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  • Writer's pictureZena Barrick

Would you like three tips to make your website look more professional?


small business owner having a websiste consultation with Zena Barrick, web designer

They’re quick!

They’re easy!


If you run your own website, you could do them today and have your website looking better by this evening!


One of the services I offer is a website review. I look at someone’s business website and prepare a written report giving them actions they can take to make their website look more professional and more attractive.


And guess what? I see the same mistakes again and again.


Some will take a while to fix and may require a bit of investment. (Please people! Replace your stock photos with real photos of you and your business!)


But some are free, quick and easy to implement. Here are three things you can do today which will have an immediate impact on the appearance of your website:


1. Increase the amount of white space around your text.


The first thing to know is that white space isn’t necessarily white. It just refers to the space between things.If you allow more space between elements of your website e.g. blocks of text, it looks classier!


Think about those ultra high-end clothes shops. Just a few select items and loads of space in between. Now, compare that with a cheap high street store with too much stuff packed in. Which looks better? Which could you charge more for?


Actions:

Reduce the length of lines of text.

Increase the margins either side.

Leave larger gaps between sections.

Increase the space around buttons making them easier to click on.


Summary: It’s called “letting your design breathe”, and it’s probably the single best thing you can do to bring a higher end look to your website.



2. Reduce the amount of text and break it up


Everyone loves the sound of their own voice and website copy is no exception.

Almost every website I see has too much text on it. Great, long paragraphs that no one reads.

Think about it. If you visit someone else’s website and there are three or four long paragraphs of text, do you read it? Of course not!

Yes, you have a certain amount of information to convey, but it’s no good if no one actually reads it!


The other thing to remember is that while your amount of text might look reasonable on a desktop, most of your website visitors will be using a mobile phone with a small screen which will necessitate scrolling which makes your text look longer and more daunting.


Actions: Reduce the overall amount of text.

Be more concise with your language.

Where appropriate, replace paragraphs of text with images, icons, diagrams or infographics.

Consider moving any essential, but lengthy, details to a sub-page that visitors can visit if interested.

Split text into smaller sections broken up with images or blocks of colour. This can make it much more readable even if you don’t reduce the word count.

Use anything that will break up the text and make more logical. That might be sub-headings, quotations or bullet points.


Summary: All these techniques will make your text more appealing to read and help get your message across.


3. Simplify your use of fonts


This sounds like a technical one, but it’s an easy fix and will immediately make your website look more professional.


It’s a common rookie error to look at all fonts available and want to use them all! But if you have too many fonts it looks messy, busy and amateurish. Even using too many different sizes and styles (italic, bold, light) will make you look less serious.


Actions:

Avoid fancy, complex fonts or script fonts that look like handwriting. They are generally hard to read and should be used sparingly if at all.

Only use distinctive fonts for short headings.

For most of your text, including all paragraphs, use a plain, sans serif, unnoticeable font which doesn’t distract the reader from what you are saying.

Match your font to your business style. If your business is something serious and dependable, such as engineering or accountancy, a twirly or cartoonish font will leave a poor impression.

If you are not confident in combining fonts, stick to one font only.

Limit the number of ways you use a font. Even if you only use one font, if you have it in six different sizes, some italic, some bold, some underlined, some light or widely spaced, and some in pink (!) it will look messy.

Be consistent. Chose a style for your main headings, sub headings and paragraphs and stick to it through your site.


Summary:

Stick to the rule of three (or four). Use font A large and bold for headings. Use font B smaller but still bold for sub headings. Use font B again but smaller and medium weight for paragraphs. And if you are feeling wild, treat yourself to using font B again in one other colour!



Try these tips and let me know if your website looks more professional. I’m confident it will!


If you found this useful, please take a look at my website audit service to receive bespoke tips to improve your website.

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