Let’s be clear…you should be hella proud you built your own site!

And if you didn’t, well…then you should be hella proud that you invested in your business to outsource that sucker to a pro designer!

Either way, I want to make sure we start this thing off on the right foot, celebrating just how much of an online business badass you are!

Ok…ready for the meaty part of the compliment sandwich?

You’re doing it wrong.

Ahh! Totes kidding!

But in all seriousness, the website mistakes I’m about to share are pretty dang common, so it’s possible that you could be committing one of these site design slip-ups and not even know.

Be it font faux pas, or site navigation no-no’s, this post is meant to help you get your site back on track, and working as hard as you do in your business!

5 easy-to-fix website mistakes you might be making

Mistake #1

A default 404 error not found page that leads nowhere

What’s a 404 page?

The one visitors land on anytime they try to visit a broken link on your site.

So if your site building platform comes with a default 404 page built-in, why would you go to the trouble of designing a new one?

Two reasons…

It’s making you look sketchy

Imagine someone is brand new to your business, doesn’t yet know you, and therefore trusts you about as much as much as they trust a late-night Craigslist transaction in a dimly lit parking lot. (So, not at all.)

If they take a chance by clicking on a bit of your content that looks semi-promising, but all they are met with is an eerily empty 404 page telling them that content doesn’t actually exist, 10/10 they are going to be frightened off.

They will give zero thought before hitting that back button and getting the heck outta there. ‍♀️

Also, default 404 pages look terribly similar to those warnings people get when they are about to enter a site that is not secure, and could be trying to steal their identity/bank card deets.

By making your 404 page on-brand, and chalk-full of personality, you are reminding visitors that there’s an actual, relatable human behind the website, and that you really do care about helping them find what it is they came in search of!

It’s making your website (and your business) forgettable

Again, the same newbie is visiting your site for the first time and wouldn’t you know it…they happened to find a link to an old blog post you decided to scrap, leading them straight to your ‘Error Page Not Found’ page.

Pretty underwhelming first impression about the value you can provide them as a potential client, customer, or subscriber, right?

And the worst part is, is that it’s not always your fault!

Sometimes other people (external websites) will be trying to be genuinely helpful by linking to a resource of yours that they thought their audience might find useful, but end up misspelling your page’s url-slug…

(ie. Instead of paigebrunton.com/quiz they accidentally write paigebrunton.com/qiz)

And suddenly YOU look like the one that doesn’t have their together.

But not all is lost if you know how to use even silly mistakes (like broken links) to your advantage by building out a killer custom 404 page!

Sure, they will be disappointed the link doesn’t lead where you said it would, but they will likely be much more willing to brush it off if you can immediately provide value to them in some other way, right there on your 404 page.

So find a creative way to say “whoopsie-daisy” in your own brand-voice, then move on to directing them to something that is helpful (your best blog content, your most popular freebie, an FAQ page, a search bar, a way to contact you, etc.)

Broken links are just a fact of life as you add more and more content to your site!

But sending lost souls to a default 404 page is a wasted opportunity for reengaging potentially frustrated visitors, and building the type of brand recognition and trust that keeps them coming back again and again!


Mistake #2

Using a generic privacy policy & Terms & Conditions

Or worse, not having them at all…

Having all your legal ducks in a row when it comes to your website is paramount.

(Yep. Breaking out the big fancy words to show just how important this is!)

It isn’t as simple as just copy-and-pasting some generic T&C’s (Terms & Conditions) you found online, however!

There are about a bajillion different types of businesses out there, and the legal lingo designed to protect Sally’s Photography Studio is not going to cover Jim-Bob’s Plumbing & Heating. ‍♀️

But before you run out and “borrow” a privacy policy or Terms & Conditions from a business that does offer what you offer, be warned! Their T&C’s are copyrighted material…protected by their T&C’s!

(Legit had someone copy and paste my entire T&C’s and try to pass them off as their own, forgetting to replace “Paige Brunton” with their own business name. )

Now, I’ve watched a lottttt of Suits in my day, but I’m no lawyer!

So if you need help knowing how to properly protect your specific business (and also your beloved clients and customers) check out this post.

Suggested reading:

What stuff do I need on my website to meet USA legal requirements? Answered

Mistake #3

Wall-to-wall text with no way to skim your content

I know, I know.

This seems a bit contradictory coming from someone who tends to write 2000+ word blog posts!

And while long-form content is Queen for ranking in a Google search, very few people are taking the time to hang on our every word. (If you made it this far…971 words in…you have my mad respect!) ✊

We are a society of skimmers! Conditioned to love instant answers & results, and that includes the way that we process what we see online!

So if someone visits your site and they see that they have to sift through wall-to-wall paragraphs of text to find what they are looking for, they will quickly get bored or frustrated and move along.

A few ways to make your content more skim-able:

  • Use short paragraphs! 2-3 sentences at most!

  • Break your text into easy-to-digest sections with clear headers to help visitors skip to the part of the page that relates to them

  • Include answers to your visitor’s biggest questions in your section headers

  • Make use of different fonts and bolded text to highlight important bits

  • Use bullets or numbered lists

  • Break the rules and use incomplete sentences where necessary!

  • Use lots of white space between sections to give the reader’s eye a rest!

  • Increase page margins (the blank space between your content and the edge of the page) or use columns so that sentences don’t span the entire width of the page

  • Try enlarging your font!

  • Use buttons or graphics (rather than just linking text) when sharing important CTA’s! You don’t want them to skim right over those!!

Mistake #4

Making your website about you instead of your ideal client or customer

Tell me…does your website:

A) Read more like a wikipedia page about your business?

B) Paint a picture of the before & after visitors can expect to experience when they book or buy your thing?

Facts don’t convert. But feelings do!

(P.S. Converting, if you didn’t know, just means that your visitors took the exact action you are hoping they will on your website. They booked a consult, joined your email list, purchased something from your shop, etc!)

What common pain points, frustrations, fears, and emotions do your ideal clients tend to experience around your topic?

Rather than rattling off a long list of features about what you offer, help that person dream of what it would be like to saying yes to working with you!

What would it feel like for them to experience the transformation that your unique product or service can offer?

There’s nothing wrong with a #humblebrag (because you do need to be clear about what exactly it is you are offering, not just some vague, mystical-but-nice-sounding idea) but try to relate everything you share about your business to how it benefits your potential client or customer.

But not just any customer! Your ideal customer!

Decide who it is you are most passionate about serving, and write your website to speak to them.

Need help making sure your website appeals to your one person? Or maybe you’re not sure who that one person is just yet! I’ll leave these posts here for ya!

Suggested reading:

Mistake #5

Never refreshing your site content

No need to do a complete top-to-bottom redesign every few months, but it wouldn’t hurt to spruce things up with some new content from time to time, right?

A Simple site update could look like…

  • Booking a short photoshoot for a few fresh new on-brand imagery to replace generic stock photos

  • Swapping out tired call-to-action’s (buttons, announcement bars, pop-ups) for something new like a new freebie opt-in gift, or a limited time discount, or even just changing the way you talk about that CTA.

  • Refining your copy (A.K.A your website words) to sound more like your ideal client as you learn more and more who that is

  • Changing up the layout or content of a particular section or page to test how it converts compared to the old design

  • Adding new featured posts or products to your most visited pages

  • Don’t forget to show your footer some love by adding in a fresh, eye-catching CTA there too!

  • Something as simple as swapping out your main banner image can also have a massive impact on your site vibe!

Simple site refreshes are a fabulous way to encourage long-time fence-sitters off the fence, and test out what converts well vs. what doesn’t.

In a recent launch of my Square Secrets™️ course (the one that teaches you the secrets to using Squarespace to build completely custom, high-converting websites) I decided to test out one little tweak to the course enrollment page.

What did I change?

I decided to try including a simple CTA to my Square Secrets Business™️ course.

(The next logical step for those hoping to take the Squarespace design skills they learned in Square Secrets™️ and turn them into a successful, fully-booked out business designing for clients!)

And you know what!? I only wish I would have tested it sooner!

That one simple tweak resulted in a massive spike in conversion rates for that course enrollment period.

Now, if I could give you one last very important tip for refreshing your site content?

Track and measure any changes you make!

There’s no way to know if your site tweak was a bit hit or a big flop if you don’t have something to compare it to!

If you could use help with getting started tracking & measuring your site stats, check out these posts!

Suggested reading:


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