Have you seen your website lately? It’s f*ckin’ awful!

I love looking at websites, nothing says ‘interesting person’ more than looking at someones online presence.

Excellent work if your website is really sexy. Props to you if it uses the right keywords, has the top copywriter and web designer on the job. Ironically some great copywriters and web designers have terrible websites, bit like tradespeople with shitty homes. Too busy sorting everyone else out, meanwhile her indoors is getting really pissed off…

I don’t know what came over me then.

I was possessed by both Arthur Daley (look him up youngsters) and Ray Winstone (always plays a chubby cockney, see also Sexy Beast, superb film).

Right, let the dog see the rabbit…

Crappy websites

You might not know how crappy your website is or perhaps you think that any online piece of real estate is enough, regardless of the quality. A shitty website can do more harm than good. Imagine having a smashed, boarded-up shop window with dog shit piled high near the door – puts people off.

Can users find what they need or does it take them an absolute age to get to the thing they want? Like Lucy, blindly walking through the wardrobe only to find another land, a fawn, and the start of a holy war, when all she really wanted was a downloadable PDF

First impressions

I like to make a good first impression don’t you? Then you can slowly reveal your true hideous self.

Your website should grab your audience and keep them there long enough to take action.

  • Voice/tone – sounds like bollocks I know but your site should have an overall vibe and speak directly to your people. And please, for the love of Christ stop talking in the third person.
  • User experience – is it easy to navigate? Can users find stuff? Or are they leaving in frustration?
  • Purpose – what’s it all for? Are you selling something? Be clear on what you’re offering.

Design and branding

The fun bit! Some of the best sites are simple. That doesn’t mean they don’t look good. You can invest a lot of money in something really sexy but it won’t generate any more traffic.

  • Site theme – this needs to work with your kind of industry. For example, a photographer will want something that showcases their images.
  • Logo – if you have a business name then you should have a logo. This is basic stuff, people want something to remember your brand by so get on it.
  • Brand Palette – the colours you will use throughout your website and all marketing material. Stick to a few colours that compliment each other. Text on certain backgrounds might not work or can be hard to read. Avoid giving people a migraine or epileptic fit.

SEO

You want your website to be seen and ranked by search engines otherwise there isn’t much point. It should influence all of what you do, and certainly all your website copy.

Some SEO things to think about:

  1. Write a blog – a website that is updated with new, consistent high-quality long-form content is really important and something you can do with no technical knowledge of SEO. Check out my blog on How To Write An SEO Friendly Blog People Want To Read.
  2. Keywords and key phrases – the things people search for that are applicable to what you’re offering on your site. In other words, how do you want them to find you?
  3. Meta titles and descriptions – your page snippets that show in the search results. Are these attractive and to the point? Do they link to relevant content?
  4. Internal links – I’m talking about linking other relevant content within your site. Like I’ve done in this post.
  5. Permalink structures – this is the permanent address of your page URLs. If you want people to find your blog post via a Google search, the permalinks need to describe exactly what the content contains.
  6. Backlinks – having links to your website on high ranking sites is gold.
  7. Images – make sure they have relevant titles and alt. titles.

Website copy

The only thing worse than a shitty looking website is a badly written one. I will never understand why people pay top dollar to have a flashy website only to write the copy themselves

  • Setting the tone – your website wording is responsible for the voice of your site. Are you a high end brand, is this for corporate business, are you a hobbyist baker who loves to read about murder in your spare time? What you are selling will inform the copy.
  • Clear objectives – make it easy to read and understand. Instead of talking about how great you are make it all about your audience. Humans are selfish especially when we’re buying, even your About Page should be about the audience. What utter bastards we are.
  • Less is more – not many like to read huge chunks of text on a site. Break it up with bullet points or separators. Be economic with language and use simple words. I know you yearn to show off your Stephen Fryesque vocabulary but now is not the time Karen. Ditch your wordy-ass self, you sound like an arsehole.
  • Call To Action – now the user has the reason for their visit they’ll want to know what to do next. Get a CTA button on your home page. It could be a Book A Call button that links to a contact page. If you have information that is heavily text-based add a Download button that links to a stunningly produced PDF. Phwoar!

But what do I know?

I have built several websites. My first one was really bad. It was the early days of CMS websites when they were clunky and horrible to look at. I’m always changing my own website, always making improvements, checking to see if it’s still doing what I need it to. A website is never finished, things change and SEO never sleeps. I learned through getting it wrong, saves you the trouble of getting it wrong too.

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