website strategy

Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic Contact Page

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Getting people to contact you should be the ultimate goal of your website, so it’s important that your contact page sets you up for success.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why your contact page is so important
  • Different options you need to include
  • Tips for designing an effective contact page

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Include your email address
  2. List your office hours or when people can expect to hear from you
  3. Update the post-submit response to fit your brand

TIPS FOR DESIGNING STRATEGIC CONTACT PAGE

There are lots of people who don’t want to fill out your contact form or they’re interested in something else - like a partnership or collaboration. By not including an easy, direct way to contact you, you’ll likely never hear from them.

  • Use a form on your contact page that collects the information you need from most people.
  • Have a professional email address on your contact page.
  • Include office hours or expected response time.
  • Consider an autoresponder so people hear from you right away about what to expect.

DESIGN TIPS:

  • Include fun graphics
  • Keep it simple to encourage action
  • If you get a lot of emails asking the same question, include a link to your FAQ page
  • Use a call-to-action that makes sense like “submit” or “send”
  • Make sure the copy and images fit your brand
  • If possible, you can have your form change based on the type of inquiry or have them select an “inquiry type” option to make things easy for you
  • Focus on being helpful

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Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic Sales or Services Page

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Your services page is probably going to be your most content-heavy page because you want to share a lot of information, but you can improve the design by removing distractions (such as a call-to-action in your banner image), breaking up your content into smaller chunks, and making it easy to get in touch with you.

Topics Discussed:

  • The difference between a sales page and a services page
  • Laying out a strategic sales page
  • Designing an effective services page
  • Overall design tips

Action Steps:

  1. Add at least one image of you to the page if there isn’t one
  2. Update your calls-to-action to encourage action
  3. Add client testimonials that reflect the results they saw after working with you

Tips for designing strategic Sales page

The difference between a sales page and a services page

A sales page generally focuses on one product or service that is special. Usually you see these for online courses that need to communicate a lot of information before someone purchases.

Services page include much of the same information, but are about your general services, even if you have a specific process. You can use a similar layout, but need to include the main ways someone can work with.

Laying out a sales page

1. Powerful headline

  • Grabs attention, draws in dream clients, and encourages them to read on
  • Specific, direct, provoke curiosity
  • Use the language your dream client uses
  • Opening paragraph expands on promise of headline – “teaser”

2. Share the story behind the offer

  • Your transformation
  • How you’ve helped others (testimonials)

3. Headings that grab attention

  • Make it easy to skim
  • “why should anyone read this?”

4. Images

  • What the product looks like
  • Inside iPad, laptop, desktop (for digital product)
  • Images of you (for personal brands) + tell your story
  • Complement your copy and stay on brand (use icons that show up often in your brand)
  • Infographics to explain text-heavy  ideas

5. Testimonials

  • Call out reasons people may not buy and convince potential buyers – answer common fears
  • Gather from skype interviews, emails, Facebook groups, social media, etc.
  • From clients, students, influencers
  • Use numbers and be specific
  • Include a photo of the person
  • Use testimonials throughout that focus on results – specific examples of how it worked
  • Have a portfolio of case studies

6. Features and Benefits

  • Features – what the person gets
  • Benefits – why they need it, state as facts
  • Benefits above features
  • List modules as title, what’s included, the results they will receive
  • Make it clear what they’re getting – value upon value

7. Guarantees (if you have one)

8. Buttons

  • After benefits, at bottom of page, under opening paragraph
  • Invite them to “join” or “get access”

9. FAQ

  • Address common questions and objections
  • Use accordion menus or pop-up blocks to shorten the overall page
  • Guarantee if you have one

10. Include a P.S. for lingering objections

Laying out a services page

1. Powerful headline

2. Share the story behind the offer

  • Your transformation
  • How you’ve helped others (testimonials)

3. Headings that grab attention

  • Make it easy to skim
  • “why should anyone read this?”

4. Images

  • Images of you (for personal brands) + tell your story
  • Examples of your work

5. Testimonials

6. How you Work with People

  • The service levels or options

7. Features and Benefits

  • Benefits – why they need it, state as facts
  • Make it clear what they’re getting – value upon value

8. Buttons

  • After benefits, at bottom of page, under opening paragraph
  • Invite them to “learn more” or “book now”

Design Tips:

  • Keep it simple – don’t have too many packages or ways to buy
  • Divide up the page into sections

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Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic Portfolio

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Your portfolio is a great way to show off what you do and connect with your dream client. It’s important that you use this page to show the type of work you want to be known for - not every project needs to be included here. If you have a lot of items to share, consider creating sections based on style or event type so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.

Topics Discussed:

  • What projects you should feature in your portfolio

  • Designing a portfolio that speaks to your dream clients

Action Steps:

  1. Remove any projects that don’t reflect your current services and style

  2. Add a testimonials to each project

  3. Organize your portfolio so it’s easy to navigate


Tips for designing strategic portfolio

Your portfolio is a great way to show off what you do and connect with your dream client. It’s important that you use this page to show the type of work you want to be known for - not every project needs to be included here. If you have a lot of items to share, consider creating sections based on style or event type so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.

  • Showcase what you want to be known for.
  • Give potential clients a picture of what you can do for them by addressing their pain points and the transformation previous clients experienced.
  • Make sure to credit anyone who worked on the project with you. and
  • Include a testimonial from your client about their experience and results.

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Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic About Page

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Your about page isn’t really about you, it’s about your dream client. People are going to check you out before they decide to invest time or money into your business. They want to know what you can do for them right now. If you have an online business, whether you’re supporting it through a blog or not, your need a solid About Page that’s easy to find and targeted to your ideal client.

Topics Discussed:

  • Designing an about page that focuses on your dream clients
  • The basic layout of a successful about page
  • Examples of fun about pages you can use for inspiration

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Make sure your about page includes at least one image of you

  2. Update your copy to focus on the benefits clients get from working with you

  3. Add 1-2 testimonials from dream clients


Tips for designing strategic About Page

Focus on your dream clients – what they’re struggling with, how you relate, how your service/product helps

Basic Layout

  1. Image of you
  2. Say Hi
  3. Share what you do, who you help (brief)
  4. Most days, what you love, your passion
  5. Your story
  6. Beliefs. Fun facts
  7. Team
  8. Testimonials / Features
  9. What you offer / Next step (opt-in)

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Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic Home Page

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This is the second episode in the Designing a Strategic Website Series and today we’re talking about designing a strategic home page.  I’m sharing how design home pages that get visitors to take the next step on your website.

Topics Discussed:

  • The purpose of your home page
  • What visitors need to see on your website to keep coming back
  • Strategically directing potential clients to the next step

Action Steps:

  1. Add a headshot of you to your home page if you don’t have one
  2. Check your copy to make sure it’s clear what services or products you offer
  3. Make sure you have a call-to-action supporting your big goal

 


Tips for designing strategic Home Page

Your home page is the most important page of your website because it will be the first impression most people have of you. The goal of your home page is to communicate who you are, what you do, where a visitor should start on your website, and to inspire them to action. Make their decision about what to do next easy and get them into your content ASAP. This is a great place to include an appealing opt-in.

Visitors to your website should be able to tell what you do within seconds of landing on your home page.

Things to Establish for visitors

Who You Are: let visitors know they can trust you by including a head shot and a sentence or two about who you are and your mission as a business.

What You Do: Share the services you offer early so that visitors know what they can hire you for. Include images, calls-to-action for services or products, and a sentence explaining the heart behind your brand.

Who you Serve: Be clear about the types of clients you work with using titles they use.

Your Big Goal: Encourage action by making it clear what the first and most important action a visitor can take one your #1 goal. You should also have a fallback call-to-action for people who aren't ready for or who have already acted on your big goal.Sending people to your blog is a great option so they see your authority and build trust with you.

What to Include on your home page

  • Include a strong tagline
  • Use on-brand images that are of high quality
  • If your business is location-based, include that early
  • Have at least one photo of you so visitors can connect with you

Keep it Simple

Instead of overwhelming visitors with every option available, simplify their choices so they can walk through the website step-by-step and gather all the information they need to hire you. Send people to the most valuable places first so they can take action right away.


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Designing a Strategic Website Series: Designing a Strategic Navigation

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Today you’re listening to the very first bonus episode in the Designing a Strategic Website series. Today we’re talking about designing a strategic navigation. I discuss choosing the right links for your main navigation, strategically leading visitors through your website, designing a footer that keeps people on your website longer, and use for a sidebar and what you should include and leave out.

Tune in for the next six weeks to learn more about designing a strategic website – we’re going to cover a different component or page of your website each week.

Topics Discussed:

  • Choosing the right links for your main navigation
  • Strategically leading visitors through your website
  • Designing a footer that keeps people on your website
  • Uses for a sidebar and what to include

Action Steps

  1. Update your main navigation with standard link names
  2. Remove any links that you don’t need in your main navigation
  3. Take advantage of your footer by adding other important links

Tips for designing strategic website navigation

Main Menu

The main menu of your website (the one at the top) is the first thing people will see when they visit your website and it's important that you design it strategically to support your business.

When thinking about what to include here, limit the number of links in your main navigation to 7. If you can use less than 7, that's awesome, but don't use anymore as it will confuse visitors and be overwhelming.

Use standard language or keywords (like home, about, blog) so people know what to expect when they click a link. If you do want to use more branded language, make sure that it's clear what page a visitor will be taken to when they click the link - no surprises.

Avoid drop down menus when possible. They aren't good for SEO (because search engines can't read something that's hidden on a page) and visitors may skip important pages as they're quickly hovering over items without paying attention to what's in the drop down menu. If you need a drop down menu, make it large so visitors take time to look at the options and make sure the top item goes to a page when clicked (instead of not doing anything).

When you think about laying out your navigation items, order them in the way someone moves through your website (usually home > about > services > blog > contact) and keep it simple with short words.

As you look into how people are using your website, you can make some changes to your main menu based on analytics:

  • Remove items that are rarely clicked if they aren’t critical
  • Rename items that are rarely clicked
  • Move items that are clicked often to the beginning

Mobile Navigation

Because so many people are visiting websites on their mobile devices, you need to make sure that your navigation is optimized for mobile. The industry standard is to use a hamburger menu (three horizontal lines in an upper corner of the screen) that opens to reveal the menu options. If you're using Squarespace, this the pre-designed layout, but there are still design tweaks you can make. For other platforms, you may need to add one or make sure it's part of your template.

Navigation within Your Website

How people move through your website will impact whether or not they ultimately take action.

Your goal when designing your website is to create a journey that gives them all the information they need to take the next step (without throwing everything at them all at once). The best way to do this is to map out how visitors move from landing on your website for the first time to actually buying a a product, signing up for your email list, or getting in touch with you.

Once you know where they need to go, create a call-to-action at the end of each page or blog post to direct visitors to the next step.

  • Here are a few more ways to make navigating through your website easy:
  • Make popular options like blog categories easy to find
  • Have a specific page for posts on your main topics or include links on your home page
  • Include a search bar
  • Put the items you want to be known for in the most visited locations
  • When you mention one page or post on another page, link to it (a bonus here is that is helps with SEO as you're showing search engines how your website works)
  • Make it easy for visitors to see other pages they’re interested in by including a list of related posts at the bottom of blog posts for visitors who don’t want to opt-in or take another action

Footer Navigation

Use your footer strategically as it can be a great place to promote important links and actions. Start by choosing your main goal and include a call-to-action that supports it. Then you can add other important items that people look for frequently, such as:

  • Search bar
  • Social media links
  • Navigation to main pages
  • Policies link
  • Site credits (designer, photographer, etc.)

Sidebar

Not all blogs need a sidebar, but if you have a large or very popular blog, it could be helpful for visitors. If you are going to have a sidebar, make sure to choose items that support your overall website goal and don't distract visitors or take them away from your website. These are the items you should include:

  • Headshot and bio
  • Search bar
  • Popular posts or categories
  • Something that supports your main website goal (like a newsletter sign-up or link to a freebie)

Just as there are some items that need to be on your sidebar for it to be an effective part of your website, there are some items that should be left off:

  • High-priced services or products (visitors aren't ready for this commitment yet)
  • Blog post archives by date (people don't read blogs this way anymore)
  • Ads that take people away from your website

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What Pages Does My Website Need?

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Today I’m going to be talking about what pages you need on your website. The reason I wanted to talk about this today is because every Tuesday for the next few weeks, I’m going to release a bonus episode specifically about some of the most important pages on your website. I’m going to talk about trends, what’s working and what isn’t, and what you can do to create a strategic design for each of those pages.

We’re going to start today talking about which pages you might need depending on your type of business. I’m going over why choosing the right pages for your website is important, the goal of your website and how it affects those pages, and creating a journey to get people to take action.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why choosing the right pages for your website is important
  • The goal of your website and how it affects the pages you need
  • Creating a journey for your website visitors
  • How to decide which pages your website needs
  • Pages you need, but may have forgotten about

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. If you haven’t already, choose the three goals you have for your website

  2. Write down the journey a visitor takes from first landing on your website to taking action on your goal

  3. List any pages you are missing and need to add to your website


SEO Content Guide

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Why choosing the right pages for your website is important

Your website is the one location you control - and it’s the first impression most people will have of your business. Your website design should reflect your brand’s mission, vision, and style as it connects with your dream clients.

When you throw everything you’re interested in, every detail of what you do, or every option someone has on your website, you overwhelm them. They won’t know what you’re best at or where to start.

Instead, keep things simple by choosing only the pages you need to have and creating guides or other resources for things that can happen away from your website.

The goal of your website and how it affects the pages you need

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.

Ask yourself:

  • If your website could do just one thing, what would it be?

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

Creating a journey for your website visitors

Before you begin designing or updating your website, it’s important that you determine the ultimate goal of your website and create a journey that move visitors from landing on your home page to getting in contact with you or buying from you.

Your website isn’t about you – it’s about your dream clients. You need to focus on their pain points, their dreams, and the transformation they get from working with you. Once you know those things, you can lay out the information they need to take action.

Ask yourself:

  • 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?

Then:

  • Choose the action you want visitors to take based on your goals.
  • Create a single call-to-action for each page.
  • Eliminate distractions that take people away from your website.

How to decide which pages your website needs

In order to figure out what pages you need on your website make sure you consider the type of business you have. Some pages are needed on every website, while others will be specific to your type of business.

Types of Websites:

  • Selling services and informational products (digital downloads, courses, etc.)
  • Selling services where the service is the product (either in person or online)
  • Selling services that have a visual product
  • Selling products in an online shop (physical or digital)
  • Selling locally (products or services)
  • Blogging as the main website

Pages Needed on Every Website

  • Home - Your home page is the most important page of your website because it will be the first impression most people have of you. The goal of your home page is to communicate who you are, what you do, where a visitor should start on your website, and to inspire them to action. Make their decision about what to do next easy and get them into your content ASAP. This is a great place to include an appealing opt-in.
  • About - Your about page isn’t really about you, it’s about your dream client. People are going to check you out before they decide to invest time or money into your business. They want to know what you can do for them right now. If you have an online business, whether you’re supporting it through a blog or not, your need a solid About Page that’s easy to find and targeted to your ideal client.
  • Blog - Your blog is so much more than simply sharing images or talking about your work - it’s where you can start to educate your clients and give them a behind-the-scenes peek into what you do.
  • Contact - Getting people to contact you should be the ultimate goal of your website, so it’s important that your contact page sets you up for success.

If you sell services and informational products…

  • Services - Your services page is probably going to be your most content-heavy page because you want to share a lot of information, but you can improve the design by removing distractions (such as a call-to-action in your banner image), breaking up your content into smaller chunks, and making it easy to get in touch with you.
  • Products – If you sell multiple products, you should have a page where visitors can easily find them all in one place. This page should be organized by category, such as topic, type of offer, or who the product is for. Highlight the benefits customers will receive.
  • Testimonials – This is where you house your testimonials, press, or featured posts. You can also show any awards or accolades you’ve received that are relevant to your field. These can be on a separate page, but should also be sprinkled throughout your website.
  • Sales Page (optional) – If you choose to, you can have a separate sales page for each of your services or higher priced products (like courses). This takes the place of your Product and testimonials pages since they will both be included here.

If you sell services where the service is the product…

  • Services - Your services page is probably going to be your most content-heavy page because you want to share a lot of information, but you can improve the design by removing distractions (such as a call-to-action in your banner image), breaking up your content into smaller chunks, and making it easy to get in touch with you.

  • Testimonials – This is where you house your testimonials, press, or featured posts. You can also show any awards or accolades you’ve received that are relevant to your field. These can be on a separate page, but should also be sprinkled throughout your website.
  • Sales Page (optional) – If you choose to, you can have a separate sales page for each of your services or higher priced products (like courses). This takes the place of your Product and testimonials pages since they will both be included here.

If you sell services that have a visual product…

  • Services - Your services page is probably going to be your most content-heavy page because you want to share a lot of information, but you can improve the design by removing distractions (such as a call-to-action in your banner image), breaking up your content into smaller chunks, and making it easy to get in touch with you.
  • Portfolio - Your portfolio is a great way to show off what you do and connect with your dream client. It’s important that you use this page to show the type of work you want to be known for - not every project needs to be included here. If you have a lot of items to share, consider creating sections based on style or event type so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.
  • Testimonials – This is where you house your testimonials, press, or featured posts. You can also show any awards or accolades you’ve received that are relevant to your field. These can be on a separate page, but should also be sprinkled throughout your website.
  • Sales Page (optional) – If you choose to, you can have a separate sales page for each of your services or higher priced products (like courses). This takes the place of your Product and testimonials pages since they will both be included here.

If you sell products in an online shop…

  • Collections – If you sell multiple products, you should have pages where visitors can easily find them by type. You need to organize this in a way that makes sense for your visitors and makes it easy for them to buy.
  • Products – For ease of shopping and SEO, you need a separate page for each product you sell. This is where visitors can learn more about the product, looks at the available options, read reviews, and see any tips for use.
  • Policies – This is different from your website policies, as these will tell customers what to expect once they purchase. You should include information about returns, exchanges, shipping, delivery times and other important information.
  • FAQs – Address any concerns that possible customers may have that prevent them from purchasing. By having a page dedicated to this, you can save yourself time answering questions and make them feel more comfortable that you are an expert at your product.

If you sell locally …

  • Menu / Offer – Let people know what to expect before they visit your location. If you sell food, include a current menu. If you sell products, give an overview of the types of items you carry. If you offer services, let people know the value you bring. If you want to list prices on your website, focus on the benefits of your service to prevent price shopping.
  • Location – In addition to your address, you should include information about how to get to your location (maps are great), tips for parking, and hours.
  • Calendar (optional) – If you host events or specials, you can include a calendar that has that information all in one place.

If your blog is your main website…

  • Categories – Make it easy for visitors to search the content you’ve created by setting up pages for each category of posts. You should also have a search feature that’s easy to use and looks at the content of a post, not just the title.

  • Sidebar – While not a separate page, the sidebar is a great place to include important information in one place that can be seen throughout your website
  • Social Sharing – Make it easy for visitors to share your posts to social media. This is essential to build traffic and gain authority. You should set up the ability to share from a post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and email.

Pages you need, but may have forgotten about

  • Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy - As a business, you’re legally required to have terms and conditions (and a Privacy Policy) on your website - especially if you’re selling services, products or collecting email addresses. Not doing so equals big potential trouble - like stolen content or hefty fines.
  • Thank You page – This is the page that visitors will be directed to after they opt-in for something on your website or submit a form. This is a great place to include a small offer for sale or to collect information about a visitor’s pain points.
  • Short “sales” page for each opt-in – If you have multiple opt-ins, it may be helpful to have a short page for each where you explain what the opt-in is, who it’s for, and the benefits of downloading it. This helps sell your freebie and also makes it easy to share and track where people are joining your email list from.
  • Login screen for membership area – If you have a membership area or password protected page, make sure to design it to fit the rest of your website.
  • 404 page customized to fit your design and dream clients – When a visitor clicks on a page that no longer exists, they are directed to a 404 page. Instead of the generic “we can’t find the page you’re looking for” message, customize the page to include your voice, some popular options visitors might be interested in, and a way to take action towards your goal.

Getting to the Heart of Your Brand

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Today I’m talking about a topic that I’m really excited about – getting to the heart of your brand. In episode 58, I discussed why the heart of your brand and brand strategy matter when designing a website, and today I wanted to dig into how you can figure out what the heart of your brand is. If you’re wondering why this matters when designing a website, I really believe that brand strategy is what takes your website to the next level and gives you the connection with your dream client.

My process is focused on both strategy and design so it’s important that I start off on the right foot by delving deep into the heart of my client’s business. Knowing the heart behind your brand – why you do what you do – can inspire other people to rally around you and take action on what you’re offering. But you can’t design a website that reflects that if you don’t know what it is.

This process of getting to the heart of your brand, your mission, and your core values, and even your messaging can help you to define your brand and then focus on bringing your website to life with strong, strategic design.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why the heart behind your brand matters in business and in design
  • Getting to your bigger Why
  • Finding your vision for your brand
  • Honing your business’s mission
  • Creating values for your brand that will grow with you
  • Learning what sets you apart and makes you different from others in the same industry

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Write down your Why and dig deeper through the Why x 5 method.
  2. Find your business values and add them to your website.
  3. Write down your differentiators

Why the Heart of Your Brand Matters

Discovering the heart of your brand means diving deep into the purpose and passion behind your business, as well as focusing on identifying your dream client, brand voice and more. Knowing what drives you and your business will help you create a website strategy that can help you reach your business goals. You’ll walk away feeling well equipped and confident in your ability to better grasp the heart behind your brand, as well as do business in way that enables you to focus on what truly matters in life. Less stressing about whether your marketing efforts are falling on deaf ears, less time spent worrying about how your website is perceived, and more time spent confidently moving forward with a business and website you’re proud to share!

Your Why

Although it’s easy to think that the most important facet of selling our products or services is our product or service itself, your clients are ultimately attracted to the Why, the heart, behind your work. People don’t buy into What you do, as much as they buy into Why you do it.

  • What would you say is the Why behind your work?

The Why x 5 Method

This method will help you get even deeper into your brand. It forces you to go below the surface to what’s most important and will help you find things that are unique to help you see the heart behind your brand and you move forward in your business. The more honest you are, the better able you are to create connection with your dream clients through shared values and common experiences.

  1. “I design strategic websites in partnership with my clients because I want to see creative business owners own their expertise and build successful business that supports their lives.”
  2. “I design strategic websites in partnership with my clients because I want to see creative business owners step into the calling that God has given them and the important contribution they have to make to the world.”
  3. “I design strategic websites in partnership with creative business owners to help them step into the calling that God has given them because I’ve been in a place of feeling the pressure to find what God has planned for your life while still having to contribute to your family finances.”
  4. This is the step where I thought I couldn’t go any deeper, where I thought I has laid it all out. But I kept writing in order to get my heart on paper. “I love the design and business pieces because I get to use both my practical and creative sides. I love websites because they’re such an important part of a business, but don’t have to be scary. I love working with clients who love serving – they aren’t in it to make money or gain fame, but to make a living serving others by doing what they love.”
  5. “I design strategic websites in partnership with creative business owners to help them step into their calling with confidence in their expertise so that they can focus on serving others instead of worrying about creating growth and income. As a website strategist, I get to support their goals at they serve and support their families.”

Your Vision

The vision behind your work is what you’re striving to accomplish as a result of the Why that drives you. An intentional vision can create a measurable standard of success, identify your business’s direction as you move forward, inspire action, cultivate a sense of community with your team, honor your brand’s values, and speak to your brand’s strengths. It’s most effective with used to guide choices as your business grows and moves forward.

  • What is it about your Why that keeps you excited, fired up and motivated?
  • What are your brand’s goals?
  • Why do those goals inspire you?
  • At the end of your career, what do you want your business to have stood for?
  • What impact do you hope to leave through your work?
  • When you think about how your work can serve your clients well, how your work can bless your life, or how your work can leave a positive impact, what ideas come to mind? What do you envision when you dream big for your business?

Your Mission

Your mission takes your vision and shares how you’re moving forward. It includes action details that allow you to bring your vision to life.

  • What mission does your brand seek to accomplish?
  • How is your brand moving forward to achieve your vision?

Next up, let’s craft your mission statement. Think of this as an equation of...

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • Who is your dream client?
  • How is your work different from others in your industry OR how does it add value to your dream client’s life?

“I strategically craft websites for the creative small business owner who is passionate about serving her clients and wants to be a part of the design process. I help her stand out as an expert, find more dream clients, increase visibility, and be in control of her website so that she can grow her business and spend more time doing what she loves.”

Your Values

Your values are actionable concepts that define how your brand will move forward to achieve your mission and vision. They are used to inform how you operate in every piece of your business. Your values should be fundamental, steadfast, and actionable. You need to make sure that the values you chose will drive you in the direction you want to go long term.

  • What are your top values?
  • Which of these values is crucial to the nature of your work, the experience you want to create, or the legacy you want to leave behind?

Your Differentiators

Your differentiators are what make you stand out from other people in your industry. They speak to Who you are, not What you do. If your brand is personal, these will be the things that set you apart. If you’re part of a team, then they will be what each person brings to the table and how those work together to accomplish something greater.

  • What talents or gifts do you have that you’re frequently receiving compliments over?
  • What qualities do you want to be known for?
  • What do you consider to be your biggest strengths?
  • If you could have your dream client associate you with five specific skills, values or talents, what would they be?

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How I Craft Websites that Authentically Convert

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Today I’m going to walk you through how I craft websites that authentically covert for my clients. Over the years, I’ve created a signature process that combines brand development, design, and strategy to craft websites that enable my clients to confidently show off their expertise, charge their worth, and connect with the clients they’ve been dreaming on working with. Your website investment should deliver lasting results, and I’m here to guide you through a process that gets to the heart of your brand so your website can grow with you.

Topics Discussed:

  • How I created my signature process over time
  • Why I require potential clients to complete an application
  • Why brand strategy is so important in the website design process
  • My five phase process for designing strategic websites
  • How calls throughout the process benefit both me and my clients
  • The four workbooks I use with my clients during our time together
  • Questions I often get from clients

Resources Discussed:

 

Action Steps:

  1. If you aren’t sure if your website needs customization or a full redesign, listen to episode 36 of Process to Profitability.
  2. If you want a customized report based on your own brand, dream clients, and goals that helps you make the right decisions for your website, sign up for my Website Design & Strategy Audit.
  3. If you’re interested in working with me, fill out my website design application.

Building an online business gives you the freedom to do what you love while still earning what you’re worth isn’t easy, but it is possible.

At Lemon and the Sea, I specialize in strategically crafting websites for the creative small business owner who is passionate about serving her clients and wants to be a part of the design process. I help her stand out as an expert, find more dream clients, increase visibility, and be in control of her website so that she can grow her business and spend more time doing what she loves.

I take on a very limited number of new clients each year to ensure that each project gets the time and attention it deserves. I focus on client service and completely custom design. You work directly with me as we craft a website gives you a spotlight on your expertise and is set up to convert and engage with your dream clients.

I love working with creative women who have a heart to serve grow their business through bringing all the pieces together into a cohesive website that fits your style and showcases your expertise.

My process, which is outlined in this episode, focuses on creating uniquely you design that is designed to be user-friendly and is strategically crafted to support your big goals.

The goal of this entire process to work in side-by-side to craft a website strategy and design that helps your business grow and gives you more time to spend doing what you love.

And since you don’t have time to look at every revision, I set it up so you know exactly when you need to be involved and when you can focus on your business and let me get to work.

The Application

I require anyone interested in working with me to complete a short application before I schedule a call to discuss their project. This application helps me to know if the project would be a good fit and that my clients are serious about putting in the work to take their business to the next level. Strategic website design is not only a financial investment, but also a commitment of time – and it’s not for everyone.

Having an application helps potential clients understand a little more about how I work and the commitment involved and it gives us a head start when we jump on a call to discuss how we can work together because I already know a little about their business.

The Brand Strategy

Because my process is focused on both strategy and design, it’s important that we start off on the right foot by delving deep into the heart of your business.

Knowing the heart behind your brand – why you do what you do – can inspire other people to rally around you and take action on what you’re offering. But I can’t design a website that reflects that if I don’t know what it is.

This process is an exciting opportunity to hone your brand’s mission, core values, and messaging as we move forward. Then, with the heart of your brand defined, we’ll focus on bringing your website to life with a strong, strategic design.

The Process

The goal of this entire process to work in side-by-side to craft a website strategy and design that helps your business grow and gives you more time to spend doing what you love.

1. Website Strategy

This phase is all about gathering information and making sure your new website will be absolutely unique, completely user-friendly, and strategically designed to showcase your expertise and attract your dream clients. This is the phase that will require the most time from you – the workbooks I’ll give you and creating content takes most people much longer than anticipated, so plan to focus on this during the strategy and design phases.

  • YOU WILL: Complete the next three workbooks as we prepare to design your website.
  • I WILL: Create a Website Vision Guide PDF that outlines your website goals, your dream clients, and the functionality and style of your website.
  • YOU WILL: Review the Website Vision Guide and request any changes.
  • I WILL: Create a Content To-Do List that includes every page of your website and what you’ll need to gather or create.
  • YOU WILL: Review the Content To-Do List to make sure everything makes sense.
  • I WILL: Create a Goal Review PDF that goes over the information gathered from Google Analytics and UX testing so you have a “Before Picture” of your website and we know what to focus on moving forward.

At this point, we’ll have a video call to go over the heart of your brand, your website needs, and prepare for the upcoming design.

2. Website Design

This phase is the part where you get to see what your website will look like. You’ll be spending most of your time creating content, but you’ll also get sneak peeks of the design as it comes together.

The overall design will be based on your inspiration & questionnaire answers and each page will be optimized to help you reach those big goals (that’s why the strategy part is so important).

  • I WILL: Design a Coming Soon page that creates excitement for your upcoming new website.
  • YOU WILL: Review the Coming Soon page and provide any extra information I need to make it live.
  • YOU WILL: Answer the Keyword Planner Questionnaire in your Client Portal so I can optimize your website for SEO and help you show up and get noticed.
  • I WILL: Be working behind the scenes to design mock-ups of the most important pages of your website (usually the home, about, gallery, shop, and blog pages) based on the Website Vision Guide and your inspiration.
  • YOU WILL: Review the mock-ups and request any edits.
  • YOU WILL: Submit your finalized content, including images and copy.

At this point, we’ll have a video call to go over the design, any edits you request, and finalize the launch date.

3. Website Development & Testing

During this phase, you can sit back and enjoy a weekly check-in email while focusing on your business. Towards the end of this phase, I will send you a link to the designed and developed website so you can check it out before requesting any final changes.

  • I WILL: Create your design in the platform we chose and develop every part of it supports your goals and attracts your dream clients, as well as insert all of your content including images, copy, forms, products, and downloadables.
  • I WILL: Conduct internal and User Experience testing to make sure everything is working and functions well for your dream clients.
  • YOU WILL: Review the developed website and play around with it to make sure everything functions the way you envisioned. You can also review the test results and request any edits to the website.
  • I WILL: Make any final changes and implement basic SEO on your website.
  • YOU WILL: Give final approval on the design. Once this is given, no more changes will be made to the design except to fix minor issues found in final internal testing (like making sure links work).

At this point, we’ll have a video call to go over any final edits and make sure everything is in place for your upcoming launch.

4. Launch

Now is when you get to pop the champagne (or La Croix) and celebrate! After weeks of hard work, introspection and heartfelt homework, you’re ready to share your new website with the world. As we near the end of our time together, we’ll get on our Launch Day strategy call to devise the best way to build anticipation and excitement so your big reveal is a smashing success.

  • I WILL: Send you a Website Launch Guide so you know exactly what to expect as your website goes live and launch graphics based on your new design so we can both shout it from the rooftops.
  • I WILL: Do a soft launch and triple-check that everything is working. Then I’ll let you know it’s time to celebrate.
  • YOU WILL: Promote your new website and celebrate! I suggest doing a Facebook live and Instagram story to build the excitement.

Once your launch day arrives, sit back and toast to all the fruits of your labor. From here on out, it’s all about building your business from the heart.

5. On-Going Strategy

The design isn’t done once your website launches. In order to have a website that helps you reach those big goals, I’ll be checking analytics and suggesting changes we can make to improve the website.

  • I WILL: Create an SEO Starter Guide to help you continue to improve your search engine results.
  • I WILL: Track and review the analytics on your new website and send you a report on what’s working and what could be improved to better meet your goals.
  • YOU WILL: Request edits and updates to your website and review them once I have implemented the changes.
  • I WILL: Send you tutorial videos that walk you through how to make updates to your website. You can then handle these yourself, give them to your team, or continue to work with me.
  • YOU WILL: Review the tutorials and choose an On-Going Support package that best fits your needs and budget.

At this point, we’ll have a video call to go over the results of your analytics and anything you may have questions on.

The Calls

As we dive into our work together, we’ll put our heads together to clearly define the best brand strategy for your business through our 60-minute design and strategy calls! I require these calls because I’ve found that they are the most efficient way to give feedback and work through strategy instead of emailing back and forth.

Each call is structured to review the current phase of the project and make sure that we’re on the same page as we move forward. It’s also a great time to get any team members involved in asking questions or giving insight.

These sessions are designed to encourage you to delve deep into the purpose and passion behind your business, as well as focusing on identifying your dream client, brand voice and more. Using your pre-branding workbooks as our starting point, we’ll dive feet first into how we can best back your website with the heart and strategy that will help you reach your business goals. At the end of each project, you’ll walk away feeling well equipped and confident in your ability to better grasp the heart behind your brand, as well as do business in way that enables you to focus on what truly matters in life.

The Workbooks

Before any project begins, I have my clients complete the first of four workbooks. I base our entire project on both direct communication from you and your workbook responses, so it’s important to have this completed so that we can move forward on schedule. Plus, we’ll be using these valuable resources as a spring board for our design and strategy calls!

The questions in these workbooks aren’t easy - they’ll make you think, push you outside of your comfort zone, and require some dedicated time - but in the end, your work here will help me to give you a website that will support your business and grow with you.

As you go through the workbooks, I encourage you to find some time when you can really delve into these prompts and give heartfelt, introspective answers. Sit down in an inspiring space with a glass of your favorite beverage and dream big as you put your brand’s core values, goal, and mission down on paper. And if you feel like you’ve already done this work, it never hurts to go over it again - you will always discover something new.

Additionally, you’ll be asked to create a Pinterest board of inspiration after you complete your workbook. This board can be made up of your brand materials, design elements, and websites that inspire you and capture the aesthetic of the overall brand you’re trying to create.

1. Your Foundation

Strong brands operate from a place of Why, and have a clear grasp of the values, goals and mission at the core of their work. Operating from a place of purpose in your business changes everything!

2. Your Dream Client

Having a clear understanding of your dream client will enable every touch point of your business to be succinct and effective - especially in the website we’re crafting.

3. Your Brand Voice & Message

One of the best ways to create consistency and brand recognition throughout your website and other material is through a clearly defined brand voice and message.

4. Your Website

Now that we’re clear on your Why, your vision, your mission, and your dream client, we’ll dive into the thing we’re here to create - a website that supports your business in all of these things.

The Options

I offer three different options for website design and strategy so that I can help people in all stages of business.

1. Informational Website Design

When you’re ready to update your website, you need a design that fits your brand.

  • Website Planning - to help me learn more about your needs and design aesthetic.
  • Concept Design - I’ll design the basic pages of your website for layout and user experience for your approval.
  • Content To-Do List - to help you pull together your site’s content.
  • Website Design - I’ll design all of your website pages using your brand, add all of your content, and help you make it live.
  • Design Review - before the website is finalized, I’ll review everything with you and make updates based on your feedback.
  • Website Testing - the final website will be reviewed and fully tested for functionality and design.
  • Tutorials & Training - I’ll teach you how to manage your website and provide tutorial videos so you can make updates yourself.

2. eCommerce Website Design

When you’re ready to update your online store, you need a website that’s easy to manage and fits your brand.

  • Website Planning - to help me learn more about your needs and design aesthetic.
  • Concept Design - I’ll design the basic pages of your website for layout and user experience for your approval.
  • Content To-Do List - to help you pull together your site’s content.
  • Website Design - I’ll design all of your website pages using your brand, add all of your content, and set up an easy to manage eCommerce shop.
  • Product Creation - I’ll create up to 15 products in Squarespace, including adding images, descriptions, and pricing options, and set them up for purchase.
  • Design Review - before the website is finalized, I’ll review everything with you and make updates based on your feedback.
  • Website Testing - the final website will be reviewed and fully tested for functionality and design.
  • Tutorials & Training - I’ll teach you how to manage your website and provide tutorial videos so you can make updates yourself.

3. Website Customization

To find success, you just need a few tweaks to really create a website that fits your style and brand.

  • Website Audit & Planning - to review your current website and made recommendations based on my professional expertise and to help me learn more about your needs and design aesthetic.
  • Choose What You Need - I can help with any (or all) of the following:
    • Custom CSS
    • Single Page Design
    • SEO Implementation
    • Website Audit
    • Analytics & Goal Tracking
    • User Experience Testing
    • On-Going Support as part of your Team
    • Newsletter Implementation
    • Creating an online shop
  • Design Review - before the design is finalized, I’ll review everything with you and make updates based on your feedback.
  • Website Testing - the final website will be reviewed and fully tested for functionality and design.
  • Tutorials & Training - I’ll teach you how to manage your website and provide tutorial videos so you can make updates yourself.

The FAQs

What information will you need from me to get started?

I will provide you with a link to your Client Portal, which will include a basic questionnaire and the first workbook that you’ll need to complete. This should be complete before our start date so we can stay on track for your launch date.

How much will my website cost?

All of my websites are built on Squarespace or Showit and hosting packages range from $26 - 40/month, depending on your website needs. We will discuss which option is best for you during our initial meeting.

What am I - the client - responsible for?

This engagement is a commitment in both time and money. I’m crafting your website and want you to be a part of that. As the client you will be responsible for meeting a number of deadlines to ensure that we can give you the most value during our time together. These deadlines are for things such as getting us information about your business to get us started, sending feedback and approving design, and answering questions along the way.

The hardest part for my clients is writing and delivering content for your website. Though I will assist you by planning out what content you need and creating a Content To-Do list to help you execute, you will need to have your content delivered, proofread and ready to publish in order to launch your website.

How often will I hear from Lemon and the Sea?

I pride myself on being very hands-on with my clients. I will manage your project in your Client Portal. During the duration of your project, you’ll hear from me weekly, whether I’m sending over designs, filling you in on the next deliverable dates, or answering any questions you may have.

I’m also available for strategy and review calls at set times throughout the process so that you never feel like you have to figure out how to communicate your thoughts through email. You’ll never have to worry about me going missing and I’ll expect to hear from you too.

How if I can’t get everything done in time?

If you are struggling to meet your deadlines for content or reviewing designs, please let me know ASAP. We can then decide whether to pause the project or set up an intensive day to get work done together.


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Understanding Analytics - Website Analytics Basics

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Today I’m going to be talking about understanding analytics – website analytics basics. This episode is an overview of analytics, so there are a lot of topics I don’t cover, but I wanted to introduce this topic and give you information about analytics, what it’s good for, and what you use.

I’m going to give an overview of website analytics, what you should be paying attention to, and the 7 most important analytics to look at for your website. I’m also sharing some questions that can help you as you evaluate your analytics, why you need to set up Google Analytics, and what Squarespace analytics are most useful for your website.

I’m including a lot of information in this episode, so I recommend that you check out the shownotes where you can find all of this written down in case you don’t want to take notes while you’re listening.

Topics Discussed:

  • An overview of website analytics and what you should pay attention to
  • Good and bad ways to use your website analytics
  • The 7 most important analytics to look at, what they’re good for, and how to find them in Google Analytics
  • Questions to help you evaluate your analytics
  • Why you need Google Analytics and how to set it up
  • Finding the keywords people are finding your website on
  • What Squarespace analytics are most useful
  • Other tools you can use to collect analytics data

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Install Google Analytics on your website
  2. Find your top exit pages and add a call-to-action to each
  3. Find your keywords and evaluate if they’re what you want to be known for

Analytics Overview

What are website analytics?

Website analytics is the collection, reporting, and analysis of website data according to usability.gov. Basically, they are numbers that give you information about your website and that you can use to make informed decisions. The goal of collecting and examining  your website’s analytics is to measure the success of your website at meeting your pre-determined goals. For more information about setting goals for your website, check out episode 25 all about setting goals and planning your website.

Why should you pay attention to your analytics?

The goal of looking at your analytics is to give you information that helps you make informed decisions about your website. You can use these numbers to help you change the design, write content that will resonate with your audience, know what kinds of products or services to offer, or who it would be beneficial to network with.

While analytics can give you data about your website and can be useful if you’re using them over time, they shouldn’t be used as a comparison tool. Your website is your own – it doesn’t matter if you have more or less website visits than someone else, only if your website is serving your business and your audience the best it can.

How can you use the information you’re gathering?

There are good and bad ways to use the information that you gather from your analytics.

Good:

  • Using analytics to test and change things on your website and evaluate what’s working
  • Use the data as information about the past and trends you might see in the future

Bad:

  • Only looking at traffic to evaluate how your website is doing
  • Gathering data over the short-term

What are the most important analytics?

1.  Website Traffic

  • What it Does: tells you how many people are visiting your website in a given period of time.
  • What it’s Good for: It’s useful for knowing if your web traffic is growing, stagnating, or decreasing over time, as well as seasons when you might get more traffic than others to help you plan promotions and launches. You shouldn’t use it as a comparison metric.
  • How to see it: Audience > Overview

2. Traffic Sources

  • What it Does: tell you where people are coming to your website from. There are a few different locations including organic search (people who find you on search engines), referral (coming from a different website via a link), direct (people typing in your website directly), and social (coming from a social media platform). You can also dig into which referral, social platform, and search engine terms someone is using to find your website.
  • What it’s Good for: This metric is good for knowing how people find you and referral sources you can take advantage of.
  • How to see it: Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals

3. Bounce Rate

  • What it Does: tells you how many people leave your website after visiting only one page.
  • What it’s Good for: This is useful for knowing if your website is giving people the information they want and expect to find and can give you an indication of whether you’re directing people to other pages on your website.
  • How to see it: Audience > Overview

4. Top Pages

  • What it Does: tells you the most visited pages on your website.
  • What it’s Good for: This is good for focusing your efforts on adding calls-to-action or other conversion events and for knowing what people are looking for when they come to your website.
  • How to see it: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages

5. Top Landing Pages

  • What it Does: tells you where people are first landing on your website.
  • What it’s Good for: This is good for determining where to add a call-to-action to move people forward and where you should include information about what you do and who you help.
  • How to see it: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

6. Top Exit Pages

  • What is Does: tells you which pages people leave your website from most often.
  • What it’s Good for: This is a good starting point for places to add calls-to-action that keep people on your website. It’s also helpful for knowing if there is content that isn’t popular or relevant that you can update or remove.
  • How to see it: Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages

7. Audience Affinity Categories

  • What is Does:  tells you what interests your website visitors have based on their past behavior
  • What it’s Good for: This can help you see the types of people who are visiting your website and if they fit with your dream client avatar. It can also help you focus on your content, and potentially ads, on the people who are most likely to visit and stay on your website.
  • How to see it: Audience > Interests > Affinity Categories

Guiding Questions

Here are some questions to ask as you evaluate your analytics. You can use these as a starting point to help you determine which analytics to focus on and make decisions about changes you might want to make to your website.

Who is coming to my website?

Are they my dream clients?

Where are they coming from?

How can I take advantage of those sources to bring more people to my website?

What are people doing while on my website?

How can I keep them on my website longer?

What are some ways I can help them move toward my goal?

What content is most popular?

How can I add a call-to-action or next step to help meet my goals?

How can I create more content like this?

What pages have the highest bounce rates?

How can I improve these pages to keep people on my website longer?

Are my pages loading slowly?

How can I reduce the load time?

Google Analytics

Do I need it?

Google Analytics is a free tool that can give you in-depth insight into many things about your website. It’s worth taking the time to set up even if you’re only looking at a few items right now because it can build with you as you grow. Plus, Google Analytics only starts gathering and storing information after you install it, so if you want to look at it in the future, you need to set it up now.

How do I install it?

Setting up Google Analytics is fairly easy. All you need is a Google login (either with a Gmail address or your regular email address). You can set up a Google Analytics account for any domain that you own and have access to and then confirm that you own the domain by adding the tracking ID to your website. On both Showit and Squarespace, there is an easy location to add your tracking code without having to add any code.

Where do I see my analytics?

To see the data gathered by Google Analytics, log into your account and navigate to the property that goes to your website (if you have more than one). From there, you can explore all the data that Google Analytics collects by navigating the menu on the left side of your screen.

How can I get the information I need without being overwhelmed?

The most important things to prevent overwhelm is to focus just on the analytics that will serve your business. I’ve already mentioned the most important analytics you can look at and you can always add others that are relevant to your business goals and audience.

How do I know what keywords people searched to find me (setting up Search Console)?

In order to see the keywords that people are coming to your site after searching you have to set up Google Search Console. This is another free tool that you can connect to your Google Analytics account. Log into Search Console using the same username and password that you use for Google Analytics. From there, click Add a Property to add your website’s URL. You’ll be asked to verify your website ownership, which you can do easily via your Google Analytics Tracking ID. While you won’t see any information right away, you will want to make sure that you submit a sitemap. Squarespace and Showit both automatically create sitemaps for you. For information on building and submitting a sitemap to Google listen to episode 38 or read this tutorial. Once you have Search Console set up, you can see your keywords in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Search Console > Queries.

Squarespace Analytics

Squarespace has its own built-in analytics that can give you useful information without digging into Google Analytics. To see these, navigate to Analytics in the menu on the left side when you log into your account. While I don’t recommend relying completely on Squarespace’s analytics and ignoring Google, Squarespace can offer a quick overview without as much setup. They automatically gather data like sales, traffic, popular content, purchase funnel and abandoned cart information without you needing to create goals or conversion events in Google Analytics. When looking at Squarespace’s analytics, these are the things I would focus on:

  • Site Search Queries: Part of what is useful about Squarespace’s analytics is that you can see exactly what people are searching for within your site through the Site Search Queries section. You can see what keywords people are searching on your website and the pages they’re being directed to.
  • Form & Button Conversions: This new feature allows you to see which Squarespace buttons are being clicked and the forms that are being completed. This only applies to Squarespace Forms and Buttons (not those you add via code). You can see what was clicked and how many times, as well as how many other views the button or form got. This information can help you improve calls-to-action and see what content is driving the most conversions.
  • Sales overview, Purchase Funnel, Abandoned Cart: If you are using Squarespace as an eCommerce platform to sell goods, services, and digital products directly through your website, these analytics can help you see what people are buying, how they’re moving from just visiting to checking out, and where they might be getting lost in the process.

Other Tools


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