I get a lot of questions about what it is that makes a great website…but even more often, I’m simply asked,
“What’s wrong with my website?”
Let’s face it…whether you’re a newbie website owner or just too close to the project to see it objectively, most of us could use some advice on where to improve.
I remember when I started building my first blog. There weren’t many people around to ask for feedback or advice. If I’d just had someone to tell me what I’m doing wrong, I wouldn’t have had to spend hours researching answers myself.
Now, as a web designer, I’ve come to know which mistakes are the most common and easy to fix. But you don’t have to be an expert in web design to have a website that looks professional and high-end. In fact, I’m going to share a few tips with you right now, that will help you improve your website tenfold in just a few minutes or hours.
So, let’s get started.
Here are three quick fixes for a more professional and cohesive website.
3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Website Fast
This may seem obvious to some, but I can’t stress enough how important a simple and straightforward navigation can be. Too many options or drop downs can overwhelm a website visitor, or even worse, can prevent them from finding the very topics, products, and services you’d like them to find.
Navigation should contain your most important pages and relevant links. If you have a blog, consider adding your most relevant blog categories to the navigation menu. If you have a shop or marketplace, don’t forget to add a link in a prominent place. Remember that sidebars and footers are other places to where you can add less important links to keep from overloading your main navigation.
Stick with simple labels and get feedback on creative labeling for people in your network. I also recommend looking at other websites in your industry or niche to see what works best for them. Search your competitors or related websites on Google and see what they’re implementing. You’re bound to find some good ideas.
This one goes right along with navigation. Too many widgets, loaded headers and sidebars can overwhelm or confuse your audience. Keep your website layout minimal and to the point. Only include design elements and widgets that add value to your website. If it’s not a necessary element of your design or brand, nix it.
A clutter-free website makes it easier for visitors to focus their attention on the things you most want them to see. Whether it’s a call to action, like a newsletter signup, or an ebook you’re selling, don’t make it difficult for them to pay attention to your most important offerings. By limiting the clickable elements on your website or blog, you’ll ensure that the most important links and offers get the clicks you want.
The trend in web design right now is to focus more on photography, or content, without many of the distractions that websites and blogs have included in previous years. Websites like Medium and I am a food blog are gaining momentum because they keep it simple and focus on what their readers really want. Knowing what readers want and streamlining to include only those exact elements in your design will increase your website’s aesthetic and usability.
When it comes to your website content, it’s best to focus in on the subjects or discussions that you most want to be known for. While you may have 10, 20, or even more topics you’d like to pursue, narrowing it down to just a few will help your website visitors to recognize your unique value.
The same goes for your service offerings. Rather than overloading potential clients with a multitude of services in order to meet the needs of the many, try focusing in on a few of your best clients and what their specific needs are and combine that information with what you know to be your best skills. What signature services could you offer that make the most of your skills and current client needs? What are your clients pain and passion points?
Whether it be your blog content or actual services we’re discussing, keeping your focus is important. Don’t give people the opportunity to get lost or unclear about what it is you do. Sometimes more, is not always better. Make it easy for them to see what you have to offer by limiting choices and narrowing your content and blog topics.
The fewer offerings you have on your website (or topics on your blog), the more likely it is that visitors will approach you for the specific opportunities you crave, rather than the ones that you didn’t intend. They’ll also be much more likely to click on the right links and engage on your website in exactly the way that you want them to.