Want A More Professional Website? Follow These 11 Steps to Success.

Want A More Professional Website? Follow These 11 Steps to Success.

Sometimes it just takes a few small changes to get a more professional looking website, sometimes it takes a little more. 

For instance, maybe your website is too slow to load? Or It could be that your landing page may have too many distractions?

Whatever the case may be, when it comes to designing a website, it's all about creating the ultimate user experience. 

A good website should have as much style as it does functionality.

That said, there is no right or wrong way to design a website.

Although, there are some ground rules you should adhere to when it comes to building a professional website.

We've compiled a list of 11 to make your website more professional. 

11 ways to a more professional website

  • Design
  • Call to Action
  • Page Speed
  • Images
  • Logo
  • Link Building
  • Responsiveness
  • DotCom Email Address
  • HTTPS
  • Ads
  • Readability

1 - Good Design

88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. Invisionapp 

In other words, you only have one chance to grab the visitors attention. 

Not only that, but you have less than 15 seconds to do it. Crazy right?

That's the dilemma we face nowadays when designing a website.  

You see, people more often than not skim web pages.

Typically in an F shaped pattern.

More often than not, starting at the header and working their way down through the subheadings and the first few lines of sentences.

heat-map-f-shape
Want A More Professional Website? Follow These 11 Steps to Success.

Only a fraction read your main paragraph of text, so have your most important content where it counts. Otherwise, they're just gonna bounce. 

What's the reason for this?

The majority of people visit a webpage because they are looking for a quick answer to a question. So they scan the content swiftly looking for a solution, resulting in the F shape pattern. 

A few things to consider when designing your site.

  • 69% of people spend their time viewing the left side of your website. 
  • Harsh colours with overcrowded themes and hard to read fonts are recipe for disaster.
  • Instead, concentrate more on simple but effective techniques.

 

   Tip:

Use a white background, with a splash of colour to draw the users attention to where you want it to be. 

 

Likewise, the image below uses a coloured background using white to draw the attention of the user to the same effect. 

badgrammrbaz-ways-to-make-your-website-more-prodfessional-good-design-image

Design your website around your image

Put your best foot forward. Have all the important stuff on the home page and work your way out.

It's best practice to be able to navigate to anywhere in your website with no more than 3 clicks. 

Furthermore, make your website an extension of who you are. Unless you're Hitler. Then maybe go with a nice clean white theme instead 😉

2 - Have A Clear Call to Action

More than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA - Unbounce

A Call to Action is designed to generate a response from your audience. As in, SIGN UP or FIND OUT MORE

Namely, it's what action you want the user to take once they land on your page. Do you want them to sign up to your newsletter? or visit your merch store? etc.

Having the button the same colour as your logo helps the CTA stand out. Take Netflix as an example.

badgrammrbaz-cta-netflix-ways-to-make-your-website-more-professional

Netflix has nailed the Call To Action Button, with their JOIN FREE FOR A MONTH design luring the user in. How can you not click?!

On the other hand, you don't want anything too vague, like CLICK HERE, for instance. For what?

CTA's are a great way of getting conversions. Especially if you put an urgency on it. (A conversion can be anything from purchasing merch to gathering an email address.)

For instance, 50% OFF,  TODAY ONLY.

3 - Page Speed

Pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while, pages that take five seconds to load have a bounce rate of 38% - Unbounce

Page speed is incredibly important.

There is no point in having a more professional looking website if no one is going to see it.

If your website is too slow to load, users won't hang around, so a good page loading time is crucial. 

So what can you do to speed up your site?

There are a few things you can do.

For instance, reduce image sizes, enabling browser caching and deleting unused plugins are just some to name a few.

Google's Page Speed Insights will show you what the big offenders are and recommend to you how to fix the issues. 

Just type in Page Speed Insights into your browser, then copy and paste in your URL where prompted and hit Analyse.

You will get a score from 0-100. 

badgrammrbaz-page-speed

Anywhere between 70 and 100 is good, but you should always be trying to improve your score.

As you can see from the image below they show you how you can optimise your site and how much loading time it will save.

badgrammrbaz-page-speed

How do I fix the issues?

Well, there are some great plugins out there to help you optimise your site.

Short Pixel & Smush, for example, are WordPress plugins that will optimise images and change them to formats that will increase your loading time and site speed.

Caching your site regularly is another way to a more efficient website. Plugins such as WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache will significantly improve your webpage loading times and come highly recommended. 

4 - Images

It's definitely worth dipping into the funds for a professional photographer. Whether it's to take pictures at your live gigs or an organised photoshoot.

It not only makes you look freaking awesome but if someone wants to do a piece on you, they don't have to be chasing you down for an image to go with their article. They can download it directly from your website.

The easier you make it for them, the more inclined they are to write about you again.

What if you're on a low budget?

If you can't afford top-notch images, don't worry, you're living in good times. Grab a friend with the newest smartphone, commandeer some good lighting (or use natural light) and start snapping. 

live-band-crowd

Most people can use photoshop or some form of photo editing these days, so get creative and start producing those kick-ass images today. 

Moreover, have your images cohesive with each other. Don't have like a black and white photo followed by an image radiating with colour. Have your whole website work as one.

5 - Logo

A band logo can make you stand out from the crowd. It can help to identify your genre and musical tastes at a glance.

The majority of the most well-known logos all have one thing in common - Simplicity.

You want your logo to look good on everything from t-shirts, stickers and badges, to huge blown up backdrops and kick-ass tattoos.

In brief, the simpler the design the easier it is to work with.

The Rolling Stones, for instance, has one of the most iconic and most instantly recognisable logos out there.

rolling-stones-logo

How Do I Create A Logo?

Depending on your budget there are some great logo makers out there. Some you can design for free and only have to pay to download like Tailor Brand and Vengeance.

Others Like Canva, you can download for free but are limited in the amount of design you can use.

Personally, If you're looking to design a logo on a budget I'd recommend Canva

I use it all the time.

There are lots of designs to work with and you can create a logo and download it for free. 

In saying that they do charge for the use of some designs but they're usually no more than a euro. 

6 - Link Building

Links are an important part of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). It's one of the biggest ranking factors according to Google.

There are two types of links. Inbound Links & Outbound Links

  • Inbound Links are links from external websites to yours.
  • Outbound links take you elsewhere. I.e. Wikipedia, or a Youtube e.t.c. 

If you have hyperlinks linking back to your page, it shows Google that you have relevant content within your niche and good page authority.

Page Authority score is a metric designed by SEOMoz.  It scores your page from 1-00 on its ability to rank in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP's).

link-building-ways-to-make-your-website-more-professional-badgrammrbaz

On top of that, It's also good practice to link to your own posts. This is called Internal Linking.

How does that work?

For example, let's say you have a post on My 3 Favourite Distortion Pedals and you have another post on My Favourite Pedals.

You can link in between the two relevant topics, knowing that the reader can benefit from either post based on their search query.

Same goes for social media links to your music, videos or homepage. Links in emails work the same.

In short, the more links you have to your site, the more search traffic you'll get and the higher you'll rank in the SERP's.

That said, it doesn't necessarily make your website look more professional but the idea of this is to gain more visitors and establishing links will do just that.   

7 - Responsiveness 

Nearly 8 out of 10 users (not cats) will stop engaging with content that doesn't display well on their mobile device.

The number of people using mobile devices outnumbers that of the desktop. It's a no-brainer really.

Mobile traffic is responsible for 52.2 per cent of Internet traffic in 2018, with that figure increasing in 2019. Hosting Tribunal 

If your site is not mobile-friendly you are going to miss out on plays, sales, on page shares and a whole lot more.

So how do we make our site mobile friendly?

Lucky enough for us, most WordPress themes are automatically responsive as they adjust to your mobile and tablet devices so you can get straight to creating great content. 

If your website doesn't fit the users' screen, there's a good chance they will become frustrated and leave your site never to return. 

You can check the brief of your theme to see if it's it's responsive or not before you install it.

ocean-wp-wordpress-theme-more-ways-to-mak-your-website-more-professional

8 - Business Email Address

With a website comes a domain name.

Having a @yourdomain.com address not only more of a professional-looking website but also gives you an air of credibility.

It shows your fans and booking agents alike, that you take your music and the business of it seriously.

So if you're still using a personal Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account (if you're still drinking out of that well) it's time to upgrade.

Additionally, You might know this from your own experience as well.

Users will be more inclined to open an email from a company name that they're familiar with, rather than a personal one that they are not.

With that, you can also add employee names to it as your business grows.

For example, clare@yourdomain.com, john@yourdomain.com and have an info@yourdomain.com for general inquiries. 

It's official-looking and it will create trust and familiarity with your brand. 

contact-us-ways-to-make-your-website-more-professional

How do you create a business email?

  1. Login to your hosting site.
  2. Go to your cPanel
  3. Scroll down to the Mail section
  4. Click on Email Accounts
  5. Create an Email Address and Password
  6. Then click create an account. 

To access your webmail,

  1. Click on MyAccounts.
  2. Click on the Information and Settings drop-down menu. 
  3. You will see a link to your webmail and a tutorial button on how to use it.

9 - HTTPS

If you haven't changed over from HTTP to HTTPS by now, you need to get on this straight away. HTTP stands for Hypertext Protocol and the S stands for Secure.

The reasons the S at the end of HTTP is so important is that it encrypts the data so that even if someone does intercept the link, they won't be able to understand it. 

This is extremely important if you have transactions happening on your website. 

As you may have seen, most websites have a little green lock in the top left-hand side of the screen.

https-screenshot-example-ways-to-make-your-website-more-secure

This shows you that their website is secure and trustworthy.

HTTP OR Hypertext Transfer Protocol,  are messages that are formatted and transmitted around the world wide web. Google punishes sites now for not migrating from HTTP to HTTPS. Especially if your site allows transactions.

HTTPS encrypts the code making it harder for scammers to intercept your information. When you've migrated over and your website is now secure, you get a little green padlock in corner of the URL.

Look for it next time ordering something online.

You can purchase the SSL Certificate as an add-on or an upgrade from your hosting site.

10 - Ads

It's quite easy to get excited with ads knowing the income they can generate for your business.

In saying that, having too many ads can seriously damage your website's performance and increase your bounce rate (people leaving your page immediately after landing on it).

Remember the early days of the internet? You'd visit a website only to be bombarded with pop up ads and trick banners.

Horrible right! You were always just one wrong click away from landing on a totally unrelated page, urging you to hand over your hard-earned cash for the next best thing in technology.

You know the ones...Everybody is making money off this new product. Don't get left behind. This will literally change your life. Buy now and you'll get 60% off. 

Although some of those ads are still circulating the world wide web today, they're a lot less disruptive since Google starting punishing sites for annoying pop-up ads back in 2016.

One nicely placed related add using Google Adsense is a great way of monetizing your site.

In other words, don't overdo it. It will look spammy and untrustworthy, and users will get fed up and leave.

On top of that, you want to keep people on your site, not sending them off to someone else.

In short, fewer ads equal a more professional looking website.

And in any case, you shouldn't be just relying on ads to monetize your site. There are more ways to make money from a website 

11 - Readability

  • The structure of sentences
  • Typography
  • Complexity of words

Contrast is key

Take the example image below. They tried to fit so much into one page that you can't actually make out anything. Blue, reds greens, crammed sentences and paragraphs with small fonts and hard to read subheadings. It just hurts your brain. 

badgrammrbaz-bad-website-example

So what should you do?

Have a good font, not too big, not too small. keep the fonts to a minimum. Less is more here. Two fonts are plenty.

You can change up the size or have them in bold or italics if you need more variety. You don't want to distract the reader from the message you're trying to portray. 

There are plenty of fonts to chose from. If you can't make your mind up, Sans Serif is a good place to start.

You can change up your titles and headers with display fonts. Permanent Marker is a favourite of mine, but there are so many out there, some more graphic-heavy than others.

Try a few out till you find which one works best for you and your site and the style of music you play. 

Conclusion

So there you have it, folks. That's my 11 ways to a more professional website.

If you found this post beneficial or maybe you don't agree with the list, please let me know in the comments below. 

All the best,

Baz

For more posts like this one, check out badgrammrbaz.com

Baz McAuley

Baz McAuley, the founder of Badgrammrbaz.com, is an independent musician & digital marketer, specialising in music marketing and promotion.

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