This past week Wyvern has had quite a transformation. Mainly because I never loved what was there before and my old art teacher used to tell me “If you don’t like it, then no one else will either!” That advice has stuck with me through all my passions and life goals.  With your website being your main shop window, it’s important to ensure it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to, i.e. attract and convert potential clients.

Could you be doing more? Is your website’s copy persuasive enough? Does it reflect the quality of your work as well as show a little personality? These are all great questions to ponder before you launch yourself back into the usual chaos that follows a slow September.

So, with that in mind I decided to answer some big questions on why I decided to shuffle the site with a view that maybe you are thinking of doing so too.

Review your welcome statement

As soon as someone comes to your site its important that the first second conveys they are in the right place. This is often represented with images reflecting your industry. I’ve decided I should be doing video now as it covers more bases and proves I can do it in the first place. Then, there is a more complex question on the writing on a page. What a human wants and what Google want are two separate things. For example, if I am looking for a dog groomer I typically want to see they do the service required and a price. I am going to assume they know how to do it without the 500 words Google expects the page to have. In a more cynical world, this makes for very boring text heavy pages where repetition is rife throughout as the SEO experts go exploiting keywords.

So, yea, it’s really important to be to the point and also expand on your structure.

Check for consistency

This is always key in a newer design. If you start to change layouts on one page it is imperative that the entire site follows that style unless very intentional. Just look at the BBC and how consistent it is even though it has a billion stories. Sure, they break out into different styles if it’s a picture related article or whatever, but there is still severe guidelines keeping it together.

This consistency is also one of the boring aspects of the modern web. Responsive design has brought about less innovation with designers creating a sort of common theme to every site. I do miss the days of Flash when any site could do what it wanted and animations and creativities ran riot. Same as Myspace or GeoCities too which asked its users to be creative and make their home page an identity unlike twitter or Facebook which allow 1 unimposing image.

Add some evidence

Some of Wyvern Designs aspects were not fully fleshed out. It was important to go back and recount areas lacking in content and populate it. More so, I felt that several full features were not being utilised and I went revisited the galleries to make them pop.

About page is important

The About page is a surprising hit. As well as your work, clients will be driven by the need to see who they will be working with and what sort of experience you have in the real world. For any sort of small business, this is a must as it shows a trust by revealing your past.

Be confident in how you present yourself. Repeat your welcome statement and elaborate on it. Remind people of the evidence to back up your skills and experience.

Be honest and be yourself

One of the things people look for when they land on any website is authenticity. They want to trust you immediately. Otherwise, they’ll bounce off and go elsewhere.

Which means those stock photographs you uploaded 12 months ago might be doing more harm than good. Potential clients want to see the real you. They don’t want fake imagery. They want to see the human behind the logo.

The same can be said for pretending to be bigger than you are. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why freelancers do it. Even the word “freelancer” itself can have negative connotations. I get why some people call themselves “studios” instead and use loads of corporate language to impress. All I’m saying is that a little honesty can go a long way.

So get some professional photographs sorted as soon as possible. And present yourself truthfully with a less formal tone. These small changes can make a huge difference to your online reputation.

Look for redundant links or mistakes

Google punishes websites that have broken links and spelling mistakes on them. This means you could be lower down the search engine results pages for your chosen keywords. Not only that, real people might not trust you if your website’s content feels outdated or wrong.

To keep your SEO and your reputation intact, go through each and every web page (yes, blog posts too) and see if any links or copy needs updating.

Introduce strong calls to action and easy navigation

Finally, last but not least, the whole point of your website is to encourage visitors to contact you and make an enquiry. You don’t want to give them a second to think otherwise. Make it super easy for them to do so.

This means your navigation should be simple and intuitive. People really are lazy and want clear “next steps” when browsing your website. Like a Contact page, clearly labelled in the main navigation bar across the top.

And alongside your beautifully written welcome statement, throw in a call-to-action button, above the fold (i.e. before a visitor needs to scroll). Something that clicks through to your Contact page. Use language like “Talk to me” or “Get in touch”. It’s more effective than you think.

Now… I guess I should be making a contact page then…