I have a confession to make. When I was a child, I loved to rearrange my room. That doesn’t sound so strange, does it? Believe me, though: this went well beyond just tidying up! Instead, I redesigned the entire layout of my room, including changing the colours and deciding on the placement of all of my favourite things. It used to drive my parents crazy when they’d hear me dragging furniture across the floor and toppling over bookshelves!
Now, as an adult, I realise what I really loved was the feeling of designing something new and keeping my surroundings fresh. And, just like my child self who loved moving around all her possessions to create a new environment, I’m still driven to keep things interesting and beautiful to this day. As the owner of an online business, this means I am obsessed with evolving our website!
Another confession: in the four years I’ve owned this business we’ve redesigned our website three times.
(Phew, that feels great to get that off my chest!)
I can assure you I’m not crazy! Our strong analytics on our website are a testament to the fact that, just like a shopfront, your online web presence needs to stay fresh, welcoming and on trend in order to be successful in the crowded online marketplace.
With that said, there is a method to my madness! And if you’re feeling the itch to redesign your own site, here are five things you can do make your website great, from super-simple to more advanced:
1. Make it easy for your customers to reach you. (Effort Level: 1)
Try this: jump on your website. At first glance – meaning in five seconds or less – can someone easily find out how to contact you? At a minimum, you should have an easily accessible “contact” page. Or, as an alternative, a call-to-action button on your homepage that says something like “Contact Us Now.” If you’re a restaurant or service professional who relies on phone calls for reservations or enquiries, I recommend placing your phone number right in the header of your website so you never miss an opportunity to connect.
2. Use social media icons that are both locatable and beautiful. (Effort Level: 4)
Facebook and other social media icons are easily lost in the footer of a website. If you rely heavily on engaging your audience through social media, your social media links, icons or feeds need to appear in your main content area, or as icons within your site header. However, be sure to brand them beautifully! I have seen stunning websites who pay no attention to the icons’ design, resulting in icons that clash with (and totally detract from) the aesthetics of the site. If you’re using icons that come from your website publishing platform or downloadable icons from the web, ensure they reflect your brand and work in harmony with the rest of your site. You can also create customised social media icons in your brand colours! We offer branded online digital graphics bundles as part of our service, so get in touch if you’d like more info on these!
3. Make your copy sparkle. (Effort Level: 5)
Updating your website copy is something you can (and should) do semi-regularly. (If your site includes a blog, you have even more of a platform to communicate your brand through the written word!) The messaging on your site should convey the persona of your brand. Whether that’s warm and engaging, conservative and reliable, bold and memorable…however you want your business and brand to be perceived, ensure your copy reflects your brand’s persona. Take a look at every single piece of copy on your website (even the ones that are hidden, like your thank you page if someone signs up to your mailing list) and decide: does the tone and ‘voice” of your writing fit your brand – or could it be better?
4. Get some fresh shots! (Effort Level: 7)
As your business and team grow, so should your website photography. I bet you have new product offerings, services or procedures you didn’t have 18 months ago, am I right? Strong, consistent, on-brand photos are a great way to keep your website fresh and current. And if your website is hosted on a content-managed system like WordPress, updating the images should be simple! When staging new photos, consider incorporating your brand colours into a clean, simple colour palette. An example of this might be a photoshoot of your team working in your space. Tidy your surroundings to minimise distractions, and integrate “pops” of your brand colours by way of books, pencils or plants and flowers. (And take out anything in the scene which clashes – like that painting on the wall which strikes all the wrong branding colours!) This way when your photography appears on your website, alongside your logo and branding, there’s consistency and harmony in your look.
5. Change up that boring layout. (Effort Level: 10)
I feel like the saying “technology evolves” is overused, but for good reason, because it rings so true. Every year, there’s a new app, a new design trend, a new website layout that takes off and becomes ubiquitous. A website layout is a big expense, and the decision to change yours shouldn’t be taken lightly. But if you are considering a big website design, look to emerging website layout trends so your site stays ahead of the curve and isn’t outdated within a year. Hint: clean, simple, one-page websites with minimalist menu bars are the newest trend. If you want to get even more “designer,” side-panel menu bars are going to be big in 2016.
Here’s a great example of a site our team created with an on trend, side-panel menu bar!
Now, while I would never say you have to design a new site every year, I definitely believe your site should continuously grow and evolve. Revisiting your copy and photography should be a regularly scheduled part of your marketing plan. As for the simpler fixes – if you don’t have your social media icons or an easy contact method on your website, put it on your to-do list this week!
Are you ready to upscale your website to attract more of your dream clients? Jump on a free 15-minute consultation with us to discuss how we can improve your website with a few small tweaks. Click here to schedule a consult!