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10 Mistakes Your Website is Making (& How To Fix Them Fast)

Hi! I'm Caitlin.

I'm a business strategist for creative freelancers, here to help you find a calmer & more strategic way of doing business.

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My first website was BRIGHT teal, covered in paint splatters and crowded with low-res images. 

It was oh-so-2000’s. 

I wanted it to shout “Stylish! Artistic! Unique!” But it was screaming “Amateur! Unreadable! Confusing!”

We all start somewhere, right? (…right?!)

I had outsourced that first website to a designer friend but found the process frustrating and expensive. (To be fair, it was a “me” problem. Shoutout to Daniele from Italy: I kind of put you through the ringer, sorry dude!)

So I learned to make my own websites. I figured out WordPress, made some crappy landing pages, studied what far more successful people were doing, and spent a decade slowly figuring out what works.

I’ll save you ten years and cut to the chase: Your website could be your best salesman…or it could be shooting you in the foot.

Fortunately CMS platforms – like Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify – make it easier than ever to design your own site. 

But making your DIY site look polished and professional? Building a site that captures & converts? There’s a reason pro designers are still in demand…

What makes an effective website?

Effective websites are pretty and practical. They show and sell, thoughtfully guiding customers towards the ultimate action – buying something from you! 

That means your site needs to…

  • Clearly state what you offer
  • Make it easy for people to find what they need
  • Allay any fears they have
  • Invite them to take the next step
  • Capture their email so you can stay in touch

10 fast tweaks that turn browsers into buyers

Here’s a list of easy-to-implement tweaks you can make to help your website land clients:

1. Make it obvious what you do

In one sentence, describe what you do and why it’s awesome. Put this – along with your most important content “above the fold” (the part of the web page that’s visible without having to scroll down).

ACTION ITEM:

  • Put a big, bold, one-sentence description in the first section of your website.

2. Make it easy to read

Spoiler alert: many people won’t actually read your website. They’ll scan it. So we need to give them little “snacks” for their eyeballs, instead of forcing them to consume paragraphs word-by-word. 

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Break up walls of text into short paragraphs.
  • Selectively bold your takeaway points.
  • Add lots of negative space so people’s eyes have a place to rest.

3. Keep options simple

Although you may have a LOT to say and offer, less is more when it comes to a sales focused website. Hick’s Law states that the time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices – and that is not the vibe we’re after!

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Limit menu options.
  • Limit service options.
  • Decluttering your footer & sidebar areas.

4. Guide towards the goal

Your website’s ultimate function is to convert visitors into customers, so we want to make it very clear how people can take that next step with you, and always be nudging them in that direction.

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Make your menu “sticky”, which means it always shows at the top of the screen even when someone is scrolling down. 
  • Put your CTA (call to action) in that menu (Book Now! Schedule a Call! Say Hi To Your Mom!)
  • Repeat your CTA at the bottom of every page so there are no “dead ends”.

5. Deprioritize offsite content

Your website may have lots of links – to social media, to relevant organizations, or to additional resources. All of these are opportunities for a visitor to leave your site…after you just worked so hard getting them in! 

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Make sure offsite links open in a new window.
  • De-emphasize social links by moving them to the footer.

6. Make it mobile friendly

There’s nothing worse than a mobile website with text trailing off into some unreachable oblivion.

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Check that your site is readable and navigable on mobile.
  • Hyperlink your contact details so that people can tap on the go.

7. Downplay inactivity

So you’ve fallen off the blogging wagon, again. Congratulations, you’re human! Try to focus on evergreen content rather than content that needs to be updated all the time (like event calendars, blogs, monthly specials) unless you’re sure you’ll stay on top of it – and even then, make a backup plan! Sh*t happens 🙂

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Edit your blog’s settings to hide publish dates.
  • Remove any outdated content.

8. Give warm fuzzies

We are social creatures, basically overgrown cavemen, and we really like seeing faces. Something about pictures of people really does it for our brains. 

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Use high quality photos of faces with the expression you’d want your customers to have.
  • When you write the text (aka copy) on your website, use the word “you”, like you’re speaking directly to your consumer rather than some imaginary nothingness. 

9. Create certainty

Working with you is a gamble (no offense). If you’re going to expand beyond working with friends, and friends of friends, eventually you’ll be working with strangers. That’s the hope, anyway! And those strangers need to feel reasonably certain that forking over their credit card is going to give them a win.

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Sprinkling social proof (aka testimonials, product ratings, etc) all over your site. Prove that others were happy after working with you, and they will be too!
  • Can you add a guarantee policy? A try-before-you buy? A convenient out-clause so they can jump ship if they aren’t happy with their purchase? Removing risk helps nudge people off the fence.

10. Stay in touch

Email is an incredibly powerful marketing tool (40x more effective than social media! McKinsey) The thing is, people don’t get super jazzed at the idea of marketing emails, so we offer them an incentive – something truly valuable – in exchange for their contact details. Some folks call this incentive an “opt-in.” Your opt-in can take the form of a special offer, a free download, or exclusive access. 

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Add an opt-in form
  • Put it on your homepage, about page, and individual blog pages.

Don’t stop here! Put it in ACTION:

If you want to DIY, check out this digital course:

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Learn how to nip and tuck your website to thoughtfully guide customers towards buying something from you.

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If you want it done for you, book a 1:1 session:

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Hands on, high impact support to help you blast through obstacles and get stuff done – fast.

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Hi! I'm Caitlin.

Hi! I'm Caitlin.

I’m a business strategist for creative freelancers.

I'm here to help you escape the trap of "hustle culture" and find a calmer, more strategic way of doing business.