Why you shouldn’t blend social media icons with your site design


Make sure your social media icons stand out – not blend in – so they’re easy to find.

“We created these beautiful social media icons that blend in with the design of our site, but we hardly get any new followers :(”

What do you think is going on in this scenario? Take a look at the above sentence again. Anything catch your attention?

…blend in.

If you want people to see something, it needs to stand out! While icons that are small or that blend in with the site will look aesthetically pleasing, you won’t be achieving your goal of getting more followers. People are used to seeing the icons, and may even be looking for them. So make sure they’re easy to find!


To do:

  • Make sure your social media icons are clearly visible at the top of your page, as well as in the footer.
  • Get a widget (like AddThis) that floats your social media icons at the top of the page as the user scrolls down.
  • Increase the size of the social media icons (to a reasonable size, of course – you still don’t want to be obnoxious!).
  • Make sure there is plenty of white space around the icons so they are easily visible and don’t get drowned out by clutter on the rest of your site.
  • If your social media icons blend in with the design of your site, switch them to icons that use the traditional colors instead (e.g. blue for Facebook, red for Pinterest, etc.).

How to get one-time web visitors to take action

Before your website visitors leave, invite them to come back. Build a relationship before asking them to take action.

Before your website visitors leave, invite them to come back. Build a relationship before asking them to take action.

You may not be able to get your website visitors to donate, volunteer, or register for an event the first time they visit your page – these are big things to ask people to do. Signing up for an e-newsletter or following you on social media is a much smaller commitment. Once they get to know you, they will be more likely to commit to something more.

“But I want people to stay on my website foreverrrr.”

Yes, I do too. People will have to leave your site eventually, but before they leave, invite them to subscribe to your e-mail list or follow you on social media so you can invite them to come back. Then you can start building a relationship and the next time you ask your audience to do something they will be more likely to take action.


To do:

Take a look at your top exit pages in the last couple of months. These are great pages to add a pop-up to sign up for your e-newsletter or follow you on social media because you have nothing to lose. The worst that can happen is that people will leave your site – which is what they are doing anyway! If you can gather email addresses or increase your social media following in the process, this is a win for you.

Check with your email program to see if they have pop-up codes you can add to your site. This is a great way to get started. You can also check out these programs that offer advanced features such as A/B testing, customizable templates, and analytics:

  • Sumome
  • Screenpopper
  • Pop-up domination


E-newsletter vs. social media

In each pop-up, only ask for ONE thing. Subscribing to your e-newsletter or following you on social media are small, easy tasks your audience can do right away. So which one should you choose?

I recommend building your e-newsletter list. Having followers on social media is great, but email is one of the best tools for reaching your audience for most situations. You’ll also be able to reach a wider audience – not everyone is active on social media networks, but most people have an email account they check regularly.

The only exceptions are if you know your audience is very active on a particular social media network, or one of your communication goals is to increase your following on a social media channel. Even so, I still think collecting email addresses will be much more valuable in the long-run.


Advanced tip:

Create customized pop-ups for different sections of your website.

For example, let’s say your organization runs a summer camp for children with muscular dystrophy. One of your top exit pages is the “About the camp” page and another is “Volunteer opportunities.”

For the “About the camp page,” you could target your pop-up to parents and feature one or two testimonials from previous campers with an invitation to learn more.

For the “Volunteer opportunities” page, you could feature a testimonial from a past volunteer or camper and let them know they can also make a difference.

Simple steps to archive outdated content

Keep older articles that are the most popular and archive the rest.

Keep older articles that are the most popular and archive the rest.

Have you ever looked up contact information from a 20-year-old Yellow Pages directory?

I didn’t think so.

And why not? Because the information is probably outdated. A lot has happened since then: businesses have added new locations, moved, gone out of business, and new ones have sprung up.

A lot has happened with your organization since then too. In the digital age, 20- or even 10-year-old content is ancient history. When you first established your website, you were likely looking for anything and everything to post, and this could have included information, resources, and stories from the 90’s. Think about it: that’s 20+ years ago now – an entire new generation has come of age since then!

Your website shouldn’t be the database for every article, story, press release, video, etc. that was produced by your organization. It should be a showcase of your best work. Sometimes this may include information that’s a few years old, but you do need to have a system for archiving dated material.


To do:

1. Identify evergreen content. These are the best pieces you want to showcase: information about your organization, a collection of stories and resources that never get old, studies your organization did that are often cited, etc. This content will need to be refreshed from time to time (if your most recent success story is 8 years old, people will be wondering if you’ve lost your charm!), but for the most part you shouldn’t have to update these pieces of content too often. This should be a fairly short list – remember, you want to showcase you best work, not everything you’ve ever done.

2. Identify content that will get dated quickly. This includes time-sensitive announcements (such as a new staff member joining the team), information about events, blog posts and resources related to current events, and e-newsletter archives.

3. Decide how old is “too old” for your content. The time frame depends on how much content you produce and how time-sensitive your materials are. You may have different time frames for each category of content. For example, you may archive your past e-newsletters after six months but keep your success stories for as long as four years.

4. Look at the statistics for your content in the past year. This can help you decide how long to keep your content. If people have mostly visited your stories from the past two years, then that might be a good marker. If only two people have visited your e-newsletter archives, perhaps you don’t even need to include them on your website at all. Looking into your analytics can also help you find older content that is still popular. If an older article or resource is still bringing a lot of traffic to your site, make an exception to your “dated content” rule.

5. Create a plan to archive your content. Who is responsible for archiving? What are the steps to archive content? Which content needs to be archived, and when?