As one of your biggest promoters, your website is pretty important when it comes to the success of your business.
Your website is the online home for your business. It promotes your unique offering when you’re not able to.
Most importantly, it provides a glimpse into what it might be like to work with you before your customer has even filled out a single enquiry form.
One thing that almost every client of mine wants to know is how they can stand out amongst the crowd. How can they create the “wow factor” that makes prospects fall in love with their business, the minute they step into their online home?
So, what makes a website stand out?
To be honest, “wow factor” requires more than pretty website design. In fact, if you’re just starting your business (eeek, how exciting), I recommend that you take a look at this blog post before you even start thinking about your website.
For everyone else….
If you’re feeling like your website needs a refresh, there are a few simple tweaks you can make (without costing you your first-born child), that will take your site from meh to magnificent within minutes.
1. Start with a template
These days you can ditch the web developer and DIY with a gorgeous new website template (or hire a designer if you need a helping hand). There are a range of options available when it comes to website templates.
Once you have purchased your theme however, it is still just as important to create a cohesive online presence through your chosen colour palette, your imagery and the overall layout of your website.
No matter what, I still like to create a draft mockup whenever I am designing or ‘styling’ a website. I generally use Adobe Illustrator to create a basic template to work with. You could also use something like Canva to create your mockup.
I can change colours, the text and imagery layouts and headings as I please. This saves me a great deal of time when it comes to actually setting up the website, because all of the puzzle pieces have already been organised. It’s just a matter of putting them in place.
2. Design Matters
There are 3 main design elements which contribute to enhancing the overall look and feel of your website: colour palette, fonts and imagery.
Before you even start changing your template, I always recommend creating an inspiration board which allows you to determine the overall “vibe” of your site. Take some time to think about the types of messages you want to convey through your website. Is your brand high-end, casual and relaxed, playful and childlike?
Pulling images which speak to you in terms of the look you want to communicate to your audience will help you to find clarity and direction.
Quick Tip: When selecting images, don’t forget about your target market. Make sure you keep their needs, wants and inspirations in mind.
Once you have chosen at least 30 images, look for similarities in the imagery to reveal your colour palette. Choose 3-4 main colours that you want to use as part of your business’ visual identity.
When it comes to fonts, less is more. Keep it simple by using one main font for the headings, another for subheadings and a third for body text. An overuse of different fonts can create clutter and an unprofessional vibe. Stick to a maximum of three or four at the very most!
White space is your friend! I always try to encourage clients to stick with a clean, white background as well. This allows your website to look crisp, whilst enhancing the features which are most important to your brand. Dark backgrounds often make it difficult to read the text.
3. Consistency is Key
To create a professional, impactful brand, consistency is key! Remember, your brand is an expression of your business, your story and the core message that you want to communicate to your audience.
Visual inconsistencies in relation to colour, imagery and the overall look and feel of your brand tend to create confusion. Confusion, unfortunately, leads to distrust. If your customers aren’t confident in your brand, how do you expect them to feel confident enough to hire you?
Everything that you present must be consistent with your overall message – your visual message, verbal message, non-verbal message and so on.
Although it may be tempting to step outside of those boundaries, it ultimately won’t do any good for your business.
It may sound slightly dramatic, but trust me – when you have a consistent visual identity that is impactful and meaningful, your customers are not only more likely to purchase from you, but trust and feel significantly more confident in who you are and what you are selling.
4. Get Personal
When it comes to modern-day marketing, it is clear that we are moving away from the standard sales pitch and closer towards the concept of human to human selling. We are no longer interested in a simple product or service. We want to really get to know the business – the person behind the brand. That’s why it is so important that you become part of your brand through your website copy, imagery, social platforms and video marketing.
If you want to know how you can set yourself apart from the competition and create meaningful, authentic relationships with your audience, look in the mirror. Yep, it’s that simple!
You are the key to creating an incredible brand; you are the key to creating a one of a kind website. There is no one else in this world who thinks exactly like you, who experiences things exactly the same way that you do.
These days, people want to know that they are communicating and connecting with a real person. I know, it’s absolutely terrifying to think about letting the ‘real’ you shine through – but little steps at a time will add up and your customers will admire you all the more for it.
5. Mobile is a Must
If your website is not mobile responsive, this is something that needs to be fixed immediately.
If you’re not convinced, check out the stats below:
- 80% of internet users own a smartphone (Smart Insights)
- 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important (Wolfgang Jaegel)
- Google states that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitors site instead (MicKinsey & Company)
- 70% of internet use is now on a mobile (Zenith)
6. Call To Action is Critical
If visitors to your site are hesitant to provide their details or click through to your cart, you’re most likely lacking clear calls to action. Rather than focussing on the sell, sell, sell, it’s important that we give your audience a reason to stick around in your corner of the web. This means providing high quality, valuable content to establish trust and rapport.
Calls to action and lead magnets allow your audience to become a part of your community. It provides an opportunity for them to get to know you and your business, becoming familiar with what you have to offer.
Ultimately, this means that they will feel more comfortable, if and when they decide to purchase from you.
7. Get a Social Life
Social media is not going away. Some people love it, others hate it – but the truth is, it’s here to stay. Sharing your content on your social pages as well as allowing others to share it for you, will not only increase your potential reach and visibility but allow you to generate more traffic, more leads and better search engine rankings.
When it comes to your social icons, make sure they are sitting front and centre (maybe not centre, but definitely on each page of your site). You want them to be easy to access. If they are nowhere to be found, or too hard to spot, your audience will quickly lose interest and hit the ‘exit’ button.
BONUS: Website Essentials
Whoever you are – a blogger, stylist, makeup artist, designer, writer, etc. – the following website pages are an absolute must when it comes to providing your audience with a straightforward and positive experience of your site.
- Home Page: Your homepage is an introduction to your website and your business. Make sure your audience can immediately identify what it is you do.
- About Page: This page allows you to share your story with your audience. As well as allowing them to get to know you, it is also important that you use this page to your advantage. Provide your audience with suggestions on popular blog posts, ask them to join your newsletter, provide valuable content through opt-in offers etc.
- Services or Sales Page: Provide a clear outline of your services and any add-on features that you offer. Make sure your overall layout is straightforward and easy to navigate.
- Blog Page: Whether you are a blogger or not, you need a blog page. Writing blog posts may seem very time consuming, but they are an absolute must no matter what stage of business you are at. Blog posts not only generate more traffic to your site through keywords but also assist to improve your search engine rankings and most importantly, provide your audience with valuable content that ultimately contributes to the relationship that they have with you.
- Contact Page: It’s plain and simple, your customers need an easy and straightforward way of contacting you. If your contact details are hard to find, your customers will very likely get frustrated and give up. Contact details not only relate to your email address and phone number, but your social platforms and shop location (if applicable).
Now I want to hear from you! What did you think of the tips above? Is there anything else you would add to the list as an “essential”?
Comment below, I would love to hear from you!