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How Not to Be a Website Wannabe: Unconscious Design & Copy Mistakes That’ll Annoy the Crap out of Potential Customers

I’ve been in the online space since 2011 and when it comes to websites, let’s just say I’ve seen the good, the bad and the exceptionally ugly!

Some of these blunders make me laugh out loud, some make me cringe and a bunch of ‘em have me hitting the back button with a bad taste in my mouth.

The truth is that so few entrepreneurs get it right when it comes to building a beautiful, effective website that has the power to transform casual visitors into repeat customers…

And the worst part is that most people have no idea they’ve committed one or more “website crimes” that are driving people away, every day.

Over the years, we’ve designed gorgeous, high-converting websites for 6, 7 and 8-figure entrepreneurs at Live Your Message and you could say that I know a thing or two about what works — and what doesn’t — when it comes to website design and copy.

So, I’d like for you to think of this post as your behind-the-scenes guide to sidestepping some of the biggest, unconscious mistakes people make with their websites.

These are the “hidden” mistakes that turn smart, talented entrepreneurs into website wannabes…

People who think they’ve got an attractive, effective website on their hands but what they really have is a site that annoys — and repels — the crap out of potential clients and customers!

We definitely don’t want that to be you, so let’s dive in 🙂

Mistake #1: Being a Cliché

Ever found yourself on one of those “airy-fairy” websites? How about an in-your-face hyper-masculine/testosterone-driven site?

I’m talking about websites that feature a whole lot of female and male clichés like butterflies and rainbows or private jets and gorgeous women.

My friend Morgana Rae told me that when she sees something like that, she’s tempted to send them a note that says, “Congratulations, you’re officially a cliché!”

I feel the same way 🙂

If you’re a business coach and your website is swarming with shimmering unicorns and fairies or you have photos of Ferraris and models in bikinis littering your home page, people will have a hard time taking you seriously…

And this means your business isn’t going to last very long.

So here’s what you need to do if you don’t want to end up a cliché…

Think about your online presence and how you want to be seen before you make design decisions about your site.

What’s the image you want to project? How do you want your clients and customers to relate to you?

Do you want to be super professional? Maybe you’re aiming for sassy and smart? 

No matter what you decide, remember…

Sparkling unicorns, fairy folk and red sports cars belong on a first grader’s lunchbox — not your home page!

Pro tip: It’s easy to make the right design decisions when you’re clear about your personal brand. If you don’t have a personal brand or if you’re ready to update the one you’ve got, check out my free Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding.

Mistake #2: Showing Up as Arrogant Anne or Andy

Time to talk about the kind of website everybody loves to hate…

It’s the site where pretty much every page is splashed with photos of the business owner doing one of the following (and sometimes all of these things!): 

  • Sailing on a yacht
  • Hanging out with someone who’s kinda-sorta real world-famous (or maybe internet famous)
  • Lounging with a cocktail in hand, out in Belize or some other island paradise

Basically, any scenario that’s supposed to get people to go “Wow, that’s awesome! I wish that was me!”

Just to be clear…

If you happen to be a lifestyle entrepreneur or Influencer, having a bunch of photos of yourself living the good life isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

BUT there’s a razor-thin line between proving your credibility and being a jerk!

When your website is practically overflowing with photos of you having the time of your life, people are not going to see it as visual evidence that you’re a successful entrepreneur…

They’ll probably think you’re just an arrogant, self-serving show-off.

You’ll end up damaging your reputation and your bottom line because nobody wants to do business with people who think they’re cooler or better than everyone else.

So, when it comes to posting pictures of yourself on your site (and this also applies to social media) ask yourself…

“How will my audience benefit from this? Am I authentically sharing my life and my success or am I bragging, boasting or overcompensating?”

If your honest answer is a big, fat nothing, do yourself a big, fat favor and don’t hit publish!

Mistake #3: Hitting ‘Em With a Wall of Words 

Here’s the shocking truth…

People are NOT going to read what’s on your website.

How do I know?

Because people don’t read online — they scan — and there’s a significant difference between the two.

Unfortunately, lots of entrepreneurs don’t get this.

They pour their heart and soul onto the page and their site ends up looking like this massive (boring!) chunk of text.

Visitors arrive, take one look and hit the back button in seconds.

So, when you’re ready to write copy for your site, don’t hit your visitors with a wall of words because if you do, you’ll most likely lose them forever.

Research shows that most people actually read less than half — more like 20% — of the copy on a page and scan the rest.

The trick is to think about what you absolutely need to say — what people need to know — to get them eager and excited about what you do and the products and services you offer.

For instance, the sub-headline on our home page at Live Your could have read:

How can you attract the right audience, get your message seen, heard and understood and build a successful business online when there are a billion websites out there?

Here’s the copy you’ll actually see on the site:

How do you stand out from the noise of a billion websites?

It’s clean, simple and to the point and you’ll get the message even if you just scan the words.

So, when you’re working on the copy for your site, laser in on the heart of what you want to say.

Distill vague, overarching ideas and messages down to the essence, then write that and ONLY that.

A few more effective ways to break up a wall of words and make things “scannable” on your site….

Add line breaks every sentence or so and look at how you can bold, italicize and underline specific words, phrases or sentences you want your audience to focus on. 

Bullet points and sub-headlines also work great to break up chunks of text on your page.

To see how all of this works, take a closer look at this blog post and you’ll see pretty much all of those little tips and tricks at play 🙂 You can also check out any blog post or website page at Live Your Message.

Mistake #4: Putting On The Me Show 

The Me Show is something that happens when all of your design and copy decisions are all about you and what you want.

“Me Show” entrepreneurs pick their favorite colors, their favorite font… their favorite everything!

So how do you know if you’re unknowingly putting on The Me Show on your website? 

Here are 3 tell-tale signs to look out for:

  • The copy on your entire site — and not just the About page — is all about you, not your audience and what you can do for them
  •  You have more than 5 photos of yourself on any page
  • All your design decisions are based on what you like and not what works for your brand and your audience

If there’s a Golden Rule that applies to building an awesome website that converts visitors into customers, it’s this… it’s not all about you.

It’s about striking a balance between who you are and what you have to offer and what your audience would like to see, feel and experience while they’re on your site.

Make choices about copy, design, and the overall look and feel of your site, while holding your ideal client or customers in your heart and mind.

Keep your focus on building an attractive, valuable, seamless experience for everyone who lands on your site…

An experience that inspires them to want to know more about you and what you have to offer…

An experience that ultimately motivates them to hire you and buy from you.

A final note…

People are drawn to entrepreneurs and business owners who are REAL and who show up in the energy of humility and authenticity.

And when that energy comes through in your copy, in your design, in your branding and the overall look and feel of your site…

You’ll have a winning website that consistently draws ideal clients and customers and keeps them ‘em coming back for more 🙂

So, stay self-aware, stay grounded, stay tuned into the experience you want people to have when they’re on your site and you won’t go wrong.

Now that you know what not to do, it’s time to find out what to do to make some serious money from your site! 

Watch my free masterclass on how to turn your website into a lean, mean, money-making machine.

What you’ll discover:

  • 3 simple tweaks to turn your website into a lean, mean, money making machine
  • How to tap into a little-known concept called “micro-commitments” to double (or even triple) your current opt-in rate
  • 5 “pro” design dos-and-don’ts that powerfully position you as the Authority, allowing you to effortlessly attract your ideal clients and charge what you’re really worth!

Register your spot for the free masterclass here

And now, over to you…

What are some “website wannabe” mistakes or elements that have annoyed or repelled you in the past? What are some elements that inspired you to stay and play?

Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to know 🙂

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