I talk to too many freelancers and small business owners who are intimidated by their own websites and portfolios. This means that they are barely touched, and sit festering for years without being updated.
As a freelancer myself, my day job is to create websites that do a specific job – increase sales and bring in more leads.
I think this is where most people go wrong with their websites. They know they need one, but they don’t know why they need one.
This means they have no objectives for the website, and they massively underestimate its potential.
I have an unusually diverse background is in copywriting, marketing and web design.
I think this is a key difference in why I am able to create websites that achieve the results of increasing sales – because most people just hire a designer for their website.
Designers are great at making slick websites that look good, but all too often they are guilty of neglecting the core purpose of a website.
Before a designer adds colours, images and design elements, you need to make sure they know the function of your website, and you need to make sure there is a clear strategy and proven framework behind it.
This is how you will engage visitors, and encourage them to take an action.
What is your website for?
It’s time to start viewing your website as what it really is – or should be.
The most crucial cog in your marketing efforts.
Your website isn’t just there to look pretty. It should be there to drive sales and make you more money.
A good website can revolutionise your business and is the key to making more money and getting more clients on board.
Think of your website as a friendly sales person. It needs to guide your visitors through the process of doing business with you, capturing their attention, and leading them by the hand through the entire process.
I’m not talking about being pushy, or using shifty sales tricks, however.
It simply needs to clearly communicate how you specifically can solve the problems of your audience.
So what does a good website need?
While all websites should be unique, and can showcase your brand’s personality, they should be based on a proven structure.
I have had great results with countless websites integrating a system inspired by Donald Miller’s proven framework. This has been used by thousands of website creators and marketing experts for a simple reason – it works.
Your freelance website should be the focus of your marketing efforts. It’s where you attract the people who are interested in doing business with you, and then begin to create a real relationship with them, based on trust.
The framework is designed to clearly communicate exactly how you can help your customers, and it frames them as the hero of the story.
Your website should have several key elements and sections designed to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to understand what you do, why their lives will be improved if they work with you, and how they can get started.
The key thing is to make sure your website isn’t just about you.
Everyone visiting your website wants to know how you will make their lives better. If your content is not relevant to them, they will simply leave.
Attention spans are incredibly short, and you only have seconds to grab the interest of website visitors.
Having a website optimised for this reality is the key to a website that works for your business.
Building a website that works for your business
The structure that underlies your website is the most important element.
Story is key to all things marketing, and your website is no different.
Humans have always used storytelling to communicate complicated ideas quickly. Whether it was cavemen around the fire, or religious teachings – stories offer an engaging way to communicate ideas quickly and increase understanding.
Stories generally follow a simple structure: There is a hero, who has a problem, who then overcomes that problem.
Miller advises bringing storytelling to your marketing, and specifically to your website.
That’s why this framework works, and why if you implement it, you will see staggering results for your business.
Building your website
The good news is that this means making a website that works for your business doesn’t need to be a mystery.
You now have a proven method that you can implement. It has been evidenced time and time again that it gets results.
To work best, your website should be part of a marketing funnel (I’ll talk more about that soon) but just making these changes now can make a whole world of difference.
Even better the process of recreating your website will help you to clarify exactly who your customers are, what problems you solve, and what you actually do. This is some fundamentals that many businesses skip for years – and the cost to doing this can be huge.
Clarity is key in all business, and this process will have a positive ripple effect across your entire business.
Create a wireframe
In web design, a wireframe is a rough draft of your new website, without any of the graphics or fancy cosmetics. It’s the skeleton of your site and the layout.
All web designers create wireframes before launching into the design, because this allows them to sketch out the structure, and work with the client to refine the content of the website before investing too much time in the details.
By understanding the importance of your website’s structure, and the story that it is telling, you can make sure your designer delivers a website that not only looks good, but delivers results.
Often, sections are included for the sake of it, or because they look good. But the websites I create, have a specific purpose for each section – all directly based on the framework.
So here’s what you should consider including on your website, if you want to improve how effective it is.
What should be included
I recommend reading the book Marketing Made Simple, which of course covers all of this in much more detail.
But here’s a brief summary of what all good freelance websites should include:
1. A header
This should be simple and spell out the specific problem that you solve for your clients.
2. A section to explain the problem they are facing
This content shows that you understand their issues and spells out the costs associated with not doing business with you.
3. Your Value Proposition
This section is where you include the benefits that you can offer your visitors if they work with you.
Now you spell out why they should work with you, and why they should trust you. You need to demonstrate that you empathise with their problem, but show that you have the credibility to help them solve it.
5. The Plan
Make it clear and simple how they can get started on rectifying this problem by working with you.
Breaking the process down into three steps seems to be the best way to do this.
6. A Paragraph to explain more about your business
You’ll then need some longer form text about exactly who you are, what you do, and who you help.
If they’ve scrolled down this far, you’ve earned their trust and attention, so can share more details with them. This section is also great for search engine optimisation.
7. A video
Optionally, you can also include a video. This doesn’t need to be too fancy and can simply reiterate the content on your webpage. Using motion graphics, to create an animated explainer video is one of the best ways to do this.
Or you can get a film crew in for an afternoon, or even do it yourself.
Build a simple, goal-orientated website
This is the skeleton that all good goal orientated websites are built upon. Once these are in place, you can work with a web designer to optimise the design, and a copywriter to make the content come to life a little more.
This is why I offer websites as a package, however. This kind of strategic approach can easily get lost when outsourcing to various different service providers.
I have built my skills around being able to deliver all of the elements required for a successful website, so can offer the complete solution – including specific marketing strategy, quality copywriting and engaging design.
You can of course, do all of this yourself – but if you would like to save on headaches and would like me to implement this proven system for you, drop me a message today, and we can get started.