Quick, let me tell you a secret — you can make your website better, right now, for zero dollars. Yup! That probably sounds pretty amazing and the best part is, it’ll just cost you a littttle bit of your time (but pay off in big ways!)
If you want to give your current site a little boost without ever seeing an invoice, I’d like to introduce you to the self-audit. This 11-step process is genuinely so easy and soooo worth it. (Because it’ll make your website even stronger, more compelling, and higher converting in almost NO time.) This shouldn’t be a “one and done” type audit either, this might be a post you want to bookmark and come back to quarterly!
To get started, open your website’s homepage and put on your “audience perspective.” Seriously clothe yourself in the identity of a stranger who just heard your name and googled you. Try your best to see your website as though you’re looking at it for the very first time, instead of as an entrepreneur who knows this work like the back of your hand. Here are what you’re looking for: places to make your site compelling and high-converting. Ready? Let’s dig into my fool-proof website audit process!
RELATED: 3 Questions You Should Ask Before Redesigning Your Website
01. Make your home page headline text clear.
When someone visits your site for the first time, they should immediately know who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. Your headline and subheadline should be clear and concise — this is not the place to use niche industry terms, this is the place to make it so obvious that my 94-year-old grandpa would understand what your biz is all about before he has to scroll down the page. A good rule of thumb: if it’s “above the fold” (or, really, in the case of websites, above the scroll), it should be crystal clear and high-level.
My all-time favorite website template business TONIC is SO GREAT AT THIS. Like, the Michael Jordan of clear, beautiful, up-front headlines (that you can then customize). Check out all their site designs and snag one at a discount here!
02. Make it easy to get in touch with you.
If you have a form with 30 required fields, I say this with all the love in my heart — delete it. Your website is not the place to land new clients through detailed intake forms. Your website is the place to convert cold leads into warm ones. Give your audience a really, really easy way to get in touch!
This could be a short contact form (think: name, email, one comment box), also isting of YOUR email address or phone number for them to reach out, or even having a chat bot on the page to get in touch right then and there. Whichever method you choose, make sure it’s simple and your preferred method of communication! You’ll never book clients if they can’t talk to you without a hassle.
03. Don’t hide your pricing.
Look, I get it — it’s not always smart or feasible to list the exact rate for every single service or product. But if you’re a service provider, you should at least post a “starting at” price on the site. This allows people to quickly determine if what you offer is even in the realm of possibility for their budget.I’ve heard a lot of business coaches say that you should bury the lead and get the prospect on the phone but I don’t agree. Transparency starts the relationship off on the right foot. It also saves both of you time and energy — it keeps you from getting on calls or into mail exchanges with low conversion probability, and it allows people to confidently qualify themselves as a potential customer of yours.
04. Put some value in your opt-in.
Email list building is my thing. Every marketing effort that I make has the ultimate goal of coverting a follower or viewer into an email subscriber so I have the opportunity to continuously serve them and meet them in your inbox. Growing your email list and gaining the ability to communicate with your audience is one of the best things you can do for your business.While growing your list should be your goal, to earn those emails, you should offer them something worthwhile. The whole idea behind email list building is the idea of reciprocity where you provide something of value in exchange for their email address and access to ther inbox! The goal of having site visitors is to capture their contact info, so that once they click out, you can still serve them and stay in touch. Incentivize them! Make opting in fun, enticing, and easy.
RELATED: How to Create a Freebie that Your Audience Can’t Resist
05. Solve problems in a few clicks.
Whenever I design my website or focus on building out a new page, I count clicks… how many clicks does it take for someone to achieve their goal, find a resource, purchase a product, or get in touch. You want the path of least resistance so in this case, we’re talking about the least amount of clicks.Is your resource library or FAQ section up to date and easy to navigate? Even websites with clear and concise copy will need to offer additional information from time to time. When you create an easy-to-find FAQ page (and any other pertinent resources for your biz), you save yourself the trouble of answering the same questions repeatedly on an individual basis, which allows for way better use of your time as an entrepreneur! Think of any questions someone might have when they visit your site before hiring you and preemptively answer them through your website layout or the copy on your page.
06. Do a language check.
I’m not talking about swear words here — I just want you to read through your entire website pretending you don’t know anything about your business. Would the flow of your site and the copy on it make sense to someone outside of your industry? If someone isn’t infused into your world, does the way you describe yourself, your accolades, or your work sound like gibberish, or would they be tracking with every word?
If you find some spots that need clearing up, use this copywriting tool called a “kind of like” bridge. It’s simple: you share the terminology or the award and then say, “It’s kind of like…” to bridge their understanding with something that resonates in a more general context. (For example, I could say winning the Wisconsin Bride awards is kind of like the Grammys for wedding photographers.)
07. Make sure your copy emphasizes benefits.
I’ve seen it a thousand times: websites that are full of great information still get really low conversions. Why? Because when it comes to clients, you have to tell them more than what you do. You have to tell them why it benefits them. Read through your site and make notes of where you emphasize what your target market will get or how they’ll feel when they work with you. Don’t be afraid to play into emotion or highlight what problems you can solve for them!
This doesn’t have to be heavy-handed — a few simple tweaks make all the difference. For example, rather than saying, “I am a photographer,” you could say “I capture beautiful family memories that last a lifetime.” Instead of saying, “I’m a copywriter who works with small businesses,” you could say, “Want your business to get a much-needed boost, with clients who come back again and again? Great copy is the golden ticket.”
08. Add more CTAs. (Yes, really.)
Repeat after me: no dead ends! You never want someone to scroll to the bottom of a page and then ask, “now what?” So many sites include one CTA per page… at the button. But not you, because you understand that calling your audience into action and helping guide them on the path paved for them will not only heighten their experience but it will increase your results. Whenever you get to the bottom of a page, ask yourself, “Where do I want them to go or what do I want them do next?” You recognize that not every single viewer will take that desired action but the ones who have pre-qualified themselves through your compelling copy, they will be ready to follow your clear CTA. If you want people to buy from you, give them plenty of opportunities. Your calls to action (and there can be several!) should be sprinkled throughout every page of copy on your site, and featured prominently on landing pages. Make it EASY for people to interact with you!
09. Let some other people do the talking.
Raise your hand if selling makes you uncomfortable? I just saw your hand shoot up! I get it, nobody likes a bragger, but everyone likes to feel like they’re hiring an expert. The solution? Lots and lots of social proof. Add in some rave reviews on your site — multiple places is good!Another great credibility boost is adding a “brands I have worked with” or “trusted by” section. And if you have a portfolio, my goodness, share it on your site! Don’t make people wait until they’re already corresponding with you to see samples of your work — you may sell them on you before you even say a word.
10. Analyze your user journey.
This one’s not exactly about copy, but it is about the way copy flows. It seems like an obvious question to ask, but… does your website make sense? When you tell customers about yourself with a bio, does it easily flow into what you offer because of your story? When you list your services, is it easy to book them? When you bring up questions, do you give the answers? Take a slow stroll through your site and make sure it’s easy for a person to navigate each page, quickly and easily find all the info they might want along the way.
I always do the “mom test” (or sister, aunt, dad, brother, etc.) where you have a family member visit your site and try to get from point A to B (home page to purchase or contact) as quickly as possible. Take note of any confusing parts of the process or places they get stuck.
We also use Google Analytics for high-level looks at our content, web pages, and so on — to see what pages, links, and blog posts are performing the best (as well as which ones aren’t performing as well). I can’t recommend enough doing a Google Analytics deep dive on your website to really get into the nitty-gritty of what is working.
11. Check your SEO.
The final step in this self-audit is to make sure your words are working for you. One of the best reasons to HAVE a website at all is to harness the power of SEO (that’s search engine optimization, just in case you’re new to the term). Simply put, SEO makes you more visible on the internet, sticking you higher in the rankings and search results so that potential clients can actually find you. It matters a ton — and thankfully, most website hosting platforms offer built-in SEO tools so you can check on your site’s success. Make sure your keywords, headlines, and page titles are helping you to leverage the power of SEO, because it’s basically like generating traffic in your sleep.
And that’s it! 11 simple steps to a more compelling, higher-converting website. Speaking of simple, if you’re looking for a beauty boost for your biz this year, TONIC has the most beautiful website templates around. It’s the perfect pairing with a self-audit: fix your site flow, tweak the copy, and install a template that’s jaw-droppingly good.