Website 101: How to Give Your Website a Makeover

I want you to imagine that you are looking to hire a life coach. Specifically, someone who can help you sort out your relationship with your teenage daughter – a life coach specializing in family relationships. You might ask your closest friends if they can recommend someone, but you don’t want to ask publicly due to the sensitive nature of the topic. You don’t want people assuming you are a failure as a mom, or even a dad.

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None of your friends have ever hired a life coach so you have to do what you do pretty much for everything else you need to look for. You go to trusty Google. You type in life coaches and you are instantly bombarded by the following. Ads for the coaching and coach training companies, articles or blog posts that talk about coaching in some way and a few scattered independent coach websites. This is what you are looking for. You start clicking on the links to find out more information.

Now, you are a busy person, you have tons of responsibilities and your kids are driving you crazy. You need help fast. You are not going to sit around and spend hours on this. You need to short list people now. So you start short listing.

There are some sites that scream ‘scam’. And then there are those that look way too spammy. Some look totally amateurish and you are not even sure if this person is a qualified coach. Some have websites that are so confusing that you don’t know what they are offering.

You bookmark anyone who seems familiar – if you have read any of their blog posts you shortlist them, if you see that they have been featured in places you know and respect, they go in your short list as well. You also try googling best life coaching blogs to see if you can find people from there and you are finally starting to get somewhere.

As you begin to read up more information about them, you run into more roadblocks. You try to find out their offerings but discover how unclear they are. You try to find out their pricing and half of them don’t list them. You fear they might be more expensive than what you can afford right now.

Sounds familiar?

It’s not only about finding a service provider, nor is it only you. Millions of people are searching online for products and services to buy. Things that can either solve a problem or fulfil a desire. People look for coaches, trainers, therapists, jewellery makers, custom baby clothing designers, bespoke furniture manufactures, art, tools, phones, new restaurants to try and everything else under the sun.

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They are looking, but they are busy people. They are not going to waste their time if your website confuses them, bores them or repels them in any way. They are also humans so they are heavily influenced by first impressions. Your job is to make a killer first impression – and your website is going to do that for you.

You’ve got to ask yourself these questions:

  • How can you run a website that attracts your best clients and customers to you instead of sending them away to your competitors?
  • How do you run a website that converts people and get them to sign up? A website that you are proud of.
  • How do you create trust, credibility, social proof and make the buying process as easy as it can be?

Now, your website doesn’t necessarily have to be a really fancy one. You don’t need flashy graphics, videos or high level branding. But what you do need is something that is user-friendly, looks professional and does its job, that is convince people to either get on your email list or purchase on the spot. Your mission is to give your website a complete makeover.

Let’s dive in.

Every website needs the following six elements. They are:

1. Homepage

Have you ever caught those birdy eye view of the million dollar mansions or celebrity houses shown on TV? You want to go inside and check them out, don’t you? I mean, the exterior is so pretty, you wonder how the rest of the house is going to look like.

Your website homepage is like the entrance to your house. It leads to all the interesting things happening behind closed doors that your visitors will want to check out. You’ve got to make sure that it looks inviting..

  • Professional, clutter-free design

A website that does its job has a great design. Now by design I don’t mean flashy looking graphics or scrolling galleries, I don’t. You actually don’t need a super expensive website. All you need is a website that is not cluttered and does not confuse people.

Nothing sends your readers running faster than being greeted by a cluttered, tacky or spammy feel. Make a great first impression by with a stunning, clean and professional design and improve your website trust factor instantaneously.

You can create a great first impression by the use of your brand colours, typography and images to invoke a certain feeling in your visitors. Think very carefully about how you want your visitors to feel: Inspired? Excited? Joyful? Entertained? Ready to take action?

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Make sure not to crowd your main navigation bar. You should try not to ram every page, product or category in there. Have another navigation menu if you must. Be careful with third-party advertising. Only display ads on your website if the income they generate is too good to refuse. And if you do, keep the ads relevant to your audience.

  • A great looking header banner

This is especially important if you are a service-based professional like a coach, consultant, trainer, teacher, therapist, designer, writer or an artist. Don’t forget to add a professional headshot for a fantastic first impression. This will also help you differentiate from others – stand out amongst the crowd.

You may or may not need a logo. Your business name can also be written in a neat-looking format which can act as a logo.

  • An effective tagline

Your tagline needs to tell your readers what you do and who the website is for, or clearly state the features of what you are selling.

For example:

  • Career coaching for women in transition
  • Wedding photography for outdoors
  • Bespoke furniture for your lounge room
  • Back to school supplies with free shipping

The most memorable taglines are the ones that are short and sweet. However, it might not apply to your business so don’t go stressing about creating the perfect tagline. People tend to get stuck in this phase – don’t. Just state how you help your customers very clearly. Clear is always better than clever.

  • One strong call to action  

Also think about the main goal of your website. Do you want people to get on your email list so that you can build a relationship over time or have you got a store and you would like people to buy today? This is important because you need a strong call to action on your website. This can be a headline or a positioning statement.

  • User friendly navigation

You want to guide your visitor on your website and get them to take some action. This will determine what your homepage will look like.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What does the visitor need to know? What do they need to find easily?
  2. What action(s) do you want the reader to take? What’s most important?
  3. Are you asking him to take too many actions? Subscribe, sign up for a newsletter, download your white paper, hire you, follow you on social media, read your best content, etc.?
  4. Can the reader easily find out more about you and how to contact you?
  5. Can the reader easily subscribe via RSS and email?

 

  • Layout

If you have a store and you offer physical products, your website will have a store front. If you sell services, you can also highlight your offerings by showcasing them on the homepage. But if you want people on get on your list, you may want to feature your blog on the homepage. You would then have a sidebar and a place for the following elements.

Sign up form. People often hide their subscription form and then complain that nobody subscribes. Make it very easy for people to find your sign-up form. Top right on your sidebar or just above your main navigation bar are two good places.

A subscriber incentive. Give new subscribers free access to an ebook or report hey can’t refuse. Make it super useful.

Your social media profiles. Encourage visitors to connect with you on social media. This builds trust and deepens the connection.

Strategic display of credibility building elements. Don’t go without dressing up your website in testimonials, as seen as logos, and press you have gotten.

You can sprinkle these across your website in various places. Your sidebar, right under your header banner, in the footer, in your about page as well as on a stand-alone page dedicated to more detailed case studies and media mentions.

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2.   About page

This is the most frequently visited page of your website after your home page. It also has the longest shelf life. It’s worth really looking at how others have done it, and then to make yours as professional and well thought out as possible. You certainly don’t want people bouncing off this page.

Every about page should have three elements:

  • A great looking photo of you and your team.

Tell them who you are and why should they care. We all love putting faces to names so don’t hide behind your business. Tell them how you help them or fulfil their desires. What makes you qualified? Tell your audience about your experience and results you have gotten for others (briefly).

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Tell them your story. Tell them your why. What made you start this business? Why are you so passionate about it? Give people an opportunity to connect with you. Give them a reason to choose you over your competitors.

Do not write in a third person voice. Do not be dull, corporate or boring. Don’t use jargon.

If you publish content or write a blog, here you have opportunity to establish what your blog posts will look like. Is it going to be serious – or cheeky, whether you will write with an inspirational, positive tone or is it going to be catty? Funny, quirky, offensive? Your about page copy allows you to establish your tone and sets your expectations for your content.

Link to your sign up page (if you have one) and to the products and services you sell. And include a strong call to action you want them to take (ask for a quote, get on your list or check out your shop).

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3. Contact page

You need a contact page for people to get in touch with you.

  • Don’t try to hide your contact information or make it difficult for people to find it. Give your details to reach you easily.
  • Give them multiple ways to contact you. Also give them an email address because forms don’t work sometimes.
  • You can use simple contact forms or create more elaborate booking forms for people to get a quote for projects. Make sure they get a confirmation message thanking them for getting in touch.
  • You can also use online scheduling apps like Satori which allows people to book appointments and sessions with you based on your availability.

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4.   Content

You definitely need to publish some content on your website. It can take the form of a blog or articles or newsletters archive. Content helps build your authority and credibility. It helps your site rank better on Google. It attracts links. You give people a reason to spread the word about you in by sharing your content. You attract leads and you build your email list.

If you choose to showcase your content on your homepage, you have to be mindful of these things before you publish:

  • Write for your ideal reader customer. If you know who your target audience is and write every post with them in mind, your results will improve dramatically.
  • Maintain a decent posting frequency. Stick to a schedule that works for you.
  • Display a list of your most popular posts on the sidebar. Showcase your best work and impress your new visitors.
  • Hone in your headline writing skills. You need to make your audience curious, and you always need to spell out the benefit of them reading the post. Also start every post with an irresistible introduction.
  • Make your writing screen-friendly by adding sub-headings, bulleted points, numbered lists, images and lots of white space. Make it easy on the eyes.
  • Link to older content. In every new post, try to link to at least three or four old posts, sending your readers back in time to read your best work.
  • Add a sign up form after every post. Remind your readers that they should sign up to get your latest updates and special offers.
  • Display social share buttons. Make it really easy for them to share your content.
  • Publish clear guidelines for guest posting. If you want to attract quality posts from other bloggers, have a section with detailed advice on the requirements and the process.

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5.   Services page or shop

You need pages that directly sell a product or service – pages that have some sort of Buy button, or that directly tell people to contact you for a quote / consultation if you offer these services. Create a hire me/services/work with me page. This page needs a clear headline, the packages you offer and a clear call to action. You may want to list your prices, or not, it is entirely up to you.

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Create a store/shop for you physical products or informational products. All the evergreen online products after launch can also go live there. Also, create a specific page for an online course that is currently open for enrolments or opening soon.

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6.   Testimonials/Press/As seen on

Websites are great for raising your credibility and building trust. From the smallest element like a great looking photo, to your design, to your content and social proof – everything is working in harmony to create trust in your brand. But there are better ways to take your credibility to the next level. 

Testimonials. Back up what you offer by positive feedback from past and present customers. Make your testimonials even more real and believable by adding photos, mentioning client/customer websites and even adding video testimonials.

As seen on. Have you been featured in other blogs or websites? Have you been interviewed, quoted or talked about on the interwebs? Make sure to let others know and display those logos on your website.

Press. Have you gotten any media attention? Is your product been featured in a magazine? Media mentions are great for attaching integrity to your name.

Case studies. Last but not the least, be sure to feature some client or customer success stories on your website. These are more detailed than testimonials. You either send your happy customers a questionnaire or interview them and transcribe the case study.

So there you have it. This is how you give your website a complete makeover – from head to toe – and attract the best clients and customers. You know what do but you still might not be sure how to implement it all.

Worry not, I have got you covered.

Pretend that you are looking to hire a professional photographer or are in the market for a new laptop – whatever gets you excited. Search for the keywords and start going through the websites that come up in the result. Start taking notes from the moment you open click their link.

  • What were your first impressions like? Did you find the site to be aesthetically appealing? Did it look professional?
  • Did you want to leave within a few seconds?
  • What did you like?
  • What did you not like?
  • What impressed you?
  • Was the site easy to navigate?
  • Did you find the information easily?
  • Was it easy to get in touch with them?
  • Did you find user reviews, testimonials and other impressive credentials?
  • Did they publish any content? Did you like it? Would you get on their list?

Do this exercise a few times and keep taking notes. You don’t have to incorporate of all of that on your site but it is highly useful to know what works. And you also get to learn by example. Now you know how a visitor feels. Now you have experienced what it’s like to be in your prospect’s shoes.

Now you are ready to begin.