How your website is working against you
As a small business owner, your website can be your most valuable employee or some bitch that backstabs you every chance it gets – don't let your website be the last one!
- It's ugly. Alright guys, this one is sort of a big one for me – Ugly websites are so 2004. We've all seen them: the websites that are all primary colors, using a million fonts or just use really crappy photos – they're so ugly. You have three (yes…3!) seconds to gain the attention of the person visiting your website…ugly websites don't have good retention rates.
How you can fix this: Hire a designer/developer! Really though, we are experts in this field, we know what's ugly and we can usually talk you out of having clip-art flowers all of over the top of your website. At the very least, get a really good template for WordPress – but – keep in mind that you're not going to be viewed as “original” when you're rocking a template website design. Oh – you could also get some people who you admire to check out your site. Maybe it's someone with style your admire or their website is awesome, ask them to look at your website and encourage them to give honest, raw opinions because opinions that are fluffed up are not going to help!
- It doesn't work well. Again, another huge one for me. Your website needs to actually work – it doesn't need to take 10 years for your site to load and whoever visits the site needs to be able to navigate it really well. Your forms need to work, your links need to work – the site just needs to work.
How you can fix this: Your designer/developer will do this too. If you're going it alone, you can have some friends/family visit your site and see if everything works the way they expected it to – sometimes you're too close to it and you love it when other people think it's not right.
- Your message isn't clear. Your audience needs to know IMMEDIATELY what it is you can provide them with, whether that's a product or service. Have you ever been to a website where you get there and you have ZERO clues as to why it's even occupying space on the interwebs? Yeah…don't be that. It's ok if you offer multiple products or services but define them really well.
How you can fix this: Define what you want people to know about you when they land on your site and put it there. Take my site for example – when you land on my home page, I have a graphic that says “Branding, website design and strategy for your lady business” – you're not going to get confused and think I design wedding invitations. Again, this might be something you pull in neutral parties for. Business coaches and copywriters are the worst for this, I can't count the amount of sites I've been to in this niche that I can't tell what the heck it is that they do until I do some digging. It's not a secret, shout it out!
- It's not optimized for SEO. Search Engine Optimization is confusing but it's a necessary evil. If you want to be found on search engines, you can't just hope it'll happen – you need to be proactive and get this piece under control.
How you can fix this: Well, again, hire somebody who knows what they're doing! You can also do a Google search or Pinterest search on “SEO for my website” and find some useful tips and tricks on how to take care of this.
- It doesn't portray your style. Oh my gosh, as a small business, YOU are a huge part (if not, the only part) of your business. Make sure your website portrays YOUR style and you. So, if you hate the color purple in real life, why the H would your site have big purple blobs? Or, maybe you like really light and airy spaces and your site is sort of dark and blah…yeah…no.
How you can fix this: Define your style. Take a few minutes and write down what you love, create a mood board filled with things you love (not just websites/logos, fashion, home decor, rooms, houses, etc) or create a Pinterest board filled with these same things. Use this exercise to help you realized what your style is. Then use that to incorporate it into your design – or have your web designer do that!
- It's too trendy. Alright, y'all, let's talk about this. Web designs, just like fashion and home decor, goes in waves of trends. Here's the thing though, you want to STAND OUT – so – if most of the people doing the same thing you're doing have these super light and airy sites with lots of light stock photos of glitter and scissors, don't do that. Sure, you may like it but you like it more because everybody else is doing it. Set yourself apart.
How you can fix this: Just don't do it. If you see that basically everyone in your same market is doing something right now, go another direction. Don't be weird, but be yourself and be effective without being over-the-top trendy. Stand out.
- It's not trendy enough. Yeah, yeah, yeah, isn't this crazy since I just said not to be too trendy? Yes, well, I have a point. There are some “trends” that you should always know about. For instance, right now – it's pretty normal (another word for trendy) for the “about” page of a website to be first in the menu and the “contact” page to be last, so, that's where people go when they get to a website. You don't want to confuse your customers because you wanted to be different and place links in weird places, right? Another example is that people incorporate their newsletter subscription box on their site; this may be a trend but it freakin' works and you need to be doing it.
How you can fix this: Define trends that improve the FUNCTIONALITY of a website (like the examples above) instead of the overall aesthetics and try and stick fairly close to those. Professionals in website design are going to be well aware of what these trends are that you need to actually use.
Alright y'all, I hope that helps you take a closer look at your website and what you could be doing to improve it!