In case you missed it, Part One of this post can be read here. It breaks down the behind-the-scenes intention you’ll need to make your new website design successful.
The four principles in part one were:
2 Quality Photos
3 Clear Copy
4 The Right Layout
In today’s read, you’re going to round out your list of 10 principles by adding the following to your new website planning prep:
5 Hero Statement
6 Call to Action
7 A Lead Magnet
9 A Good Platform
10 Choosing smarter, not harder
Don’t forget: Your new website should support three major objectives to help your business stay healthy, happy, and sustainable.
The 3 Main Objectives :
- attracts the right people
- clearly states what you offer (to whom, how, why it matters)
- converts leads into eager, excited customers
Keeping these in mind, let’s talk about what you need for the new website you’ve been dreaming about. i.e. the website of your dreams is the one that helps you grow the business of your dreams.
***ICYMI: This is Part Two of a Two Part blog series on 10 Proven Principles for Preparing Your New Website. CLICK HERE for Part One***
5 HERO STATEMENT
Can you guess how many seconds you have to make a first impression on your website? On average it’s somewhere between 3-6 seconds. So, not a lot of time. But don’t worry. There are well-researched, highly performing choices you can utilize to guarantee your audience gets the “wow, tell me more” interest you’re hoping for.
TELL THEM QUICKLY
As soon as a viewer lands on your website they should be able to read and understand the baseline for what you offer without needing to scroll. You might consider an aspiring statement like “the best coffee this side of town” or “making home your favorite place to be”.
This statement should either offer something enticing or valuable to your ideal client or tell them what problem you’re eager to help them resolve in their life and/or business.
If your reader is interested, then they’ll scroll to read more. When that happens, your first mission has been accomplished. Nicely done!
ATTRACT AND CONNECT
It’s critical that the copy message on your home page be primarily focused on attracting and connecting to your ideal customers instead of telling “your” story or proving how great “you” are.
The home page, and elsewhere, must let your consumer know that this is their life and you’re here to help them make it better. It’s your job to show them how your business fits into their story and why its worth their decision to include you in their journey.
Thinking about your customer’s wants, needs, and emotional values around whatever it is your business offers will help you create a strong, connecting message that keeps viewers on your page longer and increases lead conversion with the right kind of customers for your business.
Ask yourself, “How can I help my customer feel seen and understood?”. Followed by the question, “And why should they trust me to help them?”. If you can convey your answers to these questions in your home page website copy, and consistently throughout the other pages as you communicate to your audience, you will see an increase in results stemming from website traffic leads.
INCLUDE A DIRECT CALL TO ACTION BUTTON
It’s true that your website should not feel pushy or overbearing to your audience. It’s also true that its your job to guide them through your website and help them make great decisions with the information at hand.
Here’s the quick and dirty on getting this small, but incredibly mighty, power button right on your website.
It needs to be visible along with your hero statement, no scrolling required. It needs to be clear and direct so that your reader knows what the expectation is for doing business with you and how to do it when they are ready. And lastly, it needs to be repeated consistently throughout your site so that converting each leads takes minimal effort on the part of your consumer. When they’re ready, they know exactly what to do to take the next step.
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You’ll notice these aren’t cute or clever sayings, but rather short and easy to understand call-to-actions. You can increase your conversion rate by 50% simply with a Call-to-Action Button. Don’t lose out on business because your competitors’ websites are easier to understand and navigate than yours.
Place this button front and center on your home page, directly under your Hero Statement and again in the top right hand corner of your navigation bar. You’ll receive higher response rates than a great website with no CTA button simply by prompting your reader to take the necessary action.
6 USING CALL TO ACTION
As you just read above, call to action is necessary for your website. And there are several key areas where using call to action will drive stronger leads, more conversions, and generate a more qualified audience.
Like we mentioned above, it’s necessary to use direct call to action prompts throughout your website in order to guide your reader in the right direction.
DIRECT & TRANSITIONAL ACTION CALLS
You’ll need to use action prompts that are direct (point of sale) and transitional (getting them one step further in your overall marketing funnel). A “Schedule Your Tour” button is a direct call, while “Sign up for our free guide” is transitional.
CLEAR, NOT CUTE. AND ALWAYS ON BRAND
If your call to action sounds clever or catchy, you may assume it will catch your viewer’s attention. However, the better goal is to be crystal clear on what action you want them to take and make sure they have the motivation to do so. Make sure its clear why they should take the desired action and use wording that sounds true to the rest of your business brand and website copy.
LIMITED AND CONSISTENT
You don’t need to go overboard like a kid’s treasure map at a birthday party. The focus of a well-placed CTA is simply to help your customer through their journey on your website. After they read one page, where is the next appropriate place for them to go? Take them there. Do they have enough information to act on your business offerings, prompt them to do so.
When deciding what CTA to use, its best if you keep your language consistent to build familiarity in the action you want your customer to take, and to avoid overwhelming them with what feels like too many options to consider at once.
THE NAV BAR & MENU
Make sure the primary direct CTA that you choose for your website is repeated in your navigation bar. You are setting the expectation for what you want your customer to do, letting them know where to do it, and making it extremely easy for them to do so.
Utilizing this specific CTA practice will increase conversion even more so than just having a “Contact Us” button. Have both! And include them in both your Navigation bar and your website menu.
Need some ideas? Here’s a list of 10 Call To Action examples I previously put together.
7 INCLUDE A LEAD MAGNET
WHERE TO PLACE THEM
There are a few key places to consider placing a lead magnet. The most common, and effective, are the following.
First, the top of your website page. This would be above your main header or navigation bar. Usually a solid color 1/2″ banner with a sentence explaining what it is and then a “sign up” button. That button usually leads to a full screen landing page where you’ll collect their name and email address. You might also provide additional information about what it is you’re offering them in this lead magnet so they understand exactly what they want it and how valuable it will be to them.
Secondly, in the middle of your home page. Imagine your reader has landed on your page, likes your Hero Statement (that we talked about earlier) and continues scrolling to read more about your business. As your website talks about what your customers want or need, they’ll begin to connect to your business. Once they come to your lead magnet they are more likely to say agree to your free value. Sometimes audiences sign up and use this lead magnet as a test to see if you’re as valuable as you’re claiming, other times it might be because they really want what you’re offering them.
Another logical place is in the bottom of your website page and/or even in the lower navigation bar itself. When you place it in the lower portion or the navigation bar it makes it easy to carry the sign-up form into other pages of your website without disrupting your copy flow.
I’m sure you’re aware of the pop-up opt in form. While many swear they are annoying, statistics show they are still very effective. What’s important when including a pop-up form is to make sure it doesn’t pop up too early to your page arrival and that the Close “X” option is available, especially when viewing your site from a mobile device. You do not want someone to leave your website altogether simply because they were unable to close your pop-up form.
And lastly, the full page landing form. This is usually a hidden page on your website, and like mentioned above, can share more information about whatever it is you’re offering your viewer. You can utilize a short version sales format in your copy to walk your reader through the what, why, how, and outcome.
1 What are you offering
2 Why do they care? (What’s in it for them?)
3 How this free thing you’re offering will do that for them
4 What happens as a result of getting whatever it is you’re offering
Keep in mind, this might be super simple for your business. A coffee shop may offer a coupon that’s good for a free drink upgrade. That ones pretty easy to understand without a lot of extra words. But even still, think about those 4 questions and make sure you’re providing those details. Even if it’s primarily in the title and image of a happy person drinking their hot, steaming, extra large, fresh brew.
Make it very easy for someone to imagine the wonderful, irresistible benefit of what it is you’re offering them. As more businesses use the lead magnet option in their marketing, audiences become pickier about what they’ll hand over their email address for.
TYPES OF LEAD MAGNETS
There is truly no end to the options you have for your lead magnet. You don’t want to have too many visible on your website at once because that becomes overwhelming to your reader. If they can’t choose what they want for free how will they ever choose one of your paid services?
You might have one that is offer specific and another that is more ongoing in its value. An example would be a coupon code or free guide resource coupled with a great newsletter opt-in offer.
Other options to consider:
- An on-going offer
- Date sensitive event, sale, or sign-up
- An announcement
- Free, helpful resources
- Advanced Sign-ups
THE IMPORTANCE OF A LEAD MAGNET
Being able to communicate with your customers and warm leads is essential, for obvious reasons. Imagine hanging a sign in your store letting people know there’s a sale approaching. How many customers will walk by in time to see that sign beforehand?
It’s better if you can have the sign and the option to email your customers and let them know they’ve got the option to shop and save. Social media might also be a version of your “sale sign”. Only a percentage of your followers will see your content so its best to be able to get in touch with everyone directly.
It’s also a great way to continue communication and connection with your customers to help them stay engage and loyal to your brand.
And last, but not least, having a communication method that you own and control is critical for your business. Just remember to export and save your list on a regular basis so that if something should ever happen you still have all that information on file.
8 LET SEO HELP YOU
Does that mention of SEO cause a little bit of a panic? Me too, sometimes. There are extensive SEO measures that businesses use over time, but it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. Just because you don’t know everything about google, doesn’t mean there aren’t simple and effective measures you can implement for your business now.
USE THE RIGHT HEADINGS (H1, H2, p, etc…)
One of the reasons I like creating client’s websites on the Showit platform, is because the back end is designed so intuitively for appropriate heading tags. These tags help Google understand the information on your page when it is looking for search results to offer its user.
PAGE & META DESCRIPTIONS
Don’t forget to utilize the page and meta descriptions so that when you appear in search results, you have a stronger pull with the reader based on what they can see in the search result description. Likewise, these descriptions help search engines find your website more easily.
This text is important for SEO as it helps determine the context and description of the image. Think of the SEO description as the words you would use to describe the image to a blind friend in as few words as possible. While this is the area you want to focus on building and optimizing your images for SEO, it’s also important to avoid keyword saturation or using the same descriptive text on multiple images.–Showit Support Article
SIGN UP FOR GOOGLE ANALYTICS
Google Analytics is free and provides great insights on the traffic your website is receiving. You can see where your traffic is coming from (like social media, referral, or organic). You can also see what pages are visited most often, how long someone is staying on your site, and the behavior of your website browsers.
Even if you’re not quite ready to act on this data, its valuable to act like the business you want to grow into. Think of it as dressing for the job you want. You might not do anything with the information right away, but it takes time to collect reliable stats, and you’re telling yourself and your business that you care about data that helps it succeed.
9 CHOOSE RELIABLE PLATFORMS + SUPPORT
We’ve all heard the horror stories about the website that crashes with no one around to be reached for customer support, or the designer who disappears months into the process leaving your friend frustrated, out the money, and without a website.
A RELIABLE DOMAIN HOST
There are many opinions on the reliability of domain hosts. Over the last year, here are the ones I see recommended by website designers and developers on a regular basis.
- Google Domains
- Go Daddy
You’ll want to consider the types of content you’ll share on your site, its functionality and the ease of maintenance when making this decision. For example, will you be selling items on your site?
I honestly believe Showit is a great option for many micro and small businesses. The platform launched originally with a target toward photographers, but businesses and designers have since proven that there are endless options to creating something beautiful that converts leads into customers.
Showit offers blogging directly through WordPress. One site, both functionalities. WordPress is the forefront runner when it comes to blogging platforms.
Showit also integrates well with Shopify, so if you’re needing to make sales transactions on your site, you can do that too.
YOUR DEVELOPER AND DESIGNER
You might not know it, but these two titles are not the same job. While each of these may be able to do the other, its not guaranteed and should be figured out before hiring either one.
A web developer focuses primarily on the layout and function of your new website, whereas the designer typically focuses heavily on the aesthetics and front facing design on the site.
In some cases, you’ll be able to hire someone who caters to both in their services. They understand the logistics and necessary elements of both sides.
I’m sure you know by now that a pretty website isn’t enough when it comes to converting more lead opportunities for your business. Here are 5 questions to ask before hiring someone to build your new website:
1 How will you ensure the development side is structured to meet my business needs?
2 Can I see examples of previous sites you’ve completed to see the design side of your work?
3 Who will be responsible for the content and copy on the site? If it’s your designer, ask if they have qualifications for writing your copy. This is another specific skill that your designer may or may not have themselves.
4 What is a typical project timeline and how do you communicate with your clients during the process?
5 Do you offer ongoing support after my site launches? How will I be able to maintain my site in the future?
Ultimately it will be up to you to decide if you want to maintain your own site or hire a designer who offers ongoing support for copy edits, service changes and other technical support issues.
But remember, it will cost you time or money to do those things. So you’ll need to decide and prioritize which one you want to give up, and which one you’d rather keep for yourself.
10 WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
To wrap this up, I want to share 5 of my favorite resources for building a fabulous website that you love.
1 Pinterest: Use Pinterest to browse for ideas and inspiration about the type of style that speaks to you and your business. Create a board specifically where you save things you like, and when you pin the site, use the comments section to remind yourself specifically what it is about that site that caught your attention. Do the same thing with a second board, only this time you’re going to save things that you specifically know you do not like, along with a note about why.
2 *Dubsado: If your website has a contact form, where do you store that information on your end? Using a business management system or customer relationship management helps you maintain organization, systems, timely responses and so much more.
3 *Flodesk: If you don’t have an email management provider, try out Flodesk’s free trial option. At the time of this post, they’re offering a lifetime pricing of $19/mo. Most companies have tiered pricing that increases drastically based on quantity of emails or number of emails on your list. Flodesk is making email marketing intuitive and effective without compromising on style.
4 Showit: I mentioned it before, but wanted to put it here too. If you’re wondering if Showit might be a great option for your business, you can always schedule a free consultation call with me to ask more questions and determine if it makes sense.
5: Lightwidget: Help your audience stay connected to you by adding an Instagram preview to your website. It’s a one time $10 fee that helps you show off your brand character and keep your customers engaged and active on the happenings within your business.
*Affiliate links | I may receive a small commission. They are products I both personally use and recommend from my own experience.
Click here to see these principles in action on my own website and to book a consultation call if your business is in need of a new website with the features we’ve just covered above.
Now you get why this is a two-part series, that was a lot of information, I KNOW. If you’re wondering how to even begin incorporating these principles into your upcoming website design project.
I hope you’ll walk away from this post feeling equipped with the right knowledge to take chare of your website project with confidence and excitement. You’ve now got a great toolbelt of tips to DIY or to seek out the right service provider to get the job done right for you.
I’ll see you here next time — until then, know I am always cheering for your success!