5 Tips and Tweaks to Make Your DIY Website Look Pro

Apr 25, 2020 | Web Design

Want to level up your DIY website?

Over the past two weeks I’ve gone live in my Facebook Group, Simply Launched several times. I’ve been sharing tips and tweaks to make your blogs and websites look like they were created by a pro! Make your site look like it was created by a pro by taking care of these missing pieces. Think of it as the icing on the cake!

One mosquito bite. One grain of sand in your shoe. Just like these make a huge difference, little things can make a difference on your website as well.

I’ve got a list of 5 tips and tweaks to take a look at on your website. Now, don’t feel bad if you’re missing any of these on your blog or website. Even some pros making thousands of dollars per website miss some of these. There are so many details to pay attention to when you’re creating a side that it’s easy to miss some.

Tip #1: Make sure your website has an SSL certificate.

 

This is generally well known, but there are a lot of sites still out there without an SSL certificate. How can you tell if you have one installed? There’s the little padlock next to url at the top of your browser window. This is more than a pretty looking lock. Think of it as a bit of code on your server that provides security for communicating online.

Your site is hosted on a server. You look at your site through a web browser. When the browser contacts the server the SSL certificate makes sure its secure. The padlock is showing everyone who visits your site that its secure. As thawte.com says, “Its kind of like sealing a letter in an envelope before sending it through the mail.” The person receiving the letter knows it wasn’t read by others because it’s still sealed when they receive it.

Search engines pay attention to this, and Google may even not show your site in search results if this isn’t in place. So, contact your host if your site is missing an SSL. I use Siteground, and hosting with Siteground comes with a free SSL. It’s that important. (That’s an affiliate link if you’d like to check it out.)

Tip #2: Use a favicon

Have you ever opened more than one tab in your browser? Then you’ve likely noticed the little image that pops up next to the site name on the tabs. That’s called a favicon.

This favicon is like the cherry on top! If your visitor has several tabs open in their browser at once (and who doesn’t, right?) this favicon will show up even if the words disappear.

A favicon is typically a small logo with a transparent background added to your website in the designated favicon spot in the customizer.

Tip #3: Lets talk Logos

I’m specifically talking “Make your logo the right size!” here. I’ve been to a few sites where the logo is huge and dominates the entire screen. I’ve also been to sites where the logo was so small I couldn’t really tell what it was supposed to be.

You don’t want either.

When the logo is too big and in your face, it’s just obnoxious. When it’s too small and the visitor can’t read it, they might sign up for a newsletter, or click to follow you on facebook. But then when they see something from you again, and can actually see your logo, they might not recognize it.

You want your logo to be the appropriate size, attractive, memorable, and consistent across all places you show up on the internet.

Tip #4: Navigation and font size

Keep your navigation simple. A good rule of thumb is to keep it to 5 or 6 pages. Why? For one, so it doesn’t wrap around to two lines, which can make it hard to click on the right link. One way to help with this is to keep your navigation concise. So instead of About (name) use only what’s necessary, “About”.

Second, if you crowd too much in there and try to keep it to one line your text runs the risk of being too small to read. Make sure your menu is large enough for the visitor to read! (This, actually goes for your whole website. Smaller body text might be pretty, but if no one can read it or its difficult to read, that doesn’t help your visitor.)

Another way to keep your navigation simple is to provide the right options. Give your visitor a limited number of options…the right options. Keep the options limited to what your visitor actually needs to know. For example, a company website doesn’t need a link to a letter from their President. They need a menu based on things their visitors actually need. You don’t want your visitor to be overwhelmed and not be able to make a decision on where to go.

Speaking of which, you also want to keep your navigation simple…as in clear wording. This isn’t the place for clever names. Blog, articles, news. People can generally know what to find there, but being clever might backfire or be confusing.

Tip 5: Limited color palette

Have you ever visited a website that is simply overwhelming. Most of the time when I do, and I stop and think about what’s overwhelming me it’s one of two things. Either there are too many fonts, too many font sizes or there are so many colors I’m not sure what to think or feel. They might clash, or just give off the wrong vibe in the way they are combined.

You did your research about how to brand and what colors to use for your website. You likely found everyone saying to collect 4 to 5 colors that go well together. They also said these colors should reflect your personality and convey the feeling you want on your site.

This is great advice, but putting it into practice and doing it well is hard when you don’t have the education behind it.

So since this is a list about tips and tweaks for those with DIY websites, I’m going to share the idea I find most DIYers find looks more professional:

Keep your color palette simple. Pick one color and use maybe 2 or 3 different shades of that color. Add one color to that to use as your accent color.

This helps your website feel cohesive. Pair this with a font size that isn’t too small. Add some white space between short paragraphs and around images.

Bonus Tip: footer elements

The last tip I have for you in this series of tips and tweaks to help your site look pro is all about footer elements. I don’t mean the structure or layout of your footer, rather what you show there.

Have you ever landed on a site and you see “Powered by Elegant Themes” or a copyright date from 7 years ago? Or maybe you’ve gone to some, wanted to connect with them on social media. The icons are there but they don’t link to anything?

Once you buy a theme to use, it’s ok to replace the information in the footer. Keep your copyright information up to date. Find out where to set the links for those social media icons. Then keep these updated!

Summary

It’s the little things that subconsciously stand out to people visiting your website. It’s these little things that make you appear more professional. These little details send the impression that you are trustworthy even before visitors begin getting to know, like and trust you.

I shared several website accessibility tips and tweaks over in the Facebook group as well. You’ll find all the videos from this series are in Unit 7.

Take Action

Use this list to review your website for missing little details. Take some time to make tweaks to it in the next few days.

You’ve already made your own website…do you want to make it better but need a fresh set of eyes?

Between now and May 8th I’m opening up a special offer to review your website. I’ll offer specific ways to improve your site to make it look pro.

I’ll go through your site with a fresh pair of eyes. (Face it, you’ve been staring at it too long to be completely objective!) You’ll receive a list of suggested improvements that will help you reach your ideal audience, make your website more user friendly and bring your online presence back in line with your overall mission.

For $97 you’ll have my website designer eyes:

✔️ reviewing your layout
✔️ reviewing your copy
✔️ reviewing your branding
✔️ reviewing the journey a customer takes through your site

You’ll receive a detailed report and a 30 minute 1-on-1 call to go over the report and ask all the questions. You can head over to https://triciaisham.com/website-review/ to sign up!

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Tricia Isham, web designer

Hi! I’m Tricia, and I help solopreneurs get their websites launched so they can share their passion with the world.

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