julia mielke sitting at desk typing on keyboard of imac with succulent plant in foreground

When's the last time you've updated your website and struggled with knowing how to do it properly? The good news is you're not alone. The bad news is you may be negatively impacting the user experience. 

On average, you have less than 30 seconds to make a lasting impression on users before they abandon your site and move on to another. If you capture them within the 30 seconds the pressure is on to create a positive experience.

It's crucial to recognize that users will not seamlessly navigate a site that is functioning poorly and lacking strategy.

Let's shed some light on rules that are not meant to be broken.

Same Window or New Window

When you add a link to your site, you have the option to keep users in the tab they are currently in, or direct them to a new one. Decisions, decisions. 

Keep users in the current window at all times if you are linking to an internal page on your website. 

Direct users to a new window when you are linking to a social media account, someone else's website or a landing page. 

    Not sure if you are working with an internal page or a landing page?

    An internal page is most evident by it's url and typically houses content for services, about or contact pages. In this case, the url should be an extension of the Home page.

    A landing page is NOT the Home page (even though most people think it is). It may be branded under your identity, however it's goal is more targeted than any other web page your are affiliated with. Landing pages are typically used to sell a specific service or educational course.

    web browser showing new window option


    Hey favicon, where you at? This is often a tiny detail that is missed in the development of a website and if you fail to upload one, a default one will be used in place.

    A favicon is a small visual (12 pixels square) most commonly shown in the browser tab along with the name of the website page. If the default one is used, your website is showcasing the platform's brand, not yours. Yikes! 

    If you want to amp up your SEO (search engine optimization), make sure your favicon is on point as they increase your visibility in browser tabs and bookmarks.

    Keep your favicon conventional. It should be a variation of your brand identity that suits the small, square format. Stay away from using an image or your headshot.

    web design showing favicon in browser

    Hero Image

    Contrary to what is commonly done, this is not another place to feature how beautiful your logo is. This is prime real estate for you to talk to your audience about what you do. It's also a huge opportunity for you to get your users taking the action you want them to.

    There's three major components to building an effective hero image section. 


    Choose a photo that has your name written all over it. Not literally ;) Showcase your vibe and speak to your audience without using text alone. And, if you are not using an original photo of yours, make sure you credit the photographer in the Footer of your Home page.


    Don't get carried away with too much text. Use language that your audience would use, speak directly to the core services you offer and identify who your ideal client is.

    CTAs (Calls-to-Action)

    Use no more than two CTAs in your hero image. The primary CTA must relate directly to the primary goal of the website. If you choose to add a second CTA, it should be a less committal (from the user's perspective) action item.

    A common primary CTA setup would be to have a 'get started' button linking to your contact page. If you mean business, here's your chance to get users locked in to connecting with you. 

    For the second CTA, give your users the opportunity to learn more about you. Whether you link to a services or about page, you are giving your audience some breathing room before taking the next step in reaching out. That being said, make sure the primary CTA is present on all internal pages.

    web design showing hero image layout

    You've worked hard to get people to your website, so why not give it all you've got?

    Track down those links and correct the ones that do not follow best practice. If you haven't already, upload a favicon that showcases your brand identity. And lastly, strategically lay out your hero image section for a bigger return from your users.

      Comments (2 Responses)

      05 September, 2019


      Great tips!

      04 September, 2019

      Betty Biesenthal

      Excellent advice! It’s basics like these that truly push a website apart from amateur to professional status.

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