10 ways to make your website look professional
The first website I ever designed was a complete disaster. It was for my grandma’s women’s clothing boutique so luckily she still loves me regardless. I had played around with Wordpress and was excited to try my hand at web design. “How hard could it be?” I thought.
But it all came crashing down when my grandma completely lost access to her business’s email account. Her vendors now had no way to contact her and all of the online accounts associated with that email address were inaccessible. I had no idea that email had anything to do with website hosting and that by closing her hosting account, I had permanently shut down her email access. Whoops.
I’ve come a long way since then, but web coding still scares me. One wrong code modification seems to jumble an entire site into disorganized chaos. That’s why I’m now solely committed to using Squarespace – the most user-friendly and beautiful web design tool out there.
Squarespace changed the entire web design game for me. I now feel 100% confident creating beautiful sites with only the slightest bit of coding. One of the reasons I love Squarespace is their award-winning templates. Literally every template is beautiful and can make your site look like it was designed by a professional.
With the 10 tips I’m about to share, you can ensure your website looks as on-point as you are:
1. Upload your logo and favicon
Rather than writing your business name in a font at the top of your site, make sure to upload your logo. Your logo is a visual reminder of your brand. Clients/customers searching for your business will recognize your logo and know they’ve found the right site.
A favicon is the little icon that displays on the tab at the top of your browser next to the name of your website. All web builders have a default favicon - for Squarespace it’s a little cube. Take the time to create your own favicon and upload it to your site.
2. Use high-quality imagery
Modern web design relies heavily on imagery. At the top of most web pages are image headers, gallery sliders, or even full-page video backgrounds. Using your own custom imagery is always best, but if you don’t have that available, check out my favorite high-quality stock photo resources. If you have your own imagery, but it isn’t high-quality, think twice before using it. Evaluate if maybe it’s time to invest in professional photography or look into stock photos.
3. Remove “Powered by Squarespace/Wix/Weebly/Wordpress” or pay extra to have that removed
This is one of my pet peeves. Free versions of web builders force you to advertise for them by putting “Powered by ______” and their logo in the header or footer of your site. In the grand scheme of your business, web hosting is not very expensive. Pay the extra $8 - $12 a month for a basic hosting package and get rid of the cheesy advertisements.
4. Use Squarespace
I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but I truly believe Squarespace’s fully integrated templates and design features make the most professional-looking websites. You can do a 14-day free trial to test my theory.
5. Hire a copywriter
Writing copy for your business is no easy feat. As a business owner, we’re tempted to use insider-language and that can confuse someone just hearing about your business for the first time. Luckily, there are people out there who do this for a living. Hiring a copywriter can save hours of your time and ensure you are communicating what you do effectively.
6. Double check everything works
Click on every hyperlink and test out every contact form. It’s easy to accidently miss these details, but they really affect user-experience. I’ve found even big companies forget to add a hyperlink here and there and it can add unnecessary frustration to a potential customer. It’s not the best first impression that something so simple got missed.
7. Customize your response in your contact form
If you have a contact form on your website, think through what happens when someone submits it. Rather than a generic default message, consider adding a personal touch. Something like, “Thanks for getting in touch! We appreciate your inquiry and will be in contact with you within the next 24 hours.” It’s these little details that have the power to create a positive first impression.
8. Make sure what you do is clear and obvious
The purpose of your website should be clear within the first 10 seconds of someone visiting your site. Have a concise and focused mission statement prominent on your home page. Don’t assume people will understand what you do right off the bat. For example, let’s say you’re a business coach. Rather than your home page being a photo of yourself and a statement like “Helping Businesses Thrive”, be more specific. Try something like “I provide one-on-one coaching sessions for creative entrepreneurs to improve their business through my proven growth strategies.” A descriptive statement on your home page can help engage potential customers/clients right off the bat.
9. Have a clear call-to-action
Once you’ve caught a viewer’s attention, what is the next action step you want them to take? Book your services? Make a reservation? Subscribe to your blog? Visit your location? Make this action step clear, prominent, and easily accessible.
10. Hire a professional
While online web builders like Squarespace can make web design seem simple, the best way to ensure your website looks professional is to hire a professional web designer. Although Squarespace is user-friendly, there’s still a learning curve that can take days, weeks, or even months of your time to master. And at the end of the day, unless you have an eye for design, your website might still not look exactly how you want it to. A professional will think through all the things I’ve mentioned above and much more.
Stay tuned for my FREE website evaluation checklist! This PDF will guide you through a list of everything you should be thinking through when building your website. Subscribe to my e-newsletter below to receive it right to your inbox.