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Is your website embarrassing?

Five tips to transform your website from 'meh' to marvelous!

I'll never forget the first day of first grade. I was a bit of a chatterbox as a kid. So that morning, my mom had drilled me before school about not talking unless the teacher called on me when I raised my hand.

So there I was sitting in my plaid uniform and white, knee-high socks, with my hand held high so that I could ask to use the bathroom. I really had to pee.

My teacher, Mrs. Kluegiwitz was obviously very busy learning everyone's name and going over the important rules of first grade. I'm sure she saw my upright hand amongst the sea of six-year-olds staring at her with wide eyes. Yet, she didn't call on me.

So, I peed. Right there in my skirt, at my desk. A huge puddle forming around my shiny black saddle shoes I had bought from Penny Loafers over the weekend.

Mrs. Klugewitz noticed me then. She had to escort me out of the classroom and down to the principal's office where I had to call my mom for a fresh change of clothes.

The next day, Stephanie Swigert turned around in her chair and made water noises with her mouth, imitating the sound of someone going to the bathroom. Kids giggled and pointed. I slid down in my chair not wanting to be seen.

That's what embarrassment feels like, wanting to hide.

Songbird Creative creates websites and content for small business owners.

Do you have a website that you want to hide from the world?

Maybe your website is a little dated and you just haven't had time to freshen it up. The photos are a little 90's. The text is a thousand different fonts. Or your service has changed and no longer reflects what you do.

Here's the thing, like it or not, your website is a reflection of your business. You want your website to reflect the awesomeness of the amazing service that you provide.

There are a thousand different things that could need updating on your website. But the good news is that there are small tweaks that you could make to your site that would make your site much less embarrassing.

Here are five small things you could do this week to spruce up your website:

1. At the top of your website, write a simple and clear statement that states what you do and how you can help.

So many websites miss this very simple detail and assume that their service is obvious because of their name or domain name. Don't make this assumption. Craft a one-sentence statement that clearly states what you do and how you can help. Place this sentence near the top of your homepage, above the fold, meaning on the part of the screen that is visible when you first land on your home page.

Example: "I am a family photographer that creates professional and timeless photos for you to treasure for years to come."

Even if your business name is Joe the Plumber, somewhere on your site should say something like, "Joe the Plumber provides plumbing services for your home". Some business names can be misleading or unintentionally confusing. For instance, the business name, Inner Harmony, could be for a massage therapist, a psychotherapist, or an all girl acapella group. This one sentence statement is hugely important to clearly communicate your service on your website and help people understand exactly what you do.

Songbird Creative creates websites and content for small business owners.

2. High-quality photos can turn your website from meh to marvelous!

I always tell clients that if you're going to invest in your business, the first thing to do is hire a professional photographer. It is so worth the investment! Bonus points if you wear your brand colors in your photos or design the colors of your website to match your clothing colors in the pics. Otherwise, you can freshen up your photos using free stock photo sites like Unsplash or Pexels.

3. Create a balanced amount of content.

Many websites suffer from too much text. We've all experienced those 'About Me' sections that rival the length of a personal memoir. Shorten your sentences. Use 'Read More' buttons to link to new pages. Take out the fluff! Don't talk too much about yourself and focus on your reader's wants and needs. I can't say this enough, but your website is not actually about you. It's about your reader/ customer/ client!

On the other hand, please say something! Unless your service is strictly a visual medium, too little text can also be disappointing. People visit your website to learn about your service before they reach out to you for help. Give them a little more value than just "Contact me for more information". Read this article to discover the six basic content items your website can share with people.

4. Use more white space.

Many sites feel cluttered with too many images or too much text all stacked on top of each other, as if a big city apartment building was crammed into a suitcase. When designing, we sometimes forget that our content is not constricted to the size of a piece of paper. There's no need for it to be smooshed on top of one another. The space on a website is unlimited -- you can scroll forever! A more spacious feeling can be achieved by simply dragging your content pieces further down the page and away from one another.

Songbird Creative creates websites and content for small business owners.
Look at all that white space! I already feel more grounded.

5. Incorporate a distinct color palette.

A color palette is a selection of four to five colors that will be used on your website. Sticking to your color palette creates a consistent look on your website, looks professional, and acts as part of branding your name and business in the minds of potential customers. Read this article to learn how to make your own color palette for free.

Stop hiding from your embarrassing website!

My embarrassing moment from first grade will always stay with me. I'm OK with that. After all, we don't always get a second chance. However, if your embarrassing moment is from your website, you do have the opportunity for a do-over! It doesn't have to be a complete overhaul. Just a few small tweaks can make a big difference between you hiding from your website or sharing it with the world.

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