website strategy

5 Ways to Make Your Website Work for You

5 Ways to Make Your Website Work for You | Lemon and the Sea

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 brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.

Why Your Goals Matter: Plan for the Future when Designing Your Brand & Website

Why Your Goals Matter: Plan for the Future when Designing Your Brand & Website | Lemon and the Sea

I was so nervous - hands sweating, doubts filling my mind. I was getting ready to take a step that I wasn't quite ready for, but that I knew I had to do it. When I entered my credit card number and hit okay the first time I paid for my Squarespace website, I was freaking out inside.

I had just transitioned from a $30 WordPress template for a small DIY blog to a website platform that cost me over $100 - the biggest investment I had ever made in my baby business at the time. I had no idea if I would be able to make this business sustainable. I had never had a client before. But I knew that if I wanted to create a business I was passionate about, I needed to invest in my big goals.

What Are Your Big Goals?

When you're bogged down in the day-to-day of running a business, it can be hard to think very far in to the future. Most days you're just trying to keep on top of your to-do list.

But taking the time to figure out your big goals for you business - the ones you want to work towards - will help you find a direction for your business and plan for the future.

For me, that looks like creating systems that help me stay organized so that I can launch new brands and websites for my clients in two months. For you, that may look like setting aside time each week to outline the course you've been dreaming of creating.

You have to know where you want to be in the future so that you can start working towards it now - even if you're just doing a little at a time.

Why your goals matter in design

Asking about big goals is one of the most important parts of my client interview call and questionnaire. It may seem unimportant considering that my clients want to launch now, but I also know that they want to grow their business.

When I know the goals my clients want to achieve, I can design in a way that allows for that growth in the future. This means creating a brand that speaks to your dream client, not just the ones you're working with to pay the bills (we all have them). It means creating a website that's flexible enough to make auto-responders, list building, and e-commerce easy, even if they aren't necessary right now.

That's part of the reason I love Squarespace - it's built to grow with your business. You can start out on a small plan that allows for just a few pages and then easily transition to offering e-Commerce without having to start from scratch or switch platforms.

Goal Planning

If you're struggling to set goals for your life and business, check out these resources:

I've also created a Goal Planner that's just been updated for 2017 that you can access in The Vault. I'd love to hear from you: what are your big goals and how are you designing for them?

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.