Today is January 12th, 2012, and I decided to have a bit of fun with the number 12 today. And since I’m having fun let’s talk about websites; yay!
If you have a website, you know that it represents your business, whether you put it up or not. You want it to look clean, if not professional. By that, I mean that there are some people who will tell you that your website needs to look like everyone else’s standards of what a professional website should look like. If you look at my website, or even this blog, you notice it has its own unique look. Yet it’s clean and professional because it does what I want it to to, and I feel it represents my business just fine.
In that vein I’m going to give you 12 things you should check on your website or blog that could be giving your visitors a bad impressions.
1. Symmetry. The first thing people see when they get to your website or blog is whether or not it has a smooth look or not. Symmetry doesn’t mean that everything has to mirror itself; it means it has to be pleasant enough so that it doesn’t distract and confuse people so they want to immediately leave.
2. Standard fonts. By this, I’m not saying one of the standard fonts that everyone else says you should use. I mean that, other than your logo and maybe a few highlights here and there, you should use the same font on your entire page, and on all your pages. And if you decide to have a second font, only have a second font; three or more fonts and your page looks like an amateur put it together.
3. Consistency. Whatever your main page looks like, all your other pages should look the same. The only exception to this might be if you have a sales page for certain products that you want to also be able to market independently from your main site, yet still link back to your site. By the way, that’s dicey, but I’ve done it on this site with my product pages looking different than my website.
4. Selecting fonts that are readable. I love wacky fonts. But I only use them when I create flyers. On the web, other than for a logo, you want to make it easy for people to read your content. That lucida calligraphy font might look great if you’re writing a letter to someone, but reading page after page with that as your main font will get on people’s nerves.
5. Have some rhyme and reason for where you place your images. I know that not all images end up being the same size, but having multiple images on a site of different sizes that are all over the place won’t get it done. Coding can resize some of these images up front, and you can set it up so that people can click on those images to see them in a larger size if need be.
6. Overdoing highlights and bolding. We get it; you make pizza. You don’t need to highlight that word over and over on any of your pages. Your visitors will get it and you won’t look like you’re trying to beat people over the head with what you do.
7. Too many colors. If you’re trying to make a point and it takes a lot of colors, that’s okay. But having more than 3 colors on one page is distracting, and if you do it on other pages consistently, it looks like your kid has been coloring.
8. What do you do? Believe it or not, I visit multiple pages and have to sometimes look around to figure out what businesses do. Don’t talk in platitudes or in industry-speak. No one wants to read that your company specialized in changing paradigms and process management to help companies achieve better financial success. They want to know what you do, what your business is about. If you can’t tell them that in 25 words or less, you need to work on your message.
9. How can people contact you? Yeah, I know, you have a contact page with script that people can put all their information in to reach you, but you don’t give anything away. I don’t even talk to any of these people, and I know I’m not alone. If you look at my website you see my phone number on every page, along with “Contact SEOX; click here”, which opens up an email where you can write me. Stop making it hard for potential clients to reach you.
10. Did a song just start playing? Every time you startle someone because you or someone else decided to have music welcome your guest you put off more than 50% of your market. I like music myself, but I don’t want music starting when I go to a website because you don’t know what else I might have going, and I especially get irked if there’s no way for me to turn it off.
11. Colors in general. Are your colors overpowering? Does your background color clash with your font color? Is that computer generated snow I see suddenly falling on my screen? You think it’s cute but if it distracts your potential customers, which it will, people will leave your site quickly.
12. Does your content represent you and your business properly? What I’ve run into here and there is having to write the content for someone’s webpage. That’s fine and dandy, but I need them to step up and tell me if I’ve represented them properly. I don’t know what everyone does or how they do it; I can only research it.
That’s what everyone who does what I do will do as well. But if you’re only looking to coach new women entrepreneurs in health care and the person who wrote your content has set you up as a mentor and coach for every man and woman on the planet, you’re not being represented well. Look at your content, maybe even write it yourself. If you want someone to edit it then do that. But it’s your business; make sure it represents who you are.