The answer to this question of course depends on a lot of things but mainly:

  • Whether or not you have the access to your website or someone else does this for you?
  • If you have the power to change your website by yourself then you can do it faster. If you have someone else to do it. It might take a bit more time as you have to brief them or get them to do exactly what you want to do.

Audience

The key with a good website relies on a clear understanding of your audience.

Who

Your audience is never “Everyone”. Who is the ideal person you want to buy your work? Or commission you? Are they a gallery owner? Are they festival programmers?

Decide on 1 main target audience, and if necessary a secondary audience.

What?

When you think about who your audience is, what would they want or need from your website, what information? Ensuring that the audience get what they need from your website. To be able to improve your website you need to have a clear answers to the above questions.

Quite often we forget about what audience need, instead you provide them with unnecessary information or content. We love this  illustration from the famous Matthew Inman’s shareable comic The Oatmeal:

A list of items one wants from a restaurant website, menu, special offer, address, online reservation, hours of operation

Image of what you get from a website including large size pdf file, a welcome notes, irrelevant image

Common Website Mistakes and How to Tackle them

Lack of clarity of who you are on the homepage/landing page

Write and post 1 sentence on who you are, preferably no more 10 words, make sure to include your Unique Selling Point in this that is suitable for your main target audience.

For example instead of:

“wedding photographer” or “landscape artist”

Consider:

Elegant and Classic Dorset Based Wedding photographer or an artist working on oil inspired by Dorset beautiful landscape.

Confusing navigation

There are website landing pages with just an image, or a video that doesn’t have  any navigation or a way of user to access the information they need, no indication whether or not there are any other pages, or where to find the next set of information

Or the opposite, a website that has too many links and buttons, so user gets really confuse where should they click first.

We would suggest look at the convention of websites where the navigation sits – usually on the top middle or right hand top as horizontal list.

Have at least 3 to a maximum 5 main navigation on the header. We recommend that this includes

  • Home
  • About

If you have too many, cut them down, focus on prioritising or grouping your work.

Images

We have seen websites with images:

  • That are grainy
  • Not relevant to their work
  • Old and unclear
  • There are too many images
  • Images on top of image as a background
  • Inconsistent images: some are dark, some are light, some has a yellow tint, some has blue tints.

Invest time to find or make good images. What is important is to have fresh images that is consistent with your brand throughout.

Text

We have seen website with no text at all, and some are just cramped with incomprehensible text.

Again, think of your audience, what information do they need from you. If you want to have a long story, where you explain in great detail of your thought process or your findings, have a blog instead. If your audience is interested to find out more they know to look into your blog for more stories from you.

  • Keep your text simple
  • Cut the jargon
  • break down the paragraphs – websites aren’t books or printed materials, so the old rule of writing long sentences and paragraph doesn’t apply.
  • Use bullet point where possible
  • Use headings, sub headings to your paragraph – this will both help reader and Search Engines to identify your writing.

See here how this post would look like without paragraph breaks, bullet points or headings.

It may look like a long list of fixes, but you can choose some of them or you can prioritise the fixes. Remember once a page is Live, you can still change them.

Websites are not printed material, you don’t need it to be 100% correct at the first instance, in fact it would be better if you treat as a live document that you continuously develop.

 

Illustration by Bethany Lord