When you're a entrepreneur, you're never just an entrepreneur. You're also a friend, spouse, parent, volunteer, coach, and side-hustler. And it can feel like there is never enough time in the day to get everything done.
Last month, I went to Pennsylvania to celebrate Thanksgiving and my brother-in-law's wedding. We spent the entire holiday balancing family time, wedding prep, and I spent the day of the wedding running between the bride and groom making sure that everything was the way they wanted.
For that entire week, I barely had time to check my email and I definitely wasn't able to schedule client calls or send out emails to people interested in my service. But I wasn't worried about it because I have a system in place to help me in times like those - and everyday - through my website and automation.
Your website can be your best employee - and you don't even have to deal with taxes for it. You just need to set it up now in a way that will help you grow in the future.
1. Tailor it to your ideal client.
It may be scary to really niche down, especially if you're just starting out, but it's important. Your website should help anyone visiting it know whether or not you're the right person for them to work with. Your design, images, and content will either attract or repel people, so you want to make sure that it's attracting your dream clients and turning away those you can't serve as well.
Start by really digging into the people you want to work with and ask yourself if you're attracting them now. If not, take a look at your website and evaluate what it's saying to visitors. Then, don't be afraid to change it - and even go against the trends - to really reach the clients you've been dreaming about.
2. Automate as much as possible.
If you're afraid that automation takes the personal aspect out of your business, you aren't alone. I felt that way for a long time until I realized that I can better serve my clients by automating some of my business so that I can concentrate my time on what really matters - designing brands and websites that reflect who my clients are.
There are lots of ways you can automate, but these are some easy first steps that will help you streamline your systems without losing touch with your audience:
- Create email templates for replying to inquiries, having hard conversations, and delivering your service. That way, you won't have to stress out about - and put off - sending those emails. And don't worry - you can write these so that they reflect you and add in some areas to customize for each email.
- Have an auto-responder to your Contact Form. Having an auto-responder means that you're audience - whether it be client inquiries or someone saying hi - will get a response from you right away and you won't feel pressure to send emails during family time. Mine looks like this:
"Hi [name]! Thank you for your inquiry. I will take a look at it and we will get back to you very, very soon! If you're getting in touch because you're interested in working with us, I hope you'll check out our Working with Lemon and the Sea PDF linked below. It will give you some information about us and how we work until we get back with you."
That way, I cover both inquiries about working with me and other comments and give a time frame for when I will get back to them. I have this set up in ConvertKit so everyone who uses my Contact Form is also added to my email list. (Want to know how to use ConvertKit with Squarespace?)
- Create an email sequence when someone subscribes. This will help new subscribers get to know you and your services without you worrying about remembering to send out emails every few days.
- Sign up for a scheduling software. Scheduling software allows you to simply send a link and give someone access to your schedule so they can find a time that fits them. This eliminates a lot of back and forth. Plus, your service can send out automatic reminders to prevent people from forgetting and not showing up. For my calendar, I've created events for coffee chats, client interviews, and design review calls with different hours and available days to best fit the way I work and my clients' needs.
3. Check your messaging
The words you use on your website make a huge difference in how people perceive you and who wants to work with you. This really goes back to knowing your ideal client. You want to speak to their needs, pain points, and show them how you can help.
You also want to stay true to your voice so that when someone talks to you in person, they already know what to expect. Share your story, communicate your why, and let people know that you're right for them by the messaging on your website. (Need help writing your About Page?)
4. Make it easy to promote and share
By making it easy for people to promote and share your content and work, they're more likely to send it out into the world. Make sure that you're promoting your own work on social media, provide share buttons (either the automatic ones or try out Add This), and have your new posts automatically pushed to your social platforms.
If you've never had Squarespace push to social media before, simply go to the Settings block on your blog post and choose which platforms you want to push to under the Social tab.
5. Up your SEO game
SEO can seem really scary, but it's an important part of finding new potential clients who are searching for your service. These are a few ways you can increase your SEO on Squarespace:
- Add a site description that shares who you are and what you do. This is under the Settings > Basic Information section on the menu.
- Use tags and categories. When writing a new blog post, make sure to assign it to a category and then add tags. Use terms that your audience would be searching for like Squarespace Website, Wedding Photographer, etc. Also, don't be afraid to get more specific based on who you're trying to reach (for example, use Richmond Wedding Photographer instead of just Wedding Photographer).
- Name your URLs. This is an easy way to get Google to find your pages. Instead of generic URLs, use something descriptive like work-with-lemon-and-the-sea instead of work-with-us. You can also name your blog post URLs so that they appear as the post title instead of a string of random characters.
- Have a mobile-friendly website. Google is now officially ranking websites that aren't mobile-friendly lower when someone searches on a mobile device (which most people do) so make sure your website looks just as good on that iPhone as it does on your computer screen. (You can check to see if your website is mobile-friendly here.)
- Do your research. Google is always adjusting how it ranks websites in it's searches, so make sure you're up to date on what they want. You can also check out my SEO Pinterest board for more tips and tricks.
Need to update your website, but don't have the time? I can help. I love using Squarespace because it makes it easy to design a website that helps your business grow. And my step-by-step process allows you to see exactly what you need to do and when so that you can make your business fit your life instead of the other way around. Interested? Get in touch with me today to learn more about my services.
Lemon and the Sea is a branding and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creatives who enjoy being involved in every step of the process to help them update their brand and website so that it better reflects who they are and what they do. From logo and collateral design to Squarespace websites, I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into their what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them.