Do you sometimes find yourself wondering why everyone else’s website always seems prettier than yours?
That is a common refrain with my clients and entrepreneurs I know. I hear a lot of things like “my website just seems to lack…polish…” or “it doesn’t look right to me but I’m not sure why”.
First, can I just say something?
Pretty websites are great, but a little overrated.
Chances are the most beautiful websites you’ve seen belong to full time bloggers who are also designers. So it makes sense that they would have both the time and the talent to make something Internet-gorgeous.
But if you’re a small business owner, only two things really matter:
- Professional polish
- Great content
If your website contains compelling content displayed in a way that shows you are really professional and not messing around, you’re fine.
Ok, pep talk over. 🙂
If you STILL want to find a way to attain the special polish that your favorite websites have, I’ve got some ideas for you.
Each of these “hacks” will only take you a few minutes but will improve – sometimes dramatically – the attractiveness of your website.
I came up with these tricks by reviewing all of my favorite blogs and websites, including those by full time designers, and realizing there was a certain pattern that they all had in common.
Here goes – 5 minutes hacks for a prettier website today:
Make your background white
This probably feels boring and bland. Plus I feel a little silly writing it because my website doesn’t have a white background (and personally I think it looks good as is, but I’m biased….).
But this is probably the number one easiest trick and the most commonly deployed by great websites out there.
Go to your theme’s settings and switch your background to white, and your site will instantly appear cleaner, less cluttered, and more professional.
Remember, the 90s are over and the days of consumers expecting a business to have a “fun” website are long gone.
Potential customers don’t want to (and won’t) be impressed with your quirky animations or your fake brick background. They just want to know who you are and why they should hire or buy from you. Or, as I have said a couple times in various blog posts, they want you to answer two questions: Can I trust you? and Do I respect you?
Forget about fancy and fun and quirky. Make your background simple and white and focus on creating great content that answers those two questions instead.
Increase blank space
Along those lines, having a website with more blank space, especially on the sides, will contribute to an overall cleaner, simpler, more attractive feeling.
Remember this: Clutter is bad. Simple is pretty. Clutter has actually been associated with higher cortisol (stress hormone) levels in women, so I’m not being too dramatic when I say that your potential customers really will not enjoy your clutter-happy, overly-informative-in-all-the-wrong-places website.
Use a blog post image template
This is such an easy trick and it will make a huge difference in the polish and attractiveness of your website.
Uniformity in your blog post featured images will send the message that you are professional and together, and you will have confidence that every image looks great, without having to “design” something special for every post.
Create a simple, attractive blog post featured image template and use it for all of your future blog posts. Make sure that the template includes the same size and orientation for every image, the same font, font color, size, and location for overlayed text, and the same type of background, whether it’s a color block or image.
Remove or condense menu buttons
So simple, so effective.
As the content on your website grows and you add more and more pages and blog categories, chances are your menu bar has gotten a little out of control.
Since the menu bar is pretty much the first thing someone sees upon opening your website, a sloppy, over-crowded menu bar will give your visitor a cluttered and unattractive first impression.
Fix this in five minutes (or more like two minutes) by removing any non-essential menu buttons.
“But they’re all essential!” I hear ya. Try this instead: group them into high level categories and collapse them into submenu buttons. For example, if you have “About Me” “My Story” “Contact Me” and “Testimonials”, why not group them all under a top level menu button called “About”? The content will still be easily accessible but the menu will look a lot cleaner to visitors.
Increase font size
I don’t know why small business websites always seem to use extra small font. I really don’t.
It’s like a big sign that says “DON’T READ THIS! IT’S NOT IMPORTANT!” covering up all of your blog posts and content.
Simple, easy fix: Go to your theme settings and increase the body or paragraph font size. Just use trial and error until you find something that is easy to read and skim in a quick glance and doesn’t require your website visitor to squint, scowl, and get 3″ away from their monitor to read it.
While you’re at it, break up your long paragraphs into short, skimmable chunks. No more than 3-4 lines max per paragraph. It will make your website look much cleaner and easier to read, AND prettier too.
All of these hacks will only take a few minutes and can be done for free, without buying a new theme, hiring a developer, or any other fancy schmancy stuff.
But they will go a long way toward making your website attractive, polished, and easy to use. Win!
Are you a small business owner doing your own content marketing?
Take my intensive 6 day email course and create your own killer content marketing plan. This course will walk you through my own personal process for helping small business clients streamline their marketing, focusing on what’s really working and what will make the most impact within their target budget and time constraints.
Click here to learn more about the course or just enter your email below to enroll for free and get started: