It’s January! Fresh year, fresh start. So what business goals have you set for the year? Is this your year to …

  • Grow your list?
  • Get more passive sales?
  • Spend more time working with clients and less dealing with behind the scenes stuff?
  • Plan and launch a new course or product?
  • Work less, make more?

That’s the dream, right? Work less, make more? Collect money while sitting on a beach somewhere? While passive sales are misnamed and we’re all a little tired of the 6-figures overnight story, you can work less and make more.

You can grow your list and make more sales. You can get out of the trap of repetitive work and into your zone of genius—whether that’s direct client work or creating new products. And all of these goals have one thing in common: your website.

If “update website” is on your to do list for 2017, consider moving it up on your list, because this one task (admittedly not a small one) can help you achieve all these goals and more.

Before we start, a clarification: when I say “update your website,” I don’t mean rewording your Work with Me page or adding new pictures of you — or even making it match your new brand (though all those are good things). That’s like slapping on a new coat of paint in the kitchen to make it look less dated when what you really need is more efficient appliances. It will feel fresher and look more appealing, but you could get a lot more out of it.

If “update website” is on your to do list, consider moving it up in priorities, because this one task can help you achieve all your goals and more.

Make Your Website Your New Year Goals Partner

Some people look at their website as an online business card. It makes them look a little more legit and lets people know how to get in touch with them. But your website should be a key player in your business. It’s your digital home, and it can be a smart home.

Grow Your List

Let’s say you want to grow your list in 2017. Your website should have forms planted strategically throughout to encourage people to sign up for your e-mail list. Where should you opt-in go?

  • At the top of the page
  • In the footer, a sidebar
  • In the text of a blog post
  • Use a pop-up

Choose a few locations that work for your page layout. Two of the tools that I use, love, and recommend for e-mail sign-up forms are PopupAlly* and ConvertKit*.

To encourage readers to sign-up for your list, you may want to offer a free incentive in exchange for their e-mail address. Sample freebies include a free checklist, a downloadable audio file (like a guided meditation or secret podcast), a chapter from an ebook, a small free e-mail course, or a coupon code. What you use depends on your business model and your audience. Two keys: Make it of value and make it easy to find & sign up.

Make More Passive Income

Put your fruity umbrella cocktail aside, and let’s look at a few ways to make passive income—and how your website can help.

One easy way to get some additional income is through affiliate sales. How much you generate through affiliate links depends on the affiliate program and how much you promote the products.

How it works: You share products you use and love with your audience. When they buy through the link you provide, you get a portion of the sale. Try including links in a sidebar, in a blog post (like those links for PopupAlly and ConvertKit above), or on a resources page. Just make sure you let people know some links may be affiliate links (this is really important legally).

Another way to earn passive income is to sell products on your site. E-products that can be automated take even more of the work out for you. Think ebooks or evergreen courses. You can make these available on your site all the time, but to make money off them, you’ll want to promote them. You could use a chapter of your ebook as a free opt-in gift and then use a series of emails to add value and pitch the book. The name of the game is automation, and for email automation, I love ConvertKit*.

Focus More on the Work Only You Can Do

At some point for your business to grow, you have to stop doing it all. In some cases that may mean outsourcing — getting a VA to post your weekly blog posts and set up your email — or systematizing (or better yet, both). Let’s focus on a few systems and tools that can free up your time to get the real work done.

  • Scheduling — Want to offer a free consult or let people book their first session with you? Embed your scheduler right in your site. It saves you time of trying to schedule by email and makes it simple for people to act when they are ready. I use and recommend Acuity.
  • Billing — Automatic invoicing for ongoing work or a series of payments makes life easier. I use & love FreeAgent* for all my accounting invoicing (including recurring payments), but if you don’t need robust accounting software like that, it’s easy to set up Paypal subscriptions for easy recurring payments that automatically get taken from Paypal accounts.

Your website can’t do it all for your business, but it can probably do more than you think. If you like the idea of growth and more ease in your business, start by taking a look at your website.

If you want to see if your website could be doing more for you in  2017? Get my eyes on it with a website review. You’ll walk away with a list of simple action steps to get better results from your website—quickly.

* I recommend the products mentioned because I use and love them. If you purchase through one of these links, I’ll get a small portion of the sales, but even without the affiliate payment, I would recommend them.