like,

Joe Troyer 20:15
super happy with like their, their platform, their technology, their speed. They also handle like DDoS attacks, if you've ever experienced any of those, and a lot of security for WordPress. And then the last thing I'll say, and this sounds like just like a blowing endorsement, but it is, is that their support is awesome. Right? Like they know what they're talking about. Their technicians are helpful. They live chat is always there answering and engaging with you. You know, I've had very few issues with my sites since moving to WP Engine. And those of you guys that have been on like some crappy WordPress hosting, you know what it's like lots of problems all the time. You just want to pull out your hair. I don't want to have to go to somebody on Fiverr or Upwork or whatever to fix these crazy WordPress issues because my site's down. When I can just go to WP Engine and they'll

Unknown Speaker 21:10
help me, right.

Joe Troyer 21:14
I get hacked, I don't want to have to pay somebody to fix it. I just want to go hit the support bubble here. Right and say, Hey, guys, my website got hacked, can you fix it? And they will. Right. So for me, WP Engine is a no brainer. That again, if you want to use my affiliate link, there's a coupon that you get as well by using it. Digital triggers.io/wp engine. Alright. I can't wait for you guys to get your MVP website up. Have a frickin awesome day everybody. I hope you guys enjoyed this little gem today, Joe Troyer Sunny.

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