by Jenna Kutcher
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Your website is your home on the world wide web. It’s this space that should personify you and communicate who you are and what your offer is clearly through a screen. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of creating or refreshing your website and bringing to life the creative vision that you have for it.
Whether you go the template route or fully custom for your website design doesn’t matter a whole lot in the long run. Instead of pouring so much energy and creative juice and not to mention, money, into the aesthetics of your website, it’s time to focus more on the user friendliness and user experience of your website because, bottom line, that’s what will lead to conversions, or potentially lead to dead ends for your prospects, which of course, we don’t want.
If your website doesn’t make that initial impact or lacks clear messaging, if people can’t figure out how to work with or buy from you, or if there’s just too much going on, that’s potential for major lost sales and that’s exactly what I want for you to avoid.
The whole reason you’re building or refreshing a website is to boost sales. Right? So let’s talk about what your website REALLY needs in order to take visitors from semi-interested skimmers to full-blown, obsessed and paying clients (or customers).
Start with how YOU can help
Your website isn’t about you. Sure, it’s YOUR website for YOUR business featuring YOUR products or services… but when we buy stuff, it’s not just because we’re attracted to the person who’s selling it.
It’s because the promised end result of making a decision involving a product, service, or offer validates our needs or desires in some way. So you need to create your website through this lens of validating your perfect client or customer’s needs and making THEM, not you the hero. You want them to imagine themselves living in the story your website is telling as a paying a client or customer of yours.
Think about these 3 questions. What’s the thing only you can solve for them? What are they struggling with that your business can provide solutions for? What area of expertise are they looking to you for?
8 Seconds to Hook Them
Now we’ve all heard this before, You have up to 8 seconds to hook someone who lands on your website. That’s *not* a whole lot of time to convince people to stick around… BUT if we kick off your website with the right headline, you’ll hook them.
Your website must lead and start with something compelling that confirms that they’re in the right place. Maybe it’s your unique selling proposition, maybe it’s calling out a specific pain point your ideal client deals with, maybe it’s sharing a desired end result or maybe it’s a quick “who I am, what I do” statement so that it’s ultra-clear and obvious who you serve and how, allowing the visitor to qualify if they are a fit for what your offer.
Like I said, your website isn’t about YOU… you want to start with painting the promise and putting your visitor in the heroes seat and then clearly state how you help or serve others, so in those sections, be sure to share only the pieces of your story or background that will resonate with your ideal clientele. Some of the BEST headlines on websites I’ve seen are simple and to the point, but also effectively communicate what that business’s prospective clients need to hear.
An image that builds trust
I think it’s tempting for business owners to slap a semi-relevant but high-quality stock photo on their website, but if you can avoid it, I’d rather you pick something super brand representative, like a friendly photo of you or an exceptional shot of your products.
Overall, people perform better than things and faces build trust when it comes to images, so if it IS a product shot, try to use one with humans in it as well. It may seem like a small detail, but a great image will start to allow your prospects to associate the brand with a visual element, hopefully something that’s warm, inviting, and memorable.
Easy Navigation and Communication
Landing ON your website isn’t their final destination — reaching out to book you or buying your product or service is. So what does the customer path look like from when they land on your site to the actual purchasing part of the relationship?
The answer SHOULD be that it’s super easy… but more often than not, I see websites with so many bells and whistles and buttons and an impossible amount of calls to action, that I’m not sure WHERE to go or what I’m supposed to do.
Ultimately, you want people to know exactly where to click to get where they want to go. The end. So how can you do that with as much clarity and as little time on their end as possible?
First, make sure your contact form is easy to find and super short to fill out. Also make sure your email address is visible and easy to find in case someone doesn’t want to fill out a form for any reason. When it comes to a contact form, the less info they need to input, the more likely someone will fill it out and submit it. I recommend only gathering a first name, email address, and then have the section where they can leave a note. You really don’t need anything further than that to be able to communicate and begin the experience with them going forward.
And be sure your contact page is included in your main navigation menu at the top of your website. Don’t name it anything kitschy to be cute, like “holler this way” or “wanna chit-chat?” — trust me, you can be cute with your copy elsewhere. Keep that top menu straightforward with buttons that communicate exactly what the pages on your site are: contact, blog, services, and so on. You could also add a contact form to a sidebar or footer of your website to make it extra clear and even easier for people to reach out.
Clearly share what you offer
While you should think about your homepage as the spot to validate your ideal clients’ pain points, think of your services or products page as the spot that seals the deal. It’s not necessarily a place to “sell” but to serve: to clearly show that you understand what they need and can provide excellent, just-right, clear cut solutions for the specific troubles they’re facing.
You want your offers to be super clear and to paint the picture of the end result the client can expect vs. focusing on all the features or bells and whistles. One of the biggest mistakes people often make is that they use words or terms that the customer doesn’t understand or value or they muddy the offer water by sharing too much about the features without focusing on what the viewer can expect if they become a paying client.
Focus on providing a clear solution to the problem they have and make sure the differences in the offers that they can choose from are easy to differentiate and understand to help them make a clear decision easier and faster. A lot of times we assume our clients understand terminology that matters to us but means nothing to them, so keep the customer front of mind vs. trying to sound impressive or use terminology specific to your industry or product that the general public might not understand.
Pop-up strategy to capture the leads
I know, I know, you probably think of pop-ups as those annoying boxes that are wayyyyy too salesy and that you can’t seem to figure out how to X out of on some of your favorite websites. That’s not what we’re aiming for here. The goal of your website should be to not only educate the person on your website but to capture their information so that you can remain in touch with them long after they click off.
When we talk about conversions with your website, it’s not just about converting viewers to customers, though that’s awesome, it’s about converting viewers to subscribers so that you can serve them well.
A strong pop-up fits in seamlessly with your branding and offers something valuable to your website visitors. And, if someone isn’t interested, make it abundantly easy to click out of… no hidden exit buttons allowed. Did you know most of my website’s pop-ups aren’t even for paid products? They lead to freebies, additional information, or free trainings so that my audience can get tangible, helpful information at no cost… and they join my email list in the process. My biggest hope is to get someone results for FREE so that they consider and enthusiastically want to take advantage of our paid offers.
If you’re not sure where to begin with a pop up strategy, we use the program Optin Monster to create custom pop-ups for my website, but some email providers also allow you to create pop-ups through their software.
If you can say “Drop your email here to receive my FREE checklist or the best template for X, Y, or Z” then people will feel so much more inclined to opt in before x-ing out of the alert because they’ll see it’s providing something actually helpful to them. Provide as much value as you possibly can!
Remember it’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM, the viewer. Testimonials allow you paint a scene that you prospective client, the website visitor, can visualize themselves in. They give you other people’s words and experiences to not only shout out the value you bring to the table but also to paint different transformations that the person who’s reading it might connect with better.
YOU need to believe in your offers so deeply that it makes asking for testimonials a no-brainer part of your workflow. You can even automate it as a piece of your processes… you deliver your service or product to someone, you give them a killer experience, and a week later they receive a survey or email that asks for their honest feedback. Boom! Done and dusted, as Leanne from Peloton would say.
Showing testimonials can drive validation, provide social proof, and build up the belief that if others are doing it, your prospects can slash probbbably should do it too… it almost creates a sense of FOMO, in a good way though. You don’t need a ton of testimonials blanketing your website, but keep gathering them from clients and cycle in the best of the best so that they’re fresh, up to date and showcase your latest offerings.
Grab my free guide that walks you through the exact questions to ask to get meaningful testimonials that will help you convert your website viewers into actual clients! It’s entirely free and there’s even an email template you could snag to send out to your past clients.
The Big Picture
I want to remind you that your website is YOUR home on the web… be YOU on your website. Have fun with it, show your personality and quirks, and demonstrate why you’re the person to work with or buy from in your industry! You can solve all the problems in the world and have the most optimized SEO and showcase PERFECTLY curated calls to action ’til the cows come home but if people are snoozin’ while they poke around your website, none of it matters.
There are a million things to overthink in business but this shouldn’t be one of them. Your website is like an extra extremity of who you are and what you offer. Keep it true to you and work in these tips to drive more results and you’ll be golden, my friend. AND the best part? You’ll be converting like crazy. Cheers to that!