Maybe your website has been on your to-do list for forever now, and finally you’ve built (or are in the process of building) the online home your business has been begging for! Congrats!
Or maybe you already have a site you love, but no matter how drool-worthy it is, if you’re being honest it’s not exactly working miracles for your business.
Neither of the above? Don’t put off building your site any longer! Take action today and download your free copy of my Start Your Squarespace Website Workbook (because you do not want to be in this same position 6 months from now.)
Anyhoo, build the thing, and *hopefully* the people will come, right? But uh…what exactly are they supposed to do when they get there?
How will you make sure that your site visitor sticks around, and actually does what you want them to do?
Getting site visitors to take action (aka. convert from visitor to whatever the next step closer to actually working with you is) should be the #1 goal of every single page of your website! Because let’s face it, no matter how memorable or pleasing your overall design, the chances of users finding their way back after they’ve clicked away from your site are, well…veryyyy slim.
Want people to take action the moment they land on your site? Read on to learn the steps to making sure your site is set up to convert visitors into actual clients, customers, and subscribers.
It’s pretty hard to know how well your site is working if you don’t have a clear goal in mind for what it is you are trying to achieve.
You’re going to have to dig deep and get a little more specific for your goal than “use my site to sell my product or service…”
How will you sell your product or service, or better yet – where will the selling go down? In your email list’s inbox? During discovery sessions or consultation calls? Or in in-person meetings?
Without having already established that know-like-trust factor, it isn’t very likely that your visitor will buy your product or book your service the very first time they visit your site, so you are going to need a way to follow up with them directly.
Think of the simplest, most straightforward first step your potential client, customer, or subscriber could take on their path to eventually purchasing your thing.
Depending on your end goal, your first smallest step towards it (aka your “conversion”) could look like:
site visitor > email subscriber
site visitor > booked consultation call
site visitor > podcast or YouTube Chanel subscriber
Whatever your first small conversion looks like, it should become your site goal, and you should build your entire design with only 1-2 specific site goals in mind.
What does this mean? Refer back to those goals often when making changes to the content on your site, and deciding which pages need to live in your main navigation, sidebar, footer, pop-ups, opt-in areas, etc.
Be honest…at first glance, does your site clearly answer the following?
Who you are?
Where you are?
What you offer?
Who you serve?
What makes you unique?
How to start working with you?
This may seem like a lot info to fit into the few seconds most site visitors give you before making their impression of your business. And if done wrong, attempting to answer all these things could make for a pretty text-heavy design (which my Square Secrets course students will tell you is a no-no when it comes to site-building best practices).
Still, you shouldn’t wait until visitors land on your about page to let them know what you’re all about!
(aka. everything your visitor needs to know about your biz to decide whether or not your site is worth sticking around.)
So how do you write a clear tagline? Take one part what you do, one part who you serve, one part where you’re located, one part how you’re different, and one part CTA (call-to-action)…though if one of those bits doesn’t apply to how you do business, you can safely leave it out.
Ready for an example? Back when I was offering 1:1 custom Squarespace design services, when the main goal of my site was to book clients, my tagline looked something like this.
for online entrepreneurs ready to reach the next level of business success
You’ll notice I left out location, since I could literally serve anyone in the world. But if you are a little more location-specific, make sure to include it! Then, just stick it all in one easy to read, clearly defined section near the top of your home page.
A strong call-to-action makes it super obvious what you want visitors to do next on your site.
As much as you want to be on brand with your “company voice”, your call to action isn’t the time to get super creative with your choice of words.
So if you’re goal is to get them to book a consult call, have it say just that, rather than something super clever/cutsie but that really doesn’t give any indication as to what is waiting for them on the other side of that click.
The perfect CTA is one that is understood even if they barely skimmed your site and have zero context for what you’re talking about beyond what it says on your big, eye-catching button or graphic.
You should have at least one CTA on every page of your site, as well as in your sidebar, footer, and blog posts (if you have a blog, that is), and the action you encourage through your CTA should always always always relate back to those 1-2 main site goals we talked about!
Here’s an example of a clear CTA I would use to encourage visitors to opt-in to my email list by offering a valuable free resource on the topic they are most interested in.
Btw, that image is a clickable link, so if you need help with designing your site around your goals or honing in on your ideal client, you’re going to want to snag a copy of this workbook while you’re here!
For more on the perfect CTA, check out: The one thing you need on every page of your website to increase conversions
You’ve probably heard me say this before, but I honestly can’t say it enough…
Confusion kills conversion!
Meaning, there should be no question in your site visitor’s mind where they need to go next. If it’s not the most important thing your visitor needs to be doing on your site, then it shouldn’t be the first thing that pops out on that page.
So take a minute to look over your site with fresh eyes to see just how many things you have going on that could potentially serve as a distraction from those main goals we talked about. (More on how to see your site with fresh eyes later in this post.)
One of the most important site-building best practices to keep in mind is a simple navigation menu. Your main navigation should contain only the 3-5 most important places people should be visiting. Less important pages that you still want seen can be linked in footer or throughout other pages your site.
And if something isn’t serving your site? Get rid of it! (More on how to tell if something is serving your site later in this post!)
Again, you need clear site goals to know how well your site is converting – but once you have those in mind and have worked on the above 4 steps, it’s time to crunch some numbers!
To figure out your conversion rate, take the number of people who took the action you were hoping for, divided by the total number of people who had the opportunity to take that action.
For example, if you are trying to figure out a conversion rate for the CTA you created around booking a consult call, you would look at how many consult calls were booked versus the number of people who visited your site.
If 5 people out of 100 total visitors (5/100) booked a consult this week, your conversion rate is 5%.
What should you do with those numbers once you have them? Read on to the next step to find out!
In other words, you’ll only see results from the things you pay attention to.
In order to keep track of how well your website and all it’s moving pieces are converting, create some sort of spreadsheet and be sure to update it weekly!
Think of this like your business dashboard – you’ll have all the info you need in one place to decide what’s working and what’s not working, and where to focus your efforts going forward.
There’s no point spending time or giving up precious real estate on your site to things that aren’t moving the needle, but you’ll never know what those things are if you don’t faithfully keep track!
Pro-tip: make a separate row or column for each CTA or freebie you have on your site, so each one can be evaluated individually. Also, be sure to include an area in your fancy new spreadsheet for notes on what changed so if there’s a big bump or drop in numbers that week, you know exactly what to attribute it to!
For more on this check out: How and why you should track your website stats
Have someone test your customer/subscriber experience.
You’ve poured a lot of time into playing around with and perfecting the look of your site. You’ve legit been staring at the same 5 pages for weeks, if not months while you build the thing, so it can be hard to spot holes in your own design.
Get someone to go through your website and use it while you watch over their shoulder or on a screen-shared video. Friends or family members work great in a pinch, but it would be better if the person giving the feedback actually fit your ICA.
It’s very unlikely that your mom also happens to be your ideal type of customer (not to mention giving unbiased feedback will prove challenging since it’s pretty much her job to swoon over your every accomplishment in life.)
Still working out who your ideal client is? You might find the ICA exercise in this post pretty handy.
Use a tool to help you understand user behavior.
Your simple business dashboard spreadsheet that you created for free earlier in this post is going to have some pretty useful information when it comes to making decisions about your site.
Still, there are some stats worth tracking that you may need to rely on a paid software in order to figure out! (Though, depending on your needs, many of these softwares have a free tier. Yay!)
One of those fancy tools is what is known as a website heat map like Hotjar.
Heat maps help you track where visitors are spending the most time on your site, and what areas of your website are getting the most clicks!
For more on heat maps, and how to use them to make important site design decisions, check out: Website heatmap: Why you need one & what to do with info collected.
(The specific heat map software I mention there has since changed, but the “how” and why of using one is still all very much the same!)
Make updates to your site monthly (and track results).
In order to better understand your site visitors and how you can improve conversions, it wouldn’t hurt to change up different bits in your website from one month to the next!
So swap out that pop-up for something new, change the look of your freebie opt-in section, or change up the location or button color for your main CTA. Just be sure to note down the changes you made in your business dashboard spreadsheet, so you can see what changes are positively or negatively affecting your conversions!
Pro-tip: It’s best to change only one thing at a time so you know which change made all the difference!
My course, Square Secrets is the most popular, advanced & comprehensive online course teaching you how to build a Squarespace site that attracts and converts your ideal clients and customers 24/7!