By Laura Christianson
What’s the first thing someone notices when they pull up in front of your home?
At my house, it’s probably the attractive array of trees, shrubs and a winding river rock streambed. Our front yard remodel vastly improved our home’s curb appeal.
Curb appeal is also important when it comes to your website. That’s because people glance at your site for only two seconds before they decide to explore more or leave. During those two seconds, they make critical judgments about the quality of your products, services and programs. Unless that judgment is positive, they’re unlikely to return. Ever.
I’m going to show you five ways to transform your website’s landscape and increase its curb appeal. You can apply what you learn in this post when you join my free small group coaching session, “De-Clutter Your Website’s Home Page in 90 Minutes.” (Details at the end of this article.)
Every remodeling project starts with a detailed plan. The two most critical components of your website remodeling plan include:
An intimate knowledge of your ideal audience.
- Who do you want to visit your website?
- Why should they visit?
- What do you have to offer them?
- How can you help them overcome a specific challenge, solve a nagging problem or feel encouraged?
A clear understanding of your goals.
- Why do you have a writing or speaking ministry?
- What makes your writing or speaking different from other writers and speakers?
- How is God calling you to help your audience?
Every element on every page of your website must instantly convey who you are and how you can help your audience.
A well-designed website spotlights your services and products so visitors can quickly find them and easily buy them.
Each element, including the header at the top, the call-to-action buttons, the blog, and the footer at the bottom, work together to prod visitors to take the action you desire.
Just as trees planted too close together result in an overgrown mess, websites loaded with buttons, widgets, text, and moving parts cause visitors to lose their way.
“Over-planting” is the biggest problem writing and speaking websites have. As communicators, we love words. We assume people who visit our site will love our words. So we bombard them with words. We tell them everything they could possibly want to know about us (and our books… and our speaking topics).
We display dozens of widgets that link to every organization, book club and ministry we’re part of.
And we have pages and pages (and even more pages!) of content. All important stuff, of course.
Or not. Mostly, it’s important to us.
Judicious pruning requires thoughtful removal of elements that confuse visitors or distract from our goal.
In addition to pruning the deadwood cluttering your site, you’ll want to fix what’s broken.
- Click links to make sure they lead visitors where you want them to go.
- Test navigation buttons. Is there relevant content on the page the buttons link to? If not, delete the page (or add content).
- Review search engine optimization (SEO). Update the title tags and meta descriptions for each page, using searchable keyword phrases that build your authority with Google and make it easy for people to discover your website.
The average lifespan of a business website is 2-3 years. Technology has changed so much during the past few years that a complete website overhaul may be in order. A mobile-friendly site incorporating the latest safety features is an absolute must.
If you don’t need a complete rebuild, make cosmetic changes to freshen things up:
- Overhaul the header (also called banner).
- Replace microscopic images with large, compelling visuals.
- Incorporate video.
- Refresh the color palette.
- Enlarge the type font used in body copy.
Want practical tips for revamping your Home page?
Join me for a free small group coaching session. During this live, interactive video conference call, we’ll do a head-to-toe evaluation of your website’s Home page, and I’ll share top tips for creating a Home page that makes a fantastic first impression.
I offer this training several times a month. Learn more and reserve your slot in an upcoming session.
Coming next month:
Laura Christianson helps entrepreneurs transform their online presence from bland to bold. She owns Blogging Bistro, a business that builds custom websites/blogs and provides website education and coaching. Laura has authored several books and thousands of articles. She serves as Marketing Director for West Coast Christian Writers.