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7 Website Update Tips for Small Business Owners

website design tipsWhen creating your business’ initial website, I always recommend hiring a professional web designer.  You can easily find consultants or firms that design websites in both the low and high-end price ranges.

But, for those of you who don’t have an on-going marketing budget and make updates to your own website, here are 7 tips to keep your site clean and professional…

  1. Too many colors will distract readers and actually drive them away from your site.  Keep all your marketing materials to a limit of 3 colors.  On a website you need a primary color and 2 secondary colors.  Use the secondary colors for links and headlines.  Make sure your company logo uses the same colors.  If you are unsure of your logo’s exact color codes, use a free color match website like ColorZilla.
  2. Using too many fonts or font sizes will also drive readers away.  Our brain likes consistency and differing sizes and styles of fonts are hard to read.  Use a maximum of 2 fonts.  One font for headlines and the other font for paragraph text.  If you want to bring attention to specific content, use bolding, italics or graphic separation.
  3. Update your site frequently.  Make sure any news stories or special offers are current.  Nothing is worse for a visitor than seeing outdated content.  Visit your site at least once a month to make sure your customers have a professional experience.  Updating your site will also help you with search engine rankings.  Don’t let your site get stale, change-up the content periodically.
  4. Keep images clean.  If your photo is fuzzy or too small, don’t use it.   Your photos don’t need to all be professional shots.  Just make sure that the resolution is high enough and the lighting is good.
  5. Watch load time.  On the other end of the photo spectrum, make sure your photos and graphics aren’t too large.  Even though today’s computers and smart phones have a lot of memory, you still can slow things down with too many photos or videos.  It’s best to experience your site from a variety of devices.  Visit your website from a desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone to make sure all customers have a good experience.
  6. Use space wisely.  I see a lot of small business owners who want to tell EVERYTHING about their small business.  But, similar to colors and fonts, too much information results in overload.  Use bullet points and headlines to ease the reader into your information.  Search engines like content, but readers need to like it also.  Make sure that all the information you are adding to the site has a value to the reader.
  7. Always keep the reader in mind.  Whatever you add to your site should prove useful for your client.  Before you post something, ask yourself… “is this useful for me or is it useful for my customer”.  If the answer is “me”, then you need to rethink the update.   The end-user always wants to know what is in it for them.   Here’s an example:  I know a therapist who has strict rules about how her customers schedule appointments.    The rules are there to make her life easier.  She uses a scheduling system so she doesn’t have to constantly answer the phone.  If a client calls her, she will NOT schedule over the phone.  She always sends them to her on-line system.  Again, this is to make her life easier.  But, on her website instead of framing the appointment process in a cold, impersonal manner, she phrases it from the client’s point of view.  “The easy to use scheduling system ensures you get the appointment time you want without having to play telephone tag.”    It’s a win-win for everyone.

In the end, anything you can do to make your website’s experience more positive for the reader, the more people will visit your site… which in the long-run means more business for you.