website strategy

Re-Release | Setting Goals and Planning Your Website

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

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

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

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

Topics Discussed:

  • Why it’s important to set goals in your business for your website

  • How to set a goal for your website

  • Questions to ask when setting a goal for your website

  • Questions to ask before starting to design

  • How to reach your dream clients in the simplest way possible

  • Sharing your purpose through what you make most important

  • The importance of incorporating design for your dream clients and a style that fits you

  • The different types of goals you may choose for your website

  • How knowing your goal will help you design your website to convert more

  • Creating a sitemap to help you make sure you have every page you need on your website

  • Planning your website functionality for what you need now and your big future goals

  • Why you need to focus on what you’re sharing the services you offer

  • Best practices for setting goals and planning your website design

  • Why keeping your website as easy to use as possible will serve your audience better

Resources Discussed:


Questions to ask when setting a goal for your website

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

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

  • What steps do your dream clients need to take in order to take action?

  • Working backwards, what is first step someone should take on your website?

Questions to ask before starting to design

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

  • Does your website focus on your core purpose?

  • Is the main goal of your website what you’re actually promoting?

  • Are you addressing your dream client?

  • Is everything on your website consistent?

The different types of goals you may choose for your website

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

  • Growing an email list

  • Sharing content and educating your audience

  • Booking consult calls with your dream clients

  • Selling a certain product or course

Best practices for setting goals and planning your website design

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

  • Include two forms of contact

  • Use a professional email address

  • Have a goal for each page of your website and lead people to the next step with a call-to-action

  • Keep the focus of your About page on your dream clients

  • Have one idea or message on each page

  • Automate as much as possible

  • Define your success metrics


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Re-Release | Quarterly Maintenance for Your Website

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

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

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

What is website maintenance?

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

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

Back up your website

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

Check analytics

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

  • What is your most popular page/post?

  • Are some pages dead ends?

  • Where are people coming to your site from?

  • What is your best conversion source?

Check website design

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

  • Are the images up to date?

  • Does it still reflect your brand?

  • Does it look consistent across all browsers?

  • Does it look correct on mobile?

Check site speed

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

Check links

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

  • Are all the links still working?

  • Are there any pages that no longer exist?

Test e-commerce and forms

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

  • Are all forms and check out functions working?

  • Does any inventory need to be updated?

  • Do you need to collect more/different information?

Update portfolio

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

  • Add new projects

  • Update testimonials

  • Share any updated results from your service

Update bio

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

  • Does your bio still reflect you?

  • Is your head shot up to date?

Updated features

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

  • Were you a guest on blogs or podcasts?

  • Did you speak at an event?

Check site map

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

Poll audience and update copy

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

  • Take a poll (informal or formal) of your audience to see what they are struggling with and how you might be able to help

  • Update any services that may have changed

  • Make sure you’re still speaking to your dream client

  • Ideal Client Interviews

SEO

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

  • Update meta data and website description

  • Update keywords for future content

Run a UX test with a friend

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

Website Goals

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

  • What progress are you making towards your goal?

  • Do you need to adjust which numbers you’re looking at?

  • Are there things you need to change or remove?

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

Re-Release | Is Your Website Working for You? Creating a Strategic Website

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Today is the second episode all about website design and I am going to be talking about how you can evaluate if your website is working for you. If you haven’t listened to the first episode, I recommend you listen to episode 13.

This episode is useful whether you’re DIYing your website, getting by until you can hire a designer, or if you’re working with a designer now so that you know what to look for and ask for in a strategic website design project. Because that’s what I’m all about – using strategy in your website design so that it doesn’t’ just look good, but it also functions well and helps you grow your business.

I’m going to cover a couple of techniques for evaluating if your website is working for you and I’ve also got a checklist you can download at www.lemonandthesea.com/15download.

Topics Discussed:

  • The importance of having a strategy behind your website design

  • Why you need to test and change your design

  • Creating simple, easy to use navigation and what you should include

  • Why using website standards can help your design

  • Why your content is important to your website visitor’s experience

  • Things to check to make sure your content is working for you

  • The importance of having a call-to-action on each page

  • Creating a contact form that makes it easy for people to use

  • How the design of your website can support your main purpose

  • Why knowing your audience is important for your website

  • The tools I use with clients to test my website designs

  • The importance of testing and changing your design

  • My #1 recommendation for creating a strategic website

  • How strategic design serves your clients and customers

Resources Discussed:


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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


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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

60-Getting-to-the-Heart-of-Your-Brand.jpg

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?

IS YOUR WEBSITE WORKING FOR YOU?

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