Website Audit Example: Easy Homepage Changes for More Conversions
Earlier this month, I teamed up with my friend April Rose Meisner of Brand by April Rose to deliver a live website audit example for our audiences. We had so much fun, and those who attended live said it was super valuable — so, we decided to share it with you all!
When we decided to do this live website audit, we opened it up to our audiences for submissions. We had a lot of wonderful options, but we ended up picking Kenna Marie Photography, a talented Kentucky-based couple and weddings photographer.
As you can see, Kenna’s website is gorgeous — and that’s exactly why we picked it for our website audit example. Choosing a template can help you create an effortlessly beautiful DIY website — but it also means you need to put in a little bit of extra work to personalize it to your business, your goals, and your target audience.
Personalizing your template doesn’t have to be a total time suck, though. April and I delivered this live training because we wanted to show you how even the smallest of changes can have a big impact on your ability to direct website visitors where you want them to go. A tiny tweak can help you encourage people to discover your packages, browse your online shop, book a discovery call, or get in touch for more info.
What to expect from this website audit example
In 30 minutes, April and I broke down simple, quick design and copy changes Kenna could make to her homepage to optimize it for more connection and conversions. Some of the things we cover in this website audit example include:
- How to optimize your menu for easy navigation
- The first thing a site visitor notices (and how to make sure it’s the right thing for your business)
- What copy to put on your CTA buttons
- How to write your value proposition and where to put it on your homepage
- How to guide your ideal client through your site
- Whether your website needs a footer, and what to put on it
What you see in the video above (or read in the transcript below) is just a taste of what April and I offer in our personalized packages. I’m so excited to be teaming up with April to bundle her Site Psychology offer with my Website Audit packages, so you can get a pro copywriter and an expert web desginer’s eyes on your website at a discounted price.
This bundle is a great option for any online business owner who wants to freshen up their website and optimize it for more leads and buyers, but can’t commit to a bigger package (with a higher price point + longer time commitment). You can find more info below.
We absolutely loved doing this live training, and are already brainstorming our next one! Be sure to let us know what you thought in the comments below, and we’ll pop in to answer any additional questions you have.
Happy auditing, friends!
Context: Introducing Kenna Marie Photography
Hi! I am April Rose Meisner. I own Brand by April Rose. If you follow me, I’m a brand and web designer. I serve mainly service-based businesses, mostly women, but I actually just got my first few male clients, which is cool. I don’t know if they’re going to be here today. We wanted to go through and do this website audit example to teach you all about design-wise [the changes you can make to optimize your homepage] — a lot of you probably have templates. But then also copywriting, which is what Megan does and I’ll let her introduce herself.
Yeah. So I am Megan Taylor. My business is Megan Taylor. Nothing fancy. I’m a copywriter and messaging specialist and I work mostly with female web-based entrepreneurs, so people who either sell online services or digital products online. And I help them find the right words to connect with and then convert their dream buyers. I help them qualify their leads and make sure that those leads are getting the right first impression, and I help them get their positioning right.
Awesome. Yeah, I met Megan online. So power of the internet.
Kenna is who we’re doing the website audit example for. I’m just going to go over who she is a little bit, based on what she had filled out in a form. She’s a couples and weddings photographer. Even if you’re not a photographer, this is totally still going to be helpful, but I’d be interested to know who else is a photographer here. Kenna said her target audience are couples who value spending time together who aren’t afraid of being close together, PDA. The adventurous and spontaneous couple who is down for anything but also the laid back home-bodies. Her ideal client is [someone who wants a] small and intimate wedding, who would rather have quality over quantity. So probably just like a quality day, more intimate rather than a bunch of stuff that can be in the wedding industry.
Her current issues with her website now are copywriting, which Megan’s going to talk about. More specifically translating her voice to the web, which I know a lot of people have issues with. I know I have issues with it. Yeah, let me know if that’s something you all struggle with. And then also price shoppers. That’s a big issue we’ll talk about. We want to avoid them, but we also want to guide them. If they’re here just for the price, we want to be like, if we’re not in your price range, no thanks. But if we are, that’s great too. [Another issue is her] weird flow of inquiries. So I’m assuming by weird she just means she’s not getting her ideal clients. Or just not getting them consistently enough.
We are just going to go ahead and get started. And Megan, we’re going to kind of go back and forth, but our screens will be shared and please let us know in the chat if something’s not working. So yeah, we’ll go ahead and start.
Your website navigation: “Grandma proof” it
So this is Kenna’s website. Thanks, Kenna, for volunteering for this website audit example. It is very beautiful. The first thing that I am going to talk about copy related is actually her navigation. And then April is going to talk about kind of the design elements of the navigation. Strictly from a copy perspective, the words that we’re seeing here aren’t super intuitive for somebody who maybe doesn’t know the layout of the site, hasn’t worked with a photographer before and isn’t super in the know about what it is like to work with a photographer.
So I’m looking specifically at the info part of your navigation. “Info” is okay and it [your page does] provide general information, but to be quite honest, when I first landed on this site, the first thing that I wanted to do was look to find information about your packages. And that’s the word that’s floating around in my mind, having worked with a photographer before, just knowing the industry. But a lot of people, that is what they’re looking for. They’re either looking for something like services or packages. To me, if I click on “Info”, I expect I’m going to see a little bit of about information or just some general business background. So, I would recommend swapping out “Info” for something like “Packages” or “Services”.
And the same goes for “Let’s talk”, which is something you see on a lot of websites and it’s really cute, it’s really personality-type copy, but it’s not super intuitive for the user. And it’s also not super intuitive for all of Google’s little buggy guys, crawling your site constantly and trying to get a site map. [Making a change] is also going to help your SEO. Google, Bing, whatever, they’re constantly crawling your website to figure out what your navigation is, and they’re going to be looking for pages called Contact. And so are your users, right? If they want to get in touch – obviously as a human, I do know that “Let’s talk” is probably going to link me to a contact page, but you just want to make that as straight forward and easy as possible. That said, “let’s talk”, if you’re really attached to that copy, that’s something that would be great to use in a call to action. So on the page, once they land there, you can have “Let’s talk”. But I’d recommend making that swap for copy [in your navigation].
The only other thing in your navigation that I’m a bit torn on is “Stories”. In order to make that change, what I would first do is a little bit of research to see if people are clicking on it. This is something that April can help with in the Site Psychology service that she offers in the form of a heatmap, which will show you where people are going on your page and what they’re clicking on. If people are clicking on “Stories”, that’s great. That means it’s really intuitive and people know where they’re going. But I would consider swapping it out for something like “Portfolio” because that is just, it’s a little bit more intuitive. So do that kind of testing and see that it’s working. That is not as crucial a fix. But if people aren’t going to your portfolio page, that could be why. So that’s it for the navigation copy wise, but I think April has some insights on how to structure it as well.
As far as navigation, when it comes to design wise, what I would suggest is… I always say that we want to Grandma proof our websites. So what I mean by that is, if a grandma were to go on your website, would they be able to read everything and would they be able to navigate it easily? And I say that especially in the wedding industry – really any industry, but specifically photography – because it may not always be the bride looking for the photographer. It could be the mom or the grandma or whatever.
So the first thing I noticed design-wise is the text of the navigation is a little small. And this could be just a very small change, like maybe even going up like two or three points in the font size. That’s the first thing I would suggest. We just want to make sure they can read it really well and that they don’t have to squint or anything like that. Cause the image is a large part of it, which I think is beautiful. But yeah, I would just make the font size a little bigger.
And then, I love the Roman numerals, but I think they take up a little… They take away from what the text and what the navigation says. So I think if you really love Roman numerals, there’s different spots on the website where you can put those, but we just want it to be easier to read and straightforward. So I would suggest taking out the Roman numerals and making the text a little larger.
Also, I don’t know if the Flothemes template allows you to do this, because sometimes templates can be a little restricting. But sometimes on people’s homepages they don’t have to have a home navigation [in the main menu] because the logo connects to the home page, like yours does. But if there’s a way to take [the home in your navigation] out, just on the homepage, but then include it on the other pages, that would be awesome. If not, that’s totally fine. That’s just a suggestion.
And then something else I would suggest. My rule of thumb is to have max five navigation tabs. So you have five without the home. But on [your homepage] I would suggest combining the “About” and the “FAQ”. So you can keep “About me”, but I would suggest either combining “FAQ” with “About me”, or combine “FAQ” and “Info”, just to give them the least amount of options. And I know that sounds kind of counterintuitive, but you want to guide [your website visitors] the best way possible. I refer to brain calories. We want them to not use a ton of brain calories and get exhausted – I’m sure no one’s getting exhausted looking at your site, but we want to make it as simple and most guided as possible when it comes to navigation.
I also talk about the navigation as a remote control. So stay with me with this analogy, but if you think of a TV remote and you’re browsing through, you want people to be able to just click through seamlessly. It’s really annoying when you have to click on the menu button and go back and search through all the different options. So the navigation should be thought more about as a last resort that they have to go to. And I’ll talk about this more when we scroll through, how you can guide them more in an arrow or scroll ‘remote control’ way, rather than having to go to the menu. Because when somebody has to go to the menu and they’re just bouncing around, you’re not guiding them through the ideal funnel that you would like them to go through. I hope that analogy makes sense. Just that the menu is kind of a last resort and you want to guide them on your homepage. Megan, you can go ahead and talk about the above the fold section.
What to put above the fold on your home page
So for anybody who is not familiar with web design, above the fold is basically what you see on your screen as soon as you open the homepage. So it’s literally above the fold, right? It’s that top section. It comes from back in the day when we had a newspaper – remember those? Remember when you used to get physical newspapers delivered to your house? You know, all the most important things, the most important headline was literally above the fold of the newspapers. That’s where that terminology comes from. Fun fact.
Ok. Back to our website audit example. The above the fold section is prime real estate on your website, and if you’re not using it to its full advantage, that’s kind of a risk, right? I was looking at heatmap for one of my client’s sites today and realized that we were losing 50% of site visitors below the fold. Nobody was scrolling below, they were all staying kind of up at that top area and then maybe using the navigation to go to other places. And that sucks, but you want to be able to capitalise on it. So, my recommendation for your above the fold section, and this goes for everybody, is to figure out what your most important business goal is right now and what call to action relates to that business goal.
So if you’re a photographer and it’s off season and your priority right now maybe isn’t booking clients, it’s getting people on your email list so that you can send them promotions and offers. You need to keep that in mind above the fold. But if you’re currently booking weddings for the summer, then you need to have some sort of information above the fold that tells them how they can go about doing that, how they can go about booking your services.
It doesn’t require a lot of copy. And I know, especially in creative industries, and especially for photographers, you kind of want your photography to have center stage, right? So you don’t need to put a whole lot of copy there. The only thing that I recommend is having a headline that’s really related to your value proposition, which is super jargony marketing speak. But basically what it means is, what is your unique approach and what makes you different from other photographers out there? If you go through Kenna’s site (who we’re using for this website audit example), you’ll see that she takes a really amazing storytelling approach to her couples photography. That’s kind of her value proposition, right? So you want a headline that speaks to that, because not all photographers are like that. You want something like, “Capturing your stories”.
I know that SEO is a priority for Kenna as well, and it probably is for a lot of photographers. It’s very hard to rank for SEO with your homepage. I’m not gonna lie to you. There are other ways that you can rank for SEO. But, that said, you would want to have something as well [that speaks to local SEO], like “Lexington, Kentucky weddings and couples photographer”. Make it super clear as soon as they land on your page what the heck it is you do. So you obviously have “Kenna Marie Photography”, so I know you’re a photographer. You have “Lexington, Kentucky” at the bottom. But I have to be moving all over your [homepage] to put those pieces together. So have a line of copy that explains who you are and what you do and who you do it for. And then like I said, that call to action. So what is your most important goal? As soon as somebody lands on your website, what ideally do you want them to do? Do you want them to book a package? Do you want them to get in touch? Do you want them to check out your about me page? Maybe that is the most important thing for you right now. Whatever it is, you need a button, you need a link above the fold that’s going to direct them to take action. I hope that makes sense. April is going to go through the other sections of the homepage.
Controlling the visitor ‘flow’ + ideal funnel via the homepage
Okay. Remember what I said about the remote control thing? I always ask people when I do my Site Psychology service what their ideal funnel is. And what that means is, in an ideal world, what would it look like if your ideal client were to land on your website? What pages would they look at, and what flow would you want them to go through? What Kenna said is what I hear a lot of people say, and it’s that we want them to land on our homepage, look through that, but we want them to then go to our portfolio and look at our work. And this could be for any industry, just looking at what you sell. And then we want them to go and learn about the packages, the stuff that you actually sell. And then we want them to contact. So that was her ideal flow.
Looking at her site, I’m going to go through the homepage and see if it’s set up for that flow to happen just on the homepage. So we’re going to pretend that this navigation bar is not here. We’re gonna do an assessment and say, if this navigation bar wasn’t here, would someone be able to go through that funnel clearly and easily? Because remember, the goal is that we want to be their guide as if they would never have to push this navigation bar.
So we’re gonna scroll down and you guys can see the rest of the website if you haven’t already. Kenna has this little mission statement, but also just like telling a little bit about who she is. The first section is about the photographer, and then we have a newsletter sign up, and then we have testimonials. And then we have her Instagram and her footer. So if we want someone to first go to her portfolio, we could count [these above the fold pictures], because you can scroll through them here as part of seeing her work. However, a suggestion I would make to Kenna would to be to make these pictures clickable. So something that we do in the heat maps is we’re able to see where people are clicking on the page. And sometimes you’ll see people tap the screen. And if they’re ever tapping on an image and it’s not leading to anywhere, you need to change that image to be clickable. That’s one of the main things I tell people. So let’s say that [above the fold section] would go to her portfolio.
There isn’t any info on the homepage about packages, like giving someone a preview of the different services she offers. It may say it in this copy down here, but we need to keep in mind that when someone lands on your website, you need to like act like they know nothing and that they don’t read any paragraphs. Which sucks. But that’s just the reality sometimes.
And then also something I noticed was that the only contact [option] is this “Let’s talk” [in the footer] and then the [same link in the navigation] at the top. There aren’t any call to action buttons other than leading to other pages and the email sign-up. So what I would recommend for Kenna to do to change the homepage structure, because that’s our base… I call these spiderwebs, and this is what I call it when we have a website that connects all the pages. We never want to have a website that ends on a dead end. So like Megan said, you want to have a call to action above the fold. But I also would suggest this first section be a little preview of your portfolio even further, whether that’s like a blog or just portfolio pieces of work, maybe like featured stories right here. Ideally if someone were to click on that, then they would be on your portfolio page and somewhere on your portfolio page there would be a link then to go to the next “web” [on the spiderweb], which would lead to your info and packages, which is how you want them to be led. And then from there they would go to contact. So it all kind of connects, if that makes sense.
And then below that you want to think of it as okay, if they never are guided from that [portfolio] part, what do I want them to do? I want them to keep being guided and keep leading them to that contact page, because our overall goal is to have a conversion and have someone reach out to us. So then below [the portfolio] section, I would have a preview, almost like three little columns, of the three services you offer. And I know Kenna lists her prices on her website. So you could do that here [on the homepage], and then you could totally avoid price shoppers. Or you couldn’t make them click to go to your packages, and they could see the prices there, but that’s up to you.
And then below that I think you should have a call to action that leads them straight to the contact page. I think that’s really important. With heat mapping, we can kind of see if people look lost and if they’re looking for the contact button. So remember we’re pretending like [your navigation is] not there.
And then talking more specifically about what you [do] have [on your homepage]. I think the testimonials is great, what you have here. I would just make sure you’re not holding them all in one place. I always suggest to spread your testimonials out throughout your website. I would also suggest making this (testimonial navigation) text white because it’s kinda hard to see, and it’s a little small, so people may not know to go and look through the other [testimonials]. So just to be safe, spread the testimonials out. I also would suggest maybe making the testimonials a little shorter and bolder, just so people can see them better.
And then, when it comes to the newsletter, we really don’t want it to be a case where someone comes onto your site and leaves right away. And if they type in their email and subscribe, I don’t know like what button pops up, but we just want to make sure that this isn’t of higher importance. Because like Megan was saying, [above the fold] is prime real estate, but this [next section] is also prime real estate. You don’t want to distract somebody and have them go straight to your email [opt-in]. You want to keep guiding them through reaching out to you. Overall it looks great. If you want [people to go through] your ideal funnel, those are some things that you can change. So just making the text larger in general, especially the testimonial next buttons.
And then lastly, this is just a fun thing for everyone to know. Video and animation is one of the number one things that’s trending for websites in 2020 and 2021. People are more attracted to websites with animation. So you could have an automatic scroll on [your portfolio] images, for animation. You could also have your text coming in from the left. And it just draws the people’s eye. Just a little tidbit in there for everybody, adding animation is going to be the new thing if you want to stand out web design wise. So Megan is going to do a skim reader’s first impressions of the copy.
Delivering the best first impression with your homepage
Really quick, the testimonial section. I know that I was talking about value proposition above the fold, and I know that that’s something that a lot of, especially creative entrepreneurs, struggle with a little bit. Like, what is my positioning? How can I figure out what does make me unique? I will say that your testimonials are gold for this. They are your gold mine. Go through your testimonials. What words are coming up over and over and over again to describe what it is that you do and the amazing experience that you delivered for your past clients? Because that is what makes you unique. So don’t be afraid to steal those words. I know we’re all taught plagiarism is bad. You can plagiarize your clients, okay? Please do take their words, use them in your copy. That is the biggest piece of copy advice that I can give you.
I’m also going to talk about first impressions. So I don’t know about you guys, but I almost never read every single word on a website, unless I’m doing it for a project. And your average reader is not doing it either. The first thing that they’re going to do – and you’ll see this if you look at some recordings of your screen, and this is something that April has done for me and it made me realize just how much people do this – they’re going to scroll through. So they’re going to look [at the top of the page], they’re going to say, okay, “Kenna Marie Photography.” “Lexington, Kentucky.” “Not just a photographer. I’m a storyteller.” Not going to read this [description copy, I’m] just going to keep scrolling. “I’m McKenna, the storyteller” .So they’re super skim reading.
So when somebody is skim reading, what they’re looking for are your key messages. And I recommend that every homepage needs to have three key messages. So you need to have a think about, what are the three most important things that you want somebody to know within 10 seconds of landing on your homepage? And I know that sounds like a lot of pressure, and that is where your above the fold copy is going to come in too. But for skim readers… so maybe it’s a little bit more than 10 seconds, but you need to be making that first impression. What are the key messages?
So as I’m going through Kenna’s homepage, as a skim reader, I’m seeing storyteller, storyteller, sign up for my newsletter, testimonials. So I love the storyteller messaging. I love, love, love that. And I think that’s part of your value proposition and what makes you unique. But by using it twice in your headings, you are communicating the same key message twice. And again, it’s all about that prime web real estate, right? You want to be communicating slightly different messages. I think it’s great that it’s there, but maybe pick one. Is the fact that you are a storyteller your most important key message? If it is, keep it up here. If it’s kind of your secondary key message, and your first key message is, I want people to know that I’m a couples and weddings photographer – that could be your simple key message – then that needs to be your first heading up here.
April dove into this really well, but there’s no information on how to book you, how to get in touch. If I’m a skim reader who might be getting married this summer and I’m in a panic because I don’t have a photographer yet, the first thing that I’m looking for as a skim reader is a way to get in contact with you and to book you. Or at least I’m looking for your portfolio or your packages. So there really needs to be a section and especially a header with copy that directs me towards that. Think about the mindset of the person who is landing on your homepage and make sure that you have copy that’s speaking to those problems and those needs.
The only other thing that I’m thinking is that there’s a lot of focus on you and not necessarily the buyer. And especially for a bride, and I know you do couples photography as well, but a bride really, they’re in their own world. I got married last August, I know what it’s like. They want you to be speaking to THEM because it’s their special day. So if I land here and I’m seeing, “I am a storyteller”, you’re telling me about you. And then down here you’re saying “I’m McKenna, the storyteller”, you’re telling me about you again. So switch up your copy a little bit and make sure that it’s speaking to them. Again, those those pain points that they’re experiencing or at least the mindset that they’re in.
You do that fantastically well here: “It’s your story and I want to help you tell it.” That is a great headline. You can kind of pull that out, right? You just want to be adding that personal touch and making them feel like you get them and that you’re here to serve them. Your bio is also super important, but I would almost even consider moving it down [further on the page]. So depending on what sections you are going to add on here, I think it’s important to have information about you, the photographer on your homepage. But it’s not as important as making them feel like you get them and that you’re here to serve them. So I hope that helps. April, I’m going to let you take over again and walk us through the footer.
Why your website needs a footer
Yeah. Does everybody have a footer?
I didn’t until April looked at my site, and now I have this footer, and I’ve been looking at the way people have been using my site in the last two weeks. And everybody’s been using the footer.
Yes! Guys, just a short thing, if you don’t know about the tool I use, it’s called Hotjar, but it tracks the way people move through your website. It’s really creepy, but cool for you. But anyways, I’m gonna talk about the footer real quick. So can everyone see it? I think it’s good. So if you do not have a footer, you absolutely need one. And a footer does not count as just your Instagram bio at the end. I want to point that out. I’ve seen it a couple times and I think maybe Megan, that’s what you had had. But Kenna has a great footer. Like this is one of the better footers I’ve seen. Honestly. I don’t have that much criticism about it to be honest.
Remember our remote control thing, which we talked about earlier in the website audit example? You want to have [your navigation] it at the bottom and the top. That’s why I say that you need a footer. Because you don’t want someone to scroll on any of your website pages down to the bottom and have to use those brain calories I talked about to scroll all the way back up, especially if it’s a long page. You don’t want people to have find [your navigation] again because people get more frustrated than you would think.
What I would suggest is adding… Even though you have your Instagram feed here, I think a lot of people think, “Oh, like there’s a picture of me there”. But your feed changes, so there might not always be a picture of you [in your feed]. There may just be couples. So I would suggest using your best headshot and putting it right here in the far left of your footer. And having it be not huge, just like within these borders, adding a picture. And then using this real estate right here [below your photo] on your footer to keep your most important information. So on every single page they’re reminded of what you look like and reiterating what you’re about. So [regardless of ] whether there is a mission / call to action / whatever right here on every page, it’s at least at the bottom and it’s that constant reminder.
I would suggest adding the picture, and then in that little bio blurb just include the most important info that someone would need to know about you, like your elevator pitch. [What you have written] does a really good job of it already. But I would just suggest having your business name obviously – your logo is here, so you may not need to put that. You want the least amount of text as possible. Then your location. So if any [photographer is] listening that serves anyone outside of where you are from, you would say “based in Kentucky, but travels nationwide”. And then your specialty and then your credibility. With credibility, some people have on their homepage little logos that may show publications they’re published in or podcasts they’ve been on. You guys probably have seen that before. I don’t think that you have to have that on the top part of your website necessarily. I actually would probably advise not to do that. I would advise to put these logo somewhere in your footer. So this may take a little rearranging to do that. […] But you can add those right here and just say “As featured in”. And that way you’re just reinstating that credibility that people need to think, okay, she’s legit. If I read nothing on this entire website, at least I know what she looks like, I know where she serves, her specialty and her credibility is right there. So that’s what I would suggest in the footer.
Other than that, like we said, your website has great bones to it. As far as templates go, you know, it’s hard because you buy a template and you buy it usually because it’s within your industry. And Flothemes is a great one. But templates just don’t know you. They don’t know your business and they don’t know your ideal client, they don’t know her funnel. So they’re not built for the way that you want people to move through your website. And like I said, the goal at the end is to get them to contact you. Because once you can get them on the phone or a FaceTime call or however you interact with them, that’s where you do the real like selling and build relationships.
Want to get personalized feedback on your website?
The tips in this website audit example can be applied to just about any business’ homepage, no matter your industry. We hope that you found them helpful, and that they’ve given you some insight into the small tweaks you can make to optimize your own website to guide visitors through your ideal funnel.
If you’d like to get a personalized look at your website, April and I have bundled our Site Psychology and Website Audit services together at a discounted price. You can find more information here.
If this live website audit example was helpful for you, let us know in the comments! And feel free to send any and all questions our way.
Meet the Host
Welcome! I’m Megan Taylor — copywriter for online entrepreneurs, bookworm, and founder of The Copy Template Shop. I believe that anyone can write strong copy, and I’m here to teach you how to write words that sell your online offers while prioritizing real connection, serving your audience, and simply being who you are.
Grab my free Website Copy Roadmap and learn my five-step process to writing website copy that connects with & converts dream clients.
Pin this post