Is your website looking tatty and unloved?
Find out how to resuscitate your old website and get it working for your business again.
Even if your website was lovingly designed in the beginning and you spent lots of time and money getting it going it is really easy for it to go off the rails and start misbehaving. Technology changes and your business changes and your even your audience might change and it can all make for a wonderful website mess.
The problem is that changes are often unplanned and reactionary. Argh! I need that super whizzy plugin that connects me to that brand new social media platform. Argh! I’ve just created a new programme, a new range of products and completely changed my focus. AND it HAS to all be at the top of my website on the front page in BIG!!!
Before you know it, you’ve tweaked, added, diy-designed and moved around most of the elements of your website and ended up with a bit of a mess.
The well-planned, SEO friendly, brilliantly laid out website you started out with can easily descend into a confusing muddle, which will effect everything from your brand image to your search engine rankings and sales. Eek!
There is life left in the old website yet. It is possible to breathe a new lease of life into it and get it working for you and looking lovely. Don’t believe me?
Here are 5 magical fixes you can use TODAY to transform that old warty frog of a website back into your online prince, without spending loads of money on an entire redesign:
Clean up the mess
A great website knows what its main purpose is.
This may well have changed since you first started out online so taking a step back and re-examining what you want your website to do for your business is the most important thing you can do.
Ask yourself these questions…
What is the MAIN focus of your website? Do you want visitors to sign up to your list, buy your latest programme, browse your online shop, buy a particular product, join your social media conversations, be THE place to find what they need, become your number one fan or learn from your brilliant blog?
You may have a few of goals here but pick the ONE thing your website should DEFINITELY get your visitors to do when they land on your website. THAT is your MAIN focus – everything else is part of the journey.
Once you have your main focus you can then trim back everything that doesn’t contribute in some way to that focus. Be brave, it’s like ripping off a plaster but once it’s done it’s all better.
Get rid of the clutter (not everything should be on the front page). Give your main focus the stage and let it shine.
Grab a pen and a notebook and scribble down your new website plan and try to think how your customers will navigate around your website. Adding new pages or directions in the sidebar can make it far easier to find their way around.
Find out what’s really wrong with your website.
You may hate how it looks now, but some bits might really be working for you (and your customers). The best way to find out what is working and what isn’t is to get yourself on Google Analytics and do some digging. You’ll be able to see what pages are most popular, where people are landing when they visit your website (this can be surprising and isn’t always your front page) and where they go after they’ve landed on the site.
Ooh – it’s a bit stalkery but good stuff. Just go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ and create yourself an account.
Dress it up
A new header can work wonders for a website as they make such an impact on your brand image. They take up some of the most important space on your website, so can really colour the way you feel about your site.
Find a brand new image for your header or change up your marketing message.
Leap onto Canva and have a play with your new look.
Not feeling arty? Then this could be a good thing to invest in and save you LOADS from having to get the entire site redone.
Create your look
Style guidelines aren’t just for the big girls. Have a look at the fonts and colours you are using throughout your website. Is it a bit of a mishmash? Are your ads using a different font to your header and your text using 3 different colours in one article?
Mixing it up can really mix up your audience.
Choose and DECIDE on no more than 2 fonts to use throughout your website (including in the graphics) and choose and DECIDE what your main colours will be.
Most websites these days are built with something called CSS, which means that a simple tweak to the code and you’ll be able make your whole website theme blue, or pink, or yellow or change all your fonts with one click. If you have access to editing your own website (using a content management system like WordPress or Squarespace) you can probably do this yourself. If your website is custom built then it won’t be an expensive change.
There is nothing worse than a website that looks like it’s shouting at you. If you’ve been trying to make new additions to your website stand out with bigger and bigger text then you may be shouting so loud that nobody can work out what you are really saying.
Go through your text on each page and work out what the MOST important parts of it are. You will already have your headings set up behind the scenes and you should use them as they can really help your rankings on search engines too.
Play around with your headings settings – maybe an interesting font will make them stand out, maybe just a larger size or style (bold, italics etc).
But once you’ve chosen your settings, stick with them and make your Header 1 top dog on every page.