How does your website make you feel? Happy, sad, worried?
For most people it’s definitely towards the anxious end of the spectrum.
Creating and maintaining a website is a big task, and one that most people don’t really have time for.
But the reality is, if you’re neglecting your website, you’re turning away money and customers.
And we know this – that’s why we feel that those unhappy feelings about our websites.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be like that.
I like to help my clients bring their websites to life and take ownership of the potential that they have.
Because a website isn’t just something that’s nice to have, which looks pretty. It can be one of the primary ways you attract new clients.
I hate to be dramatic, but if your website is letting you down, money is slipping through your fingers as you read this.
Your website can act like a relentless salesperson, working 24/7 to help you land more business. A good website should be optimised to get the best results.
It needs to be simple, clear, and encourage the visitor to take a specific action.
If you take steps to improve your website, and think about what its purpose really is, you can see dramatic results in a matter of days in some cases.
Adding regular content – such as news and blogs – can keep your website relevant and working for you as a sales team. You can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise online, and use your site as a way to attract new business and impress more people.
But how do you start to get your website working for you, rather than against you?
Tell a story
I talk about this a lot, but good marketing and sales, is good storytelling.
However much we like to believe it, we’re not really all that rational.
We make a lot of decisions based one emotions and how things make us feel.
Your website should tell a compelling story that clearly explains how you can improve your customer’s life. Don’t make it about you, make it about them.
I’ve written more about this here.
Keep it simple
One of the key mistake people make is trying to cram everything onto their website.
People use the internet at breakneck speed. If they don’t understand something straightaway, they are gone.
So you have a matter of seconds, when somebody lands on your website, to grab their attention, communicate what you do, and to encourage them to read on.
This isn’t the place to be fancy – you need to be clear and concise about what you do and how you can help them.
Make it fun and different
Your website offers a chance to stand out from the crowd and make a difference.
If you’re in an industry where it’s the norm to have a stiff boring website, then revamping yours can have a huge impact on your business.
So don’t underestimate the effects that creating an attractive, functional website with a well-thought-out design can have.
Web design trends change all the time, which is good and bad for you.
It’s good because most people create their website and then leave them for years until they are no longer fit for purpose and they need a complete overhaul.
If you’re proactive, and keep your website up-to-date, you’ll be putting your website ahead of 90% of the others out there.
It’s bad news though, because you do need to put thought into keeping it looking fresh, and to keep improving it all of the time.
You see, the best websites are never finished. They are constantly looking at feedback and how people use it, to update and tweak elements.
This is all designed to make it as efficient as possible – in most cases, to sell more!
Keep up with the trends
Websites have moved towards being simpler, more elegant and more minimal.
This kind of design can help you to keep your new website lightweight and snappy to use.
It does also mean that you need to be more creative to stand out and impress.
This is why I love to use animation and motion design. The internet should provide fun, engaging experiences, and animation is a natural way to bring an extra element of joy and intrigue to your website.
Small, subtle touches of movement and animation can have a really powerful effect.
It has to be Mobile Responsive
Technology is moving at a lightening pace, and few of us truly appreciate how much we need to keep up.
Repsonive design – having your website adapt to display appropriately on whatever device your visitor is using – is truly essential these days.
In most cases, at least 50% of visitors will be using a mobile device, maybe more, so your new website’s responsiveness should be far from an after thought.
For many new websites, the mobile experience should be the primary consideration, and it can be easy to determine where the design focus should be applied with a quick look at Google Analytics stats.
Many web designers ignore the mobile design, and focus primarily on how it looks on a desktop.
I think you need to give both designs equal weight to be successful.
Technology has moved on
We can all easily tell when a website hasn’t been updated for a while. The most obvious clue is how quickly – or slowly it loads up.
In the past you could get away with having a slow to load website. Nowadays people will click off it if there is even a couple of seconds too long to wait.
Take a look at your site and whether it is loading quickly or hanging for a little too long. You can even use this website to objectively score how quick it is to load, and whether you have a problem here.
If your site is slow, it will be harming your online presence, as visitors will be bouncing away from it.
Perhaps more damagingly, however, Google will also be punishing you, as website speed is a major factor in its algorithm, which determines how likely it is that your content will be displayed when a user makes a relevant search.
SEO factors – keeping it quick
If you have a slow website, Google will also be punishing you.
Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of cosying up to Google, so the search engine lists your website when somebody makes a relevant search.
If you can make it into the top 3 results for something relevant to your business, this can be unbelievably valuable, providing you with a huge boost in free visitor numbers.
But Google is incredibly clever these days, and they actively punish outdated websites, to stop them appearing. Here are a few key mistakes to avoid.
Keep it updated
If you’ve not added anything to your website for months, Google will assume it’s inactive and start to drop you down the rankings.
Make sure you’re keeping things fresh and updated.
This is something that many people don’t appreciate – but if you have bad web hosting, your website is going to load slowly and be unreliable.
I use Stablepoint, at the moment, and I’m really happy with how it performs.
Don’t use huge images
Another error I see a lot, which is very easy to do, is to upload big, hefty images to your website.
This can massively slow down how quickly a website loads, and make it really sluggish to use.
The snappiest websites have a system in place to compress their images first, without losing much quality.
With these steps, you can start to take control of your website, and start to make it work for you.
I can help you to create a simple, easy-to-manage solution that will leave you feeling good about your website and the affect it is having on your business.
Take a look at the simple and complete website packages that I offer. I do it all – the writing, the design and the implementation, so you can relax and spend your time on the things you care about.
Read more about my complete website packages here.