Choosing to go the DIY route on your website? Maybe you’re working (or planning to) with a designer and just want to know what you absolutely need to have a next-level, super awesome, professional looking website?
I’ve got you covered with these quick (and relatively easy) must-haves for your own website!
1. Get a Custom Domain
This is a big one and something many people (including our friend Dr. Google) will notice right away. If you want your business to look professional rather than DIY, you need to purchase a domain name.
What’s a domain? In simple terms it’s your website URL or link. Most business website you see have a purchased domain and look like a standard website: www.businessorblogname.com. The ones who don’t, stand out and look something like this: www.wix.businessorblogname.com or www.weebly.businessorblogname.com.
Do yourself and your business a favor and purchase the domain name. For about $10 a year it’s well worth the investment.
We recommend NameCheap which is the service that was used to purchase the domain for this website.
2. Use Quality Photos
A picture is worth a 1000 words… and sometimes can cost about as many dollars. If you have the budget (or a really helpful friend) it is great to have some professional photos for your website. Whether they be of you, your product, or your work space, customers respond well to images. It helps keep your website interesting vs. just words.
If you don’t have the budget to have a photo shoot done, there’s good news! You can find wonderful excellent quality images at Unsplash for free! You can see some images from there sprinkled around this website (and even this very blog post) and all across many different business’ social media. Whatever you’re looking for, I bet you can find a relevant image on Unsplash.
3. Make Navigation Easy
This one comes up surprisingly often. Your customer or reader does not want to have to interpret the smoke signals that are your Page Names listed on the Navigation Menu and they do not want to have to choose between 12 different options.
For your main Navigation Menu stick to 3-5 Pages and create sub-menus if needed. You want these to be your most important pages that customers are most likely going to want to notice at a glance. Don’t cheat by adding a bunch of “/” either! No one wants to see “Travel/Beauty/Fashion/Pregnancy/Lifestyle” as one of their options. Create a page name “Blog” or “The Shop” and put each of those topic pages in sub-menu or category.
Be clear on what each pages is for and title it appropriately and clearly. This may vary slightly depending on your audience but “Call Me, Beep Me” or “Holla at Me” are not as consistently clear, understandable and professional as “Contact Us”.
4. Have a Contact Page
Speaking of a “Contact Us” page – you need one.
First of all, customers want to know that your business is legitimate and seeing easy to find contact options gives people the warm-fuzzies.
A contact form is great (and I still think you should have one), but different people have different accessibility and different restrictions on how they want to, or can contact you. As a result, you may be losing out on customers who only call for example. Depending on your audience you’ll want to list different options including: email, phone, social media and (if you have a physical office or store front) an address.
5. Keep Your Branding and Brand Message Consistent
This can be a little more difficult if you are a newbie trying to DIY your own site (for more on this topic click here). Certainly, you want your colors/font/look and message to look the same across every one of your pages.
You don’t want a client going from one page to the next thinking that they’re looking at a different business each time. I know all the colors are beautiful and it’s fun to try a whole bunch of fonts but in the online world, less is more and consistent is best.
If you struggle with branding, check out our Services page to see if we can help you with a branding package or website audit! However, if you want to learn to do it yourself, check out our Resources page for tools and education options for making your professional website.
6. Show Off Testimonials and Praise
This is a biggie! Similar to the Contact page, Testimonials make clients/customers feel comfortable. They want to know that when they order or work with you, they’re going to get exactly what you say they will, but they don’t want to take your word for it.
Include a couple of testimonials including names (it can be just first names) and a picture of the person or business that is leaving the praise. Pictures and names make the testimonials feel more real and perform better!
There you have it! None of these tips cost much or take too long. You can have a more professional website by dinner time!