Want A Better Website? Ask Yourself These 8 Questions
written by sonja jobson
A website that’s polished and all-star-status at bringing in leads for your business week after week – that’d be great, right?
Most business websites are really bad at helping prospects say “yes” to hiring or purchasing. They’re confusing, stuffed with too much information, and not compelling enough to make taking the plunge feel safe, smart, and rewarding.
The good news is that there are a handful of very straight-forward things you can do to make your website better at booking clients. In this post, I’m sharing 8 questions you need to ask yourself in order to get started.
By the way, here are two free resources you can grab to take your website planning to the next level: The Guide: 5 Things Your Website Needs to Book More Clients and The Brand (+ Website) Planner Workbook
who is my website for?
Wait! Don’t skip this one because it seems so obvious. If you read our recent post on 7 questions you should ask yourself about your brand, you know it’s incredibly important to be clear on WHO your ideal clients are.
Inthe context of your website, you need to know in great detail who you’re trying to connect with, so that you can write copy that will pull them in, position offers that will meet their needs, and design an experience that’s helpful + enjoyable to them.
But even for businesses who know their ideal clients well, I still see websites that totally miss the mark on this one. Instead of positioning every element with those ideal clients in mind, the content and photos seem aimed at peers – other professionals in their industry. Or themselves. Or…no one in particular?
For example, imagine this manufacturing company who creates and ships an excellent product to customers around the country. Their brand presence is based entirely online. No customer ever visits their warehouse. But the website features beautiful photos of their large, impressive buildings. They look great. But…they have nothing to do with what that company’s audience actually cares about. It may feel good to feature photos of something you care about, but if it’s not top-of-mind for your ideal clients, you’re wasting a valuable opportunity to get their attention.
Everything on your website should be there to support your website’s mission: to connect with ideal prospects, build a relationship with them, and ultimately invite them to become a client. In order to do that, you need to deeply understand who that audience is.
what do my visitors care about?
Now that you know who your intended audience is, you need to ask yourself what they want when they land on your site.
Of course, you’re hoping they want your services. But dig deeper than that. In the end, no one really cares about your services (or mine), they care about solving a problem they are struggling with or reaching a goal they are striving for. They want something in their life: relief, achievement, happiness, significance, etc.
Your job is to figure out how you help them get what they want through your services, and then clearly tell them about it.
what my #1 goal on my website?
As a service based business, your #1 website goal will probably be to get quality leads that you can turn into clients.
That goal needs to be front and center as you design your website. If your goal is to turn visitors into leads, how does that process work? Do they fill out a form? Call a phone number? Book an appointment through an online scheduling app?
Take the time to map out exactly what you want people to do on your website – that top priority action you most want them to take.
If you’re not clear on your #1 goal – and if you don’t build your website to support that goal – your site will be like a leaky bucket letting potential clients slip through the holes.
Write down your goal (and how people can complete that goal) and then ask yourself if every page on your website is helping you get there.
what’s the next best goal?
Not everyone will be ready to take you up on your main offer, though. Your #1 goal may be to collect leads from your website or get people to call and book an appointment, but there will also be a LOT of people who are kinda-sorta-maybe interested, but just aren’t ready to take action yet.
Those people may well become happy clients down the road – if you give them an easy way to take an extra step without much risk. One of the best examples of this is offering an email list opt-in on your website.
In exchange for a prospect’s email address, you give them something helpful or interesting (like a free guide, a recipe book, or discount code). Giving you their email address is low-risk for them and it gives you a way to show up in their inbox with more helpful, interesting content and offers over time. By staying top of mind in this way, you’ll be in a prime position when they are ready for your services.
how am I supporting my clients in each stage of the buyer’s journey?
While every client is a little different – and each client may first find you at a different stage of the process – everyone goes through some sort of “buyer’s journey”.
The typical buyer’s journey looks something like this:
Awareness: they realize they have a problem or a desire, and the go looking for more information and context.
Consideration: they’ve put a name to their problem or goal. Now they are seeking out solutions and exploring options for getting what they want.
Decision: at this stage, they’ve done their research and are ready to make a purchase. They’re evaluating exactly who they will hire and gathering information on how to get started.
Prospective clients will land on your website in all stages of this buyer’s journey. Some may be just gathering information, some might be considering their options, and some might be looking for next steps for getting started. Take a look around your website and ask yourself if it’s supporting people in each of the stages.
Do you have information that helps people in the awareness stage? Do you have resources that help people understand why your solution could be a good fit for them to support them in the consideration stage? And are you offer compelling sales content like case studies, sales pages, and clear Calls to Action to make hiring you incredibly easy once a prospect hits the decision stage?
is my website well-branded?
The strategy behind how your website is laid out and the content on your pages pull a lot of the weight in terms of generating leads. But the design of your website is a crucial primer for your new visitors.
We process visual information the fastest, so even if the copy on your website is incredible and your offers are perfect – a lot of people will never get as far as reading any of it if your design sends the wrong message.
On the other hand, if someone lands on your website and the design is polished, professional, and attractive, they’re more likely to engage with your content. That’s when they can get into the deeper level of understanding what your business is all about and what you have to offer.
Your website should be well-designed and well-branded to make the right first impression. Ask yourself, are your brand colors used consistently throughout your website? Is your logo clearly visible in the header? Do the details – like your fonts, icons, photography, buttons, etc. – line up with your visual branding? Is the design modern, mobile-responsive, and high-quality?
A website that feels cohesive, well-branded, and professional will go a long way in increasing the impact of your content and – ultimately – booking more clients.
is my copy as clear as it could be?
The copy on your website needs to clear and easy to understand.
Here’s an example. A lot of websites use something clever or creative as their main headline at the top of the page, in an effort to be different and “stand out”. But the job of your headline is to very quickly communicate to your visitor “this is what you’ll find here and this is why you should stay”. The processing of this information – and the subsequent decision a visitor makes about staying or leaving – happens so fast.
In almost every case, they aren’t judging you on your creativity. It’s not a contemplative process. They just want to know if they’re in the right place.
That’s not to say that showing how you’re different is bad (in fact, you DO need to communicate why someone should pick you and not another company) but being different at the expense of being clear is a costly mistake.
There are plenty of ways to communicate how you’re different and innovative while still being clear.
So put yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor that doesn’t know anything about your business and read through your website. Ask yourself if it’s easy to tell what your website is about within the first few seconds. And if you’ve made it easy to identify the purpose of your website, is the rest of the copy easy to read? Does it support what your visitors want and need to know in order to hire you? Is it easy to scan? Does it keep you interested?
Bonus tip: doing this for yourself is a valuable exercise, but it’s really hard for us (as the owner of the business) to see the gaps in our content. Fresh perspective is helpful. Ask some trusted friends, mentors, or business acquaintances if they’d give you some feedback on your website. Ask specific questions to make sure you get valuable feedback (like the questions mentioned above).
am I making the invitation?
I’ve saved the best for last. This tweak is super simple, but will make a HUGE difference. I’m always surprised by how many website underutilize this tool: the Call to Action button.
You need to be consistently inviting your visitors to take the next step with you. It’s not obvious – you have to tell them. Don’t put the responsibility on your potential clients to figure out how to get in touch + initiate the next steps in hiring you. Don’t leave it up to your generic Contact page form. And don’t just assume someone will email you, or call, or look you up on Facebook if they want to work with you. A lot of people who are genuinely interested in working with you will go with someone else if that other company made it easier to get started.
Using Calls to Action (e.g “request a free proposal” or “book your appointment” or “sign up here”) is not a pushy sales technique – it’s helpful for your prospective clients and it will help you bring in a lot more leads through your website.
Ask yourself, how often are you clearly inviting visitors to take the next step?
Here’s YOUR next step: click the button below to get a free copy of our guide 5 Things Your Website Needs to Book More Clients and start creating a more profitable website today!
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