November 4, 2023 | Bryan Brkic
The 3 Hidden Levers of Effective Websites
For a long time I’ve been obsessed with building websites and figuring out what makes a website get results.
But it took years of building knowledge, skills and experience before I was able to look at websites through a proper lens.
It’s like when a magician does a trick and you just wonder “how the hell did he do that?”.
You sit there. You play it over in your head. But you can’t seem to figure out how what you just saw is possible.
You don’t see it.
But when the trick gets revealed to you, now you can’t unsee it. It all makes sense. The next time you see the trick, you now know what’s going on.
Web design is no different. Only difference is that with websites that work, there’s a culmination of many tricks at play which make them successful.
Back when I first did web design, it was a moment of shock when I’d release a website…and then nothing.
No one saw it. No one cared. It was just invisible to the world sitting in the void of nothingness in some hidden corner of the internet.
I had this impression that a website was this powerful tool and that I could just build it, host it, and then magically people would start coming.
I was completely blind to all of the tricks that played a role in making a website successful.
I could only see the visuals. A nice looking navigation menu. Buttons. Nice spacing between elements. Spacing between text and images. Nice combinations of colors.
Because I was only seeing the visual aspects, my eyes could not differentiate between a website that was driving a business forward versus one that was doing nothing.
I will now go over the top 3 invisible elements that I was completely blind to when I first tried building websites for businesses. This way you too can see behind the curtain and see the tricks at play in plain sight.
1. Traffic Sources
The first thing I was completely blind to was how the website was bringing in traffic.
I didn’t understand why when I’d put out a website, no one would see it, but other websites were getting seen by tons of people.
This is because I didn’t understand the traffic component.
There are 2 ways to bring traffic to a website.
The first is the organic traffic. This is the traffic that gets built up over a long period of time where valuable content is created consistently for a market.
This content can be blog posts, social media posts, books, backlinks from other places, etc.
The crazy thing is, even every single one of these things have tricks of their own behind the scenes as well.
Blog posts follow frameworks to keep you reading.
Videos follow scripts that keep you engaged and watching.
Social media platforms each have unique frameworks businesses follow to grow and create engaging content.
Books have their own frameworks of keeping readers engaged.
All of these items on their own have many tricks behind the scenes that allow for growth, engagement, and authority building.
These too were things I was blind to.
I’d see things like blogs as just writing about random stuff. I didn’t know why some people had large social media followings and others had nothing. I didn’t understand that there were systems and frameworks for all of these things. But all of that is for another post.
The second form of traffic is paid traffic.
This was another one of these invisible elements at play.
There many different social media platforms where certain kinds of people congregate.
Because there’s lots of eyeballs on these platforms, you can typically run ads on them and to bring people to your website.
Like with organic traffic, paid traffic too has many invisible tricks at play behind the scenes.
Ads follow frameworks too. Frameworks for which platforms to use for certain markets. How to set up targeting. How to put together the ad itself. How to re-target those that showed interest.
Good ads fall under the radar. You don’t even notice that it’s an ad. It just builds tons of curiosity and intrigue inside of you to the point that you can’t help but click.
Before you realize it, you have your credit card out and are filling in details on a checkout page.
These are the invisible hands at play. When you don’t see the tricks, you don’t even know what happened. You think it was your decision to do everything that just took place. You don’t realize the influence and persuasion that caused you to take the actions that you did.
That is the traffic piece. Now on to the next invisible trick.
2. Lead Generation
Ever notice that there’s websites that have a page that gets you to fill in your email in exchange for something?
This is another one of those invisible elements at play.
When I first built websites, I didn’t even think about things like collecting emails. Building an email list. I didn’t understand it.
Why do websites do this? I didn’t get it.
That’s because I didn’t understand the power behind email marketing.
The power of owning your audience. The power of having no limitations of what you can say to your audience.
There’s no rules you need to follow when sending an email to an email list.
You won’t get demonetized for saying the wrong thing. Won’t get your account banned. None of these risks are present like they are on other platforms. Because you own your list. Technically you’re on an email marketing platform, but you are completely free to export your list and import it elsewhere. It’s yours.
There’s rules that other platforms have that if you don’t follow can get you in trouble.
If you make an ad on Facebook, you’ll need to follow their guidelines. If you don’t, your ad will get taken down, and even your account might get banned. No more advertising for you unless you get your account back…
This is why businesses collect emails.
Then like with everything else, there are tricks behind the scenes that are at play for collecting these emails as well as for the contents of the emails themselves.
This is where other frameworks come into play that are invisible to the naked eye.
There’s frameworks for constructing different ways of effectively getting someone to opt in as a lead.
There’s frameworks for putting together the headlines on the opt-in pages.
When using lead magnets to collect emails (lead magnets are something valuable given in exchange for an email), there’s even frameworks for putting together the headline of the lead magnet itself, how to put together the content of the lead magnet itself, how to make the lead magnet itself persuasive in getting you to take the next step the business wants…
You see, there’s many elements at play, and hopefully you’re starting to see the bigger picture.
There is still far more when it comes to lead generation, but you should now start to see more of these things at play and pick up on them.
With lead generation covered, let’s get into the final element that will be covered, which was completely invisible to me (there are tons of other elements by the way, too many to put into one post though).
3. Landing Pages
Landing pages were another element I didn’t understand in the slightest and the role that it played.
I didn’t really even know what the difference between a website and a landing page really was.
Is the home page of my website a landing page? Are the other pages on my website a landing page? I didn’t really get it.
What I define as a landing page is a standalone page on a website which contains a sales letter designed to persuade someone to take the desired action on the page.
There are many hidden tricks on such a page, tricks that people don’t normally pick up on.
From how the copy on the page speaks to you. How the headline builds your intrigue to keep reading. How the page paints a vivid picture of your desires. How it also paints a vivid picture of the pains you've faced. How it builds your trust. How it presents the offer. How it builds the value of the offer. How it creates scarcity around the offer.
This is all the sales letter at play in full force.
These are carefully crafted. They follow specific guidelines and frameworks in order to be as persuasive as possible and drive conversions like mad.
Most don’t see it. They don’t see the deep underlying details of how this page was constructed in order to be as persuasive as possible.
You might notice, a lot of the elements that make a website successful are elements outside of the website itself.
The traffic coming in. The emails. The social media. The lead magnet. The sales letter.
The website is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s one component among many. That is why a website on its own is useless.
It’s about how all of the components are carefully constructed and how they work together seamlessly that make it work.
To recap, the 3 biggest hidden levers that effective websites use are:
- Traffic sources
- Lead generation
- Landing page
Moving forward, try to notice unique things that businesses do around these hidden levers.
Notice things like how quizzes are used to collect emails. How challenges are put together to collect emails. How webinars are used to collect emails.
Notice the components that are at play and work alongside the website.
That is everything for this one. Hope you enjoyed the letter and have a fantastic rest of your day.
Every one of the hidden levers that we went over have a lot of depth behind them. We’ll dive deeper into these in future letters!