Brainstorming the way your personal website will look is an exciting venture. You are literally creating something out of nothing, which is pretty awesome. Acknowledging this almost artistic freedom is inspiring and it awakens a kid inside yourself as you can play around with different elements and experiment.
Thanks to the drag-and-drop technique of website builders, it has become even easier to instantly change the look of your website and publish it with one click of a button.
Whether you’re a photographer who decided to showcase their work to the world or an aspiring travel blogger who has a talent for recording amazing stories while exploring different countries – your personal website is your autonomous space online. It reflects who you are, what you do, and what you care about, it speaks on your behalf 24/7, and it helps you connect with others.
However, it’s fairly easy to get carried away and oversee some pretty important things, especially in terms of UX design, navigation, and content consistency.
Are you perhaps making crucial mistakes with your personal website without even knowing it? Read on to find out.
Mistake #1: It’s Not Clear What Your Website is About
You may have some idea on what you’re going to do with your website, but do you know how to make its purpose crystal clear and obvious to any site visitor?
It might sound like a cliché, but you really need to think about your why in order to make your website worthwhile. For instance, your goal could be one of the following:
- Actively acquiring clients for your freelance business
- Showcasing your photography/design portfolio
- Building credibility in a certain industry by managing and developing your niche blog
- Sparking engagement around your new art project
- Fighting for a cause and trying to build a community of supporters around it
Once you define the purpose of your website, you should think about who you want to attract, i.e. who is your target audience. Then you need to pinpoint the exact actions that you wish for them to undertake once they land on your website.
These desired actions can vary depending on the purpose of your website. If you’re trying to get clients, you want them to contact you. If you’re promoting your project, you probably want to cause the highest possible number of meaningful impressions on the page where you explain the mission and goal of the project in order to inspire people to support you.
Either way, your site visitors need directions. Through the power of content – both visual and textual, you need to tell them 1) what to do and 2) where to go, and you should always try your best to trigger their emotions. Call-to-actions are your most effective means here.
[.ME Example] Brent Galloway’s Website
If you could use some inspiration regarding the way to communicate what your website is about, and you feel you need some help with designing a CTA, check out Brent Galloway’s personal website. The moment you enter the site, you’ll encounter a short message and under a second – you’ll know what the website is about.
It’s crystal clear that Galloway is a freelance graphic designer with his main focus on T-shirt design. An effective CTA (“Let’s Get Started”) is strategically positioned right after a very convincing copy that explains the benefits of connecting with your audience through personalized T-shirt design. One click on the CTA and the person gets instantly redirected to a contact page. This is a pretty solid example of how to nicely “push” your leads down the sales funnel while offering the best user experience for them.
Mistake #2: Poor Design and Bad Formatting
Web design matters. It actually plays a crucial role of how your website will be perceived by visitors. Around 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so we predominantly experience the world through our eyes. Given the fact humans are highly visual beings, the form might even outperform the content. Of course, to really nail it, you need to care about both.
Once you define your brand and set the aesthetics direction you think it aligns with it well, it’s time to actually work on the structure and the visual appearance of your site.
You might have the urge to do something groundbreaking with your website structure and turn it into an avantgarde page that’s not particularly functional or intuitive but looks amazing, which is totally legit if it serves the purpose. However, in more common cases, there are certain web design rules you shouldn’t break.
Whether you plan on designing the website yourself or hiring a professional, there are two main things to keep in mind:
- The way you want your website to look (graphic design, i.e. spacing and padding, margins, colors, typography, font size, etc.)
- The relationships between elements on the page and whether or not they are logical enough for humans to comprehend their meaning and easily navigate (UX design)
The way users interact with websites changes, which is why every website goes through a certain design makeover at some point, and often a couple of times. You have to ensure the visitors have the best possible experience when visiting your website. After all, you want your visitors to stick around and come back again, and perhaps recommend your website to their friends.
Study through the psychology of color to create an appearance for your website that’s easy on the eye and make visitors feel pleasant. Think about the size and type of your font and the background you choose. Stay away from color overload and bold and screaming hues that create an uneasy feeling.
In addition, think about how you’ll visually organize your blog posts before hitting the publish button. Formatting matters because it makes text consumable. To increase your readability score, include some visuals, don’t write too lengthy paragraphs, and add bullet points if it’s purposeful.
[.ME Example] Sazan Hendrix’s Website
The design of your website should reflect what you do and effectively communicate it visually. Take Sazan Hendrix’s website for example. Hendrix is a digital influencer, a blogger mainly focused on lifestyle and beauty topics. When you open her website, you will encounter a clean and soft choice of fonts and colors. The tile-structure is engaging and evokes minimalist aesthetics, while it also reminiscence Instagram.
This type of design solution wouldn’t work without the high quality photos and carefully curated layout of square elements. As visitors, our curiosity gets triggered to scroll down and discover new content, but we also feel in control given the fact we can easily access any blog category by clicking on it within the header. Great UX and wonderful design combined.
Mistake #3: Lack of SEO and Mobile Responsiveness
Another great mistake people make on their personal websites refers to search engine optimization, or better said – the lack of it.
SEO represents the cost-effective way to increase your online visibility and the amount of organic website traffic. Conducting keyword research is the key to coming up with relevant topics that people actually search for. But in means of SEO, there is a number of things to take in mind, both regarding optimization of your content and the technical side of your website.
In order to provide the best experience for your users and be favored by Google, main things to tick off the tech list include:
- Keeping your sitemap in order
- Getting an SSL certificate to ensure highest safety for yourself and your site visitors
- Optimizing page load time (according to research, people will tolerate only up to 3 seconds of load time before bouncing off)
- Ensuring your website is mobile responsive
- Optimizing meta tags and descriptions, as well as images and videos
Mobile responsiveness deserves special attention. You need to acknowledge the change in user behavior and the shift that has happened. Namely, we are predominantly searching the web via our mobile devices, which means your website has to adapt to small screens. This means you need to avoid too much page clutter, think about where the fold is positioned, and overall – make your website scroll-friendly.
Google has recognized this change which is why they’ve launched their AMP project and rolled out the mobile-first indexing for the first time in history, meaning the most popular search engine will now primarily take in mind mobile versions of websites when sorting out results.
If you truly want to make you personal website shine, you have to think about the not-so-fancy parts of it, too. This includes familiarizing yourself with keyword research tools such as Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner, and learning more about SEO and good practices. Setting up Google Analytics is also advisable as this tool enables you to track your performance and set your strategy straight.
[.ME Example] Chinami Michaels’ Website
If your website copy doesn’t contain much content, it can easily be adjusted to fit mobile devices. For instance, open up Chinami Michaels’ website on desktop and on mobile. You will see that the content is identical in both versions, but the site is well adapted to the mobile format. The mobile page loads rather fast and as you scroll down to the end, you can easily click on the “back to the top” link so you don’t have to scroll back.
There is a typical burger menu in the right top corner that opens a slider menu with all categories clearly listed. This makes navigation really simple and fast. A contact button is visually pointed out, which is a rather smart design move.
Over to You
We discussed the top three mistakes people make on their personal websites, but this of course is not an extensive list. For example, the lack of content strategy is also a problem, as well as forgetting to display key information, such as contact or about page.
These things happen, but they are not unfixable. When making your personal website, it’s far more important to choose a memorable domain name that will support your online presence and draw your uniqueness to the surface, so that the world can see it.
If you finally decided to make your personal website, make sure to check our selected personal website examples to get inspired.
As for the domain name, choose .ME and join the successful crowd of extraordinary individuals who are rocking their personal brands. See if your .ME domain is available by typing your desired name in the box, register today, and start your exciting online journey!