Don't create a website that is stunning. Create a website that converts.
Yes, this is coming from someone who loves building beautiful websites for her clients. But it also comes from someone who has built a website that actually serves as a business asset that is the main source of revenue for her. So consider this advice very closely, my friend - build a website that converts not just a website that is stunning.
Watch the Video:
I Love Stunning Websites. I Love High-Converting Websites More!
Don't get me wrong. I am all for a beautiful, stunning website.
You can spend the big bucks on designing a site that is awe-inspiring, with the coolest effects, high-quality photos and customized code but if it doesn’t connect with your potential customer, then it will just be that - a beautiful site. It will fail in working for you.
That's why I'd rather go for a website that gives me value than a website that sits there looking pretty.
Your business depends on your website to help grow your business regardless of what kind of a business you are running. If you are a brick and mortar business with most of your clients coming in through the door, a web presence is so critical. Your customers will most like seek you out online before deciding to drive down, park somewhere expensive and then walk in all kinds of weather to get to your store.
And if you are a solopreneur or an online business owner who wants to sell a product (physical or digital like an e-course) or a service, then a website that converts is essentially bread and butter for your business. It determines whether you will be able to pay your business costs as well as feed and house you and your family.
So you can see it is so critical to implement strategies that will make your website worth the time and money you put into it. You need a website that converts.
A Stunning Website ≠ A High Converting Site
Unfortunately, I see too many websites that are heavy on design but light on content. And unless, your content is design - say you are graphic designer or visual artist, then my friend, I am sorry to say, your pretty website is really not working for you. If you want your website to actually build your credibility, win you clients and sell your products (digital and physical) then you've got to make some changes. (I do have a word for the visual artist a little ways down this article. So if you are a visual artist, do consider those thoughts).
I myself have fallen for the trap of the pretty website. I cannot even recount how many hours I have spend on changing my the template on my website and going through countless number of images in order to choose the right photo for the right mood. Or spending hours on Canva or some design tool creating the perfect Pinterest thumbnail. If had spent even half of that time on creating content, creating blogs and videos that solve people's real problems, then I would be in a completely different place in my business today - without a doubt.
A stunning website is not equal to a high converting site.
And that is what I am now focussing on in my business and I want you to do so as well: Transform your website into a value-giving, content rich home for solving people's real problems. As you begin doing this, you will be well on your way to transforming it into a real business asset - one that produces revenue for your business.
I know there are many SEO guru's who will advise on creating SEO rich landing pages. Sure you can do that. But don't squint your efforts in creating real helpful content for your specific audience.
Content is the name of the game today.
But you are asking why is it so important to create content. You've got your portfolio that speaks for itself. You've got your courses that stand for itself. You've got your bio, that explains it all. Then why do I need more content?
Content really is the name of the game today.
People are going to the web more so for solving problems than ever before. With more and more people around the world getting access to the internet, more of them will come knocking at your door to find solutions to their real problems. And if you can solve them, you will not only make a difference but stand out as someone who adds value. People care about people who add value to them.
And it is with value-giving content that you can truly stand out. People today watch your videos, read blogs, listen to your podcasts and say, "I like this woman and what she has to offer." I wonder if she will be available for doing this project for me.
It is content that converts not a glitzy glam website. If you want to sell a product or a service as a solopreneur or a small business, you've got to have a value-rich website.
Here's #realtalk for the artists who want a portfolio-website: I must say that even if you are an artist whether a visual or performing artist and your work is more design and visuals than words, you will find that creating content around your creative process will bring you much further in your career than just displaying your awesome creations in a bad-ass portfolio. A hand-lettering artist, for example, who walks people through her process of her craft, will establish herself as an expert in her topic faster than you can say "what?".
So this post is for entrepreneurs in two different stages. One: Brand new. You’ve decided to go get a website and you want to make sure it’s done right from the start. Two: Experienced online entrepreneur or business owner frustrated with her results. You’ve had your site for a while, say a year or two, and are not seeing the kind of results you had hoped for.
What’s common in both these situations is that you want your website to work for you. You realize that creating a stunning, beautiful website is only part of the game plan. Squarespace makes it easy to build such an eye-catching site. But what you are becoming even more aware of is the importance of strategies that will actually influence your revenue. You want to build a high-converting website that converts.
What do I mean by a website that converts in the first place?
Now, I want to be clear in the use of terminology and want to make sure I express what I mean when I say, “a website that converts”. A website that converts is essentially a website that successfully convinces a reader to start their relationship with you.
It is a fact that 97% of new visitors of your site will not make a purchase. They view your site and then fizzle away into the vast deep space of the internet.
"As Chet Holmes points out in The Ultimate Sales Machine, only 3% of people are ready to buy right now. You want to keep in contact with the 97% who are in the “not quite yet” stage".1
What you want is to have things in place on each page of your site that will help them say, “Yes, I like this. I want to see what they have here for me”. "And oh, wait, I want to give her my email address, so that I don’s miss out on all the goodness she has to offer".
You want them to want to sign up to whatever free content you have on offer and give you their email address.
Notice that I said, "give you their email address". I didn’t say, “buy your product or services”. Of course, there are occasions when you get a purchase right away from someone who just landed on your site, depending on what type of industry you are in and what type of product or service you are selling. But even for those types of sales to happen, your website has to check off some key boxes, so that a brand new person visiting your website today can have the confidence in what you offer and say, “Hey, I like what you have on offer. Take my money.”
So, my definition of a website that converts is: a website that convinces people that you are a reliable, trustworthy source of valuable information and makes it super easy for visitors to become your subscribers. You can measure this by what percent of your site visitors are turning into subscribers of your email list. You can see this by how many people join your list.
4 Step Marketing Process in Online Business
A natural process of marketing for online business looks like this:
Step 1 -> Step 2 -> Step 3 -> Step 4 = Sales$$
Step 1 Land on your website->
Step 2 Convert those visitors into subscribers ->
Step 3 Nurture them with value-giving content ->
Step 4 Invite them to new products and services
= Generate revenue & sales
Step 1: First, people have to know about your website. To have that happen, there are tons of things you can do which has to do with content marketing, seo, social media marketing, networking with influencers, guest blogging, interviewing, etc. This falls under creating traffic to your website.
Step 2: Second, when all those efforts (from step 1) have been successful and people finally land on your website, that’s when your site has to already be in gear, ready and waiting to welcome them. Just like the sales person inside a tea shop is ready with everything - all items are on display, the pricing is clear, and she is present as well so that she can answer any questions you may have. This falls under what I call, "making your site conversion ready".
Step 3: Third, is when they are on your email list and over time, you build a like, trust and know factor by sending them consistent, high-value content. This is the nurturing and trust-building phase.
Step 4: Fourth, once the relationship is nice and strong. Then, you can then invite the people on your list to a new product, service or a program or an event.
All of these steps combined lead to revenue and sales.
It seems to me that there’s a lot of focus on step one. A lot of folks are focussing on social media, Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, etc. All of this is important and certainly has its place. It is important to do all those things to get people onto your website.
But it’s even more important to do steps 2 and 3. Because no matter how successful step one efforts are, they all fall flat if step 2 is not done well. Step 2 is where the reader actually sticks around a bit after landing on your site and then finds things that they want to opt-into and instantly get access to. This is so so key.
Remember Step 2 is all about having a conversion ready website. And Step 3 is about nurturing those folks who are on your email list.
How do you fair on step 2, in creating a conversion-friendly website?
Step 2 calls for putting into place a strategy, a plan of action for what your site is going to do to inspire people to subscribe to your list. But not in a sneaky, manipulative way. Instead, it’s got to do it in a way that the visitor says to herself, “wow, i really need this. ooh, I need to opt-in for this, and this and this. There’s so much here, I will bookmark this page. I will come back in my lunch break. I need to binge watch and binge read…" You get the point. It has to be in the most generous way. You’ve got to make the person feel that there’s a ton of content, useful content here that they absolutely need to get their hands on. They may even ask themselves, how come they haven’t heard about this page and start thanking their stars that they have finally found you.
This I find key because of all the effort you are putting into guest blogging or into social media and driving all that traffic to your website, you’ve got to have it ready for them. So that they will stop, spend some time there and give you their email. Instead of simply bouncing off to the next thing on their to-do list.
Only when Step 2 is done, will step 3 and 4 even come into play. You see what I mean. How can you nurture a list when people are not opting in. How can you launch a product and service when you don’t have a list of people who like trust and know you? I hope you are beginning to see why Step 2 is über-essential.
So the moral of the story is put efforts in making your Website Conversion ready.
How to make your website conversion ready?
Now, there are plenty of ways to make your Squarespace site do really well in Step 2. There are three key things you need to do in order to make your website conversion-friendly.
1. Clarity of purpose
2. Value-rich Content
3. Effective Calls to Action (CTAs)
1. Clarity: Present yourself clearly
You’ve got to be very clear on what you do and how you do it. Big big clarity.
So for example, don’t just state that you are web designer. State that you build websites on Squarespace with a 2- week process of completion.
This has to emerge very clearly in the way you present your business. It can refer to a main result, a core service or to specific tools, strategy or the approach you use that makes you stand out. Key would be to also add who you do this for. Don’t be afraid of getting really niche and getting really narrow.
I once saw a presentation of blogger who runs a million dollar business selling all things around succulents! Not plants but a very focused type of plant: succulents. And then she said that she would make more money if she addressed the needs of a yet narrow group within that succulent category. Wow! Succulent is already narrow and she said going even narrower would be her ticket to greater success. This is key. And don’t worry about have it all right from the start. Begin somewhere and refine as you go. Some other ways to present yourself clearly would be to use videos and photos while make it all personable and showing your process.
2. Content: Value-rich content that solves problems
Next, you’ve got to have tons of content on your site. Experiment with different types of content. You will begin to feel what your strength is. And then eventually you can focus on that one thing that is at the crux of your skill and what works.
For example, Amy Porterfield, a very successful marketer, does only audio podcasts. Just that one thing. She makes high-quality value rich content in the form of audio podcasts. She also has PDF checklists and summaries that people can download connected to that episode. Plus she has free PDFs on her home page that people can download for free. This is a great way to give out content. Another example is Melyssa Griffin. She has an immense resource library where you can get a whole portfolio of PDF resources. I think she does this really well.
But you may find that you love to create blog articles or video tutorials.
May you are a photographer or a visual artist of some kind, an actor or a performer. May be you make things by hand. Then articles that showcase your work, your process, in text and photos would be a huge way to build content.
I personally have found live workshops a great way to teach content. I do intense, info filled paid trainings like this one and then shorter, more focused live trainings for free as well. I am also building my youtube channel full of video tutorials. For me, blogs, live workshops, youtube videos are the three types of media I use that provide content. Then I support all of those by offering a variety of PDFs for people and I have a few in queue for publishing in the coming months.
3. Call to Actions: Every page must have a CTA
And finally, CTA. Now this is kind of interlocked and overlaps with the above point but it also has a unique feature that earns it its own section. So what is a CTA? It essentially is a Call to Action that basically invites your visitor to take one small action to move the relationship forward. Think of the example of two people going on a date. A girl and a guy go out for drinks. Then the next day, the girl takes the next step and calls the boy and says, ”hey do you want to go for a movie” and then the next day the boy invites her to go for dinner. At each step, there’s the next step. So the girl and the guy are not going for drinks, dinner and a movie all in the same moment. Which may happen down the road but it begins in small tiny steps.
CTA’s are very useful for moving the visitor from a content consumer to the next state where they are actually becoming a friend and more interested in your business and your offerings. They are taking the next step. Now, what’s important to note is that at any time they can take the relationship from visitor to consumer to customer. That option must be available for them. When you are at an advance stage where you have a nice size list that is active and engaged, then you can do launches of signature products and so on. But at the beginning stage, you’ve got to have things available at each stage of the customer journey. Meaning you've got to have clarity, value-rich content, and calls to action to take the next step.
Look out for my upcoming blog post that will show you how to use CTAs on your website: 11 types of Call to Actions that move the visitor into the next stage of the conversation.
So that's it, my friend. I hope you will review your website in light of the ideas I've presented here. The key message here is to encourage you to move way from obsessing about the design and style elements of your website and begin obsessing over creating useful content and products and services that solve people's problems. In the end, that will solve your problems as well because your website will begin generating revenue for you.
Is Your Website Conversion-Friendly?
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Hello there! Glad to meet you.
I am Sophia - the person behind this website. My intention is to provide useful content that helps online entrepreneurs and small businesses build trust with their audience, grow the number of beloved fans as well as happy clients. I'm a Squarespace Authorized Trainer and a Certified ConvertKit Expert and I love helping people through producing my weekly video tutorials and blogs, live workshops and online courses. Also, I work directly with clients in all aspects of content and email marketing strategy + implementation as well as designing high-converting Squarespace websites. Let me know in the comments if you've got a question and I'd be happy to help.