How To Create More Profitable Websites

by Brant Wilson

on October 22, 2013

in Business/Freelance

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A lot of web designers are mainly concerned with creating beautiful
websites for their clients. They want the websites they create to be
picture-perfect, impressive, and works of art. They don’t put much
thought into a website after they hand it over to the client.

If this is your mindset, you’re leaving money on the table. I’ve learned
that results (not design) make the biggest difference between the web
designers who earn a lot and those who don’t.

In other words, you should be making websites that make your clients
more money. By thinking like a business owner, you’ll be able to charge
a much higher hourly rate. This mindset starts by viewing your
websites as more than just a pretty face.

Business owners care more about the statistics of their website. How
many visitors did they get this month? Is that more than last month?
How many people purchased something? How many people left without
buying? Why?

To a business owner, traffic is very valuable. They work hard to get
people to visit their site, so they want them to stay a while and buy
something.

If you understand this and can help your clients make more sales,
you’ll be seen as a complete expert. Your relationship with your clients
will change from client/vendor to a strategic partnership. You’ll have
more referrals than you know what to do with, and you’ll be able to
increase your rates.

The first step in getting a website visitor to remain on a website is
creating a website that passes the 5-second test.

The 5-Second Test

Most visitors will come to a website, give it a quick glance and, if
nothing captures their attention, they’ll hit the “back” button and
disappear forever. Sadly, they don’t read every word, and most of them
ignore 95% of the stuff you worked so hard to create.

You can try this test now with your portfolio website or a client’s website…

  1. Go to the site you want to test. Spend just 5 seconds looking
    at it. Then, come back to this page.
  2. Then, answer this question: Did the website grab my attention? Was
    there anything that made me want to find out more?

If you find it difficult to answer this question about your own
website, ask a handful of people to do the same thing you just did to
your site. You might be surprised to learn that your visitors aren’t
looking at what you expect.

Here are three steps to make sure the websites you create pass the 5-second test:

1. Create a compelling headline.

The headline should be the first thing a visitor sees, and it should
practically force them to read more. Don’t make the mistake of
assuming your visitors will read all the text on the page. Studies
show 80% of visitors read the headline, only 20% read the rest. Can
you see why the headline is so important?

So what makes a good headline?

  1. Good headlines are specific. Make sure the headline you write
    could only be at the top of the website you’re creating. If it could
    work on a competitor’s site, it’s not specific enough. Dig deep to
    find out how your client is different from everyone else, and use those
    details. For your portfolio site, make sure your headline provides you
    with a unique position in the marketplace. This is the first step to
    increasing your leads and closing more deals, for both your clients’
    sites and yours.
  2. Good headlines use powerful words that grab attention and inspire
    action. Some examples are Shocking, Limited Offer, Effective,
    Rewarding, Irresistible, Discover, Critical, Fascinating, Masterpiece,
    Tempting… (Tip: Look through your client’s customer testimonials to
    see what words they use.)

2. Ask the visitor to do something.

This is the second step you’ll need to take in order to increase leads
and sales. Without a specific call to action, your visitors may drift
aimlessly around your client’s site. They may like his site, and what he
has to offer. A few of them may even take action on their own.

But by asking them to do something specific, you’re making it easy for
them to take the first step, and you’ll find a much larger percentage
will do just that.

Your call to action should be featured prominently on your client’s site.
Your goal with this step is to make it as easy as possible for your client’s
visitors to take the desired action. The header, sidebar, and within your
main content are all good locations for the call to action.

But the call to action, by itself, is typically not enough to get visitors
to take action. They’ll usually need an incentive to take this step.

3. Give the visitor something in return.

This is the third step, and it’s often overlooked. Many websites ask the
visitor to do something, but they don’t give anything in return. If you want
visitors to take action, you need to reward them. It’s the classic win-win
scenario.

Let’s say your client wants to get the name and email address of
everyone who visits his site so he can follow up with them. He should
offer something – like a free report, a trial, a consultation, or maybe
a sample product – in exchange for their name and email address.

This is known as an irresistible offer. It just means the visitors are
going to get something for giving something. It’s based on a promise
from both parties: If you give me your name and number, I’ll give you
this widget worth $27. To get more people taking you up on the offer,
it should be something they can’t walk away from.

Without a great – and obvious – offer, visitors will come to your
site, glance around and leave. With an irresistible offer, you can
turn visitors into loyal fans who return and buy.

Each paragraph of the rest of the copy should support this goal
(visitors exchanging their info for the offer). Remember to be
specific and explain what the visitors will get out of the deal. Focus
on benefits, not features – explain to them how your offer will help
them, or what they will be losing if they don’t take advantage of it.

Remove any distractions that get in the way of the message. Get rid of
extra info, any links that take them away from the main message or
away from the site, and images that aren’t relevant.

At this point, you might be wondering why your client would want the
visitor’s information…

The answer is so they can follow up (by email or newsletter) with
these visitors, gain trust, build a relationship, get repeat visitors,
and increase their chances of getting a sale. Studies show that a typical
prospective buyer needs to see a message at least 7 times before they
make a purchase.

Web Designers Beware

I often see websites where web designers let their ideas and design
get in the way of the message. Beautiful sites are great, but design
alone won’t make money. People buy because of the message. Work with
your clients to create compelling copy, a call to action, and an
irresistible offer. You’ll be unstoppable.

To learn more about creating websites that get results, join our next
WordPress Bootcamp here.

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About Brant Wilson

Brant Wilson is a staff writer for the DesignMag network. Brant enjoys all things design and development, dogs, and candy. Brant is passionate about training freelancers. Learn how how you can earn $125+ per hour freelancing. Start learning for free now! Connect with Brant on google+