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How I Increased My Subscribers by 62% And Doubled My Daily Traffic in One Month

Increase Subscribers & traffic

If you’ve been hanging out with me for more than a month, you’ve likely already noticed my new digs. If you’re new to these parts, this fancy home was a little less fancy back in 2013.

I’m a web designer, so of course, all my sites are custom designed (by me, duh!). Although my profession makes getting a fancy new website quite easy (and cheap), that doesn’t mean I always have time for it. With big plans for growth in 2014, I knew I was in desperate need of a new design that better reflected my style, skills, and spoke to my ideal clients.

You may notice all over my site that I talk a lot about “going pro”. And although my website was already quite pro, there were definitely some areas I was still lacking, areas that I was neglecting because of the $$ investment it would take.

But investing in my business has been the one thing that has always, without fail, brought me more clients and increased my profits.

So today I want to talk about investing in your business, and show you some proof that it makes a difference.

Check this out:

Increased Subscriber Graph

This is my Aweber list growth report from the last 11 months. Pretty steady most of the time. I started my list in February, started offering a freebie in May (the first big increase), and relaunched with new design, photos, and copy at the end of December.

See that big red arrow? That’s a 60% increase in subscribers after relaunching my site.


So why the jump? No, I didn’t do some big promotion or webinar or even guest posts. I just relaunched my website.

Here’s What I DID Do

Invested in Professional Photos

Yes- I finally got rid of that one black and white iphone photo that I used everywhere and hired a pro. I HATE getting photos taken. I consider myself super awkward in front of the camera and it wasn’t something I was looking forward to. But I did understand the importance, and knew it was necessary for me to really “go pro”.

Not sure it can really make a difference? Well just think about how you feel when you visit a website and the person has professional photos. You trust them more right? You feel like they know their stuff and take their business seriously. I know I’m great at what I do and take my business seriously and if having professional photos can help other people see that too- then that is a great investment in my book.

So if you still have one of those cropped FB photos with someone’s arm around your shoulder that you couldn’t take out (but you looked really good and still wanted to use it), consider booking a photoshoot. You won’t regret it.

(If you happen to be in Houston, Texas- definitely check out my photographer Nikki Cotten. She just moved back to the US from France and is so much fun to work with)

Hired A Copywriter

I’m a pro at design and I’m a pro at code. What I’m not a pro at: writing. It’s just not my thing. It takes me hours and hours and stress and frustration….with a not-so-spectacular result at the end.

I knew with my old DIY copy, my real message was not reaching my ideal clients in the best way that it could. I expect people to hire a professional web designer when they are ready to go pro, so why wouldn’t I hire a professional copywriter when I want to be pro?

(Kaye Putnam is the lady behind this website’s words. She got to know my ideal clients, my personality, and all the little details about me to turn my voice into effective website copy. Definitely check her out when you’re ready to go pro with your copy.)

Focused On Clarity In My Design

Being clear is always better than being clever. Clean, simple, focused design is what gets people to stick around, find what they are looking for and not get distracted and leave before having the chance to fall in love with you.

I don’t have a sidebar on every page, and I use simple design elements to make the right info pop without too much distraction. Click-happy visitors leave the fastest. So I made sure to limit possible actions on each page to direct the visitor to exactly where they need to go next.

(Want clear, focused design that does the same? Check out my Seriously Custom Website Package)

The Feature Box

This doesn’t really count towards my increase in subscribers, as I had a feature box on my previous site.

Derek Halpern's Feature Box

But while marveling at my analytics in the last month, I dug a little deeper into my Aweber numbers. I have 6 different types of optin boxes (horizontal, footer, sidebar, blog posts, etc.) one of which is the Feature Box on the homepage.

This “Feature Box” idea was made famous by the genius Derek Halpern and it’s a big obvious area on your homepage made solely for your newsletter optin. It’s not just a horizontal bar, or a box in your sidebar. It’s a big ol’ area that your visitors can’t miss.

Technically, the “Derek Halpern Feature Box” is right at the top of the page. But I wanted to try out something a little less intrusive, keeping the same concept. And it still works.

My feature box? Well 49% of people who optin to my list, optin in the feature box on my homepage. 49%!!

Imagine what my numbers would be if I didn’t have it! Thank you Mr. Halpern.

So that’s how I explain my increase in traffic and subscribers.

I know investing in your business is difficult. I mean, a huge benefit of starting your own business is getting that hard-earned cash in your pocket. But if you really want to grow bigger and fast- investing in things like web design, copywriting, and professional photos is key. At least it has been for me.

So tell me…

What has your experience been with investing in your business? And if you haven’t yet, what do you plan on investing in first?

Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!




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P.S.S. Want to increase your traffic and subscribers this year with a seriously pro & custom website? Get in touch– I’d love to chat!

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{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Great tips, Leah! I can’t wait to go pro with my custom website this year! Other biz investments that have paid off big for me are masterminds.

    • Leah

      Yay- I’m so excited to get started with you! And yes, I totally agree with masterminds. Although I haven’t done a paid one but look forward to hearing about that from you!

  • Leah, firstly I love love love the new design. it’s clean, fresh and inviting and definitely NOT overwhelming as lots of sites tend to be. When I go to a website, I like to feel welcomed not overwhelmed. Perhaps it’s my organizing background that likes the uncluttered vibe, but in my old business, my site was clear, clean and uncluttered and everyone who called for organizing services would tell me that it was the easiest one to navigate compared to other organizers. I personally love the the no sidebar look much better.

    I’m trying my opt-in on A Life Uncluttered up top in the header area and going to see how that’s going to go because I dislike the feature box being right below the header, so later on, I may try moving it down the homepage to see how that yields.

    In my business I invested in learning to code/design my own stuff because not only it is a creative outlet to the balance the business stuff but it’s the ability to design what’s in my head without explaining it to anyone. I’ve also invested in a photo-shoot two years ago and also throughout my 7 years as an organizer invested in both life and business coaches and that was been very helpful. I did a professional photo shoot 2 years ago and it was a great investment. Never hired a copywriter so let’s see how that goes.

    PS: i’m in Houston, Texas so what a coincidence that you photographer is too. So interesting!

    • Leah

      Hey Sofia! Yes- I know uncluttered is your thing so I’m glad my style fits into that for you (you’re the expert!) I do think it makes a huge difference in the success of a website. Would love to hear how it goes with your optin and I do recommend trying out a few things to see how the conversions change. I was really surprised by my numbers after my relaunch and it reminds me the importance of not letting something just “be” because it seems to be working.

      I agree that biz coaches are a great investment too! That was a big part of my growth last year.

      Yes- I completely forgot you are in Houston! That is funny. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Excellent post! I’m still a DIYer for most of my website (saving, saving), but these are great tips that even I can implement NOW to try to drive more sign-ups—like not letting people be click-happy. I’ve got too much going on in my sidebars, and I know it!

    • Leah

      Yes, that’s a big one. But I understand how hard it can be with a sidebar because everything seems so important! My advice is to really try to think about the person on that specific page and what you want them to do next- put only that. For example, someone on your blog might not be ready to schedule a consult, they’ll want to read about your services first. So maybe keeping the consult button for the pages that talk about how to work with you. Thanks for your comment Lacy!

  • Fantastic post Leah. I have been wanting to get pro photos for a while now and u may have just lit a fire under my butt.

    I hadn’t thought about hitting a copy writer but I think I need one too. My writing is less than optimal myself.

    Thanks for the great insights!

    • Leah

      Well your photo is adorable and you definitely look approachable and fun! But I thought the same thing about mine, haha, and now looking at what happened with my numbers last month, I do believe it makes a difference! The great thing about a copywriter too is that you can hire them just for one page, see how it goes, and then have them do more pages. This also helps on for those on tight budgets!

  • Great post and the site does look very pro! excellent results!

  • These are great tips. I love the new website and it inspires me to redo my own. Thank you!

    • Leah

      Well I LOVE your photos- so you’ve got that covered already!

  • That’s so great to hear Leah! I’m always a big fan of people who walk their talk.

    And it looked like you had fun getting those photos taken, too!

    2014 is the Year of Manifestation and the Year of the Wooden Horse.

    Sure you’ll be galloping even further soon.



    • Leah

      Oh that sounds interesting Sarah! I can feel good things on the horizon, so that’s good to know :)

  • Leah! Love this post & congrats :)
    I need a ‘numbers’ overhaul! Would you consider writing a post (or can you suggest another post) that has a good set-up for tracking the numbers? Are you just using Google Analytics + Aweber features? I’ve put this off for too long + it’s time to do it right.

    • Leah

      Ohh great idea! I will certainly do a post with how I look at my numbers, but a great resource is Liz Lockard- the GA queen. Definitely check her out for all things GA. And yes- I mainly just look at GA + Aweber but also have my sites under google webmaster so can have a better look at the keywords people use to find my site (since they’ve taken that part out of GA).

    • Eva

      Oh yes please to this, may I second this request?!

      I don’t know where to start with tracking, there’s just so much to look at and I have number overload!

  • Way to go Leah. Love this blogpost. It is so impressive you have tracked your success with analytics and have true stats to help guide your future decisions. Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution needs you to update the wonderful website you built for us a couple years ago. You have great ideas. Less truly is more. Clutter confuses the mind and simplicity is calming. Your work is great! Thank you.

    • Leah

      Glad you liked it! Yes, stats are fun plus they help guide future decisions. Glad you enjoyed the post :)

  • Ah, Leah, that is an awesome post! I’ve been thinking about having professional photos taken for such a long time (because I hate standing in front of a camera too) but you’ve convinced me. I will definitely give it a shot now. And I just love your new website!

    • Leah

      I feel ya! Glad I could give you that little push :)

  • Hey Leah. I have had a bit of a different experience. I did go pro with my website in 2013. I invested in me and I am thrilled that I did. While my online traffic has not significantly grown, my business has. Something about feeling pro and having the website to back it up has increased my confidence and it is coming across to people. I have doubled the amount of clients I serve and am close to needing a waiting list. So while it isn’t always in the way we think, having a website we love and and that represents who we are is crucial!

    • Leah

      LOVE this Lorna! You are absolutely right. Confidence is a huge part of it and I completely agree that confidence alone can make a huge difference in how you put yourself out into the world, and in return how people perceive you. There is nothing worse for a confidence killer in business than website shame. Although I really wish that didn’t exist. Thanks for sharing your take on it. Numbers can help, but it certainly isn’t everything. Congrats on your almost wait-list!

  • I seriously need to invest in a copywriter… and professional photos! As someone who does photography professionally, I need to up my game on photos! These are all great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  • Loved these tips! So much to think about! As soon as Spring comes and it’s not 2 degrees here I was planning on looking into professional pictures, thanks for the extra push.
    As a side note- I’m glad to hear you hired a copywriter- and that’s because when I came to your site last week I thought all the wording was fantastic- simple & to the point, but really fun. (I really loved the Fun + Done by the signup.) and I thought, geez she can do web design AND write this awesome copy? : )

    • Leah

      Haha- no, I just stick to the web design! Glad it was noticeably awesome though :) And yes, it was freezing here and I was putting it off for that (everyone just told me to act like a super model and suck it up), but I lucked out with a really abnormally beautiful day. It was meant to happen- just got to put it in motion :)

  • Wow Leah – congrats on all of your success. I love your new site. This is gold. :)

    • Leah

      Thanks Melissa! Glad you like it!

  • Leah, Just love your new site! My new site was critical to allowing me to look like the pro I am. Since I launched it in August of 2013 I’ve almost doubled the number of subscribers and now I’m not embarrassed to reach out to media and other opportunities that I wouldn’t before because I had website shame. It truly makes all the difference in the world.

    • Leah

      Yes- confidence is HUGE. It makes a big difference. Loved hearing about your numbers too! Congrats!

  • Your new website looks great, Leah!! Thanks for sharing what you did differently that helped increase your numbers. I definitely have professional headshots high on my list this year!!

    • Leah

      Thank you Desiree! I love your photos- but can’t wait to see the new ones!

  • Leah you are a rockstar! YOu are also spot on the making good investments in your business is needed for growth. Every time I hit a plateau in my biz, I look at what areas I’ve been neglecting. this past month I hired my first SEO smarty pants to help me really focus on keywords and bringing people to my site based off google searches (something I’ve waited an embarrassingly long amount of time to do!). I’ve noticed for myself (and for my clients) that whenever we invest in our businesses, they grow in size and profits.

    Thanks for breaking down a few of your strategies!

    • Leah

      Yes- such a great way to break through a plateau! Excited to hear how your traffic changes with a little more emphasis on SEO!

  • Oh man! The more I read this the more I crave my website redesign. EEK! It’s definitely on my list of investments.

    Thanks for the backstage access to your process Leah!

    • Leah

      I know the feeling Farideh! But you’ve already got most of the goodies in place- especially the rad photos. But I understand how you feel. Thanks for stopping by miss!

  • LOVE your site and I signed up! The idea of having the horizontal opt in box lower down is interesting.

    I’m doing B School at the moment and gathering lots of info and ideas before I do a refining of my site. An opt in box is at the top of the list and some new pics. My About page is also getting a revamp – lots to do but it’s all part of the biz fun!


  • Hi Leah,

    You’ve made some excellent points, and really inspired me to drag the “Get new photos taken” item to the top of the to do list. As with your business, I’m the brand, and my name is the domain name. Your photos are excellent.

    – Cole

  • LEAH! I love that! Thanks for sharing and so happy I’ve met you… Thanks Lily for the introduction! I can’t wait to have my new website launched :)

  • Hey Leah!

    Thanks for the amazing tips! Been loving all of your posts, especially in this crucial phase of growing my lists. I really enjoy your content, and find it extremely helpful. Used it to make my very own “Thank you” and “You’re In!” pages yesterday! So happy about that :) And now even more great advice on “looking like a pro”!

    Thanks again!



    • Leah

      So glad you’re finding it helpful! Thanks for stopping by!

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All the instructions she provided allowed me to do things on my own, and her willingness to help if I didn’t understand something. People take my business more serious as my website is much more professional.
Carlie Fitzpatrick
Leah Kalamakis
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