How to Turn Your Small Business Website into a Sales Generator

It’s unfortunate that so many small business owners end up with a website that isn’t much more than a glorified online brochure that attracts little traffic. If you’re in that situation I’m positive that wasn’t your intention when you shelled out the money and spent the time creating your website. At first you may have simply created a website because you knew you needed one, but other than to have information about your company on the Internet, you may not have had a specific goal for how it would create sales for your business.

Some of the fault for this problem lies with web designers who can design great looking websites, but who don’t explain to their clients that looking great and attracting traffic and sales are two different things. However, I don’t want to get started on that! Let me focus on some changes you can make that will begin to make your website work for you.

There are two kinds of websites, what I call a “rubber” site, where visitors bounce in and bounce out, and “sticky” sites where visitors stay a while and explore and/ or they take action by adding their name to your mailing list or making a purchase. Of course you want a sticky site. Here are some elements of your website that you need to fix to create a sticky site.

    1. Navigation bar – make sure that the most important types of information that a visitor might be interested in are easily accessible from your navigation buttons. Limit your navigation buttons to the most general areas. Too many choices can create confusion.
    2. Opt-in form on all key web pages. – it’s amazing how many small business owners don’t take advantage of the opportunity to get visitors to sign up for their mailing list. Your mailing list is your lead list. People that come to your website are targeted, pre-qualified leads who are looking for your specific type of information. Companies pay a lot to buy lists of qualified leads and here they are arriving at your website for free! Take advantage of this by offering them a downloadable gift that has value and they will willingly fill out that form. Make sure your opt-in box is at the TOP of your key web pages.
    3. Ask yourself these key questions:
      • What information do my visitors really want?
      • How much can I give away to create value without giving away too much?
      • How can I give away enough that people want more, and then show how they can get more by buying your product or service
      • What resource will be compelling enough to keep them coming back again and again?
    4. Make sure your website is regularly updated to include sticky elements that will keep people engaged and coming back. Here are a few ideas:
      • Discussion forum
      • Twitter update feed form to show all your latest tweets on your website.
      • Regularly updated blog with easy RSS feed subscription sign up so they are notified by e-mail each time there’s a new blog post.
      • Free tools or downloads
      • Fresh audios, videos, or articles. Ask people to opt-in to get access to these.
      • Any resource that they need to check or access regularly – like links or industry news updates.
      • Free give-away on pre-determined dates
      • E-mails that link them back to different pages on your site
      • Serial business “soap opera”. They must come back the next week for the next part in the series and you e-mail them when the answer is available, with the link.
    5. Try putting a video on all your key pages. Video gives you an unprecedented opportunity to talk to your website visitors when they’ve never met you. Begin the relationship with the video. Tell them you understand their problems and you’d like to start them on finding a solution by giving them a gift if they opt-in. This is very powerful.
    6. Your sales page content: Write customer and benefit focuses sales copy on your web sales pages and include video and strong testimonials. If you are getting traffic to your sales pages but still not generating sales then the problem is one of these:
      • the headline needs some changes
      • the content doesn’t create perceived value
      • the pricing is wrong
      • there is a trust issue—which can be improved with great testimonials and a strong, iron-clad guarantee.

Simple changes can increase response.

With a bit of planning and a few weeks of work you can start to get a much better response to your website. I’ve seen small tweaks to the home page of our website increase our opt-in rate by as much as 25% to 30%. Those new subscribers can then be converted into buyers. Your website can dramatically increase your sales if you give it regular attention.

Finally, although your website can generate tons of leads you need to do more to close the sale.


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  • Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion
    Posted at 14:46h, 04 February Reply

    Loved this Janis, as it’s a topic that so many small businesses are falling way short with, especially with opt in/lead capture forms. Thanks for your great articles!

  • Betty Lochner
    Posted at 11:39h, 17 January Reply

    Great tips Janis. You practice what you preach. Thank you.

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