Are you a real person? I know what you are thinking…
“Of course I am, Heather!”
Yes. You are! But do those who visit your website see YOU? Even if you have a product, or service, or ministry, or whatever it is that you offer… do they just see a product? You aren’t like Walmart or Amazon, so they should see the real person behind what you offer. But do they?
Let’s test that, real quick. Think about these:
- What do my visitors see when they visit my website?
- What do people want when they visit my website?
- What do they actually get?
- How does my website “flow”?
- What do my visitors see on the front page?
Your website is like your home. And your front page, often called the home page, is the front door. It should be inviting, making people feel welcome to come in and browse around comfortably. In design terms this is called UX – the user experience.
But your users are real people, so you want to make sure they feel that you are a real person too… not just a website full of “stuff”.
Every site offers “stuff”, but the best ones showcase the life behind the “stuff”.
So the first thing to do is make sure your home page shows the visitor all they need to get to know you and all that you offer. Invite them in with featured areas that showcase your blog, your products or services, your offers, your events… your major offerings should have a link on your home page to invite them into your “home” on the web.
If something you want your visitors to see is buried on an inner page, they may never see it.
Studies show that 70-80% of all website visitors are coming to your site via a mobile device. So they are on and back off in a hurry. You’ve got to catch their attention immediately and wisely.
The second thing to do is to make sure your web home is tidy, just like your real home.
Now that’s not to say we all have our real homes perfectly straight and tidy! Or at least mine isn’t always. Haha! But websites have come a LONG way from the 90s and early 2000s very “busy-loaded-up pages” look. Thankfully! Just as real home design changes every few years, so does website design.
But that is not to say you should expect a “cookie-cutter” website. Yes, there are trends, and some help with mobile responsiveness (watch for an email all about what makes a website mobile ready coming soon) and SEO readiness (tips on SEO coming soon, too). Design trends can be great if those trends fit your needs for your home on the web. But, go with what fits you. People need to see you – no matter if you offer products, services, a ministry, a hobby, a book, or something else.
The third thing to do is to remember to have the most MOST important aspects of what you offer on every page.
Have links to your social media in more than one spot on your website and preferably on every page, like in the footer or header area; and definitely have an email sign up form for your campaigns and newsletter on every page. The key is to make things easy to find without having it be annoyingly everywhere.
Speaking of social media: the old way of using social media, as a way to get a message out, was to be on every platform. But the platforms have grown so large and so numerous in quantity – and as I’ve been saying for years now – engagement is the key… so find which platform, or two, your most engaging and interested visitors are using and concentrate on those. Contrary to what some are still saying, “be everywhere” really just becomes non-personal and repetitive. Monotonous is really what it becomes for you and your readers. Give them real!
When I design a website for a client, I make sure to find out their dream, their goal, and some things about them. All that needs to shine through, because people are looking for other real people… not marketing gimmicks, forever long splash or landing pages, or cookie-cutter template sites that look just like everyone else’s. Give them real!
So here is the very best advice I can give you as a professional web designer and marketer, and advice I give all my clients:
Be you and don’t squeeze yourself into a box! And don’t stress out over every piece of “guru” advice out there!
There needs to be a good balance of what you want to accomplish and what you know you are called to do… and stress will ruin both for you. Be you!
In other words: Give them real!