Are you going to be designing a website for your business soon?
Before you start, you should take the time to learn how to make a website look professional. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of creating a site that will scare people off rather than bringing them in to your business.
There are so many different little things that you can do to give your company’s website a more professional appearance. From the time you purchase a URL for it to the time you launch the website to the public, you should work hard to fine-tune your site and everything that comes along with it.
Check out the 15 steps you should take to make your website look as professional as it can be below.
1. Choose the Right URL for Your Website
Before you begin designing a professional website for your business, you’re going to need to choose the right URL for it. This is arguably the most important step you’ll take since your URL could play a big part in whether or not people visit your site in the first place.
Ideally, your URL should be a direct reflection of your business name. If the name of your business is, say, “John’s Ice Cream Parlor,” then something like johnsicecream.com could work for your URL.
But you can also get a little bit more creative and go with something like icecreamisawesome.com if you want to come up with something that’s even easier for people to remember.
Whatever you do, don’t use a URL that’s too long, too hard to remember, or potentially confusing in any way. It could prevent people from visiting your website to see what you’ve done with the design.
2. Make Your Website as Responsive as Possible
When people punch your company’s URL into their web browser’s search bar, they expect for your website to pop up almost instantly. They shouldn’t have to sit around for any longer than 2 or 3 seconds tops waiting for your website to appear.
If it takes 10, 15, or even 30 seconds for your website to show up, that’s a huge problem. Studies have shown that more than 50 percent of people who attempt to visit your website will abandon their efforts if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
You can improve your website’s responsiveness once you get it all designed. But it’s something to keep in mind right from the beginning since a slow site is a site that not many people are going to visit.
3. Create a Homepage Header That Commands Attention
Once your website loads up for people when they visit it, the first thing they’re probably going to see is your homepage header. The header will welcome people to your site and lead them to wherever you want them to go next.
There are lots of different approaches to take when choosing a homepage header. Some businesses go with one large static image, while others choose to have several photos and links set up in a slider to encourage people to browse around on the site.
You should take a look at what several different homepage headers would look like on your site and choose the one that you think will make the best first impression on people. You want your homepage header to entice them to stay on your site and click around.
4. Feature Your Business Name and a Professional Logo Prominently
Do you have a professionally designed logo that you’re using for your business right now? If not, get one right away!
You’re going to want to display your business name and your professional logo somewhere near the top of your website’s homepage to put your stamp on it. And if your logo looks like it was made by a high school student working on a senior project, it’s going to show.
Invest in a professional logo that will set the right tone for your site as people start to look around on it. Make sure the logo is displayed on just about every page on your site to build up your brand recognition.
5. Avoid Cluttering Up Your Homepage With Too Much Stuff
As the owner of a business, you might be excited to use your website to show off everything you have to offer. From new products to new services to new locations, you want to let the world know what your business is all about right from the jump!
But you should resist the urge to cram a million and one things on the homepage–or any page for that matter. Visitors to your site will get overwhelmed if you start cluttering up your pages with more information than they can handle.
It’s always best to take a minimalistic approach whenever you’re designing a new website. Space text and photos out and use different visual cues to keep people’s eyes moving around on your site. This will keep them engaged and prevent them from wanting to leave.
6. Use Your Homepage to Introduce Your Company
While you don’t want to cram too much stuff onto your website’s homepage, you should make an effort to provide an introduction to your company on it.
That introduction doesn’t need to be long. You should save the history of your business for your “About Me” or “About Us” page.
But it should include a quick introduction of who your company is and what it’s all about. In about 250 words, let people know what they can expect as they scroll through the other parts of your website after leaving your homepage.
7. Select the Right Font for Your Copy
You can put together the best introduction in the world for your business on your homepage. But what good is it if people can’t actually read it?
Outside of limiting the number of words you use for your introduction, you should also select the right font, both for your intro and for all of the copy of your website.
Choose a font that’s easy for people to read and that’s large enough for those who might not see well on a computer screen. And make sure the font looks good when you have bigger blocks of text on your site.
8. Make It Easy to Navigate Around on Your Website
Making a great first impression on those who visit your website by spending time perfecting the homepage is important. But far too many businesses throw all their resources behind their homepage and forget about the rest of their site.
Work with a developer to make it easy to navigate around on your website once it’s up and running.
That might include putting tabs across the top of your homepage for things like “Products,” “Services,” and your “About Me/About Us” and “Contact” pages. It might also include incorporating banners and other tools throughout your site to show people where to go to find certain information.
Prior to launching your website, it’s not a bad idea to ask a few people outside of your company to play around on the site and try to find specific things. If they have a hard time doing it, there’s a decent chance others will, too.
9. Check All Links to Make Sure They’re Working
There is nothing more frustrating than visiting a website, clicking on a link that’s on it, and having it lead to…nowhere.
If you’re going to have links on your site leading to other areas, double and triple check them to make sure they’re working properly. They could be dead links simply because they weren’t entered into the backend properly.
Fixing dead links is essential and will provide your website with a far more professional appearance.
10. Fill Your Website With High-Quality Content
Your website might not have a ton of content on it when you first launch it. But over time, you need to make adding high-quality content to it a high priority.
High-quality content will allow you to build up trust with your audience. It’ll also help you promote your products and services without being too blatant about it.
But maybe above all else, high-quality content will ultimately make your website more “searchable.” It’ll pop up in more search engine results when you have plenty of content on your site, especially if you commit to using good SEO practices (more on that in a minute!).
11. Pair Your Content Up With High-Resolution Photos
In addition to filling your website with great content that your visitors can consume, you also need to pair your content up with photos. And you shouldn’t select just any photos to run alongside your content.
If you choose low-quality images, it’s going to reflect poorly on your website. People aren’t going to take your site seriously when they say small or blurry images all over it.
Instead, choose high-resolution images to go along with your content. That alone will improve your professionalism by leaps and bounds. People are more likely to read your content when it’s accompanied by hi-res photos.
12. Optimize Content With the Latest SEO Practices
When you commit to filling your website up with high-quality content, you want it to pay off. You don’t want to spend a bunch of time and money creating content no one is going to read.
Therefore, you should also commit to optimizing your content with the latest search engine optimization, or SEO, practices. SEO involves working certain keywords, locations, and links into all your content to increase the chances of it showing up in search engine results.
If you aren’t sure how to go about using SEO to your advantage, this is one area in which you should definitely reach out for help. Contact a company that can put SEO practices into place for you to drive more traffic to your site.
13. Monitor Your Comments Sections at All Times
Are you going to allow people to leave comments on the posts that you put up on your site?
Some businesses choose not to do it. But you can create a community feel and encourage people to come back and visit your site often by allowing comments.
If you do decide to allow comments, just make sure you monitor them regularly to see if everyone is on their best behavior. If your customers use offensive language in your comments sections and you don’t do anything about it, it could come back to bite you later.
14. Test Your Website Out on All the Major Web Browsers
There are some business websites that look absolutely amazing on one web browser and absolutely awful on another. Which category is your website going to fall in?
Test your site on all of the major web browsers before you launch it to the world. You want to see that it looks great on all the browsers and not just one or two of them.
15. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
Smartphones have become ubiquitous in this day and age. So it shouldn’t come as a huge shock to hear that more than 50 percent of the world’s web traffic originates from mobile devices.
What is a little shocking, though, is that not all businesses take the time to test out their websites on mobile devices despite this fact. As a result, many of them end up with websites that look great on computers and terrible on cell phones and tablets.
Design your website to be mobile friendly from the start. This will prevent you from having to deal with the headache of redesigning it later to work better on smartphones.
Learn How to Make a Website Look Professional From the Pros
Now that you have learned how to make a website look professional, get out there and design a site that you’re truly proud of.
If you need help doing it, you can find a company to provide you with web design services. They can show you additional steps you can take to make your website look as professional as it can possibly be in no time.
Check out our blog to find out about some of the other web design practices business owners need to know.