3 Simple Questions Your Website Should Answer

3 Simple Questions Your Website Should Answer

Are you aware that your website may be costing you fistfuls of money?

An eye-catching website design will set the stage for your business, obviously.  But that powerful first impression only buys you a few seconds of attention.

If what you SAY on your website gives visitors the wrong impression, you’re chasing potential clients away.

And that problem is far more common than you think.

People visiting your website subconsciously look for reasons to bail. They’re not asking themselves, “Why should I stay here and look around?” They’re thinking, “Is this website wasting my time?”

Make them struggle to find the answers they need, and they won’t bother hanging around.

Don’t hustle for nothing. Instead, anticipate the questions your prospects are probably asking themselves. Use this checklist to make sure potential clients will easily believe hiring you is the best choice they could make.

1. Who Are You?

Many writers make the answer to this question the entire focus of their website. They list qualifications, awards, degrees, credentials, and anything they hope will help “sell” their expertise.

But people don’t buy credentials. They buy what you can do for them.

So you’ve got 3 advanced degrees. You’ve been featured in glossy magazines. You have writing experience a mile long. So what?

Ever been around someone who talks only about himself? That’s the only person he cares about – he doesn’t care about what you have to say. And all you can do is nod and smile automatically while hoping your phone rings so you can flee the scene.

That’s how your visitor feels when your website is all about you.

2. Why Should I Care?

Talk to readers about themselves. “You should care about me because I can boost your sales. Unlike hundreds of other writers, I meet your deadlines. I know how your business works. I help your business grow. That’s who I am – to you.

Tell your visitors enough about you that they know you’re qualified for the job, and then put the bulk of your efforts on showing people that they’re dealing with a human being who cares about them, their problems and helping them find a solution.

Then focus on why they should care enough to read further.

3. Can I trust you?

While reading your website, your potential client is skeptical. Everyone is. And that person is thinking, “Yeah, right. Why should I believe any of this?”

Do you answer that question?

Collect testimonials that speak to your expertise and the results you’ve helped create for other people. Offer free information that solves real-world problems. Demonstrate you can help in a tangible way that makes your message credible.

Without trust, your website is worthless to your business.

In fact, it could be making things worse if you aren’t showing you back up your big claims.

Bonus Question: What Next?

If your website lacks a clear call to action, you can assume your reader won’t take any action at all. They may trust you, like you, and even believe that you can help solve their problem.

But don’t assume they know what to do next. Take them by the hand, show them the way and leave nothing to chance.

Want them to click the red button to subscribe? Say, “Please click the red button to subscribe.” Want them to email you? Tell them, “Email me at this address.” “Call now!” is a better call to action than none at all.

And even if the action you want people to take seems obvious to you, point it out anyways.

Don’t hide your call to action in a link that may or may not be misunderstood. Ambiguity is not your friend. A statement like “contact us for more information” doesn’t tell your reader HOW to contact you, either by email or telephone. Why send people on a scavenger hunt for your contact information?

How about this, instead? “Call now for a 3 minute recorded message about how you can put $500 cash in your pocket – as early as tomorrow. No pressure or obligation – limited time offer.”

Now I know why I should bother. I know it’ll be hassle-free. If this is true, I don’t want to miss out on that money. Heck, it’s only 3 minutes – what do I have to lose?

See the difference?

Read your own website today. Go through it line by line. Make sure your marketing message packs power. Answer the questions your reader is already asking. Show that you understand where your potential client is coming from, and tell him why you’re the solution he needs.

Your turn: What else is important to answer on your website? What more do potential clients want to see? Let me know in the comments – and by the way, what’s stopping you from making that change to your site today?

Post by Jesse Lancos

Jesse Lanclos is a freelance copywriter and business content writer. He provides weekly inspiration and ideas that help business owners sell more, earn more, and do more in less time at the Cajun Copy Blog. He's a productivity junkie who loves asking: "Isn't there an easier way to do this?"

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  1. Re: “Can I trust you?”

    This is probably the most important point. This question is answered by the quality of content and information you share on your site. If your site feels like it’s set up simply to separate your prospects from their money, the trust factor is gone.

    • Hi Stacey,

      So true. Thanks for chiming in. :)

      In a world where thousands of thoughts compete for the space inside your reader’s mind, you have to demonstrate that you understand their world and can be trusted to do what you say you’ll do. Provide something valuable in everything you publish to your website, and that value will show people you’re credible..

  2. Trust is SO important! Anyone can talk, the difference is who chooses to listen.

    • Hi Tiffany,

      Thanks for the comment.

      “Anyone can talk.” No shortage of this – that’s for sure!

      When I seek first to understand before I seek to be understood, I find that people are more willing to trust what I have to say. Get clear on who you’re talking to, what they’re about, and how your product or service makes their lives better. Talk about THAT in your web copy, and you’ll be singing a song people want to listen to.

  3. Yvette Burleigh says:

    I agree wholeheartedly! I have found myself frustrated many times going to websites that are “cluttered” and yet do not have what I need. I will immediately move on to another if I have to spend my time clicking on many buttons and never find what I am looking for. I hope many will read your post here because you nailed it with what you said. I cannot count the times I’ve wanted to contact the owner of a website and I finally found it hidden somewhere in very tiny words. My first thought on that is maybe the owner doesn’t really want to be contacted and if not then maybe he or she cannot be trusted. Thanks for this post! Well written!

    • Hey Yvette,

      Thanks, and that’s an excellent point. Make it easy for people to take action. Make your buttons big, your calls to action clear, and move every obstacle you can out the way.

      It’s not that people are too dumb to find what they’re looking for. They have 50 things on their minds at the instant they land on your site. Somebody will make the process easy for them. Let that somebody be you.

  4. Tell them like it is. Or how it should be.

  5. Excellent post Jesse!

    I love “Ambiguity is not your friend.” That should apply to a writer’s entire website, not just the CTA. Too often, we writers don’t consider who our target audience is and in an effort to draw in everyone, we end up not speaking to anyone.

    Again, great post. I’m currently overhauling my professional site and this gave me some great insights into making it what it needs to be. Thanks!

    • Hey Erica,

      “in an effort to draw in everyone, we end up not speaking to anyone.” I love this.

      You sharpen your message when you speak to “someone” – in her language, about her concerns, with a solution to her problem. You water your message down when you talk to “everyone.” You end up sounding like everyone else (and get ignored). Great point!

  6. Good one Jesse,

    Especially the last.

    Once you have their attention you don’t want to waste it or let them think “it’s over.”

    This is the best time to hit them with the call to action.

    Closed mouths don’t get fed do they?

  7. Definitely going to be thinking about these tips when developing copy for the relaunch. You make it seem easy, Jesse. :-)

    • Thanks Willi,

      Looking forward to seeing what you come up with in the days ahead. About making it look easy…if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Right? :P

  8. Very good post! I like the part “Can I trust you?” most.
    In Germany many people first want to see the relevant degree or diploma or special education of someone before they “trust” them with a job. But just having the formal education does not necessarily mean that they are suited for the job. Other people’s testimonials are a much better way to show that you are the best. However, everyone has to start working at some point in time and it is not always easy to get a lot of testimonials straight from the beginning.

    • Hi Ricarda,

      Thanks for the comment, and great point. Testimonials show that you back up what you say. “I say I’m great. But don’t just take my word for it. Listen to what others say about the work I did for them.”

      But there are other ways to prove your value. Offer useful information that your clients don’t see on every blog that exists. You can prove you know your stuff without waiting for glossy reviews of your work. :)

      The key is to put your best effort into every project. Deliver on time. Do what you promise, and don’t promise what you can’t deliver. If you do, you’ll have those glossy reviews in no time.

  9. I think many professionals forget to answer the “Why Should I Care” question . Your website should be targeted to your audience – ask yourself what your visitors are looking for when they visit your site. Address their concerns and answer their questions. Employers, clients, etc. don’t really want to know how great you are – its all about what you can do for them.

    Great article Jesse

    • Thanks, and I’m glad you brought that up. Everybody knows trust is important, but the “Why Should I Care” part is the most important one in this article.

      So many people talk about themselves too much. “Why Should I Care?” is the most important question to answer. I know a lot of people I can trust. I even know a lot about them, and what makes them great.

      So what?

      How does your story speak to my circumstances? Have we walked down a similar path? Did your solution solve a pain in your life that I can identify with? What’s valuable about this – to your reader? Spend your time getting clear on that, and your web copy will rock.

      Of course, you can always hire a pro to do this for you. :)

      • your article is so essential. – it’s always the basics.

        after reading the article i had one question in my mind: what is the most important question? and that you answered with this reply.

        thanks for sharing your insights.

  10. This is one of the best posts I’ve read on creating a strong website. It is simple, three itsy bitsy things, but captures something that most websites really struggle with.

    I love this line: “But people don’t buy credentials. They buy what you can do for them.”

    People are not searching the interwebs for nothing, they want to gain something from your site, a connection, information, a laugh… something. It is our job to make sure we give it to them.

    Thank you for sharing!

    K.

    • Thanks, K. :)

      So true: “a connection, information, a laugh… something.” What’s your “something?” More importantly, what’s the “something” your readers will value? Bring that to the party. Spend a lot of time getting clear on the “why should I care?” part.

  11. This is so true. I’d say most websites out there only talk about the company/individual it belongs to. No one cares about you. All they really care about is what you can do for them. Pretty simple stuff, but so often overlooked. Thanks!

    • I agree, Jonas. Probably 7 or 8 out of 10 business sites I come across talk mainly about themselves. It’s almost as if they wrote their websites looking in a mirror. I walk into the room, and they hardly notice. They’re too busy staring at themselves in the mirror. It only takes a few seconds of “so what?” for me to find a better way to spend my time and money.

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