Your website can be a fantastic tool for generating leads and building an email list. In this post, my goal is to give you an overview of how you can create a list building website and boost conversions to your opt-in offer, getting leads for your list.
It’s no secret that a website can be vital in your efforts to make sales and gain subscribers. But how can you ensure that your website is helping your conversion rate and not hurting it?
Sadly, many websites actually turn people away and encourage people to NOT sign up for an email list or buy a product. That’s not what we want.
In order to make sure you have a lean, mean, list building website, keep these things in mind.
Make Sure Your List Building Website Rocks
If your website is going to convert, it has to be awesome. No doubt. If you want people to take action, interact with your content or make a purchase, it’s on you to ensure they have the best possible experience on your website.
Your website is the foundation of your marketing efforts. If you neglect it – or rush it – everything you build on top will suffer as a result.
Well Designed Websites Convert Better
While design isn’t everything when it comes to making a list building website, it’s a major piece. Your website needs to be an attractive face for your business. If it’s not, you can expect people to be jumping on that back button and rushing off to one of your competitors.
The design of your site should encourage visitors to keep reading and engaging with your content. If it doesn’t do that, something is wrong.
Think about your website like a physical store. Would you want people visiting your store if there are holes in the walls and mold on the ceiling? Of course not. You would want that mess cleaned up and fixed so it’s presentable.
Your list building website is no different. Make sure it looks good.
But further, make sure the layout of your site encourages visitors to keep reading – and even sign up for your email list.
First impressions are critical. It’s hard to come back from a bad first impression. According to ConversionXL, 94% of first impressions are design related. In other words, if your design stinks, you’re likely to make a very poor impression on the very people you want to impress and have sign up for your list.
Among other factors, design criteria that study participants didn’t like included:
- A design that is too complex (Hard to follow. Where is the content they care about?)
- A busy layout (More is not always better!)
- A lack of navigation aids. (Where should people click? How can they find what they want?)
- Boring design.
- Pop-up advertisements. (I’m with them on this one! Pop-ups suck!)
- Font that’s too small
- Too much text (This is why it’s important to break up your wall of text with images and video!)
- Poor search ability (Makes it difficult to find specific content)
If your website design stinks, you can kiss your list building conversion rate goodbye.
Boost Your Website Speed
Website speed is more important than ever – especially now that many people are searching for and viewing content on mobile devices. It’s a proven fact that if a website loads slowly, your potential customer will leave.
Make sure your website is well-optimized and can load quickly on demand.
Google provides a tool called PageSpeed Insights that lets website owners test their websites on several points and suggests tangible ways to improve. I have found this an invaluable tool for my own sites and sites I’ve created for clients.
It’s easy to miss one or more critical factors that affect your site’s speed. This tool will point them out for you.
Keep your List Building Site Secure
Any site that’s designed to capture leads needs to be 100% secure from hackers and data theft. Remember, names and email addresses are personal information that fall under several heavy-hitting privacy laws. If you’re not compliant, you could be fined big time.
Make sure your site is using HTTPS. If you’re using WordPress, I also highly recommend studying standard WordPress security practices and perhaps even investing in one of the many WordPress security addons to give yourself that extra layer of safety.
Don’t Make Things Difficult to Find
Make sure your site has a great navigation experience. It shouldn’t take more than a moment for your visitor to find exactly what he’s looking for on your site. Your navigation menu should be clearly visible and easy to use. Also consider adding a search field.
The most important parts of your site should be front and center, easy to find and access. Don’t make people guess how to find your About page or Contact information – if applicable of course.
People typically won’t be willing to spend more than a moment looking for what they want. If you ask them to play hide and seek, pretty soon they’ll be seeking that back button and going somewhere else.
Encourage Visitors to Take Action
A well-made business website has one goal: to promote the goals of the business. Unless your site is merely the product of hobby, it has the task of pushing each and every visitor toward an action of some type.
That action can be, among other things:
- Signing up for an email list
- Downloading a free trial
- Filling out a contact form
- Making a purchase
But clearly we can’t expect users to read our minds and simply do what we want them to do, can we?
That’s where something called a call to action comes in to play. A call to action can take any of a number of forms, but typically it consists of a catchy headline with a button or other supporting text that explains just what you want your visitor to do and why he should do it.
For example, if I want people to sign up for my ListBootcamp email marketing course, I’m going to:
- Ask for the signup (i.e. “Download my free course.”
- Explain why someone should opt-in (i.e. “Get my free email marketing course that teaches how to build an email list crazy fast and without spending a ton of money.”)
- Show how to opt-in (i.e. “Enter your name and email address below, and click the button to get instant access.”)
Of course, there are variations on that theme, but hopefully you get the gist. On a list building website, calls to action will be everywhere a visitor looks. They can be in the header, footer, before posts, after posts, or even between paragraphs. If your site has a sidebar, that’s a great spot too. In the case of ListBootcamp, my entire front page is one giant call to action.
The point is to get your offer right where your visitor’s eyes will be.
I love Pat Flynn’s massive call to action on his site.
Not only is this design clean and approachable. It’s very clear what he wants his visitor to do: click that inviting green button
Optimize for Search Engines
Search engines are the tools most people use to search for and find content online. When we want to know something, we head over to Google (or Bing, or DuckDuckGo, etc) and type in a word or phrase, expecting matching results in seconds (or less).
Obviously, you and I want our content listed in these search engines so potential visitors searching for our respective topics will find and visit our websites.
In the past, SEO used to be centered on making the search giants happy. Google wants to see keywords? We’ll give them keywords! Bing wants a sitemap? Bing gets a sitemap!
But all that’s changing, perhaps for the better. Today, in order to rank well, sites need to provide a superior, value packed user experience. Sites that don’t do that, for one reason or another, risk losing favor with search giants.
Make Your List Building Site Mobile-Friendly
Because more and more people are browsing the web with mobile devices, search engines want to see sites that work flawlessly on mobile browsers. In fact, as of just a few years ago, mobile web searchers outnumbered their desktop counterparts. People on the go want information, and they want it fast.
To keep up, you and I need to ensure that our websites both look and work great on smartphones and tablets. This is one of the metrics search engines check.
Make Sure Your Site Loads Quickly
Use PageSpeed Insights to test and tweak your site, ensuring quick, efficient site performance. Search engines know that people don’t want to visit slow websites, and if a site is slow enough, it may not be listed in search results at all.
Classic SEO is Still a Thing
Keywords and classic search engine optimization tools are still relevant, however, and shouldn’t be neglected. No matter your niche, make sure each post on your list building site has the correct type and number of keywords so search engines can clearly understand what each post is about.
Write High-Value Content
Low quality content wastes everyone’s time. It wastes the time of your visitors because they have better things to do than read junk. They want solutions to their problems, and they want answers to their questions. Further, it wastes your time because low-value content doesn’t convert.
Blog posts and articles that don’t provide value compel exactly no one to sign up for free courses or download trials and get in touch. In fact, it would be better to write nothing at all.
Every bit of content you put out needs to be amazing. You don’t know which of your articles someone will see first. Remember what we said about first impressions? It’s important to make sure every potential interaction someone might have with your content is a good one.
Otherwise, you’re risking pushing people away instead of pulling them in.
Position Yourself as the Expert
No matter your niche, show yourself as the expert. Build trust with your audience. If you want to build your list – if you want people to want to hear from you – prove you’re worth hearing from. You do this by providing answers to questions and solutions to problems.
That’s what everyone on the web wants. Answers to questions and solutions to problems. By showing that you have those answers and solutions, you encourage information seekers to come to you. That means they’ll be willing to subscribe to your list or buy your products. Or both.
A List Building Website is a Powerful Tool
In today’s Internet-fueled world, I dare say few marketing tools are as powerful for the entrepreneur as the list building website. Make sure yours is inviting, well-optimized, and value packed. Position yourself as the expert and show your visitors you mean business.
If you’d like to learn more about building your email list and how to do just that, check out my free email marketing training course. You’ll be glad you did!