When you’re starting your own business, one of the first things you’re likely to do is create a website. After all, in today’s business world, companies and professionals without a website are seen as less credible.

Unfortunately, many solopreneurs think they need to spend big bucks to create fancy websites with all sorts of bells and whistles. Many months and thousands of dollars later, they find that they own a very beautiful site—yet one that’s not very functional when it comes to growing their business or making money online!

Why does this happen? For starters, most people starting a business look at what big, successful companies are doing and follow in their footsteps. But what works for Nike isn’t going to work for a work-at-home mom.

Another reason is that most solopreneurs, particularly those in service-based professions like consultants, writers, speakers, coaches, accountants, professional organizers, and others, soon realize that a business model built on working “hours for dollars” is exhausting and, more importantly, very limiting when it comes to building wealth. No matter how you slice it, in the “hours for dollars” business model there are only two ways to make more money: work more or charge more.

What soon happens is these entrepreneurs start looking for ways to make more money, and they discover passive revenue streams, online marketing, information products and building “their list.” The only problem, however, is that their expensive websites were not designed to support this.

If this sounds at all familiar, take heart. You’re not alone. And there are often easy and inexpensive fixes to some of the most common website blunders.

Here are three.

Blunder #1: You picked a bad URL.

What’s a bad URL you ask? Perhaps your business started out doing one thing, then it evolved into something else altogether. Now your domain name doesn’t make much sense—but for some reason (budget, current brand awareness, time constraints, etc.) you can’t or don’t want to change the URL.

Or maybe, like me, you picked a URL that’s difficult to spell, pronounce or remember. When I created my first business, Bon Mot Communications, I used (and still do use) the URL: http://www.bonmotcomms.com.

Good grief! What was I thinking?

For starters, most people pronounce “Mot” with a hard “T” so that it rhymes with “pot.” However, it’s French and should be pronounced like “mow” as in “mow the lawn.”

In case you’re wondering, in French bon = good and mot = word, but used together a bon mot is a witty expression. You see, I thought I was being clever when I named my first business. But in reality, not only do people pronounce the name of my company incorrectly, but it’s nearly impossible to spell out the URL.

“Okay, so that’s B as in boy, O as in Oscar, N as in Nancy, M as in Mary, O as in Oscar, T as in Tom…” Yes, this is how I have to do it over the phone or when I’m speaking from the stage and people STILL get it wrong!

But I’m not alone in this. I talk to people all the time that have picked URLs that are WAY too long, too complicated or too forgettable.

Quick fix: Okay, here’s the good news. If you made a mistake picking your URL, pick another one that makes more sense and simply have that new URL redirect to your current website.

For example, when I’m in “corporate mode” with Bon Mot Communications, I no longer give out that web address. Instead, when I’m on the phone, at a networking event or speaking from the stage, I point people to another URL that I created: http://www.TheCorporateCommunicator.net. It’s easy to pronounce, spell and remember. Plus, I’m directing prospects to a page of my site that has free, valuable content and a form where they can sign up for my free e-zine, The Corporate Communicator.

Here’s another tip. When you’re picking your new URL, in addition to it being easy to pronounce, spell and remember, it should ALSO position your product or service favorably or connote a benefit. For example, if you are a professional organizer, you could use something like “FinditFast” or “NoMoreClutter.” Or if you are a wedding photographer, you might want to use something like “YourUnforgettableMoments” or “WillTravelforWeddings.”

Once you have a new URL that redirects to your existing site (something that’s cheap and fast to do), you can start using it on all of your marketing materials, including your business cards and social media profiles.

Just for the record, I didn’t make the same mistake when I was naming Richer. Smarter. Happier.! And the URL is exactly the same as the name: http://www.richersmarterhappier.com.

Blunder #2: Your website wasn’t designed to capture the email addresses of your visitors.

If you are an entrepreneur who is new to online marketing, then more than likely, your site was not designed to capture the email addresses of your web visitors. Why is this so important? Because most people visiting your site for the first time won’t make a purchase. They’re just passing through. But if you are able to capture their email address, then you can build a relationship with them and eventually convert them into a paying client.

Quick fix: Instead of redesigning your entire website to include a built-in form, you can utilize one of these “add on” tools that will allow you to get those valuable email addresses:

Squeeze page – Squeeze pages are landing pages created to solicit opt-in email addresses from prospective subscribers. By offering something free (a free MP3 recording, a free special report, a free product sample, etc.) you can collect your visitor’s contact information and add them to your list. Some squeeze pages don’t allow the visitor to get to your actual home page without providing this information. But we recommend giving them the option to bypass the page if they really want to.

Pop-up / Pop-under – Love ‘em or hate ‘em, pop ups work. My preference is the pop-under, which appears when a visitor clicks away from your site. They too work best when you offer something that’s irresistible, such as a free 15- or 30-minute consultation with you. If you go to http://www.bonmotcomms.com and then close the window, you’ll see an example of the pop under I created to promote my ezine, The Corporate Communicator.

Floaters – These are technically pop ups that stay on the page even when someone scrolls up or down. A good way to utilize a floater is by alerting your website visitors to take an action, such as signing up for your e-zine or e-course or checking out a sale that you’re having on your products page.

By the way, when you do get around to redesigning your website, you’ll want to be sure that every page of your site is designed to capture the contact information of those visiting. The best place for the opt-in form is still the upper right-hand corner.

(Note: As an example, see our homepage: http://www.richersmarterhappier.com)

Blunder #3: Your home page copy stinks.

When visitors land on your website, can they immediately figure out 1.) What you do and 2.) How you can help THEM?

If not, then your home page copy stinks. (Sorry!)

From a technical perspective, this is the easiest thing to fix. But in terms of thought effort, this might just be the hardest because it requires you to get CRYSTAL clear on what it is that you are offering.

Here’s a quick formula you can use to rewrite your home page copy.

1.) Let visitors know immediately that they are in the right spot.

If your ideal client happens to find him or herself on your website, don’t you want them to KNOW that they are your ideal client?

Yes, of course! That’s why job #1 is to let visitors to your site know if they are in the right spot.

If you look at our Richer. Smarter. Happier. home page, you’ll notice that we immediately let entrepreneurs know the site is for them by asking the question, “Are you an entrepreneur on the verge of doing great things?”

2.) Identify a problem you can help solve.

The next goal is to keep your audience’s attention by pinpointing a pain point or need that your prospect has that you can help solve. This should be a burning need or desire that they are willing to spend time and money to fix. Use words that create strong emotion or that help paint a picture in your audience’s mind.

Again, if you look at our home page for Richer. Smarter. Happier., you’ll see that we make a connection with our visitors by touching on a common problem many solopreneurs face:

“You know that real business success is around the corner, but you just can’t seem to get there. Despite all of your hard work and the time you’ve invested, you find yourself stuck, overwhelmed, confused, frustrated and exhausted.”

3.) Tell them how you can help them.

Next, you want to let visitors know in a clear and concise way what you can do for them. On our home page, we say we can help entrepreneurs

“…By showing you how to use your strengths to build and grow a dynamic and profitable business inspired by your authentic self.

We’ll help you:

Get clarity of purpose

Develop a complete yet simple business plan

Design and implement an effective marketing strategy

Cultivate a mindset for success

Best of all, we provide the support and services that accelerate your results, such as business coaching and business planning, internet marketing strategies and online copywriting services.”

4.) Invite them to take the next step.

This is the most important yet most overlooked piece of all.

By now, you’ve successfully captured your audience’s attention by appealing to their burning need or desire and you’ve gotten them excited about how you can help meet this need. So don’t leave them hanging!

Spell out exactly what the next step is that they should take and then specifically invite them to take that step.

You might want them to download a free audio or you might want them to sign up for a free e-course or newsletter that you offer.

Whatever next step you want them to take, the key is that you keep the conversation going so that you can build a relationship and showcase all that you have to offer.

Did you make a website blunder but found a quick way to fix it? If so, let us know!

Author's Bio: 

Known as The Corporate Agent, Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR, teaches micro business owners and solopreneurs around the world how to grow their small business by working with Big Business. Get her FREE CD and articles at www.TheCorporateAgent.com.