When your website isn’t working for you, often times people just throw in the hat and think that a whole new website is the answer. But sometimes that’s not the most effective or economical choice.
An effective website needs to have a whole list of requirements. A lot of these are small changes you can implement on your website right now to start booking more clients
Something I see over and over again is horrible spacing. Design needs to be able to breathe, and whitespace is a good thing! You can improve your spacing in your text by adjusting the line height in the Squarespace design dashboard. [Show screenshot here]. Don’t squish all the text together, it makes it difficult to read and it looks too overwhelming to read (which means people likely just skip over it).
You can also add some spacing between paragraphs, images or graphics by using the spacer block in Squarespace. This gives each element a little more room to breathe. Or add in some lines to help divide the text or large chunks of information. Just be sure to go easy on this one. You don’t want your page to have lines everywhere trying to break it up.
Change the fonts
Cursive fonts are all the rage right now, and are very much a trend for creative online business owners. Cursive fonts are horrible for the readability of your site. Choose fonts that are easy to read, clean and allow for hierarchy on your page. The font needs to include a few different weights so you can make things bold if needed. Some good ones to use in Squarespace are Raleway, Roboto, Open Sans, Lato, Monserrat.
Colour is impossible to control in web design. It will show up a hundred different ways on a hundred different computers. Everyone’s screen is optimized differently. There's no way to test your colours on every device and make sure it’s legible on all of them. But it is important to make your colours as legible as possible. Using colours like yellow, green or other super bright colours as background or even main headings is a big no-no. You want your most important information to be the easiest to read. Putting white text on a yellow background is pretty much ensuring that no one is going to be able to read it.
Stick to some darker shades for the main headings. And if you’re going to use bright colours as a background for some graphics, make sure the text is dark enough to read.
Every single page on your website needs a goal and a call to action. What step do you want your reader to take next? This step can be to read more information, purchase your product or contact you about your services.
If you haven’t done this already, write down all your pages. Now write down one goal or call to action for every single page. What can you do to add this to your site? Is it another line of copy, or a button somewhere on the page? Go and do that now!
Another way to improve your website’s usability is to narrow down your menu items to only 5-7 items. Millar’s Law states that we can only hold 7 pieces of information in our brain at any one time. Anything larger than that is too overwhelming, and we simply cannot process it fast enough. That’s bad news for your website if you have more items than that. Your reader will likely take one look at all that information and then click out and onto the next tab.
The way your content is organized needs to be intuitive. Your page names need to make sense and need to be what your readers would call them. Don’t use abstract names just to be different. It will make it hard for your audience to find what they’re looking for, and they will likely just jump to the next tab instead of trying to find it.
Is the information that your reader needs presented in plain view or do they need to dig for it? Are your services under the services tab or work with me tab? Or are they on a different page that isn’t intuitive for someone to find.
Deleting old pages or unnecessary pages are a great way to clean up your site. Go into Google Analytics and see what pages aren’t popular or being visited. Are they necessary for your website? Could you house them under a different section that makes more sense? Or maybe delete them all together if you don’t need them anymore.
Proper hierarchy is also important for distinguishing which information is the most important and guiding your reader through the content on each page. Hierarchy can be created in a number of ways including using proper headings, images or graphics, lines to separate sections, or background colours.
Creating hierarchy in your text is done through using different levels of headings. Each heading should be smaller and different than the last one to ensure that the information flows. Every page on your website should have a mix of paragraph text and headings to help break it up and allow a reader to skim and still get the information they want.
An example of the heading structure I use is below:
This is an example of what my paragraph text looks like.
Heading one should be your largest and boldest text. It is often used for titles, or to really draw your attention to particular parts of a page.
Heading two should be a little smaller than heading one (by at least 4 points). This can be bold or unbold, and should never compete with heading one. They both need to work together.
Heading three should be even smaller than heading two. I left this one un bold on my site because I didn’t want it to look too harsh to the reader.
Other ways to create hierarchy on your website is by adding images and graphics to break up the information. On my services page, I have a short description of what my process is and then I paired each step with an icon to help the reader flow through the information. You can include icons or graphics on your website to
You can also include horizontal lines to break up sections, just make sure you don’t go overboard with this, you don’t want your website to look like a bunch of lines.
Sprucing up your website is easy. Sometimes starting over with a whole new website isn’t the most effective or economical choice. There are a ton of small changes you can make to ensure your website is more effective. Take some time over the next week and knock off a few of these. Go ahead, schedule it into your calendar!