10 Actionable Steps To Make Your DIY Site Look Designer
If you don't quite yet have the budget or a hard-in-stone direction to justify hiring a website designer, not to worry, these 10 steps will help you up your website game significantly.
Each one is super-actionable, your site can come out looking modern and sleek by the end of the day with these simple changes.
1. Less Fonts & Colours Are More
Pick a maximum of 2 font styles and 2 colors. Eliminate all the rest and make everything consistent with these fonts and colors.
2. Social Icon Consistency
Instead of having each social media icon be the colour of the social platform (eg. Facebook blue, Pinterest red, Snapchat yellow, etc.) make your social media icons all the same colour. Choose one of the 2 colours you picked above, or black.
3. Straight Outta 1997 Features
Have some of these fancy features? Auto playing background music, bouncing buttons, stars shooting out as your mouse floats along the screen? Take them out. These are not on trend right now and I'm sorry to say 1997 called and wants its website back.
4. Meet Your New Bestie, White Space
“But won’t my website just look boring and plain?” Quite the opposite!
White space helps your eye focus on the important content on the page, so it’s easier to visually follow. In fact, I would even suggest making your website background white instead of a color or print. It is possible to make a colored or print background look good, but it’s extremely difficult to pull off correctly, so unless you're a designer, I tend to suggest to stick to white.
5. Flat, Not 3D
Have you noticed the changes these major brands have made to their look? Notice a theme? They’ve gotten rid of the 3D look, and instead went for a simple, clean, and flat look. Ensure your website is doing the same.
Change your buttons, font headings, and anything else that may still be trying to hold onto the 3D look. This includes having a shadow behind anything, generally the shadow feature is used with fonts.
6. Change Unsightly Links
When clicking onto a page of your website does the link URL (also known as the website address) look like this? www.superfantasticwebsite.com/email-subscribe-now-2016-#2jgrsofew-fun-times-4235034tr01.
Not only would giving this link to someone be mighty challenging, it also looks rather unsightly when pasted in social media posts, in emails, etc.
Be sure to change up your links to the shortest possible name that still get's the point across what the page is. www.superfantasticwebsite.com/email is MUCH better!
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7. Wall to wall line lengths
Text spanning from one side of the page to the other not only doesn't tend to look great, it's also subconsciously difficult to read, and appears to be an intimidating amount of text.
It's best practice to have between 50-70 characters per line.
If you have large paragraphs of text running from one side of the page to the other there's a few options to fix this.
1. Try dividing the text into columns like a newspaper article does.
2. Add space to the left and right of the text to keep it more down the centre of the page.
3. Enlarge the font a little.
You can use one of these methods or a mix of the three to keep your text more concise to read.
8. Show The Best, Toss The Rest
Do you have a calendar with nothing on it? A blog you haven't posted on in months? Social accounts with 3 followers? Social accounts that also haven't been posted on in ages?
I'm all for less is more in many ways, and this is one of them. If you don't have the time or desire to update a blog, calendar, or social accounts that's fine. Just hide that page of the website or take the social link off of your website. You only want to have the things that will make you look good on you site.
I have a Twitter account, but you don't see it linked on my site (at the moment as of August 2016) because I'm not consistent with posting on it. If I get to a point where I'm utilizing the channel as I should be, the icon will be added to my site.
9. How You Help
You need to make it clear how you help and then put that tag line front & centre! What problem do you help people solve? What do you offer? What value do you provide?
I'm Paige and I help ladies create websites quickly & easily. What do you do?
If you're a location-specific business, this needs to be mentioned too.
10. Online Presence Consistency
Back to my favourite design-related word, consistency. Ensure the primary photo of you (or logo if you're running a non-personal biz) is the same errywhere. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.
All your profile images should be the same as the image on your About page.
You also want your tag line from Step 9 written on all of your profile descriptions too. Keep it all consistent, same image, same text.
Tell me, what is it you struggle with most when DIY-ing your site?