RESOURCES & HOW TOs

How to elevate your website

A ROAD-MAP TO HELP YOU EVALUATE WHERE YOUR WEBSITE NEEDS WORK & PRIORITIZE WHAT TO DO FIRST

woman working through a website checklist
I’m going to be honest; I didn’t want to write this blog post. 
Websites – blah. What could I possibly write about this topic that hasn’t already been covered by 8872039 web-designers and other experts? But with the year drawing to an end and many of my clients telling me they‘re either not 100% happy with their website, or they want to update and elevate their internet presence, I decided to put together a kind of website road-map/checklist to help you:
  1. Evaluate where your website needs work
  2. Prioritize what needs to be done first
  3. Decide what you can do yourself and where you could benefit from working with a professional
Of course, all of this is in the context of growing your brand and supporting your business strategy. 
Ready?
Let’s do this!

1.

IS YOUR WEBSITE DOING ITS JOB?

While this might feel like a ridiculous question, it’s one that 90% of websites don’t take into account. Running a website just for the sake of having one is not only a waste of money, it’s also completely unnecessary. You don’t need a website to start a business or sell your services – you could do all of that through referrals, social media and e-mail. So if you’ve gone the extra step of building a website, you really should treat it like an investment that needs to generate some kind of return.
So what kind of ROI (return on investment) should your website generate? 
Some example:
  • Getting visitors on to your e-mail list
  • Promoting your services or events
  • Generating leads
  • Positioning your business
  • Getting potential clients to book calls
  • Directly selling your services/offers
Be crystal clear about what your website is meant to be doing. It might be tempting to look at the list above and say, “yeah, my site needs to do all of that,” but you’ll end up sacrificing potential clients in your desire to do it all. 
Narrow it down to 1 main goal and max. 2 secondary goals, and then evaluate where your website is supporting those goals and where it isn’t.

2.

YOUR WEBSITE – THE VISUAL REPRESENTATION OF YOUR BRAND

There is probably no better place where you can go all out and create the perfect visual representation of your brand. So…. Is your website doing that? If you’re clear on your objectives, turn your attention to the way your site looks. Is the overall experience – the look and feel – in line with the essence of your brand? 
To make sure we’re all on the same page, I’m assuming here that you’ve nailed down what you want someone to feel and think when and wherever they are interacting with your brand. 
If, for example, your brand is fresh, creative, and energetic, you’ll want to make sure your website feels that way as well, starting with how everything is laid out and what tech you’re using, to the positioning of the different elements like copy, photography, and typography.
Don’t forget to think about contrast, legibility and how well everything is showing up overall. Regardless of the aesthetics of your brand, the easiest way to enchant your website visitors is with a site that is easy to use and displays a curated representation of your brand’s essence.

3.

STRUCTURE

The worst websites are the ones that are confusing, hard to navigate, don’t logically flow from one point to the next, and don’t make me (the visitor) their main focus.  
There must be thousands of freebies, books, and experts who have already covered this topic ad nauseam, some fantastic, some absolutely horrible. So while I have no intention to reinvent the wheel here, I do want to provide you with at least an outline of a structure that I know works well and addresses each problem point I mentioned above. 
  • Confusing – Tell me right at the top of your home page, above the fold, without having to scroll, if I’m at the right place to find what I’m looking for. Perfect your header and put it front and centre. If you are a life coach helping middle-aged women rediscover their joie-de-vivre for example, then say so. Clear is better than clever. If you can be both, then you’ve hit website gold. 
  • Hard to Navigate – Keep your main menu simple and clear. This is, again, not the place to be clever or witty – save that for your blog or social media posts. A good, basic menu structure could be: work with me, testimonials, resources/blog/podcast, about me, and a search function if you have a lot of content. You could certainly also include a contact form, though I find simply providing your contact information in a dedicated place just as effective.
  • No logical flow – Remember learning about the elements of writing a great story back in high school? Writing a great website isn’t so different. You want to invite your visitors on a journey, from getting to know each other, to identifying whatever their problem is, to showing them how you can help them solve it, and why you are their best choice. Here’s a quick breakdown of what that might look like:
Header
Their problem
What’s at stake
How you can help
Why you can help
Your plan of action for them 
Other people who can back your claims up (testimonials)
Legal stuff (in the footer)
  • The wrong focus (your website, like your brand, should not be about you). Unless you are a celebrity, no one is visiting your website because they want to read all about you. All they want to know is what you can do for them. Simply proofing all your content to make sure it at least contributes to answering the question, “what can you do for me?” will put you miles ahead of your competition!

4.

THE FUN PART: VISUALS!

There is nothing that yells ‘not an expert’ louder than the wrong visuals. I can tell the second I land on a website whether I’m dealing with a novice, a seasoned entrepreneur, someone who’s at the top of their game, or a business that’s resting on its laurels. 
Review the visuals you are using on your website and make sure they are:
  • Yours! I cannot emphasize this enough. Use stock photography sparingly and avoid it if possible. You want images that are unique to your business and highlight what doing business with you feels and looks like. 
  • Supporting the main goal of your website. If you’re using illustrations as part of your visuals, ask yourself if they make sense, support, or rather detract from what you want your client to think, feel, and do on your website.
Psst: Want to know more about creating amazing photography for your business? Click here to check out my free Brand Photo-shoot Planner. It will to plan an amazing shoot – with a professional or your favourite hobby photographer- and start building a library of powerful imagery for your brand.

5.

COPY

Words matter. 
While our visuals are probably what first captures our audience’s attention, our words are what sells our offer. Your copy has 2 jobs to do:
1. Make your client and their problem the focus of your website
2. Support whatever your main goals are for your visitors to your site.
Proof your copy and either re-write or edit out whatever isn’t doing those 2 jobs. 
Back in high school, I had an English teacher called Sister Ginny who had a fantastic rule of thumb for how long our writing should be. She always said that a good story (or copy)  should be like a good skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to keep it interesting! I’ve been following her advice ever since and it’s always served me well.

6.

INTEGRATIONS

A point rarely mentioned in all the website-lit out there, but since they have become indispensable for most websites, I thought I‘d include them here. 
Your website will likely only be able to do its best job with some kind of integration.
Have no idea what I’m talking about? An integration is any tool/software you need for your business that is operates separately from your website.
⇒ Want to get people on your email list? You’ll need an email marketing integration.
⇒ Want visitors to book a call? You’ll need a scheduling and booking integration.
⇒ Want to sell something? You’ll need a way to accept payment and take care of receipts and taxes.
My point here is not to make your head spin with all the tech details; rather, I want you to think about how your site is working and what tools you need to make it easier for your visitor to take whatever action you want them to on your website.

Your elevated website checklist:

  1.  Is your website doing its job? Revisit your main goals for your website
  2.  Is your website visually aligned with your brand? If not, what could you do to fix this?
  3.  Do you need to work on your website structure and if so, which part?
  4.  Are your visuals are current, reflective of your business, and drawing your audience in for more? Do you need to work with a professional to create a library of captivating imagery? 
  5.  Is your copy supporting your website’s main objectives? Does it sound like you, build rapport, and sell your offers? Do you need to work with a professional to optimize your copy or improve your copy-writing skills?
  6.  Which integrations do you need to make it easy for your visitors to take your desired action on your website? Do you need to work with a professional to make this happen?
6 ways to elevate your website
Once you have clarity around all these points, the next step is implementation. 
Whether you take care of your website yourself, or you work with a professional, taking the time to do this foundation work will ensure you end up with a website that provides a good ROI, grows your business, and does your brand justice!
Karina the Personal Brand Architect with her dog

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