THE BLISSFUL BIZ PODCAST

BEHIND THE SCENES OF MY NEW HOMEPAGE TEMPLATE AND HOW TO DESIGN A SITE THAT CONVERTS

By Susanne Rieker

Behind the Scenes of my New Homepage Template and How to Design a Site That Converts

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I just designed a new template for my course Blissful Websites, and I put so much thought and knowledge into how I designed the homepage that I knew I had to share it with you.

I’ve been offering this course since 2017 and I learned so much from the questions I got from my students, the feedback they gave me, and of course from the websites they built with the help of my course.

My main goal for this update that I’ve been working on was to make it as easy as possible for my students to design a gorgeous website that converts, which in turn, helps them sell their services and grow their business. This is what your website should do! It should look pretty, but it’s more important that it works and turns your website visitors into customers.

You can preview the homepage I designed for my course, Blissful Websites, here. You can also find a link to get your name on the waitlist for when enrollment opens of my updated course, where I show you step-by-step how to build your own website in WordPress based on this template. I’m happy to say that my existing students love the new template, I already shared it with them in our Facebook group and they get free access to the update as soon as it is available.

Homepage Header

The first thing I wanted to change about the new homepage was the header. It used to be a big full-width image, which looked great on my template where I used a gorgeous stock image that was professionally shot, but didn’t really work for most of my students. Many found it challenging to find a photo of themselves that they could use in a full-width header on their homepage. I’m sure many of you can relate to this.

It’s not easy to find the right image. You want a pretty picture of you, where people can see your face, the colors should work with your branding, the background shouldn’t be too busy, you also want to put some text on top that should be readable… so, basically a nightmare for most people. So, instead, I designed an image in Canva (*affiliate link) that has 2 squares overlapping each other, that you can place on the left side of your header, with a place for your headline and subline next to it on the right.

Using the new image with 2 squares in Canva, you can add a portrait picture of you or you doing a yoga pose for example. Due to the image(s) being much smaller, it’s much easier to find the right pictures. It also looks more modern and is a bit different from all the full-width headers that everybody has, (which I like as well) and it’s way easier to set up.

Converting Headline & Copy

So, the first part was to make your website look prettier and be easier to set up for you. To make sure your homepage also converts, you need to add a headline and some copy in your header. This is right at the top where people see it immediately without having to scroll, where you tell your visitors what you do and how you can help them. It seems so obvious but you wouldn’t believe how many people get this wrong.

If you are a yoga teacher, tell people that you teach yoga. If you teach locally, tell them your location, for example, “Vinyasa yoga teacher in London”. The same applies when you’re a life coach, or nutritionist – tell people. This is not the place to be creative and come up with some fancy wording that makes people wonder what it is you do – keep it simple, and clear. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to get the information they need.

Content Boxes

Another way to do this is to add three content boxes on your homepage below a short welcome text, where you present ways to work with you. Why three? Because it looks good, and it’s easy to scan and decide what to do for your visitors. When you add 4 or more options, it gets way harder. If there are more than three, people have to really read everything before they can make a decision where to go next, and this means you’ll lose people.

When you decide what to promote in those content boxes on your homepage, don’t only think about your offers. Start by thinking about who comes to your website, and what they need. For example, if you’re a yoga teacher and you teach classes on Zoom, but also teach a lot of beginners who find you through word-of-mouth (they might come to your website without knowing anything about you), and you also offer personal yoga classes, you might want to have:

1. New to Yoga? Start Here – where you link to a page where you give all the information that is relevant to beginners so they know what to expect, like what to wear or how to sign up.

2. Schedule – where you link to your zoom classes schedule, this is super relevant to your existing students and also to new students.

3. Personal Yoga – where you let people know that you offer private yoga classes and link to the page with more information about that.

It could also be linked to your online yoga studio, your on-demand yoga videos, and business yoga. Or, when you’re just starting out and you don’t really have a lot of offers yet, it could be linked to your about page, your schedule, and your contact page.

Choose 3 things that you want to promote on your homepage, think about what your audience needs, and how you can guide them to take action on your website. Don’t overthink this. The beautiful thing about a website is that you can always change things when they are not working – it’s not like a flyer that goes into print. Experiment, track your results (with Google Analytics for example), and adapt where needed.

Sign up Form

It’s also really important to have a sign-up form for your newsletter. A lot of people only have a popup and I don’t think this is smart. Not because I’m against popups, they can actually work really well (even if they are a bit annoying), but often people click the popup away, and then they can’t find a way to sign up anymore. So, make sure to give them another option and add a form or two – I actually added a second form in the footer which is on every page at the bottom.

In order to collect emails for your newsletter, you’ll need to sign up with an email service provider. For those of you who don’t know, you can’t use your private Gmail account to send out newsletters. There are many great email marketing providers – for example, Mailchimp and Mailerlite are very popular for beginners, but I personally use and recommend ConvertKit.

ConvertKit has a free plan for up to 1000 subscribers, and I love how user-friendly their platform is. It’s what I teach you how to use in my course, and it’s super easy to create a form and add it to your website so people can sign up for your newsletter. Of course, it’s even better if you also have a freebie (something that you offer your subscribers in exchange for their email address), like a free yoga video or meditation. If you don’t have that yet, just add a form so people can sign up for your newsletter to get started.

Video Introduction

Another thing I added because my students asked for it, was a video on the homepage where you can introduce yourself. This works really well for people to get to know you – video makes all the difference and helps you build trust with your potential customers so much faster.

I’m feeling slightly hypocritical right now while I preach that you should use video because I don’t have a video of myself on my homepage, or anywhere on my website just yet. What can I say? I’m not perfect. I’ll get it on there one day.

When you do a video, keep it on the shorter side, just 1 or 2 minutes where you introduce yourself and what you do. It doesn’t have to be a big production. Make sure that you have good light and okay sound and use your phone to record it – it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to do.

Events, Workshops & Retreats

When you’re offering events like yoga retreats, you want to promote them on your homepage (at least the most important event), and really make them shine! When you offer a yoga retreat, it’s huge! It’s a lot of work to set it up and to fill it, and you want to promote it as efficiently as possible.

I used to recommend a WordPress plugin for events (the Event Calendar), but it’s been so buggy lately and so complicated to customize that I decided not to use it anymore for this update. I also found that most of my students didn’t offer a lot of events. A plugin like the Event Calendar can make your life a lot easier if you host a lot of events, because all you have to do is set an event up one time, and it will automatically be added to your list of upcoming events and be taken offline when it’s over.

It’s pretty great, but as I said, the plugin didn’t work as well anymore and you didn’t have as much creative freedom designing your event pages for maximum conversion. Which I did and it looks really beautiful now. If you need a template for a retreat landing page, this is it, definitely check it out.

I designed a little collage to fill with pictures that you can display on your homepage and also on the retreat page. This is super simple to create in Canva (*affiliate link) and it really makes the retreat stand out on your homepage.

So, those are the main things I changed and optimized on the homepage of my website template – now for some more tips.

More Tips To Optimize Your Homepage For Conversions

Call-to-actions

Add call-to-action buttons. Like real buttons that stand out visually and that have copy in them like ‘learn more’ or ‘sign me up’. Textlinks don’t work as well, and your buttons should stand out visually. Sometimes designers come up with buttons that blend into the design, which maybe look nicer, but won’t be as effective because people don’t see them. You need buttons that stand out.

Colors

Be mindful of colors. Very often we choose colors that we like personally, without considering if they work on a website. For example, you might like green and yellow, but to put those colors next to each other on your website? Probably not a good idea.

When it comes to colors think about what you want your website visitors to feel, e.g. relaxed, energized, calm… this can all affect your color selection.

For example, if you offer stress management and help with burnout, you probably want some soft, calm colors on your website and not a bunch of bright tropical colors that feel like a holiday in the Caribbean. I like to start my search for the right colors on Pinterest, you can search things like ‘brand color board’ and you’ll get a ton of great examples to get you started.

Fonts

Make sure your fonts are easy to read and that they are not too small. I think your body copy font should be at least 16 pixel, and in good contrast with your background. Again, some designers like smaller fonts because they might look better visually, but that won’t serve you when it comes to improving your conversion. For your homepage to convert, people must be able to read your copy, right?

Copy Length

My final hack to improve your homepage so that it converts is to keep your copy short, to the point, and to write in a way that connects to your readers’ dreams, pain points, and struggles.

In my course Blissful Websites, my students get a copy template with fill-in-the-blank copy swipe files and tons of examples to get them started. This really makes life easier. If writing copy is really hard for you, you might want to invest in a copywriter.

There you have it! I hope this behind-the-scenes look into why I designed the homepage template the way I did was helpful and inspiring for you! You can have a look at the template here and you can also sign up for the waitlist for my course Blissful Websites to be the first to know when enrollment opens up.

Thank you for listening

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