As a health or fitness coach, you might not know what is legally needed on your website, or what will make your website look the absolute best. Since your website is probably not your focus, I want to talk quickly about some of these elements. Luckily, some of these things can be fixed pretty quickly!

Transcript:

As a new foster parent, the last four months have been full of learning. There’s a huge learning curve when you go from not having any kids, not really being around kids too much, and then welcoming a five-year-old into your world. How much are they supposed to eat? Do I just feed her until she’s full? What’s an appropriate portion size? Why are clothes sized 4T and 5T, but then shoes are like 11 and 12? I almost bought shoes that were size five because our foster daughter wears a 5T shirt, but no, size 12 is what she needs in shoes.

Then there’s the whole aspect of actual parenting and correction and discipline. No wonder my brain has felt like mush the last few months. Part of this learning process has also been leaning into vulnerability. There’s been many times that I’ve had to ask others for help. There’s been plenty of times that I’ve had to admit that I did something wrong.

I think it’s important in both business and our personal life what we be willing to admit our shortcomings and ask for help. I’m sure plenty of parents have seen my posts and thought the solution was so obvious or second nature to them. This process has impacted me in a lot of ways, but one thing is that it’s made me so much more aware of how I respond to people asking for help. Not that I have ever felt like I was mean or short with people before when I would answer questions, but now I feel like I really try to explain things super clear because you don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s okay.

With all that in mind, today, we’re talking about seven things you might not know about your website, and some of these are more technical than others, but they’re all important for one reason or another. I hope you find this episode really educational. Let’s dive in.

First, you must have a privacy policy on your website.

The Federal Trade Commission requires that any webpage collecting information from consumers or website uses cookies have a privacy policy available to visitors. Not only is it legally required, but having one helps build a greater sense of trust with your readers and makes you look more professional because, at the very basic level of a privacy policy, they’re just intended transparency between readers and yourself.

If you read blogs or have ever even just visited a website, then you know that you leave little bits of your personal information behind you, things like your IP address, maybe your name or username or email if you leave a comment or fill out a contact form. If you make a purchase, there’s even more personal information that can be collected by the site selling you something. A privacy policy informs the visitors what information is collected from them when they visit your site and how you use that information, like those emails are signing up to go on your newsletter list, and also who else has access to the information, like your website host or your email marketing provider.

Along those same lines, you should also have a terms and conditions policy on your site. A basic terms and conditions policy tells people what they can and cannot do with your original content, like your photos and your blog posts. If you also sell content, it can be extended to protect you in the event that someone wants a refund or shares your content illegally.

It’s not at all uncommon for photos in content to be shared with or without permission of the creator and often without credit. If this happens to you, what recourse do you have? This is where a terms and conditions can help protect you. If you’ve clearly spelled out that you need to be asked for permission before your content is shared, then you are standing on firm ground if you need to send a cease and desist letter or maybe even claim copyright infringement.

Yes, I do pay for my policies because these are legal documents, and frankly, I do not trust some random free generator to create a trustworthy policy for me.

Second, let’s talk about domain forwarding.

This is a really handy time-saving hack that I’m sure you’ve seen and wondered how to make it happen. Domain forwarding, also often referred to as redirecting, lets you automatically redirect your domain’s visitors to a different location on the web. For example, I bought the domain jesscreatives.video, and if you type that in, it will actually take you straight to my YouTube channel. Once you buy a new domain, just look for a button in your domain provider, which is usually Hover, GoDaddy, or Namecheap, that says domain forwarding. Then you’ll put the link in that you want people to actually visit, but if you’re a WordPress user, there’s also another way you can utilize domain forwarding. I do it on my site with a plugin called Pretty Links.

Basically, with this plugin, you can say, “I want the link jesscreatives.com/divi to point people to Divi using my affiliate link, or jesscreatives.com/flywheel to point people to the Flywheel website.” That’s a lot easier for me to remember and send to people rather than being like, “Oh, yeah, go to flywheel.com/uj32?=jesscreatives.” By the way, don’t go to that. It’s not a real link. That’s not an actual affiliate link for anything.

Basically, domain forwarding, whether you buy a new domain like jesscreatives.video or just use a plugin to redirect people to an affiliate link, it can make your life a lot easier when remembering links. Personally, it’s not easier for me to share affiliate links a lot easier and a lot more often because I don’t have to go search for that affiliate link in an email.

Moving on to number three, use the same font and color for your headings across your website.

This will instantly make your website look 10 times better and is really a common website design practice. Luckily, website platforms like Squarespace make this a lot easier because the design styles for each heading are the same across different pages, but I’ve seen a lot of websites that have heading one set to Helvetica and it’s blue, and then heading two is Georgia and it’s green, and then heading three is Open Sans and it’s pink. No, no, no.

When it comes to design, remember the rule of twos: two fonts, two colors. Now, when I’m designing for clients, I almost always have more than two colors, but I’m also a designer and know how to effectively utilize these colors so it’s not overwhelming and chaotic, but if you’re DIYing your design, this can apply to your email opt-ins and your social media graphics too. Just always remember the rule of twos: two fonts, two colors.

To clarify, this means two fonts for your entire website or entire piece of design. Generally, I have one font for the headers and one for the body. Even in Squarespace when you can change fonts for the three different heading options, it’s going to look more cohesive when they’re all the same font. When we navigate through a website, it seems much more connected and cohesive when all the page titles are the same and placement and all the subheadings are the same color and font.

Now, even though the headings may be the same font, they do need to be different sizes so they help create hierarchy within the page. Think of college textbooks and how the chapter title was large, then section headings were a bit smaller, and so on. The same design needs to be applied to your website pages. Use the larger headings at the top of the page and go smaller as you work your way down.

Let’s talk about website speed. No one likes a slow website.

I don’t know who originally said this, but we live in a microwave society. We want things quick. I know each of you all have left a website because it took too long to load. We want to make sure that’s not happening to you. The first and main thing to look at when it comes to your website speed is actually your website host, if you’re a WordPress user, that is. You can optimize, compress, and cache things all you want; however, if your host is not top-notch, speed issues can become a problem real quickly.

Now, I’m not going to get all techy and go into the specifics of why different hosts are better or worse and what makes a host have high speeds because then we would all be bored to death here. Now, yes, it can be really helpful for you to compress your images and try and not to bog down your website with unnecessary plugins, but if you think your website is too slow, it’s time to change host. The great news is that it’s actually super easy to do this.

My two favorite hosting companies are SiteGround and Flywheel. They will both move your site over to their platform totally free. Your entire WordPress website stays intact, the design and everything.

Also, if you’re listening to this, and you are on Squarespace, you don’t have a host to deal with. Squarespace is your host, so then really, your only option is to compress photos and reupload them. If you’re using a lot of huge gallery images are really tall page banners, these can take a lot of time to load, so you want to be sure that the photo size files are not too large. TinyPNG is a free website that will compress photos for you if you don’t have Photoshop.

Working our way up to number five, we’re going to stick to the really nerdy tech stuff and talk about exporting content.

WordPress and Squarespace both have the option to export all of your content, meaning your pages and posts and photos you download and then upload that file to the new platform. Basically, this makes it easy if you want to switch from Squarespace to WordPress or vice versa.

Now, the design and layout itself does not stay intact. Just the content. Think of moving platforms like moving houses. You still have all the same picture frames and books and decoration, but the house is probably configured differently, so your layout is probably going to be different. The reason I wanted to point this out is because I know a lot of people who want to move platforms, but they’re intimated by all the work that goes into it and they think they have to start from scratch. I’m not saying it won’t be work because I move people between platforms all of the time, and it still takes time to design those pages. Just because the content’s already there doesn’t really save any time, but if you have 200 blog posts and you keep thinking you’ll lose all of them if you move, that’s just not true.

Moving on to number six, let’s talk about SEO, specifically, SEO plugins for all of you WordPress users.

This might sound obvious, but you actually have to fill in the SEO information within the plugin for it to actually have any effect. Just installing the SEO plugin does not optimize your site for search. I’m bringing this up because I have actually seen people who install the SEO plugin and think that’s all they have to do.

This can really apply to a lot of plugins, like for instance, and image compression plugin. If you already have photos uploaded on your site, you need to go manually compress them through the plugin. One of the most common SEO plugins is called Yoast SEO. After you install this, there are some general settings to configure, but the real meat of the work is on each individual page or post on your website. When you click to edit the page, you’ll see a box under where your content goes for the SEO title and description to be entered for that particular page or post.

I also need to add the disclaimer that just by entering this SEO information on each page or post doesn’t mean it’s going to jump to the top of the search page for those keywords (but there are other ways to drive traffic). There are so many factors that go into ranking, and also, Google takes time to index each page or post. Unfortunately, these SEO plugins are not quite that magical to make things rank the very next day.

Last, but certainly not least, number seven on this list is about design.

Research shows that it takes about 50 milliseconds, which is .05 seconds, for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not and whether they’re going to stay or leave. As much as we all say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” websites are subject to an extreme level of quick judgments that immediately influence people’s perceptions of your brand.

Part of that reason that people decide so quickly is that they have so many choices. Chances are, for any given Google search, there are multiple, like millions of search results that fit the needs of that user. With all of those options, if your site is hard to read, it’s ugly, it’s slow, they’re going to leave super quickly and go to the next search result. The best and only way to get rid of these quick judgments on your website is to improve its design.

Research also shows that 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on the company’s website. When it comes to portraying credibility on your website, step one is to have a modern design that shows you care about your digital presence, you care about your brand. This includes implementing all the image and font and layout information and tips I have talked about on this podcast before, but credibility is also driven through a website’s content, and content should always, always, always go hand in hand with design, which means you need compelling copy and professional photos. The best layouts and color schemes cannot make up for bad photos.

Now, we have unpacked a lot today in this short episode, but I hope this was helpful and helps you feel more confident and informed about your website and its capabilities. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you have or even help you redesign your own website, so feel free to DM on Instagram @jesscreatives, and I will see you all next week.

*There are some affiliate links used in this post, for which I will receive a commission if you choose to buy.

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