More website features you should check (Part 2)

more website features to check

Since I wrote ‘6 Website features you should check’ to help you make sure your business website is up to date and relevant, I have added to that list.

Tall Tartan Talks here … Whether you are a new or established freelance business owner, it is important to show prospective clients or fellow colleagues that you take your professionalism seriously.

Nowadays that means having a website. Your website should reflect your services, specialisms and strengths.  

Features in Part 1

In case you missed it, this is the list of features I explained in Part 1:

  1. Contact email address
  2. Contact form
  3. Spelling, punctuation and grammar
  4. Copyright date in the footer
  5. ‘I’ rather than ‘we’
  6. A photo of you, the business owner.

New learning

Following recent learning, keen to make my website as efficient as possible before starting a marketing campaign to attract new clients, I commissioned a fellow freelancer (a WordPress expert) to do a review. An MOT, if you like. I am grateful for the many tips she recommended.

More features

So, in addition to the above list, I recommend these features:

  1. SSL certificate
  2. New tab settings
  3. Broken links
  4. Error 404 message

Go on, look again … Open up a new tab and work through my list.

How to fix

1.     SSL certificate

You are researching a topic and click on a website link. It opens. You notice that the padlock on the top left of the website URL (address) is missing. It appears with the message ‘Not secure’.

Some URLs start with http:// while others start with https. Maybe you noticed that extra ‘s’ when you were browsing websites that require giving sensitive information, like paying bills. But where does that extra ‘s’ come from and what does it mean? If your website is missing that extra ‘s’, it could put off potential clients.

SSL means Secure Sockets Layer. This means protocol for web browsers and servers that allows for the authentication, encryption and decryption of data sent over the internet.

Previously, your website host charged to install it. Now it is very easy to get a SSL certificate from your website host for no charge. It is offered as a free feature to activate. Have a look at yours.

2. New tab settings

Adding content to your web pages might include a linking to another page of your website, eg Contact page with a hyperlink, or even a link to another website you are recommending.

Remember to go into your settings and tick the ‘Open new tab’ option. Activating this will open that link without losing the web page they were on and having to deploy the Back button.

It’s a worse user experience if you end up somewhere completely different from where you were expecting. You want users to stay on your website. The default setting on websites should be to automatically open a new tab, but they aren’t always.

To stop unexpected openings happening to me when I am browsing, I right-click on the link to open the menu. Click on the top option ‘Open new tab’ in case it hasn’t been activated on the website. Ta-dah!

3. Broken links 

If a visitor to your website receives an Error 404, there is an error loading that page, or a page link is broken. A quick and easy way to check that you’ve minimised this problem is to check that the links in your website work. Just google ‘broken links’ – you’ll find a selection of website tools to choose from.

When I checked I found many broken links. Aaargh! It seems I had tweaked and moved my pages around my website muchly over the last couple of years; I hadn’t checked that links still worked. They do now!

4. Personalise 404 page

Have you tried personalising your Error 404 plug-in? Thanks to another freelancing colleague for that tip. If you feel creative you could take your branding all the way through to the pages that break. 

You hope that visitors to your website won’t ever see the Error 404 message, but if they do, they will still see you, your personality and your message, with a link that you’ve placed there redirecting them back to your homepage.

Interested in branding? Read my blog post on my branding process.

Up to date now?

To repeat my message from Part 1 of ‘Website features you should check’, maintaining your website will show clients and colleagues that you are a trustworthy professional.

If you need help with your website, please ask. If I can’t help you, I know someone who can.

Remember, your website is your shop window.  Is it honest? Does it work efficiently? Does it represent you and your business?

website features to check

Here is the link to the posts on my Blog page to read more. Use the Subscribe button so you don’t miss my blogging about running a business, education, proofreading and editing.

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6 Website features you should check

 

website features to check

Have you started your freelance business? Do you have a website? Are you concerned that you don’t have much yet to put on a website?

You may feel terrified at the thought of building a website.

Or … have you owned a website for AGES? Have things changed in your business? Perhaps your website needs refreshing.

Tall Tartan Talks here … Whether you are a new or established freelancer, it is vital to give prospective clients who come across your website the impression that your features are correct and up to date.

Fear not. I have made a list of website features that you should check; that won’t take a moment for you to fix.

Go on, have a look … Open up a new tab, find the admin section of your website, and work through my list.

Website features to check

  1. Contact email address
  2. Contact form
  3. Spelling, punctuation and grammar
  4. Correct copyright date in the footer
  5. ‘I’ rather than ‘we’
  6. A photo of you, the business owner.

How to fix

1. Contact email address

If you have a website, it appears more professional if your email address is linked to your domain name. For example, my website is proofnow.co.uk. My business email is [email protected].

Make sure the spelling of your email address is correct on your website. An error means potential clients can’t reach you. Or fellow colleagues. They will give up and try someone else.

It is personal choice if you display your phone number or not. Some freelancers like their customers to book a call, so their number may be linked to a Call To Action (CTA) button.

Being contacted by WhatsApp is the worst, in my opinion. I keep that app for friends and family. Others don’t want to be disturbed by phone, but would rather be contacted by email. Whatever your preferred form of communication, make sure it is apparent and correct on your website.

2. Contact form

A contact form on your website is effective for reducing spam. But ensure it is connected to your email address and messages can get through. It is frustrating for potential clients to send a message for it to be lost in the ether. Check your contact form works by emailing yourself or asking a friend to test it.

3. Spelling, punctuation and grammar

This may seem obvious, but check the spelling, punctuation and grammar. Proofreading the content is vital, especially if you are providing your services as an … editor or proofreader.

It is difficult to proofread your own writing because you see what you think is there, not what is actually there. You may have redrafted a phrase and the sense has gone? Yep! Again, ask a friend to check the content for you.

4. Correct copyright date in the footer

Have you ever scrolled ALL the way down to the bottom of a website page you are browsing? There is usually a date at the bottom – the copyright date. It should show the current year.

You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) how many websites look out of date because the footer hasn’t been updated. Even well-known and established brands have overlooked small details like this.

If the date is wrong, how can we trust other content on the website to be correct?

5. ‘I’ rather than ‘we’

This is a style feature. If you are a sole trader, you own your freelance business. It’s just you, not a team. Do you use ‘I’ or ‘we’?

‘I’ is more personal and gives the impression that you are talking directly to me. I can get a sense of you and your business from your website. ‘We’ gives the impression that you are part of a team providing the service.

Be honest with your content. If you use ‘we’, who else are you talking about? What are the names of the people in your team and where are their photos? That brings me on to the next heading.

6. A photo of the website owner

I am aware that not everyone likes to see themselves in a photograph. But a photo of the freelancer brings a personal touch to their website. I can see a face to put to the name of the business.

It’s not hard to upload a selfie. If it is an up-to-date photo, even better. If you can afford to get a professional headshot taken by someone who can show your personality … fantastic!

Some freelancers use a logo instead. It’s a personal choice. Whatever image you use, make sure it is the same on your website as in any networking groups and social media channels you use.  If you use a photo, we’ll recognise you quicker. You will become a familiar face. And we’ll remember you.

Keep your website fresh

If these features are in place and appear current, the potential clients looking at your website will know that they can trust you. You will give a good impression. The client may even be convinced to ask for your services.

There are other features I haven’t mentioned, but those mentioned here are a start and will point you in the right direction.

Websites are never finished. Don’t think that once it is built, that’s all you need to do. You need to tweak it monthly, at least.

If you add new content, for example, a fresh testimonial, it will keep your website up to date and fresh.

Why your website is important

If you keep these six points in mind, your website will help you come across as a trustworthy and confident professional.

Remember, your website is your shop window.

You may just prefer to rely on a profile on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to help you persuade clients to book your services. But you own your website. It belongs to you and isn’t at the whim of the social media algorithms.

Your website needs to work for you and represent who you are. Be proud of it!

laptop website

Now updated with: More website features you should check (Part 2)

Here is the link to the posts on my Blog page to read more. Use the Subscribe button so you don’t miss my blogging about running a business, education, proofreading and editing.

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