The holidays are done–you may feel sick of playing hostess: showing people around, asking for drink orders and making sure they don’t put their wet glasses on your coffee table–but the party isn’t over. Just like entertaining at home, you want visitors to feel comfortable on your website any time they visit.

Let’s look at how you can put out the welcome mat and make people feel at ease, especially the ones you want to hang around.

Just like entertaining at home, you want visitors to feel comfortable on your website any time they visit.

Great Web Hostess Checklist

  • Tidy up

Just like you’d clean the toilet and throw a bunch of stuff in the closet to neaten up, you may need to tidy up your site. That includes clearing clutter and unnecessary text and checking for broken links.

  • Homepage—your welcome mat

Ever knocked on a new friend’s door hoping you were in the right place? Maybe you look for signs—that looks like her car, she mentioned they had a fenced yard for the dog, oh look, a sign with their name! (At my house, it’s the Green Bay Packers display on the front step!) Don’t leave people guessing about who you are or what you do. Your home page should tell them right away that they are in the right place by clearly stating what you do and who you do it for. Check out your site on your computer and phone. Does the information above the fold—what people can see without scrolling—give enough information?

  • Popups

You want to be welcoming, but not obnoxious. On your website, that means not bludgeoning people with a request to join your e-mail list before they’re even in the door. One of my favorite ways to make people feel welcome without annoying them is to use unobtrusive popups. (I like Popup Ally, but there are a lot of sign-up tool options.)

  • Navigation to show them around

If people come to your house for the first time, you show them around: Here’s the bathroom. Next time you come, it’s easier to come in through the side door.

What do people on your site need to know?

  • who you are
  • what you can do for them
  • how they can pay you
  • how they can get in touch with you.

You do that through your site navigation. Use clear headings and limited use of drop down menus to show people around. You can also use a Start Here page to show newcomers your best stuff and make them feel at home as they look around.

  • Don’t make them think.

A well orchestrated visit makes your guests feel taken care of. They don’t have to wonder what’s happening next. You’re ushering them from drinks in the kitchen to dinner in the dining room to cozy conversation in front of the fire. They know exactly what to do, where to go, and when. You can guide your web visitors the same way with clear CTAs on every page. Should they sign up to get your opt-in? Set up a free consult? Join your program? Don’t leave them wondering what they should do.

So get your virtual house in order and set yourself up to welcome web visitors and put them at ease.

Want a pro’s view on whether your website is welcoming to visitors?

Sign up for a website review and I’ll let you know what’s work and what isn’t so you can make the changes you need to make your website more welcoming and effective.

(Disclaimer: Some links above may be affiliate links. That means I may make a few bucks if you use the link to sign up, but know that I only act as an affiliate for products I know and recommend.)