There are several ways to make your website look and feel more professional. And in most cases, that’s exactly what you want!
Sure, you might want to come off a little sassy or hip, but you also want to feel legitimate. Your website is most likely your handshake to the world, and you need viewers to instantly respect you for it. Here are 9 ways to make that happen.
1. Create your own logo.
What respectable website or brand can you think of doesn’t have its own logo? A logo gives you the power to be easily recognized by your audience, and helps you grow your brand’s reputation.
Creating a logo is also one of those things that everyone else does. If you don’t have one, viewers will get the sense that you’re not as legitimate as other websites in your niche.
Luckily, sites like GraphicSprings make it easy to create your own logo. And once you’re done, you can share that image file on your website, or anywhere else!
2. Get a branded email domain.
Most websites have a Contact page. This makes it easy for people to reach you, and it makes it easier for you to create new business. Except, using a generic email looks cheap, and not at all professional.
If the email address associated with your website is something like email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, you’re standing out in a bad way.
3. Add a sticky header or footer
Websites with sticky headers or footers feel more sleek than those without, and for whatever reason, viewers interpret this as more professional.
If you’re unfamiliar, a sticky header or footer is a bar that stays at the top or bottom of the webpage whenever you scroll, like a frozen row of cells in an Excel spreadsheet. You’ll commonly see menu options in sticky headers and subscribe forms in sticky footers.
These often improve engagement with your website, and make it seem like extra work was put into your website’s development. Thankfully, easy-to-use tools like SumoMe and GetSiteControl make these features possible without any technical know-how or big time budget.
4. Use boring fonts.
Boring fonts are easy to read. They’re respectable, and they tell viewers that you know what you’re doing.
You might think it’s fun to use Calligraphy or - God forbid - Comic Sans to represent your website, but viewers tend to see this as trying to hard. Crazy fonts like these are certainly more difficult to read, which also shoos visitors away quickly.
To look and feel more professional, stick with an easy-to-read classic, like Verdana, Arial, Times New Roman, Libre Baskerville, Georgia, or Calibri.
The saying “less is more” applies well here. The less time it takes viewers to discern what you’ve said, the more they’ll like you. And the less they have to think about your design, the more professional your website will feel.
5. Put subscribe forms all over the place.
Maybe it’s because more established brands use them so well, but subscribe forms make viewers feel like your brand knows what it’s doing.
Don’t go overboard!
But asking viewers to take some action - like to subscribe or to contact you - on each page of your website is a general best practice. (SumoMe and GetSiteControl, linked above, are also good tools for this.)
Doing so will help improve your engagement, and make you look better!
6. Offer exclusive content or services.
Content is king! And it’s the primary tool for most websites trying to grow. You need to have a lot of it freely accessible to bring people in, but you can also offer exclusive content to a select few.
Maybe you offer a detailed guide to people who subscribe or fill out your lead capture form. Maybe your best content only comes with a paid subscription. Or maybe you create one-off products or services for people to purchase, like ebooks, virtual classes, or consulting.
If viewers think that others are willing to give you their personal information and money, you’ll instantly look and feel more professional.
Keep in mind, you can do any of these with an ecommerce store, too. You can also offer discounts to members or exclusive products.
7. Use high resolution, un-stock-like photos.
Images are a great way to draw people in and boost engagement. But nobody likes stock photos!
What was once a hallmark of professionalism is now a cliche. But you also don’t want anything 2nd rate on your website, particularly when free high quality photos are so easy to get.
Viewers tend to think that better photos make a better website, so find some pics that don’t feel totally studio-made to help your website look more professional!
8. Keep an email newsletter.
People understand that this takes extra effort, which makes your website and brand appear more reputable. Plus, it’s what the big brands do!
Anytime you can emulate the big guys, you will look and feel more professional (and probably convert more). So send your subscribers the latest content, or give past customers a look at your newest products.
Decide what your audience will find valuable, and regularly send it in an email.
9. Create official social media pages for your website.
Your website does not stand alone. Everything is connected - or it should be, at least.
You should create an “official” website/brand account on every applicable social media platform. This gives you more clout, and helps viewers to trust you more.
Look into Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, maybe even Snapchat!
And if you really want your website to look and feel more professional, you should share all of your company updates across those relevant social media channels, every time.
There’s a lot you can do to make your website look and feel more professional. And without getting into the nitty gritty, these are 9 things you should focus on to do just that.
Obviously, there’s always more you can do. Growing a website is a never-ending process! But if you follow this list, you’ll be in a good place.
Published by Kenneth Burke