How to stop the website stress

Your website. That all important representation of you, on the web. I bet there are things you would like to change about it if you could. If you had the budget, or the time, or you could just do it yourself quickly, wave a magic website wand – you would go and tweak and fix a whole load of little niggly things that are bugging you.

Some websites are really bad – so bad I would put them in a box labelled “lost causes” or better yet, take them off the internet so no one else’s eyes need to bleed again.

In these cases, you should really just start again with a fresh new site (and put up a nice clean holding page instead for now). You need to be honest with yourself if this is the case for you. It’s often more expensive to try to fix a badly built or badly designed website than it is to redo it – in the long run. As my mom says – “cheap is expensive”.

But I just wanted to give you some tips on things you could do to improve what you have, even if you have a limited time. You will have to do it eventually, so may as well schedule an hour in your diary and sit down with yourself, your website, and a cup of tea (or coffee, or a smoothie, or sparkling water).

Ready? Here we go, a meeting with your website

Remember the website is a key component of your business marketing – a central focus point and the hub of your business online. This is where your social media activities will lead back to. The tips that follow are all easy tips – so the idea is they will make a difference but won’t take a lot of time to implement. See how useful I am being already?

1. Those leading headlines

Does your homepage clearly state what you are all about? Is it clear what you do? Instead of using a generic headline like “Welcome to our website” try coming up with a clear headline – helping your audience (solve a problem) (in a unique way). Or, use the headline to ask a question that speaks to your audience. Some examples, and for the purpose of these 2 examples I am going to use a career consultancy company:

“Helping women get back to work after a break.”

“Are you ready to get back to work?”

These clear headlines help reinforce what the company does. Headlines are important everywhere – so try to use great headlines all over the place. Like in the About page, you could have “About Us” or something like “A team that really cares about our clients”. Write something that is meaningful so people scanning the site can get some real key messages. Check all pages, and see where you could add or improve the headlines.

2. Images – are you loving them?

Whatever images you are using, they should not be any of these things:

Cheesy, bad quality or broken.

Check through your site and make sure the images are looking amazing. Images should add impact to the site. People should look at the site and tell you, “I love the images on your site!” You should look at your site and go, “I love the images on my site!”

Be critical, and if there is an image you aren’t sure of, look for replacements. You aren’t allowed to just go into Google Images and take images from there – that’s stealing.

Be sure that whatever you use as images, they are licensed to you – and that they come from a photo library like or – or they are your own images (taken of your business venue or people).

If you aren’t sure if your images are cheesy, just email me and I will have a look for you!

3. Write a snagging list – as if you are writing a brief

For this you will need to open up a document, or a draft email, and start making notes there. Look at the website, and go through it, page by page, write clearly what you see that needs changing. Write it as if you are writing a brief, as if this will be sent to whoever is going to fix these things for you. Speak visually so you can point out WHERE you mean – eg “Services: on the top right hand side, under the image, please change the caption to read, “A picture of a Billy the man and his dog Frank” instead of “Man with dog”.

Then split this list into what you think are “easy” changes and “harder” changes. Maybe if you aren’t experienced in the world of changing websites you might not be sure, but text changes are really easy, and swapping pictures is easy, but changing the design/layout is harder. Fixing errors on form submissions or on e-commerce parts of the website, is usually more time-consuming and therefore usually more expensive to fix.

Once you have the final clear snagging list, or wish list, email it to a website design company or whoever did your website initially, and let them know what you can afford to spend now.

They can then let you know what items in your list are possible to fix now within your budget, and quote for the remaining changes. Then you can decide what to do next.

There you go – 3 actionable positive steps – progress towards a better website.

That’s it. Hopefully you feel better. At least you have made positive steps to improve your site – making the headlines more meaningful, the images more impactful and a writing a coherent brief you can ask someone to follow, to fix those snags and niggles. Please comment below and let me know if this has been helpful, and if you feel accomplished and much less stressed!

Keren Lerner

Keren has been running Top Left Design since January 2002 and is an experienced designer and an expert on usability and accessibility and using design to communicate clear marketing messages. She also regularly trains fellow business people and budding entrepreneurs in social media, blogging, the principles of good website design, creating effective email newsletters and improving their online reputation. Her mission is to 'clean up the internet' and empower clients to represent and promote themselves in a way they can be proud of.

Be the change that you want to see. Step into your leadership.


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