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August 27, 2015

Cindy Penchina, President

DIY Website Assessment

Lately you’ve had a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. It started as a bee in your bonnet while you were surfing the web, and grew to a minor ulcer as you started doing research on your competitors. Even though it used to be at the cutting edge of technology, the very best in its class, you’ve developed a niggling fear that your website is…

out of date.

But how can you tell if your site is outdated? All of the information is there. You have photos, copy, and working links. You’ve even got a cute, attention-grabbing animation in the first section. Wait, it is attention-grabbing, right?

Sure, it’s attention grabbing, but not in the way you want it to be. Your color scheme is outdated, the layout is unclear, and the whole thing generally needs a facelift. Let’s face it: your website sucks, and while you were letting it fall into technological oblivion, your clients were checking out the goods on your competitor’s websites.

Your website needs work because your website is always working for you. At 2AM when you’re asleep, your website is representing your business, and your sparkling stats counter and Comic Sans font aren’t helping your credibility.

So, with that in mind, open a browser tab, navigate to your website, and be honest with yourself as you begin assessing what needs to be done to bring your website to the modern age.

Let’s start with the basics. The main components of web design are texture, color and space. Modern web design is all about smooth, flat textures, solid colors, and easily readable fonts. The term “flat design” refers to design without shadows or 3-D effects of any kind. Flat designs load faster and are easier to read on mobile devices.  Your graphic elements should be simplified and flattened to make them scale more easily and load faster on the mobile version of your site.

You probably know that the website colors you choose set the mood for your site, but if you weren’t aware and defaulted to cornflower blue and white, you’re going to blend into the haze of websites that aren’t Facebook. Instead, choose three or four colors that work well together, and include one contrasting color. For example, Hudson Fusion’s colors are teal, green, white and orange. That’s two cool colors, a neutral, and one warm accent to make everything pop. And our colors within that scheme are not our exact pantone numbers. They’re on brand, but allow us the flexibility we need to express a range of ideas.

Finally, take advantage of the page. While it’s generally advantageous to keep contact information and lead-generating content above the fold, keep in mind that scrolling pages are the norm nowadays. After all, search engines are trolling your content, not your page count. And don’t be afraid to make the fonts bigger and pin your navigation bar to the top of the page instead of sticking it along the side.

Of course, this is all well and good if you have a good sense of design and spatial relationships. But if you find yourself getting stuck on an idea, be sure to ask yourself about both the concept and execution. If you can’t edit your impulses, or get stuck on how to best execute a design element, consider seeking professional help to bring your website into the modern age. It’s not admitting defeat - it’s knowing your enemy.