A website is a must have if you plan on making a name for yourself on the world wide web (although no one calls it that anymore).
Once you build your website, it’s key to keep making improvements in order to stay up to date. There’s nothing like going to an industry expert’s website and seeing how awful it is because they have fallen behind.
In fact, there are many outdated website features that drive traffic away from your site. It’s time to avoid the no-no’s and take a hard look at what you can do to make your website more attractive.
As I tell my clients, setting up a website is simply the foundation, from there you have to keep building upon it.
Instead of using sliders for your site’s header, use a high-resolution static image.
While a large image with a description and a call to action is popular, having a series of photos sliding through the home page isn’t.
Why not? Sliders move every 8-14 seconds, which doesn’t leave much time for your readers to absorb the details and take action. In fact, they’ll likely just move on.
Use a high-resolution image for your header background, or a video, as long as it doesn’t distract from your text.
Need some ideas? Check out these websites.
Move Ads from above the fold to the sidebar
Anything that displays above the fold (which is everything you can see before scrolling) is prime real estate for getting your message across. The last thing you want to do is offer someone else’s image, message and brand that goes against yours.
When you’re pulling up a site on your smartphone or tablet, if the first thing you see isn’t attractive, are you going to stay there?
Think about it like this, ads are mini-commercials. These days, people skip commercials and blocks ads, are they truly the first thing you want your site visitors to see?
Have 7 or less items in your navigation menu
More than seven navigation items tend to make your website’s header look cluttered and unprofessional. Especially since simple, clean websites are in right now.
While you may have several pages, putting them all in your site’s navigation just leads to confusion. Where should your visitor click first? What’s most important?
Think of your website as a journey for your visitors and guide them through what they should click to next. Your ultimate goal is to get them to take action, and too many options can lead to them doing nothing at all.
Highlight the most important action you want visitors to take
When someone visits your website, what do you want to get out of it? Do you want someone to sign up for a course, take advantage of your services, read the blog or join your email list?
That action should be in the header of your website along with:
- A high-resolution image
- An attractive description
- A button to take the desired action
A popular option for transforming the home page, is to turn it into a full page call to action. The new home page layout only includes your background image and a call to action. It also includes an option to jump straight to your blog.
Focus on your customer
Even though it’s your website, it’s all about what you can do for your customer.
If you’re a blogger – focus on why others your readers should read your blog, what problem are you solving for them? Are you entertaining? Providing information? Offering a guide?
If you’re a business – focus on the problems you can solve for your customers. Are you helping their business grow? Providing services that save them time and energy? Make sure you’re crystal clear on what you do and how it helps.
Put the emphasis on the content instead of customization
Still think having a customized website is the way to go? Having a web developer create your website so it’s unlike any site out there can actually be a waste of both time and money. Let me explain.
If you’re using WordPress as the foundation for your website, there are monthly upgrades that need to happen to ensure your website is secure. Building a customized website that can’t be upgraded is a quick way to expose your site to hackers and security breaches.
Custom coding means when you want to change your website, you need to call in the web developers. Even if it’s a small tweak, such as changing the menu bar or swapping out content on the home page. You need to explain what you want, wait on their schedule, and probably dish out hundreds of dollars.
Because of the rate that websites change, your customized website could be out of date in just one year or less! Unless you have a yearly budget for spending thousands of dollars on website upgrades, you may want to reconsider.
Instead, focus on your content. If you’re a blogger or podcaster, you’ll need to frequently update your website. Even if you are simply using a template, your brand, content and images make it uniquely your own.
Make your social media buttons easy to find
Have you ever gone to someone’s website simply to follow them on social media, but couldn’t find their follow buttons? Typically they are in either the header or footer on the site, on every single page. Are yours?
Right now, I use the plugin Monarch to make my social media buttons stand out in the footer and sidebar of my site. Check it out here!
Use a word other than “subscribe” to invite visitors to join your email list
You’ve probably heard it a billion times by now, “the money is in the list” which is why you are bombarded by people begging you to sign up for their email list. While pop-ups are a popular, and let’s face it, pretty effective method, I’m still not a huge fan of them.
I recommend using alternate methods, like making your offers attractive. Ask a question: “Would you like to attract more clients?” and instead of saying “subscribe to list” use something like “yes please” or “I’m in!”
Need more ideas? Take the 5 Day Email Marketing Challenge.
Let your personality shine through
One of the best things you can do to make your website more attractive is to let your personality shine through. As you read my blog, you’ll notice it has a casual tone, and if you could hear me talking, it’s actually pretty friendly.
The Middle Finger Project is a blog that does an excellent job of letting personality shine through, even though some may find it offensive.
Whether it’s your business your personal blog, remember, people connect with other people, so stop hiding and come out and socialize!
What have you done recently to make your website more attractive?