Is Your Website Design Modern & Updated?

Checklist of Things to help build a modern website

Is Your Website Design Modern and Updated?

At some point during the setup of your business, you begin to plan what the website will look like. When it comes to website design, most owners have a reaction very similar to buying their first car. Some dream about the colors and features that it will have that will make it the most awesome car they have ever seen. While others are just looking for the cheapest deal that will work for now.

Whether you designed it yourself, used a template, or had someone else design it for you almost every owner has things that they don’t like about their website or something they missed adding in. It’s important that you don’t ignore those things. Especially with design trends and search engine algorithms changing constantly.

The design of your website can directly change the way that people perceive your business. It is often the first or second interaction that a client has with you. Think of it this way, if you walk into a waiting room somewhere and have to strain to open the door only to step inside a room with bad lighting, furniture strewn everywhere, loud music playing from somewhere, and neon green and pink striped walls, what would you do?

I don’t know about you, but I would get out of there as fast as possible. When designing your website, you should keep that image in mind. Your client types in your web address and it’s slow to load. When it finally loads all, they can hear is your voice from a video they can’t find, colors that are painful to the eye as your background, and an odd arrangement of text and pictures. They are clicking the red x at the top as fast as they can scroll there.

How do you feel about your website design?

There are a few tips and tricks that you should keep in mind when you are designing your site.

The very first thing is your web address. Now, obviously you can’t have a website live online without one. It is also an agonizing decision for many people.

The first and only rule to naming your site is Keep it Simple. Your name or the name of your business is perfect. Already taken? Not a problem. You can do simple things like adding your city or state to the end or abbreviation.

I got lucky and my business name was available. But what if it hadn’t been? I would have taken LionHeartKingdomBirmingham.com or LHKMarketing.com. Its not hard to make this work. The simpler you keep your URL, the more likely someone is to remember it. It also helps you keep your SEO simpler later on down the road.

The next thing people will remember about your business is your Logo. All I have to say is imagine a giant yellow ‘M’ or picture green stamp logo with a lady in a crown and most people know exactly what business I’m referring to. Your Logo is your image. Think of it like the old-fashioned seal of a business. It tells people who you are. Don’t make it overly complicated. The more intricate your logo is the harder it will be for people to describe.

And when you look at the website tab in your browser, have you ever noticed the little symbol that sits right next to the website name? That is called a favicon. Use your logo here too. Repeated exposure helps people remember you.

Also, text walls. Now that is an industry term. It’s what we call huge chunks of text, like this blog. Absolutely under no circumstances should you ever use them on your home page or anywhere else on your page but a blog? Even most blogs will have multiple images and graphs that break up the text on the page.

People don’t like to commit their attention to a site they are viewing for the first time. When you put large chunks of text on a home page or services page, you are asking the viewer to become a reader and commit a ‘significant’ amount of time to your site. Whether they realize it or not, the viewer thinks that is presumptuous and navigates away from your page.

We live in the TikTok era now. The attention span of the average page viewer is less than 5 seconds.

I didn’t mistype that. Someone opens your page, scans the top, and scrolls down. 5 seconds and they have decided on if they are staying or not. The proof is that they either scroll to the top and check your navigation bar for anything interesting or they ‘x’ the page. That is how long you have to grab their attention or lose it.

The Header & The Footer

These two sections are actually where the average viewers will study your site the most during those 5 seconds. Your pictures are nice, and your text may be well written, but the top and bottom are where the money is at.

The top, or header, is the very 1st thing that is seen when your site loads. There are only two things you must require to be here, the buttons that navigate around your site if it is more than 1 page and your Logo.

I told you that your logo is important. But there is another reason too. Up there in the header, it is the first thing a viewer notices. The colors and complexity will give them an idea of what to expect as they scroll down. Forgive me for putting it this way, but it will color the way they view the rest of the page.

If it’s a complicated design, they will expect the rest of the site to be that way too and this isn’t even a conscious thought. It works in reverse too. If you have a simple and easy-to-see design, they are pre-programmed for your site to be easy to use.

The navigation buttons being up there are also unbelievably important. Some viewers don’t care about your home page. They are going straight to your services or about us page. They want to know who you are or what you do.

Have you ever met someone who looks you up and down and then they approach you and start talking? Then there is the other type where they don’t pay any attention to how you look and just walk straight up and start firing questions at you.

People act the same way when they interact with a website. The lookie lous are the ones that give you 5 seconds. The ones that ask you a million questions are the ones that go straight to your information pages or sections. You can be prepared for both types of viewers with just a little forethought.

I can’t forget to mention the footer of your site. You know, the bottom. This is essentially your business card combined with a secondary navigation section. Down here at the bottom, you should have your contact info, operation hours, your social media links, and a second navigation area (the sitemap).

This seems contradictory, I know. Why would you put all the ways they can get in touch with you at the bottom? Just remember viewing behavior. Scan the top and scroll to the bottom. Once they get there, now they see all the ways to find you. That’s why you also put your sitemap at the bottom. It puts a visual representation of all your site has to offer the viewer in front of them again.

Never put your social media links at the top. If you do, you viewers IS going to click them. All you have accomplished is to move them away from your website.

Your social media pages are supposed to point people to your website, not the other way around. After all, they can’t find your competitors on your site, but they are all the social media pages. I mean, social media sites will actively recommend your competitors to the viewer. All you should use social media for is to market your business and draw viewers in and as a personality for your business.

You are your business. Your website should reflect who you are during the day when you are at work. Your social media pages should show who you are before and after work and behind the scenes during the day.

Your Headlines and Images

What are headlines and where do they go is a really easy question to answer. They are any text that announces you have changed pages or sections on a page.

Think of each page like an article in a magazine and your business is the topic of the name of the magazine. If you flip through the magazine and none of the pages has a headline, would any story catch your attention? What if as you scanned the page there were no section headers? How would you know what information might interest you? Or if it were nothing but words and no pictures?

You would get bored and put the magazine down really quickly. Your headlines tell your viewers where to look and what information might be relevant to them. Your pictures break that text up or accent the text to help hold their attention longer. After all, the whole point of a website is to grab someone’s attention and keep them thinking about what you want them to think for as long as you can.

Contact Forms & Thank You’s

Somewhere on your site, hopefully, on every page at least once, you should have put a Call-to-Action Button. They take many forms and should be colored to contrast your background color. Schedule Now! Contact Today! Subscribe Here! Donate Now!

We have all seen them a million times. You may be the type that ignores these buttons, I know I am. But they catch the attention of many viewers. They are the main way that viewers interact with your website usually. They are for all intents and purposes the way you get them to give you, their information. They want something from you and give you their email or other details to get access to something.

Have you ever thought about what happens when you click that button? It leads to another page on your website. Usually, a special kind of page is called a funnel. This page is actually a series of pages that are set up to ‘set each other off’.

Someone clicks the button, and it takes them to a form page. They fill it out and click submit and it takes them to another page and so on. Funnels are the collection tools that sit behind that button. Most designers won’t take the time to explain them to you and charge a high fee to set up. They are time-consuming to build but effective. The viewer is willingly giving you, their information. Can you think of any other time in life when someone walks up to you and says here, fill out your basic contact information and I’ll give you this book or set of articles?

I can’t. But online it works constantly.

Each one of these funnels should end with a page that many designers will leave out. It’s a simple tool that will make you stand out and add another reason for them to remember you. A Thank You page. Seems simple or maybe dumb. But as a society, we are programmed to respond positively to courtesy. Please, thank you, and your welcome is taught to most children at a young age, throughout the world.

Not saying thank you will irritate some people. It’s a little thing that takes 10 minutes to set up and works the entire time you are using the funnel. Add a thank you page to your call-to-action sequence.

When Things Go Wrong

There is only one other thing I can think to talk about right now. What happens on your site when things go wrong?

Do you know what I mean? Someone types in the wrong page address or a page is malfunctioning. What do your viewers see?

On most sites, they get sent to a generic white page with an image block in the middle and a giant 404 right in the middle. ‘Oops, something went wrong….’

But you can do better than that. Sometimes this page is the last chance you might get to make a positive impression. I said that correctly, a positive impression. You can add and customize this page just like any other on your site. Make it funny. Laugh at yourself. Make them giggle.

Don’t let it go to the default page and thus your interaction disappears into the Aether. Keep them engaged with you. They are more likely to hit the back button or hit one of your navigation buttons at the top or bottom of the customized page that has your header and footer, but only if you present them the option.

Make it Fun

I know that I have dropped a lot of information on you in this article and it might have you scurrying to check your website to see if you need to correct anything. Maybe not, but I hope that you will take at least one nuggets of information away. Make your website fun for you and more importantly make it gun for your viewers.

There are many elements that you can play with and a hundred different ways that you can organize your site. At the end of the day, some people are going to like your site, and some won’t no matter how you design it. Keep it honest and make sure you are showing the real you.

Authenticity is the absolute best way to get your message out. When we are authentic other people can tell and they will gravitate towards that every time.

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Here is a list of things that most designers will and should include when you buy a basic web design package from them. If they don’t mention them, ask if they offer it. If more than 2 or 3 are an extra charge, beware. They might extra charge you to death on your final bill.

  • Revisions to the original design (1 or 2)
  • 5-10 Stock Images
  • Domain and Hosting registration
  • SSL Certification
  • Initial On-Page Optimization
  • Cross Browser Compatibility
  • Page-Speed Testing
  • Analytics Setup
  • Monthly Maintenance (w/ smaller monthly fee)
  • GMB &/or Places for Businesses Setup
  • Logo Design
  • Branding Design

Reference Books

The Power of Moments

The Power of Moments

-by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
clickable image for the book the secret thoughts of successful women

The Imposter Cure

-by Dr Jessamy Hibberd
Pressence Book Cover Clickable Image

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

-by Amy Cuddy
clickable image of the book cover of the poswer of consistency

The Power of Conistency

-by Weldon Long
Clickable image to the book The Imposter Cure

The Gifts of Imperfection

-by Brene Brown
Book Covor Image The Gifts of Imperfection Clickable

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women

-by Dr. Valerie Young