How to get your website working for your business
Are you guilty of thinking that a website is just a business expense, and a necessary tickbox to do business in the 2020s? Or you’ve spent thousands on a website, but it’s just sitting there looking pretty?
What if your website could actually increase your revenue, automate some of your time-draining processes, as well as woo your clients?
In this article I’ll set out the benefits of a website to your business, so that you’ll have a clearer idea what you need your website to do for you.
It’s really what your website can do for your clients!
Truth time: if you want your website to work for you, it first needs to work for your clients.
Think of those times when you’ve clicked on a website and then either trawled the site for ages looking for something before giving up, or clicked away straight away because it looks like something from the 1990s…
If your website is to work for your business, let’s take this time to think about what your clients need it to do. This is the key to having a website that delivers more than you dare to hope!
Task 1 – What does your website currently provide for your clients?
Have a think about your own website, does it offer all of these?
- Is it easy for them to find what you offer?
- They want to buy from you, how many steps do they need to take?
- Is it easy to get in touch with you
- Does your site reflect the experience you give your clients?
- What are the main questions you are asked? Does your site already answer these?
The Obvious Things Your Website Should Do!
There are some things that you’ll be aware your website should do, such as:
- Providing an online presence for your business
- Set out what your business offers
- Enable contact, such as through a contact form
- Allow clients to find you through google, or their preferred search engine
We’re not going into those details today, as we’re assuming you already have these in place. If not, then get in touch with me and we can discuss further!
Okay, so what else does my website need to do?
Well done if your website does all of the above already.
Yay! That’s a good starting point.
If it doesn’t then add ‘contact a web designer’ to your to-do list!
There is more that your website should be doing for your business though, and for your clients. Here are just some of these:
Automate your processes
Did you know you could use your website to automate processes for your business? Whether that’s booking appointments, taking payments or leading clients through an induction process.
I’ll share a real example with you. My client, M – a personal trainer, came to me a few years ago complaining that she spent most of her time chasing payment, when payment came it was cash, and that clients would often cancel at no notice, and because she didn’t take deposits, she ended up with dead time and no money.
When I told her she could just automate this, I don’t think she believed me! I set her up with Acuity Scheduling. Once she was set up with Acuity, she used it to automate all of her current processes, from the required health questionnaire, terms and conditions, payment processes (including that all important payment in advance!).
After I had done some website magic, she was able to send clients to her website, where by clicking on just one link, clients could complete all the processes that were previously offline.
A few years on, and the system is still going strong. In fact, M was able to pivot during Covid to deliver training online using this system, which would have been impossible in her cash and paper days!
Task 2 – what offline processes could you automate?
What processes do you currently do offline, or off your website, which could be integrated into your website? E.g.:
- Intake Forms
- Meeting Scheduling
- Email reminders of appointments
It’s definitely worth asking existing or past clients what they feel could be improved with your processes.
Make it comfortable for potential clients to contact you
Did you notice that I used the word ‘comfortable’, not ‘easy’.
Many people shy away from using the old fashioned contact forms.
There’s something about them that makes people feel uncomfortable. For me, it’s a combination of a) will it actually be read, b) will I get a copy of the form, c) I actually only have a small question or d) I don’t want to commit to a phonecall – I just want to ask a quick question.
Your website needs to work for your ideal client. They may want to just ping you a question on WhatsApp, drop you an email, or hop onto a chat function (whether that’s an instant chatbot, or a real response from a human).
My recommendation is that you cover as many of these bases as is necessary for your business.
Make your contact form specific, either with pre-filled answers, or with suggestions. This provides a sense of permission to the client, that it’s ok to contact you this way. Let them know how you’ll respond.
The majority of potential clients will prefer to email using their own preferred email provider. So provide them with links to click to email you, throughout your website. This is really easy to achieve, just place an ‘email me’ link in your footer, contact page and in blogs.
Social media contact
There’s no problem with sharing your social media links, and inviting people to contact you through them. People find facebook messenger, LinkedIn and Instagram messages an easy way to get in touch. Just make sure you set up an auto response (where possible) so that you don’t leave potential clients hanging.
If you want to go one step further, you can add the facebook chat to your website itself. This will be straightforward for your web designer to do. Having said that, I’m not a huge fan of this plugin, there are other, better ones out there…
These have really spiralled in popularity over the past few years, and there are different options out there, depending on your business.
Chatbots are great if you get the same messages or inquiries, and if you get plenty of them. They’re low-risk for people to use, with minimal friction. But they can be impersonal.
I prefer a chat pop-up such as Drift. These chat tools allow you the full chat-bot if you want, but you can also use basic functionality to have the chats sent to you as an email, for you to follow up.
Showcase your credibility
You can have the glossiest website in the world, that is totally on-brand, but if it doesn’t add credibility, then you’re missing a huge opportunity.
Think of your website as you do your LinkedIn profile. The only difference is that LinkedIn is obvious, and with your website you’ll need to tone that down a notch.
How many times have you checked out a restaurant’s website before eating there? And then clicked away when the photos are bad, there’s no menu, no reviews (or worse, a link to tripadviser with terrible reviews). Or booked because the food looks amazing, you can see the restaurant itself looks comfortable/romantic/cosy/informal, the reviews are genuine and positive, and even better – you can book directly from the site.
Your website needs to provide that reassurance to potential clients, that you’re a viable business.
A testimonial text is good, add a photo of the client or their business, their name, their socials or website, and you’ve hit testimonial gold.
If your business is receiving reviews on google, facebook, tripadviser, feefo, trustpilot – then add these to your site. You can do this through a plugin, or ask your web designer to create an image and link it to the reviews page.
This is my favourite way to show your credibility! Think of them as long testimonials, where you’re adding context, more photos and more positive words about your business. Do add links to your services and contacts in these case studies. Seek the permission of the person you’re providing the case study on, and be sure to share their social media links and website as well.
I quite often share my portfolio pages directly with potential clients – they can skip the homepage and go straight to the evidence of my work.
Sharing team information
Part of showcasing your credibility, is showing who you and your team are. Share what their skills are, and what they bring to the table.
So for example, you run a cafe, so share headshots and little explanations about the team. Or you’re a hairdressing salon, so photos of the team will a) showcase your work through their hair, and b) you can use it to highlight specific skills of the team.
Photos also bring you and your business to life. It helps you to stand out from the crowd, and be remembered. It makes your website authentic. Click here for advice on how to get these headshots to work on your website.
Your site should entice your ideal clients, and turn away the others!
Ok, this sounds really harsh at first read! You’re probably thinking that I’m crazy, and surely you want to reach everyone? But do you really want to have to go through lots of discovery calls with clients, only to discover that their budget is a fraction of what you charge. Or equally, they’re after a huge agency with a huge range of skills, but in reality you’re just one person with a specialist niche.
By targeting your website to your ideal client, you’re saving them time, and you.
You can do this through your branding, the language you use (are you informal or formal), through articles or blog posts, with your services page and a price guide. Think about the photos you’re using as well, they need to be consistent with what your ideal client expects.
Have a diverse customer base, make sure your photo represents them!
Have clients with accessibility issues – check your site is accessible.
I have one final task for you – ask your clients their views!
Your past and current clients are a rich, untapped resource. And if you’re feeling brave, those potential clients who didn’t work with you are as well.
I love asking my clients for feedback, and will always ask for feedback when I’ve not got a website job. People won’t always be honest, but if you ask specific questions, you’ll be surprised at what they will share.
Then take this feedback, and the advice on this page, and sit down with your preferred website designer, to redesign your website so it works for your clients, and works much harder for your business.
I hope you’ve found this article interesting. If you have, please do share with others who you think will benefit from it.
If you’d like to learn more about how I can make your website work for you (and your clients!) then get in touch.