There aren't any magic tricks or clever ruses. There are just proven techniques that entice website visitors to buy products and services, and they have a high success rate. Getting the visitor to the site is a big achievement and half the battle. It's when visitors get there that many businesses immediately lose them.

That loss takes a mere second: they come and then they're gone. Whatever methods were used to attract them are completely wasted. Incredibly, a huge number of websites experience this problem, yet their owners are mostly unaware of it. One of the main reasons is an obsession with Search Engine Optimization.


There's nothing wrong with SEO. Indeed, it's essential to attract visitors. But it's misused to such an extent that the value of search results diminishes every day. The problem is that website developers, fixated with attracting visitors, pay so much attention to SEO techniques that they overlook what's most important: the website's content. It doesn't matter how many offers are splashed across the home page, visitors will ignore them unless two basic but essential website attributes are evident.


Those two features of a website's home page are professional copywriting and graphic design. Each is as important as the other. Without professional graphic design, visitors will quickly leave the site. If the graphic design is appealing to the visitors, they'll stay long enough to read some of the text. If the copywriting is unprofessional, they'll be gone after a few sentences. It's only when design and copywriting are professional and work well together that visitors stay.


In short, they stay when the website is visually appealing, and the copy is concise, pleasant and says something relevant to them. Only then, is the visitor open to a subtle sales pitch.


The selling must never seem pushy. It should treat the potential customer like an intelligent colleague or friend, and the approach must to be one of respect. The pitch should come across like a reward and a thank-you.


It's a very good idea to give a new customer something free. What that should be and exactly how it's done depends on what the website sells. If the website sells a product, it could be either a free item with the first purchase or a discount. If the website sells a service, it could be a free ebook. Indeed, a free ebook that offers real value could be offered by a site that sells either services or products. The ebook should not be a catalogue; that would be perceived for what it is – a cheap advertising trick.


Any free offer should stand out on the webpage, but should not shout. If it is loud and garish, a big flashing star for example, the whole tenor of the website changes and the customer feels under undue sales pressure. It's better to use words and phrases that enhance the customer's feeling of being respected. For instance, words like "complimentary" rather than "free" and phrases like "offer available while stocks last" rather than "OFFER MUST END TODAY!" are preferable.


Gentle nudging and respect are the secrets. They achieve the first crucial goal: to get the visitor's contact details. They may even achieve the second: to convert the visitor into a customer. With luck, they'll achieve the most valuable goal of all: to turn that first-time customer into a regular customer.


To summarise, there are four crucial ways to turn visits into leads and leads into customers.


1) Have the website designed by professional graphic designers.


2) Have the copy written by a profession copywriter.


3) Work closely with both. In your brief to them, clearly explain the mood you want conveyed to the customer. Depending on the type of customer and what you sell, this can vary considerably. Yet, the fundamentals never vary. Whether you're selling products like jewellery, books, cars, clothes, or services like software support or medical advice, all customers respond positively to being treated with respect. None appreciates pressurised selling.


4) On the homepage, offer the customer a reward and make the offer obvious.


The techniques for converting visits to leads are not complicated. Yet, for two reasons many websites fail to implement them. First, they think that getting the potential customer to visit guarantees a sale. So, they put enormous energy into SEO and very little into the site's content. Second and worst of all, they design the website and write the copy themselves. This approach doesn't just fail to convert visitors to leads, it does the very opposite. In the majority of cases, it guarantees that those businesses fail almost before they ever get off the ground.