52 Power Up. Part 1.

Whether you’re a DIYer or are looking for ways to ramp up your website, this collection of invaluable tips – 52, to be exact – will have your site looking incredible and performing better in no time.

52 Power Up. Part 1. All Killer. No Filler.

TIP 1: Evoking a response by avoiding the “formulas”.

As this summer winds down, we’re powering up. Welcome to our tip-filled countdown to our next Website Bootcamp.

What if your website could evoke the kind of response of your favourite song lyrics? That’s the point after all – evoking a response. You want your people, the RIGHT people, to be moved by what you have to say. The answer is not found in a golden formula or a quick fix – it’s the weaving together of many important details. It takes some hard work & a plan. It’s why most websites never quite hit the mark. They complicate their message rather than simplifying.

So for the next 52 days we are powering up and counting down to our next Website Bootcamp. Take these tips, just one focused task at a time, and let’s just see if we can move you towards having a stronger website and online presence. Let’s do it so you can get back to your business at hand.

TIP 2: Is your website serving your ideal customer?

A website’s purpose is to serve your customer (both existing and potential). So, the first step in designing or revamping a website is to define exactly who it will be serving. In a digital world with so many options, crafting a site that truly engages and resonates with your customer, has never been so important. It also takes the guess work out for you – when you know your customer, you can deliver content and an experience that satisfies.

Ask yourself…
1. Who is my ideal customer? Gender, age, location, income, interests.

2. What problem can I solve for them? Demonstrating empathy, understanding and solutions can go a long way in building long-term relationships.

3. Survey past clients. What do they like (or dislike) about your products and services What value do you offer.

4. Listen to feedback. Is there a common response? If the majority is responding to certain aspects of your business, these may just be the points that are most important to highlight.

TIP 3: Putting technology on hold. Instead put pen to paper.

Do you know one of the biggest mistake people make when they build a website? They jump right into the technology, getting lost in options – choices – configurations, making big decisions on the fly, with no strategy or focused plan.

The best way to start a website is to put technology on hold and simply put pen to paper. Identify the pages you need, identify what you want to say on those pages, and go a step further to gather (or at least identify) any images and graphics that might sit on those pages. It’s not rocket science, but it’s an over-looked step, and will lead to a cohesive website with a purpose.

 

TIP 4: People see your content, before they read it. Make it visual.

People are visual by nature – 90% of information transmitted by the brain is VISUAL. Did you know that 40% of website visitors will STAY LONGER on a site with great visual content? And, if VIDEOS are found on your landing page, an 85% increase in conversions can occur. Amazing hey? Making your site full of impactful and meaningful visual content is the best way to make a lasting impression on your visitor.

EXAMPLES of visual content: photos, videos, graphics, branded colour, quotes or testimonials, strong calls-to-action, infographics, buttons, tips, and thought provoking questions or statements. Remember, if you’re using text MAKE IT VISUAL – increase its size, add a colour, overlay it on a photo, or add a coloured background.

 

TIP 5: Choosing the right website builder.

There are SO MANY website-builders available. They all offer beautiful sites – but the difference is in the details beyond the aesthetic. So which one to choose? If you are starting from scratch you can easily let superficial features aid in your decision, but you may find that down the road it will not suit you well. So here’s our two-cents: We believe that you should build a site on a platform that will work for you when your business is growing – because that momentum of growth is exactly the moment when you do not want to be tinkering with a website that is not able to grow with you.

We use self-hosted WORDPRESS because once the learning-curve is over, you can build both simple and very complex websites – the sky is the limit! Everything is housed within one website which makes it simpler for your user. A shop, blog, event calendar, membership site, landing pages, and business listings are all possible, and more. Some very notable companies use WordPress and it currently power over 25% of all websites in the world. THE CONS? You will need to keep it up to date and maintain it. That’s just how that package goes. But we believe it is worth it.

In our opinion many of the other site builders can be limiting. Last year it was discovered that one of them did not even show up in Google. Yikes! Isn’t the point of a website to be found? The main issue though, is that you sign up to create a basic online presence, and then once you need something more specific, there are charges attached to every growth feature. We are not saying they are bad options, but evaluate what they offer, what they charge for, and what features and functionality exist – then make an informed decision.

 

TIP 6: Why colour is so important.

COLOUR identifies a brand 80% more than any other design element. So it really matters what colour you choose for your brand or website. Its a good idea to really understand your target audience and consider their RESPONSE TO COLOUR. Quite often colours are selected base on our personal preferences – but most likely, you are not your ideal customer. If your goal is to have your customer purchase your products or services (I’m guessing that’s most of you), then create a palette that appeals to them.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING COLOUR:
1. Knowing your IDEAL CUSTOMER is important: Every generation has experienced a colour trend. Men and women think of colour very differently. Age also effects a person’s approach to colour. Make sure you pick colours that APPEAL TO YOUR CUSTOMER.

2. Know your COMPETITION and make sure you are not using the exact same colours as they are. You want to make sure you look completely different.

3. Take a moment to research the psychology of colour. Different colours mean different things to different people. E.G. Green is calming and earthy. Red is vibrant and can represent prosperity and success in some cultures.

4. USE RESTRAINT when picking colours. Ideally, you want to choose 2 impact colours.

5. A third colour can be used as a FOUNDATION – like black, navy, chocolate, charcoal etc. It will be great for anchoring your graphics and text.

6. Be careful of your COMBINATIONS – just because you like certain colours doesn’t mean they will work for your website or be received well by your customers.

TIP 7: How to choose the right font.

The font that you use on your website will absolutely 100% impact how someone receives your content. If you use too many fonts, if you use them inconsistently, or use if you use conflicting fonts it can really distract from what you actually are saying on your website.  The best rule is to use 2 fonts on a website: one font for your titles, and another for your page text.  And it is best to keep them quite simple – let the personality of your website shine through other visual elements  rather than fonts.

There are all sorts of great “personality”  fonts out there as well: hand-written, stylized, water-brushed etc…if you want to use a personality font, make sure to use it sparingly – within graphics is a great idea.  But still – pick one personality font, and stick with it if this is your plan. And make sure that it is something that is appealing to your target audience. You do want the font that you use to distract people from what your website.

 

TIP 8: Creating your own logo.

A LOGO is the one visual graphic that IDENTIFIES your business from another. It should be seen on everything you use to PROMOTE your business – website, business card, social media pages, marketing material etc. I think its always a great idea to seek a pro to design one for you, but if D.I.Y is your thing, here’s a couple tips to keep in mind.

KEEP IT SIMPLE: Flourishes are fun but can be distracting if not used properly. The most important thing is to make sure your name is read clearly and easily.

ADAPTABLE: Websites work well with horizontal designs, while social media profile images work best with square or circular designs. Today, pros design logos with both in mind. Make sure your logo can adapt to all formats.

TIMELESS: Trends come and go. You want your logo to last the life of your business. When you change even the subtlest details, you can appear like a new business – undoing all the work you have achieved with your brand.

RELEVANT: If you want to add an icon or graphic to your logo, make sure it makes sense. Think about your customer, your name and what your brand stands for. Pick a graphic that sums up your business and avoid personal preferences just cause they “look pretty”.

EASY PEASY: If design isn’t your thing, that’s ok. Simply use your business name and use a font that suits the personality of your brand. Use a colour that adds to your personality AND that is easy to read. Viola! Logo done.

TIP 9: Is your home page working for you?

When visitors land on your website’s homepage it take less than 4 seconds for them to decide if they should continue reading.

Ask yourself this question – am I clearly expressing my business with whats displays when my site first loads without scrolling? What is that instant first impression that I am providing?

Ask an acquaintance who is not familiar with your business. Sit them down, open the computer to your site – give them 4 seconds, and then shut the computer. When someone lands on your site they should be able to answer three questions: instantly, without scrolling.

1. Who are you & what do you do?
2. How does this make my life better?
3. What do I need to do next?

Ask them these questions. And please – tell them that you need honesty! Without that honesty you can simply miss the opportunity to improve and move closer to a purposeful website that truly speaks to people.

TIP 10: Crafting an effective website page.

Have you ever visited a website, took one look at the home page and then closed the site immediately? Most likely you felt visual overwhelm – too much text, too many colours, and lots of VISUAL CHAOS. Successful page design leaves the visitor feeling calm, interested and engaged. Here’s a few tips to help you craft your pages…

TIP 1: Content on each page should feel light and easy. REDUCE clutter, reduce your text to the essentials, break your paragraphs up into 3 to 4 sentences.

TIP 2: BREAK UP text with testimonials, graphics or photos for visual interest.

TIP 3: Take the opportunity to design out every internal page as if it were a MINI LANDING PAGE. This creates interest for the viewer, but it will also allow you to treat that individual page as a stand alone for certain purposes. Services page can be sent directly to a customer. A workshop page URL can be used to market that particular event.

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Kim Timothy

Hello! I’m Kim - partner, graphic/web designer & brand educator for Brand Brilliant. With 20 years in the design industry, I’m a creative problem solver committed to crafting, communicating & nurturing exceptional brands in relevant and impactful ways.I believe a successful business involves building brand integrity, creating lasting relationships, and representing itself at its visual best.Through Brand Brilliant, I’m thrilled to be guiding entrepreneurs through this process and helping them discover success for their own brands and websites.

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