Advice from the Experts: Creating a Website That Converts

February 7, 2024  | 

This blog post contains the transcription of a free virtual Lunch & Learn we hosted in February 2024 titled, “Creating a Website That Converts.” You can view all of our upcoming webinars here.

Top Website Tips

Who are the Top Experts to Know?

Dylan Steven started his first marketing business, Saddleback Solutions, when he was 21. After successfully getting acquired by 118Group in 2017, Dylan gradually took over as the new CEO of 118Group in 2020 and has since been at the helm, steering the ship. When not working (or thinking about work), Dylan spends his time with his two dogs, practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or training for endurance races.

Kate Stallings is the owner of Kate Creative Media LLC, a web design and digital marketing company located in Canton, MA and Delray Beach, Florida. Whether you need to spruce up your current website or searching for the right local company to help bring your business online this year with a sophisticated website, she can help!

Jen Whittemore is the co-founder and Head of Website & Brand Design at Wolf Dog Marketing. Her mission is to completely transform your online presence with a brand and website that helps your business to stand out. Working together, she’ll create a brand that is irresistibly “you” — and one that completely resonates with your ideal client. Jen not only makes everything look good, she makes it all work well, too. With a Digital Ad Agency background, her broad range of website design, development and execution spans across business spheres including brands such as, Signiant, The Barking Crab, and The City of Boston. When she isn’t building innovative brands, Jen enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters at their home in Central Massachusetts.

Why Does Every Business Need a Website?

After 2020, everything changed. If you did not have a website after 2020, people may think you don’t exist. To be authentic online, you need to have a website. It’s the only thing online that really you can speak to your brand. Your website is really your 24/7 salesperson that should be working for you all year long and does a great job for you.

A lot of times people think they can get away with just having social media, but just a reminder, you don’t own your social media. You do own your website. Something could happen to your Instagram or your Facebook and be taken away. Your website is yours, and you need to be able to have that and have that be up for you.

When you’re looking for a brand, you look for a website. If you can’t find the website, there is a moment of like, is this real? Can I trust this? It’s kind of a bad look when people can’t find you online because you don’t have a website.

What Types of Conversions Happen on a Website?

Another word for a conversion is a call to action. Your homepage needs to do the work for you to share who you are, what you do, and where you are going next. Sometimes, your CTAs are multiple things that you’re driving, like sending them to a contact form, a complimentary consultation, or a white paper.

How Do People Prevent One Conversion from Overpowering Another?

Ask someone you can trust to test your website and provide feedback on what they think works well and what doesn’t work well. Ensure that you have the number one CTA you want right in people’s faces. Then have secondary CTAs, such as subscribing to a newsletter.

Think about what your ideal clients’ journey is and then match that with the conversion that is appropriate for that step of the journey. Determine where they’re coming from, how they got there, and what makes the most sense for them to do next. Aligning your CTAs with the right flow can bring you better results.

Are Aesthetics More Important Than Conversions?

Sometimes, when people DIY their website, they’re so focused on it looking pretty that they don’t focus on making sure it actually converts. You don’t always need the biggest website — you just need a website that converts.

Google has made so many updates to their search protocol about how important the user experience is now. It’s important for people to be able to get to the right place at the right time.

Content, design, and technology is what makes a website a great website. You have to have a compelling value statement and you have to communicate your value and what makes you different and your positioning. You have to do that effectively with good content. You do need to have good design. Technology should be frictionless. It should be easy for them to put their information in. It needs to have the features you expect. It needs to be a good piece of technology as well.

Focus on who you’re looking to serve and keep them at the forefront of your mind when building your website.

Which Content Management System (CMS) Is Better for Conversions?

Wix tends to be kind of limiting, in addition to something like Squarespace or Weebly. They’re more focused around templates, which makes it harder to get it to really look great and convert. WordPress and Shopify tend to be really good. There are plenty of things that you can do within those two platforms and really get creative there. Most people tend to outgrow something like Wix or Squarespace as their business grows, and then it costs a lot of money to ultimately rip, replace, and move over to something like WordPress.

WordPress is super user friendly, and then it can grow with you. If you’re set up properly on a great WordPress site, that thing’s going to last you for a really long time. So you could do a design upgrade and a few years when things change, so can your website.

How Do You Know If Your Website Needs to be Changed for Conversions?

Look at what you think might be the biggest roadblock going on. It could be the messaging or loading speed. Don’t change a lot right away because then you don’t know what fixed the issue. Fix one or two things first, see how that helps, and then make more changes after that if you’re still not getting the results you want.

Look at Google Analytics as well, to see which pages people are going to and where they might be dropping off. Then that will help you to make sound decisions as well.

Additionally, you have to make sure that you even have traffic coming to the site. If you don’t have any traffic, of course there are going to be little to no conversions. Make sure that you’re spending time posting on social media, writing blog posts, focusing on SEO, and more to drive traffic.

What’s the Benefit of Hiring a Professional?

You can waste a lot of time and money trying to design and develop your website yourself. Instead of trying to learn something yourself, it’s best to hire an expert who will do it right for you the first time.

Additionally, these experts are going to know everything there is to know about compliance and making sure that your website is aligned with current laws, regulations, and accessibility.

As you’re growing your business, it’s important to work with someone who can help you reach that level of growth and scale with you.

What is Some Additional Advice for Someone Getting Started with Their Website?

If you haven’t looked at your website in a while, take some time to look at it and write down what you love and don’t love. You’ll get some ideas of things you want to change that will help to improve your overall website and the user experience.

Don’t overspend on your website. Spend anywhere between 6%-8% of your annual revenue on it, but don’t dump a lot of money into it right off the bat.

The idea of “build it and they will come” is an unrealistic expectation. Make sure you’re doing other things besides having a website, such as posting on social media, sending newsletters, and playing in the ad space.

Resources for Massachusetts Businesses

Amplifying Your Presence with Massachusetts Business Network

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