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How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads

In a small suburb of California, researchers went door to door with an absurd request.

They were asking homeowners if a huge ‘Drive Safely’ sign could be erected on their front lawn. As you might expect, almost no one agreed.

But, on one street a strange thing happened – over 70% of people actually agreed. The reason they said yes could be one secret to you getting more sales.

What happened?

Well, one week earlier the same homeowners had been asked if a small sticker could be placed on their window with the same message. It was such a small request that almost all of them agreed.

When one week later the same person returned and asked about placing the huge sign on their lawn. As it was much harder for the homeowner to reduce the request, the sign went up.

The Principle of Persuasion

In his 1984 ground-breaking book, Influence, psychologist, Robert Cialdini1Learn more about Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion. identified 6 principles of how to get someone to say yes (convert them). They are:

  • Reciprocity – we want to return a favour
  • Scarcity – we buy because it is in short supply
  • Authority – we believe trustworthy and credible experts
  • Liking – we say yes to people we like
  • Consensus – we trust the power of the crowd, and
  • Consistency
In his best-selling book, Influence, psychologist Robert Cialdini defines the 6 principles of how to get someone to say yes (convert).

The Principle of Consistency

The principle of consistency states that we like to be consistent with what we have said or done in the past. Tell people you like Grande, nonfat, Caramel Macchiato, and next time you’re in Starbucks you’re more likely to order it (even if you’d feel better drinking tea).

Consistency also plays a part in marketing and sales.

Your waitress drops by your table to ask how your meal is. With your mouthful, you pause, consider how delicious the burger is a mumble that it’s great. What appears to be simply good customer service is also the principle of consistency in action.

Customers who agree they liked their meal are more likely to order dessert2There are many studies on the impact of a waiter’s behaviour and the number of tips they receive. One study found that if waitresses added a smiley face on a bill it increased tips (but not for waiters) and when waitresses briefly touched the patron’s arm when asking if they’d like to order a drink, tips increased an average of 25%., stay longer, and tip more generously.

The ad agency wants you to think that the new truck displayed in their ads is a perfect fit for a person like you (adventurous, rugged, and the kind of person who would happily hook a chain to a friend’s 4X4 and pull them out of the mud).

A car salesperson wants you to agree that you like the color of the new car in the showroom.

We are responding to our need to be consistent without knowing it. Applying the principle of consistency to your website can motivate visitors who otherwise might visit and leave to stop and take action.

First, you need to deal with a high exit rate.

High Exit Rate

The goal of your website is to showcase your business to prospects and fill your sales funnel. Of course, your website can help build a brand, or offer members access to a membership site, but the primary goal is sales.

Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. Most visitors to your site arrive and then leave. Quickly.

How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads - Exit Rate
Unfortunately, most visitors to your site leave on without getting past the first page

Imagine running a store where customers walk in the door, look around, and then leave – within one minute. It would be disastrous! The reality is that one minute is the average time people will stay on your site.

The good news is that a small percentage of those visitors will stay 3, 5 even 10 minutes. Those are your future customers.

The trick for getting short-time visitors to your site to become long-time visitors is to get them to take one small step. That’s where the principle of consistency comes in.

Just like you agreeing with your waitress that you like your meal if you can get a visitor to act in a way consistent with what they believe in you have a good first step.

One Small Step in the Right Direction

A good place to start is with your customers. Start by asking yourself what does your ideal customer already believe about themselves?

Brian Clark’s company Copyblogger invites readers who consider themselves to be “smarter” to join his list and learn more from his company.

How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads - CopyBlogger
Caption What does your ideal customer believe about themselves?

Like many software companies, Convertkit invites site visitors to take a free trial of their software. What happens next is a great example getting prospects to take one small step.

Once, you click the button to take the free trial you are asked a simple question: are you starting a new mailing list or moving from a competing product?

Depending on how you answer that question you are asked one more question about your goals and then led to enter your name and email to open a free trial account.

The genius of this step-be-step method is that prospects are being led down a path of consistency—each question naturally follows what you indicated in the last question.

How to Apply Consistency to Your Website to Get More Leads - Convertkit
Convertkit using the principle of consistency by asking prospects to answer questions that are consistent with the previous question.

Getting started

Getting a prospect to say yes to a sale will always be easier if they are acting consistently with their beliefs and the way they have acted in the past. Using the principle of consistency could be the secret weapon for turning your website into a sales funnel and converting more visitors into customers.

Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more all about putting your blog to work:

The ultimate guide: How to use images, videos and screenshots in blog posts
How to build your perfect website performance dashboard in just 5 minutes
How to write an amazing roundup post

11 Highly Productive Things Small Business Owners Should Do During A Crisis

highly productive things small-business owners should do during a crisis.

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”
Henry Kissinger

There are some things you simply can’t fully prepare for. Like being a first-time parent, the start of a new small business, and a worldwide pandemic.

At some point, we can all look back with time-earned wisdom and find lessons in these life events. In the meantime, we need to respond. Take action – as unplanned and responsive as it might be – we are moving forward.

Like all cycles, we will get through this and there will be “the other side.” And like all cycles, some will be prepared and ready, and some will take much longer to find their feet.

This happened during the devastating influenza pandemic of 1918, the great depression in the 1930s, all the recessions in the ’80s and ’90s, the sub-prime slaughter of 2007/2008 and now during the 2020 pandemic of COVID-19.

As small business owners, we have a double responsibility. To our own health and families and to our responsibilities with our clients, employees, and suppliers.

When I was building Adventure Network I had all of those responsibilities, plus the weight of massive unsecured debt and crippling monthly bills (it’s not cheap to run 4 airplanes and the ground and aircrew to make it all happen.) I had to keep moving forward.

At BlogWorks I have employees and contractors. And, of course, I have our wonderfully loyal clients to think about. Shrinking back and waiting for the inevitable tide of world events to pass over me, like holding your breath waiting for the ocean to dry up, ain’t an option.

You have to keep moving forward.

Here are 11 things you can be doing now to keep your business vital and growing and prepared for the other side of a crisis.

1. Keep communication open

When a crisis hits it’s time to increase your communications. Keep your employees, contractors and suppliers included in any changes you are planning. The more people know about what is going on the more they can prepare and support you.

During the COVID-19 crisis, we started a weekly email to our clients and weekly updates to our team of 16 employees and contractors. The goal was to be proactive and share news about what we were working on. We also launched a survey to our list to learn about their blog preferences (the results will be turned into a blog post) and our writers to learn what writing skills training we can offer.

2. Kill some costs

This is a great time to review monthly expenses for your small business and look for areas to cut costs. One of my monthly routines is to run a highlighter over my company credit card statement, looking for any subscription charges.

I keep a running tally of subscription costs for Infusionsoft, Onehub, ScheduleOnce, Zoom, Feedly, Apple, Google, Dropbox, Siteground, etc. plus office rent, phone, and internet. Then I divide that total by the average income I get from clients—that’s how many clients it takes just to keep the lights on. The short-term pain of cutting one subscription can free up much-needed cash and leave more in your pocket.

3. Write more

People have more time to spend online, to read and to discover new solutions to old problems (some Internet sites are experiencing double their normal volume of traffic). Set aside time every morning to write and, if you have a blog, publish more often. Here’s the template I use for every blog. Remember, not every piece has to be a massive, epic treatise – consistency is often more important than word count.

Use a template to quickly move your mind dump of ideas into an organized flow.

4. Share your thoughts.

Maybe this is the time to get personal. Share your thoughts and what your experience has been with this crisis. This might be a departure from your small business’ normal topics (like this article) but it could also be well received by your followers and fans. After all, people buy from people they know, like and trust and this could be your time to build that relationship. You might get inspired by thought-provoking articles about coronavirus on medium.com.

5. Update your website

You know that thing that hangs out on the Internet that you swear someday you’ll update. Yeah, I’m talking about your website. If you’ve been putting off updating your website I have news for you…it won’t get any easier with time.

Not sure how to start? Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Update your contact page: is it inviting? Does it offer a simple checklist of options?
  • If you’re a keynote speaker, consultant, author or coach, start with your “About” page. The “About” page or “Our team” pages often get lots of traffic (people want to know who they are buying from).
  • Check the little copyright notice web designers love to put in the footer – does it show the current year?
  • Low-traffic pages don’t do you or your small business a service. Remove (in WordPress you can change these to Draft status) any pages that are no longer needed.
  • Set up Google Analytics to send you a monthly dashboard report on traffic. You’ve spent good money to build your site, now you need to know what it’s doing (or not doing) for you.
Google Analytics is important for tracking your small business website
In just 2 minutes you can create a monthly dashboard report sent to your email.

6. Connect more

Follow-up to emails, thank people for commenting and respond to social media followers. Your response might come at the perfect time to make a big difference in someone’s life.

Keap Founder, Clate Mask was quick to kick off emails to clients offering support and grant money during the COVID-19 crisis.

7. Strengthen your body

Long hours watching Netflix is a bad recipe for good health. You have fewer excuses and a whole lot more time to get out for a walk, jump on your bike or bliss out with guided meditation.

The good news is that as little as 20 minutes of daily exercise that gets your heart rate up and works your muscles can make a big difference. Just like writing, it’s more about quality than volume. Make it a morning routine and your body and mind will thank you. This 5-day series designed for busy people is a good place to start.

Martin Gibala explains how HIT training can give you big returns with very little time commitment.

8. Learn how to host online meetings

If your small business has not dived into the world of online meetings maybe now is the time to learn. I use zoom.us daily for meetings with staff, customers, and webinars (and now family). It’s surprisingly easy and robust. You might even have a client willing to move a planned event to online. A free plan allows for 40-minute calls – plenty to get you started.

Zoom is a great tool for small business owners working from home
Zoom makes it easy to jump on a quick call with your team or plan a webinar for clients.

9. Read more

Now is a great time to dig into the pile of unread books by your bed, and expand your thinking (and get off Netflix). I’m deep into The Choice by Edith Eger a breathtakingly beautiful work about “our capacity to transcend even the greatest of horrors and to use that suffering for the benefit of others” (Desmond Tutu), Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant, and Zero to One by Peter Thiel.

“The future is uncertain… but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.”
Ilya Prigogine

10. Launch a survey

Now could be the perfect time to reach out to your followers with a needs assessment survey. Maybe you want to know how they are using your product or service (do they order online?), is there a demand for new products or what topics they want you to address in future webinars. Survey Monkey makes it easy to create, launch and promote a survey (you can also use their app to run surveys in Slack to your team.)

If you are going to launch a survey, here are a few tips:

  • Keep your survey to 12 questions and if the survey only takes 2 minutes to complete, tell them in the invitation, like this: “Here’s the survey (2 minutes).”
  • Start with easy multiple-choice questions, like: what services have you used in the past?
  • Keep personal questions to the end (remember if you don’t ask for their name you won’t be able to match responses to respondents.)
  • Limit open-ended questions, which are harder for people to answer, to 1-2 questions.
  • Offer an incentive. A trick I use is to include a link to a free download in the Thank You message.
Set up a survey for followers of your small business
Survey Monkey makes it easy to include an incentive at the end of your survey.

11. Look ahead

I’ve been taking time every day to work on my planning. As I’ve shifted the focus for most of my working hours to BlogWorks I’ve realized a number of areas where I need outside help. Maybe you need to be looking at outsourcing some routines, like your blog, your marketing, your website updates or graphic design. This could be the perfect time to learn how to post a job on Upwork or other freelancer sites like Freelancer, TopTal, or WorkHoppers.

When a crisis hits, like COVID-19, it might be the perfect time to invest in strengthening your small business and yourself. As my Mom used to say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Enjoyed this muse? Here are more of my thoughts about being productive – enjoy!

How to make your blog stand out by taking a risk!
How to attract more readers to your blog today.
21 clever ways to attract more readers and boost blog traffic this year.

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash

9 Tools For Assessing A Website’s True Value

Having an online presence is a must in today’s digital culture.  Most successful businesses invest a great deal of time, money and effort in their website and their overall web presence.

Buying and selling websites and domain names can, unfortunately, be a shady industry. Most dishonesty comes from people trying to scam new buyers. Additionally, there are sellers trying to sell a website without providing the right information and statistics to buyers. Often, they don’t have this data as they didn’t realize (until they come to sell) that they were going to need it.

It goes without saying that buying and selling websites can be a risky endeavour.

Fortunately, there are various tools that you can use to help verify the true value of a website.

What Websites Can Help?

Take a look at these two different scenarios:

Scenario 1: An entrepreneur wants to sell an online business built around selling computer accessories to customers.  As part of the deal, he was forced to sign a 2-year non-compete agreement with his investors.  A year later, he was ready to sell an almost completely identical business that had a few years of history — which meant he had zero intentions of honouring his non-compete agreement.  Needless to say, it was nearly impossible to sell his business.

Scenario 2: You are thinking about purchasing a website that generates a substantial portion of its earnings through affiliate marketing.  How can you guarantee that all of the revenue is being generated by the website that you want to buy?  How do you know that the entrepreneur doesn’t also have other websites with the same affiliate tracking codes on them?

There are tools that you can use to help figure out if the person you’re buying the business from owns other, similar websites, or if there are any other sites where they are displaying the same affiliate codes and pumping up the revenue numbers on the site they’re trying to sell you.

Domain Tools:

DomainTools.com allows you to check both the ownership history of the website you’re buying, as well as other domains owned by the same person.

Who Rush:

Similar to DomainTools.com, WhoRush.com helps you discover other domains that could possibly be owned by the person you’re thinking about buying a business from, and lets you look up their affiliate tracking codes, AdSense IDs, Analytics IDs, and more information.

Reverse Internet:

ReverseInternet.com is a mishmash of different tools and combines both Who Rush and SEMRush into one useful service.

How To Verify The Traffic

Very few sellers are going to tell you that they’ve built their website on a sand foundation.

Some sellers know exactly what they need to do and say to get you to buy the website. They know exactly what it takes to build traffic and rankings but without proper investment, that tends to only last for a short period of time.

Other sellers may not necessarily know what they are doing and could have done things while building the business that spells potential doom for their website in the future.

Thankfully, there are a few different tools you can use to verify how a person has built their website and whether, or not the traffic is going to last after you buy it.

Google Analytics:

One of the first things you need to do when thinking about buying a website is to verify how well distributed the traffic is across different channels.  Are they getting a large amount of traffic from a few keywords? Are they tapping into a wide range of traffic sources like direct, referral, social, and organic search?  Strong referral traffic can be a great indicator of stronger keyword rankings.

Open Site Explorer:

Open Site Explorer is an excellent free tool. You can use it to figure out how a website is being linked to from other websites and whether it is going to be negatively impacted by algorithm updates.  The tool can help you identify a website’s authority and compare it to the competition.  It can also help you figure out if the owner has used any shady link building tactics.

SEMRush:

SEMRush, and tools like it, are incredibly valuable for figuring out how competitive a niche is and where easy pockets of growth are for the website.  SEMRush is also great for tracking down shady link building tactics. It’s important for you to validate the SEO strategies that were used by the previous owner.

How To Build On What You’ve Discovered

The tools above are going to help you significantly when it comes to identifying how the website you’re thinking about buying was built and whether or not the seller believes their website has been properly built. Unfortunately, the seller may be hiding the fact that they’ve used shady strategies.

Despite having those tools in your arsenal, you still need to make sure that the website you’re thinking about buying is both profitable and sustainable.

Here are a few tools to help you with that:

Built With:

BuiltWith.com is a free tool that will help you figure out everything you need to know about the technology that a website is built around.  It’s incredibly useful!

Banned Check:

If you’re thinking about buying AdSense websites, verify that the site or the site owner is not banned from AdSense.  This is great for checking content-only sites, too, that you believe may have been monetized with AdSense in the past.  If you’re planning on taking over a content site and plan on monetizing with AdSense, used BannedCheck.com to verify it’s safe.

Google Trends:

Google Trends is a great tool for identifying whether you are potentially buying into a dying industry.  A large number of websites are sold every day because the owner knows their niche is nearing the end of its life.  Google Trends can help you identify whether or not the business’ niche is on a downward trend.

The More You Know

Even though there is a lot of risk when it comes expanding your web presence, a smart buyer will be able to navigate through the risk to find those hidden gems.

Knowledge is power. Knowing is half the battle when it comes to protecting yourself from the unsavoury characters trying to pass sand foundations onto unsuspecting buyers.

Using the tools laid out here, you don’t necessarily have to rely on what the seller is telling you. You can verify for yourself exactly what they are doing and how they have built the website. You can then take it on and use it to enhance your business and your brand.

 

Warning: Your slow site load speed is a killer

Warning! Your Slow Site Load Speed is a Killer!

If your site load speed is longer than two seconds, you may be losing as much as 33% of your potential traffic!

I can hear the warning alarms blaring in your head right now. They went off in my own head not too long ago, when I first hear that significant statement.

Do you even know how long your site takes to load? I’ll give you a hint:

Typing it into the browser and counting isn’t going to give you an accurate time. People have different internet speeds and different browsers. You need a tool!

In this post, I’ll give you two free ways you can check the speed of your website and three action steps you can take right now to make it load faster. Ready?

Two Tools to Check Your Site Load Speed

Using a tool will tell you exactly how fast your website loads (given a good internet connection) and what you need to do to make it load even faster.

Related Reading: 7 WordPress Plugins You Need to Create Amazing Content

1. Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights Tool

Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool ranks your website’s mobile and desktop pages on a scale of 1 to 100. What’s great about this tool is that it tells you exactly what you need to fix in order to hasten your site’s loading times.

2. Web Page Test

Web Page Test

The Web Page Test tool is similar to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, but it tells you exactly how fast your website loads. If you’re over a three-second load time, that’s a big red flag!

You’re probably wondering: “What can I do to make my website load faster?”

3 Action Steps for a Faster Website

Don’t fret – there are a few relatively simple things you can do to quickly speed up your site.

1. Simplify your design

One of the easiest and quickest ways to increase load speed is to reduce the amount of “stuff” that has to load. That could mean fewer images, videos, custom JavaScripts or widgets, ect.

Besides, there’s nothing wrong with white space. In fact, one study found that most people find simple websites to be more compelling (and they stayed on them longer).

2. Remove Unused Plug-ins and Addons

WordPress is awesome – it lets you add plugins to do almost anything! However, with this extensive library of cool stuff comes a lot of clutter; and this clutter can seriously slow down your website.

Take a good, hard look at your list of plugins. Are you actually using them all? Which ones can you get rid of? Strip it down to the bare minimum and watch your load speed shrink.

Pro Tip: Download the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) to see which plugins are taking up the most bandwidth.

3. Install a Cache Plugin

I know, I know – I just talked about how plugins slow your website down, and now I’m telling you to download more?!

Hear me out. A caching plugin like WP Super Cache can significantly speed up your website by saving elements of the page to make them load faster whenever a user returns to your site.

If you need help setting up your plugin, check out this complete beginner’s guide.

Conclusion

A slow site load speed can cause people to leave your site and never come back. It hurts your search engine rankings (because of the increased bounce rate) and means you’ll have less overall traffic.

These three steps are so simple and easy to do that you really have no excuse not to do them. Take 10 minutes right now to go through them and make your site as fast as a cougar!

What ways have you used to speed up your website? Let us know in the comments below!

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