Hey are you a DIY’er? Do you love to taking on mini DIY projects to refine your living space? How about when it comes to your actual website/blog?
Let’s take this idea on over into the online world…As a blogger or business it is so important to reevaluate your online living space (a.k.a. your website!) and see what type of renovation needs to happen.
Does your current website need some refreshing and some tidying up done to make it look it’s best? Sometimes if you get a set of fresh eyes it can give you some insight and great ideas.
Whenever I visit a website, I am naturally drawn to a clean and well laid out design. If I stumble across a site that is busy with ads, disorganized, has harsh colors or God forbid…they have music on auto-play I will immediately leave that site. Your website creates a tone for your audience and it’s either welcoming and drawing in visitors or turning them off and in turn making you lose potentials clients/readers.A website creates a tone for your audience, it's either welcoming & drawing in visitors or… Click To Tweet
So maybe you know you need a change but maybe you’re not yet ready to invest a lot of money to hire a web designer who can renovate your web presence. Today I am going to give you a few tips on how to improve the overall look & function of your site as well as some pretty cool tools to help with that process.
Here are 10 Steps to renovate and refine your online web presence:
1. Have your blog/website evaluated.
Sometimes it is difficult to look at our own website and have an objective opinion as to what is working and what is not. Come on, let’s be honest here, you and I are not the most impartial individuals when it comes evaluating something we’ve created. This is why I believe it is key to get another person’s opinion and get some valuable insight as to how you can improve your online presence. I’ve done this personally for my business website and I believe it can be helpful to you as well. Here are a couple of ways to receive some feedback on your site:
a. Join a blogging community on Facebook. One of my favorite online communities to interact with other awesome bloggers and online entrepreneurs is the Blog + Biz BFF’s Facebook Group. Not only can you get feedback by being involved in a group like this but you can also help out a fellow blogger by lending support and sharing advice as well. When you join one of these great groups remember to contribute as much as you receive…it can be super beneficial!
b. Peek User Testing. Not ready to spend money? Another free way to get some user feedback is by using Peek User Testing. You can get a free 5 minute evaluation of your site from a real person who is viewing your site for the very first time. Now I just need to put a disclaimer out there that this is not a professional critique by an expert it’s just a person giving their own opinion of their first impression of your site. This is definitely a good starting point!
c. Get a paid consultation/evaluation. For those who want a more professional & in-depth blog consultation, I suggest paying someone with the knowledge and expertise to give you great insight and feedback. Shameless Plug: I personally offer expert Blog/Website consultations for only $35. This consultation also includes an optional 25-minute chat via google chat where you and I can discuss any questions you may have about the critique. Quick disclaimer: The consultations I provide are not geared to troubleshoot technical issues on your blog.
2. Clean up your sidebars.
Sometimes we hold onto stuff displayed on our website because it’s something we’ve always had. When it comes to our websites it is so important to make sure the items we have on our homepage have purpose and is helping visitors stay on our site and not driving them away.
Do you really need to display all the blog buttons of the different blogs you read? Is your blog or website cluttered with ads and annoying pop-ups? I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a site that is easy to follow and clutter free. When you have a tons of ads in your sidebar it can distract from your content.
3. Add a nice but subtle background to your website.
4. Change up your header.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut so try to change up your header by using online photo-editing software at places like Canva.com, PicMonkey.com or Pixlr.com. Need a tutorial on how to create your own header? Check out this one by the Blog Guide Book.
5. Try adding some new fonts.
Try adding a new font for post titles and sidebar titles to give your blog/website a new look. Just make sure you’re choosing fonts that are easy to read. Try to stick to just 2 fonts that you can keep consistent throughout your website.
Google fonts is probably the easiest way to add a new font to your WordPress site. Here’s a tutorial by WP Beginner on how to upload a font to your site.
6. Show us your beautiful face!
Add an “about me” section on your sidebar. Nothing makes a website more inviting to readers than a picture and mini bio on the homepage. It connect readers to the person behind the content. I like to encourage bloggers to have an image of themselves on their homepage that readers can connect to. Again you can use some free online editing tools at places like I Canva.com, PicMonkey.com or Pixlr.com. Here are some examples I have made for clients:
7. Add some social share buttons.
When I find something great on the web I want to share it, tweet it, pin it or email it. Make it easy for your readers to do this by providing social share button at either the end of each post or on the top of each post. You can also try using Sumome that gives you options of having your social media share buttons on the side or bottom of your website homepage. I recommend the following sites for finding a great social share widget/plugin:
a. Share This. This is a great tool for most any platform you are blogging on or have your website on.
b. Add This. This is another great tool for a ton of blogging platforms.
c. SumoMe. Love this one! Has tons of options/layouts.
8. Create awesome graphics for your blog posts.
Photoshop and Canva.com are my usual go to places for creating Pinworthy images! When you write great content for your blog/business one the important things to have is a great graphic that you use for your featured image. This is the image that readers will post to Pinterest or share on Facebook. Make sure it’s attractive, eye catching and has a great title! Again Canva is great for creating awesome looking graphics!
If you’re wanting to learn how to use Canva and it’s amazing tools you need to sign up for FREE course called the 7-Day Canva Create Challenge.
You will learn so many great techniques and tips to help create stunning & simple graphics for your blog and/or business.
9. Simplify your menu.
Having a ton of links in your menu/drop down menu can be overwhelming to your readers. One way to simplify your menu is to have categories in your navigation menu.
10. Add an attractive opt-in where visitors can subscribe to your blog/website.
Offering a way for visitors to your site to subscribe is a great idea to engage with your readers. To encourage people to sign up it’s important to offer some sort of freebie in exchange for their email address. You can add a pop up subscribe box in your MailChimp settings and you can customize it by adding your logo or graphic that you create in PicMonkey or Canva. For a more custom looking optin I recommend using a plugin like Ninja Pop-ups for WordPress from Code Canyon. The pop up example to the left is an example of what you can do using this plugin. They have pop-up themes that you can use and that can really make your subscribe box stand out!
Here are some freebie ideas that you can offer to your subscribers:
- Create a PDF of 10 free tips that relate to your specialty
- Online coupon code to your shop
- Free desktop wall paper that you created using Canva
- Resource list of online tools that have helped you in your business or blogging.
There are number of mail services you can use but I use and recommend MailChimp for your subscribe opt-in. MailChimp’s Forever Free Plan allows you to send 12,000 total emails a month to up to 2,000 subscribers.