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Is your website bringing you all the sales and opportunities you want?

Over the years as I have studied marketing best practices and mentored thousands of women entrepreneurs in marketing and growing their business, I have observed what works and what doesn’t work in creating effective websites that sell.

All too often I have seen entrepreneurs and professionals spend thousands of dollars on pretty but ineffective websites. They pay someone for a lovely design but that person may not know the basics of how your website needs to be designed so that you get more leads and more sales.

Here are the mistakes I see and the steps to fix them:

Mistake 1: No Way to Capture Leads
The number one goal of your website should be to capture names and email addresses of prospects so you can get your message in front of them over and over. You’ll want to automate this system with one of the many services that will do this for you.

Mistake 2: Opt-In Box and Call to Action Not Visible
Your opt-in box for your free offer and to subscribe to your list needs to be at the top of every page of your website. Top left is ideal, or in the header or top right are excellent too. All too often, these boxes are hidden far down the page. Make it very easy for people to find it as soon as they come to your site. A call to action is what tells people what to do next. Don’t assume they will know. Say “click here now to get your free report” or “enter your name to receive your free gift instantly”.

Mistake 3: No Compelling Offer to a Specific Target Audience
This is the biggest mistake I see. There are two aspects to this. First, the target market is too broad or general. Second, there is nothing offered that is compelling enough for these ideal prospects to exchange their name and email address for. It’s not enough now to say “sign up for my newsletter”. You need to make it much more enticing. Offer something that will solve a problem for your marketplace. Offer something they’ll get instantly – such as a special report, tips lists, audio class or e-course, a quiz or assessment, a CD or a video – and let them know they’ll also receive your ezine or weekly tips.

Mistake 4: A Homepage That Is All About You
When someone visits your website, the first thing they want to know is “what’s in it for me?” They want to know that you understand them and their challenges before they want to know about you. The mistake I see too often is the website owner’s mission statement or vision or credentials first thing on the homepage. Make the beginning paragraphs about your prospects, not about you. Show them that you identify with them and understand their frustrations, and only then let them know how you can help them.

Mistake 5: No Compelling Headline on Each Page
A headline serves two purposes: to capture people’s attention so they will want to read more, and to tell the search engines what your site is all about. Search engines look for key words or phrases in your headlines and first two paragraphs of text, and so do people. When prospects see that you understand them and you’re talking to them, they’ll want to read more.

Mistake 6: No Clear Path for Prospects to Follow
Keep your navigation at your site very simple and guide people through so they aren’t overwhelmed at your home page by too many options. The main goal of your website should be to get people on your list. Once they are on your list, you will have multiple opportunities to sell to them. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to sell high-end services too soon before prospects get a chance to know you and appreciate your expertise. Get them on your list first, and then as they come to appreciate you as a resource and trusted advisor through your articles and tips, start telling them gradually about your services and products.

Here are six steps you can take right now to shift your website from ineffective to a continual sales generator:

  1. Have a way to automatically capture prospects names and email addresses. There are many excellent services that can automate this for you such as 1 Shopping Cart, A Weber, or Get Response.
  2. Make sure your opt-in box and call to action to capture leads are at the top of every page.
  3. Create an enticing offer that prospects will clamor to get and will gladly give you their name and email address to receive.
  4. Review your homepage to ensure that it’s mainly about your prospects and their challenges and not all about you.
  5. Write a compelling headline using your keywords for each page of your website.
  6. Develop a clear path for prospects to follow from the initial subscription to your list to something free or low-cost, then on up to medium and higher priced products and services. This is often called your “marketing funnel”.

Do all these things, and you should start seeing more subscribers added to your list and more sales at your website.

I invite your comments below.


Jan Marie Dore
Jan Marie Dore

I mentor coaches and women entrepreneurs to attract more clients and sell more of their coaching services, programs and courses online at www.JanMarieDore.com. I also host a Free Facebook community for women entrepreneurs at Coaches & Changemakers. Come join us - it's FREE!

    2 replies to "Are You Making These Mistakes at Your Website?"

    • Nice, clear article. I like how you added the checklist at the end. People love steps and checklists, and I think this will be helpful for people to implement changes to their process.

      I would like to add another mistake that I find people make. Too often you go to a website, you like what you see and want more, but you have no easy way to contact the person.

      Make sure that your contact information is easy to find. There should be a clear link to it from every page in case a visitor decides to contact you to purchase a product or service they don’t see listed on your site.

    • Great tip Kim! You’re right about needing to add contact info more prominently.

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