By Amanda Burg
You’ve heard it before. I know you have. The “influencers” in the business world can’t get enough of it, but everytime the topic comes up, you’re left feeling cheated; cheated of the real answers, the real tricks, and the magic potion to make it happen.
Enter the allure of the high-converting website. You know the one. Gorgeous on-brand design, check. Witty copy, check check. High-quality leads flyin’ in while you rest your head on your silk pillowcase, check check check.
If our moms understood *what* we did for a living they’d be preaching it too. “Honey, I read on Facebook that if you want to make seven figures you need a high-converting website.”
You’ve bought the books, listened to all the clickbaity podcast episodes, and DIYed yourself into oblivion and those dreamy clients have *yet* to break down your door begging to work with you. So let’s fix that.
The Working Website Framework
After helping clients write high-converting messaging for their websites and then designing their website from scratch, I realized I had developed my own little system for ensuring every copy and website build yielded high results.
As I’m sure you know, the bulk of web designers out here don’t focus on copy (in fact, many of them have you write it yourself and give it to them before your project even starts, gasp), and the bulk of copywriters focus on brand voice and *not* on layouts, and typography that make your clients *actually want* to read the copy in the first place.
The two go hand in hand, so we’ve made it our job to serve others with our expertise in both – and that’s what this system is all about.
Could I have been more spicy and creative in coming up with a name? Sure. But even then I knew the most important part about this framework was the fact that it worked, and I know you’re craving for your website to work too.
Your website is more than a splash page to introduce yourself and your offers to the world. It’s how you establish your brand voice, your mission, your USP, your perspective/framework/process, etc… BUT it’s also what makes your first impression for you while you’re busy living life away from your computer.
That’s why it’s really important that the first impression we make with prospective clients is “dang, where have they been all my life?” and not “meh”.
Step One: Clarify Your Audience
Before you can write copy or design a website, you have to figure out who it is that you’re doing this for. In the humble words of Joe Dirt, “It’s not what you like, it’s the consumer.”
And personally, unpopular opinion alert, I loathe developing ideal client avatars. They’ve never worked for me, and haven’t worked for most people I know. Why? Because they’re usually developed around a fictitious individual with a focus on superficial and materialistic qualities. And as fun as it is writing copy for a particular individual (nerd alert), the fact that they drive a certain car or order a certain Starbucks drink has very little to do with whether they’ll work with you.
So, instead, I clarify my audience by looking over all of my past clients, and selecting three. These three must be clients I’ve loved working with, have come to me for my signature service or offer, and have qualities in common.
This step takes the longest for me, because it involves polling and surveying an audience and past clients to find commonalities. You want to collect as much information as you can from these client muses. It makes writing copy a heck of a lot easier.
Whether in survey form (good) or on Zoom (even better), it’s important to understand what your client struggled with before they came across your work, and why they chose you out of a sea of other options. You have two ears and one mouth, and that’s important, so listen, take notes, record. Their words matter here (but more on that in a sec).
Step Two: Align Your Offers
Once you’re clear on your target audience, you need to ensure that what you’re offering them is something they *need and want*.
And yes, this is all important BEFORE you start writing copy or building a website. Another word for it? Strategy.
I like to say, the sexy will get them in the door but the results will get you the review. For example, I’m fully aware that the sexy piece of what I do is web design. Everyone wants a gorgeous website. But my experience tells me that clients also need great messaging to ensure their website is a sound investment. My clients making a sound investment is good for us both, so I promote my gorgeous portfolio pieces all day long, and then include custom copy in the package.
Of course my clients are happy with the design, it’s what they think they paid me for. But they really freaking love the high-quality leads and opportunities that start pouring into their inbox once we’re done. That’s the secret sauce to working with me that they can’t always put into words.
The offers you have now may be based on what your client needs, or even what you enjoy working on, but it’s important that we build these offers strategically. By, yes, adding the sexy/results element, but also adding in different offers at different investment levels to ensure there is an answer for every level of client.
This is another thing to poll your ideal clients on. What budget worked for them? What did they wish was included? What kind of time investment were they prepared to make? What container works best?
Step Three: Messaging
All those survey questions we asked our ideal clients/muses? Let’s use it back at them in our website copy.
Start off with some basic pages: Home (think of it as a table of contents for each page), About (introduce yourself and why you’re uniquely qualified, plus some fun personality stuff), and Work With Me (chat about those offers, answer those questions, handle the objections, get them to move forward). Truth be told, you don’t need anything else. Remember K.I.S.S? (Keep It Simple Stupid).
Using your clients words back at them helps them identify with you and your offer more and makes you feel like you *actually* understand what they’re going through.
Write it all in a Google Doc first. Don’t design a dang thing yet, please.
Then, send it to your ideal clients to look at, send it to a friend who is not in your industry (ya know, the kind that doesn’t really understand what you do).
When editing your own copy, take a look at the headings and subheadings. Most of the time what should be the heading, you’ve left it in the subheading. Gets ‘em every time. We’re goin’ for scannable here.
Every page should have one goal, and one goal only. Identify what that goal is before you start writing.
Step Four: Design
You don’t *need* to be a trained designer to achieve a beautiful website, gasp. The trick is to start with an on-brand and complementing color palette, professional photos, and 2 easy to read fonts.
If you can find a template that has this already, then go for it.
Personally, Showit is my design platform of choice for a billion and one reasons, and they have some fantastic website templates (free and paid) in every brand style you can imagine. They even (hint, hint) have a list of certified Showit design partners so you can feel confident you’ll be working with someone trustworthy.
But anyway, here’s some key parts of a great web design: Make sure your headings and subheadings stand out from your body text, and adjust sizing of font based on importance. Don’t apply too many photos or elements to distract from the copy. Make sure each page has a call to action so you’re always leading your ideal client to the next piece.
The best trick if you’re new to web design, less is more.
Step Five: Launch
This seems like an obvious step, but you’d be surprised how many people launch this big a project silently to *no one*.
You busted your bee-hind, so show it off.
Listen, launching is nerve-wracking, I get it. But done, is better than perfect (cause lord knows it will never be perfect), and you’re entitled to the eyeballs on this dreamboat of a website.
You may think, “everyone knows what I do,” but maybe, they don’t. In fact, people pay a lot less attention to you than you think. So let’s remind them.
Grab a copy of my launch checklist when you’re ready to hit publish. It will ensure you don’t miss a single thing on your way to a working website.
Gorgeous design will help grow your biz but strategic messaging that makes you money is the rocket fuel. You truly can’t have one without the other.
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