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What's the best way to improve a website?

Bingo! This is a question that around half of all businesses should probably be asking.

Why? Because so many websites suck!

My own website might be no an award-winner, but the messaging is clear and, ahem, it reads well. But that's not true of so many business websites.

So what's my top tip for making your website better? It's this: start with a piece of paper.

Draw a long rectangular box (long vertically, not horizontally), and then think about what things people need to know on your homepage.

Adding the horizontals

The next step is to jot down each of these things in the right order. And to decide roughly how much space you need to give each one. That means you'll need to start adding a bunch of

Bamboo ladder
A ladder, yesterday

horizontal lines to your rectangle so that it looks like a ladder with unevenly-spaced rungs.

What's at the very top? It's your value proposition: the key benefit you bring to your customers or clients.

Underneath that, you might choose to go with a short list of the core services you offer.

Or an autoplay video of your team in action.

Or a fantastic testimonial from one of your clients.

This method is a brilliantly simple way to develop a logical flow for your website. And because everything has its own 'rung' (or, more accurately, 'space between two rungs'), each bit that you go on to flesh out with awesome website copy will be focused on a single aspect.

The backbone of a million websites

Take a look at any successful brand's website – especially those in the SaaS space – and they pretty much all follow this formula.

If one of your spaces only needs to be small, then tell your website designer that this bit only needs to be an inch deep on screen. Something more complex that needs a little extra space? Go bigger.

If your finished ladder doesn't seem right, mix and match the parts until it is.

This is exactly what I do for clients all the time: I help to unravel their business so that it becomes a series of segments that can be skimmed through by a first-time visitor in order to give an engaging picture of the brand.

The other thing I do is write the actual copy that then turns each space into something that is easy to understand. And covers the right keywords. And contains clear CTAs.

Ultimately, if done right, all of these segments add up to something greater than the sum of their parts. But if your budget's tight and you're up for a challenge, you don't have to use a copywriter – just give it a go yourself.

So yeah: think 'ladder', not 'website'. Try it.


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