Find out how to resuscitate your old website and get it working for your business again.
Even if your website was lovingly designed in the beginning and you spent lots of time and money getting it going it is really easy for it to go off the rails and start misbehaving. Technology changes and your business changes and your even your audience might change and it can all make for a wonderful website mess.
The problem is that changes are often unplanned and reactionary. Argh! I need that super whizzy plugin that connects me to that brand new social media platform. Argh! I’ve just created a new programme, a new range of products and completely changed my focus. AND it HAS to all be at the top of my website on the front page in BIG!!!
Before you know it, you’ve tweaked, added, diy-designed and moved around most of the elements of your website and ended up with a bit of a mess.
The well-planned, SEO friendly, brilliantly laid out website you started out with can easily descend into a confusing muddle, which will effect everything from your brand image to your search engine rankings and sales. Eek!
There is life left in the old website yet. It is possible to breathe a new lease of life into it and get it working for you and looking lovely. Don’t believe me?
Here are 5 magical fixes you can use TODAY to transform that old warty frog of a website back into your online prince, without spending loads of money on an entire redesign:
Clean up the mess
A great website knows what its main purpose is.
This may well have changed since you first started out online so taking a step back and re-examining what you want your website to do for your business is the most important thing you can do.
Ask yourself these questions…
What is the MAIN focus of your website? Do you want visitors to sign up to your list, buy your latest programme, browse your online shop, buy a particular product, join your social media conversations, be THE place to find what they need, become your number one fan or learn from your brilliant blog?
You may have a few of goals here but pick the ONE thing your website should DEFINITELY get your visitors to do when they land on your website. THAT is your MAIN focus – everything else is part of the journey.
Once you have your main focus you can then trim back everything that doesn’t contribute in some way to that focus. Be brave, it’s like ripping off a plaster but once it’s done it’s all better.
Get rid of the clutter (not everything should be on the front page). Give your main focus the stage and let it shine.
Grab a pen and a notebook and scribble down your new website plan and try to think how your customers will navigate around your website. Adding new pages or directions in the sidebar can make it far easier to find their way around.
Find out what’s really wrong with your website.
You may hate how it looks now, but some bits might really be working for you (and your customers). The best way to find out what is working and what isn’t is to get yourself on Google Analytics and do some digging. You’ll be able to see what pages are most popular, where people are landing when they visit your website (this can be surprising and isn’t always your front page) and where they go after they’ve landed on the site.
Ooh – it’s a bit stalkery but good stuff. Just go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ and create yourself an account.
Dress it up
A new header can work wonders for a website as they make such an impact on your brand image. They take up some of the most important space on your website, so can really colour the way you feel about your site.
Find a brand new image for your header or change up your marketing message.
Leap onto Canva and have a play with your new look.
Not feeling arty? Then this could be a good thing to invest in and save you LOADS from having to get the entire site redone.
Create your look
Style guidelines aren’t just for the big girls. Have a look at the fonts and colours you are using throughout your website. Is it a bit of a mishmash? Are your ads using a different font to your header and your text using 3 different colours in one article?
Mixing it up can really mix up your audience.
Choose and DECIDE on no more than 2 fonts to use throughout your website (including in the graphics) and choose and DECIDE what your main colours will be.
Most websites these days are built with something called CSS, which means that a simple tweak to the code and you’ll be able make your whole website theme blue, or pink, or yellow or change all your fonts with one click. If you have access to editing your own website (using a content management system like WordPress or Squarespace) you can probably do this yourself. If your website is custom built then it won’t be an expensive change.
There is nothing worse than a website that looks like it’s shouting at you. If you’ve been trying to make new additions to your website stand out with bigger and bigger text then you may be shouting so loud that nobody can work out what you are really saying.
Go through your text on each page and work out what the MOST important parts of it are. You will already have your headings set up behind the scenes and you should use them as they can really help your rankings on search engines too.
Play around with your headings settings – maybe an interesting font will make them stand out, maybe just a larger size or style (bold, italics etc).
But once you’ve chosen your settings, stick with them and make your Header 1 top dog on every page.
I know, not everybody likes having their face plastered all over the front of their website. But unfortunately, if you are a coach, or a trainer or another helpful bod that sells their expertise, support and advice (you lovely people) you are the most important asset in your business.
Your coaching business lives or dies by the types of relationships you build with your crowd. Its character is built upon your own personality and view of life, the universe and everything. No pressure there then!
So what is the best way to get your personality across and to build this super trusting relationship with the people you would really love to work with?
As always a picture can say it all. But getting this all important photo of you being you can be a bit tricky to get right.
I’m sure you don’t want one of those wooden cheesy ear to ear grins with the manic look in the eye that shouts ‘just get it over with’ heading up your biz, or a blurry snapshot from a mobile phone taken on a night out with the girls (phones can take great photos but your lead image isn’t one of them). Strike a pose doesn’t really work for most people, unless you are a trained model and used to pouting on demand and feel at home in front of the camera. I’m not.
[bctt tweet=”The best sort of image of you for your website is of you just doing your thing.”]
If you are a talker, get photos of you talking, explaining, presenting. If you are a bit off the wall a silly hat or, in the case of Marie Forleo, a silly pair of specs, can sum up your approach to your work. If you get fantastic results for your clients and get them to dream big, show yourself thinking and imagining. If you achieve freedom and a better lifestyle or more money for your clients show yourself living the good life, laugh and raise a glass. If you are a great listener and support your clients through their journey then show yourself listening to somebody talk or make a connection with the person holding the camera and you’ll be inviting visitors to your website to communicate with you.
Still unsure how you are ever going to look half natural in front of the camera? Here are 5 design secrets to getting the best photos for your coaching business…
Bring your friends along.
I know this may seem like you’re inviting an audience to your performance but, as a coach, you don’t work alone, you are best when interacting. Get them to play the part of your client. Talk to them, listen to them and laugh with them and try to forget the camera is even there.
Get photos taken in different locations.
Setting the scene can really help your image. Not only does it increase the meaning of your image and show your audience a bit more about you and your life, but it can really relax you to be out of a stark photography studio, limited to standing against a blank wall in your house or in front of the only tidy space you can find at home.
Choose your locations wisely though, that graffiti wall might be very colourful and a great texture but might not be communicating the right things to your audience. Just go with where you hang out and where you love to be.
Have fun with it. I suggest a café location to finish so you can sample the cake. Good things always come of cake!
Dress it up
I don’t mean you have to be dolled up to the nines, but having a few of your favourite outfits to change into can give you a wider range of images to choose from. Choose something you are comfortable wearing but that really sums up your character. Something your friends would say, ‘ooh, that’s really you’.
Whether you are investing in some professional photography or getting a friend with a good camera to snap away, you’ll be really glad you have some different shots of you to use in your marketing. There’s nothing that says amateur than the same old photo being rolled out over and over again.
Use the background
As a designer one of the most frustrating things about working with photos is when they haven’t got enough background. Sure, you can cut it out, but it’s not easy and not for beginners.
Try to frame some of your photos so the main part of the action is sitting in 1/3 of the picture. When it comes to using your images in your marketing, you’ll often want to place text over it, so leave some room. It will save you a lot of heartache later.
Try to show a bit of your location, but you don’t want the background to look too busy. A shot focused on your face can keep the background out of focus so it doesn’t interfere with your portrait.
Find some images you love
Don’t be frightened to be bossy. It can really help your photographer (both of the professional and friend variety) to know what you are looking for.
Have a peep at some photography sites, other coaches’ websites or even some stock photos. Pay attention to the backgrounds, positioning, location and colours of your preferred images. It’s great to get inspiration and you are more likely to get something you love and will work for you and your business if you do a little homework first.
Enjoy the process. There is nothing like being the centre of attention for a day and having a bit of fun with your friends for bringing out the true you. Get the best photos for your coaching business and you will start to build those all important relationships – and that is what sells.
You are all excited about your brand new online business. You’re going to be able to help SO many more people, teach to a wider audience and finally bring in the money you need to live your own fantastic sunny life. Wow! It’s going to be brilliant!!
No more time for money – you’ll be super flying.
So you get a little website up and running with your new logo and a few pages describing the service you offer and the results you can get, create a couple of social media accounts to start talking about what you do and wait for the phone to start ringing.
It can be soul destroying to bare your knowledge to the world but get nothing in return, not a peep, not a little nibble of interest back. You have so much to give, but if people just aren’t getting you and the marvellous world of knowledge you have to offer, they won’t interact or buy. And that’s when we start to creep back to the one to one work, just to get some money in.
But that fabulous online business you had in your head is possible. It’s just a matter of communicating your vision to your audience and making it really easy for them to see themselves working with you.
So here are my tip top MUST HAVES for your coaching business website to supercharge your message and radiate that irresistible youness.
Not surprisingly, you are first on the list.
As a coach, trainer or otherwise helpful bod you are central to your business. You are the expert, you are the person that people must connect with to build that all important trust.
Nothing says you more than a good old photo. Try and get the best photo you can of you being you. If you are a talker, get a friend to snap you talking. If you demonstrate exercises, then show yourself in action, enjoying it and looking great. If your business is all about creating an emotional connection then get some photos done where you are listening and supporting a client.
I can hear you shouting at the screen – NO! I hate having my photo taken. I’ll let you into a little secret – I feel really silly posing for photos too. One way around the wooden ‘oh no, do I smile, do my arms look to fat, rabbit in the headlights’ look is to get somebody to take a photo of you doing. Take a couple of friends along to your favourite café or park and get one to snap while you chat away. Bribe them with cake if you have to – always works for me.
Once you have a natural photo of you, place it prominently on your coaching business website. At the top and BIG. No excuses.
2. Your Message
This might seem a really obvious one, but so often the core message gets lost in a jumble of words. Your coaching business website needs a short and snappy message right at the top of the front page that says exactly what your coaching can achieve for people. We want results, and we want them snappy.
Try to limit yourself to a maximum of 8 words. You don’t have to say everything that you do, you just need to connect with your website visitors and make them think, ‘ooh, I want that!’
My core message for The Business Beautician is ‘Where brilliant businesses come to get gorgeous’. Just 7 simple words but there’s a lot packed into it. People take my classes to create a brilliant online business, join my courses to make them super gorgeous and love my bouncy and bright way of making complicated things easy peasy (apparently).
Inject some character into your words and you’ve got a winner.
3. Sign ups
If you haven’t delved into the world of email marketing (newsletters and listbuilding) then start now. Most sales aren’t made by people landing on your website by chance and just fancying buying something. Sales are made after you have built a relationship, albeit a virtual one, through social media, blogs, newsletters and finally through that one sales email that lets them know that you have created something they really need.
Think of your coaching business website as a collector for all these people. They’ve shown a little bit of interest, but need to stay in touch before they’ll buy. Most of your selling will occur off your website.
Add a sign up box onto your website. Add a few. In different places. And offer different incentives for people to hand over their information. Pay attention to what freebie you match with what content and your signups will start to rocket.
4. Professional looking branding
I can hear you wince.
But it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to get a good solid brand that does your coaching business website proud. You can keep it simple and still make an impact. [su_list icon=”icon: heart” icon_color=”#fe9367″]
Invest a little bit of time or money in getting your colours and fonts sorted out once and for all so you know that any marketing design you do will look gorgeous and match perfectly.
Opt for a simple logo that will just act as a signature for your coaching business. It doesn’t have to be a complicated affair that says everything your business offers.
Invest in some great photography. There are loads of fantastic free and cheap photo sites out there. Choose images that speak to you or show the results of your work, download them and reuse them throughout your marketing.
This is not optional.
Keeping up with a blog can seem a struggle but it is the best way of communicating with your audience and showing off your knowledge. A helpful, well written blog can do wonders for building trust with your crowd.
Give them a result and let them experience some of the benefits you have to offer. You aren’t giving it away for nothing, you are building a fantastic relationship that will end in sales.
AND blogs are so versatile. Pop them onto your website, add some share buttons to get people sharing your content (top tip – you can use these share buttons too), send your blog out in your newsletter, post them on social media and link back to your website and if it’s a really good one you can even get them published on info sites such as Huffington Post.
Soon, your expertise will be everywhere!
6. Make it easy for people to work with you
The number of times I’ve got lost on a website, trying to find contact details or the button to buy something is shocking.
Don’t bury your hard work – keep it up front and proud. [su_list icon=”icon: heart” icon_color=”#fe9367″]
A simple ‘work with me’ button in the menu works a treat so people can see an overview of everything that you do.
Plop your best sellers onto the front page with a short and sweet description and a button to read more.
Once your visitors have clicked on a product, give them a big button to press. Make the buy now button really easy to find, in a contrasting colour and located on the first page they land on.
Always include a contact me page and put it in your main menu where people expect to find it. You don’t have to include all your personal address details but at least have a contact form that will send you an email.
Let’s get your coaching business website to work for you. No slacking!