Website not giving you the results you expected? How about some non-judgemental feedback from a fresh set of eyes? Apply for an online marketing tune-up with Paul Montreal

How to fill your website when you’re just starting out. A website marketing makeover.

by Paul Montreal. Average Reading Time: about 5 minutes.


I’m doing a marketing makeover on Anders’ website. He’s built an online learning platform with a unique way to reward the best teachers. It’s early days and his biggest challenge right now is finding great teachers and getting high quality content on the site. (I’m listening to Trey Smith on Soundcloud while I work.) Hold onto your hall pass, here are my top 7 tips for turning this website around…

Online learning website makeover

Click for fullsize

1. Get your background image working for you, not against you.

So I’m greeted with a ‘landing page’ type template that focuses my attention to a small box in the centre. I like designs that get right to the point and focus on drawing me in. But the immediate visual cues don’t really reinforce what this place is all about or what the site can do for me.

Background Image: You really want an image to work for you, not just fill space. A background image could do one of several things:

  • a) Evoke a positive emotion and make the user feel generally good about being on the site and feel like they are moving towards a more pleasant future. This is why beautiful natural backgrounds (think tropical sea, beaches etc.) work well on some landing pages.
  • b) It could reinforce and clarify the industry or general purpose of the site, letting people know they are in the right place. (In this case, think happy students in a top level learning environment).
  • c) It could demonstrate the practical benefit of the product, showing the product in action.
  • d) Or it could imply the desired outcome that the site promises to deliver. (Think human beings smiling from ear to ear because of the awesome life you helped them achieve).

Right now your image is telling a slightly generic and depressing story. A laptop on a desk in a room with no view. It doesn’t communicate any of the possible messages, so it doesn’t really fill any positive role.

Action: Split test different images that cover each of the 4 options above against the current image. Make your images work as hard as your words.


2. Don’t try to talk to different users at the same time.

There’s a bunch of different copy on the page, but together it tells a confusing story of what this site actually is and who it’s for. All together it looks like this:

The online learning platform for reward, growth, and distinction

Free-market Learning
Easy-to-use platform that encourages the freedom to learn. Sign up for a forever free account!

Be ranked on the world map and achieve top spot as an instructor. Be the best in your field.

World’s only learning platform that rewards instructors based on ranking performance.

57.5% Signup for a free forever privileged* account. Instructor commission payout per course starts at 57.5%. No monthly fees or hidden fees.

I have to say, even though I have an idea of what your site is about from your application, this copy had me scratching my head. The biggest issue is, you’re tying to talk to both potential learners and potential tutors at the same time. Which just confuses both messages.

Action: Speak to one user at a time. Preferably on different pages. As this is the homepage, you’re likely to have 10,000 learners to each potential tutor, so your focus should be on the learner and how your unique system benefits them.


3. Have a really clear pitch for your consumers.

Let’s look at how you are positioning your product to learners again…

“Free-market Learning
Easy-to-use platform that encourages the freedom to learn. Sign up for a forever free account!”

This is the most important thing you’re telling every learner who visits this site. But I suspect you’re trying to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist in your learner’s mind.

10 years ago, before all the other competing learning platforms existed, there might be an argument that learning was restricted to expensive education establishments. But I think the market is more mature and sophisticated than that now. There are a lot of places you can go and get high-quality learning in lots of topics.

More importantly, I don’t think the customer is walking around complaining about their desire to break free from the communist education establishment. In the west at least, we are already free to learn as much as we want. In fact there has never been more freedom and access to more information in the history of our species.

If there is any problem, it’s that there is too much information available. That’s where your system, with its potential to highlight the very best information, from only the best tutors, might benefit your customers.

From the learner’s point of view, you’re essentially creating a place where the community rates the best tutors. So they receive only the best knowledge. And are most likely to achieve their goals.

But you have to say that, in simple language, directly to them. And it should also be reflected in your tagline.

I’d present one very clear headline on that page, bigger than everything else. Something like:

“The best tutorials in the world, as voted by you.”

This would also double as a much clearer tagline. Now you can go into more detail about how your unique system helps your learners achieve their goals:

“At Learnquiq the community decides who the most effective tutors in the world are. So you get to learn from the best. Gaining the skills you need to open more doors and live the life you imagined, in the shortest time possible.”

Now, that’s really lame copy I’m making up on the fly, you have to spend some time on this, but the pattern is sound. You’re joining the dots between how your system of rating tutors benefits your customers. And you’re making it clear that it results in better learning. But you’re also acknowledging that learning isn’t their end goal, it’s just a means to a different end. More on that later.

Action: Step back from the technology that you’ve created and look at your pitch purely from the learner’s point of view. Then tell them in super-simple terms how your solution solves a problem that they actually believe they have. At the core of everything, if you need a really compelling 2 or 3 line pitch that solves a real learner problem, that IS your business.


Members Login. Not a member? Register for Free.