So you’ve DIYed your website and you’re not loving it… now what? Maybe it’s not bringing in enough clients or maybe it’s bringing in the wrong clients altogether, and you’re wondering how to improve your website.
Ok, you could pay a professional to redesign your whole website but aside from the fact web designers don’t work for free, you might not necessarily need a full redesign just yet. In most DIY cases, you can make huge improvements in just a few hours. Music to your ears I know!
My name is Gemma, Web Designer and Founder That’s Her Business and I’ve written a list of ways how to improve your website and increase conversions in an afternoon. I’ve compiled the biggest mistakes I see when auditing DIY websites and everything I focus on when designing websites from scratch.
Read on to spruce up your website and get more users turning into real-life paying customers.
Why is improving your website important?
The biggest mistake people make when creating a business website is setting up and forgetting! It’s important to keep up with digital trends and make sure your content stays up to date.
Have you ever landed on a website that looked like it was built at the very beginnings of the internet and thought anything but, “Wow, that looks dated – I wonder if they’re still in business…”
Most people have an idea of what they want people’s first impressions to be of their brand – ‘dated’ and ‘probably out of business’ aren’t usually on the list.
As time goes on, your business grows and changes. Think about how things have changed for your business in the last few years. Does your website reflect the business you have today? My guess is there are probably some changes you can make.
Let’s find out how to improve your website.
How to improve your website
1. Focus on the right people
First things first. You need to make sure you understand your target audience on a deep level. Keeping your target audience in mind across all of your platforms (yes, your website, but your social media and other marketing channels too) means you’ll filter out traffic you don’t appeal to and focus on the people who are much more likely to buy your products or services. The right people.
Ask these questions:
- Who are your right people?
- What are they searching for?
- What do they want to find out?
- Which social platforms do they hang around on?
- How do you solve their problems?
- How can you speak to your people directly and make them feel seen when they land on your website?
Focusing your efforts on the right people will increase your conversion rate and who wants to spend their energy attracting people that won’t buy? Not me.
2. Make it readable!
The easiest way to get people to pay more attention to your content is to simply make it more readable. You can split the text into sections with clear headings so users scan down the page – we all do it!
Keep sections of text left-aligned and they shouldn’t be longer than 300 words without a heading to chop it up into easily digestible chunks.
Keep paragraphs 2-4 sentences long. You can even include the occasional lone sentence for emphasis!
Just like this.
Use bullet points, numbered lists and bold or italic text to help users find information quickly and consider using a table of contents or quick links at the start of the page when you have lots of content.
When it comes to the design of your pages – readability is better than attractiveness.
You might think the swirly handwritten font is lovely, but can your audience really read the information easily? Remember, we look at 500 web pages a day (that’s not a real stat but probably isn’t *too* far off for my-screen-addicted-self) and we’re lazy. Just serve us the right information on a plate… don’t make us fight for it and we might just stick around to find out more!
3. Add (your own) images
Add more images and use your own!
Most of us can spot a stock image from a mile off. Once you’ve spotted them, it’s really hard to trust the business and website you’re looking at. It’s much easier to build authority when users can actually see your face and what you look like while you’re at work.
If you don’t have any of your own images, I’d really recommend hiring a professional and booking a personal branding shoot. Spend a couple of hours with a photographer and you should walk away with enough images to keep updating your website, blog and social media for 6 months to a year… without a cheesy stock image in site!
4. Add Calls To Action (CTAs)
Calls To Action are KEY to conversion. CTAs are buttons that tell your users what to do next. Think “BUY NOW” or “GET IN TOUCH”. Your CTAs can be subtle or in your face ‘do the thing now’ messages and we automatically look for them around web pages. They encourage the user to take action now.
CTA buttons make it as easy as possible for users to take the next steps. Don’t let them scroll all the way to the bottom of the section or page just to get lost – tell them what to do next!
Keep your CTAs limited to one or two styles for consistency so users know what they’re looking for and dot them throughout your content. “Add a CTA here” is the note I write/say the most while performing website audits!
5. Add social proof
Lots of small businesses like to include a ‘testimonials’ or ‘client feedback’ page on their website, but most people don’t actually visit that page. If they do, they definitely don’t read all of the content! So, how do we stop them from missing all of the lovely things Mrs Bloggs said about you?
We scrap the testimonials page and add social proof all over your website instead!
Add testimonials at any relevant opportunity. If you have multiple services, include testimonials that match or mention relevant points that highlight the features of each service.
Try to avoid using carousels, but if you have to, keep it to a maximum of three slides and put the best testimonial on the first slide or the best chances it will be seen.
Testimonials are your social proof. Include them on each page to reinforce your reliability and trustworthiness. Yes, you can explain why your products or services are great… but are your users more likely to believe? You or your past customers? Hint: it’s not you.
This one is dead easy too because it’s simply a matter of copying and pasting from your testimonials page or Google reviews. If you haven’t got any testimonials yet, make sure you ask everyone you work with for feedback or better still… send them your Google My Business review link.
6. Add/update your about page
Your about page is one of the most important pages on your website. It’s a chance to differentiate yourself from your competitors and make your values clear. Your About page is a behind-the-scenes look at who you are, what you care about and how you can help your customers reach their goals.
Most users land on your homepage and start scrolling without really reading in too much depth. If they like what they see they’ll jump on over to your About page and dive a bit deeper. This is your time to shine.
Let’s assume your readers know nothing about you – what do you need to tell them? How can you demonstrate you are the right business to make all of their dreams come true?
How to write an effective About page:
- Know who you’re talking to – It’s about you, but it’s really about what they want/need from you. How can you help them?
- Show off your personality – Sound like a human. Use phrases and words you’d actually say out loud don’t stay far away from buzzwords and jargon. Don’t be afraid to chuck in the odd personal detail. If you’re a one-person band use I/me instead of we/us – be honest!
- Add images – Photos go a long in aiding connection and building trust with your audience. Remember, cheesy stock images stand out a mile off so make sure you have some genuine photos of you and/or your workplace on hand.
- Keep it up to date – Done anything new lately? Don’t forget to keep updating your About page! Try to stick to evergreen content (e.g. saying “founded in 2017” instead of “founded 5 years ago”) to avoid out-of-date information if you’re likely to forget to update often.
- End strong – it’s those CTAs again! Add a call to action to tell them where to go next. Should they call you, visit your shop or find out more about your services?
7. Use contact and sign-up forms
How can you make it as easy as possible for people to sign-up for your services? Offer them a contact form or booking link on a plate with a call to action.
If you use a simple link to your email address, the customer has more chance of getting bored or distracted and never bothering to get in touch. Maybe they’re on their phone and aren’t logged into their emails? You’ve just made their life a lot harder!
Create basic forms to instantly collect your customer’s information and deliver leads straight to your inbox – it’s that easy.
Creating forms for different uses gives you the opportunity to track your conversions, too. You can easily keep track of how many people are getting in touch and where they’re coming from. You can then use this data to make tweaks and improve your performance… increasing your bookings and ultimately how much dosh you’re bringing in!
Add extra fields and improve your customer experience. You can ask anything from what they need help with to which brand of tea they prefer just to get the conversation started. Extra fields make your life easier too! Fewer calls, less note-taking.
You can also use forms to build your email marketing list, populate your CRM or project management software (e.g. Asana or Dubsado) and reduce spam by adding a CAPTCHA.
8. Update your blog
When was the last time you touched your blog? Maybe you’re a consistent blogger and you smugly write yourself SEO-friendly content every month. Or, more likely, you haven’t touched your blog since you launched your website and it’s gathering dust.
Blogging is still relevant in 2022, it increases your visibility online and builds trust with your readers.
But, if you search ‘how often should I blog?’ you’ll get a huge number of very different answers with some saying as often as four times a week. That’s 16-20 a month.
While that would be excellent, as a small business owner you probably don’t have that much time available to dedicate to blogging. Especially as we’re talking about how to improve your website in an afternoon here. I’ll tell you something…
One well-written and well-thought-out blog is worth at least 20 posts you’ve chucked up online for the sake of posting.
Blogging is an ongoing task but, I say, one is better than none, every single time. Write one this month and see how you get on. If you enjoy sharing expertise, dedicate a couple of hours next month to writing another.
Blogs should be written for a human audience. If you’re working on SEO, you can and should include keywords, but don’t cram them in wherever possible. Your content should be easy to read so don’t forget to make it scannable with headings, bulleted lists and highlighting important points in bold or a different colour.
If writing isn’t your favourite thing, you could always hire a copywriter or SEO expert to post fresh content each month on your behalf and bring you new leads.
Don’t forget to make the most of your blog content. A long well-written blog could give you content for 10 Instagram posts and an email marketing series. The key to small business content marketing is reusing and recycling!
9. Make sure your website is responsive/mobile-friendly
This one is often overlooked by DIYers – make sure your website looks incredible and is easy to use across all devices. Test your website on every device you can (legally) get your hands on.
Having a responsive website means your website automatically adjusts its layout to fit the screen of the device you’re viewing it on.
Your website should fit the screen well, make important information easy to find, and buttons should be clickable and obvious – everything should be exactly where you expect it to be. It may even be beneficial to hide some information on the mobile version of your website design.
While you’re at it, check all of your links and buttons lead to the right place. Nothing gets rid of a website user like the frustration of clicking through to a broken link!
10. Stay consistent to improve your website over time
Your business evolves over time. Technology moves even faster. Keep your eye on your website. Test it regularly and ask for feedback from your customers – keep the user experience the focus of any updates you make – and make them consistently.
Take care of content updates as they come in or set aside time each month along with your general maintenance and you’ll improve your website bit by bit each time. Create a website you’re proud to show off!
BONUS TIP: Learn how to improve your website with an online website audit
If you’ve worked through this list and you’re still thinking something is missing, learn how to improve your website with a tailored website audit. Maybe you’re staring at this list wondering if you even have an afternoon to dedicate to improving your website? We’ll walk you through the exact steps you need to take to drastically improve your website with a handy checklist and voice notes talking through your 5 main website pages.
How to improve your website summary
That’s it. Now it’s time to put that afternoon aside and get those updates done. To summarise how to improve your website in just a few hours – really the most important thing is to focus on who your dream customer or client is and how you can make their life easier every step of the way.
Every update and tweak you make should be to better communicate with them AND/OR improve their experience.
Ensure your website is easy to read with obvious calls to action and social proof. Never make the user hunt for information! Check it across all devices to make sure everything works as you intend it to and you can’t go far wrong.
If you need an extra helping hand please head over to our website audits and get yourself booked in. You can also have a gander at our latest articles for all things small business websites and branding or give me a shout over on Insta to stay in touch. Happy websiting x