Scared To Put Your Prices On Your Website?

Scared To Put Your Prices On Your Website?

Don’t be scared to put your prices on your website. Here are 4 REASONS why:

1. If you’re scared of your competitors finding out, they will find out somehow anyway. Forget about them and focus on building a loyal following of people who LOVE YOU and love what you do. Your Super Customers won’t care if you’re not the cheapest – they come to you because you are awesome and they trust you.

2. Leaving your prices off is off-putting for customers. If I have to dig around a website, fill out a form, make a phone call or send an email just to get an idea of price I’d sooner go elsewhere. I assume the prices will be so high that the company will have to get a salesperson on the phone to HARD SELL to me (eeek!)

3. Out Of Hours Shoppers – I do most of my online browsing and shopping when my daughter is in bed, after 9pm. Here’s how it works: If I love what I see on your website or Facebook page AND if I can see the price and it feels like good value AND if I can get answers to any questions from your Frequently Asked Questions section AND I can see lovely reviews and I can see videos of you and I can see you’re a real person who can be trusted – I WILL BUY. You’ve made it easy for me. I like that.

4. Be proud of your business and what you sell and don’t be ashamed of pricing properly. Your Super Customers know you have to make a living. They know you are worth it. You’re not after bargain hunters – you want to attract people who value what you do because it’s perfect for them.

If you offer bespoke or custom products or services then at least say “prices start from” or “basic packages start from” or “this item cost £XX as a guide price, this is how we cost it” Give us a clue. We will still love you.

YOU ARE WORTH IT

YOU ARE WORTH IT

YOU ARE WORTH IT

Got that? Good 

Love, Claire xx

3 Ways To Make More Money From Your Website

3 Ways To Make More Money From Your Website

Is your website sitting sluggishly on the internet, not pulling its weight? Is it snoozing when it should be selling? OK, here are 3 things you can do to get it making more money for you – no more lazy websites around here, thank you very much.

 

 1. Don’t be SAMEY

If you’ve got the same old boring stock photography as every other business out there, you’re going to look the same as them. If you use the same cliché phrases as your competitors, nobody is going to be able to tell you apart. And then you’ve got a problem because they will start comparing you on price and unless you’re the cheapest, you won’t get the sale.

DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN THAT POSITION! Show how you add value, show why you are awesome and how you help people and what difference you make and why they should care. Use your own photography, make some short videos showing what you do and why it’s awesome, put some of your bubbly personality into your website and STAND OUT for all the right reasons. Your customers will love it!

2. Make It Easy To Buy

If a visitor has to click 49474 times to get through all the menus and choices on your website, they are going to give up before they check out. See how you can simplify the choices people have to make, reduce the time it takes to find and pay for a product or service and don’t make people jump through hoops. Plenty of websites make it WAY too hard to buy – don’t let yours be one of them.

 3. Capture People’s Details!

How many people find your website, love it but for whatever reason they don’t buy there and then? LOADS!!! Life gets in the way. They get distracted. Maybe they are just researching now to buy later. Maybe they need to ask someone else’s opinion. There are so many reasons why people don’t buy right away so what happens to them? Well, you have to rely on them finding you when they ARE ready to buy. Are you happy to take that risk and hope your website was memorable enough or would you like some control over this?

Why not capture their details and get them on your mailing list or newsletter list, so you can keep in touch, stay top of their mind and keep building a relationship with them? Think of what might entice the right people to sign up – maybe a free shipping code in return for their email address? How about a useful free tips sheet? A money off coupon? Even a ‘what type of product is right for you’ quiz.

You can use MailChimp for free to create a mailing list and sign up form to add to your website.

Let me know how you get on!!

Love, Claire xx

19 Things You Need On Your Coaching Website

19 Things You Need On Your Coaching Website

I have a question for you.

What is your website DOING for your business?

I’m asking because, if your website isn’t bringing you clients or building your list, then I’m sorry to tell you this but you’ve probably wasted your money. Every week I see beautiful-looking coaching websites that have cost their owner a small fortune but aren’t achieving either of these things and it frustrates me!

Let me share something. My website pays its way. I get a GREAT return on my investment.

  • It builds my credibility
  • It helps me get found in Google searches
  • It’s a place where my clients can find loads of free help and advice
  • It gathers leads for me – lots of leads, every day
  • It builds trust with my web visitors
  • It adds value for my readers
  • It drives sales
  • It brings me money

Does yours?

If not, don’t worry because I’ve put together a list of 19 things that will help you to make the most of your website and get it working for you the way that mine works for me.

Here are 19 things it would be REALLY useful to have on your coaching business website (if it’s going to build your business and make you money)
 1. Your personality, shining through

Yes I know it sounds simple but do you KNOW how many coaching websites I look at each week? Loads is the answer and do you know how many stand out and are memorable? Hardly any at all. Most are samey and sterile. They use the same old stock images. They look the same as each other. They say the same things in the same words. Booooooooring!

Do you know what your best selling point is in your business? It’s YOU. You are the differentiator. You are unique. You are what sets you apart from every other coach, even those in the same field. So BE YOU on your website. Talk from the heart. Use personal stories and experiences. Write as though you are talking to a friend. Ditch the ‘professional’ language and explain why you are the perfect solution for your super-clients. Share successes and breakthroughs. Be you, loud and proud.

2. What you do and for whom

DON’T just list your services – people aren’t interested in what services you provide. No, stop arguing with me, I know what I’m talking about, I promise! It’s all about them. People want to know what you can DO FOR THEM. They want to know how you are going to make them feel. They want to know what problems you are going to solve for them and how their life will be better, as a result. They want to know the outcomes, not the processes. So make it really clear who you work with, who your Super Clients are and then tell THESE people what you will do for them and why they should care.

3. Blogs

Blogs are a biggie on any coaching website. They add value for your visitors, especially if you are really clear on your Super Clients and write specifically for them, addressing their challenges and solving their problems. Blogs are brilliant for getting your site found on Google because the search engines LOVE new, regularly-added content and a blog is the simplest way to achieve this.  Every new blog you write gives the search engines more to choose from when they are picking which sites appear in searches. Weekly or monthly blogs on your expert topics allow you to showcase your expertise, add value for your website visitors and build relationships with your readers. Every blog you write has the potential to turn into LOADS of other things, from social media posts to e-books (even more reason to get blogging right now!)

4. Videos

You need to bridge a big gap from stranger to trusted coach before people will buy from you and adding videos to your website is the quickest and easiest way to do this – it allows people to see and hear you, to learn from you and see whether they think you’re a good fit. A video will act as a magnet and a filter – it will attract the people who ‘get’ you and love what you are saying and will filter out anyone who doesn’t feel you’re right for them. Think about including a little ‘my story’ video on the about page if your story brought you to coaching, or how about a couple of mini help videos or classes, under 5 minutes long where you give people a valuable snippet of what you do – after all if they like your free stuff, they are going to LOVE your paid stuff.

5. Sign up box on your front page

If you don’t collect email addresses then you are losing out on every person who visits your site and doesn’t buy right away and that’s a waste! There are loads of reasons why people might not buy on their first visit to your site – it wasn’t the right time, they were just researching, they needed to speak to someone else about it, they got distracted, plus a whole load of other possible reasons. That doesn’t mean they WON’T buy. It just means they weren’t ready at that point, so what you need to do is create an easy way to figure out if they are a good fit for you and if they are, then give them a reason to sign up and hear from you.

Encourage them to hand over their email address using a great offer that really speaks to your Super Customer but not really to anyone else (because you only want to attract the RIGHT people onto your list, not just random people) and then you can start to build a relationship with them. Getting them onto your list means you can send regular value-packed e-newsletters and (occasional) amazing offers that will keep you top of mind and show your subscribers why they need to read your emails. Adding a sign up box is easy peasy with Mailchimp or any of the major email software packages.

6. Irresistible Freebie

Once you have your sign up box, you need that tempting offer I mentioned in point 5 to encourage people to hand over their email address. This can be a cheat sheet, a short video, a guide or e-book – anything your Super Clients will love (don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of it). You can use Canva.com to create quick and easy great-looking freebies that you can download as a PDF and deliver using your email software.

7. Contact details

You want people to be able to get in touch with you, so make it easy for them. It’s helpful if you let them know where in the world you are, if you offer local sessions but you don’t need to put email address on there (which will be picked up by the spammers in a matter of days)…Instead, you can use a contact form Most websites let you do this as a standard feature or your web person can set one up very easily. This will let people contact you and will forward enquiries to your email. It’s also helpful if you can manage people’s expectations and let them know when they are likely to hear from you. You could say ‘we respond to emails within one working day’ or ‘we will get back to you during our working hours (9-5 Monday to Friday)’ or whatever works for you. That way enquirers won’t expect an immediate response and if you do happen to get back to them sooner than expected, that’s a bonus!

8. Good quality images

Don’t use the same old stock images ‘woman looking thoughtful’, ‘woman staring at ocean’, ‘woman at laptop’ – make a bit of effort! You want your website to SPEAK to your Super Clients and be memorable and if it looks the same as every other site out there it’s not going to do either. Think about a style that reflects YOU. Don’t always go for free images – a better, less over-used image might only cost a few pounds but will set you apart. A professional photographer could spend half a day with you and take LOADS of photos that are yours, to love and keep and use. It won’t be as cheap as buying images off the internet but really, what’s it worth to you to have a beautifully branded, unique site that will look amazing and professional, but not samey? Also, think about getting illustrations done – they don’t have to be expensive but they can really stand out in a crowded market place. Fiverr.com is a brilliant place to start. We’ll talk about photos of YOU shortly…

9. Client testimonials

If you have happy clients and are getting great results, SHOUT ABOUT IT! When people visit your website they want to know what you can DO for them, what results you can bring and how you can make them feel. Now you can tell them but imagine how much more compelling it is if your CLIENTS tell them. Ask your clients for testimonials and be really specific about the sort of details you would like them to include and then USE them. Have a ‘success stories’ page or a ‘testimonials’ page or ‘what people are saying’ page. Testimonials are what we call social proof – they are a third party saying that you do what you say you do, and that’s worth a LOT

10. Good bio

You must include a biography (or bio) on your coaching website to show people, quickly and concisely who you are and what you have achieved.

This can feel quite uncomfortable to write, but put yourself in the mind of your website visitors and think about how you would sum up YOU. In my case I say I’m a mum of one, I give a brief history of my career to date (literally a sentence or two) and then I talk about my biggest achievements! This is your chance to shine and connect, so be yourself. Don’t list all 27 of your qualifications – if you MUST list them, just do the top few most important qualifications and maybe create a PDF where you list all of them that people can download if they really want to. Think about places you’ve been featured in the press, any events you have spoken at, anything that adds credibility and shows you’re not just any old coach.

11. Sign ups on bottom of blogs

In addition to your front page sign-up box I mentioned in point 5, it’s also a REALLY good idea to add a sign up box to the bottom of each blog. Why? Because hopefully you’ll be sharing your blog on social media and people will be following your links back to read your individual blog posts, bypassing the front page. That’s a lost opportunity so make sure you add a link to your irresistible freebie onto the bottom of each blog to capture those visitors who never see the front page – you can use JotForm (free) or Magic Action box (paid) for this.

12. Photos of you

Yes, I know you don’t like getting your photo taken. Yes, I know you’d like to lose weight/grow your hair/get a new wardrobe first – just stop it! You are gorgeous as you are and your Super Client website visitors don’t CARE if you’re not a super model, in fact they are relieved you’re not, and that you’re a real person like them. You NEED photos of you on your site. With coaching, people are buying YOU either in person or remotely via online programmes and you have to show them who you are (remember, YOU are your USP). Invest in getting some nice photos done – yes get your hair done and look your best but don’t wait, just book in and get them done asap. And instead of getting just the usual head/shoulders shot, why not have you being yourself? Don’t be boring. Be you. Let your personality shine through!

13. Social sharing buttons

Some of my blogs have got over 1000 shares on social media and guess what, if I didn’t have social sharing buttons that would never have happened. Over 1000 people shared them on their social media accounts, so just imagine how many MORE people saw them? I’m thinking it could be squillions! You NEED to add social sharing buttons to your blog. My blog and site are on WordPress (if you’re not then you need to seriously consider it) and you can get lots of social sharing plugins to add buttons to each blog. Google ‘social sharing plugin’ and go for those with the best reviews and ratings. If you’re not on WordPress then ask your web person if they can add social sharing buttons. Every blog shared is another chance to reach new Super Clients and another chance to build your list if you have a signup box on the bottom of each blog, as I mentioned in point 11.

14. Credibility strip

A credibility strip is a little strip on your website where you have the logos of all the publications/websites/media where you’ve been featured. Remember I talked about social proof in relation to testimonials? Well, a credibility strip is an other example of social proof – it’s a third party endorsement because you’ve been featured in the media. My credibility strip includes Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Ireland AM, Huffington Post, Essentials Magazine and Closer Magazine to name just a few. Do you think this helps my credibility and helps people to trust my content? Of course it does, it helps a lot and that’s why you need one too. Even if you’ve only been featured in your local press, it matters! Start to be strategic and think about what you’d LOVE to have on your credibility strip and how you can make that happen! PS ONLY EVER put logos on your credibility strip if you have actually been featured there – fibbing lacks integrity, is bad form and will come back and bite you!

15. Media page

If you DO want to build your credibility strip then you need to start getting featured places! This means you need to proactively seek PR opportunities and then do your best to show you’re just what that paper or magazine needs. Add a media page to your website showing your core areas of expertise and where you have been featured before because if you DO approach journalists, they are going to do some research on you. If you can make it easy for them, show them where you’ve had articles featured, any books you’ve written, where you’ve been an online expert or who you’ve done speaking gigs for it makes their decision easier. Link to any guest content or articles you’ve written so they can get a feel for your style and see if it works for them and their audience.

16. Easy path to buying

Look at your website. Are you making it easy for people to get in touch? Work with you? Enquire? Buy? Really? How many pages do they need to click through? How many hoops do they have to jump through. Why not ask someone else to look at your site with fresh eyes (ideally someone who is as close to a Super Client profile as possible) and see what they make of it. The more hoops and hurdles you put in place, the less likely someone is to stick with it and sign up for your freebie, fill out your enquiry form or buy that product.

17. Facebook likes box

If you have a business Facebook page it’s a great idea to embed a Facebook likes box into the front page of your site because it gives people another way to connect and engage with you. Tell them that you share loads of tips and advice on your page and to come on over and say hi. The more ways you can connect and engage, the quicker your visitors will get to know, like and trust you, and the quicker they will buy if you are right for them. Embedding a FB likes box is as simple as including a bit of code on your site – if you can’t do it then your web person will be able to sort it easily for you.

18. A clear call to action

What ONE thing do you want people to do when they are on your site? On my site I want them to join my mailing list or buy something. I give them tons of great value, high quality free marketing resources while they are there but really, I want to be able to keep in touch with them once they’ve left the site so the minimum I want them to do is sign up for my irresistible freebie, or one of my tailored list-builders like the one on the bottom of this blog.

19. Something unexpected your Super Clients will love

Instead of the same old stuff everyone else is sharing, why not think about sharing something that will surprise and delight them? Share your favourite energy-boosting smoothie recipe, a list of your favourite books, your best productivity tip – something that they can’t get anywhere else and that makes them feel that you’re opening up and sharing part of your life.

You don’t need to have all these on your site right now, but you do need to get them on there at some point. Some are really quick and easy. Others like photos of you or a great irresistible freebie might take a little planning but put them on the list and give yourself a deadline.

If you have all 19 of these elements in place your website will magically turn into a brilliant marketing and sales tool that builds your list, drives enquiries and brings you new Super Clients while you’re busy doing other things. What’s not to love?

Let me know if you have any more to add to the list. What really works on YOUR site?

7 Ways To Make Your “ABOUT” Page AWESOME

7 Ways To Make Your “ABOUT” Page AWESOME

How’s the ‘About’ page looking on your website?

If it’s anything like most people’s it will be pretty standard – a bit of blurb about you, maybe mentioning an award you’ve won and definitely talking about the professional qualification you’ve got. Right?

Uh-oh! I suspected as much. In other words it’s bland and boring and SAMEY.

Oh, I’m not blaming you.

How are you to know better? You’ve probably looked at other people’s websites, maybe even your competitors’ sites and taken their lead. You’re not alone – it’s how most people decide what to put on their website, but that doesn’t mean it’s not WRONG!

The ‘About’ Page Advantage

The thing that all those boring, samey sites have in common is that they simply haven’t spotted something; something really exciting. They’ve missed out on a brilliant marketing opportunity that’s sitting there right under their nose. They haven’t realised that their ‘About’ page could be an amazing sales tool that sets them apart and raises them above their competitors and acts like a magnet to potential customers.

Instead of rolling out the same old bland, boring ‘About’ page as the rest of the mediocre competition, why not give your ‘About’ page a makeover and turn your website into a marketing asset for your awesome business? Imagine a world where ‘About’ pages are like a little pick ‘n’ mix of loveliness about your business – a place where your website visitors get an instant feel for you and your biz and get a few treats and delights while they are there.

Your challenge is to create an ‘About’ page that makes your visitors  feel like they have stumbled upon a little treasure, something that makes them smile and want to know more and something that makes them wish EVERY ‘About’ page could be like yours. *Sigh*

Don’t worry! I can help you! It’s not onerous and it could actually be LOADS of fun. Here are 7 ideas to help your ‘About’ page go from AWFUL to AWESOME in one fell swoop.

1) Stick The Qualifications On A PDF

Yes, I understand you might need to be professionally qualified or have certain accreditations to run your type of business but seriously, the place to put them is NOT on your about page. I promise, potential clients will be happy to hear you’re fully qualified but so is virtually everyone else out there (and let’s face it, it might be important to you but it’s just a formality for your clients) so don’t take up valuable space boring us to tears with abbreviations and letters after your name. Why not put them all in a PDF and have a little link at the bottom of your website called ‘accreditations and qualifications’? That way anyone who IS interested can easily find and download them and you don’t need to take up valuable marketing space that could be used much better

2) Add A Video Or Two

You know people buy people, right? Well it’s much easier to ‘buy’ you if we can see and hear you. It’s much easier to fall in love with a business, get engrossed in the story and build a (non-stalky) relationship with the owner if we can watch you talking about the business you love. This is an ABOUT page. That means we want to LEARN ABOUT why you set up the business and find out if there’s a story behind it. It means we want to see if you’re maybe a bit quirky or slightly bonkers (that’s a GOOD thing by the way). We want to see behind the scenes and meet the lovely person who created this awesome business (yes, I’m talking about you, stop blushing!)

A video can bridge a HUGE gap. It turns a stranger into someone who feels they know you, in just a matter of minutes. Business can be won on the strength of an ‘About’ page video. It’s true. So get over yourself. Stop listening to the mind monkeys telling you you need to dye your hair/lose weight/get rid of your dodgy accent/sound more ‘professional’ before you’ll EVER do a video. Just record one. Stick a bit of lippy on and run a comb through your hair if you must, but just do it. On your phone. On your computer. On whatever you have to hand and get it up there on your ‘About’ page where we can finally get to meet you. You can always record another one later but for now, just get on with it because we want to MEET you!

3) Show Us Your Best Bits

If someone has found your ‘About’ page and they’re enjoying learning about you and your business, why not give them some shortcuts? Show them your best stuff. If you have blogs on your site then have a list of your 10 Best Blogs at the bottom of your about page and show people what you’re made of. If you sell products, put your 3 best selling products at the bottom of your ‘About’ page or even better, have a VIDEO of YOU SHOWING US your favourite products (did you see what I did there?) and whet our appetite. Don’t leave us to go off searching on our own, hold our hand for a bit and talk us through what we’ll find where and why we’re going to love them.

4) Signpost Your Social Media

Even if you’re a regular blogger, your website is never going to be as up-to-date as your social media – after all social media is real time. It’s also much more informal and you’re likely to share lots more behind-the-scenes and day-to-day stuff on Facebook or Instagram that you would on your website. So, bearing in mind your ‘About’ page is all about you, the business, the story, the gossip, what better than a lovely list of your social media accounts on your ‘About’ page? Don’t make your visitors work for it, invite them over to connect with you. Tell them what sort of things you share on each account and why they might love it. Provide the links for them and when you’re hyperlinking, make sure you choose ‘open in new window’ for the links otherwise they’ll wander off into Facebook-World, never to be seen again. You need them to be able to click to open their chosen social media pages but still keep your website open and waiting for them when they wander back again.

5) Invite Them Onto Your List

Your mailing list (or database, or newsletter list, whatever you want to call it) is one of your MOST VALUABLE  (and most under-appreciated) business assets. Your mailing list is a wonderful thing. It can help you prevent quiet times in your business, it can drive sales and it can bring your marketing back under your control rather than being at the mercy of unpredictable, pesky social media. For all those reasons you would be very smart to add a sign up to your ‘About’ page, after all they are falling in love with you by the minute so you may as well grab them while they’ve got that loving feeling. If you sell products, think about offering them a new customer one-time discount if they sign up. If you’re a service business, ask yourself what your ideal customers would LOVE to get their hands on and see if you can rustle it up – whether it’s a top tips list, a little ‘how to’ video, a handy guide or a cheat sheet, offer them something tempting in return for their lovely email address.

Once you’ve got their email address, treat it with respect. Don’t spam people – instead think about how you can add value to their life. Think about how you can help them, how you can show off the best bits of your business, how you can show them what it’s like to be a customer, how you can excite and delight them. A monthly e-newsletter keeps you top of mind and reminds potential customers why they fell in love with you. And if you keep adding value and keep in touch, when you DO have an offer or a sale or a promotion and you send it out to your loyal mailing list, guess what happens? If they are ready to buy, they buy from you. Magic.

6) Testimonials

OK we love hearing from you talking about your business but do you know what would make your ‘About’ page even better? OTHER PEOPLE telling us what it’s like to be your customer. Rather than trying to imagine how it might be to work with you or buy from you, we get real life feedback from real life customers who have done just that. It’s called ‘Social Proof’ and it’s a very valuable thing. However much we love the thought of your business, there is always a little niggling doubt in the back of our mind saying ‘well, she WOULD say that, it’s HER business’. If you can put customer reviews on your ‘About’ page, even just one or two, it takes down those barriers of doubt for potential customers and leaves one less reason not to buy from you. It’s good practise to follow up with customers anyway and don’t feel shy about asking for testimonials – not everyone will give them (and it’s hardly ever because they are unhappy – it’s usually because life gets in the way) but some people WILL – and that’s a great result! You can also screenshot or use the words from Amazon reviews, Facebook reviews, TripAdvisor reviews or other review site feedback – it doesn’t matter as long as you use them. If you have LOADS of testimonials (yay, go you!) then set up a special page on your website called ‘nice things people are saying about us’ or similar – it’s definitely worth it and it definitely does encourage people to buy from you.

7) A Secret

Yes, you read that right! If you’re going to create an AWESOME ‘About’ page and stand out from the crowd, let us feel like we’re part of something amazing and special. Show us your secrets. If you bring your dog to work and she has a basket under your desk, take a photo and say ‘sssssh, staff sleeping’. If you are getting a HUGE delivery of flowers into your florist business, take a snap of the inside of the delivery lorry because we, the public, never get to see in there and we imagine it must be like flower heaven. Show us something we wouldn’t usually see (ideally something lovely) – work in progress, a secret and unexpected tool you use, your view from your window… make us feel part of your world and we’re more likely to make you part of ours.

Do I Need ALL Of These?

Well, why not? There’s nothing stopping you! Can you imagine an ‘About’ page with a bit of all of the above? How awesome would that be? There are no rules saying you have to stick to 2 paragraphs and a bland headshot of you looking terrified, are there? If you’re short on time, pick one or two that are easy to do and action them today. If you’re due a website overhaul, see how you can take these ideas and turn them into an ‘About’ page to die for – an ‘About’ page that becomes an asset to your business, heck it might even sell for you.

Can I Do This For ‘Boring’ or ‘Serious’ Businesses?

Yes!  You can definitely do this for so-called ‘boring’ businesses (although there’s really no such thing, if you’re passionate about your business then it’s not boring). Don’t let the TRADITIONAL views of your industry hold you back. Even the most ‘serious’ of businesses are made more human by a photo of your dog under the desk, or the time you wore fairy wings to work to celebrate national fairy day, or the fact you sign your important documents with your lucky Batgirl pen. People buy people in ANY business and if you can bring a bit of sparkle and show your human side you’re going to stand out for all the right reasons AND attract customers who will see your ‘About’ page as a refreshing change.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of The ‘About’ Page

Make it something you’re proud of. Make it something that builds relationships and bridges the gap between you and your website visitors – something that makes them feel they have just stumbled upon something really special. Now you’ve seen how it COULD be, your mission is to give your ‘About’ page the makeover it deserves then watch the magic happen. Come on! What are you waiting for!

11 Things You Need On Your Small Business Website

11 Things You Need On Your Small Business Website

I have a question for you.

Is your website pulling its weight? Is it bringing business and sales? Or is it just sitting there, on the internet, pretending to work while secretly snoozing behind your back?

Hmmm? Well, if your website isn’t working the way it should, it’s time to give it a WAKE UP CALL.

  • Sometimes it’s a question of design over substance.
  • Sometimes it’s because you didn’t really know what you wanted when you had the website built (this happens more often than you might think).
  • Whatever the reason, if this is ringing alarm bells with you, it’s not the end of the world.

I’ve put together a list of the 11 things you should have on your business website if you want to attract the right people (people who are likely to buy), get them to spend their hard earned cash with you and keep coming back.

Not all of them are essential (there’s one even I don’t have yet) but if you have half of these on your website then you’re doing really well but the more you can include, the more awesome and effective your website is going to be.

 

1. A Very Clear Home Page

Not just clear, but aimed at your Super Customer. Your Super Customer is the type of person who is most likely to buy from you because you can’t market to everybody – here’s a blog explaining more about it.

Your home page is your shop window. It’s the first thing most people will see if you turn up in a Google search or they follow a link from social media and first impressions really do count.

You’ve done the hard bit, you’ve GOT them to your site, so don’t let the side down now! It’s time to take a good hard look at your home page through the eyes of a new visitor.

If someone didn’t know what you do, would it be 100% obvious just from looking at your home page?

Would a new visitor know what to do next? Would they know how to find what they are looking for?

You need a potential buyer to be able to quickly and easily find their way around and BUY, with enough information available so they can make their decision there and then without having to contact you or do more research.

Look at every section, every image, every headline, every bit of your home page (on desktop AND on mobile) and see how it looks.

Test it out on your ‘honest’ friends or family and ask them to be really straight with you (and don’t cry when they are!). It’s much better to get honest feedback NOW, so you can fix any problems and ensure your potential customers stick around later. (And you can always put a fake spider in their coffee later if they are particularly vicious. But just don’t tell them I said that.)

 

2. A Great ‘About’ Page

Your ‘about’ page is your chance to tell people about you and your business. It’s a chance to start a relationship with your visitors, to let them see if they feel you’re their type of person.

It’s your chance to tell your story and the story of how the business came about. It’s your chance to share your passion and enthusiasm about why you’re doing this and how it makes a difference. It’s your opportunity to SHINE! It’s what makes you different from every other small business AND big business out there because it’s all about the magic ingredient – YOU!

Don’t waste it by sticking a bunch of stuffy, sterile blurb in there that could belong to anyone!

Fill it full of your personality – it will filter out people who are a bad fit and attract people who ‘get’ you.

Give your about page a makeover now! Here’s another blog that will REALLY help your ‘About’ page to zing!

 

3. A Contact Page

You need a contact page on your website – even if you don’t want to share your home address or email address (in case you get hit by the spam bots) you can still easily add a contact form and let people get in touch.

But don’t just leave it at a contact form. That’s BORING!! If people are looking at the page, let’s make the most of it!

Put a little message from you on there. Something like ‘We love messages – it can get a bit lonely here with just me and the dog, so tell me something nice or let me know how I can make your day better. Or write me a poem, that would be lovely!” But in your own words – you get the idea. If you get the opportunity to make someone smile, then do it – life’s too short for boring contact pages!

While you’re there, put your social media icons on there too and encourage people to follow you.

Put your hours of business on there – even if you don’t own a physical shop with a door you lock at the end of the day, you still need to put boundaries in place. Put a map on there if people come to you.

Manage people’s expectations and let them know how long it will be before they can expect to hear from you if they enquire.

Put a picture of YOU! And your dog/cat/budgie/stuffed tortoise. Stand out for all the right reasons. Contact pages can be AWESOME too!

 

4. A Frequently Asked Questions Page

Take all the questions people ask you in the course of your business, from pricing, delivery, returns, plus any product related questions and put them with your standard answers on a page on your website.

This will make it easier for people to buy because you’re answering their questions while they are browsing – it takes away the barrier of having to contact you before they can make a decision.

It makes it easier to buy. And you can put a link to your FAQ page on your Contact page.

But why not get a bit quirky? Why not add in a few fun questions while you’re there. If you have a fab business name put the question ‘How did I come up with my fabulous business name?’ and say something like…”I’m SO glad you asked, here’s the story…” or if you MAKE things then add a question “How do you come up with your gorgeous ideas?” and you can make your reply something like this…”Ooh, you’re making me blush! Well, here’s how it works….”

You get the picture. No need for boring FAQs – make sure you have all the information on there so that people can easily make a decision to buy but add in your sparkly personality too, just because!

 

5. A List Builder

Just think about how many people land on your website – what happens to them if they aren’t quite ready to buy? They click away and you’ve lost them. That’s what!

Which is awful.

After all the trouble you went to, to get them there in the first place.

You have to hope they remember you when they ARE ready to buy but to be honest, some of them probably can’t remember their child’s birthday because they’re so busy, so what chance do YOU stand?

Hoping they remember is NOT a great marketing strategy, but luckily I have a MUCH better one for you.

Why not take the unpredictability out of it and grab them while they are browsing, so you can continue building a relationship with them even when they are long gone from your website? How? Start capturing your visitors’ email addresses, that’s how!

You need a reason for them to sign up to your email list and we call that a List Builder – and you need a List Builder on your website, toot sweet (that means RIGHT NOW in very bad French).

It could be as simple as a discount voucher or a tips sheet, maybe a little e-book or a ‘how to’ video. It could be a cheat sheet, a ‘which product is right for you’ sheet, a ‘how to choose the best photographer/reiki practitioner/doula/event organiser for you’ – you get the drift. And you can do this.

Think about what your Super Customers would love and what would entice them to hand over their email address. Remember to tell them they will be added to your mailing list when they sign up, just so you are marketing with integrity and they know what to expect.

 

6. Up To Date Information

I have lost count of the times I have been to a website and their last blog was in 2003 or their prices don’t stack up or the links are broken!

Or you can see the news page hasn’t been updated for five years and the social media stuff is out of date. They’ve put their Twitter account on there they haven’t tweeted for a year!

There’s nothing more likely to put me off buying from a website than seeing it’s been ‘abandoned’. That’s telling me they don’t bother with it and who knows if the company is even still in business? Is that REALLY where I want to spend my money? Yes, I know you’re busy. Yes, I know it’s hard to find time. But your competitors are making time. Just sayin’…

If you have a website, check it THOROUGHLY every 6 months or more often if you can. The more regularly you do it, the less time it will take each time.

Make sure all the links still work. Make sure the information is still correct. If you have social media accounts feeding into your site, make sure you’re using those accounts or take off the feed from your site. Half an hour spent every 6 months could mean the difference between someone buying or not buying. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

7. Blogs

Not everybody has a blog, but if you have one see if you can get it embedded into your website.

Why? Well, a website is a static thing and when you first publish your website the search engine ‘spiders’ will be all over it, indexing it to appear in search results and paying it lots of attention. But after that, if nothing changes then there is no reason for the search engines to take much notice. They might pop over a few times for a virtual spider cuppa with your site, find the doors closed and the shutters down and think ‘nothing’s happening here, I’m off to find someone with doughnuts’ and that’s it, gone!

A blog is the way to change it and it’s like sending out a party invitation to the search engine spiders to come over and have an indexing party.

Every time you put new content on your site (and a blog is the easiest and best way to do this) you’re giving it another chance to show up in a search. That’s got to be a good thing, right?

The other GREAT thing is once you’ve got used to writing a blog each month, you can use your blogs in LOADS of ways that will save you time in your other marketing. Yay!

 

8. An ‘In The Media’ Page

I want you to have an ‘In The Media’ page on your website. Yes, I know you don’t like showing off but this is an order – if you’ve been featured in your local paper then put it on your In The Media page. If you had a product featured in a showcase in a magazine, take a snap of it and get it on your In The Media page.

Any time you’ve had any mention in a magazine, newspaper, radio show or TV programme then get it on your website (unless it was that time you appeared on ‘You’ve Been Framed’ falling off the trampoline in an embarrassing manner, or the time you got a police warning for heckling the local traffic warden, in which case not).

I go out of my way to get featured in places like Marie-Claire or Huffngton Post or The Guardian, because it adds credibility to me and my business. For my audience it matters that I’m in those kinds of places – for YOUR customers it could be that the local paper or local trade magazine is brilliant!

Be proactive about seeking PR (here’s a blog to get you started) and shout about it on your website.

 

9. A Clear Route To Buying

How many clicks does someone have to make on your website before they can give you their money? No seriously, count them, because it matters. It makes a HUGE difference if someone is busy and just wants to blummin’ buy.

There are times I’ve been trying to buy something and the checkout process was SO longwinded I just gave up and went somewhere else.

I want you to iron out that process. Take out unnecessary steps. Get rid of hurdles. Make it REALLY easy for people to buy from your website.

If you’ve got twenty seven menu items squeezed across the top of your website, it’s really hard for someone to find their way through. Get rid of some, restructure them. If you’ve got tons of choices and adverts and buttons plastered all over your front page, people don’t know where to look. Simplify it.

If they have to fill in their details more than once, or you’re asking for their birthday or shoe size without a really good reason that’s NOT COOL. Cut it down to ONLY the information you really need.

Make it really obvious what somebody has to do when they get to your website. What do you want them to do?

Do you want them to join your mailing list? Do you want them to buy something? Do you want them to enquire? Really, there are only three things people should be doing on your site:-

  1. Joining your email list
  2. Making an enquiry
  3. Buying

If they aren’t doing any of these, how can you change it so they do? That’s your homework!

 

10. Videos

Hey, you! I can see you ducking behind the sofa! It’s time to come out and face the world. At the moment you’re hiding behind a website, hoping people will love your stuff and buy it BUT you COULD be your business’s greatest asset.

You could be making them fall in love with your business and with YOU, with the way you do business and with your obvious passion for your subject. You could be turning them from strangers into people who feel you’re a friend and that they know you. And guess what? Marketing is ALL about relationships – people buy people. Videos are awesome for marketing, so you’d better get over your video fears and start reading – it’s definitely worth it.

At the moment, your website is just a lot of code on the internet. Yes, it’s got pretty pictures and maybe even some amazing content but really, it’s not very dynamic. If you were behind a shop counter or market stall, you could build a relationship with a visitor in person. But when someone visits your site, you are not there in person, so how can you bridge that gap?

How can you start to build relationships with them? How can you help them to get to know you? What you need is to add some movement, some personality, some magic – and VIDEO is the answer. You’re going to have to get over yourself and over the fact that you’re shy or you don’t like the sound of your voice, or you could do with losing a bit of weight (in your opinion), or the fact that you don’t know what to say. Just talk! Be yourself. Think about what your website visitors would love to know.

Share some behind the scenes stuff . Share some ‘this is how I do this’ type shots. Introduce yourself. Introduce the dog. Film yourself opening a new delivery. Show off a new range. Whatever your Super Customers would love to see – just put yourself in their shoes.

No excuses, if you want your website to really work for you it’s time to be a video star – I promise your customers will LOVE it and guess what? Most people NEVER do this – they let their excuses stop them and, well, that’s their loss. Off you go, I’m ready for my close up Mr De Mille…

 

11. Great Photos

Have great photos on your website. Not BORING ones. Not same old, same old stock photographs of a goldfish jumping into another bowl or a red apple among a box of green ones. I actually might stick a fork in my eye if I see another of those. You can do BETTER than that!

Have a lovely photograph of YOU for starters.

This doesn’t mean that you have to fork out a lot of money for a professional photographer immediately (but definitely worth investing in as soon as you can afford it). See if you can get some shots of you at work – they can be rough and ready, taken on your phone, especially as you’re trying to convey what you do and use those for now. But please don’t use your wedding photo with the veil cropped off . We’ll know.

If you make products, do them justice! Even if you can only use your phone, make sure that you have them in daylight or otherwise get the best lighting you can, make sure you try and ‘prop’ them, it makes all the dfference. I’ve seen many a good small business website spoiled by badly lit, badly detailed photographs that just needed better lighting or some simple props. Don’t let that happen to you.

And if you’re ever tempted to pick a photo of a red apple in a box of green apples, unless you SELL apples, just imagine me sticking a fork in my eye because that’s what I’ll do if it see it and to be honest, it hurts so RESIST, RESIST, RESIST!

 

Do You Have Some Work To Do?

Do you need to lie down in a darkened room yet? Or are you feeling very smug and saying to yourself ‘just call me a website ninja’?

If your website needs a makeover, don’t despair. Just make a list of what needs doing and do ONE AT A TIME. Do the easy ones first. And if you struggle with writing, ask if someone can help you. This is important stuff !

Your website has got away with sleeping on the job for far too long – it could be helping you take a salary, it could be saving you loads of time, it could be SHOUTING about your business. If yours isn’t, then it’s time to put a rocket up it – no excuses, off you go!