How to improve your website so it becomes successful
First of all, let’s define successful.
What is a successful website?
A successful website is one that brings you clients and visitors.
It does that through powerful content which makes people want to find out more about the work that you do and how you can help them.
People arrive on your website looking for a solution to their problem.
But often we feel tempted to talk about ourselves to try and persuade them of our credibility.
Actually, our clients should be the hero of our website, our brand, and our growth, and this is where many coaches fall down.
Because here’s the truth
It doesn’t matter how fabulous the graphics are on your website, how many videos you can create or how many degrees you have.
If you can’t succinctly explain how you can help your potential clients, you are likely to fail.
As soon as visitors to your website are confused about what services you offer, they will go and find someone else to do it for them.
Even if your competition’s service isn’t as good as yours.
Even if their service isn’t as good as yours.
This is why messaging is so critical.
And it’s why websites which are created by graphic designers or on the cheap by someone who’s first language isn’t the same as yours, rarely bring in clients. They may look great, and they may have some slick animations, but they are missing the core principles of selling.
Graphic designers may know PhotoShop like the back of their hand, but few of them have ever taken a course on copywriting.
And content is what is going to sell your services.
Your website is the pivotal hub of all your online marketing, and as such, it needs a strong marketing focus.
Why the home page?
So why are we just talking about the home page?
Well, every page of content on your website is important, but the home page is a good place to start in creating a foundation for a successful website.
This is where most of our visitors will start their journey to discover you.
So what are the three critical elements which will dictate the success of your home page?
And actually, the purpose of your home page should be to do exactly that – move visitors to the next page.
Which page that will be, should be architected by you.
If you’re not clear where you want visitors on your website to go next, they won’t be clear on what they should do either – more on this shortly.
So how can we fix this?
Be absolutely specific about what you do
Being clever, quirky or cute doesn’t cut it on your home page.
If people have to use their brains to decipher what you can do for them, you have failed.
Craft a statement to appear at the top of your website, before people scroll down. And if these words were all they saw of your site, they would know if you could help them or not.
I call it the hero image statement as it typically sits alongside or on top of your hero image.
Tell visitors to your site what you do, and why it matters to them.
Here are some examples of companies that do this really well.
They know that their customers are stressed out mothers who want to serve healthy home cooked meals, but they don’t have time to plan meals ahead and they certainly don’t have time to shop for the ingredients.
‘Dinner is solved’ is something that most working mothers aspire to every day.
This was the first software as a service that I signed up to, about 8 years ago. At the time, I felt that my book keeping was chaotic and my tax returns were a headache. Having a piece of software which sorted it all out for me was like a gift from the gods, and I wouldn’t run my business without it now.
You can see that FreeAgent speaks directly to those challenges that I felt as a small business owner.
An inspirational coach, James’ hero statement leaves you in no doubt about what he can do for your business.
2. Calls to action
If you don’t signpost what action visitors to your site should take next, the chances are that they won’t take any.
You need to be very certain of what how you want to direct them.
In order to do that, you need to understand what you want to achieve with your website. Whether you build it yourself, or someone else builds it for you, your website should offer you a return on the investment of your time and/or money.
Getting clear on the purpose of your site can be the difference between a website which languishes, or one which actively brings you clients. Clearly, I know which I’d prefer.
What is the purpose of your site?
- to grow your email list
- book strategy sessions
- to fill your program
- to promote your workshop
- to sell your book
- to secure speaking gigs
There is a chance that you want to do all of that and more.
But if you try to entice visitors on your site to opt in for your freebie, book a call, grab a space on your workshop, sign up for your program, buy your book and consider you as a speaker for their next event, you are lining yourself up to fail.
Honestly, this is one of the reasons that so many people don’t see results from their websites.
Because they don’t define the purpose of their website before they get started.
Choose one action for your visitors to undertake, create a button that leads to it, and make it prominent on your site. Preferably visible before people need to scroll.
If you’re not sure which you should choose (because let’s face it, we all have multiple desired outcomes for our websites), think about what your main revenue stream is.
If there was one thing that your business would struggle to survive without, what would it be?
If your email list is the lifeblood of your business, be sure to focus on growing it.
If strategy sessions are how most of your clients discover how to work with you, guide people to book a call.
You get the idea.
Now place a button in a prominent colour somewhere near the top of your website, guiding people to that one action.
This is where I place the button on the header image of my site.
Bingo! You now have a website with a decisive call to action, where people are in no doubt of what they should do next.
Congratulations, you’re already inching ahead of your competition.
3. Trust Elements
And finally. We live in a world of online reviews.
Our brains are becoming accustomed to looking for recommendations. Whether
What it means for us as website owners is that we need to be presenting elements which feed into that mindset because visitors to our site are actively looking for reviews.
So gather testimonials – written, video or both – as well as other elements which help develop trust on your website.
Those could also be logos of publications where you have been featured, awards you have been presented, or well-known clients you have worked with.
The 3 things which will move your website from gaining you zero clients to ensuring that visitors to your site are actually engaging with your message, are taking the action that you want them to and are ultimately becoming clients are:
- your clear hero image statement – no poetry or cute tricks
- a clearly defined call to action – remember to just choose one
- trust elements to remove any doubt about the services you offer
Implement these 3 things on your website today, and I guarantee that you will see a difference in the responses.
Vicky Etherington has been running her own online marketing agency since 2003, and in 2014 transitioned to working with coaches and therapists to teach them how to create their own client-attracting websites. The programs are about so much more than website creation – they’re about rising above the noise, thriving at entrepreneurship, mastering technology with confidence and staying on track.