Recently I did a series of live videos on the Facebook page for my design business, talking about common mistakes people make while doing their websites - not only that, but common mistakes that might be turning your potential customers off, making you lose sales, and making you lose money.
No one wants to lose money through their business, right? Or miss out on sales.
So here are your website's hidden "money holes" that you may not have been aware of...
1. Looking scattered and not cohesive
Oh, BRANDING. Where would we be without you? Well, we know the answer to that: we would have a weak brand that looks all over the place, and a business that looks like it's not sure what to be or who to appeal to.
It's important to go through a process where you figure out who your target audience is, create a profile of details about them, and figure out what appeals to them, Your Ideal Customer. Once you know that, and you know what Your Ideal Customer will be looking for and what will push their "I want that!" buttons, you'll have a strong brand.
You don't necessarily NEED a designer to have a strong brand, but boy howdy it helps! If you don't, though, and if you're making your website's assets in Canva or another program, keep all the files together in one folder marked "website" and make sure that any new visuals you create for the site fit into the overall scheme. It doesn't all need to look super matchy, it just needs to look like it all comes from the same site.
Here's what happens if you don't have visual consistency on your site: you have images that, since they look like they don't belong, can sometimes look like they were stolen from other sites. It looks scattered, and it looks like you, as the business owner, aren't clear on what you want your business to be yet. If you have inconsistent product photos (all different backgrounds, some clothes on models and some on hangers, varying quality of photos), it can look like the products are all sourced from different places, like you're a sketchy dropshipper importing things from China. If you have a handmade or artistic business, you DEFINITELY want all your product photos to have your own "stamp" on them, because you want it to look like YOU made them, because you DID!
When you DO have a strong, consistent brand, people can look at your site and immediately get the feel for what you're like, your personality, the type of business you run. Your ideal clients will get that all important good first impression. And then they can move on to...
2. Where's your call to action?
SO IMPORTANT. If people get onto your site, and it looks pretty, and they like it, then they have to know where to buy from you, or how to work with you. RIGHT AWAY. Otherwise they'll just wander around your site confused and then leave.
You should have at least one clear call to action on your main page, maybe two. And make them CLEAR and BOLD so that people's attention is drawn to them! This is the important stuff!
It doesn't have to be a paid offer, either. Having one of your CTAs be a freebie to get them to join your email list is also super valuable.
But additionally, there should be a link to your #1 paid offer on your front page. This can be your most popular offer, the one that converts the best (i.e. people go to the landing page and are like, "oh yeah, I want that, SOLD!"), the one that makes the most money, or even the one you ENJOY offering the most. Whatever your #1 paid offer is, highlight it with a bold link, a button, or some big pretty image on your front page.
And I broke this rule for a long time, so I am totally not immune to this! On my design website, for the first, uh...a lot of years of that site's life, it was purely a portfolio site, with one tiny "hire me" link on some buried page. Once I started making it really clear with "SHOP" and "WORK WITH ME" links prominently displayed, that site started getting me a lot more clients.
3. Too much stuff.
Okay, I know I just said to have two calls to action on your front page, so this might seem a bit contradictory. BUT, there's a difference between having two clear calls to action, with breathing room in between, and overloading your site with tons of information, images, and buttons.
When you give people too many things to look at, all with equal weight, it confuses them and turns them off. Lots of photos on your main page, lots of links or buttons, tons of testimonials, tons of text...they won't know what the most important thing is to look at. It will be confusing, it will hurt their eyes, and they'll just leave the site.
People's eyes need breathing room! When there's just too much information or visual stimulus on a page, it can get tiring. Also, people need to be "told" where to look. It's good to indicate visually what the most important things are, whether it's through color, size, or highlighting something with a photo. Which is why I said above that you want your calls to action to have a button or a beautiful photo attached - it draws people's attention and tells them, "look at this, it's important!"
The problem, then, is not too much stuff, but too much disorganized stuff. You can have a lot of text, but break it up into paragraphs, and break it up with pictures. You can have a lot of products, but break them into categories, and have the photos look beautiful and eye-catching so it's a pleasure to look through your product pages. You can have a lot of testimonials, but keep them on a testimonials page, and break them up with photos of your happy clients, or highlight one or two in larger text or a box.
And speaking of testimonials...
4. No social proof
On the internet, anyone can be anything. Or so they say, right? You could have a beautiful website, and you could SAY that your products or services are the best, but who's to know if that's really true? Enter: Social Proof.
Social proof is basically testimonials and reviews. These are big helpers in selling your products and services, and they can basically function as a form of word of mouth, person-to-person marketing, on your site. They tell your viewers, "look, other people like what I do too!"
If you have good testimonials from your clients, USE THE HECK OUT OF THEM. Have a testimonials page, and it helps to include the person's real name or a good photo of them, or a link to their business or website, so that they look more real and less like, well, like you made them up. :P
If you have a products-based business, some e-commerce platforms allow the option of leaving reviews - see if that works better for you than testimonials. Also, if you get press, mentions in blogs, or reviews elsewhere, use those too!
Social proof builds TRUST. And trust is more valuable than gold in the online business sector. Trust = sales. People have to trust you, and have confidence that you and your business are who you say they are, before they will spend money with you. All of these tips, in fact, go back to trust in some way. Having a sloppy-looking, mismatched site doesn't look trustworthy, but having a professionally-designed site shows that you've invested in your own company, and that DOES look trustworthy. Trust is an intangible quality, it's hard to define sometimes why you trust one website but not another...but it's so important.
5. No human face
Okay, I have gone back and forth on this - there are certain business types where you don't need to put your face EVERYWHERE, yet some people do, and that's annoying. Ever seen a realtor take out an ad, but the ad is mainly their face? I don't want your face, show me the properties you're selling!
However, it is very helpful to have your face somewhere on your site, most definitely on your About Me page, and probably somewhere on your front page too. It shows that you're a real person, it builds the all-important TRUST, and it brings your business to the human scale. The photo of you tells people, "hey, I'm a real person out here with a business, I'm not some huge corporation. When you buy with me, you're directly supporting me and my family."
And especially if you're in a business where you work one-on-one with people, like if you're a coach, a counselor, a teacher, etc. it's important for people to see your face. Words can only do so much. Show people that you're a human.
6. Expecting the site to do all the heavy lifting.
Sadly, Field of Dreams lied to us all. If you build it, they may NOT come.
Your website is just a tool - it is not in itself an instant money maker. You still have to drive traffic there, whether it's through paid ads, social media, SEO, or analog marketing (yes, that still exists! Network in person, hand out business cards, post flyers, send out postcards!).
Social media is a great, largely free way of bringing traffic. I could get into a whole other SERIES of blog posts about how to do it, but you can start with my tip sheet. You really have to be consistent with it in order to bring in viewers to your site, that's the main thing. I schedule between 4 - 8 promo posts on my social media each month, designed to bring people to either my site or my Etsy by highlighting a product or offering a discount.
SEO and advertising are also things that I could write huuuuuge blog posts about, because these are important things, but I will just say that if these are things that you're interested in, read up on them or get a professional to help you. Honestly, the SEO For Dummies book has been really helpful to me in figuring this stuff out!
So these are my tips, and hopefully this has been helpful! Look at your website if you have one, or have someone else look at it for you, and see how many of these mistakes you may be making. Like I said, I have totally made these before at several points in my internet career, so there's no shame in it!
And if you need expert help with your site, or aren't sure where to begin improving your site, sign up for a free discovery call with me, and we can get started!