It has never been more important to have a great-looking website; however with so many website building tools enabling anyone to make a website — even with little to no technical skills — it is getting more and more difficult to make your website stand out.
For designers, the stakes are even higher because an exceptional-looking website isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s mandatory. After all, if you’re not able to do a great job with your website, why would clients expect you to do any better for them?
Here are ten easy touch-ups to give your design website the makeover it deserves.
1. Register a .DESIGN Domain Name
Let’s take a step back. There’s no point working on your website if people don’t want to go to it in the first place. A great domain name is important because people need to trust that they are going to find high-quality content that is relevant to what they’re looking for before clicking on it in a search result, blog post mention, email signature, or anywhere else they discover your domain.
A .DESIGN domain extension is an easy way to communicate what you and your website are all about before people even arrive at your site. Chances are that many potential visitors haven’t come across a .DESIGN domain before, so it will also make your domain seem all the more intriguing, fun and unique. If you’re looking for a way to do something different with your domain, this is a no-brainer.
Click here to search for your very own .DESIGN domain.
2. Use a @YourDomain Email Address
For people to take your business seriously, you need to show that you take it seriously as well. No matter how great your website looks, something will feel off if your clients are receiving emails that don’t match your website’s domain name. Give your website more credibility by extending your branding and getting a you@yourdomain email address. Plus, you can even make your business seem bigger than it really is by registering multiple email addresses like info@, support@, press@, and so on.
Check out Hover’s email options here.
3. Do You Really Need All Those Widgets?
When you’re first building your website, it’s easy to get carried away with widgets. “Cool, I can show my tweets and everyone who likes my page on Facebook and a Google StreetView map!” Take a good look at these widgets and ask yourself if they’re serving any purpose. Only tweet once a month? Just have 58 likes on Facebook? Your location isn’t important for visitors to know? Might be time to take these off of your site then.
Let’s also not forget about mobile. If these widgets take forever to load on smartphones or, worst of all, don’t even work, then it’s definitely time for them to go.
4. Shorten or Delete Some Copy
As much as I’d love to believe that you’re on the edge of your seat reading every single word of this article, the reality is that we all skim website content. This is one thing for a blog post, but is a more serious challenge for a homepage or other main section of your site. This is your best chance to sell people on your product or service, which is why you need to make every word count.
If your website has paragraph after paragraph of copy, it’s time to start editing. Read over your copy and ask whether each sentence needs to be there. Are two sentences essentially saying the same thing? Combine them. Do neither of them add anything important? Delete both of them. Shortening your copy gives you better odds that your main messages will be communicated and that your site looks less intimidating to visitors wanting to learn more about you.
5. Switch Up the Calls-To-Action
One of the more fun creative challenges I look forward to as a content writer are Calls-To-Action (CTAs). These are the main links (often a button) that are intended to encourage a reader to move onto whatever you’ve defined as the next step. This could be scheduling a meeting, reading more about a piece from your portfolio, signing up for your newsletter, or anything else that will help drive engagement with your audience.
Typically, CTAs are something generic like Buy Now or Learn More. Those are descriptive, sure, but overall they’re…meh. There’s so much room here to have fun, and too few of us take advantage. Switching to something more casual like Sign Me Up or Teach Me could go a long way.
6. Check Your Spelling & Grammar
For me, nothing is more irksome than a spelling mistake or, worst of all, mixing up it’s/its or you’re/your. Read over your copy and make sure everything is the way it should be. If you need some extra help, Grammarly is a really useful tool that’ll find all of your copy mistakes and offer suggestions for how to fix them. It’s extremely helpful, and I even used it for this very post!
7. Improve SEO
Search engines are very important for attracting new visitors to your site, but only if you’re able to rank highly in search results. To have the best chances possible, you’ll have to do some search engine optimization (SEO).
There are books, blogs and entire courses dedicated to SEO, so it’s much beyond the scope of one section of a blog post. One basic SEO improvement you can make is to look at each page on your site and decide what the target keyword(s) of each page are. This is what you think most people will type into Google that your page provides an answer to. For example, one target keyword/phrase for hover.com could be domain name registration.
If your site is built with WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin is very helpful for better optimizing your website. For each page, you can set which keyword you are trying to target, and it’ll offer suggestions of where and how to place your keyword.
8. Add ALT Tags to Images
Another boost you can give your website is adding ALT tags to your images. This is the text that will show up if for whatever reason a visitor is unable to load your images. There are two benefits to this:
- Your visitors won’t miss out on important information if they’re unable to load an image.
- You’ll give Google additional content to crawl and increase your odds of ranking higher in search results. This is particularly good for Google Image results, where your awesome imagery will have another platform to be discovered on.
9. Replace Low-Resolution Images
Low-resolution imagery is something any website should avoid, but this is especially true for design websites. Take a look at your site on different devices and screen sizes; if any of your imagery doesn’t appear crisp and high-res, swap it out for something new.
10. Change your Colour Scheme
Much like your home, a fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into your website. Switch up your website’s colours to give both you and your visitors a new way to look at your site. Who knows, seeing your site in a new light may even give you inspiration for other ways to make improvements as well!
Have any other suggestions?
We’d love to see them — please share in the comments below!