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You wouldn’t fish without a net: What should your website include?

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fisherman throwing fish net on lake

What is the purpose of your website? If you want to avoid sacrificing what matters most, (family, health, finances) and increase the value of your company, your website needs to be effective at capturing leads.

A website that fails to capture leads is like a fisherman without a net. When a fisherman goes out to fish, he has a plan. He understands where to go, what to catch, with what boat, and at what time. Similarly, advertising identifies who to target, when to promote, where to advertise and with what message.

If a fisherman executes all the planning tasks flawlessly but leaves his net behind, he still won’t catch any fish. Your website is the net. Your website needs to capture leads in order to catch what you have invested in advertising.

There are other principles and objectives your website should abide by. In this article, we are talking specifically about capturing leads.

Capture Leads

Much is required of a business owner to capture leads effectively. Website design is a process, meaning that there is no ‘set it and forget it.’ Your website, like your business, is a thing you are constantly trying to improve. You want your customers to walk into your business or scroll through your website and say “WOW, I found my place.”

To capture leads, your business must be crystal clear on what it is you stand for and who it is you are targeting. If you don’t really know, or if you think your positioning could be improved, check out this article on positioning. Assuming your positioning is correct and your message is clear, we’ll move to the grunt test.

The Grunt Test

Can a prehistoric figure look at your headline (the first page that is visible on-screen) and, in under 8 seconds, grunt and point to the answers to the following questions?

  • What problem do you solve? 
  • How will you make me (the customer) feel?
  • What are you asking me to do?

Your website heading is the most important piece of your entire website. It’s like the book cover, and people do judge a book by its cover! If you don’t knock this out of the park and make it possible to answer those 3 questions in under 8 seconds, your potential customer will jump off your page and go to someone who can answer those questions quickly and clearly.

Practically speaking, you will need some form of a headline, subheadline, two ‘calls to action buttons, and a great background image.

The Headline

There are a lot of great minds doing research that focuses solely on headline creation. It is an art as much as it is a science. The science part comes from evaluating the entire marketplace, identifying a gap, and targeting a certain segment of people, knowing exactly what it is they want and need. The art piece is using creative wordsmithing to design a simple and effective message.

A good rule of thumb for headline creation is to present the benefit you provide and showcase how it will transform a person’s life. It can start rather philosophically, but it must end in simple language. For example, Volkswagen’s iconic ads featured a small car in a large white space with the heading “Think Small.” This brought in thousands of dollars for Volkswagen. They used a simple headline to “protest against the vulgarity of Detroit cars in those days, thereby making the Beetle a cult among those Americans who eschew conspicuous consumption” (Ogilvy On Advertising). The philosophical idea was fighting against conspicuous consumption. The plain language used – “Think Small.”

You need to be able to articulate exactly what you do in plain language that is distinct and non-cliché.


This is where you describe, in a sentence or two, what and how you are helping your potential customer. The key here is to know that you are not the hero in this story. The story is the customer’s journey from pain to consolation. The pain is the problem you solve and the source of consolation is, hopefully, your product/service. You are in fact the guide and your customer is the hero. You are Yoda and your customer is Luke Skywalker. This idea comes from Donald Miller’s book Building a Storybrand:Clarify your message so people listen. I highly recommend any small business owner to read that book to clarify their message using narrative theory.

Two ‘Call to Action’ Buttons

The first ‘call to action’ button should be their first step in doing business with you. It’s “Call Now,” “Book a Meeting,” or “Order Now.”

The second ‘call to action’ button should be your soft button. It’s a call to action that doesn’t ask much of anything from the potential customer. It looks like “Learn More,” “How it Works,” “Browse Products,” or “Find a Property.”

Why have two buttons? Customers arriving at your website are coming with different perceptions of your business. As much as markets might say that they know their customers, they don’t know everyone personally. You have to meet your customers where they are at right now. Usually, in-person is the best; however, customers are looking you up online and sometimes your website is your storefront. You must greet everyone as best you can with open arms, and where they are at. One way in which you can do that is by having two different buttons, one soft and one hard. The hard is designed for those people looking for a product and solution to their problem right away. It’s the “my neck is bleeding and if I can’t solve this now I will die” situation. As business owners, we always kinda wish our customers would come in with their neck bleeding, so to speak, and you are the only person that can solve that problem. However, that usually isn’t the case. The vast majority will be clicking your soft button, which should be approachable and relevant to your customers who are just checking you out and don’t have an immediate need.

The Customer Journey

Often customers are in different parts of the customer journey. There are a whole host of ways to explain the customer journey and many marketers have come up with their own. I prefer the simple journey that’s been around for almost 100 years. Tried and true: the AIDA Model.

AIDA Model

Most customers will start at the Awareness Phase. This is where they become aware of the product or service you provide. They might stumble upon your website and become aware of your product/service.

If someone knows about you and searches for your name or URL, they have now entered into the Interest Phase. The Interest Phase is where a customer is interested in the service or product you provide and is considering options. At this point, they don’t need an immediate solution to their problem but require information and a guide to journey through this process.

After the Interest Phase, you have the Desire Phase. They are now consciously looking for a solution to their problem but still have time to evaluate and browse your options. If a customer enters your website at this stage, they still need a soft button to browse and gain insights. Perhaps they are now looking at your options and are considering doing business with you. They need to know what to do next. Displaying a quick step-by-step will help them at this stage.

Finally, we have the Action Phase. Within the Action Phase, your customer is ready to solve their problem or needs to solve their problem right away. At this point they are looking for a vendor, a brand, or a company that they know can solve their problem. They are looking for something that is quick, simple, and “gets me.” This is why you have a hard button. It’s for those that require a solution now. If you didn’t have that hard button there, they will find a website that does.

The AIDA Model works like this – Most people are unaware of you. At some point, they become aware. Only some of those people are interested and even fewer desire you. The smallest number of people actually work with you, but they are the ones that need a solution here and now, or else they are going elsewhere.

Lead Generator

One of the best ways of capturing leads is to provide exceptional value in exchange for an email address or phone number. After you successfully design the header, you will need some sort of lead generator on your website that customers would want to sign up for or receive.

Lead generators can come in form of PDFs, How-to-guides, video series, request to be updated, events, seminars, webinars, really anything that you ask your prospect to do in exchange for an email address or contact information.

Here are a couple of examples of lead generators that other businesses have done:


Landscaper –

Health –

There are plenty more. 

The principle here is that to get leads, you need to deliver the exceptional value they can’t find anywhere else. 

How do you come up with one?

Go to or and type in your category, product, or service. These programs will generate frequently asked questions on google about your product/service. Start by answering these questions in a blog or article form. Send a request email to gain access to these pieces of content. A really easy way is to create a PDF document solving a problem your customer has.

A note on optimization and site speed

Google rewards websites that play nice with Google. This means, if Google, the website indexer, can easily index your website quickly, then it will reward you by placing you on the first page near the top.

There are a number of ways to optimize your website, but a really simple way is to upload pictures, convert them into the new-gen formats, and make sure you aren’t running any random or dead code. This is where you may look to hire someone who will look after your site and get it up to the speed Google requires. Still, here are a couple of practical things an owner can do to be in a better place than most businesses.

Practical Website Optimization Tips

Make a Google My Business Account.

If you haven’t already, please set this up. This is how Google indexes your business. Without it, google maps doesn’t work as well, nor SEO, or search engine optimization.

Follow the instructions laid out by Google here.

Link Your Website to Google Search Console

Please link your website to the Google Search Console. This is another way Google indexes your website. Google Search console helps track your website performance and identifies any potential problems. Reviewing the Consoles notifications and solving these problems helps address what the Google algorithm sees and rewards.

Metadata and Headlines

Be sure to fill out all the data that is required. Don’t be repetitive but be honest. Google won’t bring your website up to the top if you have competitor keywords that you can’t honestly fulfill.

Usually, these are found in your website’s page information. There are a number of ways to optimize this process, but as a rule of thumb, when you are creating a page be sure to insert the proper data. It’s tedious but very rewarding.

Page Speed

Making sure your page health is optimized both for desktop and mobile will greatly impact your website. Any website developer worth their salt should be able to get your health to at least 85%. Usually, this is the result of a number of little tasks that accumulate over time. Often these changes will be images and website “caching” properly. You can measure your speed with this tool – Page Speed.

If you are looking for further reading or help, please set up a call with us or check out a number of great sites that teach all about SEO and Website optimization.




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