1. TELL YOUR STORY
I cannot stress this enough. People want to know who is behind a product or a brand, especially if you are a maker, a baker or have some sort of philanthropic side to your business. But it is actually equally important if you sell funny t-shirts. WHY do you do what you do? What makes you tick?
Stories help potential customers connect to you and to your brand. So don't be shy. Show the real you. And most importantly, tell your audience WHY you are doing what you are doing, or selling the items you do. People want to connect. Let them get to know you.
The About' section of any website is a great space to do this. However, if you wish to keep it a bit more professional here, a blog is a perfect space to goof around a bit and show people the 'real' you, out of the office so to speak. Do check out the My Story page on this site, where I have shared more about my professional background, and the Welcome blog, where I write more about what drives me and how my travels have shaped me as a person. See the difference? But they are still complimentary, and together I hope they paint a pretty good overall picture of who I am.
Not great at telling stories or writing content? Contact me and I can help with that.
2. PICK GREAT COLOURS
I often use this free website to pick a colour from an image that I like. Once you have found it, you can create a whole colour palette on this site, with shades of colours that match your favourite. Voila! Then just incorporate those colours where you like them on your website. It often takes quite some time to get it right, so don't loose heart. Just keep at it until you are satisfied.
Or contact me and I will help you figure it all out.
3. USE GOOD PHOTOS
Imagery is SO important. Especially if you are selling a product, or if you are an artist.
Good photos sell products but product shots are notoriously difficult to get 'right', especially if you have larger items, or if you are new to this. If so, it might pay to get a professional photographer in to do the job.
Find a professional photographer in your area (it is always good to support local y'all) and see if you can work together. Quite often these photographers have already worked with other businesses in your area, and they might be able to put you in touch with other creatives. Many great collaborations have started this way.
But please, don't contact a photographer offering them products, or 'a chance to build their portfolio' unless that is specified on their website or similar. Creative people hate this. They have to eat and pay rent like everyone else, so please offer them fair compensation for their valuable work.
Selling a service? Don't worry, website builders like Shopify have free imagery you can use on your website to spruce it up a bit. All the images I have used on this website are from the free library in Shopify (to show you it is possible), and it looks pretty great right?!
Once you have your amazing photos, it is important to name them the right way for Google and other search engines to crawl your website easily and for it to understand what your site is about. So naming them (replacing PC104677.jpeg or equivalent with a more descriptive name) is key. After you have uploaded them to your website, you also need to put in an alt text that describes what happens in the photo, or what you want the photo to say. Then you can move on to content.
Need icons for social media? Here is a great website with free icons to use. They can be customised to suit whichever colour scheme you have on your website.
4. HAVE THE RIGHT CONTENT
Next to photos, content is key. Not only does Google and other search engines 'crawl' websites and index them, based on what they contain, they will either reward or punish you depending on what they find. Clear, informative content is rewarded and funnily enough, too much 'keyword repetition' is punished, although you would think more is better, it is not. You should definitely have some keywords in your text, spread out over the page, but don't overdo it. It is a tricky balance. An easily navigated website is rewarded, having to click too many times to get to a page is punished, and so on. It can be quite confusing and daunting to try to get your head around all of it (and it requires quite a lot of reading in different places online to cover it all), but it's worth it.
Or, you can always contact me to help you. I know what to do and what not to do.
5. SPAM FILTERS!
Often overlooked when starting out, but anyone who has had a website knows that a spam filter is essential!
Otherwise your email will be bombarded with spam, and we don't want that now, do we?!
I have used Recaptcha on all the form submissions on this site, and I have not written out the actual email anywhere. This is the easiest way to keep your information private (and your inbox filled with only emails you WANT there).
Recaptcha is free to use and you can find it here. Use it now. Thank me later.
Of course, if you need help installing it on your website, contact me. I have it installed on both contact forms, and newsletter sign up forms on this site.