Your website is your personal shop window. It’s an advert for you or your business so you want it to looking absolutely awesome. What you don’t want is to be the online equivalent of Mr Dalton’s Antiques and Collectibles – the kind of place with more dust than the Moon, where no one ever visits. Ever.
But with millions of websites out there all jostling for space and attention, how do you make yours stand out from the crowd?
Fortunately, our friends at ecohosting are used to doing stuff out of the ordinary – here are six cracking ideas from them to make your site a showstopper.
1. Get creative with your bio
By all means whack your CV up there or write a little blurb about yourself but it’s not very original is it? Think laterally and imagine you’re telling a story – link to your favourite Spotify playlist, put down your favourite book or movie, include a video of you going about your daily life if it’s relevant. Throw out the obligatory boring headshot and instead use an image which says more about who you are. Bungee jumping from a bridge in New Zealand? Why not? It’s certainly more interesting than the obligatory person-smiling-awkwardly-in-dark-suit shot.
Remember, use what makes you unique and show the world.
2. Put a video on your homepage
If a picture paints a thousand words, a video paints millions. YouTube is second only to Facebook with 1 billion unique users every month and, according to Hub TV, you’ll increase your click through rate by 30% with a video.
Video engages visitors like nothing else and saves them reading great reams of text. It’s not only a fantastic way to showcase your uniqueness, it’s also the perfect vehicle for bringing to life ideas and concepts which might be a bit dull if simply written down.
3. Keep your content new and fresh
“If you build it, they will come.” Nope, they won’t. Just because you have a shiny new website doesn’t mean people will flock to it. You’ve got to plug in great content and keep doing it regularly – this is really really important.
Make sure you know your target audience inside out. What do they really need? What do they really want? A content strategy can help you define the audience, why you want to appeal to them, how you’ll do it and what your aims are.
Pick content that is important for your audience and make it compelling. It has to be of real value and real interest – don’t fill your pages with useless junk in the vain hope of bumping yourself up the SEO rankings.
Poor images that are irrelevant, fuzzy, badly edited and amateur will do more to damage your personal brand than anything else. Make sure you choose photos which really reflect what you want to say about yourself, your product or your services. Pictures that are elegant, polished and beautiful encapsulate what you have to offer and bring it to life. Don’t simply go running to the first freebie online gallery and pick out any old picture just because it’s the cheap option.
5. Colour me beautiful
Don’t be afraid to play with colours on your site. Colour is evocative, it can influence moods and feelings. A funeral director probably won’t get much traffic if the site is decked out in bright primary colours. Similarly, if you’re selling vintage products, using acid green and yellow probably won’t help much either. Pick something that reflects what you are offering.
6. Seek inspiration everywhere
Don’t limit yourself to the computer screen – take a camera, go out into the real world and snap pictures of beautiful things. Create an inspiration library and stuff it full of ideas you pick up from absolutely anywhere, both in the real world and online – drinks cans, posters, the flowers in the vase next to you, the colours of the books in a shop. Design and inspiration really are all around us.
Try and get out of the idea of “designing” a website to fit a certain way. People are often constrained by their own preconceptions of what a website should look like. You should throw that theoretical rule book out the window and consider creating something exactly how you see fit. Just make sure it’s still user friendly.