It never fails. Every year during tax season, some poor guy has to stand on the street corner near my home, wear a Statue of Liberty costume, and twirl a sign for a local business that helps with taxes.
And every year, I feel badly for him. It’s cold. It’s boring. It’s a lot of work for very little return—for him or the business he’s out there promoting.
If I’m being honest, I see a lot of websites out there that are the equivalent of that sign spinner. They might catch your attention… but they’re not really creating an ROI for you that was worth the time, money, or effort you put into it.
That’s a major problem… because your website is where people come to connect with you and (even better) hire you. So your website needs to make it as easy as possible for people to find you and choose you.
Because no matter where they are in the decision-making process, most people are likely going to look to your website before they call you or pay you. It’s your most important point of contact, and it needs to facilitate the start of the sales process.
How do we do that? I’ve got 3 key areas you should focus on in cleaning up your website in order to make sure that digital storefront is helping you make sales.
Your brand is more than fonts, logos, and colors. It penetrates every interaction people have with your business. Messaging is a big part of that, which means that when it comes to your website, content is a key factor.
When thinking about your website content there are four main points you need to have nailed down in order to have a big impact on your readers from the start.
1. Your audience
Your website isn’t actually about you. It’s about your customer. You need to know who you’re talking to and make sure they feel seen and heard in your content, and you need to know what value you provide them and why that’s important for their lives.
So make sure you reflect their language, their story, and their dreams back to them. If you do, they’ll definitely stick around to see more from you.
People buy from people. It really can be that simple. That’s why one thing you need on your website—whether it’s a blurb on the homepage or a full about page—is an introduction to who you are and why you’re the one to help.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to share what you do and why you’re qualified to help. This builds trust and connection—and it also gives hope, which is also an important part of the process.
3. How You Can Help
Often we feel the need to hide our services away on a page several layers down in our navigation, but in reality, we need to make it easy for people to choose us if we want them to do that.
So you need clear descriptions of what you do and how they can work with you. Make sure you focus on the results they can get and what is provided so they know what they’re expecting and how it can change their lives.
4. Calls to Action
Finally, your content needs to provide a way for people to contact you. That is the point, right? You want people to schedule calls, send you an email, or reach out in some way.
So you need to give multiple options for connecting with you, and in each of those, you should provide clear and simple instructions on how to best do that.
With these content areas on your website, you’re making sure that you’re connecting with your potential clients and providing them the next step in working with you.
Structure & Functionality
Your content is important, but so is the way your website works (or doesn’t work). When you have a site that’s clunky or hard to navigate, you’re making it harder for people to connect with you.
Here are the 3 places to shore up for solid structure and functionality for your site.
If someone can’t figure out how to get where they want to go, they won’t stick around long. Your navigation needs to be clearly labeled and easy to find. And you shouldn’t have too many pages or options. A fun challenge is to try to see how few pages you can get away with.
Speaking of simple, let’s keep the terms you use simple too. It’s tempting to get really creative and use branded terms for pages. While that’s cute and maybe even clever, it’s not clear. Use universal terms and you’ll see more people clicking through.
2. Paths to Action
Do you know what you want people to do when they visit your site? If you said “no,” that could be a problem… because then they don’t know either. Your site should lay out a path for them.
You can actually point them the direction to go, and you should. Because you know how they’re feeling, what they need, and the best way to get that need met short- or long-term. So know where your site fits in the process, and lay it all out for them easily.
How often are you browsing social media or the Internet on your phone? I’m willing to bet it’s quite a bit, and so is everyone else. That’s why mobile optimization and responsive design should be an important part of your website functionality from the start.
But it’s not the only way to optimize. The second key thing you need to do is make sure that your website’s load time is quick and smooth. You can do that with making files you host there small and optimizing images for web browsing. Because if they have to wait, they’ll probably move on.
If your website functions well, you’ll keep people around longer, which means you’ll be building more trust along the way.
Now to my favorite part: design. I usually see people go all in on a design without thinking about the other two areas, or they focus on everything but the design and hope it’ll all work out.
The truth is that design is a major part of how people view your brand and use your site. So it’s important to be cohesive and clean so readers aren’t distracted by the design and the focus is on your business and how you can help them.
1. Cohesive Elements
You don’t have to have a professionally designed site in order to have a cohesive brand. When it comes to your website, you need to make sure that the same color palette, logo, and everything else coincides with the other places your brand shows up online.
That means your social media channels, emails, and everywhere else need to feel like they’re all part of one business—yours.
Another way that you can bring cohesion to your design is to make sure that it is aligned with the core elements of your brand. For example, your imagery and other brand details should reflect your vision, your values, and your voice… not to mention speak to the people you most want to reach.
2. Clean Design
Online we have so much real estate. The trap I see people fall into over and over is that they try to cover every inch of space they have. After all, more is more, right?
A simple, clutter-free design helps people actually focus on the content and calls-to-action that you want them to notice. So utilizing white space can be a key way to make your site not just pretty to look at but easy to follow the clear sales path.
Another way to make your website design clean is through the use of type that makes it easy to read. What does that look like?
It should be legible—no big blocks of display or script fonts, no strange word alignment, and no light type on light backgrounds. Instead, stick to the basics:
- An easy to read font
- Left justified
- Dark words on a light background
- Large enough to read without straining
When you keep your design cohesive and clean, you create a consistent brand experience and make it easy to connect with who you are and the actions you want them to take.
But now you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Because I just gave you a major checklist.
So where do you start to make your website convert better for you?
Here are the main takeaways for you to think about when it comes to your website.
- Use this post as a checklist. Go through your site and ask if it hits all those elements. And if not, fix it up using these tips.
- Content should always drive design. So thoughtfully create and put the focus on the copy of your site.
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate and loads quickly everywhere they browse.
- Don’t overcomplicate the design. Keep it clean, and if you’re not a designer, use a website builder that’ll help take the guesswork out of it for you.
When you shore up those 3 key areas of your website, you’ll find more people are able to understand your business and your website becomes a tool for converting your dream clients (instead of just wishing it was).