Before and After website redesign

You can read and learn and experiment... or work with me to get the immediate benefit of 20 years' experience in strategy, copywriting, design, development and publishing. I create affordable sales, training and community websites that work!

My initial 30 minute consultation is free, and I provide fixed quotes for projects, so you don't go over budget.

How to fix your website… on a budget?

Your website is just not working for you? It’s not bringing leads, visitors are dropping. You know you need to fix it, but you’re on a budget. Where do you start?

The good news…

…you probably don’t need to start with a clean slate!

You don’t even need an expensive niche consultant with a cool methodology and tools. You know your business, you speak to your customers, and it’s likely you made good instinctive decisions when you built the site.

Rather leverage all the work you have done over the years, and refocus it on what matters. Yes, you almost certainly will WANT a new look and structure, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

You can start thinking about it TODAY. Assess for yourself if there is room for improvement.

Answer these three questions to fix your website.

  1. Who exactly do we want to attract here?
  2. Once they arrive, how do we make them curious?
  3. Once we have them, what do we want them to DO?

Step 1: Who is your site REALLY for?

It’s critical to get this right – who is your prospect. Your dream prospect. If you have a marketing expert on your in-house team, they will guide the conversation in the right direction from the start.

Most websites address multiple communications issues and over time the message gets blurred. Sites grow organically and 2018’s thought experiments can end up dominating the website.  You put so much passion into those pages, it hurts to delete them.

Who might visit your website?

  • new business prospects
    they found you online and you might solve their problem.
  • existing customers
    for after-sales support and repeat sales*.
  • referrals
    they’ve heard about you, and they are checking out your credibility.
  • distributors and agents
    they need sales tools, spec sheets, partnering options*.
  • investors
    shareholders, supply chain partners…

Each of these visitors is valuable, but most of my clients are really interested in the first one – new business leads.

Why?

The new business is easily lost. If THEY walk away without engaging, connecting or leaving their email address, you’ll never find them again.

Once you have identified them, you can start looking at what they want from you.

Step 2: What do they want?

Part of hiring a web professional, is explaining your business to them. They look at your business from the outside in. That’s very difficult for any business owner to do – because they are too knowledgeable and too familiar with their industry.

Here’s one trick to see your business from a new angle.

WHAT > SO WHAT > WHAT NOW

Companies focus on explaining “what” they offer. They assume the reader already knows “so what”. But that’s an assumption.

You’re expecting your reader to put in EXTRA thought and time, to understand what your offer means to them. In an effort to keep websites short and concise, we use “shortcuts”. The short words are often generic and boring.

Real-life Example: when I say my websites are “easy-to-maintain”, what I really mean is … “You won’t have to keep paying someone every time you want to change a few words”. I still use the shortcut, but stopped explaining what it means to clients after 10 years in business. That was wrong of me.

If your website is a “fixer upper”, look for the following shortcuts to make your offer more precise, and also more desirable.

  • Safer
  • Better
  • Faster
  • User-friendly
  • Intuitive
  • Easy
  • Fun
  • Affordable
  • Customer-orientated
  • Professionalism

Explain what each word means to your prospect in practical terms? Don’t force people to put in effort to interpret!

Bonus: this is a great way to add a story or client testimonial, to make your message more human.

Step 3: What now?

While it’s nice to be useful, show off your knowledge and entertain, that’s not enough. Your website has a tough job to do.  You can’t go far wrong if you stay focused on what you want your website to achieve.

Step 2.1: Qualify the prospect

  • Are they willing to pay for your services or just looking for DIY solutions?
  • Do they come from a country that you service?
  • Have they bought a competitive product but aren’t being supported? If the product has a short lifespan, perhaps they are a future prospect.
  • Are they an existing buyer, through a 3rd party who isn’t supporting them?
  • What’s their industry, what’s their budget, what’s their intent for visiting your website?

Step 2.2: Invite the prospect to engage

Websites rarely make SALES 🙁

Web clients are promised a low-effort, passive income – put any old product online and customers will throw money at you.

I’m sad to say, e-commerce websites aren’t effective unless you have a trusted bricks-and-mortar brand (so your website is really an convenient procurement gateway not actually e-commerce). People are suspicious. And those who get a thrill gambling on product quality and delivery, can easily find cheap knockoffs.

Without engagement, there is ZERO commitment. Anonymous traffic stats are gratifying, but not useful. You must have a call-to-action.

What call-to-action works best?

Contact information

Always put contact information at the top and bottom of every page. If the person wants to connect, make it frictionless. You at least get AN email address, even if it isn’t the primary one. If you provide a phone number, make sure the phone has an answering machine.

Quick Trick: WhatsApp is a good option if you sell outside North America.

Contact forms

One reason why a contact form is great for the website owner, is you can ask additional information. Which is exactly WHY visitors hate giving that information. Most aren’t real prospects, and they know it. They are shopping around, maybe just curious. If your contact form gets only spam, don’t stress – it’s not you, it’s normal.

Quick Tricks: Keep extra questions to a minimum, and offer a simple email address as an option in case they rethink half way through. Always use a captcha to prevent spam.

Chatbots

The reason for the popularity of chatbots, is their anonymity. Visitors can ask questions without being nagged for months afterwards. If your chatbot can’t give instant answers – live or FAQs – visitors get irritated with you. The good news is that people who use chatbots, often disqualify themselves as immediate prospects.

Beware of AI bots – bad answers are dangerous, good answers STOP them engaging further! Yes you want to be helpful, but engagement is the objective.

Quick Tricks: Add a “Support Request” to your chatbot – get that email address! Ask the visitor to bookmark an important “troubleshooting” page so that they can return to it. At least they will be able to find your site again, and will perhaps eventually engage.

Troubleshooting page

If you have products that need ANY level of support, offer a troubleshooting page and make it SEO-friendly with actual questions people ask your support desk. If possible, track this page in more detail. If you have multiple products, use multiple troubleshooting pages. You will learn which products need better help manuals.

Quick Trick: Yes, they are engaging, but you still don’t know who they are! Ask for feedback: what do you need help with, what question can we answer? Get that email address!

A subscribe button

It’s simple and it works. You may need to give away a desirable download, and you will certainly need future “blogs”, case studies and other content that make it worth their while. I recommend a quarterly newsletter, because that sounds less like spam.

Quick Trick: Carefully phrase both the call-to-action and the newsletter as support tools, NOT sales tools.

A self-qualifying “wizard”

I LOVE these. Because they work. Thinking through the quiz questions is critical – at the end, the visitor must feel like their learned something about themselves, about their problem. It’s quite an investment of their time so you have to find a wizard topic that delivers value or they will give up.

It can’t be so short it feels superficial, but not too long they feel you are fishing (which is exactly what you are doing). It’s a delicate balance, and must build YOUR credibility as the organization that has solutions to their problem.

Quick Tricks: Even though you can ask for an email address at the start, don’t! Almost no-one will complete the quiz, and the addresses you get will be throwaways.

 

*What if your sales website has turned into a support tool

Have you assessed your existing website, and discovered that 50% is about supporting existing customers.

Customer’s having support issues impact repeat sales and referrals.

If a whole chunk of your website devoted to tech support, it could be scaring off buyers and overwhelming your “sales” messaging. Maybe it’s time to keep prospects away from customers struggling with problems.

 

This is MY call-to-action! 🙏🏼

If you are looking to fix-up your website, please connect with me. I do free consultations for clients in North America.  I’m a recovering people pleaser so I always give value.

If you aren’t quite ready, why not follow me on LinkedIn? I try to make all my posts positive and useful.  If you click the notification bell on my profile, you’ll stay up to date with new posts.

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