It has been nearly six years since I finished school, but I still get that “let’s get down to business” feeling this time of year. As the Web Projects Manager at Weaving Influence, a lot of my business these days revolves around websites—the Weaving Influence website, our client’s websites, and the dozens of other websites that I interface with on a regular basis. We consider an author’s website to be the heart of their online influence and encourage every author to periodically take an honest look at their site and evaluate if it is serving their message and personal brand effectively.
There are so many types of websites out there; how can you know what’s important to focus on? By considering these three key elements, you can get your site in tip-top shape!
1. Easy on the Eyes
“Artistic, brilliant, and groundbreaking”—these are probably not the words you would use to describe the design of your website, and that’s okay. A great design does not need to contain a lot of bells and whistles. In fact, we recommend keeping your design fairly simple and straightforward. However, if your site fails to meet a basic standard of design, your business may suffer.
If you don’t know how to judge whether or not your design meets the mark, ask a few honest friends or colleagues what they think. It can also be useful to take a look at sites by those who are very successful in your field and see how yours measures up.
2. Content—It’s Where the Magic Happens
Our CEO Becky Robinson says, “the magic happens when you show up.” I am going to take this one step further with websites and add, “in your content” to that sentence. Your content should not just be words to fill space on the page, but rather a reflection of who you are—a professional in a relationship with your clients and anyone interested in your work.
Be succinct and to the point. When someone visits your website, they should be able to ascertain what you do and the benefit you provide within a few seconds. Your content should be true to who you are, but not all about you. Focus on your audience—how can you help them? What information can you include on your site that will provide real value?
Consider offering a free giveaway (known as a lead magnet) in exchange for an email address (your email list should be at the core of your online marketing strategy). This could be a chapter of your book, a quiz, or anything that will give potential clients a taste of what you have to offer.
Lastly, be engaging! Include photos, videos, testimonials, quotes—easy ways to help visitors to your site decide to stay and learn more.
3. Stay Up to Date
The last thing anyone wants to see when they click on a website are year-old blog posts, photos from six years ago, or worst of all, error messages. You should be reviewing your website quarterly, if not more often, to make sure that all information is current and engaging. Additionally, you should be doing regular updates to whatever platform you use (we use WordPress and recommend that clients update their plugins and themes monthly). If you are unable to commit to posting on your blog at least once a month, I would recommend removing it entirely, at least from the navigation of your site.
And even if you still have not made the jump to a smart phone, your website should have long ago! Most pages are now viewed on a mobile or tablet device. If your site is not mobile responsive, it is not relevant to most readers.
Even a website with a somewhat dated look can remain engaging, if the content and media is fresh and relevant.
These three keys will help you unlock your website’s true potential! Keep your online home clean and tidy and your visitors will be happy to stay for a while.
Need help with your website? We’d love to help! Contact us for more information about our web services.
Image credit: alicephoto / 123RF Stock Photo