Building a website is about so much more than picking pretty fonts and color palettes and swapping out the template’s demo content for your own!
It takes some serious ideal client psychology to make sure that your website is actually set up to sell!
Now, unless you have some sort of fancy degree in human behavior & marketing ♀️ it can be hard to spot these site-building best practices out in the wild, so I’ve rounded up the top 5 simple site hacks into a quick list of ‘AHA’ moments for you below!
If your thing is always for sale, forever and ever until the end of time, then there’s no real being lit under your client’s butt, signaling to them it’s time commit.
As much as they are convinced they really do want need your product or service, they also know your offer isn’t going anywhere. It will always be there when they are ready.
But since life gets busy, and they have other things that are screaming ‘URGENT!’ (ie. bills, groceries, overdue lash extensions) they may never actually get around to buying your thing.
Urgency can look very different depending on what you offer, but here’s a few ideas of what that could look like:
Is there a limited number of your product available? Let visitors know with some sort of limited inventory warning.
“Hurry! Only 2 left in stock!”
(For all my Squarespacers, these are called “Limited availability labels” and for those on the basic Commerce plan or higher, this setting can be found by going to commerce > product status > limited availability.)
Or maybe you offer a service, and you can only take on so many clients in a month. Shout out about how many spots are left to let clients know there’s no room to put it off!
What if you sell some sort of digital product?
Something that, once created, can be sold infinity x infinity times without you having to do more work or recreate the thing each time.
Realistically, there’s no scarcity, so urgency must be created in other ways!
For online courses you have limited open enrollment periods, where people can only sign up during specific times of the year, and once they miss their chance they have to wait until the next open enrollment period.
It’s an excellent way to build hype around your offering, and get fence sitters off the fence if they know they are going to have to wait another 6+ months before they can get started on their journey with you.
For service providers, it could look like opening your future appointment books at set times only, meaning that your clients must book in advance to be able to work with you.
This is a great way to appear highly sought after, and like you have a line up of people around the block hoping to work with you, so they better hop in line quick!
Obviously, if you have some sort of physical product it probably wouldn’t make sense to open and close your virtual doors willy nilly. Nordstrom probably wouldn’t fare too well if every time you showed up to their website, their online shop was arbitrarily closed to create some sense of false urgency.
So in some cases, the limited time offering needs to come from a perk being offered with your product or service, rather than the product or service itself.
The obvious way to do this would be to offer special sales or discounts with an clear expiration date, but if you don’t love the idea of taking a hit price-wise, throwing in a limited time bonus can be helpful!
Especially if it is something that can be easily recreated for each person (like a digital product or a simple physical product) to provide exciting added value without a whole bunch of extra work on your part.
Oh, and don’t just mention the expiration date somewhere in your T&C’s (Terms & Conditions) or offer fine print!
Try embedding an actual countdown timer at the top of the page, and in any sales emails you send, so that fence-sitters can physically see the clock running out on their decision! ⏰
Your home page is not just some general information kiosk for people who happen to stop by.
It may be the only page that some visitors see, so you have to make it count. You want every page of your website to point to what you offer, who you serve, and exactly how you help them.
But not in an FAQ kind of way…
You want each page to tell a story that will have your dreamiest potential client enthusiastically nodding along saying ‘ugh…yes! That’s totally me!’
Every bit of content needs to be chosen with the intention of leading visitors on a journey to the desired end goal for their visit to your site (A.K.A your site goal)
Think of the next right step for your site visitor that will move them closer to your site goal, and make it crazy-easy for them to take that step from every single page.
Do you offer more than one thing in your business?
Unless someone purposefully clicks over to your services or shop page, they may not even realize you offer anything else.
They may just assume, based on how they were referred to your business (through some content you put out there, or maybe word of mouth) that you only offer that one thing, potentially missing out on the other paid resources you have that could genuinely be helpful to them.
There also may be things that they are vaguely aware that you offer but they don’t yet see how it relates to them, or because they are so new to your topic, they don’t understand their need for it.
So you want to plan out your website words to first, engage your visitor (‘that sounds like me!’), then share how your individual offers could benefit a person in their exact shoes!
The best example of this that I can think of is actually some feedback I had from a past student of my courses!
She originally found me through some helpful blog post on using Squarespace, and after binging several more of my free resources, she knew that my Square Secrets™️ course (the one that teaches you how to use Squarespace to build completely custom, high-converting websites) would be exactly what she needed, so she didn’t think twice about joining!
But what she didn’t know is that I also have a second course, Square Secrets Business™️ specifically for aspiring designers looking to take those Squarespace techniques and site-building best practices they learned in Square Secrets™️ and turn them into a successful, fully-booked out business designing for clients!
She (and so many other’s) wrote, saying:
Is it because I don’t have Square Secrets Business™️ listed on my ‘Courses’ page?
Of course not! She just had never actually visited my main ‘Courses’ page before buying, since all the selling happened through my content marketing (A.K.A the blog posts she was reading about Squarespace.)
So the moral of the story? Shout out about exactly who you help and how you help them from every page of your site. Not just your shop or services page.
Need help crafting your shout-out?
‘Wait…if I give it all away for free, why would anyone hire me?’
‘Why buy the cow when the milk is free!’
Websites are not just some virtual store-front you build, then hang out your shingle and say “I sell XYZ. Come and get it!”
People have endless choices online. Endless.
And the reason why they chose one person to give their money to over another can be something as silly and trivial as not liking the way the person was smiling in their photo.
(Sadly, I’m not even joking.)
So how do you set yourself apart from all the other people posing as the top-dog, and the go-to professional in their industry?
By being genuinely helpful…before taking anyone’s money!
People are inherently skeptics! They are on full alert looking for the little red flags and warnings signs (even ones that aren’t there) and use what they find to quickly jump to a conclusion about your business.
Sharing high-value freebie content with them helps them draw the conclusion that:
a) You actually know what you’re talking about (you are the authority & expert you say your are)
b) You genuinely want to see the succeed, because you are offering them quick wins before they even commit to buying from you
Content marketing (A.K.A free content like a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel) is a great way to increase sit traffic, build trust, and attract a loyal following of people who are already perfectly poised to hit ‘purchase’ without the need for slimy feeling sales tactics!
I was chatting with my assistant recently about poorly planned websites costing businesses money and she shared the perfect example (and gave me permission to share it with you as well!)
She was scrolling along on Facebook, and up popped a post asking people to consider donating to help out someone in need in her community.
She is super passionate about her community and didn’t think twice about wanting to help, so she clicked on the post and was directed to their website.
But the process of trying to create an account and sign in before being able to enter her payment details using her phone was so agonizing that she eventually gave up, saying “oh, I’ll try again later when I’m back at my computer.”
But she realized weeks later that she never did!
She had perfectly good intentions, but because it wasn’t convenient to do it in that moment while it was fresh on her mind, it got set on the back burner and eventually forgotten about.
Your audience is doing the same thing!
If they have to fill out some long giant form to sign up, or if the checkout process is at all confusing or cumbersome, they are probably just going to throw up their hands and move on with their day.
And the chances that they will return for attempt #2 is minimal, if any! (Yep, even if they really want what you’re offering.)
So call your grandma, or phone up that friend who still uses a flip phone and borrows the computer at their local library. Just find the least tech savvy person you know and ask them to try signing up for or buying your thing.
If it’s painful to watch them figure out, then it will be painful for your potential clients too!
Have a product, service, event or other offering that requires you to collect additional info about the customer?
If possible, save those questions for a questionnaire you send in your confirmation email after they’ve signed up or made their purchase!
Do you know where most of my website sales go down?
Ironically, not on my actual website!
The real selling happens in my potential client’s inbox (also known as email marketing).
But how did I gain access to their personal inbox and grow my email list?
Not by asking them to sign up for my generic weekly newsletter in one section on my home page! That’s for sure!
In order to entice them to hand over their super secret contact deets, I had to provide them with something of real value in return!
I have several freebie opt-in gifts that speak to the slightly different ideal audiences my business serves. (It’s not a complete list, but you can find my most popular ones for some examples here.)
Life gets busy, and people tend to forget about even the most useful websites, so no matter what you’re selling, you want to way to be able to contact people directly to and bring your business back to front of mind!
Your site’s clever announcement banner or pop-up can’t work if that person never actually returns to your site, and your social media blast about your exciting new product or service quickly gets lost and forgotten in the endless scroll!
Looking for ways to totally makeover your boring newsletter sign up section, and start building out your email list to increase site sales?