How to improve your website and make it your own
Creating a website can be a very daunting task for many business owners, the thought of writing all that content, and making it resonate with an audience, is just one step too far for some people.
This blog will aim to address some of the pitfalls and how to avoid them and provide some tips for how you can make your website really pop and do a dance on your behalf.
Common website pitfalls
First thing that gets people’s goat these days is a slow loading website. People expect speed, they are busy and only have a small attention span and so if your website doesn’t load quickly, they’re off! Worse still, Google doesn’t like it either and it penalises your website in the rankings.
If you’re a small business, it may be tempting to go for a single page website. But if you have a lot to say, don’t cram it all on one page. Really consider whether it is worth breaking it out into multiple pages.
From an SEO point of view, your home page can only have one page title and keyword so it limits the opportunities with the search engines. Think about your keywords in advance and consider the fact that each page you have is an opportunity for another keyword on your website.
If you are going to cram it all on one page, make sure it is nicely spaced out and give each area chance to breathe.
Some stock imagery is absolutely fine, sometimes a necessity and lets face it better than your own handy work. But as soon as your budget allows, get a photographer on board to take some fantastic images of the areas that need improvement. You will be able to identify them, and potentially re-create the stock you have chosen with your own branded photography.
By branded, that means it’s got you and your business or your products in the picture.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the pitfalls of web designs, let’s address some of the things that you can do to improve your website.
How to improve your website
Get your branding sorted
First and foremost, it’s about consistency. You’re probably doing a lot of communicating on various platforms, whether it’s online or offline and all your marketing communication material needs to be on point and consistent.
So, think about your colours, your fonts and your logo. Addressing these can make massive improvements to the look and feel of your website. Read about how you can stand out from the crowd in this blog here.
Consider the colours that you use for your buttons and call to action links. They should stand out on the page and be really visible and obvious what to do next.
Extend your branding into your photography
Having some killer imagery on your website, really does make all the difference to that initial impression and wow factor. Bland is boring, impactful imagery that makes a statement and tells a story, may even be a video, is something that will grab the attention and make people stay and have a nosey.
If you are planning a photoshoot some extra things to think about might be;
- What should you wear for a photoshoot? Make sure it doesn’t clash with your branding, it may even support it. Perhaps select a couple of outfits so that it looks like you’ve had more than one photoshoot and you’re not in the same outfit for all your images.
- Do you need any props for a photoshoot? A boring old headshot might be ok for your social media profiles, but make your website images interesting, in different locations, with your favourite things in the background, or maybe doing an activity.
- Do you need any models to accompany your photoshoot? If you work with people, this could be an opportunity to show off what you do.
- What other uses might you have for these images? The obvious answer could be social media posts. What poses would you need? Do you need to factor in space to write text over them? Do they need to be portrait or landscape or a mixture of both?
Use icons or illustrations
Using a really good illustrator to recreate you could be ideal if you don’t like to see yourself on camera, or you are not so confident about your appearance. No one wants to turn up to a meeting with a client to find they don’t recognise you because the photo was from when you were ten years younger.
Icons and illustrations are timeless and nice ways to inject a bit of colour into your web design.
Animate but not too much
You can animate your page with scroll and hover effects, and this can add a point of interest from a user experience point of view, but don’t add too many that you send your viewers into a spin. Keep it simple as far as this is concerned, so less ‘flying in’ and more subtle appearance. A hover over colour change is nice for buttons and portfolios.
Some websites with a lot of content or maybe complex information could benefit from a video strategy. Using animations and videos to tell a story rather than a tonne of descriptive text (that people probably won’t read anyway) could be an effective way to get your point across.
Think about how you can visualise what your message is in a way that is engaging and entertaining, don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
If what you’re selling is ‘you’, put ‘you’ centre stage and let them meet you.
Get your people on the website if they’ll let you
Relationships are so key to your marketing practices, they can make or break a potential sale, it is so easy to be put off by someone who you just don’t gel with, but equally it is easy to be ‘won over’ by someone’s personality because you just like the cut of their jib! So once again if you are selling you, get your people out there, visible, make your brand human and people will start to love what they see.
Final point – optimise and test
Check it out for typo’s and spacing issues on various browsers. Making sure your website is optimised for mobile and tablet, looking as good as it does on those as it does on the desktop. Sometimes weird little issues happen with spacing that you might not see, so test it on a few different mobile devices to make sure it is consistent everywhere.
We hope that some of these hints and tips on how to improve your website can be factored into your web design plans and give you food for thought. Make sure your first impression is a fabulous one!