Building a website is never quite as simple or straightforward as you might think it would be. Even as someone who has been in the biz of building sites for YEARS, I’m always taken by surprise at least once during every project.

That being said, if you’re a business owner who has created your own website, I’m sending some serious kudos your way! You’ve obviously buckled down and gotten it done, and I’m sure you’ve learned a ton of important lessons along the way.

I’m popping in today because I want to give you a few pointers on how to make that DIY site EVEN better!

Revamp your imagery

One of the toughest things most DIY-ers encounter when building a website is finding the right stock photos that truly capture the essence of their brand. While I 100% encourage original photography whenever possible, I realize that it’s not always realistic or feasible for folks just starting out. A few pointers for revamping your photos:

  • Try to choose photos that are as relevant to your brand as possible: abstract images can sometimes work, but more often than not, you’ll want to be literal with your imagery (i.e. if you’re offering coaching services, you should probably show photos of you working with clients or stock photos of folks interacting with one another).
  • Ensure your photos are high quality: the last thing you would want is for a featured image on your site to appear blurry or pixelated.
  • Make sure that your photos look authentic (no cheesy stock photos, please!): if you plan on using stock photos, I recommend using a user-submitted stock photo site like Unsplash or Death to the Stock Photo to find photos that have a more natural feel.

Use consistent fonts and colors

While I know it’s tempting to tweak your colors on a specific blog post, or to TOTALLY change up the look and feel from page to page of your site, I’d highly encourage you to not do any of those things. Lack of consistency from page to page on your site can be very disorienting for your users and can also dilute your brand. Here are a few ways to keep things consistent:

  • Aim for no more than two fonts throughout your site’s pages: this great rule of design really helps to create the feeling of consistency you should be striving for.
  • Stick to a single color scheme throughout the site: you’ll want to stick with a palette that best matches your branding/logo.

Break up your text into readable chunks

It’s an unfortunate truth that most visitors to your site are not going to spend the time to really dig into your content: they’re usually scanning for something very specific, and so it’s your job to make it as easy as possible for them to find it. Some pointers for making your content as easily discoverable as possible:

  • Use headlines to help break up paragraphs: lengthy paragraph upon lengthy paragraph can be discouraging for readers. Instead, aim to break things up interesting and descriptive headlines every few paragraphs.
  • Keep your content short and sweet wherever possible: being concise is the key to writing for the web.
  • Use different formatting to help break up your content: mix in things like bulleted lists, imagery, etc. to help make your content look more engaging and less like a long wall of text.

Create proper call-to-actions

Figure out exactly what you want users to be doing on your website. Do you want them to sign up for your email list? Do you want them to fill out your contact form? Once you’ve determined this, you’ll want to use call-to-actions (CTAs) in the form of buttons or text links sprinkled throughout your site, to help guide your users. Some tips for effective call-to-actions:

  • Give your CTAs a clear and compelling message: try to avoid vague language like “learn more” or “sign up.” Instead, be as descriptive as possible, using phrases like “Discover My Design Process” or “Sign up for my FREE guide to building your killer website.”
  • Whenever possible, try to create a sense of urgency: people really love putting things off, especially when they aren’t tied to any time constraints. When it comes to your CTAs, try injecting a sense of urgency or looming deadline in order to entice folks to take action. Something as simple as “Buy it NOW” versus the standard “Buy” can help increase conversions.

Create an easy, intuitive navigation

Your navigation is your visitors’ number one way finding tool on your website, and so you want it to be as streamlined of an experience for them as possible. Some must-haves for a good navigation:

  • Make sure there are links to your site’s most important content on every single page.
  • Make sure that your navigation items are clear and easy to read, and the design is the same across your entire site.
  • Try to keep your navigation to a single level whenever possible, or at most use one dropdown menu (versus several nested dropdowns, which can be very cumbersome and confusing).