Design a website that CONVERTS

Over the past few years, I’ve been teaching myself web design. It has been an eye-opening experience! It’s always fun to learn new ways to design in a new medium.

I’ve put together a list of 10 things you need when you’re designing your website. It can be overwhelming and, if you’re like me, you can get lost in the details. Here’s a simple checklist to make sure you’re all ready to go!

#1 – CONSISTENT branding

You may be small but you are powerful, my dear! But if you don’t stand out from the crowd, how will anyone know?

Branding is MOST important for small businesses, as you need to establish consistency and highlight what sets you apart from your competitors from the beginning. Start catching your ideal audience from day 1 with what makes you unique.

#2 – Clear Brand Message 

The goal is for your visitor to know what you do and who you do it for within seconds of visiting your website. Have you ever been on a website and for the life of you, you can’t figure out what they do? You don’t want that for your website.

On that first website view, aka above the fold, you want to clearly state what you do and who you help.

In my home page header, I let everyone know that I’m a “Brand Strategist helping you build your brand and attract your ideal audience.” Don’t give away all the details (keep it short and sweet please), but let your audience feel like they know you and can immediately start thinking about whether they need what you do.

#3 – Easy To Navigate

Is your website easy to navigate? Website visitors don’t stay too long if they don’t know where to find what they are looking for.

Your user flow needs to be easy to find and follow. This is a fun balance of giving enough information without giving too much. With too many choices you’ll overwhelm your visitor and they won’t know where to go next.

Have a simple top menu and have a call to action in your header – schedule a call, download the freebie, visit the shop, join your Facebook group. Give your audience a clear next step. The next few items will give you a few more ideas.

#4 – Call To Action On Every Page

Everyone loves a good next step. Landing on a beautiful, well-designed website is great, but where does a visitor go from there? Do you want your potential client to land on your website, love it, and move on? No! You want them to stay, take a look around, and then go somewhere else. Where do you want them to go? To your shop? Your Instagram page? Your Facebook group? Book a FREE consultation call?

 Another fun fact: your website should be written to a 7th to 9th-grade level. This means having a clearly defined audience flow. There should always be somewhere to go next, never let the trail end. You never know how far someone will follow you!

( You can check the grade level of your writing at hemingwayapp.com )

#5 – Links To Social Media

Every marketing platform should point your audience to another platform. The exploration of your business, services, and work should never end. It should always lead elsewhere, there should always be more, and eventually, this does circle back round to the beginning, but don’t create a dead end. You want them to ride that train as long as they can.

This is easily achieved by including your social media links in your header or footer. And don’t forget to draw attention to it. I like to have an Instagram preview just above my footer on several of my pages with a call to action – “Let’s be friends!” and then eye-catching icons below too. Don’t be afraid to be a little repetitive.

#6 – Opt-in Form

Give your audience something to sign up for AND don’t forget to collect their email. This can be a freebie download (like mine), it can be a “stay in the know” sign up, it’s up to you. Once you have their email you can send them updates on your new services, products, and events. Email marketing gets more eyes on your business. After all, someone needs to see your business an average of 7 times before they engage.

#7 – White Space Is Your Friend

Don’t forget to let your website content breathe. I see all too often, business owners want to fully utilize every inch of their website by putting too much content and the result can be a bit cluttered. Let your audience read, process, and enjoy each piece of content on your site by letting it breathe, giving it space, and leaving you with a website that feels lighter and more inviting (unless of course, that isn’t your brand, your brand ALWAYS comes first).

#8 – Favicon (image on the window tab)

This has become one of the first things I notice on websites. It’s a little thing, but it adds that extra level of professionalism to your website. This can be an image of you (mine right now), or it can be your logo (preferably a small/simple alternative logo).

If you don’t have a favicon, a default icon appears. As a rule, you shouldn’t pass up a chance to add your brand wherever you can. Your favicon is the perfect opportunity!

#9 – Mobile Ready

Fun fact: 50% of people who visit my website, do so from their cell phone. Although I do admit that designing for desktop is MUCH more fun than designing for phone format, the truth is that more people see your website in the palm of their hand, so you better make sure it looks good there too!

#10 – Legalities

Always use protection! In life, but also for your website. You want to be legally protected by a Privacy Policy, Term & Conditions, and Disclaimer. Admittedly, these aren’t fun to write, but just write them once, consult a lawyer, put them on your website, and then, unless your business drastically changes, you are good to go! You can find mine linked in the footer of every page. 

When you’ve got these 10 items covered, your website is good to go!

If you’d like more website hacks, send me an email and let’s chat!