Given how we’ve all been busy surviving this past year, it is understandable if it’s been so long that you can’t remember when you last worked on it. If you haven’t taken some time to refresh your site recently, now is a good time to do so. (Ideally you should update your site at least twice a year, if not more often.) Today I would like to share eight specific changes you can make to your site to win more clients.
Let’s start with email.
One easy way to set yourself apart from your competitors is to get an email address that matches your website’s domain. Almost everyone has their email with Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, or another of the big web service companies. Those services are fine, to varying degrees, but using MyName@MySite.com simply looks more professional. It sends the message that you are serious enough about your work that you chose to present a professional image.
At the same time, you should also choose an address that starts with your name or occupation. If your current email address references either your kids, pets, or hobbies, that again does not present a professional image.
My email address is Nate@NateHoffelder.com. It’s not terribly original, no, but it does present the right image, while an email address ending in Verizon, Comcast, or AOL would not.
Clients can’t hire you if they don’t know what you do, and that is why your website needs one or more pages listing your services.
I used to have several service pages, each focused on a single service, but now I just have the one services page on my site. I have 4 services listed on that page, and for each service I explain what I do and how my clients benefit, and I also have a button that links to my contact form.
Protip: The easier you make it for a website visitor to take action, the more likely they are to become a client. (Repeat after me: a frustrated visitor is a lost client, while an engaged visitor is one step away from being a paying client.)
One of the best ways to convince a potential client to hire you is to tell them what others are saying about your work, which is why you should add at least a few testimonials to your website. I have about twenty, which might be overkill, but I formatted my testimonial page so they are not too overwhelming.
Find the eight or ten testimonials in your files that you think are the best, and copy them to a new page on your site. Be sure to fix the formatting so that the client's name is in bold, and make sure that there is white space between each testimonial so they stand out.
Clients want to hire someone who knows what they are talking about, and one of the best ways to demonstrate that is to create a page listing all the times you have been invited to speak in front of an audience. This includes podcast interviews, webinars, and conferences where you have been invited to speak.
This page will act as social validations, showing potential clients that you are respected. It will also help you land additional speaking gigs where you might meet your next client.
If your bio mentions work you were doing during the Bush administration, it might be time to update it with current info. First, read over the bio and make sure it reflects what you do know. Then, add a mention of any awards you’ve won as well as recent major accomplishments and plaudits.
It would also be a good idea to mention any volunteer work. This really wins over potential clients.
Your website’s visitors are going to be wondering whether you have the skills they need, and the best way to show them that you do is to have samples of your work either on your site, or as PDFs that can be downloaded. If possible, try to include both a before and after. This will give potential clients a better understanding of your style, and what you bring to the table.
Email newsletters are one of the most effective ways of marketing your services. It’s your one opportunity to be invited to talk to potential clients by sending messages to their inbox. But before you can send newsletters, you need to get their email address, and for that you need a mailing list sign-up form.
Even if you don’t want to send newsletters now, you should still have a sign up form just in case your plans change. I can’t tell you how many years I wasted, not collecting email addresses, and I don’t want you to repeat my mistake.
So please do yourself a favor, and add a mailing list form to your site. And while we are on the topic, why stop at one? My recommendation is that you have a form for your mailing list in the footer of every page, in the sidebar next to blog posts, as a pop-up, and at least twice on your home page.
Speaking of which, what does your home page look like?
One common problem I have seen with neglected websites is that they usually do not have a custom-written home page. Instead, blog posts take up the prime real estate. This is a terrible oversight because the home page is one of the most viewed pages on a website. It is the best chance to introduce yourself to potential clients and win them over.
The marketing industry knows website home pages are so important that marketers have written whole book chapters on just the home page. They’ve written two- or three-thousand-word blog posts explaining in detail how to get just one aspect of the page perfect.
I am not going to make you go read those voluminous posts, but I do have a post for you. It covers the six key elements you should have on your home page.
I think that a website’s home page is so important that it has its own 996-word blog post. If you have limited funds or time, it is the one part of your website that you need to work on.
Ideally, however, I think you should improve all parts of your website. You never know which part will influence your next client the most.
Header photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.