8 Easy Ways to Dress Up Your Website in an Hour or Less

You may be a champion when it comes to social media marketing and your content-writing skills may blow people away, but if your company website is unattractive, you are probably struggling when it comes to conversion.

Web design is trickier than it seems; even top-quality programmers often have trouble creating a site that is both functional and visually appealing. Fortunately, there are dozens of ways to can make your website look spiffy without hiring an experienced (and expensive) designer. Here are the fastest ways you can achieve a polished look on your site and get more conversions in no time.

1. Fonts

While you may prefer using Times New Roman and other bland fonts when sending memos, you can draw in more visitors by using eye-catching fonts in page titles and headlines. Because most Internet users now have fast connections, fun fonts won’t slow your site’s load time. Of course, there are a few rules when it comes to picking appropriate fonts for your site. Fonts should be:

  • Content-appropriate: No curly, swirly fonts for serious information.
  • Brand-appropriate: Similarly, no stodgy, flavorless fonts for friendly brands.
  • Web-ready: Not all fonts are licensed for commercial use.
  • Legible: If visitors can’t read it immediately, they won’t stick around.

2. Colors

The traditional black-text-on-white can be harsh on the eyes and unappealing on the Web. You likely understand the importance of color when it comes to attracting customers in other media like print and television, and you should adapt that knowledge to the Web.

Your site’s color scheme needs to reflect the main color themes of your brand, but a few bright accents and contrasting tones usually doesn’t hurt, either. Color theory is a complex area of study, but you can use its basic rules to guide your site’s color usage.

3. Textures

To stand above the pack, you can also integrate different textures into your site’s design. The best website builders have a handful of textures you can apply to tiles around your site to give visitors some visual interest. Your textures shouldn’t contrast or become overwhelming; a simple, subtle background texture is enough to make a site feel more comfortable on the eyes.

4. Shadows

Quite a few developers are moving toward flat, featureless software design — just look at the user interface on Windows 8 — but plenty of computer users still prefer some hint of a third dimension on the screen. You can place shadows on your container, wrapper, or even inner pages for an interesting, slimming effect. You can even add CSS3 shadows to your text like Apple does for a modern, impressive look.

5. Images

If you haven’t figured it out yet, humans are visual creatures, and your visitors generally prefer pictures over text. Every page on your site should have at least one image. For example, insert product pictures on the homepage and images of your employee team in the About page.

This isn’t to say that you should replace your text with pictures; in fact, the most annoying websites are those that fail to adequately explain their purpose. Still, images are faster and more attention-grabbing than text, so they are effective at aiding conversion.

6. White Space

Then again, your problem might not be a lack of fun fonts, bright colors, and images — it might just be that your site has too much. Visitors (especially older ones) need white space around different elements on your site to understand its organization. You must experiment with amounts of white space to create the optimal balance between borders and information.

7. Icons

Now that an outstanding amount of Web surfing is done via mobile devices, websites must be able to accommodate smaller screens. One of the best ways to do this is replacing text on buttons with pictorial icons as representations. Visitors will fully understand what the button displaying a shopping cart indicates, and you won’t have to worry whether your button displays properly on your mobile site.

8. Language

Finally, you should do a thorough proofread of your entire site’s copy. Of course you should edit for basic spelling and grammar mistakes, but a number of other issues could be lurking that put off your site’s visitors including:

  • Jargon: Eliminate any industry terminology that your customers might not know.
  • Clichés: Use straightforward wording instead of hackneyed phrases.
  • Calls to action (or lack thereof): Give your site’s visitors clear instructions to help them convert.

It’s possible that your needs go beyond these basic, easy-to-implement quick fixes—in which case you’ll want to go ahead and hire that designer or developer for their professional help. But before you make unnecessary expenditures (or if you need to delay the investment) tackling this low-hanging fruit can make an impactful difference on the visual experience your website provides in a relatively short amount of time.

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