5 Reasons Why Your Website is Ugly
Everyone wants a cool website, but few people know how to get one without spending the millions of dollars it seems to. Here I discuss 5 reasons why your website is ugly, and how you can fix it.
I see a lot of people asking their friends and families online about how to build a good website for their business. If you’re ever online watching videos or even just watching television, you’ve probably seen ads for building your own website.
The ads show happy business owners quickly building amazing-looking websites. They’re smiling while they click the mouse a few times and BAM!, an awesome website pops up and their businesses are overwhelmed with orders.
That’s not how things work. While companies like Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc. promise simple and cheap services that allow you to build amazing websites, the truth is a little different.
Could you build a good looking website using these services, yes! Will you? Probably not. The truth is that website design, even extremely basic website design, requires some design skills (or at least a good eye) and basic computer skills (like Photoshop).
Think of it this way… could a self-proclaimed handyman-dad build you a table? Yes! Will he do a better job than even the most basically-trained carpenter? Probably not.
As a website designer, I actually like these do-it-yourself services. As basic as they are, they still require business owners to collect information about their businesses. Believe it or not, a lot of businesses have never sat down to write a mission statement, a brief history, their ideal contact information, and in some cases, a description of their services. When they make their own website, they do these things… then when they’re ready to get serious, they call me 🙂
Anyways, here are the five things that are making your website ugly.
#1 – Squished and Stretched Photos
Have you ever been on a website where the photos seem like the dimensions are off? Here’s what they may look like:
When you resize your photos for different places within a website, you need to make sure the photo settings on the website match the dimensions of the photo your inputting. If you need to resize the photo, you need to maintain the aspect ratio (a simple process on Photoshop that I’ll post soon).
#2 – Ugly/Strange Photography
Whether you use your own photography or you use stock photography, it is possible do choose photos poorly. Here’s an example of ugly stock photography:
Selecting the right stock photography is like finding a good song; you need to wade through a bunch of crap before you hit gold. I use DepositPhotos.com and I have a process for selecting the right stock photography which I’ll share soon.
Take a good picture yourself can be even tougher! You can actually hire a photographer very affordably by using websites like Thumbtack.com (if you’re in Dripping Springs, just use Kelly Smith).
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you think you can just do a google search and grab whatever pictures pop up, YOU ARE WRONG. Websites like GettyImages.com will track you down and sue you, no matter how small your business is. I’ll post an article about how to safely find free stock photography soon.
#3 – Your Website Doesn’t Match Your Logo
This assumes you have a logo (if not, my service actually includes logo design). During my website building process I use company logos as the inspiration for the rest of the website’s style. This includes font selection, color selection, and other design elements (like accent graphics, banners, headers, etc.).
If you have a rustic-styled logo, but your website is slick and minimalist, you have a design conflict. Proper branding requires consistency, and whether you realize it or not, that’s why everyone knows how to spot a “professional” business versus a “mom and pop.”
Here are some of the elements of your website that need to fit together:
- Logo (header logo, footer logo, mobile logo, and favicon)
- Fonts (both header fonts and body fonts)
- Primary Colors (backgrounds and fonts)
- Accent Colors (backgrounds and fonts)
- Support Graphics (headers, banners, icons, etc.)
#4 – You Left Default Content on a Live Website
Most of the simple website building services start with a default template. USE THESE! Starting from scratch is much harder. Even so, you need to make sure you replace or delete anything that doesn’t relate to your business. It’s usually written in Latin.
Ideally you should replace it with information (literally any information) about your business. I have a list of questions that I ask my clients throughout the design process to help me optimize the website for SEO, as well as inform visitors about what the business does, why they do it, and how they can get started.
#5 – It Doesn’t Work Very Well
This is a broad reason that includes things like navigational features that aren’t intuitive, website layouts that aren’t responsive to different platforms, links that don’t function, or just that the website itself is so basic that it verges on useless.
While the “cheap” services may seem like a good option, as soon as you want more capabilities they can get a lot more expensive. Want to sell your products online? That will cost another $50 a month plus 5% of each transaction. Want to give people access to restricted content? That’ll be $200 a month. Want to create a custom form for your customers? That’ll be $100 a year. I even seen some services charge premium rates for domain names!
That is the real way simple website building services make money. They up sell basic components, and since you’re already enrolled, you’ll pay them (until you talk to me and then we’ll fix everything).
What Should You Do?
It really depends on your situation. If you’re a brand new business and you have no money but a lot time, do it yourself! You’ll learn a lot and you should really be reserving your money for advertising.
If you’re an established business with a basic website that you’re unhappy with, you may want to consider stepping it up with a service like mine. I create very professional looking websites that have almost any capability you need, and we build them quickly and affordably. Click Here to see my portfolio. My packages range from $500 to $5,000.
If you’re a $1 million+ business and you need an expansive solution, you may need a custom solution. It depends what you want, but if you go to a big firm the price could range from $20,000 to $500,000.
Still Want a Do-It-Yourself Solution?
If this hasn’t convinced you to hire a professional, yet very affordable, service like mine, I highly recommend the following services:
Shopify.com – If you’re trying to sell stuff online.
WPEngine.com – If you are slightly more advanced, but want someone to install your hosting/theme for you.
There you have it! Get an attractive, functional website and you’ll be much happier.