An effective website is one of the most important components of running a business today. It’s the one place you can talk to potential customers without any distractions.
And yet, most businesses aren’t taking full advantage of their website’s power.
We’ve done a lot of brand & website audits over the years, and we often see these same six mistakes.
So, we’re laying them out below to help you avoid making them on your own website!
It seems like it would be so obvious that you would immediately state what you do on your website… how could anyone forget to include this?
The problem is… we get so familiar with what we do, we don’t realize that it’s not immediately clear to people on the outside.
At the most basic level, you want it to be super clear what you do, but you should also take it a step further and explain who you do it for, what makes you unique, and what you want your visitors to do next.
Take our business for example:
What we do: Branding & website design
Who we do it for: Women-led businesses
What makes us unique: Everything we do is based in strategy
Call to action: Work with us
Make sure this information is clearly stated above the fold on your homepage (at the top, without having to scroll down).
You’ll have lots of opportunities to get more into detail on all of these things, but this initial 3-5 seconds is when your visitor decides whether what you do is even relevant enough to them to be worth staying on your site.
Make those first few words count!
So many websites we see look like research papers… paragraphs full of dense copy.
We’re not afraid to say it:
No one wants to read paragraphs of copy on your website.
We’re all suffering from information overload (especially online) so most of us have become scanners.
1️⃣ We scan headlines to get an idea of what information exists on the page.
2️⃣ If we feel like the headline is relevant to us, we’ll read the subhead or secondary sentence for more information.
3️⃣ If we’re interested in learning more about that topic, we’ll move into the body copy.
4️⃣ Once we’re ready to take action, we look for a call-to-action button or link to tell us what to do next.
Ideally, someone should be able to read only the headings & buttons on your website and quickly understand the content of the page and what you want them to do next.
A few tips to keep your website copy scannable:
And to really hit the point home, here’s a great tip from Steve Krug: “Write everything for your website, then cut it in half, then cut it in half again.”
It’s no secret that most people are visiting your website from their phone… especially if your main source of traffic is social media.
So, your website should not just look okay on mobile… it should be OPTIMIZED for mobile.
We suggest designing desktop & mobile at the same time to ensure you’re creating the best experience for every user on your website.
A few questions to ask yourself to make sure your mobile experience is up to par:
Most importantly, visit your website on your own phone frequently and test the entire experience!
Here’s a fact of human nature that’s unflattering but true:
We’re all just wandering around the internet thinking: “what’s in it for me?”
There’s SO much information out there to be consumed, we’re constantly evaluating whether what we’re looking at is worth our time.
So, it’s your website’s job to make it immediately and abundantly clear what’s in it for your visitors. They should understand how you can create value for them, and how they’ll benefit from interacting with your business.
Most websites spend too much time qualifying themselves or talking about their process. But that’s not what your visitors care about. Instead, speak to what THEY’LL get out of the deal.
A few questions your copy should answer:
Make sure the copy on your website is answering these questions, and don’t be afraid to repeat yourself several times when it comes to the value and benefits to potential customers. Repetition is good!
Ok, this is a biggie!
Very few people think through the strategy of their website, but it can make a huge difference in your conversion rates if you take the time to work through these two steps.
Step 1: Identify your website’s primary goal
What is the one thing you want most visitors on your website to do?
For service providers, this is usually to fill out a contact form, request an appointment, or book a consultation.
For product-based brands, it’s more common to want your visitors to visit your shop. Or, if you offer higher-priced products, you may want them to download a lead magnet so you can begin to nurture them via email or retargeting ads.
You probably have other supporting actions available throughout your site, such as to view your services or read an article, but you want to make sure you’re super clear on the PRIMARY goal of your website.
Your primary goal should be a button in your navigation, and it should also appear several times on each page of your site.
As an example, the primary goal on our website is to fill out a contact form to work with us. Therefore, the button in our top navigation and in many spots across our site simply says “WORK WITH US.”
Step 2: Map your user journey
Now that you’re clear on where you want your user to end up, you want to think through all the information they need to receive from when they first land on your homepage to taking that final action.
Continuing with our website as an example, people arrive and need to immediately know what we do. They need to know whether what we have to offer is relevant to them to even stay on our site. (Remember: “What’s in it for me?”)
So, at the top of our homepage, it’s super clear that we provide branding, website & social media design services. And there’s a “View Services” button right there if they want to dive into more information.
The next thing they need to know is who we are. Why are we qualified? Why should they trust us? How are we different from everyone else who does what we do?
That’s why the first page in our navigation (and the second most visited page on most service-based sites after the homepage) is “About.”
Once they know what we do and who we are, they’re going to want to see examples of our work, which is the next page in our navigation: “Our Work.” We also have testimonials throughout each of these pages to build social proof along the way.
Ultimately, you’re trying to give them all the information they need AND overcome any objections they might have, so they are ready to take that final action.
Back to our site, if they’re not ready to work with us yet, we also have resources like a blog & courses that can provide value even if our services aren’t right for them. But we’re careful not to let either of these elements take up too much real estate or get in the way of our main user journey.
The important part is while they’re on this journey, if at any point, they decide they want to work with us, there’s a button visible for them to do so. Therefore, we have it in the top navigation and multiple places on each page.
Once you have your user journey created and have edited your website to match, keep an eye on your analytics and make tweaks to see what works!
Most of us are afraid of overselling, so we do the opposite and undersell.
We’re subtle with our offers in an attempt to avoid being “pushy” or “salesy,” and we end up leaving a lot of money on the table.
Think of it this way, instead:
You have something to offer to people… a way you can serve them, help them, and create value for them. It’s your website’s job to clearly explain to those people why they should engage with you so you can help them.
First, get clear on what you want people to do when they visit your site.
Book you? Find out your rates? Sign up for a course?
Then, tell them! (A lot.)
Aim to have a CTA always visible to your customer.
That means: one in your navigation.
And one every scroll or two down any page you’re on.
Pretend you get a gold star for every additional button you add to your website!
Your website is your best sales tool and can be working for you all the time (even when you’re sleeping!), so make it a priority within your business to always be improving it.
And remember, you don’t have to do everything at once. Just choose one or two improvements to tackle each month, and you’ll start to see your conversion rates rise in no time.