According to Time, I have 15 seconds to capture your attention before you decide to click away.
In fact, a staggering 55% of you will spend less than 15 seconds on this page–or any web page, for that matter–before you continue browsing elsewhere.
With 15 seconds being the average attention span of of a modern internet consumer, perhaps the greatest challenge facing entrepreneurs and business owners today is creating a website that stands out.
In an online world where there are one billion active sites on the web, getting your website right is no longer an option. It is an imperative for your business to survive and thrive.
For many, mastering the tech side of business can be overwhelming and off-putting, with over half of business owners still not operating a website in 2016. But according to one female web designer, it doesn’t have to be hard.
Meet Jess Catorc, an entrepreneur on a mission to make websites accessible to every entrepreneur and business owner, regardless of prior experience. Her services have helped thousands step into the online world to expand their reaches and revenues. She’s been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, the Huffington Post, and the International Female Entrepreneur Association, and is also the host of a popular podcast series, Making the Entrepreneur.
I caught up with Catorc about how to effortlessly create an effective website on the latest episode of Unconventional Life, “Websites Made Simple: A DIY Guide To Building a Site that Sells.”
Catorc’s tech training began at the age of 12 when she taught herself basic code in order to create a web page for her virtual pet on Neopets.com. “I never saw coding or web design as stressful but rather like a game,” Catorc says.
Computer nerd by day, dancer by night. Catorc continued to pursue web design into her teens, opting into every computer class her school offered. After school she trained at a dance studio for several hours, balancing two very different passions.
Upon graduating high school, Catorc landed a job touring the world as a dancer on Princess Cruise Lines and was selected to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
“It seemed like everything was happening one thing after the next… I never really had to think about my next step. And all of a sudden I found myself in the last place any new graduate wants to be, which was at my mom’s house and I had no idea what I wanted to do next,” Catorc says.
She had a pivotal decision to make: to continue her dancing career or to pursue web design. Her love for computers won over, and she decided to move to Toronto to get a degree in digital media.
Today, Catorc leverages her tech expertise to help entrepreneurs overcome their most common obstacle, their website. If you struggle with web design, read Catorc’s advice below to transform your site from your greatest burden to your greatest asset.
1. Take the first step right away. If you don’t yet have a website (and perhaps have been putting if off), Catorc recommends you get a domain name and hosting ASAP, as it can nip procrastination in the bud. “Just seeing you have a site can be very motivating to take the next steps,” she says.
2. Create a mood board. This is a visual representation for your brand–the feeling you want people to have when they look at your site and everything you do. Use pinterest to create a board with pictures and quotes that capture this mood, and refer back to this board whenever you release anything for your brand.
3. Color is everything. “Get very clear on the colors you’re going to use,” Catorc says. You should have 1-2 focus colors, which appear most often on your site, and 2-3 complementing colors, which don’t compete for attention but are everywhere as well. White space is equally important, as it can provide visual relief, contrast, and organization.
4. Be consistent. Stick to the same colors and designs as the trademark or signature for your personal brand. This ensures that no matter what you do, people will recognize you easily and come to expect consistency from your service
5. Define your tagline. Feature a short description above the page fold of what you do and how you can help people. Catorc’s tagline reads, “Websites made easy.” When people come to your site, it immediately lets them know if they’re in the right place and weeds out non-customers.
6. Provide value for free. Offer visitors free content that solves one of their problems with no strings attached (no sneaky opt-in buttons). You’re basically letting them know you’re there and giving them a taste of what you do. The better your free content, the more people will desire your paid content, so be generous.
7. Invest in professional training. By training, Catorc doesn’t mean “pay someone a one-time fee of a couple thousand dollars to create your entire site for you.” Instead, she’s talking about investing time and effort into learning the skills you need to build a professional-looking site yourself. If you’re not sure where to begin, Catorc offers a free video series teaching the ins and outs of website design–even if you have no prior experience.
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