As digital marketers, we are all so busy working for our clients and sizing up how they are doing online that we don’t take the time to see how we are doing. Today, I’d like to talk about your website. That’s right! Your website probably could use a face lift. I know my personal branding site, LissaDuty.com, could use some serious updates! (Don’t judge! If I was a cobbler, I probably wouldn’t have any shoes.)
I’m going to dive in a share a few tiny things you can do to make all the difference to the visitor and your bottom line.
1. First Impressions
When someone lands on the home page of your website is it easy to understand who you are and what you do? How far down does the user have to scroll to actually find out about you, your products, and services? People want instant satisfaction. You have 10 seconds to grab their attention. If your website doesn’t grab you, how is it supposed to grab anyone else?
2. Stock Photos Equal Yuk
That’s right, stock images are boring and no one wants to visit another boring website. The next time you meet with a client at their office, ask their permission to capture a quick photo of you with them at the conference table. Recruit their marketing person to take the photo on your smartphone. Smartphones nowadays have pretty good cameras in them. Capture the image in HD and be sure you turn the phone sideways for the wide angle. Voila! Instant real image for the home page slider on your website.
3. Sidebars are Out / Full Width is In
This holds true especially on home pages. Yes, I know, I still have a sidebar. But take my advice and get rid of yours. If anything make a few tweaks to the website template, so the home page doesn’t have a sidebar. Also, make the background color on your website the same on the outer edges as the rest of the pages. It won’t be as obvious to the viewer that it isn’t a full width website.
4. Make it Feel Real
What type of website do you have? Is it a branded site with your name? If so, consider changing the voice to first person. I did this with the home page of LissaDuty.com a few years ago and still receive rave reviews and comments about it. People that email me, feel more connected and like they know me. If it isn’t a personal site, but is for a business, add some personality to the copy that matches the social media presence for the brand.
5. Create the Unique
The simple fact is people notice the unique and are more likely to click because it captures their attention. An example of this is, I have custom buttons and social media icons on the header of LissaDuty.com. People want to click because they are curious.
6. Be Different
Don’t make the mistake of making your website to look like every other digital marketer’s website. It’s not about their website, it’s about your website and your ideal customer. If the website doesn’t connect to you and the rest of your brand, it will not connect to the prospective customer.
7. Custom Doesn’t Always Mean Expensive
Yes, you really can give your website the custom feel without spending a fortune. Ideas for this include #2 and #4 mentioned above. What about just breaking out from the normal navigation items – “About”, “Contact”, etc. If it’s a personal brand website, how about using “Email Me” in place of “Contact Us”? Instead of “About”, use “My Bio”. Don’t go crazy with the navigation item names by using ones that don’t make sense. The idea is to be different from everyone else.
One of the things I practice and preach is building an area into your website design where you can quickly make updates and share special messages with website visitors. On LissaDuty.com I have a “What’s Hot with Lissa” section that I can update very quickly and easily. This is a great area to promote new products, services, or drive traffic to something else.
9. The Mobile Experience
Seriously, guys? Is your mobile still broken? With everyone (and their dog) having a smartphone these days, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you might as well shut the door and go to bed. The fact is mobile is here, it’s not going away and Google is removing sites that are not mobilized from mobile search results.
10. Invest in Your Business
This should go without saying, but I think I need to say it anyway. Take some of those hard earned dollars you are getting from all those consulting gigs and allocate a certain percentage to go to your brand, your website, your social media, your marketing budget. In the past, you could go lean and just be great at social media and getting referrals to keep in business. This isn’t the case as much anymore. When someone refers you to a prospective customer, and that person visits your website, your social media or emails you, you need to give the best impression. This ranges from having an admin email back a grammatically correct reply all the way to how many instances of your company name comes up in search results.
I know I have covered a lot for you to consider. I can’t close without a challenge for you. Here it is:
Over the next 10 days, starting with item #1 on the list, start making a difference on your website. If you don’t have the time to do it or don’t know how, see #10 on the list and hire someone to do it for you.
The first impression is the most important impression! I’m off to go fix LissaDuty.com, because wow, I know I definitely need to do a better job at #2, #3 and #9 on this list.
What quick and easy changes would you add to this list for others to complete? Comment below and let’s get the conversation going!