Does your reader know where to look?
Seth Godin wrote a book called “The Big Red Fez” which you can get from Amazon and it has been replaced with a pocket sized book which is all about one of the most important elements of website design.Seth’s “big red fez” is the one element on your page that stands out. That lets your reader know, without question, what you want them to do next. Therefore, there should be a big “red fez” on every page of your website.
For most content-supported businesses, building an email list is the most important thing that you have to do. That means there must be a highly visible call to action to join your email list on all pages and posts on your site.
It may be that different pages and posts have different goals. For example, some will function as landing pages that sell a product or motivate some action.
But the principle is the same. Every individual page or post on your site must communicate precisely with what the reader should do next.
By the way, this means you need to clear all the clutter from your site. If you have irrelevant ads that bring in only a few dollars a month then you need to get rid of them. They’re distracting your readers about what they should do next, instead of focusing them on your business goals.
If you don’t have a product yet and you’re still struggling to pay your hosting fee, write a decent ebook and sell it via your email list. You’ll make more money selling something of your own than you ever will with advertising.
Do You Have A Professional Design?
I have to say that this is the one thing that gets very hard to be objective about.
If you designed your site yourself and you aren’t a design professional — it probably looks bad.
I know that’s harsh to hear! But someone’s got to be straight with you. If it makes you feel better, my first sites were very unprofessional looking — although I didn’t see it at the time and to be honest I still have some work to do on it.
Yes, there are some designer “tricks” you can learn to make things better. But the plain fact is, design professionals spend years developing their ability to create polished, professional-looking design that serves a business purpose.
Instead of trying to reproduce those skills in an afternoon, start with something created by a solid design pro. Then, if you really want to, tweak that, either yourself or by contracting with a design professional of your own.
You can get a great-looking site up and running for under $100, and if you decide to bring someone in to make a few customizations, they’ll be working from a solid framework. You’ll save money, time, frustration, and your site will always reflect well on your business.
By doing this the look and feel of your site will show your professionalism and expertise. And that’s a priceless improvement to your content’s effectiveness. So it is well worth paying out that little bit extra to have this done for you.
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