How do you get clients to hire you from your website alone? When you have 200 visitors to your website, why don’t any of them sign up to your email list?
Creating a website that converts — convinces a casual reader to subscribe to your email list or buy a product or service — is challenging. But the health of your business, whether you’re a freelance copywriter, blogger or self-published author, depends on you learning how to do it.
Start with your homepage; it’s the first thing new visitors see after clicking on your link in a guest post bio or social media profile. That means it’s also your best chance to convince them to stick around.
Here’s how to tweak your homepage so you start converting those readers into clients and customers.
What your homepage needs to say
Most people assume your homepage has to talk about your background, then offer your services or products. But simply talking about yourself and your business doesn’t often work.
Instead, your homepage has to talk about the customer’s needs, build trust, and then offer a solution.
Look at your site from the perspective of a new visitor. It’s not likely this person found your site because he was looking for someone who lives in Texas and likes cats. He’s really thinking, “Writing my Kickstarter page is really hard. I need an awesome copywriter to put together a campaign page that will help me meet my funding goal.”
See the difference? Your homepage needs to answer these questions for any visitor:
- What will you help me achieve?
- How can you help me solve [problem]?
- What are the next steps?
To illustrate this idea, let’s take a look at three writer websites that answer these questions beautifully. We’re going to ignore design for the moment and focus solely on the words you’ll use to convince readers to learn more.
1. What can you help me achieve?
Jeff Goins uses simple statements to speak directly to his target audience, which is clearly writers. He focuses on the audience at all times, highlighting their pain points (“my writing deserves attention — why am I not getting it?”) rather than his own experience.
If you asked him, “What do you help me achieve?” he’d answer, “I help you shape your message, build an audience of thousands and become a professional writer.”
Try it for yourself:
- Ask yourself: What can you help readers or clients achieve?
- Answer the question in at least four distinct sentences
- Turn the sentences you’ve written into shorter statements about your service
2. How can you help me solve [problem]?
Can you see how freelance writer Lauren Tharp empathises with her audience by making statements they’re already thinking?
First, she outlines the problems her prospective clients face in three clear sentences. Then she moves onto how she’ll solve those problems — by writing unique, personality-filled content for them.
Try it for yourself:
Go into detail about the challenges your prospective clients face. What are they worried about, struggling with or avoiding?
Then, mention their ideal solution, as well as exactly how you’ll help them achieve it — and why you’re the right person for the job.
Answer these questions to help you write this section:
- My client faces the following issues:
- This is what they want to achieve:
- Here’s how I help them:
3. What are the next steps?
Answering what should I do now? for your visitor depends how far along you are in your business.
At the very beginning, having a single call-to-action (CTA) is essential. You want to drive your visitors to do just one thing: sign up to your email list, get in touch to hire you, connect with you on social media. Even when you’re further along, decide on a few main goals, and encourage your visitors to do take one of very few actions.
That’s exactly what Derek Halpern does on Social Triggers. The site has just one CTA — to sign up for the email list — and it’s included at least three times on the homepage.
In fact, to see any of Derek’s free material other than his blogs posts, you need to sign up. Talk about motivating your readers to take your desired action.
Try it for yourself:
Answer these questions:
- How many different CTAs do you have on your homepage?
- What value are they bringing to the visitor – are they keeping readers focused, or are they causing confusion?
- If there’s one action you want a visitor to take, what would it be?
Once you’ve answered these questions, restructure your homepage to help you achieve the result you want.
When you look at your homepage, is your message clear? If not, how will you change it to convert more readers into subscribers, customers and clients?