Last week I wrote a post about 12 mistakes that make your website look unprofessional. This week I want to give you some tips to help you improve your site. I can’t just leave you hanging with a negative post without some good ideas to fix it can I?! Please keep in mind that your website is a direct reflection of you and your business. Just like you wouldn’t put out bad marketing material for a client’s listing, don’t do it to yourself with a bad website. It is your calling card on the web, the place where 89% of prospects start their home buying search. You’ve got to look your best to these prospects as they are looking for you on the web!
Here are 10 ideas to give your website a face lift plus a bonus tip at the end you don’t want to miss!
1. Just Do It
I bet you feel an overwhelming dread when it comes to updating your website. I get it, I used to feel the same way about mine. On my website over at Automated Marketing, Inc. there was so much work to do that I didn’t know where to start. It overwhelmed me, but I could not have a marketing company with a terrible looking website so I had to commit to just doing it and fixing it. My committment came one step at a time. If I focused on all that had to do I would never start so I made a plan of all that I had to fix. Then each week I would peck away at one to do item on my list. I figured if I took it one step at a time it would be easier than biting off the entire thing at once. First though the plan had to start with my commitment that I wanted a better site and that I wouldn’t stand for the ugly anymore.
Tip: Stop punishing yourself for having a bad site but stop ignoring it too. Decide that you are going to create a website that mirrors what you want your business to look like to clients and prospects.
2. Rethink the Goal
Once you commit to creating a new website think about the goal of your site. Do you want to get leads from it? Do you want it to be a resource for those in the community? Do you want to educate people? Your website should work for you and not just be a pretty tool in your arsenal. Once you know the purpose of your website you can then start laying out the content and thinking about the all important about and home pages.
Tip: Check out a mind mapping tool like MindMeister to help you plan out your website. This will help you focus on your website goals when you get overwhelmed.
3. Get a Review
When I was fixing my website I did something painful. I had a third company review my website and tell me how they saw it. How it flowed, if they understood the purpose of it, the colors, the content, everything. Oh my gosh did I cringe the entire time I was listening to the review! It was painful but it helped to see my website through a stranger’s eyes. I recommend you using a service to review your site and not a friend. It is an eye-opening experience and when done correctly can help you make your site outstanding!
Tip: Check out the free service Peek that takes video recordings of a first-timer using your website. It is fun, helpful and embarrassing all at the same time!
4. Get Rid of Pages
Take a look at all the pages you have on your website now. Are they all necessary or can you get rid of some of them? Less is more when it comes to websites. People don’t have time to look at everything and they won’t so keep only the important pages and get rid of what isn’t necessary.
Tip: A good way to find out what pages people are looking at on your site is to install Google Analytics and look at the popular pages. (For a bonus tip, subscribe to my email list as this week I am including the service I use in addition to Google Analytics that has helped me to hone in on what people are reading on this blog!)
5. Fix the Colors
Check out the colors on your website. Are they bland or too bold? Could you use more white space or even a plain white background? I created a website for a real estate agent team and the background was gray which worked at the time. When the agents decided they wanted to give their site a new look, I took out the gray background and kept it white. It was an amazing difference! It made their website look brighter, warmer and more user-friendly which was great. It’s like changing the paint color in your living room to a less bold or bland color. It feels better on the eyes and makes you want to spend more time there.
Tip: Stick to one or two main colors for your website. Too many colors are distracting for readers and makes them want to click away from your site.
6. Font Color & Size
Font styles are always changing which is why it is a good idea to update the font type on your website. If your font is Times New Roman or an older style font, check out the Google fonts that are available for websites. There are great combinations out there for paragraph and heading type fonts that can make your text pop.
Also, the trend right now is to make the font color on websites gray which I think is so hard to read! I say stick with black or a dark gray. Another trend is to make the font size bigger and paragraphs at least 14pt font. I have read that a larger font helps keep people on websites longer so make the font bigger and darker to keep your readers on your site!
Tip: Check out this website for some ideas on good Google font combinations.
7. Update Content
Once you have decided which pages you are going to keep on your website it is time to start changing up the content. I suggest starting with the hardest page to write and work towards the easiest. Usually the about page is the hardest to write. Who wants to talk about themselves and then it is even harder to write about how great of an agent you are. I recommend that you write the about page in first person and act as though you are having a conversation with your readers. The about page is the most important page on your website so take the time to make it look good!
After the about page work on the home page, then follow it with the next easiest page until all the pages are done. Look at other agents’ websites to figure out what you like about their content to give you an idea of what to write about. If you are struggling to write look at elance to find a professional copywriter to help you.
Tip: When writing the about page create interview questions for yourself. This will help you generate content for your about page.
8. Reformat Images
In addition to changing images, you should change out your logo if you have an updated one as well as your professional picture. Images become pixellated over time and look fuzzy on websites as they get older. Look at yours through fresh eyes to see if your logos or other images look fuzzy or stretched. If they do replace them so they look crisp and clean! Also don’t forget to create a favicon for your website. That’s the tiny image next to the URL in the browser bar.
Tip: If you need a favicon for your website, grab your logo and have one generated for free at FaviconGenerator.org.
9. New Testimonials
Look at your testimonial page, have you updated it in the last 6 months or has it been longer? Take the time to add new testimonials from your clients and freshen up this content. Google loves new content plus the more testimonials you have, the better you look!
Tip: Create a spreadsheet with all your testimonials. Make a note in your calendar to update your testimonial page once a month. Then you aren’t randomly doing it and wondering if you are missing any testimonials.
10. Add a Resource Page
The more fresh, updated content you have on your website the more your prospects and clients will visit your site. Plus like I mentioned in point nine, Google rewards new content with higher search engine rankings. Create a resource page to give your clients a reason to check out your site often.
A resource page can include the following ideas:
- Events in your community
- Favorite books
- Homeowner tips
- Useful or fun apps
Tip: The resource page is something you can always update. This will draw people back to your website which is great for generating leads!
11. Fix Your Contact Info
Finally make sure your contact info is correct and all the email forms on your website are working. You have to make sure these are working so you aren’t missing out on any leads! Also take a look at where your phone number is on your website. Is it easy to find or is it buried at the bottom of your website or only on the contact us page? The best place for you to put your phone number is in the top right corner of your website. A simple call to action like “Call Today: 555-123-4567” will get the attention of prospects and clients who are visiting your website.
Tip: Clients are more likely to remember your website URL and throw your business card away. They will use your website to reach out to you again and to refer you to their friends and family. Make sure your site is not only up-to-date but that you display your phone number throughout your site.
Bonus Tip: Get WordPress
I am a huge, huge fan of WordPress. I built this website on WordPress and all my clients’ websites on WordPress. If you are tired of your plug and play templated website that you have used for years, I recommend you check out WordPress. There are a lot of customizable real estate themes for WordPress and most of them are mobile friendly. This is the easiest way to make a full upgrade to your website without having to spend a lot of money. My favorite website for WordPress themes is ThemeForest.com.
Your website is your calling card on the internet and you want it to look as good as you present yourself in your business. It is overwhelming to make changes to your website so I suggest starting small with a list of what you would like to change. Then every week peck away at this list until you are happy with the changes. Taking it one step at a time will make it easier and before you know it you will have a beautiful website that you are proud to show off!
How does your website look? What do you want to change about it? Please tell me about it in the comments below! Thanks for sharing your comments!