You settled on your last boyfriend. You settled on watching “House Hunters” last night. You settled on canned cranberry sauce last Thanksgiving.
Can we all agree to stop settling? Let’s especially stop settling on the things that matter most, like our websites. If you’re with me, then let’s all agree to spend a few minutes every day making the following small fixes to our web content and design instead of trying to sell with a crappy website.
Delete the extra.
Unnecessary words such as “really,” “very,” and “actually” can all go. Repetitive sentences and pages are trash, too.
Get your point across in as few words as possible. If you struggle to make the search engines happy with that sweet spot of 250-350 words per page, it’s time to re-assess your content strategy. Do you need fewer web pages?
Create meaty headlines.
A web page headline shouldn’t say “Welcome,” and it doesn’t have to read “Services.” Take a few minutes to create a web page headline that fully describes the content to come.
Invest in (somewhat) unique images.
Maybe you can’t afford your own photographer or your own custom graphic designs for every web page and blog post, but you can afford to take 10 minutes and browse stock photography websites such as PhotoXpress.com.
Avoid photos of men shaking hands or women sitting at computer desks. These “professional” photos have become cliché. It’s okay to get creative with your images.
Stick to readable fonts, text sizes, and colors.
There is a time and place for green Comic Sans body text, but when it comes to web design it’s recommended you stick with the font families of Arial, Times, Verdana, Georgia, or Courier. You should also follow best practices for size and color. Choose a size around 12pt (or a little smaller) and a black or gray text on a light background. Please!
Make navigation easy.
Links are the doorways to your web pages. Not only should links be descriptive, but they should also be obvious. Don’t make your visitor hunt for the most important pages (home, about, and contact). Make them obvious from your navigation bar.
Get a real logo and tagline.
Want a professional looking website? Get a logo and a tagline.
These two elements give the impression that you are the real deal. If you don’t have the budget to hire a branding expert, spend five minutes a day for the next week brainstorming tagline ideas, and check out LogoDesignTeam.com for an affordable logo package.
And there’s more…
This list only covers a few of the things you can do to take your website from crappy to pretty darn nice. If you want to continue to make simple fixes and improve the state of the web, join me in my campaign to Spare the Web from Haphazard Copy and Design. Click the link or image for more details.
What steps do you take to keep your website exceptional?