6 Small Tweaks to Make More Money From Your Website
Ever had serious website envy?
I have... more times than I could ever count.
It’s that moment you find yourself drooling over someone’s creative layout, interesting colors, and cool design tricks you wish you had a clue how to do.
As a web designer, part of my job is to do research on other websites based on what my clients are looking for. So naturally I’ve stumbled across some awesome websites that have made me want to ugly cry, shut everything down, and start from scratch.
But over time I’ve realized that stunning design doesn’t mean stellar sales.
See, you've only got a matter of seconds before website visitors decide to either keep reading...or hit the back button.
And while a visually appealing website might keep someone looking for a few extra moments…
If the site itself isn’t setup to move people through it in a strategic way - meaning there’s not much to keep them clicking and taking action - the website has failed to serve its purpose.
That’s right, if your website isn’t setup to get visitors to take action and engage with your business in one form or another, it’s not doing it’s job.
In other words - don’t just have one that sits there and looks pretty.
And I know what you might be thinking... “People aren’t going to buy from me if my website doesn’t look like _________.”
So many people make the mistake of focusing too much on the design of their website - colors, pictures, and logos, etc., only to ignore planning for profitability.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to make your website look inviting and visually pleasing, but it doesn’t need to have ALL the bells and whistles in order to be successful.
These days, my eyes are focused on combining the power of design + profit.
So here are 6 of my favorite, super easy tweaks you can do to start making more money from your website!
1. Unmask Your Message
When people land on your website, what do they see? Is it immediately clear who you are, what you do, and what your business is?
No really - is it?
Your website’s homepage should have an image, banner, headline, or some combination of these to make it immediately and absolutely clear what you do. While you might know the answer to this question, would someone else?
You literally have a couple seconds to catch your visitor’s attention, and you’re setting up a risky bet if they need to decipher your headline to understand what you do.
Businesses make 2 common mistakes here:
1. Clear > Clever
Big brands and industry leaders use catchy headlines and slogans all the time, so it’s natural to want to do something similar on your website - I get it. The problem is that the message that’s trying to be presented gets totally lost in ambiguous terms and phrases along the way.
I often see websites for coaches that use headlines like, “Stop Playing Small and Shine Your Authentic Light.” Now if you’re familiar with these phrases, you might understand what they’re trying to say...
But for someone who is brand new to these ideas, they might wonder what this new app, ‘Small’ is, and why people need to stop playing it… is it the new Pokemon Go?
Does it have to do with flashlights?
Or maybe they want me to stop being such an energy waster and switch all my lights to eco-friendly bulbs?
Here’s what this headline could read instead: “Helping women be more confident and achieve their biggest goals.”
Now that’s WAY more clear, right? Right.
Yeah, it might not be as “ooh la-la” as the first, vague phrase was… but “ooh-la-la” will lead straight to the “wah-wahs” when it comes to sales.
Be clear instead of clever, and you’ll build trust and create connection with your visitors.
2. Mistake of the Megacorps
Here’s another one I see too often: using terms that mean nothing to their target audience.
I call it Mistake of the Megacorps because it always reminds me of those big corporations that use industry terms that they only understand, instead of ones their customers would get.
I see businesses like financial advising agencies saying stuff like, “Streamline Your Expenditures and Financial Processes and Rely on Accurate Forecasting.”
WHAT. That hurts my brain.
Why not just say, “Easily Organize and Manage Your Business’ Finances”? I see this happen in industries that are already somewhat complicated for the everyday consumer to understand… which only ends up creating more of the same confusion, frustration and stress.
Don’t make an already-overwhelmed business owner have to figure out what you’re offering. Tell them in the easiest way possible that they’re in the right place and how you can help them.
2. Make it About Them, Not You
This follows up from #1. I’m sure you see why it’s so important to be clear in your message/copy about what you do, but now we’re going to take it even further. Now that your visitors know what you do, they need to see your value, and that you are the solution for them.
This is the pivotal point where so many websites take the wrong turn. People think the way to show their value is by describing all the things they do and why it’s worth the investment/buying.
Don’t just start listing off what you offer and all the features of it. Focus on the benefits and the results the reader will have or experience. What’s in it for them? If your website is seemingly all about you, why should they care? You haven’t given them a reason to yet.
Seriously, you’ve met those people before who only want to talk about themselves. The ones you can tell aren’t really listening (or caring) about what you have to say, and just love the sound of their own voice?
Don’t let your website be that person.
Start by putting yourself in their shoes and describe the problem(s) they’re currently having. What frustrations are they having when it comes to x, y, z?
The goal here is to relate to them on a personal and emotional level. You want your visitors to think, “Yes! That’s me!”
Because people don’t buy based on pure logic. They buy with emotion.
Think about it.
It’s not logical to buy a $5,000 wedding dress. After all, it’s only going to be worn once.
But it’s not about that. No, no, no, no. It’s about the way the bride feels in the dress… she imagines walking down the aisle...her groom’s face when he first sees her… all her guests watching her float so elegantly past them…
See what I mean?
That’s what gets the $5k check on the counter…
Emotion - Not logic.
When you connect with your visitors on an emotional level, where they feel like you just "get" them, they’ll associate you with having the right solution to help them with their problem.
So when it comes to putting your services and offerings on your site, remember to think about them first.
3. Opt-in Incentives
Every website needs a way to capture leads in order to build and grow an email list. It’s absolutely essential if you want your website or blog to turn traffic into leads and sales.
A great way to get visitors to take action is to offer an opt-in incentive, or something of high value for free, and you’ll need to make it valuable enough for people to give you their email address in exchange for it.
What can you offer people that could help them with the current problems they're facing?
It can can be anything from a checklist, ebook, guide, etc., to an audio recording or training.
Want more ideas for creating opt-in incentives and growing your list? Read this post right here: Why Every Business & Blogger Needs an Email List + How to Grow One
By offering an incentive, your website visitors can learn something from you, and see your expertise and value. Now you have their contact information so you can follow up with them in the future about your offer/services, and you’ll start building a list of hot prospects for your business.
4. Determine Decisions (The Costco Effect)
Time to roll up our sleeves. I was a psychology major in college, so any time I get to use some slick psychological strategies with business - I’m ALL over it.
How many services or offers do you have on the main pages of your site right now? A lot of people like to offer multiple options or services so they have something for everyone. The problem is that it ends up confusing the visitor, and can even create some skepticism about your level of expertise.
Why skepticism? Well, no one is an expert in every part of their industry or service, so if you’re offering a broad range of services, it can end up looking like you know a little bit about a bunch of things… and that’s not super enticing from a buyer’s perspective.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
When you hone in on a few core offerings, you can start to map out what you want people to do when they’re on your site.
You can gracefully direct them through different areas, determining each step they’ll take, and offer they see, along the way.
The Costco Effect
If you live in the U.S., you’ve probably been inside of a Costco at least once in your life. Costco is known for having pretty much everything in their stores, from electronics, to food, furniture, toiletries, and clothing.
Now before you say, “Ha! Katie, look! You’re WRONG! Costco sells everything to everyone and they’re HUGE!” ...here’s why I’m not. :)
While Costco definitely sells a broad range of products, they actually sell a very limited selection of items within each category. For example, instead of selling 13 types of olive oil, they offer 2.
Need ketchup? You’ve only got one to choose from.
Are you going to go to another store just to get ketchup? Probably not.
You’re there. Ketchup’s there. In the cart it goes.
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers wrote a great post about increasing sales with fewer options, based on a study done by Sheena Iyengar, a professor at Columbia University.
Here’s what he discussed: When you offer fewer options, your visitor is more likely to take action. Offering too much to your audience creates overwhelm and uncertainty about what it is they really need, or which option is right for them.
And when guess what they end up doing?
Choosing NONE. Yup.
If people are coming to your site looking for a solution to a problem, don’t add another one to their plate. Instead hold their (virtual) hand and show them the way to your solution.
Action step for ya: think about how you can either remove, consolidate, or restructure your offerings to guide people in the right direction and help them take action.
5. Simplify Sidebars
Got a sidebar? Most websites do. While they can be great for navigating and moving people through your site, they can also be just as damaging.
If your sidebar is cluttered, it will only distract your visitor and can quickly create overwhelm.
And now we know what happens when we overwhelm people with choices, right?!
See how that works? :)
In my opinion, your sidebar should supplement your main content and goals. And it absolutely shouldn’t take people away from your site, to someone else’s.
So those colorful, flashing, ads you have in there? Get them outta there.
“But I’m trying to monetize my site… I’ve heard ads are a great way to do that,” you might say.
Ok, fair point. That is a strategy people use. However you’ve gotta be getting a pretty hefty amount of traffic comin’ your way before you’ll start seeing real money from it. Like...millions of website visitors a month.
So here’s what I want you to do… go take down those fricken ads. You’re getting people to YOUR website. And you want them to buy from YOU, right? Don’t send them to someone else’s site! You got that traffic, dammit, now you KEEP it and CONVERT it.
Phew. Didn’t mean to get all Momma Bear on you, that one just fires me up every time.
So what should you put in your sidebar, you want to ask? (It’s ok, I’m fine now).
Great question! Here are some ideas:
Your opt-in incentive
Popular blog posts
Email list sign-up/newsletter
Testimonials & reviews
All of these help to support your main content, goal of capturing leads, and navigating people through your site. I would choose 2-3 of these for a sidebar, but not all of them - that’s when it starts to border on information overload.
Notice though that these options don’t introduce new information, products, or services that can create decision overwhelm...they simply support the site by having the visitor engage and take action.
6. Optimize Opt-in Opportunities
How’s THAT for a title, huh?
Well, it’s ALL coming together now - YAASS.
Let me ask you - how do people find your website? Do people find your blog posts through social media? Maybe land on your services page through a Google search?
Chances are there’s a lot of people who come to your website that don’t land on your homepage first… in fact they might never go to your homepage, and just get what they were looking for and leave.
A lot of times we make the mistake of focusing too much on our homepage, and don’t think about the rest of our site.
...And that’s a lot of money potentially left behind. Let’s fix that right now.
Go through your main pages, like About, Services, Blog, Blog Posts, etc., and add a call to action on every page.
Yes! I’m serious!
Let me get this question out of the way.
“Won’t that be annoying for the person visiting my site? They’re just going to be bombarded on every page with my opt-ins all over the place.”
You should be so lucky if someone visits every page of your website.
Chances are they’ll see one, two, maybe 3 of your main pages on average - not talking about blog posts here, I’ll get to those in a minute.
Secondly, you’re not bombarding people if you’re:
a) providing something of really high value that could be really useful for them
b) using proper placement on your site. You’re not going to literally plaster your opt-in incentive or newsletter sign-up box in each corner of your site, right? Of course not. See, you’ll be fine. :)
Where Should You Put Your Opt-ins?
1. Above the fold on your homepage
Melyssa Griffin implemented this strategy by including an opt-in incentive for her free resource library in the header of her homepage, and her number of email subscribers began to double each day.
2. About Page
Yep! Not one you would probably think would work as well as it does. Turns out, people like to check out what you’re all about, and that’s a great time to get them to take action, like signing up for your email list.
3. Top of Sidebar
We’ve already covered sidebars a bit, but putting your opt-in at the top of it is a great way to get people to take action quickly.
The footer of your site is a great way to keep people engaged after they’ve read through a page. This is another way you can direct people through your site, and guide them through your action steps. This way people aren’t left trying to figure out what to do next. Instead, you’re guiding them from step to step, keeping them active and engaged.
5. Blog Posts
To touch back on blog posts, you should always have at least one opt-in opportunity either within your post, and/or at the end.
Within Posts (a.k.a. Content Upgrades)
A content upgrade is an opt-in incentive that's specifically tied to a blog post.
Let's say you wrote a post on the 6 Small Tweaks to Make More Money From Your Website. :) You can include a cheatsheet for people to download that includes all the key takeaways from your blog post.
See what I did there? :)
It’s a simple way to offer value to your reader and grow your email list at the same time.
After the Blog Post
You’ve gotta figure if someone has read your post to the end, they probably like what you have to say. That’s a perfect time to get people to sign up for your email list, or for your opt-in incentive.
And hey, when people are on a roll, they’re on a roll. Don’t just drop people off at a dead-end after your post totally pumped them up! Keep them moving through your site, engaging, and taking action.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: KATIE BRIMMER
Hey! I'm Katie. I help service-based business owners just like you create stunning websites & smart marketing strategies designed to help you stand out online so you can start turning visitors into paying clients and take your business to the next level.
I’m so excited for you to get started making these tweaks to your site! If you start with some of these simple changes, you’ll start to see more subscribers, more leads, and more people taking action and engaging with your site.
The best part is that once you put these tweaks into play, your site will start to gain traffic, leads, and sales on autopilot, and you’ll be on your way to having a website that does the heavy lifting for you, fueling your business and growing your bottom line!
Let me know in the comments below - Which tweak are you going to go make on your website? What’s your favorite?