If you’re guilty of settling for your website because you don’t want to admit to yourself that your investments—whether it be for design, copy, SEO, a template, brand images, whatever—are no longer serving you, you’re not the only one.
Far from it, actually. A lot of people stick with a subpar website because they feel frustrated that they poured so much of themselves or their resources into it, and they don’t want those efforts to be rendered irrelevant.
“It’s good enough,” they say.
And sure, it probably is.
But is “good enough” good enough for you? Are you okay with your brand’s digital home base being good enough? Or would you prefer it to be great?
Your answer may very well be yeah, actually, IDGAF about my website, Sara, my leads and clients don’t care about it. And that’s fine! If you know that having a good enough website doesn’t negatively impact your business, then, genuinely: I love that for you.
Because a beautiful, strategic, action-inspiring website is not a small investment.
If your answer is more along the lines of well… how do I know if my website is falling flat? What does that even mean? I’ll tell you.
And then I’ll tell you how to solve it, because I’d never point out all the things that could be wrong without offering some way to help you make it right.
Your website may be due for a refresh if…
No one wants to click through a million different pages and scroll for hours before they can gain an understanding what you can do for them.
If your readers can’t easily make their way around your website and find what they’re looking for, they’re more likely to “X” out before they’ve taken your desired action.
You can’t inquire, or buy, or sign up, or download, if you don’t know where the hell to go to get that point.
There are a whole slew of things that going into crafting the best user experience for your readers, but one of the most important (and impactful) ones is ensuring there are enough calls to action.
Specifically, calls to action on your homepage—because, more often than not, that’s where people land when they first come into contact with your brand.
Think of the homepage of your website like an onramp to a highway, and your calls to action as the exit signs.
What would you do if you were driving down a highway, searching for the right place to veer off and approach your destination? You’d look for the exit sign.
And what would you do if you couldn’t find the right sign? You’d keep driving, aimlessly, growing more frustrated and anxious by the second.
And then you’d either make a rash, impulse turn off some random exit that won’t lead you where you want to go, or you’d go back the way you came.
Neither of those outcomes would give you the result you wanted.
By giving your readers the signals they need in order to get where they’re hoping to go, you’ll be one step closer to them taking action.
If your answer to “do you have a website?” is “oh, um, sure… yeah, I have a website, um, but don’t look at it—the info is kind of outdated, and the pictures are old… just look at my Instagram instead, everything’s more current on there,” then it’s 100% time for a refresh.
You should feel completely confident when you send someone to your website. You shouldn’t feel like you want to hide your URL and hope to God no one ever sees it.
Identify what you feel proud of, what doesn’t resonate with you anymore, and what could use updating.
Make a list of the changes you’d like to make, and then either dedicate a day to fixing them all, or chip away at them one by one until you’re feeling great about showing off your site again.
Nothing will make you feel worse about your site than a design that looks like it came straight from the desk of the guy who developed the first iteration of AOL.
And while it’s no secret that I’m (self-proclaimed) website copy queen, and I’m a firm believer that copy has the power to completely transform a website for the better, design has the power to make your website downright sexy.
Giving your website a new look is the best way to boost your confidence about showing it off to the world—who wouldn’t feel amazing with a kickass website that everyone who views will objectively describe as gorgeous?
In terms of choosing a website template or a custom design, there’s really no wrong answer.
Templates are more affordable, but come with less support. Choose this option if you’re confident in your DIY skills, and don’t mind spending a bit of time searching through your options.
For Showit users, my preferred website template shop is Tonic Site Shop, because they’ve been around the longest, they have the widest selection, they create the most beautiful (and user-friendly!) templates, and they’ve got the best tech support in place to help you ensure your template customization is a success.
You can use code “btlcopy” for 15% off anything at Tonic Site Shop!
For Squarespace users, my preferred website template shop is GoLive, because they boast a 5-day launch plan that helps you stop dilly-dallying and actually get your project launched! Plus, their templates are gorg.
You can use code “btlcopy” for 10% off any website template from GoLive!
That’s another thing about templates: the process of getting your website up is a lot faster, because you don’t have to abide by a designer’s timeline.
Designers are more expensive, but they’ll do everything for you, and your website will be built completely custom based on what you want it to look like. Choose this option if you have a more robust website (ahem, my new site is…50 pages. Bless my designer’s soul.) or if you have no interest in learning how to implement a template.
There’s also a 3rd option on the table: working with a designer who offers template customization. As always, I recommend Showit website designer Sarah Kleist. She’ll work with you to customize a template from her own shop, or a template you already have!
Side note: if you’re confused about the whole Showit vs Squarespace thing, and you’re wondering which website hosting platform is the best/which is right for you, I’ve got a whooole deep dive on it for you to read.
Because your site is the ultimate digital representation of your brand—and it’s the space your business can take up the most real estate—it should perfectly showcase exactly what you do, who you do it for, and why you’re worth it.
If your website doesn’t do that, it’s time for some updates to be made.
It’s important to note that your website isn’t a one-and-done kind of deal. As a website copywriter, I’m low-key reluctant to type this sentence, because website copy—if it’s done right—should be crafted to LAST.
But, despite your website being the platform you can likely afford to update the least… your brand, inevitably, will evolve eventually, and that warrants a website update.
Like I said: your web copy and design could have the staying power for years if your brand’s offerings, goals, aesthetic, and target audience don’t shift.
…but what happens when you make adjustments to who you are at your core, who you serve, and how you want to show up in your industry? Ideally, your website changes right along with you.
& you’ll want to ensure your site reflects that, or you run the risk of not attracting the right people.
Replace the old, irrelevant copy with new messaging that allows you to better articulate who you are, what you do, and who you do it for.
I recommend starting with your Services page, because that’ll likely be the easiest place for you to update, because in some ways, that page is more about the facts.
Are you still offering those services?
Are you still serving that audience?
Are your prices accurate?
Once you’ve tackled the Services page, shift over to your homepage, and make sure that highway we talked about earlier is still helping readers move in the right direction.
Next, clean up your About page by getting rid of any details that no longer feel important to you, and updating your bio to feel more current.
(If you need inspo, you can check mine out right here—or, if you’d rather your About page focus more on your target audience’s needs than on you, read this post about my Not About You About Page Formula!)
Happens to the best of us, let me tell ya. I know how it feels to be sick of your brand photos, even if you love them. We just use them so damn much. And a legit brand shoot isn’t always in the budget to happen more than once a year—or, tbh, even more than once every few years.
Like most things, it’s a worthy investment, with an awesome ROI, but it’s still expensive.
So… what do you do when you want to update your website’s media assets, but you’re sick of those same photos you’ve been using forever?
I love the typical free stock sources as much as the next gal—especially from my own brand photographer, Mathilde Langevin, on Unsplash—but sifting through them for the perfect photos can take hours, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
Thanks to Haute Stock, though, you don’t have to. They have the best curated selection of over 10,000 media assets for you to use not only on your website, but also in all of the other elements of your marketing you need stock media, too: Instagram content, presentations, blog posts, emails… you name it.
I’ve been using Haute Stock for more than 3 years now, and I absolutely love the resource—they add new content every single week, so there’s always more to explore. If you’d like to sign up, you can use code “btlcopy” to save 15% on your membership!
The biggest sign your website needs a refresh is the lack of results.
If you’re not getting inquiries from the people you want to work with, or sales of your products, or sign-ups for your newsletter, or downloads of your freebie, or views on your blog, or students in your course… welp.
Refresh time, baby. Because that’s the whole point.
Your website exists to give your audience information about who you are as a brand, yes, but ultimately, your goal is to encourage your readers to take action.
And if your site isn’t inspiring action… you may want to consider doing something about it.
I created an entire website copywriting course to help you learn how to do exactly that with website copy that tells a story and inspires action—you can find all the details about it right here.
(The course also teaches you how to attract more of the right people with organic content marketing efforts like SEO, blogging, and email marketing!)
For the DIYers:
→ Meet the Wicked Easy Website Copy Guide. It’s my version of a website copy template, supported by educational resources & training videos. I’m confident that you’ll love it.
For the do-it-for-me-please-I-can’t-with-this-BS-ers:
→ Meet your new favorite website copywriter. In the words of our Lord and Savior Taylor Swift: it’s me, hi. Except instead of finishing that sentence with “I’m the problem, it’s me”—your website’s the problem. I’m the solution. And I’d love to help you give your site the refresh it deserves using my signature sales-focused storytelling method to spruce up your web copy.
For the people who want a middle ground between a DIY and DFY solution:
→ Meet the website copy audit. It’s the perfect mix of DIY and DFY; a collaborative process where we’ll work together to ensure your website fits your idea of ideal, and speaks your target audience’s language.
It’s a super easy process, all completed in just 4 days—and all you need to do is fill out a questionnaire, send along your URL, then wait a few days for my feedback.
After that, we’ll go over it together, discuss how to implement the changes, and strategize about what comes next for you & your site.
For a more detailed explanation of what the website copy audit entails, click here!
Make sure to save this post on Pinterest to refer back to it later, when you’re ready to check in on the health of your website again! And for more website copywriting tips like this, subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Tuesday Table of Contents, to get them delivered straight to your inbox, along with a book rec and the occasional TMI update about my life. 😂🥳
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