4 Major web site problems that are costing you clients

Many of us find new clients by word of mouth.

In fact, any time I talk with a group of Millo readers, that’s where most of your business comes from.

You make a client happy, fulfill their need, and they refer you to a friend, fellow business owner or colleague.

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And the cycle continues.

But did you know you could be losing potential clients through a few hidden problems on your web site?

Because when a client refers you to a friend, what do you think the first thing they ask is?

“Can I see some of their work?”

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So your client directs them to your web site.

And there are (at least) 4 major web site problems that many freelancers haven’t fixed yet. (You can add yours in the comments.)

Are these problems costing you clients too?

4 Major web site problems that are costing you clients

No call to action

My wife and I are expecting our second child in about 6 weeks (woah) and we recently decided that living with just one car wasn’t going to cut it anymore. (Don’t worry, there’s a point to this story.)

I felt guilty taking the car every day and leaving her home with our toddler, especially this close to the new baby’s due date.

So one Saturday we decided we had talked enough about it and it was time to make the jump and get a new car.

We drove up to the dealership, I was practically ready to buy, and….nothing.

No one greeted me.

None of the salesmen looked up from their busy paperwork.

I literally had to go find someone to talk to and practically had to beg them to sell me a car.

Is your web site working the same way?

Are you so worried about showing off your work that you make it hard to find a way to contact you?

If so, it’s possible you have ready-to-buy customers visiting your site who look around for a while and, with no call to action, don’t know how to contact you or what to do next.

Use a call-to-action to make taking the next step easy and obvious.

Make it a button, a link, a banner, a pop-up, whatever it is, make it obvious and encourage people to act. You’ll see your conversion rate go through the roof.

Mediocre about page

One of the easiest ways to capture potential clients through your web site is to beef up your “about” page.

Instead of focusing on yourself (I am a web designer with 10 years experience), try focusing on your clients (Giving beautiful web design to small businesses for more than 10 years).

See the difference?

After focusing on the client, use your about page to encourage them to take the next step and call or email you.

Don’t wait until the end of a very long about page to ask them to call you or get in contact with you.

Don’t hope that after reading your about page they will click the “contact us” tab in your navigation bar.

Make it easy.

Make it obvious.

Limited contact methods

While making the decision to contact you is possibly the biggest step and most important part of visiting your site, you haven’t won the client over yet.

Imagine they decide to contact you, but all you’ve got is a skype number.

You lose clients without skype.

What if you only have an email address?

You lose clients who would like to confirm their gut reaction to hire you by speaking with you as a human being.

What if you only have a contact form?

You lose clients who don’t have time at that moment to fill out your entire.

What if you only have a phone number?

You lose clients who live to far away to affordably call.

Add as many methods of contact to your web site as possible. Everyone’s different.

Mobile unfriendly site

Lastly, it’s vital they can view your work on a mobile device.

Imagine they’re talking with a friend or family member who used to be a client of yours.

Your past client highly recommends you which causes their friend or family member to google you…on their phone.

They get to the site and can’t read it without annoying scrolling, the images are too large, and they have a bad experience.

Are they going to hire you for design?

Probably not.

Now is the time to convert to a mobile-friendly site if you haven’t already.

What did I leave out?

Did I leave out any major mistakes that cost freelancers clients? Leave a comment and tell me what I left out.



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  1. I know I’m caviling now but in my opinion metaphor with buying a car does not properly reflect the idea. Personally when I go to a store I don’t want anyone to come to me and say “Hey, how can I help you?”. I just want them to leave me alone and let me take a look at their goods. When I’m ready I will ask questions. In case of website it’s like a popup window saying: “Hey, I am a really great designer. Hire me now!” (Man, I wasn’t going to hire you right now, I just want to browse through your portfolio).

    1. @Nick you’ve got a point there. I’m also like you – I want the sales people to leave me alone. So you’re right – “hire me now” is probably not the best call to action. Rather “view my portfolio” or “request a quote”.

  2. I think “Call to Action” is overrated and overused nowadays. I’m not a big fan of “Buy it Now!” buttons and In-Your-Face action bubbles. If you need a Call to Action button for a potential customer to be able to find a way to contact you, rethink your website design.

  3. This is the major problem that every web designer is facing these days. I think this is very important to find the correction in work before you submit it to the clients.

  4. Really like your article. I couldn’t agree more with there needs to be more call to action on websites. Not just web design companies but all types of businesses. Some good points you have addressed. Thanks for the great read.

  5. I’m in the middle of my annual redesign (keeping in line with the brand, of course), and I already realized some pain points of my current design. For one, there’s no clear call to action. There’s a hook, but that’s not enough. The about page could use some expansion, and the contact form is nestled in the footer. I was trying to start from a mobile-first focus on content, but I trimmed a bit too much. Luckily, I’m addressing every one of these issues, but sometimes they aren’t apparent to the designer. I put the work center stage, and forgot about nearly everything else. That won’t happen again. Like Joe said, the balance is hard to maintain.

    1. Chatman,
      It’s definitely a hard balance. That’s why we wrote the post. Most designers (myself included) care about how their work is displayed. We ARE artists after all. But we have to let our entrepreneurial instincts kick in a little and realize it won’t matter how awesome our portfolio looks if it doesn’t cause anyone to contact us for more work. Thanks for sharing, Chatman.

  6. Congratulations! My wife and I are also expecting our second child in February. We just bought a mini van and dealt with the (more common) opposite problem at the dealership: an over-selling salesman. I think it’s worth noting that this could be a problem for us creatives as well. We must have a healthy balance of great content/copy and great call-to-action without neglecting or going overboard on either.

    1. Joe,
      Congratulations to you too! And thanks for the interesting insight. There is definitely a fine balance between being “salesy” and being professionally aware and attentive.

  7. @Anna – that’s truly hilarious, to say the least! 😀

    I liked the article. Simple yet very useful points. Thanks for sharing Preston.

  8. I thought your points on the ‘about’ page were really interesting – I’d love to see a full post on this topic, or have you done that already?

  9. You make very very good points in this post. Having call for action buttons on your website is essential in any industry. From buying products to providing services. Making it easy for visitors to find your contact information is a no brainier, but is something most people lack. Possibly having your contact information in the footer of your website might a good idea as well.

    1. Great comment! I should have mentioned that. Putting contact info right in the header and/or footer so that they don’t even have to click a “contact” or “about” page to get in touch with you. Great advice!

  10. Great article, very good tips.

    I would only add that a major mistake would be to contact your client as soon as you can after initial contact. If they think you’re going to be hard to get ahold of, they’ll move on very quickly.

    1. Steve,
      Great additional insight! Thanks for sharing. I agree. They can be fleeting, so if they DO get in touch with you, hurry and respond quickly.

  11. Excellent post Preston, and some valuable advice, I’m guilty of a couple of these myself (though website V2.0 is in the planning as we speak).

    1. Andrew,
      Glad you enjoyed the post. Best of luck on the next round of your site. If you’re anything like me, by the time you get it done, you’ll be anxious to start v3. 🙂

      1. Funnily enough, I’m putting together a website for a client at the moment and keep thinking ‘that works well, must remember that for my website’.

        Still trying to get my head around the concept of a website never being completely finished. For a print designer, that’s a strange paradigmn shift.

  12. That “buying a car” metaphor was perfect. You have now caused me to have to revisit my portfolio and make sure I am giving my potential clients easy access to get in touch with me.

  13. I’ve seen some portfolios with no contact info at all. I don’t understand where those people want customers to contact them

    1. I’ve seen that too. Some people just aren’t thinking like a marketer/entrepreneur. They’re thinking like an artist.

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