According to Time, a person or a content has only 15 seconds to capture your attention before you consider looking elsewhere. In fact, an incredible 55% of online content readers will spend less than 15 seconds on this page (or any web page for that matter), before continuing to browse elsewhere. With 15 seconds of media attention for a modern internet consumer, perhaps the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs today is creating a website that stands out.
In an online world where there are billions of active sites on the web, getting your website right is no longer merely an option; it is in fact critical for your business to survive and prosper. For many, mastery of the technological side of the business can be overwhelming and even discouraging, with over half of business owners not yet operating a website in 2018. However, according to a particular female web designer, this is not necessarily a difficult proposition.
In the course of gathering information for this article, the piece about Jess Catorc, who is dedicated to making websites available and accessible to all small businesses and entrepreneurs, irrespective of previous experience came to mind. She is what we describe as a ‘Web-preneur’. Her brand’s services have helped thousands of people enter the online world to expand their reach and income. She has appeared in The Huffington Post, International Female Entrepreneur Association, Entrepreneur Magazine and is also the co-ordinator of the renowned podcast series, Making the Entrepreneur.
There is also ‘Catorc’ in the latest episode of Unconventional Life (‘Simplified Websites: a guide to building a sales site’). Computer nerd by day, dancer by night, Catorc continued to search for web design in her adolescence, opting for all the computer lessons offered by her school. After school, she rehearsed in a dance studio for several hours, balancing two very different passions.
After graduating from high school, Catorc landed the role as a dancer on a world tour for Princess Cruise Lines and was selected to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
“It seemed like everything happened one after the other … I’d never had to think about my next step, and suddenly I found myself in the last place a new graduate wants to be; I was at my mother’s house and had no idea of what I wanted to do next “, says Catorc. She had a fundamental decision to make: continue her dance career or search for a web design course. Her love of computers was the victor and she decided to move to Toronto to get a degree in digital media.
Today, Catorc exploits her technological expertise to help entrepreneurs overcome their most common obstacle – their website. If you’re having trouble with web design, read Catorc’s advice to turn your site from your biggest challenge into your biggest asset.
- Take The First Step Immediately: If you don’t yet have a website, Catorc recommends obtaining a domain name and hosting as soon as possible, as this will fend of the root of procrastination. Just seeing that you have a site can be very motivating to take the next steps. It’s also important to get a domain name that tells visitors what you are about. If your URL is www.discountdomains.co.nz/web-hosting, anyone on that page will expect to get web hosting services at an affordable price.
- Create a Mood Chart: This is a visual representation of your brand: the feeling you want people to have when they look at your site and everything that you do. Use Pinterest to create a bulletin board with images and quotes that capture this state of mind and refer to this every time you publish something for your brand.
- Colour Is Everything: “Be very clear about the colours you will use,” says Catorc. You should have 1-2 colours of focus, which appear more frequently on your site, as well as two to three complementary colours, which do not compete for attention, but are everywhere as well. White space is just as important, as it can provide visual relief, contrast and organisation.
- Be Consistent: Follow the same colours and designs of the brand or signature of your personal brand. This ensures that regardless of what you do, people will easily recognise it and expect consistency.
- Define Your Motto: Include a brief description on the fold of the page with regards what you do and how you can help people. Catorc’s slogan says: “Websites are easier”. When people visit your site, they’ll know immediately if they’re in the right place, which can then eliminate non-customers.
- Provide Value For Free: Give visitors free content that solves one of their problems without any strings attached (without discrete acceptance buttons for instance). Basically, let them know you’re there and give them an example of what you’re doing. The better the free content, the more people will want your paid content, so be generous.
- Quick Loading Times: If you want your website to look inviting, it will need to be fast. 47% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less or they will leave. The satisfaction of a customer decreases by roughly 16% for every extra second they have to wait. Increasing the loading speed of your website is easy with these tips: get a solid hosting plan, create images that are compatible with the internet, clean your site, write clean code and optimise your files. Ideally, a good web hosting provider will ensure your site loads quickly.
- Investing In Professional Training: Once trained, Catorc did not intend paying someone a single fee of a few thousand pounds to create the whole site. Instead, she invested time and effort in learning the skills she needed to train as a professional. If you don’t know where to start, Catorc offers a series of free videos that explain the finer points of website design, regardless of whether you have any previous experience.