Why Your Website Matters to More than Your Clients - Website Design from a Podcast Host Perspective

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In addition to being a website designer, I’m also a podcast host and I interact with a lot of people online. I’m always looking at other people’s websites as I consider bringing them onto the show, collaborating with them, recommending them to my clients, or just trying to get to know other people in the online space.

The problem is that when people design their websites, they forget that it’s not just for dream clients – it’s also for all the other people who want to learn more about you.

If you’re considering educating, collaborating, or reaching out to more people, this episode is a great one for you. I’m going to be talking about why your website matters to more than just your potential clients and give you my perspective as a podcast host and business owner on what I look for in a website.

Topics Discussed:

  • What I look for in a website when considering a guest for my podcast
    • Up to date content
    • Image of them and bio
    • Who they serve and what services they offer
    • Way to get in touch (that’s not a contact form)
    • Areas of expertise
  • Don’t overwhelm your visitors
    • No music
    • Videos should not start automatically
    • Don’t use pop-ups on mobile
  • Present clear information on your Home page
  • Have a clear way to get in touch with you
  • If you have ads on your website, don’t embed them with your content – you want to make things easy to read
  • List your location (including your city) in multiple places on your website
  • Add visual space and clear dividers to make your content easy to read
  • Include fun facts about you, not just a boring bio
  • Use industry norms in your menu bar
  • Don’t use jargon – make your copy clear
  • Keep the design simple, but not boring

Resources Discussed:

 


5 Website Updates to Get Legit

Get the Guide

Choosing Your Images

Start with the Design

Always start by designing your website before investing in any kind of images. Think of it this way: your website is the house you’re building and the images are the décor inside – they make a big difference, but they aren’t going to determine what your website looks like.

Whether you’re DIY-ing your website or working with a designer and developer, let the design dictate everything else. This will help you in your search for images because you’ll know exactly what to look for.

Once you’ve worked on your  design, you’ll know things like:

  • Image size
  • Image orientation
  • Types of images

Once you have the design in place, it’s much easier to narrow down your search and find the right images for your website. Maybe the flat lays you love on Instagram aren’t right for your header because they won’t convey what you need them to. It’s better to know that before you’ve spent any money.

You also want to consider which images will be overlaid with text for graphics and which will stand alone to add personality.

Choose the Right Photos

Choose stock photos that fit your brand colors and style.

Instead of choosing images that look great, but don’t fit your brand, start your search with your brand in mind. Then, even if you find other beautiful options, you won’t be tempted to spend your hard earned money on something that won’t work for your business.

Even if you’re using a stock library, don’t try to use every image available. They may be beautiful, but if they aren’t on-brand, you’re going to confuse your audience and make your website less inviting and streamlined.

And now for the not-so-fun legal stuff:

Make sure to double (and triple) check the usage rights to the images you’re buying. You want to make sure that you can use them on your website to promote your services, and you need to know how you need to give credit to the photographer.

You will also need to know what types of edits you can make to the images you choose (such as cropping, adding overlays, adding your own products, or changing or removing items) and where you can use them (social media, website, opt-ins, webinar slides, etc.).

Each photographer and website will have different guidelines and restrictions, so make sure you’re familiar with them so you won’t run into legal problems in the future. (Just a tip: keep the receipt after you download your new image so you have it for future reference.)

If you’re working with a designer to find these images, make sure that the correct person purchases them. If your designer purchases your image, they may or may not be allowed to transfer ownership to you. If you want to own the rights to use an image in more ways than just on your website, you may need to purchase it yourself so that you have that ability.

Customize Your Images

You can make even stock photography unique through overlays, added text, and cropping (as long as you’re following the rules).

Here are some fun ways to add interest to your images and make them stand out:

  • Add an overlay in a brand color.
  • Add text to create fun graphics or pinnable images.
  • Crop your image in a variety of ways to get multiple uses out of it.
  • Add your own products to the image to show off your work.

By using these techniques with your stock photographs, you can create images that people will recognize as yours without you having to take the photos yourself. This is also a great way to get the most out of the images you’re investing in so you can buy less, but still have just as much flexibility.

Mix Stock and Custom Images

By mixing stock photography with your own images, you can create a unique look that no one can copy.

Even if you’re a photographer or have great images from past projects, you can use stock photography to spice up your image library and get some great on-brand images that you don’t have to take yourself.

Stock images are really versatile and you can use them in a lot of places on your website:

  • Banner images.
  • Backgrounds for sections you want to highlight (in Squarespace, you can do this through creating Index Pages).
  • Blog graphics.
  • Links to other pages on your website.
  • In your content library or shop to show off your work.
  • On social media to tie everything together.

Optimizing Your Images

Get Some SEO Going

Prep your images for great SEO so that they can help people find you online.

Usually, stock images will have names that reflect the company or photographer they are from. After you purchase and download an image, be sure to rename it to something SEO friendly before adding it to your website (because having an image name that references where you got the image won't help your business).

You can also add some SEO juice by adding keywords and keyword phrases on the back-end of your website and by adding captions or alt titles. This works differently on each website platform, but you should be able to find tutorials to guide you. (In Squarespace, you can add a caption to your photo and then hide it to get the SEO without having a caption below your image.)

Resize Your Images for Web

1. Adjust the image size

  • Entered the desired size
  • Be sure to save the image so as “resample image” to preserve smoothness

2. Choose your format

  • JPEG – perfect for images with lots of colors and gradients such as photographs. You can control how compressed the image is when saving.
  • GIF – a lossless format that has a limited palette of 256 colors. Good for images with solid colors or limited colors.
  • PNG – similar to GIF, but supports more colors. Allows you to have a transparent background. This format is replacing GIF format for most people. Will be a higher size and quality

3. Reduce the Size

  • Try to keep images under 75 KB (some banner images may be larger at 150KB)
  • Save your image to the exact dimensions you need on your website
  • Reduce your dpi to 72 – website can’t display any higher than that

Growing Your Team and OBM vs. VA with AllieDanae Walker

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Today I’m talking about growing your team with AllieDanae Walker and we also get into what an online business manager (OBM) versus a VA. It’s two different topics that AllieDanae blends perfectly.

We’re going to talk about finding the perfect person to work with, what to expect when you bring someone on to your team, and who is responsible for what. We also discuss the difference between an OBM and a VA and her best tips for growing and managing your team.

AllieDane is a great person to help us with this topic because she has worked as a VA and an OBM for a lot of great online businesses, so she gives some great insight into who you should hire for your team, how you can figure out what you want to outsource, and then how you can grow once you’ve hired that first person.

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Connect with AllieDanae

There are so many moving pieces to your business and AllieDanae understands it can get overwhelming. However, when it is all run and done well, you are able to live a life that you truly love. As a business owner herself, she wants to help you take your business from just getting by to flying high. Her goal is to remove as many admin and social media tasks off of your plate so you can focus on the creative side of your business, the side you love! The Social Walker Agency services are meant to walk alongside of you and enhance the efforts that you are already making. Consider AllieDanae and her team your team!

When she's not cheering on her business teams, AllieDanae is cheering on one of her favorite sports teams - the Georgia Bulldogs and Atlanta Braves. You can also find her sipping coffee throughout the day, spending her mornings in the Word, and enjoying time with her family and friends. She loves sharing about her passions of faith and business to anyone who comes into her life. 

Topics Discussed:

  • How you can find the right person to work with
  • What you should expect when bringing someone onto your team
  • What your new hire will need from you and what they should have in place already
  • The difference between an OBM and a VA
  • What to do if you aren’t working well with someone you’ve hired
  • Tips for growing and managing your team

Resources Discussed:


5 Website Updates to Get Legit

Get the Guide

Choosing and Optimizing Images for Your Website

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Whether you’re a photographer or not, the images you choose for your website can draw in or turn away your dream clients. The trick isn’t finding images – there is stock photography all over the internet – but finding the right images and making them work for your website.

Topics Discussed:

  • How to choose images for your website
  • Things to avoid when choosing images
  • Stock photography vs. custom photography
  • Why starting with design is so important when choosing images
  • My favorite places to find stock photography
  • How to optimize your images for the web

Resources Discussed:


5 Website Updates to Get Legit

Get the Guide

Choosing Your Images

Start with the Design

Always start by designing your website before investing in any kind of images. Think of it this way: your website is the house you’re building and the images are the décor inside – they make a big difference, but they aren’t going to determine what your website looks like.

Whether you’re DIY-ing your website or working with a designer and developer, let the design dictate everything else. This will help you in your search for images because you’ll know exactly what to look for.

Once you’ve worked on your  design, you’ll know things like:

  • Image size
  • Image orientation
  • Types of images

Once you have the design in place, it’s much easier to narrow down your search and find the right images for your website. Maybe the flat lays you love on Instagram aren’t right for your header because they won’t convey what you need them to. It’s better to know that before you’ve spent any money.

You also want to consider which images will be overlaid with text for graphics and which will stand alone to add personality.

Choose the Right Photos

Choose stock photos that fit your brand colors and style.

Instead of choosing images that look great, but don’t fit your brand, start your search with your brand in mind. Then, even if you find other beautiful options, you won’t be tempted to spend your hard earned money on something that won’t work for your business.

Even if you’re using a stock library, don’t try to use every image available. They may be beautiful, but if they aren’t on-brand, you’re going to confuse your audience and make your website less inviting and streamlined.

And now for the not-so-fun legal stuff:

Make sure to double (and triple) check the usage rights to the images you’re buying. You want to make sure that you can use them on your website to promote your services, and you need to know how you need to give credit to the photographer.

You will also need to know what types of edits you can make to the images you choose (such as cropping, adding overlays, adding your own products, or changing or removing items) and where you can use them (social media, website, opt-ins, webinar slides, etc.).

Each photographer and website will have different guidelines and restrictions, so make sure you’re familiar with them so you won’t run into legal problems in the future. (Just a tip: keep the receipt after you download your new image so you have it for future reference.)

If you’re working with a designer to find these images, make sure that the correct person purchases them. If your designer purchases your image, they may or may not be allowed to transfer ownership to you. If you want to own the rights to use an image in more ways than just on your website, you may need to purchase it yourself so that you have that ability.

Customize Your Images

You can make even stock photography unique through overlays, added text, and cropping (as long as you’re following the rules).

Here are some fun ways to add interest to your images and make them stand out:

  • Add an overlay in a brand color.
  • Add text to create fun graphics or pinnable images.
  • Crop your image in a variety of ways to get multiple uses out of it.
  • Add your own products to the image to show off your work.

By using these techniques with your stock photographs, you can create images that people will recognize as yours without you having to take the photos yourself. This is also a great way to get the most out of the images you’re investing in so you can buy less, but still have just as much flexibility.

Mix Stock and Custom Images

By mixing stock photography with your own images, you can create a unique look that no one can copy.

Even if you’re a photographer or have great images from past projects, you can use stock photography to spice up your image library and get some great on-brand images that you don’t have to take yourself.

Stock images are really versatile and you can use them in a lot of places on your website:

  • Banner images.
  • Backgrounds for sections you want to highlight (in Squarespace, you can do this through creating Index Pages).
  • Blog graphics.
  • Links to other pages on your website.
  • In your content library or shop to show off your work.
  • On social media to tie everything together.

Optimizing Your Images

Get Some SEO Going

Prep your images for great SEO so that they can help people find you online.

Usually, stock images will have names that reflect the company or photographer they are from. After you purchase and download an image, be sure to rename it to something SEO friendly before adding it to your website (because having an image name that references where you got the image won't help your business).

You can also add some SEO juice by adding keywords and keyword phrases on the back-end of your website and by adding captions or alt titles. This works differently on each website platform, but you should be able to find tutorials to guide you. (In Squarespace, you can add a caption to your photo and then hide it to get the SEO without having a caption below your image.)

Resize Your Images for Web

1. Adjust the image size

  • Entered the desired size
  • Be sure to save the image so as “resample image” to preserve smoothness

2. Choose your format

  • JPEG – perfect for images with lots of colors and gradients such as photographs. You can control how compressed the image is when saving.
  • GIF – a lossless format that has a limited palette of 256 colors. Good for images with solid colors or limited colors.
  • PNG – similar to GIF, but supports more colors. Allows you to have a transparent background. This format is replacing GIF format for most people. Will be a higher size and quality

3. Reduce the Size

  • Try to keep images under 75 KB (some banner images may be larger at 150KB)
  • Save your image to the exact dimensions you need on your website
  • Reduce your dpi to 72 – website can’t display any higher than that

Mindfulness and Entrepreneurship with Lee Chaix McDonough

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Today I am talking about mindfulness and entrepreneurship with Lee Chaix McDonough. We have a great, in-depth conversation about what mindfulness is, the key aspects, why it’s important to us as entrepreneurs, and how we can practice mindfulness in our own lives.

She gives some great insights and I know that this episode will be really useful for you to listen in and then put into practice. As  Lee says, we don’t have to do everything and we don’t’ have to get it right all the time, but by starting off with a mindfulness practice even once a week can help us deal with some of the things that come with being an entrepreneur, like overwhelm and all of the ideas.

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Connect with Lee

Lee Chaix McDonough is a coach, therapist, and founder of Caravel Coaching. After over a decade as a clinical social worker and public health professional, Lee entered the coaching field to help creatives and creative entrepreneurs create lives they love.

Her coaching philosophy fuses the principles of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Energy Leadership, and mindfulness in order to help her clients excel at their work, feel in control of their careers, and transform their lives.

 

Topics Discussed:

  • What mindfulness is
  • The key aspects of mindfulness
  • Why mindfulness is so important to an entrepreneurs
  • How you can practice mindfulness
  • How focusing on mindfulness in business can serve your clients

Resources Discussed:


5 Website Updates to Get Legit

Get the Guide

Finding Keywords for Your Website and SEO Basics

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Today I’m talking about finding keywords for your website and some SEO basics. Many of my clients struggle with SEO and some of them don’t even understand what it is, and so I wanted to get on the show today and go over what SEO is, why it’s important for your business, and how you can work on your website so that your SEO is better.

If you’ve ever gone into a Facebook group and seen people asking about SEO, search engines, or keywords and you’re not sure what that means or how you can apply it to your business, this episode is for you.

You can also download the SEO Content Guide I use with my clients at http://www.lemonandthesea.com/episode38.

Topics Discussed:

  • What is SEO
  • How SEO works and why it’s important for your business
  • What you can do to improve your SEO
  • How to find relevant keywords and phrases
  • The importance of unique page titles
  • Meta descriptions and what they’re used for
  • Why you should update your old content
  • How to use internal linking
  • The importance of external linking and social proof
  • My best practices and implementation tips for all 6 areas you should be focusing on

 

Resources Discussed:

 


SEO Content Guide

Get the Guide

Managing Multiple Businesses without Complete Overwhelm with Krista Miller

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Today I’m talking with Krista Miller of Krista Rae all about managing multiple business without complete overwhelm. Even if you aren’t managing multiple businesses right now, this episode is still really relevant because we’re talking about practical steps you can take to avoid overwhelm in your business as you’re adding side projects or just juggling client and business work.

I’m excited about the way Krista runs her business and her willingness to share the systems she uses. She gives great advice on how we can run everything without spending 24/7 on our computer or in our business. She also talks about how you can break your tasks up to get everything done and gives her biggest tip for running multiple businesses without getting overwhelmed.

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Connect with Krista

Krista is a WordPress developer, co-host of the Get Back To Design Podcast, and co-founder of Coded Creative Themes. She specializes in collaborating with passionate designers to craft strategic websites that directly support their clients' goals, while helping them ditch the tech and spend more time doing what they love - design.

Topics Discussed:

  • The businesses Krista runs and how each got started
  • How we can run our business and pursue other projects without working all the time
  • The systems Krista tried and what works best for her
  • Exactly how she organizes her week to allow for client work, business projects, and flexible time
  • How you can break down all your tasks so you can get it all done
  • Her biggest tip for running multiple businesses without getting overwhelmed

Resources Discussed:


5 Website Updates to Get Legit

Get the Guide

Website Redesign vs. a Refresh - Which Option is Best

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Today I’m talking about a website redesign versus a refresh or customization and which option is best for you.

Right now, as we go into 2018, a lot of us are looking at redesigning or updating our websites, refreshing what we have so that we can better speak to those dream clients and really start to grow our businesses and meet those big goals in the New Year.

For me, this included updating my website with my new signature process, The Strategic Website Design Roadmap, and I wanted to talk through a couple of the options that are included in order to help you figure out the best way to go about updating your website.

Topics Discussed:

  • The Strategic Website Design Roadmap process
  • What’s included in a Website Redesign
  • What’s included in a Website Customization
  • When you need a complete redesign
  • Examples of clients who designed their websites from beginning to end and why they chose that option
  • When you don’t need to redesign and should consider customization instead
  • Examples of customizations I’ve done for clients and why that option was best
  • How to prepare to update your website

Resources Discussed:

 


5 Website Updates to Get Legit

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Using Verticals to Connect with Your Dream Clients with Reina Pomeroy

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Today I‘m talking with Reina Pomeroy about using verticals to connect with your dream clients. This is a topic that I have learned from Reina in person and I was so excited to be able to share it with you. We talk about what verticals are and how they help you in your business, how you can figure out what that is for your specific business and what makes you different in the areas to talk about, as well as how to plan content based on these big topics.

Reina also talks about how she uses this method to create products, courses, and different items for her dream clients. We have a discussion about serving her dream clients well has benefited her business and I share some of what I have seen from the client side.

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Connect with Reina

Reina Pomeroy is the Owner and Founder of Reina + Co, the Life + Biz Success Coaching® Practice for creatives who are right brained and heart centered. She helps clients stop spinning their wheels and take action on what’s most important. She’s a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach with over 1,500 hours of coaching under her belt. Reina also co-hosts the Creative Empire Podcast where she interviews leaders in the creative industry. She’s based in Washington DC but her clients and creative entrepreneur community live all over the globe. You can find Reina’s work featured on Entrepreneur on Fire, Entrepreneur.com, Brit + Co, The Huffington Post, Honeybook, The Rising Tide Society and Best Friends for Frosting. She also travels around the country speaking and educating creative entrepreneurs.

Topics Discussed:

  • What verticals are and how they help you in business
  • How you can find your verticals
  • How you can stand out even when other people talk about the same topic
  • An outline of planning your verticals
  • How you can plan content based on your verticals
  • How this method benefits your clients
  • How Reina has built her business on creating what her clients are asking for
  • My experience working with Reina

Resources Discussed:


5 Website Updates to Get Legit

Get the Guide

Standing Out in a Crowded Industry with Marva Goss

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Today I’m talking with Marva Goss all about standing out in a crowded industry. We cover a lot of topics including why standing out in a crowded market is so important, how you can figure out what makes you different, and how you can build your visibility with your dream clients.

We also tackle the question of why being visible actually a benefit to your clients. Plus, Marva gives us a few steps that we can take today to stand out and get noticed online.

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Connect with Marva

Marva is the brand + content strategist behind Marva J. Coaching Co. Marva helps female creatives position themselves as the go-to expert in their industry, while building a brand they're excited about. Marva is a veteran turned life coach turned strategist that encourages her clients to step out of their comfort zones to build an online presence that stands out from the rest.

Topics Discussed:

  • When to work with a brand strategist
  • Why standing out a crowded market is important
  • How you can figure out what makes you different
  • “Your greatest selling point is you”
  • Why connecting with people on an emotional level is the most effective way to find clients who align with you
  • How to know what to share about the personal side
  • Building your visibility with your dream clients
  • How to know what to share and what to keep to yourself (at least for now)
  • Why planning your content in advance really helps you be visible
  • How to engage authentically in Facebook groups
  • Building trust and saying the hard things
  • Sharing your story

5 Website Updates to Get Legit

Get the Guide

Looking Back on 2017 and What's Next

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Today I am looking back on 2017 and talking about what’s next for the New Year. I’m going to be sharing my big accomplishments, what worked and what didn’t, and even getting into some of the numbers. I hope this episode gives you a chance to see what it’s like behind the scenes of an online business and encourages you to reflect on the past year as you start to make your goals for 2018.

Topics Discussed:

  • My Focus for 2017: Abundance
  • Big Accomplishments
    • Starting Process to Profitability
    • Buying a house
    • Creating a signature process for website design
    • Deciding to stop offering brand design and focus on websites
  • What Worked
    • Raising my prices
    • Building relationships through coffee chats
    • Returning clients
    • Creating my business mission & values
  • What Didn’t Work
    • Scheduling content
    • Getting visible
    • Trying to find the magic bullet
  • Intentional Investments
  • New Tools
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Abundance

2017 Word of the Year

The Numbers

Instagram Followers

  • February 2017: 385
  • December 2017: 610

Pinterest Followers

  • February 2017: 782
  • December 2017: 1027

Twitter Followers

  • February 2017: 708
  • December 2017: 843

Facebook Likes

  • February 2017: 139
  • December 2017: 159

Email List Subscribers

  • February 2017: 121
  • December 2017: 156

2016 Income

  • Invoices: $18,068.42
  • Expenses: $8,945.29
  • Profit: $8,928.24

2017 Income

  • Invoices: $18,343.13
  • Expenses: $12,161.33
  • Profit: $6,181.80

*Put a bigger emphasis on investing in education

*Includes tithes to my church of 10% of my income

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Blessing

2018 Word of the Year

Goals for 2018

  • Word of the Year: Blessing
  • Grow my email list
  • Launch 8 websites
  • Find sponsors for my podcast
  • Launch a template shop

Announcing Showit Custom Website Design

I am offering Showit Custom websites starting in 2018. Showit is a great platform for photographers and those who want an easy to update website that allows for more flexibility in design.

If you're interested in working with me to design a strategic website on Showit, apply today.

Resources Discussed:


5 Website Updates to Get Legit

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Using LinkedIn to Create Connection and Establish Expertise with Deneen Troup-Buitrago

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Today I am talking with Deneen TB all about using LinkedIn to create connection and establish expertise. She has some great information to share about the LinkedIn platform and why we shouldn’t be scared of it as creatives. She goes over some great tips about creating a profile that people will be able to find, connecting with your dream clients online, the experience of building connections and getting into groups, and how we can use LinkedIn to share our expertise.

We talk about a ton of stuff that will help you get started on this platform if you’re not there already and I would encourage you to check out Deneen’s LinkedIn profile as an example of all the things we’re talking about so that you can start using LinkedIn.

Connect with Deneen

Deneen Troupe-Buitrago, M.Ed., is a Motivational Keynote Speaker & Trainer relieving the guilt from Faith-based Businesswomen by Linking Faith & Business. Her organization is called Grow From Your Overflow, LLC.
She is a Development Strategist that connects you to Professional, Personal, and Spiritual growth opportunities through Speaking, Workshops, Online Courses, plus, one-on-one Consulting and Coaching. 
Some areas of expertise include Developing Goals, Writing Action Steps and Time Management as well as personal areas such as Developing New Habits, Procrastination and Presentation Skills. She weaves everything she does with Faith and has created the Personalized Faith Plan for your success in Faith & Business. 
Her background in Education mixed with her experience in Drama gives her a unique Speaking style that is truly a ‘hands-on’ experience. By linking all of it to her Faith, she has combined all the best parts of her life to give back and serve others. 

Topics Discussed

  • Why it’s important for business owners to be on LinkedIn and how it’s different from other social platforms
  • Creating a profile that your dream clients can find
  • Finding keywords and the right image to connect
  • How you can use the sections of your profile to connect with the right people
  • Why you don’t need the paid version
  • Ways to connect with people outside your circle
  • How we can connect with our dream clients
  • The etiquette for connecting and following up
  • Using groups on LinkedIn
  • Who should be using LinkedIn

5 Website Updates to Get Legit

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A Brief History of Lemon and the Sea

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For the month of December, my solo episodes are going to giving you a little but more information about my business and what it is that I do and how I came to do that.

Today I’m going over a brief history of Lemon and the Sea, starting way before running a business was even on my radar.

Topics Discussed:

  • How I got started designing and creating at a young age
  • My high school activities and how they influenced my future
  • What architecture school taught me about business and design
  • How I started my career after college
  • The transition from full-time job to freelancing
  • My first design request and early business decisions
  • How I narrowed in on my niche and what I’m passionate about doing
  • The ideas that didn’t work and why I started Process to Profitability
  • How Lemon and the Sea is transitioning and what that looks like behind the scenes
  • My mission statement, manifesto, and core values

The Lemon and the Sea Mission

My mission at Lemon and the Sea is to empower creative, driven women to pursue their purpose and focus on what's most important.

The Lemon and the Sea Values

  • Serving Well
  • Laughter & Fun
  • Authentic Design
  • Everyone has a Purpose
  • Family Time
  • Giving Grace
  • Growth is Important
  • This is Worth It
  • Chocolate is Important

The Lemon and the Sea Manifesto

I believe in putting people over profit, that you aren't alone, that design should be beautiful and functional, communication is key, that you deserve to be seen, collaboration in design, and that you have a purpose and a place here.

Resources Discussed:

 


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Being Financially Savvy in Your Business with Melissa Whaley

Today I’m talking with Melissa Whaley of MelissaWhaley.com and we are chatting all about being financially savvy in your business. Melissa shares a lot of great information like getting started with the right accounting system (including some free ones that she suggests). She also talks about staying up to date with your finances and what you should be doing yourself versus what you should look into outsourcing early in your business.

She also discusses some of the mistakes she sees business owner’s making in their finances and how you can fix them, as well as why being financially savvy is a benefit to our clients and customers and our own business.

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Melissa Whaley is a licensed Tax Pro, Financial Strategist, and California Momma of 3. Melissa works virtually with creative business owners who light up over their work and freak out over their numbers. Her favorite things are sipping a good latte and exploring outdoors with her family.

Connect with Melissa:

Topics Discussed:

  • How she got started helping creatives and small business with their finances
  • What to look for when choosing an accounting software for your business
  • How to set up a routine around your finances
  • The importance of setting aside money to pay quarterly taxes
  • Why it’s important to be involved in your finances in every stage of business
  • What to outsource first in your business
  • Why using an accountant for taxes can help you get the most for your money
  • The biggest mistakes business owner’s make in their finances
  • Why it’s okay not to make a profit in your first year of business
  • What you need to track and have to give to your tax professional
  • How having your finances under control benefits your clients

Resources Discussed:

Creating Content for Your Website

Welcome to Episode 29 of Process to Profitability. It’s another solo show this week and I’m covering one of the topics I get asked about most from my website design clients: creating content for your website.

Your content is one of the most time consuming and intimidating pieces of a website design (or redesign). You want to get it just right because you’re investing in a brand new website and you really want to see growth in your business.

But if you’re like many small business owners, you just have no idea what you should include on your website – and you wish someone would give you a checklist already.

Today I’m going to do just that – give you a checklist of the content I’ve seen work best on websites – and tips for making it your own.

Why your content is important:

  • Will position you as an expert
  • Spend less time answering questions and more time getting to work
  • Get visitors to take action

Key positioning content pieces:

Create a journey:

  • Outline how visitors move through your website to the main goal
  • Use a CTA on every page
  • What do you want them to do next?

Build trust with content:

  • Use your brand’s voice everywhere
  • Use social proof (badges, features)
  • Use testimonials (with headshots), reviews, and case studies
  • Talk about your main 3 topics
    • Be careful to keep what you’re sharing to what you want to be known for

The pages you need on your website and what to include for each

Home

  • Share the most important things about what you do
  • Mission statement
  • Brief bio
  • Fun facts
  • Images of your work
  • Recent blog posts

About

  • What you do
  • Who you work with
  • Your story
  • Fun facts
  • Head shot
  • Branded images
  • Team bios and images

Services/Package/Shop

  • Exactly what you offer
  • Names, descriptions
  • Pricing
  • Images

Sales

  • Who it’s for
  • What they get
  • Components
  • Who you are
  • How to buy
  • What to expect next

Portfolio

  • Images from a variety of work
  • At least 5 good projects with 5-10 images each

Contact

  • Brief intro
  • Office hours
  • Contact information
  • Form with questions

Blog

  • Template for layout

Other Pages

  • Policies
  • Opt-in landing page
  • Contact form submission confirmation
  • Opt-in submission confirmation

Content To-Do List for Your Website

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Writing an About Page that Connects with Maria Carras

Today I’m talking with Maria Carras of Carras Creative all about writing an About page that connects with your ideal clients. Maria goes into a great outline of what you need to include on your About page and how you can lay that out so that you are communicating what you do, who you work with, and how you can help people, as well as ways that you can interject some of your personality onto this really important page of your website.

Maria is offering a great discount on her DIY Your Killer About Page Workbook, plus a whole lot of bonuses for listeners of Process to Profitability. You can get 40% off that workbook by going to mariacarras.com/lemonandthesea and using the code lemonandthesea at checkout.

Just a note: If this episode sounds a little bit different, I am coming to you from my new office in our new home and we are still working on moving and getting the sound just right.

Maria Carras is the CEO & Founder of Carras Creative -- a creative copywriting agency working with coaches, creatives and online educators to help them share their story online. She lives in Athens, Greece with her British (aspiring-author) husband, her two rambunctious little boys and a rather ridiculously moody cat. When she's not listening to podcasts or writing for clients, you'll find her reading stories to her boys or making herself yet another cup of coffee.

Connect with Maria:

Topics Discussed:

  • How Maria started copywriting and content creation for creatives
  • Why writing an About Page can be the most difficult page on your website to write
  • The importance of unlearning the ways you were taught to write in school
  • The main thing you’re trying to communicate on your About Page
  • Why your About Page is so important and needs to help you stand out in a crowded market
  • Why it’s important that you work with people who fit your personality and style
  • The biggest mistake people make on their About Page
  • Getting to the heart of the issue – finding the big problem your dream clients need your help to solve
  • An outline of a successful About Page
  • Making your dream client feel like you totally get them
  • How to introduce yourself, who you help, and the big thing someone gets from working with you
  • Sharing your story and letting people see who you are
  • Connecting with your tribe and repelling the people who aren’t dream clients
  • The importance of having a professional photo of yourself on your About Page
  • Write in a way that reflects your personality
  • Why you need to show your dream clients how you’ve helped people in the past
  • Adding personality and making your About Page fun
  • The importance of a Call-to-Action on your About Page
  • A few updates you can make on your About Page today without rewriting it

Resources Discussed:

Setting Goals and Planning Your Website

This week’s episode is all about setting goals and planning your website before you design.

We’ve all heard about goal setting in our business and you may have tried to do some yourself, whether successfully or not, but when it comes to website design, many of us don’t consider setting goals for our site before we sit down and design.

As I have been learning more and more about strategic website design and working with clients, I’ve learned that this is a really important first step to getting your website right the first time.

If your website isn’t working to help you meet your business goals, then it’s really not working for you.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why it’s important to set goals in your business for your website
  • How to set a goal for your website
  • Questions to ask when setting a goal for your website
  • Questions to ask before starting to design
  • How to reach your dream clients in the simplest way possible
  • Sharing your purpose through what you make most important
  • The importance of incorporating design for your dream clients and a style that fits you
  • The different types of goals you may choose for your website
  • How knowing your goal will help you design your website to convert more
  • Creating a sitemap to help you make sure you have every page you need on your website
  • Planning your website functionality for what you need now and your big future goals
  • Why you need to focus on what you’re sharing the services you offer
  • Best practices for setting goals and planning your website design
  • Why keeping your website as easy to use as possible will serve your audience better

Resources Discussed:


Questions to ask when setting a goal for your website

Before you start the design process, it's important to have a bigger goal for your website. This goal should support your business goals and will help you design in a way that helps your business grow.

  • If your website could do just one thing, what would it be?
  • What steps do your dream clients need to take in order to take action?
  • Working backwards, what is first step someone should take on your website?

Questions to ask before starting to design

If you're reevaluating your website design or considering working with a designer, these questions can help you see where you're falling short and what elements of your current website are working well.

  • Does your website focus on your core purpose?
  • Is the main goal of your website what you’re actually promoting?
  • Are you addressing your dream client?
  • Is everything on your website consistent?

The different types of goals you may choose for your website

These are some of the most popular goals creative small businesses set for their websites. Each will affect the way you design differently.

  • Growing an email list
  • Sharing content and educating your audience
  • Booking consult calls with your dream clients
  • Selling a certain product or course

Best practices for setting goals and planning your website design

These are some of my best practices for website design. A few are simple changes that you may have heard before and others are more in-depth topics, but all will help you design a strategic website that helps your business grow.

  • Include two forms of contact
  • Use a professional email address
  • Have a goal for each page of your website and lead people to the next step with a call-to-action
  • Keep the focus of your About page on your dream clients
  • Have one idea or message on each page
  • Automate as much as possible
  • Define your success metrics

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Creating a Process for Content Creation with Abby Herman

Today I’m talking with Abby Herman of Write Solutions about creating a process for content creation in your business. We’re going to talk a little bit about why you need a process for content creation, how you can create one that works for you, and how you can find the right content for your audience.

Abby talks about some great information that you can put into place today to plan your content in advance so you’re never worried about doing things at the last minute and so that you can really dig into what your audience needs and you want to share with them.

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Abby is a content strategist and content coach for small business owners, helping to get her clients' written message out to their audience, in their own voice and on their own terms. She specializes in working with female-owned, service-based businesses to generate ideas and strategies that help to move their businesses forward with content that attracts the perfect clients. Abby firmly believes in the power of educating and empowering business owners so they can grow their businesses without breaking the bank. Community over competition is truly her jam!

Connect with Abby:

Topics Discussed:

  • How she started helping business owners create content
  • Why small business owners need a process for creating content
  • How to keep your content engaging
  • The importance of asking your audience what they need and want
  • Finding your content centerpiece
  • Using video to share content
  • Why you might want to date your content
  • CEO dates
  • Creating themes for content to help batch create and creating new value
  • How to create the your audience needs
  • Finding the main topics of your content
  • Tips to create content consistently

Resources Discussed:


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Quarterly Maintenance for Your Website

I can’t believe we are already at 25 episodes into this show, and I’m so excited that you’ve been with me along this entire journey. Today I want to talk about something that is going to be really important as we come up on the end of the year – quarterly website maintenance.

Some of these things you may have been doing all along and this hopefully won’t take you tons of time, but I think that they are really important to remind you to do at least every quarter. You may find that you need to do some of these items daily, weekly, or monthly depending on your business and website, but you should be going through this list every quarter to get into your business and know what’s going on behind the scenes without feeling overwhelmed by another item on your to-do list.

You can download a checklist of these items at www.lemonandthesea.com/episode25.

What is website maintenance?

This isn’t the day to day work of adding blog posts and responding to comments and it’s something you can do yourself with just a little time and know-how. Quarterly website maintenance is focused on keeping your website healthy, making sure you’re on track in your business, and that you’re getting the results that you want to see from your website.

Doing these things quarterly will also help you plan for future updates to your website and know what you want to change and who might be able to help you meet the goals you have for your website.

Back up your website

This is important so that you have a backup of your site in case it’s hacked or goes down. When you can recover at least the content, it’s a lot less stressful than starting over from scratch when things go wrong.

Check analytics

Use both Google Analytics and any analytics available from your website host. You can use this information to adjust the content you’re creating and promoting and where you’re focusing your marketing efforts.

  • What is your most popular page/post?
  • Are some pages dead ends?
  • Where are people coming to your site from?
  • What is your best conversion source?

Check website design

This can either be a quick check-in if you’ve kept up with your design or have just gone through a re-design or a more in-depth look if you haven’t had time to prioritize your design at other times.

  • Are the images up to date?
  • Does it still reflect your brand?
  • Does it look consistent across all browsers?
  • Does it look correct on mobile?

Check site speed

The slower your website loads, the less people are going to keep coming back to you. You want your website to load quickly so you can reach your dream clients (plus Google knows that pages that are slow to load are less liked, so they rank you lower in searches).

Check links

You want to make sure that all of the links on your website are still active and working. This helps with sharing quality content that helps people to trust you and helps with SEO because Google doesn’t like broken links.

  • Are all the links still working?
  • Are there any pages that no longer exist?

Test e-commerce and forms

Similar to links, having forms and a check out function that works properly helps your business run smoothly and builds trust with your audience because things aren’t getting lost.

  • Are all forms and check out functions working?
  • Does any inventory need to be updated?
  • Do you need to collect more/different information?

Update portfolio

Updating your portfolio can be intimidating because it takes time that seems like it could be better spent on client work, but by doing it quarterly, you’re showing off your expertise and creating fresh content for people who might be interested in working with you.

  • Add new projects
  • Update testimonials
  • Share any updated results from your service

Update bio

Check your about page, home page, guest bios, and social media to make sure every place is consistent and reflects your current services and brand.

  • Does your bio still reflect you?
  • Is your head shot up to date?

Updated features

By sharing the places you’ve guest posted or been invited to speak, you can build the know, like, trust factor with your audience.

  • Were you a guest on blogs or podcasts?
  • Did you speak at an event?

Check site map

Make sure that Google has a site map for your website so it knows which pages are on your website and help with SEO.

Poll audience and update copy

Make sure your copy reflects what you do, who you work with, and the benefits that you offer to your clients.

  • Take a poll (informal or formal) of your audience to see what they are struggling with and how you might be able to help
  • Update any services that may have changed
  • Make sure you’re still speaking to your dream client
  • Ideal Client Interviews

SEO

You want your SEO efforts to be pointing to the services and content that you’re offering now.

  • Update meta data and website description
  • Update keywords for future content

Run a UX test with a friend

Also known as a User Experience test, you can have a friend or Facebook contact perform tasks on your website to make sure that it’s easy to navigate and makes sense for your dream clients and website visitors.

Website Goals

Review your progress toward meeting your goals and adjust your content, marketing, language, or analytics as needed so that you know how your website is helping your business grow.

  • What progress are you making towards your goal?
  • Do you need to adjust which numbers you’re looking at?
  • Are there things you need to change or remove?

Remember, you don’t need to dig into these things every day, but by doing them quarterly, you will have a good picture of how your website is performing, what’s working and what isn’t, and things you can add to your list to improve.  The goal is that you continue building a website that shows your expertise and brings in more dream clients.

Weatherproofing Your Business with Amy Braswell

Today I’m talking with Amy of PaperFinch and we are chatting all about weatherproofing your business, including what that means for your business, how you can get started, and three major steps for getting weatherproofed. This applies whether you’re preparing to take some time off or you’re growing and scaling as you create different sources of income.

A wanderer at heart, Amy at PaperFinch Design creates inspirational and geographic art and gift products in order to help people tell their story. She wants to help people illustrate and find the inspiration in their own journey – where they're going, where they've been, or their favorite life motto.

Connect with Amy:

Topics Discussed:

  • How she got started in graphic design and why she embraces her way of designing
  • The importance of weatherproofing your business
  • Amy’s story behind her passion for helping entrepreneurs weatherproof
  • When you should start the process of weatherproofing
  • The importance of organizing and documenting everything in your business
  • How to set up your business to be handled by someone else
  • How you can start outsourcing in your business
  • Starting small by hiring someone who is an expert at something you don’t do well
  • How you can use content you’ve already created to make your business easier
  • How to overcome objections when it comes to outsourcing

Resources Discussed:


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Website Design Terms You Should Know

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We have spent the last couple of weeks talking about different website design options and the way that you can work with a website designer, so today I wanted to go over some website design terms you should know. A lot of these terms may be familiar to you, but you might not be quite sure what they mean. These are all terms that a designer might use when you’re having a conversation, whether you’re interviewing them or getting some tips, but they are also going to be using these terms when working together on a one-on-one design.

You can find all these terms and definitions in the show notes for easy reference. All these terms are commonly used in website design. Some are more technical and things you might need to know in your analytics and others are common terms you have probably heard, but aren’t sure what it means for website design.

  1. Above-the-fold – everything that can be viewed on your website without a visitor having to scroll
  2. Back end – the part of your website hidden from regular visitors. This is where the code is located and you make updates
  3. Backlink – a link from another website to your site. Helpful for SEO, especially from high-ranking sites
  4. Bounce rate the percentage of people who leave your website from the same page they entered without clicking any other links. Indicates how easy a site is to navigate. You want your bounce rate to be as low as possible
  5. Browser – the program a website visitor uses to view the website (safari, Firefox, google chrome, internet explorer)
  6. Cache – files that are copied or saved by a browser so the page loads faster the next time a user visits that same page
  7. Call to Action –text, image, banner, or button that uses persuasive language to encourage a visitor to take a specific action like go to another page, purchase, or sign up for a newsletter
  8. Copy – the words you use on your website
  9. Content Management System (CMS) – a backend tool for managing the site’s content. This makes it easier to update the content without changing the design and functionality
  10. Conversion – when a user takes a specific desired action related to marketing or lead generation. This includes submitting a form, subscribing to a newsletter, and making a purchase
  11. CSS – Cascading Style Sheet, how your website looks. Visual set of rules.
  12. Domain – the address of a website can include any combination of letters, hyphens, and numbers, ends in .com, .net, .org, etc.
  13. E-commerce – the buying and selling of goods online. These can be physical products, digital products, or services. If you want people to be able to purchase through your website, you need e-commerce functionality
  14. Favicon – a small customizable icon that displays in the web address bar
  15. Front-end (user interface) – the components of a website that a visitor can see, including pages, images, content, etc.
  16. Hexadecimal (hex code) – a base-16 numbering system used to define colors online. Can include numerals 0-9 and letters a-f. Your brand designer should be able to provide these to you.
  17. Hosting – the business that provides storage space for your website
  18. HTML – HyperText Markup Language, the language of the web. This is how your website tells the browser what to display.
  19. Hyperlink – a link from one web page to another, either on the same site or a different one
  20. Infinite scrolling – infinite scrolling means that all page content is loaded onto one page and is separated into sections (Facebook timeline, Pinterest)
  21. JavaScript – scripting language that allows for interactions on a page
  22. Landing page – the page where a visitor first enters a website. Creating a special landing page to encourage a certain action is common, especially when coming from social media or a guest post.
  23. Meta description – html code that store information about a web page, including a description, author, copyright, etc.
  24. Navigation – the systems that allows visitors to move through your website. The most important pages are often listed in a main menu at the top of a website and navigation is also often included in the website footer
  25. Optimized Images – images that have been saved to a size and resolution that makes them load quickly and still display well on a website
  26. Pageview – a request for a web page from a server by a visitor’s browser. Basically, a pageview means someone looked at your website
  27. Permalink – a link that is the permanent address given to a blog post. This means that even as the blog page changes with new content, each individual post has its own link.
  28. Platform – the framework on which a website is designed (WordPress, Squarespace, Showit, Shopify, etc.)
  29. Plug-in – a third party code that extends the functionality of a website
  30. Resolution – the physical number of pixels displayed on a screen
  31. Responsive design – design that adapts to a user’s device (and ideally to their context such as language, age, knowledge, country, etc.)
  32. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – things that help search engines understand what is on your website and display it to relevant searched. This includes title tags, meta descriptions, and content
  33. Split Testing (A/B Testing) –testing method this allows designers to see which design has better results based on the website’s goals
  34. User Experience (UX) – the interaction a visitor has with a website. Every aspect of a website’s design affects the user experience and should be thought out and at least major elements should be tested
  35. Website Strategy – website design that is based on promoting certain goals
  36. Wireframe – a visual guide to show the layout and content of a website without any design elements.
  37. 404 Page – the page a visitor sees when they try to reach a page that does not exist

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