5 Ways to Make Your Website Better Today

  •    Carrie is a designer and content marketer. She works promoting the Roanoke Region of Virginia and has more than 10 years of media and marketing experience.

Is your website beginning to feel a little stale? A few tweaks might be all you need to make it feel new again. Today, we'll look at five easy modifications that you can make to improve the aesthetics of your site and draw in more users.

1. Reboot with Images

Take your website to the next level with a set of fresh images. Updated images provide something new for returning users and can entice first-time visitors. The key is developing a set of high-quality images that you can rotate in and out of your site design.

While the preferred option for some websites is to hire a photographer for a custom set of images, this can take time (and money) to accomplish. If you have room in the budget, go for it.

If you are working on a more limited budget consider a few great stock images instead (or use them with custom images). Try a slider format on your homepage for variety. Be choosy when it comes to stock photography and don't use those “cardboard cutout style" images that appear in way too many places. Try a service such as Stokpic or Death to the Stock Photo.

2. Take Typography Up a Notch

Sets of typefaces

Stop using Arial for every letter on your website. A strong pair of typefaces can help you create hierarchy and visual interest.

Learn to pair type like a pro by picking two type families for your site. Stick to a simple sans serif typeface for the bulk of website text and pair it with a serif or novelty typeface for big lettering or accents.

Use a “poster" typeface for big lettering and then pair a complementary “paragraph" font. Test different types around your site so you can see how they will look at certain sizes and with certain amounts of text. A few readable typefaces that never get old? Try Lobster, Raleway, Montserrat, Roboto Slab, Lato or Vollkorn.

3. Try a Trendy Hue

Color Boxes

Bold pops of unexpected color can give new life to a flat website. Bright, fully-saturated hues are popular, fun and lively.

You can try a dash of color without rethinking your branding as well. Consider your current color palette and include one “bonus" color for website use. What has sometimes been called “the new neutral," lime green is a great option for accents such as buttons, links or calls to action in sites with dark backgrounds. A bright red or red-orange can work well in sites with light backgrounds.

Pull inspiration from some of the trendiest hues around -- the sets associated with flat design. Flat UI Colors includes a set of colors you can see and color mixes and names so you can try them on your website.

4. Add a Video

Video is quickly becoming one of the must-have visuals elements for websites. And you don't need fancy tools to capture a little bit of footage that can boost your website aesthetics.

Loop a few seconds of video into the homepage to showcase what your website is about. Show something unique about your company or brand and pair the video with a short bit of text or call to action.

Don't fall into common video traps:

  • Keep the video short so your site loads quickly and plays the video with ease.
  • Do not use sound; auto-play sound can frustrate users.
  • Use an image that is “readable" and engaging.

5. Pique Interest with Icons

Different Sharing Icons

Add visual interest (and a little charm) with icons. Instead of saying everything with text, an icon pack can provide a set of visual cues for common actions, such as social media links or access to a shopping cart.

Create (or download) an icon pack with a consistent set of visuals that work together and can be used throughout your site design. Designmodo offers a great selection of free and premium icon packs that you can integrate into almost any website design. (Many icons can be added to your website using an image uploader or embed code.)

Icons are also a great way to bring attention to certain parts of your website design. Use icons above small text blocks to create visual flow and direct users on how to navigate through information. Just make sure to use icons consistently. This includes using a specific look for all icons across your site — one reason icon packs are popular — and consistent sizing and usage (whether icons link or not).

Design tweaks can refresh your website in a quick an inexpensive way. The only thing left now is for you to decide which of these tweaks to make first. Map out a plan and continue to help your website grow and evolve with new content and design adjustments as your company, website or brand changes.