Is your website ready for 2022 or is it still stuck in 2012?
Just like fashion trends, websites have trends as well. What worked 4 years ago might not be working now – which means you’re losing business!
Hello and welcome to 2022 where the online world is competitive and ruthless.
Over the holidays, I spent my downtime redesigning my own website because it was last designed in 2016. Now, I know that doesn’t seem all that long ago, but in website world, it’s an eternity.
As a web designer, it goes without saying that my website needs to be the bee’s knees and on its game.
But it wasn’t.
My website was running a theme I no longer use for clients and was looking tired and uninspiring. Not something I was proud of.
But, just like a plumber’s or electrician’s house that has leaky taps or old light fittings – I was more focused on working on my clients’ sites than my own site.
My website wasn’t showcasing my brand, it was dated and not converting at the level I needed it to. Not to mention, my business has evolved a lot over the last 2 years in particular, and my website just wasn’t reflecting that at all.
Now, you don’t always have to go as drastic as I did with a website refresh, sometimes a few tweaks is all it might need.
Let’s take a look at what your website needs in order to succeed in 2022.
Your website needs to be easy to use – both for you and your customers. Things like long, complicated navigation menus can overwhelm visitors because they can’t find what they are looking for. Create a logical flow rather than a big chunk of information. Sometimes less is more.
- Are your services clear and easy to find?
- Is your pricing clear?
- Is it easy to for people to contact you?
- Is your navigation menu clear and easy to use?
You can also check out these useful tips for making your website a little more user friendly.
Remember those lovely orange, brown and yellow patterned tiles and just as busy wallpaper patterns that were a thing back in the 70’s? Well thankfully, those style trends went by the wayside and, just like those 70’s trends, so have messy, cluttered websites with overpowering designs.
The new trend is clean, fresh designs with white space and uncluttered. Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to have a crisp, white, clinical website that looks more like a dentist office than a business. You can still have your colour and style, but it’s used in a way that it doesn’t cause eye burn or distract your site visitors. Think of “white space” as just space. A light peach background that is uncluttered is also easy on the eye and considered clean and fresh. But busy peach patterns with banks of blue text isn’t considered clean and fresh – even if it is ‘on brand’.
Have a look for:
- Is your text easy to read? Can a new Mum feeding her baby at midnight still read your website content with her tired eyes?
- Are your background colours complementary to your design, or do they overpower it and make it seem busy and hard on the eye?
- Space? Does your website have a good use of blank space to break up your text?
- Headings? Are you using headings to break up text and add interest?
- Images are a good way to add branding and colour to your website without overpowering the overall design or overwhelming your visitor.
Here are two examples, the first one is clear to read even on a coloured background, the second not so much (white text would be better suited here).
Your brand is your business voice and it’s what will differentiate you from your competitors. This doesn’t just relate to your logo and colours, as your brand is the whole you – what you deliver and your unique selling point. But for web design sake, let’s just look at the visual branding for now.
When it comes to applying your branding to your website, less is more. Your brand may have 4 -6 colours in the palette and maybe 3 or 4 fonts (ideally a good branding will have no more than 2 – 3 fonts), but you don’t have to use them all. A website design will look clean and fresh when it’s in sync and blends. Use your lighter colours for backgrounds and shading and your bolder colours for headings or call-to-action buttons that you want to stand out.
Here are a few tips to apply:
- Stick to 2 – 3 fonts at most. A clean site will use 2 fonts – one for the headings and one for the body. This helps the headings to stand out and adds interest, while the body font is usually a clean, crisp sans serif or serif font. I tend to opt for sans serif fonts for body font for a more modern look. (This font is a sans serif called Montserrat. Times New Roman is a serif font.). If you do have a 3rd font, use it very sparingly as a point of different or added interest – this could be a script font you use as a signature or to highlight a specific word.
- Use a darker text for your body font – a dark grey or black works best. Light grey or hard to read colours like light greens, pinks or yellows aren’t great for text – unless they’re on a dark background of course.
- Make sure your text is easy to read – like we mentioned above, can a tired new Mum read it at midnight?
You can read more about branding tips and classic website mistakes here.
Google uses speed tests as one of their algorithms to rank your site. A slow site is penalised – a lot! Ideally, your website should be loading in 3 seconds or less. There are many factors that come into play when we’re talking about website speed including hosting environment, number of plugins, image and site optimisation and much more.
There are a few things you can do to improve your site speed.
- Image optimisation – large images will slow your site down. When it comes to websites, you don’t need high res 2MB images on your website. Ideally, they should all be in the KB range with most able to get down to around 100kb-200kb in size – or even smaller. The smaller the images, the less load restrictions on your site.
- Remove unused plugins – apart from being a hassle to update, they only weigh down and bloat your site.
- Check your hosting environment – Some cheaper hosting companies put so many sites on a server that there isn’t enough resources for them all to load efficiently. Most small business sites are on shared hosting, which is ok as long as there are enough resources to go around.
- Caching – this is getting a little technical, but a caching plugin is essential for a faster running and more optimised site. Basically these plugins sort out your files, clean up the database and help it run smoother.
Want to know what your website speed is rating at? Check here.
Speeding up and optimising a website isn’t for everyone and it can get a bit technical. I can offer this service should you feel your site could benefit from a cleanup under the hood.
This is a website build I completed in January this year with an A rating and loading time of 1.3 seconds.
So, you might be wondering, what changes did I make to my website?
- I’ve removed my old theme (Primrose) and installed Divi which I love and use on 90% of my client sites – so it makes sense to use it on my own too!
- I’ve updated my web design packages to reflect new 2022 pricing and made them clearer and easier to follow.
- I’ve niched down even further to target my ideal client and audience – female small business owners looking to take back control of their website and business and grow their business to the next level, without the overwhelm.
- I’ve simplified my web management packages so they’re clear and take the stress out of managing a WordPress site.
- I’ve added my new branding which is fun, confident and energetic
- Overall the user experience is good, clean and easy to navigate – hopefully. Feel free to let me know your thoughts – feedback is good.
And my new website, well you’re looking at it!
This website is built on Divi and every single page was redesigned. When a theme is changed, every previously styled page is affected because they take on the styling of the new theme. Blog posts that have been entered directly into WordPress using the classic editor or Gutenberg should be ok. But if a blog post has been styled using a builder, then they will most likely need to be redesigned as well.
Take a look around and let me know what you think.