Before I jump into this broad topic about creating a website that converts, let’s start with the basics. What the heck does “convert” mean?! Well, it means reaching your goal of your website.
This looks different to different people and different websites. If you aren’t selling anything on your website a “conversion” may be someone subscribing to your mailing list. If you are selling a service it may be someone filling out your lead capture form. Sell a product? It would probably be a purchase.
When you create your website with conversion in mind, you have to know the end goal before you can even begin. If you don’t know what you’re measuring… how can you measure it?
The first step to understanding how to create a website that converts is knowing what your primary goal is for your site. The examples above should give you a good start. The most important thing to recognize here is that your primary goal should be an action that your reader has to take.
It isn’t getting eyes on your site, it isn’t someone reading a post. It is an action that they choose to take because they find your content, product, or service valuable.
The design of your website can certainly work against your goals. A few things to avoid: having a website that is cluttered can distract your readers from your end goal. Take a look at your site design whether you’re creating a new website or yours already exists.
Do you have ads, pop-ups, or a sidebar that may catch the reader’s attention and unintentionally lead them to click away from your end goal?
Another way to go wrong is to have too many calls to action. If your reader is confused about where to click next or where they should go, they won’t convert.
There’s a lot going on out there in the way of trendy websites. And it’s important not to get caught up in the hype as you create a site. I’m going to be blunt in this section so I really hope you’re cool with that.
Navigation: your navigation should be at the top of your site. I repeat. Your navigation is aways at the top of your site.
Why? People expect that! When you want to know where you can go next on a website, what do your eyes do? They scan to the top of the screen. If you’re putting your navigation somewhere else, there better be good reason.
Minimalism: Okay, I don’t have a huge bone to pick with minimalism as a design choice. Depending on the brand it can be the right way to go. What is important here is to consider staying true to the design aesthetic, while giving your reader enough direction. Minimalism can still have a button if you know what I’m saying. Well, you should, cause I just said it.
Call to action: This has its own section below. But in terms of design it is so important! Spoiler alert for the section below… SHOW people what you want them to do next. Make it big. Make it obvious. This is a big mistake I see when someone creates a website – they forget to make the next step obvious. How will your reader convert if they don’t know what to do next?
Make sure that you have a big, bold, obvious call to action that is above the fold (before your reader would have to scroll). It’s best that your call to action look “clickable”.
Think of what you’re used to on a website. We’re all used to buttons and we know to click a button! So make your call to action clickable.
Navigation is another important piece to consider. Use your top menu bar to feature the most important pages on your site. This means you should narrow it down!
If your end goal is to get your readers to your “work with me” page so that they fill out your lead capture form, I’d stick that baby in the top right and make it look clickable AF!
The rest of the pages linked in your top menu should be pages that support your end goal. Do you think readers may need to see your portfolio before your services page? Make sure the thought process supports the action.
Websites, just like in life, require a map to show you where to go. Of course, this isn’t a literal map that we publish on our sites, but it is something to be approached with intention and thought.
Creating a map for your website *before you build it* is as simple as thinking through the pages you need, how they link together, and how you’d like to direct your readers to reach that end goal you created above.
This would be a wireframe that you sketch out before you create a website. A wireframe just shows which pages you’re creating and how they link together.
Depending on your business model and your website goals, this will look different for everyone. The important thing is to think through it ahead of time and truly understand what you’d like your readers to do, and in what order. Your language and design can steer them on the page once you’ve consciously decided.
The first step to writing in a way that converts is to know your audience better than you know yourself. Stop. Ignoring. Ideal. Customer. Exercises.
The more you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes to better understand their lives, their struggles, their pain, their joy, and their goals, the more you’ll be able to speak exactly to them. The goal here is to have someone walk away and say “It’s like you were in my head!”.
How do you do this? Decide who exactly your ideal client is before you create a site. Then Interview them. Have them fill out a survey. Do whatever it takes to get to know the thoughts that are in their head and capture them on paper (and then reflect them on your website).
If you understand what they’re going through, then you certainly understand how you can help.
If you speak their exact language, they’ll identify with your product or service in a way you couldn’t imagine.
The intersection of what you want to talk about and what your ideal client wants to talk about – that’s your gold mine.
P.S. this is a whole other blog post, but keep this idea in mind when you think you have “no ideas’ for another blog post. Go back to your audience. What are their FAQ’s? There’s your next blog post.
Yes we talked about this above, but I’m bringing it back! This one is so important in both the design of your site AND the words that you use on your site. Because both of those elements have to work together in harmony to let your reader know what to do next.
I promise, they’ll thank you for it. No one likes wandering around and feeling lost. The thing is, if you had a physical location and saw someone outside who seemed like they were looking for you, would you sit there and watch? Or would you get up and invite them inside?
It’s the same thing! Your words on your website should invite your reader to take each step they need to take, and then invite them to take that final action and convert. You’ll hear me say this over and over and over again. Be clear on what you want your reader to do, and then tell them clearly.
Your promise is the product or service that you offer. My one promise that I make to each and every person that visits my site is: if you book with me I’ll create a website that is beautiful, properly set up for SEO, set up for conversion, AND I’ll teach you everything you need to know to write the words to support that design.
Little by little, build credibility and reinforce that promise. That’s exactly what I’m doing with this blog post. I’m reinforcing that promise that I make to each of you on my services page – and frankly, I’m giving away these golden nuggets for free.
Because I believe so strongly in the idea that your website can work for you, and that my people (that’s you) all deserve to have that knowledge and put it to use, even if I am not the right solution for them at this time.
We’ve heard this one before, but story sells. Your story sells. Whether that is the story of the moment that you knew you were meant to do what you’re doing.
For me, it was coding my first “video game” in the 8th grade. You had to get ready for prom and stay under budget. I loved every second of it. Because I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, and I did. And that rocked.
The story can also be the transformation that you were able to give to one of your clients. This can come in the form of a testimonial, or a case study. But, be sure that whomever you feature is your ideal client. Because you want others that fit that mold to imagine themselves sharing that same success.
Let’s take a minute to honor all of the lost conversions that died because no one had any clue what they meant. Words that bounce can be fun, on-brand, and catchy. But they can go too far! Keeping things on-brand is important. Keeping them easy to understand is the most important.
Do you think your reader will click on a link that says “daily musings” if you’re a service provider? I probably wouldn’t. No one wants to hear the daily musings of a service provider. Do you know what they want to hear? Helpful and educational posts labeled “blog” because they know what a blog is, and they know that it probably has something to do with the topic of your website.
I’ve seen service providers get caught up here in naming their packages as well. “The sprinkle” may sound adorable to you, but what does that mean? Are you selling sprinkles? Is it a kit for a baby sprinkle? Is it a cupcake mix?! Who the heck knows.
Let me be clear, if you can make your words bounce AND you can make them easy to understand, well, I bow down. Prioritize clarity for the humans who read your stuff.
All this talk about converting has to have you wondering. This is a lot of work… is it all worth it? Can I create a website that actually helps to grow my email list, sell products, or garner new leads for your service-based biz?
I’m going to drop some knowledge on you. The typical conversion rate for websites is 2%. Yep, that’s it. And that’s an average. So there are a LOT of people living life below 2% and don’t even realize it.
If you’re anything like I was the first time I heard that number, you may have just worked backward for a little math equation. If 2% of the people who visit your website convert then how many people do you need to visit your website? If your plan is to make 20 sales a month then you’d need to have a strategy to get thousands of people to your site each month.
This is the beauty of designing a website to increase conversions. The top of that funnel can get a lot more realistic, especially for a new entrepreneur.
I’m in a ton of Facebook groups for entrepreneurs. I hear conversion rates all the time! It’s possible to get email conversion rates of 40% or higher. Even purchases of courses can go that high. Don’t let 2% be your ceiling. Challenge that number with everything that you have!
What is SEO doing in a blog about websites that convert? Well, you just read my little adventure into the world of math up above. But the truth is, that conversion won’t matter at all if you don’t have eyes on your website.
People have to see what you’re all about and read your intentional words before they can take any action at all.
SEO is definitely a long game, but it is the cheapest way to get eyes on your site so that you have a shot at converting that lead!
SEO is search engine optimization and basically it means writing your website in a way that makes it easy for Google to know what you’re all about. If Google gets you, the chances are much higher that you’ll rank on Google. If you rank on page one for a search term that is highly used, you’re going to be in a pretty good spot.
If a search term is searched even just 10,000 times a month and you happen to be ranked number one for that item… we know 30% of people click on the first link Google offers. That’s 3,000 visits a month that you didn’t have to pay a dime for. (Sweat equity aside). Does that solve your funnel issue? It certainly solves mine.
I’m not going to get too deep into SEO in this article, because it isn’t the focus of this post. But keep your eyes open for an upcoming series on SEO and how you can take control of your website!
Are you tired? I hope not. Because I have a little homework for you. Take what you’ve learned in this article and go apply it to your website! You heard me! Audit your own website. Or, if you don’t have one quite yet, create a website skeleton that aligns with the areas I’ve mentioned above.
I have so much faith that you can do this. If you have any questions, I’m always here.