If you’re a business owner or solopreneur who is guilty of settling for a sub-par website, you’re not alone. We have a million balls in the air, and managing a website, domain, back-end, SEO, blogging strategy, brand photos, logos, and more can get bumped to the end of our to-do list almost ad infinitum.
With so many pressing day-to-day activities, addressing your website’s need for a refresh can feel like a Herculean task. And chances are, you tell yourself that your site is good enough.
But the difference between “good enough” and “not working” is a blurred line, especially when our judgment is clouded by the clamor of competing tasks and client deadlines we are trying to keep.
If you’re wondering if your website is truly in need of a refresh and not sure where to start if it is, I wrote this blog post for you and included solutions that will direct you right where you need to go.
Your website might be due for a refresh if…
Problem: Your website doesn’t feel like you’re making the best first impression
Let’s be honest: the feeling of things not being quite right is a vague starting point, and chances are it’s what brought you to this blog post in the first place. But it’s a starting point, and your evaluation is what will enable progress.
Solution: Set aside an hour or two to review your website.
And I mean really review it. Don’t just give it a quick glance over. Take notes on what you like and don’t like. Log impressions about how it looks and how the navigation works. Make notes of typos, or places that the copy falls flat. Then, once you’re armed with these tangible pain points, you can move forward and develop an action plan. This is one of the easiest stages to procrastinate on, but rest assured: it’s totally worth it.
Problem: Your website is visually unappealing
Nothing screams “low quality” like a subpar website design. You could offer the best service or product in your industry, bar none, but if your website looks like someone sketched it up in Microsoft Paint or coded it with a 3rd grader’s proficiency in HTML, it might be time for a new website. Even clumsy text alignment or discordant color choices can make a bad first impression and cause potential clients to click “x” out of your site.
Solution: Upgrade your website’s appearance with a high-quality template or by hiring a website designer.
Templates are more affordable options for business owners, and with the wide range of options, you’re sure to find something that reflects your aesthetic preferences and has a structure that suits your business. However, they do require an eye for design as you make changes, and there is a learning curve to making the changes you need.
I DIY’d my own site that served me well for years but reached a point in my business where I wanted to elevate and polish my online presence. I purchased a template from the TONIC Site Shop and hired an amazing designer who helped with both my branding and my template customization. The difference between my DIY’d site and the one my designer created was night and day, and upgrading my website’s design was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business.
Problem: It’s filled with typos or language that doesn’t quite say things the way you need it to
Even if your design is absolutely off-the-wall amazing, bad copy can sour first impressions and make your business look unprofessional. It isn’t just knowing there-their-they’re and its-it’s. The art of crafting quality content and copy operates at a micro-syntax level all the way up to big-picture content structure and CTA flows.
And even if you have the market cornered on grammatical correctness (thank you, Grammarly), your writing still might not compel site visitors the way it needs to in order to close the deal.
Solution: DIY your copy or hire a copywriter
Depending on your budget and confidence in your own writing abilities, you have two options to improve your website’s copy.
You can take advantage of the plethora of online resources available and DIY your copy. They’ll guide you through a kind of “audit” and provide scaffolding to restructure the writing on your website. This is a great solution for business owners who are confident in their writing abilities and marketing savvy, and who prefer to be very hands-on in their work. It’s also a good interim solution if you don’t currently have the budget to hire a professional.
The second option is to hire a website copywriter: someone whose bread and butter is creating strategy-driven impactful writing that works on every part of your site. From menu items to Call to Action buttons to every heading, subheading, and paragraph, a good copywriter will ensure that your website sounds like you, reflects your industry expertise, and works for you to magnetize the right customers.
Problem: Your website isn’t relevant to your business and brand anymore
Because your website is your business’s digital home and the online representation of your brand, it’s vital that it perfectly showcases what you do, who you do it for, and why you are the right person to choose.
If your website falls short in these areas, it’s time for an update. It’s important to know that websites aren’t a one-and-done investment. For all the time and money you’ve invested, it would be great if you could just pop it up and forget about it for the next two decades. Good copy and design should be enduring, and if your foundational brand strategy is well done, it should last you a long time.
But sometimes, your brand evolves. If big changes are happening to your business’s core identity, who you serve, and how you want to represent yourself in your industry, your website will need to change alongside you. If it doesn’t? You risk attracting the wrong people, and having the right people pass you by.
Solution: Determine what parts of your website are still relevant and which ones aren’t.
This includes design and web copy. Old and irrelevant web copy should be replaced with informed, strategic, and fresh copy that accurately articulates the fundamentals of what your business is right now and where it’s headed for the next five to ten years.
Starting with your Services page is a great place to begin. You can ask yourself if you’re still offering the same services you used to offer, if you’re still serving the same audience, and if your prices are still accurate.
After that, you can move onto your homepage. Make sure that its content reflects any changes you’ve made, and that the content flow and Calls to Action are clear and persuasive. If you need help with this, you can book a copywriter for a copy audit or copyediting service to help point you in the right direction.
Problem: Your website isn’t giving the results that you need.
Ultimately, the whole point of your business’s website is to represent your brand well online and attract paying clients who are thrilled to work with you. If either one of these components is off, your website just won’t work. There are variations on this, like a website that doesn’t represent you as the valuable professional you are, or a website that doesn’t give prospective clients an action to take. But the outcome is the same: a lack of paying customers.
Solution: Work with a brand strategist, a copywriter, or both.
Whether you work with a brand strategist, a copywriter, or both, you’re looking for the same thing: someone to help you identify your Unique Selling Point (USP), your value proposition, your target audience, and how to best resonate with that audience so they become enthusiastic paying clientele.
Some copywriters, including me, include onboarding processes to unearth your USP and value propositions and also may conduct competitor research to help position you in your industry. Gaining clarity and developing a strong foundation will inform all the other parts of your brand, from design to copy to marketing strategies, so it’s worth investing here!
I know I’ve been suggesting solutions throughout this blog post, but if you’re looking for an even clearer place to start, I’ve got you covered.
For the business owner in need of fresh branding or a website redesign:
I highly recommend Morgan Frazon of Lagom Creative. She’s the brilliant individual who developed my branding and customized my TONIC template, and I can’t say enough good things about her phenomenal client experience and intuition for reflecting your business’s uniqueness in every design choice.
For the business owner who wants to partner with the right copywriter to get their ducks in a row:
I’d love to connect and see if I’m the right person for the job. I offer a range of services that are tailored to fit the needs of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs. Whether you’re looking for a thorough copyedit to catch typos and improve flow or a comprehensive rewrite to give you copy that will last, I can give you the site refresh you need.
For the business owner who wants to start somewhere:
Book a copy audit today. My comprehensive copy audit will put an objective pair of eyes on your website. I’ve helped dozens of business owners from a variety of industries improve their website copy, identify their USP, and develop their brand voice to communicate with their ideal clients.