10 Secrets to a Website that Sells
Considering a new custom website for business growth? Do you have an outdated website that hasn’t been touched in years? Are you building a business and looking to make a splash when you come online? Have you recently launched a new website for your business and you are still struggling to get customers to your new website?
Then these secrets are for you.
Secret #1: Set a goal
As with anything, you will be more successful in building a website that sells if you start with a plan.
Start by thinking through what you want the goal of your website to be. Obviously you want to build a custom website for business growth, but dig deeper.
Examples of website goals are:
- To convert sales
- To capture leads
- To serve as a source of information
- To generate donations
- To be found (organically or through paid advertising)
- To promote events
- To be a repository of information/data
- To drive membership
Some sites may have multiple goals, and some may not.
For instance, a restaurant’s website goals may be to serve as a source of information (customers can find their menu, hours, directions, etc.), be found organically, and promote events.
A niche manufacturing business may not need their website to fo much more than serve as a source of information about their company when leads reasearch them online.
An online coaching business may need to capture leads, be found organically, and drive membership.
An e-commerce website is probably aiming for converting sales and being found both organically and via paid advertising.
Secret #2: Get organized
Tackling a website without a site map is like tackling a movie without a storyboard. You just won’t know where to begin.
Similar to outlining a paper, you need to define all the content that you plan to include on your website, and think about how it will be organized on the site.
Think about your goals and your customers. What information will they be looking for on your website?
Think about the value you can add for your customers. What information can you create that they will find valuable?
Think about trying to close sales. What information can you include on your website that will help them decide to buy/donate/call/click?
Also think about the user experience. Once you know the content you will be providing, think about where your prospects may be looking for it.
If you are a destination, like an event venue, you probably need to provide a lot of information for guests to plan ahead of time.
Don’t make it hard for your guests to find the information they are looking for. There’s nothing wrong with including links in more than one place.
Secret #3: Photography can make or break a website
A beautifully designed website will not look so beautiful if the photos used are not professional.
Budget and plan for professional photography when planning and building your website.
Product photos, location photos, headshots, and filler photos—they should all be professional, high-quality photographs.
Use your own professional photos as much as possible, and know that stock photography is an option if budgets are tight, or it’s too difficult to actually shoot the photo you need.
While smartphone cameras have dramatically improved over the years, that still does not magically turn you into a photographer.
A photographer will understand and shoot for good lighting all around, sharpness throughout the photo, the best possible composition, appropriately-saturated color, avoiding harsh shadows, and more.
Why would you spend money on a custom website for your business, and not spend money on photos that will help that custom website shine?
It will be no secret that you don’t invest in your business if you use non-professional photos on your website (and any other marketing materials).
(oh, and p.s. Size Does Matter!)
Secret #4: Tell a really good—and optimized—user-friendly story
Just like photos make or break a website, so does content.
The words on your website matter even more.
You have the hard job of grabbing the attention of your customer on page 1… And you don’t even know where page 1 will be!
There’s no guarantee that your visitors will be entering your website from the home page. So every page needs to be written with care.
Make your site conversational. Use your brand’s voice. And grab the reader!
Your story also needs to flow, and unlike a book, page 2 doesn’t always follow page 1.
You don’t know what page a visitor comes to first, just like you don’t know where they go second.
Make sure you are creating a flow that works, no matter where the user clicks.
A user should never feel like they wound up on the wrong page, got content they weren’t looking for or expecting, or can’t find what it truly is they are looking for.
User experience should always be top of mind when writing (and designing) a website.
Second to user experience is optimization.
You want to be found, too, right? So you need to optimize your content for search engines.
It’s a delicate threading of a needle to build a page with optimized content and user-friendly readability. Learn to thread the needle!
Secret #5: Make your website sticky
If your site is sticky, then users won’t bounce.
A sticky website is a website that keeps its users engaged within the site.
This can mean long form content (2,000+ word blog posts), or interactive portions of your website that get the user to hang out for a bit, or it’s just a matter of linking throughout the site—from one useful article to another, and creating a web of reference within your site.
There are many unique and clever ways you can make your site sticky. But it won’t pour the glue on itself.
Google likes to see that your site has a low bounce rate. The bounce rate is how quickly a user leaves the site altogether once they’ve first arrived.
The higher your bounce rate, the lower you rank (among millions of other algorithms).
So if you can create an environment where the user hangs around instead of jumping off to another site, you’ve created a sticky site (with low bounce rate!)
Secret #6: Get to know and use the CTA
It can feel uncomfortable to tell a customer exactly what you want—or need—them to do.
We all hate the pushy salesman persona. The one who won’t let up, who bothers you at every turn, and doesn’t take no for an answer.
So we shy away from it, and we wait. We wait for the customer to discover what’s best for them.
The problem with that? Your website could grow cobwebs waiting.
You need to come out of your shell and engage your user on your website.
You need to tell them what they need, why they need it, and how they can get it.
You need to create calls to action—or CTAs.
A call to action is nothing more than a button. But it’s a button that tells you what to do.
Click here. Shop now. Buy Tickets. Learn more. Donate. These are all very standard, short and sweet calls to action. You may see them often on Facebook ads.
But on your website, you can be specific, detailed and targeted. Who are you speaking to and what do you really want them to do?
A quick example:
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Don’t be afraid to sell yourself and your business, and be direct and hard-hitting with your CTAs.
Secret #7: Your website is never done
That flyer you had put together last week to promote your upcoming event? It’s written, designed, printed, and distributed. That’s done.
The social media post you put up yesterday and boosted this morning? That’s posted, blasted, done!
The report you handed in last week? Delivered. Done.
The website you are building, putting your blood, sweat and tears into, fretting over when it will launch, wondering when it will be “ready”? That’s not done. And it never will be.
Just because your website is LIVE doesn’t mean it’s done.
A website is like a living, breathing thing. It requires care & attention, food, and regular check-ups.
Pay attention to your website. Know what’s going on in it’s life. What are it’s analytics? What is working and what isn’t? Where are your users coming from? Do you have any users?
Feed your website. Your website needs new content on a regular basis. Whether that’s in the form of blog posts, photos, videos, products, testimonials, case studies, portfolio entries, you name it, it needs it!
Check up on it regularly. Is it healthy? Is it performing well? Are all systems operational, updated, in working condition? It is secure? Is all the content on the site up-to-date?
Never let your website sit there, live for the world to see, when you haven’t seen it, or looked at it, for months.
Secret #8: Choose a really good website host
Not all hosts are created equal.
First, this is for you if you are self-hosting your website. In other words, you are not in an all-in-one website scenario like Squarespace, Shopify, or another proprietary website builder where you pay one price and get the domain, hosting, design, all in one.
If you are on a self-hosted platform, your website is on GoDaddy, HostMonster, HostGator, BlueHost, Network Solutions, Register.com, or any one of a large number of hosts, then I’m speaking to you.
I’ll say it again. Not all hosts are created equal.
Does it seem like your website is slow to load?
Do you find that you try to access your website sometimes, and it simply won’t come up?
The answer could lie in any number of reasons, and one of those reasons COULD be the host.
I highly recommend that this is an arena where you find a web developer to help you navigate the right host. And I do not mean your IT department.
Don’t rely on what your host tells you.
I have personally been involved in situations where a customer calls a host, and asks why their site is slow. The host says there is something wrong with the site, and spits back screen after screen of metrics they claim to have run on the site.
But the metrics don’t make sense. So we move the site to a new host, and, voila! The site is no longer slow.
Not all hosts are created equal. Some will say or do anything to keep you as a customer. Some will send you promo after promo in order to get you to buy an add-on that you don’t need.
When it comes to website hosting, get someone who knows and understands what you are in need of to help you through the process, and help you choose the best host for your needs.
Secret #9: You should absolutely work with a custom web design company for your business website
You get what you pay for.
Cheap equals cheap. End of story.
That “free” website you built… How much time did it really take you?
Is your time worth anything to you?
And how well does that “free” or “inexpensive” site convert?
What is that site’s expandability?
How easy is it to make changes, or adjust the look and feel so it’s in line with your brand?
Or how about that website you have been working on for months, and are struggling to get it to a place you are proud of?
Do you consider your brand / your product / your service unique? Why wouldn’t you want your website to reflect that uniqueness?
Your job is not building websites. Your job is to run your business.
Websites are not easy to get right. The flow, the message, the user experience, these are all talents that require experience and knowledge.
You get what you pay for, in your business, in your life, in your website.
A website is like a house. A good investment in it will last for years.
A custom-built website, done right and done well, will give you serious mileage.
It will be fast, it will be secure, it will convert, and it will sell.
Invest in a custom web design company, and let the experts lead you along the way. You will not be disappointed.
Secret #10: If you build it, they won’t just COME.
This is the secret you don’t want to hear.
This is the kicker. The one that gets you when you are down.
If you build a custom website for business growth and launch it, you are not automatically going to create a windfall of traffic, of customers, or of sales.
You read that right. If you build it, they won’t just come.
The secret to a website that sells?
You’ve got to sell your website.
Your website is a tool.
In fact, your website is one of the most important items in your marketing tool box.
There’s perhaps few to no instances where a business doesn’t need a website, just like every business needs a logo, or every business needs a brand. It’s that important.
But just like any tool, if you don’t take it out of that toolbox and use it, nothing will be accomplished.
How do you use that tool? Oh, let me count the ways…
Create a marketing plan for your website would be the first place to start.
Create a content strategy for your website.
Drive people to your website via social media.
Use email marketing to drive people to your website.
Use some good ole fashioned networking and get your name out there (along with your website).
Use Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
Use other digital marketing platforms.
Create an SEO strategy (Search Engine Optimization).
Put links to your website in your signature.
I could go on and on.
But one thing is certain, if you don’t USE the tool, your website (and your business) will go unnoticed.
Still got questions? What are YOU struggling with in conceptualizing or building a new website for your business? We’d love to hear from you, and you WILL hear back. Submit your questions now!
Ready to start work on your custom website for business growth?
Ready to apply these secrets to a new website? Schedule a free 15-minute intro call with us to see if Katy Dwyer Design is the right fit for your business and your new custom website.