The Ultimate Website Design Checklist

Robert Williams

Your website. It’s the face of your business. It’s often the first and last thing your clients will see before they hire you. So don’t you wish you had a website design checklist that made sure you weren’t missing out on sales? That’s what we’re going to go over today.

Does this checklist apply to my website?

This checklist is for people looking for great clients. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling your freelance services or a product.

So the answer is yes, especially if you want any of the following:

  • More leads from your freelance website
  • More job / contract offers from your portfolio website
  • More inbound leads from your agency website
  • More sales and clicks for your blog / digital product website

The recommendations in this checklist are for finding great clients. If that’s you. You’re going to get a ton of value. I promise.

Most freelancers go through periods of trying everything and looking everywhere to get good, reliable clients. They look on LinkedIn and remote job boards. They put up a business website and…nothing.

Wouldn’t it be great if clients actually did come to you via your website?

Website design checklist for getting great clients

Here are a few strategies for getting your next clients from your website:

  1. Get visitor attention early on
  2. Paint the dream or after picture
  3. Do more to convert visitors
  4. Create a CTA for every page
  5. Make each CTA easy as possible
  6. Build an audience

Next, let’s go over what each one of these mean and how to implement them on your website.

Download our checklist for making your website “client-driven”  here

1 – Get visitor attention early

There’s two parts to this: the story or narrative that you tell and the first impressions that you give. Let’s start with first impressions…

A common mistake that many freelancers make is to minimize themselves online and risk coming across as “not a real business.” Clients want to hire real businesses with real experience, but there are things that freelancers do on their websites that send out red flags. For example:

  • Not having a custom domain
  • Having a poorly designed website
  • Having elements to your website that come across like you don’t care to put in the effort. (Poor-quality images, spelling or grammatical errors, incomplete descriptions…)

So step #1 has to be to ensure that you look like a “real business” online. One that takes pride in what they offer. You can’t fall victim to imposter syndrome and minimize yourself – boldly go out there and plant your flag!

The second part of getting visitor attention is your story, or the narrative you have prepared for clients. You have to be able to hook them in early. They need to understand clearly what you do and who you do it for. Think about telling a story that takes the visitor through a beginning, middle and end. Their natural conclusion should be “I must hire this freelancer!”

How do you achieve this? First, your overall look should communicate what you do – including your branding and imagery. Second, you need to clearly spell out why clients should be interested within seconds of them landing on your site. Use plain language that they’ll understand with captivating headlines. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are a couple of cool examples:

Hillary Weiss – This is a great site showcasing her branding skills. (Branding the brander – so meta).

Get Clients from website

Punchline Conversion Copywriting – Lianna Patch specializes in humorous copy. Her overall branding and introduction to her website communicates this well.

Get Clients from website

Action step: Assess your own website (or ask others to do it for you). It should be clear what you do, who you help and the sorts of results you can help people to get. Be on the lookout for anything that might come across as “less than professional” or minimizing your business, too.

Freelancers: What are the first impressions visitors have of your website? Click To Tweet

#2. Do more to convert visitors

The basic formula for getting clients from your website is “drive traffic to website, then convert those visitors.” It’s somewhere within the conversion part that many freelancers often get lost. We can talk about traffic generation here, but that’s a whole other article.

First of all, do you actually have CTAs (Calls to Action) on every page of your website? A visitor could land on any page, depending on the path they took to get there – and if there is no CTA, you’re leaving it up to them to decide what the next step should be.

What should your CTA be? Generally, a prompt to take the next step you’d usually like potential clients to take. For example, if that’s booking a consultation with you, have a compelling CTA to direct them to do so. “If you need B2B copy that sells, book a consultation with me here.”

Second, make it as easy as possible for them to actually get in contact with you and take whatever step is next. If that’s booking a consultation, then present them with a scheduling tool so that they don’t have to go back and forth by email. For example, you can direct them to Calendly to choose a time you have available that suits them.

How else can you convert more visitors? Having a carefully curated portfolio is another good strategy. Display the best of your work that highlights the projects and clients you really want to be working with. Rather than overload people with a massive amount of information, try keeping your portfolio to 8-12 of your best examples. Have your CTA on your portfolio page so they can go straight to contacting you!

The last strategy I’ll mention here is to make sure you’ve specifically laid out what the customer can expect working with you. What is your process? What is required from customers? When people can see step-by-step, they feel less unsure about making contact. Sometimes the thought of having to ask a lot of questions to figure out what you do can be enough of a barrier to put customers off.

Note: “How to convert more visitors” is obviously a big topic. These are just a handful of ideas, based on some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen freelancers make.

#3. Build an audience

When I’ve asked you guys what questions you have around getting clients from your website, the subjects of blog posts and general content marketing have been raised frequently. Yes, you can help to generate clients by regularly creating good-quality content. No, this isn’t how you’re going to quickly get clients. (Not usually, anyway).

Building an audience as a blogger or content creator (including social media or other channels) takes time. It is, however, an excellent strategy for positioning yourself. You could be the thought leader, the expert, the person who tests out strategies and shares them, or the understanding listener who knows the challenges your audience has.

One of your key questions was; how do I write blog posts that get clients?

This is another large topic by itself, so I’m going to break it down into few quick steps:

  1. First of all, you’ve got to be writing for your audience. Who are they and what are their main concerns? A blog isn’t about how great your services are, it’s about connecting on a more personal level with your target audience.
  2. Figure out topics that will be useful to your target audience. Are there any quick wins you could help them with in a blog post?
  3. Find your voice! Blog posts shouldn’t read like a corporate report. “Be yourself” might sound a bit trite, but people can usually pick up when you sound fake. How do you normally chat with customers? Think about what will be interesting and “real” to read. You’re giving customers a prelude as to what it might be like to work with you.
  4. Be known for giving actionable advice. Don’t be a “blog for the sake of SEO” type of business – make sure that every post adds value in some way.
  5. Make sure your headlines draw people in and that your opening paragraphs make them want to keep reading.

Importantly, if you’re going to build an audience, you should have a way that people can subscribe and hear from you any time you have new content. It’s a good way to be consistently in communication with them, without necessarily saying “buy my stuff.”

Share your content across your social media channels at regular intervals. Remember, one post doesn’t cut it because a lot of people won’t see it. You can share the same content multiple times by scheduling out a few posts and increasing your chances of reaching a wider audience.

Free download: The client-driven website checklist

What to do next

This has been a brief introduction to getting your next 100 clients from your website. It’s important to note that there are many strategies, but here I’ve attempted to answer some of the common questions you send in.

If there are any strategies to prioritize, I’d work on #1 and #2 first. You’ve got to have an optimized website environment to keep potential clients reading and to encourage them to take the next step with you. Content is something that can always come after you’ve got that part right.

What about you? Have you made some changes or tried some new website strategies that have helped to bring in clients? Drop me an email and tell me about it!