I’m using the word “convert” here loosely because I don’t know exactly what your goal is with your website. But whether it’s to get subscribers, to inform your readers, to make sales or to drive traffic to offers, none of that will happen if you don’t get awesomely good at these three things we’ll cover.
Most websites don’t work. They’re like outdated billboards in the middle of the desert. The weary traveler is looking for help, but all the billboard does is mutter the same words over and over again.
And driving more traffic to a website that’s not working is simply pointless. If your site isn’t converting much of anyone, sending ten times or a hundred times the traffic isn’t going to help.
So the question is, what can you do right now to make your website more effective?
1: Change your thinking and relax
Let’s see if I can read your mind…
You want to get your website just right. It needs to be perfect. Every word, every page, every font, every color must be the best and then your website will finally be finished.
Except your website will never, ever be finished. And the sooner you realize this, the sooner you can relax and simply work on improving your site.
There’s no need to overcomplicate or overthink your website. You don’t need to agonize over tiny details and you certainly don’t need to put that kind of crazy pressure on yourself that says you must get it done perfectly.
There is no perfect and there will always be flaws and maybe even a typo. It’s okay. Take a breath, relax and think of your website as the perpetual work in progress it is.
Exchange your desire for perfection with a new, keen interest in testing and improving.
Go ahead and hire a web designer if you like. An experienced web designer will take you further faster than you might get on your own. Think of it as a massive head start but realize it’s just the beginning.
You’ll need to add things and change things as you go.
Test. Test some more.
Add content that addresses your customer’s questions. Add more content that teaches and sells. Adjust your bio, your contact me page, your landing page, your… everything.
Test. Update. Test some more. It’s a journey. You’ll never get it perfected but you will get it better and better over time, and that’s enough.
2: Keep it Simple, Silly
How many times have you visited a site only to become instantly frustrated by some fancy-schmancy design that irritates more than it helps? I know I’ve had that happen way too often, and my usual reaction is to leave rather than figure out where the heck I’m supposed to go.
Websites are about one thing – communication. And overly complicated designs cost more money and take more time while making it more difficult to communicate with your visitor.
In the beginning, the core set of webpages you typically need are a home page, an about page, a contact page and your products and services.
When choosing your design, keep it simple. Resist the urge to add lots of clutter on a single page.
Think of sitting in your car: Do you want a dashboard covered in junk to distract you from what’s happening on the other side of the windshield? No. You want a clean, clear, unobstructed view of what’s most important to you – what’s on the road ahead.
Avoid writing in fancy business-ese. There’s no reason to use jargon or big words when little ones will do. No one wants to read a lot of corporate sounding rhetoric that doesn’t mean anything to the average person. You can simply write like you’re talking to your best friend, or maybe to your mother or daughter, depending on your audience.
Let your writing ‘talk’ to your customer. Don’t be boring. In fact, be anything but boring. Generic content will make people click away. If possible, inject a little humor. While you should always take your customer seriously, there’s no need to take yourself seriously. Poke a little fun at yourself if it makes sense to do so, and your reader will smile, relax and read some more.
Talk more about the problems you solve for your customers and how you solve them more than you talk about the features of your products.
Show that you understand your customers by using their own words when describing their problems. If you can get readers to say, “Yeah, she knows exactly what my problem is and how it’s affecting me,” you’re halfway to the sale.
3: Use Your Stats to Make Improvements
There are only two core stats you need to focus on in the beginning. Later, as you become more experienced, you can start paying attention to other stats. But at first, here’s what to do:
Get a free analytics tool such as Google Analytics.
Now look at two things: The average time users spend on a page, which is also called average engagement time, and the number of users.
Remember, your website is a journey, not a destination. It’s a work in progress, and to know how to improve it, you need to know how long people are staying on a page. Log into your analytics and find the graph on the first page that shows you the average time on the page.
This is a measure of how effective your website is at communicating. Are people bouncing off of your page in less than 30 seconds? Then you’ve got work to do. Are they spending 2 minutes or more? You’re doing pretty good.
But if you don’t know these stats, then you have no idea what needs improving. If you’re spending money on advertising but people are spending less than 30 seconds on your site, then you’re wasting your money. Improve the average engagement time and then buy more advertising.
What if people are spending five minutes, ten minutes and more on your site, but you’re not getting many visitors? Then it’s time to start buying advertising or finding a way to drive traffic to your site.
Your goal with your website is simply to make consistent and steady improvements over time.
It never needs to be perfect, it never needs to be complicated and it will never truly be finished.
Hopefully knowing that will make it easier for you to relax and get busy testing new changes to improve your site so that it can work for you 24/7 at earning you new business.