“Was it something I said?”
Look, you probably already know this, but I’m just going to say it anyway:
Your website is your online business card.
It should be at the heart of your brand, a central place for potential clients to explore and decide if they want to work with you. But, what if your website is unintentionally turning interested people away (horror of horrors) instead of attracting them? What if your digital pride and joy is actually hindering your business?
WHEN YOUR WEBSITE ISN’T WORKING THE WAY YOU IMAGINED
I’m going to tell you something that’s actually quite embarrassing, but I’m all for transparency and keeping it real. No one is perfect, least of all me. And, if I’m being really honest, it’s the whole reason I got inspired to write this post. When I first launched my website (not too long ago), I was over the moon. I thought it was amazing – I mean, it was pretty and it contained all the important information. What wasn’t to love?
Well, as it turned out – quite a bit, actually.
The day I announced the big news all over social media (as one does), I got two messages from people I knew telling me that my site needed more work.
Not exactly the kind of thing you want to hear on launch day. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like sitting in the corner and having a bit of a sulk.
All that work.
But you know, the truth is my website wasn’t working. It wasn’t as polished and professional as I’d imagined it to be – yes, it was nice to look at. But, it didn’t function like a business website.
And the worst part? It wasn’t 100% mobile-friendly. Talk about one of the biggest digital mistakes you can make!
LESSONS AND REALITY
I always believe that things happen for a reason, and when you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, mistakes are just part of the journey. What this little (big) experience taught me was this:
Focus on the client and create something you’d want to invest in. Pretty simple, really.
I don’t think I’d have been inspired to invest in coffee conversations or real talk, to be honest. This lesson made me get real about a few things, and learn new tools and techniques. I took that constructive criticism, dusted myself off, and tried again.
As one does when you’re self employed.
So, here’s what I learned, what I implemented, and what I recommend doing to help improve the look and feel of your business website in order to attract potential clients – not turn them off!5 Simple Tips For a More Polished, Professional Website (My Digital Lessons and Mistakes) #branding #websitetips Click To Tweet
5 TWEAKS FOR CREATING A MORE POLISHED, PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE
1) MAKE IT ABOUT YOUR CLIENT
I know, this one should be obvious, but it’s easy to blur the lines sometimes – especially when you’re trying to be authentic, or your business name is your own name. My initial website was pretty, but in reality, it was more of a lifestyle blog than a website. Now, for every website page, I ask myself these questions:
- Is this speaking to my client?
- How does this benefit or help my client?
- What can I simplify or shorten?
- Is this consistent with my business (not personal) brand?
- If I was a potential client, would I be engaged enough to want to find out more?
2) GET RID OF THE “FLUFF”
My husband showed me a one-pager website of a freelancer the other day. I instantly felt claustrophobic, irritated and angry. There was far too much going on. I mean, this person put their entire CV on their website. I won’t even go into the fonts, the colours, the lack of white space, or the social media buttons.
The thing that made me want to click away was all the unnecessary fluff.
It really was just words and sentences about this copywriter’s accomplishments. I felt like a complete outsider. Now, I don’t know about this person, but I certainly don’t want anyone to have that feeling when they’re on my website. They should feel invited, like they’re being welcomed into your digital home.Potential clients should feel like they're being welcomed into your digital home, not like they're an outsider infringing on your turf. Click To Tweet
Moral of the story?
Stick to the basic stuff – if you want to brag about how seasoned you are at xyz, do it the right way. Make that part of your social media conversations. Have a little line about it on your services page. Just please, get rid of all the self-promotional fluff. No one wants to see that on your website, save it for LinkedIn.
3) CHECK THAT YOUR WEBSITE IS RESPONSIVE
This. This is what ultimately led to me refreshing my entire website. I thought I checked mobi responsiveness, but clearly I didn’t. That was the main issue my friends had.
Now, I check and check and check on ALL devices. Properly.
Remember, not everyone is sitting leisurely at a desktop computer. People are busy – they’re stealing a peek at your website on their phone between meetings; they’re having a browse on their tablet before dinnertime. Get into that mindset so that you don’t make the same mistake I did. Trust me, those extra checks will save you BIG time.
This website has been my lifeline for responsive checking.
You’re welcome: Responsive Design Checker
4) RESIZE AND COMPRESS IMAGES
Call me a little naive, but I’m not a designer or web developer – so when I was uploading beautiful images from Unsplash and saving them as “high-quality” PNGs, little did I know how that would affect the speed of my website.
Who’s got the patience for waiting 15 seconds for a page to load?
That’s how slow my website was.
I know it sounds like nothing, but bear in mind, we live in this competitive, attention-grabbing digital age where the expected loading time of a website is around 3 seconds.
I’m still playing around with ways to make my site speed a little faster, but for now, here’s my go-to system for resizing and compressing images:
- Download a high-quality image from free-to-use sites, like Unsplash or Pexels.
- Upload the image to Canva and resize it to the exact dimensions I need.
- Save the image as a JPG.
- Go to TinyPNG.com and compress the image.
- Upload resized and compressed image to my site.
5) CREATE HARMONY
Listen, I know we want to be creative and show all the things we can do, but consistency is key on your website. Getting that harmony between your content, your images, and calls to action is so important.
Your website should FLOW and connect all the dots.
It should feel ambient, like a welcome into your digital home and explain what you offer as seamlessly as possible. If something doesn’t fit, replace it. If a sentence is too long, shorten it. And, if your services page is too confusing, simplify it. Make it smooth sailing from the second someone lands on your site, to the contact page.
And there you have it: my non-designer website lessons and a few tips for creating a more polished and professional look and feel to your website. I hope this post was helpful. Do you have any other website tips? Share in the comments below!