So, let’s start off with why your site exists. So, your site exists to serve your primary business goal, which is to make money!
Even if you’re a nonprofit, you’ve got to make money in order to serve the people who you wanna make a difference for.
So I don’t care who you are, business is about making money and, yes, it is about making a difference, but you need to have that flow of energy, that financial energy, coming through in order to keep everything going.
So the way that your website will help you make money and make a difference is by accomplishing a series of other goals, including: building your email lists of prospects and customers, offering free value and engaging with your audience in a meaningful way, establishing credibility while positioning you as a leader in your field, and differentiating your business from your competitors.
Now, don’t forget, you also want your website to help you directly sell your products and your services.
So, this is what your website must do.
No if, ands, and buts about it.
Number one, connect. It’s got to immediately let your prospects know they’ve come to the right place and you can help them.
Number two, your website has to capture names and emails to build your list, and we’re gonna talk more about that soon.
Number three, it needs to convert new friends into fans and browsers into buyers. Ok? So connect, capture, and convert. Your website must, must do that. So let this be simple. Remember your goals when you’re crafting or re-crafting your website.
If an idea or a piece of content doesn’t serve the purpose of your website, fuh getaboutit! Get really Jersey with me, just say fuhgetaboutit and throw your hands up and make a stank face like I just did. So be a hussy. I don’t care if you’re a guy or girl, be a hussy here.
Do not make your prospects work for it.
Give away as much info. as possible to make your potential customer’s life easy so they really get what you do and, most importantly, how you can help them. Don’t get too clever here or make this complicated. If your goal is to differentiate, explain why you’re different.
Just come out and say, “Hey, there’s a lot of people in this field. Here’s what makes me different.”
Boom. If your goal is to capture leads, make that the most prominent feature of your site. And I’m raising my hand here, that should be one of the primary drivers of your site. The primary reason, the primary goal is to capture leads.
So, here we go, what do I think your top goal should be? Building your list! You’re gonna hear me say it over and over again. Repetition is the mother of skill, high five Tony Robbins.
When I say your list, I mean your opt-in email list of prospects and customers who want to hear from you on a regular basis. Your email list is not your RSS subscribers, it is not your followers on Twitter, or your fans on Facebook, or your friends, or your YouTube subscribers.
Do not get it twisted.
The single most valuable asset you have in your online business is your email list.
Now, besides revenue and profit, I believe your email list should be your primary metric of success. It is the number to grow. Now, I do wanna put a little caveat here.
We’re talking about quality over quantity. I would much rather have an email list of 2,000 highly engaged subscribers than an email list of 10,000 subscribers and half of them are asleep or not engaged. So while I say it is your primary metric of success, you’ve got to do that consciously.
Always it’s about quality over quantity!
So let’s talk about the one action online visitors must take if you wanna make some jingle. They must opt-in to your email list. Am I sounding repetitive? Do you wanna smack me yet?
But I need to really make this clear.
That means they must voluntarily submit their name or their email or their contact information to you. We’re not doing anything spammy. This is about people raising their hand and saying, “Yes, oh my God, I love who you are. Tell me more.” How many times have you gone to a new website, discovered a product you’d never heard of, and you purchased it without leaving that site?
Be honest. Hardly ever!
Even for small purchases, most of us generally use the web to research options, we read reviews, or we go do something else while we “think about it.” And you guys know the web, it’s like a crazy vortex of distraction.
You’re looking for one thing and then a YouTube video pops up and, forget about it, you’re gone. If you don’t get a visitor’s email address, likely you have lost them forever.
We don’t want you to do that. None of that. So, obviously, but it requires me to restate it. The reason that you want them on your list is so you can deliver value and create a real relationship with them over time.
This is not about manipulation, this is about doing real business in the modern era using technology to support your ability to connect with people and develop a true heart connection over time.
Now let’s talk about the surprising links and widgets that stop buyers dead in their tracks. So, here’s the thing, don’t add anything on your site just to fill space. Everything on your site must serve your business and your website goals.
We’re being very strategic here.
So for your business, your goal is to keep people engaged with you and not send them to other sites.
What do I mean by that?
Don’t add a bunch of random links or advertisements for other people’s stuff because you’re just blindly building their businesses for them.
And even social media, I really believe it should not be too prominent. Don’t put your latest tweet in the header of your website. That is driving traffic away from your site, which is dumb and you’re not dumb, so don’t do it.
Remember, if they aren’t on your website they can’t give you their email address or buy from you, so keep them on your site.
Little bit more on this topic.
Getting traffic can be hard and time consuming. Right? It’s not “If you build it, they will come.” It’s not The Field of Dreams. Don’t drive people away to the distraction mecca of social media. Just don’t do it. If you have to provide a link to another site, for the love of all things holy, make sure that link opens in a new window.
Very simple thing you can do in the back end of coding. If you’re not coding your website and someone else is and you’re adding a link to an external site, just tell your web person. Say, “Make sure this link opens in a new window.” And of course, to beat a dead horse, which is an awful phrase, but whatever. We all know it. The goal of your website is to connect, capture, and convert, so do not put a ton of links or widgets on there that distract from those goals.
Now let’s talk about website disasters you don’t wanna make.
No opt-in to capture names or emails. Or one that’s buried so damn low you need to scroll for hours to find it. Don’t do that.
Sometimes I go on websites and I’m looking around and the person’s cute and they’re smart and they’ve got value to offer and I’m like, “Where the hell is their opt-in?” But, of course, they’re not my clients and they’re not B-Schoolers, so I can’t really help them.
Spelling mistakes, broken links, or missing images. These make you look un-profesh. Say it with me, un-profesh.
Now, we all have them from time to time. But please just try and fix them fast. We’re human, we all make mistakes, it’s totally ok, just don’t leave it that way.
Autoplaying music with no clear way to turn it off. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a really cute site and the music starts blaring and there’s nothing, like, really simple or obvious where I could just click it off. Don’t do that.
No clear path to hire you or buy your stuff. You wanna make it easy for your customers to give you money.
Remember, this is the one place it’s good to be a hussy.
Images, fonts, colors, and graphics that look like your 4-year-old put them up.
This is another one. This is a web disaster. Don’t make it.
Paying a designer for a few hours goes a long way. If you are not a person that is gifted with the kind of evaluation and the ability to really see things and know if it’s a clean simple design, not all of us have that ability, and if you don’t, please, save up your money, hire a designer for a few hours, make sure you don’t have, like, you know, 5 different colors and all these different fonts and sizes and, ooh. Just a mess. Looks like a coloring book.
Ok, more disasters you don’t wanna make.
What seems cute to you is likely confusing to others. Remember that your prospect does not know you and hasn’t worked with you yet. So what’s that mean? Do not use clever navigation titles that confuse your viewer and make them say, “WTF?”
If you have something on your navigation that’s like, “My Magic Pearls!” or “Get Juicy With Me!” Don’t do that. Just call it “Free Resources” or “Services.” That’s it.
You can get really creative in the language of your website, but not in the navigation. It just frustrates your visitors and makes them skip to another site that’s much easier to understand where they don’t need a translator.
Now, this does not mean that you should be corporate, stale or dull. I’m not saying that. But remember, it’s a rule, write this down, tattoo it, put it all over the place. Remember the clearest marketer always wins.
Never ever sacrifice clarity for cleverness.
It’s a Marieism.
Ok. I am done. Hope this helped!