website design

Re-Release | 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:

 

Re-Release | Improving Your Website Today with 5 Easy Updates

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Today on Process to Profitability, it’s just me talking about improving your website today with 5 easy updates that you can make. This is a subject that I am so passionate about because I believe that you don’t need a brand new website or a total redesign to start seeing more results from your website.

Take these updates and check out your own website. See if you can make some of these changes today to improve your design or if these are things you can put on your to-do list if you think they will take a little longer.

Samantha Mabe is the owner and designer at Lemon and the Sea. She loves empowering creative women with a heart to serve to grow their business through brand and website design. Her background is in design and architecture, but she’s been creating since she could hold a pencil. Samantha is a Pittsburgh native now living in Richmond, Virginia where she spends her days designing brands and websites and her evenings watching Netflix with her husband and their dog #gambittheweshi.

Connect with Samantha:

Topics Discussed:

  • The importance of having your email address on your website

  • Where to put your email address

  • What you need to include in your terms & conditions and privacy policy

  • Why you need return, refund, and warranty policies if you sell products or courses

  • Why these policies are important

  • How to update your portfolio to attract more of your dream clients

  • How to include images, testimonials, and client stories in your portfolio

  • Editing your content to keep your design simple

  • Why it’s important to guide visitors through your website

  • Adding calls to action to each page of your website

  • They types of calls to action you can use on each page

  • Why you need to map out your website like a journey

Resources Discussed:

Re-Release | How a Website Designer Can Save You Time and Money

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Today is a continuation of my website design series and I’m going to be talking about how a website designer can save you time and money. I’m going to go into some really important things to think about when you are considering whether you want to DIY your website or hire someone to help you with the design and development in order to save you time and ultimately save you money so you can spend more time working with your clients and growing your business.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why you can’t do everything in your business as it grows

  • The ultimate goal of running your business and why hiring can help you get there

  • How a website designer can uses your vision and needs to design your website right the first time

  • Why a designer can save you money with their resources and knowledge

  • The back-end things that a designer should put in place that you can grow down the road

  • The importance of having a designer support you before, during, and after your website launch

  • The steps a website designer will follow to design a website that meets your goals

  • How a website designer can save you time by managing your project and keeping everything on track

  • Why having a designer who is familiar with your design and platform helps you post-launch

Resources Discussed:

What’s Included with Your Website Design

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Today I’m talking about what’s included with your website design when you work with Lemon and the Sea. One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a designer is “is this thing included in your quote?” so today I’m taking some time to lay out what I include with every website design and to talk about why it’s important to ask these types of questions when you choose a website designer.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why is it important to know what’s included when you work with a website designer

  • What I include for website strategy clients

    • Resizing images

    • SEO descriptions based on your keywords

    • Tutorial library

    • Custom tutorial videos

    • Post-launch support

    • Setting up Google analytics

    • Setting up Google search console

    • Testing before and after launch to make sure all links are working

    • Importing blog content

    • Mock-ups for design options

    • PDF guides to help you with SEO and launching

    • Connecting your domain and email address to Squarespace

    • Mobile design

    • Custom code to make your website more than just a template

    • Creating/tweaking small graphics

    • Creating a  mood board and color palette (if you don’t already have one)

    • Choosing fonts (if you don’t already have them)

    • Access to the plug-ins I have available (plug-ins I have not purchased already are extra)

    • Connecting to your email newsletter provider (but not setting up your newsletter)

    • Video or phone calls to discuss the design,  make changes in real time, and answer any other questions you may have

    • Outlines for page content so you can write your copy

  • What I include for website customization clients

    • Resizing images

    • Tutorial library

    • Custom tutorial videos

    • Post-launch support

    • Setting up Google analytics

    • Testing before and after launch to make sure all links are working

    • Mock-ups for design options

    • Mobile design

    • Custom code to make your website more than just a template

    • Creating/tweaking small graphics

    • Video or phone calls to discuss the design and make changes in real time

    • Suggestions for ways you can improve your current website design (that aren’t already on our to-do list)

  • Why I think it’s important to include these pieces in my design projects

Resources discussed:

How to Prepare for a Website Redesign

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Today I’m talking about how to prepare for a website redesign. Many of my clients come to me because they are ready to update or redesign their current website and they all have question about what they can do to make sure that they’re ready to work with a designer. Today I’m going to be going through the steps that you can take to make sure that you’re ready to work with a designer when you need to update or redesign your website.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why you need to start the redesign process by determining what types of updates you want to make

  • The differences between a full redesign, customization, and small design tweaks

  • Why you need to choose your website platform before choosing your designer

  • Finding a designer through referrals

  • Why you should always get on a call before hiring a designer

  • Getting to know your brand

  • Gathering the information you need before a website redesign

  • What to expect during the design process

Action Steps:

  1. Brainstorm a list of updates you need to make to your website

  2. Make sure all your design files are in one place

  3. If you’re ready to hire someone, ask around for referrals

Creating an Effective Call-to-Action

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Today I’m talking about creating an effective call-to-action. Calls to action are something that appear on every website, so I wanted to take some time to talk about what makes a good one and gets people on your website to convert in the way that you want them to.

Topics Discussed:

  • What a call-to-action is and why it’s an important part of your website

  • Where to put a call-to-action on your website

  • Choosing the right call-to-action based on the page of your website

  • Writing an effective call-to-action

  • How to use design to encourage visitors to take action

Action Steps:

  1. Make sure every page of your website has a call-to-action

  2. Update your call-to-action text to encourage action

  3. Review your call to action design to make sure it stands out

Launching Your Website

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Today I’m talking about launching your website. If you’ve been tuning in over the past size weeks, I’ve talked about designing a strategic website including your navigation, home page, about page, portfolio, sales page, and contact page to cover everything you need to build a website that helps your business to thrive. Now it’s time to talk about launching that website you’ve built. This is the way that I help my clients prepare for a launch and get their website into the world. This episode will be helpful if you’re working with a designer or designing a website yourself and you’re ready to launch in a way that helps your business to grow.

Topics Discussed:

  • Building excitement for your website launch
  • Finding cheerleaders to help promote your new design
  • Finalizing the design of your website
  • Why you need to test your website before launch and what to look at
  • Preparing for your website launch
  • What you should do after your website launches

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Make a list of potential cheerleaders
  2. Create graphics to share when you launch your website
  3. Collect information about your current domain and host, including username and password, so it’s in one place.

1. Build excitement

Let your audience in

Build excitement for your upcoming launch a month in advance by letting you audience know what's going on. Give them a behind-the-scenes look into what you’re doing including why you’re updating your website and what to expect before and after you launch. One fun way to do this is to create a countdown that you share on social media.

Find cheerleaders to help promote your launch

Email friends, business associates, collaborators to let them know what you’re working on and ask for their help in promoting your launch. Then, make it easy for them to share by providing images, copy, and important dates.

Share the process

Share sneak peeks of what the website will look like (a partial screen shot, color palette, mood board) to get them excited and build suspense. A great way to do this is to use social media to talk about what you’re learning and why you’re updating your website, focusing on the heart behind your brand and how you can better serve your clients.

Finalize Your Website

This step comes after the design of your website is finished, when you're just making sure that everything is ready to go.

SEO

Make sure your website is SEO ready by adding site and page descriptions, updating image metadata, and submiting your sitemap to google.

Test everything (twice)

This includes forms, links, and what your website looks like on mobile, tablet and desktop views across browers.

Get Ready

There are a few steps you'll need to take before your website can officially launch.

  1. Back-up your old website if you want to keep it
  2. Pay for your new platform is necessary
  3. Connect your domain If you are changing platforms, you will need to redirect your domain to point to the new website. For Squarespace, you can follow their tutorials. If you're using Showit, you need to submit everything to Showit and they will connect it for you.
  4. Set up your email. The email you are currently using will remain active as long as your hosting is active. If you choose to cancel your hosting, you will need to host your email elsewhere. If you are now hosting your website with Squarespace, you have the option of creating a G Suite account, which will allow you to send and receive email through Gmail. If you choose to move your email hosting to G Suite, you will need to redirect it to G Suite before canceling your current hosting.
  5. Do a soft launch. Test everything again once the website is live and allow enough time for everything to switch over (at least 3 days) before your official launch.
  6. If you are starting a new website, have a few blog posts ready to post the day you launch to give visitors something to engage with

LAUNCH!

Now it's time to share your new website and celebrate. I love sharing on Instagram, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Live.

After You Launch

You aren't done after your launch. Check your analytics after a month to see if you’re meeting your website goals and make tweaks based on visitor feedback and analytics data. Also, continue promoting your content and website design and keep a list of updates you want to make down the road.

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

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

Interviewing Your Dream Clients

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Today I’m talking about interviewing your dream clients. If you have never heard of a dream client interview or you’ve never done one before, it may seem like a weird idea, but it is a great way to interview people who you want to work with and get an idea of what they are looking for in your service or product. Today we’re going to cover why interviewing your dream clients is good for your business, the basics of interviewing, writing questions that get to the point and give you what you need, getting ready for the interview, conducting it, and what you should do once it’s over.

Topics Discussed:

  • Why interviewing your dream clients is good for your business

  • The basics of interviewing

  • Writing questions that get to the point and give you what you need

  • How to prepare for the interview

  • Conducting dream client interviews to get the most out of them

  • What you should do after the interview is over

Resources Discussed:

Action Steps:

  1. Make a list of past clients and people you know that you would like to interview

  2. Create a list of questions to ask

  3. Send an email explaining what you’re doing and asking for their help


Why conduct dream client interviews

Conducting a dream client interview is a great way to get information that can help you as you make changes to your business, add new services or products, or update the copy on your website. The goal is to gather information about your dream client instead of assuming that you know what they want and need from your.

Dream client interviews are also great because they allow you to:

  1. Use their words in your copy

  2. Speak to their concerns

  3. Think of new services that are missing in your industry

  4. Get feedback on ideas before launching

The basics

Conducting the interview doesn't have to be difficult, but it does require some preparation. To get the best information possible, you want to interview 3-5 people. This allows you to see what answers are repeated and which you can throw out as one person's opinion.

You should keep each interview to around 20 minutes (8-10 questions) to be respectful of everyone's time.

To make it easy, use a scheduling software like Acuity Scheduling to find a time that works for btoh you and your interviewee. Conduct your call video video on something like Zoom that allows you to record so you don't have to take notes as you go.

Choosing the right people

It's easiest to reach out to people you know or have a connection with. And, of course, you need to interview dream clients – people you want to work with in the future or have loved working with in the past.

Preparing for the interview

As you prepare for the interview, ask your potential interviewees and have them schedule a time. You want to let them know why you need their help and what to expect.

This is the email I sent:

  1. Say Hi

  2. Include something personal

  3. Ask for their help (I know you’re busy, but I would love to have your help on something.)

  4. Explain what you’re doing (I’m currently transitioning my services from overall graphic design to just website design and I want to make sure that I’m creating a service and process that is really helpful for my ideal clients. I think you fit that mold and I know your insights would be really beneficial!)

  5. Explain what you need from them (I’d love to jump on a Zoom call with you for 20 minutes and ask you some questions about your business and the things you’re struggling with.)

  6. Give them a way to schedule (If you’re willing to chat with me and answer some questions, you can find a time that fits your schedule here.)

  7. Wrap-up (And if there is any way I can support you, just let me know and I’d love to help!)

Feel free to use this template or write your own.

Writing the questions

As you're writing questions to ask during the interview, use no more than 10 questions. You can ask the same thing in different ways to get more information. You goal here is to learn about their pain points/struggles and make sure you're clear on what they want (not just what you think they want).

These were the questions I asked:

  1. How do you feel about your website?

  2. Do you feel your website design is holding you back?

  3. What made you decide to work with a designer for your website?

  4. What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to your website?

  5. Do you feel like your website is doing its job?

  6. What type of website design service do you wish existed?

  7. What would you expect to be included in website design and strategy?

  8. How involved in the website design process do you want to be?

  9. What are your future goals and what type of support might you need?

  10. What would you want to see in a design portfolio to give you confidence in hiring someone?

Since I was asking about website design, these questions are tailored to that topic, but you can use the same types of questions for your own service or product.

Conducting the interview

This may be the most nerve-wracking part, but if you've chosen people who are willing to help, it won't be as scary as you think. Keep it simple - get on the call, remind them of what you’re doing, and ask for their permission to record so you don’t have to take notes.

Then ask your questions, adjusting as needed based on their answers and wrap-up and thank them for their time.

What to do After

Now that you've conducted your dream client interviews, it's time to actually use the information you've gathered.

You first step should be to send a thank you email and possibly send a small gift (I sent a $5 Starbucks giftcard).

Next, get the interview transcribed. You want to get the exact words your interviewees used so that you can have them for reference. Then, make notes to keep everything organized. Here are the four documents I created:

  • Common answers - answers that I noticed were repeated for certain questions

  • Keywords - the words I could use for SEO based on what my dream clients would search for

  • Notes - notes for myself about changes I wanted to make or things I wanted to remember

  • Word bank -list of words and phrases my dream clients used that I could work into my website copy (especially around their pain points)

Once you have your notes, you need to put the information to use. You can use these interviews to update your services, packages, and process, write social media captions and brainstorm ideas for blog posts, rework your website copy to speak to your dream clients' concerns, and create on-boarding emails that remind your clients how you're going to serve them.


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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.

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)