Your DIY website is crap: 4 ways to un-crap it

DIY website

Ah, we all love a DIY website, they’re so easy to build…

Says no one with zero experience who’s tried to build one.

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, a 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).

Right, let the dog see the rabbit…

Your crappy DIY website.

You might not realise how crappy your website is.

Maybe you think that any online real estate is enough, regardless of the quality. Damn, gurl, no! 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? Are they like Lucy, blindly walking through the wardrobe only to find another land, a fawn, and the start of a holy war. People have no desire to embark on a quest to find your downloadable PDF.

Here’s how we make what you currently have, better.

1. Make a good first impression

I try to make a good first impression. Then I slowly reveal my true, hideous self.

Your website should grab your audience by the balls (in a good way) and keep them there long enough to take action.

  • Voice/tone – 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? Remember Lucy!
  • Purpose – what’s it all for? Are you selling something? Be clear on what you’re offering.

2. Nail the design and branding

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 looking but it won’t generate any more traffic if it’s not a joy to navigate.

  • Site theme – think about 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 visitors a migraine or epileptic fit.

3. Don’t neglect SEO

If you don’t know anything about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – don’t even think about building a website.

If you can’t be arsed to learn even the basics, hire a professional. Without SEO your DIY website will be invisible. Making life easy for the user is one aspect of how you get seen, and therefore, ranked. Accessibility is the name of the game.

Here are a handful of SEO things to think about:

Blogging.

A website that has regular long-form content added will secure you some long term organic traffic. Content SEO is big news when it comes to attracting your people. If you want to delve deeper into blogging, click here for all my posts on the subject.

Keywords and keyword phrases (long-tail keywords).

These are the broads terms and detailed phrases you want your DIY website to be found for. Each page on your site should be looking at different focus keywords and phrases. If you want to find out more about that, click here.

Meta titles and descriptions.

These are the page snippets that show up on a Google search result. If you leave these blank, search engines will pull up whatever content it feels is relevant to that page. Google will ultimately choose the meta info to show but give it a hand and create meta titles and descriptions for all your pages and blog posts.

Internal links.

This is the business of linking to other, relevant content on your website. Doing this will alert the Google bots to other brilliant content that visitors will want to read.

Permalinks.

These are the permanent web address for each page you create. Pay close attention to the way your blog permalinks are set up. Make sure each blog post has a title that is searchable, otherwise there isn’t much point in writing a lovely blog if no one can find it.

4. Bang on webcopy

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 looking website, only to write the copy themselves. Why would anyone do that? Because they don’t realise how important business copy really is.

Know your audience.

And write for them and them alone (not for every Tom, Dick and Tina). The idea is to know your target audience well enough to speak in their tongue.

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 do you sound like?

Clear objectives.

Make those objectives easy to grasp. Don’t hide the point of why your website exists. And instead of talking about how great you are make it all about your audience. Humans are selfish especially when they’re buying, even your About Page should be about them. What utter bastards we are!

Less is more.

Not many like to read huge chunks of text on a web page. All your content should be formatted so it’s easy to digest. Break it up with bullet points and use small paragraphs. Be economic with language. If you can explain what you offer in as few words as possible, great, do that.

Call To Action (CTA).

Now the visitor has a reason to visit they’ll want to know what to do next, so show them, guide them to a CTA button or link on your homepage. 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. The possibilities are endless.

If you’d like a more detailed overview of website building, click here.

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.

Want to know how I can help with your content? Hit the button.

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