6 Ways to Give Your Website a Visual Refresh
February 2, 2015 | By Christina Sullivan | One Comment">One Comment
For plenty of small businesses, the design of your website may be towards the bottom on your list of priorities. It’s fully functional and gets the job done – so why spend valuable time on the design when you have so many other things to tackle? How’s this for a reason:
That’s right: .05 seconds are all you get to make an impression on visitors to your website. So how can you leave a positive impression on website visitors and keep them on your site without spending hours of your time or thousands of dollars paying professional designers? Keep reading for some relatively simple and quick ways to give your website a visual refresh!
1. Use Icons to Break Up Your Page
Icons are a simple but impactful tool for spicing up a website. They help to visually break up long sections of text, making information on your website both easier and more enticing for viewers to absorb.
There are tons of resources out there for free or low-cost icons; my personal favorite is Iconfinder. Just be sure to check the license before you use them on your website as some icons may require attribution to the creator. Also, a word of caution: moderation is a beautiful thing so try not to go overboard with icon fever!
Check out the difference icons make to the way the exact same information is presented. Which would you rather read? Which example captures your attention?
2. Aim for high-quality photos
Similar to icons, high-quality photos are an easy way to make your website more visually appealing to visitors. They can be used to break up text as well and inject personality into your site. In addition, a high-quality photo provides a greater sense of legitimacy and credibility that a camera phone picture taken on the fly may not. And when it comes to credibility…
My favorite source for high-quality photos is DollarPhotoClub.com. Every photograph is just $1 and the quality and selection is incredible. There are free resources out there as well, like Unsplash and Death to the Stock Photo, but again, be cognizant of licensing restrictions. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for” and photographs are definitely worth a small investment. Or, you could always get crafty, purchase a decent camera and practice those photography skills! Here’s a hint to get you started: it’s all about lighting!
Again, view the difference below. Which site feels more credible?
3. Bring your typography into the 21st century
It’s been said that, “Web design is 95% typography.” Think about it – how much text do you have throughout your site? Selecting a clean and legible font is vital to the overall visual appeal of your website, yet this is an area that is so often neglected. It used to be difficult to implement a variety of fonts in web design, but resources like Google Fonts have made beautiful type available for free to everyone. With over 600 typefaces to choose from, anyone can update the typography on their website in just a few simple steps.
You can use typography throughout your website to communicate your brand. Whether your style is clean and modern, casual and approachable, strong and impactful, or straightforward and serious – there are typefaces out there to convey this persona to your visitors. When choosing a typeface, ask yourself “What does this communicate about my brand?”
Going one step further, begin to explore font pairings – selecting different typefaces for headlines and body text that visually work well together. Check out some of my personal favorite Google Font pairings below.
Playfair Display | Lato | Lobster | Cabin Regular | Oswald | Open Sans | Montserrat | Merriweather | Bitter Bold | Droid Sans
4. Get creative with color
Switching up colors on your website is an incredibly simple tactic that can have a tremendous impact. Plus, how exciting is it that you literally have endless options when selecting your color palette? There are a ton of great tools out there to help guide your selection – Adobe Kuler, Material Palette and Palettab just to name a few.
For some businesses with a strict style guide already in place, this may seem out of the realm of possibilities, However, you can still give your website a quick visual refresh by simply switching up your primary and accent colors on your website, or adding in a new accent color in your icons, buttons, headlines or other small touches.
Here are a few fantastic color palettes via Digital Telepathy to get the inspiration rolling!
5. Show your social media sites some love
Social icons can be found on almost every website out there today. If you’re looking to refresh your site, or you want to begin driving more traffic to your social media sites, consider moving the placement of your social media icons. Which placement below do you think drives more traffic and ultimately leads to more followers and likes?
Also, here’s another opportunity to spruce up your icon style. There are endless free or inexpensive social icon sets out there to match your style, so don’t limit yourself to the first icons you see! Spend some time browsing and select something that captures attention but also blends in to the style of your website.
Icon sets via Iconfinder
6. Refresh those testimonials
Testimonials are such a powerful form of social proof and can easily build your credibility. However, if you’ve had the same three customer testimonials on your site for years, it may be time to give those a refresh. This can be a really simple task – send out a few emails to happy customers and ask them to write 2-3 sentences about their latest experience with your company and attach a recent headshot.
Keep in mind: faces are great for capturing readers’ attention on your site. Check out the difference below – which does your eye gravitate to?
I want to hear what you think! Tell me in the comments below – have you tried any of these strategies or do you think you’ll add any of these to your to-do list this week? Or, have any strategies or helpful resources that I didn’t cover? Leave it in a comment below as well!