Find Your Dream Web Designer, Get Your Dream Website

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Find Your Dream Web Designer, Get Your Dream Website

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

So you’re building your personal brand. You have a checklist – a long tally of things you should and shouldn’t do in order to brand yourself successfully and promote a profitable business. One thing that is prominent on many “should do” lists is the idea that your product or service must be the star of the show. 

Your offering should indeed be a main focus, as it is what you provide your customers and clients, but there is so much more to you and your brand! There is a person there, with hopes and dreams and ambitions. There is someone who put in the time and work to create something wholly unique and present it to the world. There are intentions, and though the cliché says the chief goal in business is profit, for many of us, that simply isn’t true. 

 

Making A Match 

Rather, like many businesses, and small ones in particular, the intention is to provide the universe with something that helps and supports others. A fridge magnet may not seem like a huge offering in comparison to a customised prosthetic limb, but they both help people. If someone sees your magnet every time they go to make breakfast and it makes them smile, your art has served its purpose. You have done them a service by brightening their day and they have supported an independent artist, based on shared values of art, or humour, or authenticity. 

That connection goes even further, to a degree, with services. With most services, be it counselling, product printing, harp lessons, legal aid, or any other of the billion possibilities, both sides of the contract must work together. A relationship must be formed, and while that may be said of all business partnerships, I’m talking about something deeper. 

What I want to highlight is the value of a connection between both parties; a relationship that has been formed based on shared intentions, values, and beliefs. It is one that is nurtured, not only through common goals, but shared drive and passion to reach said goal. 

Just like a romantic relationship, it works best when you both want the same thing for the future. If one person dreams of marriage while another is just looking to date around, it’s very unlikely that their relationship will work in the long run. On the other hand, if all parties are working towards building a family, buying a home, and settling down, their future together looks much more promising! 

 

Finding Your Fit 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that it will always work out, in romance or business. Sometimes we want the same things, but it just isn’t the right fit. Working towards a shared goal in opposing ways may not offer you that same connection as striving for an end with someone whose behaviours, views, and values match your own. 

That isn’t to say that opposites can’t work together! But working with someone who gets you? The joy and ease that come from working in tandem with those on your wavelength makes the relationship-building all that much more worthwhile. I follow this idea myself when I seek to attract dream clients. Finding those who share my outlook and energy not only allows my clients and me to connect on a professional level, but often, we end up becoming friends. This is invaluable, as the relationship is built on trust and understanding. 

 

In It For The Long-Haul 

Another benefit of a soul-aligned business partnership? It can, and often does lead to long-term partnerships. Nurturing relationships with your both your business partners and clients assures them that you aren’t simply in it for profit. You aren’t just jumping from one option to another, hiring, firing, and cutting ties, looking for the cheapest way to get stuff done. Instead, you are actively working with someone you trust – who trusts you – building loyalty for future projects together! 

 

An Online Relationship 

So how does this relate to your website specifically? Well I’m glad you asked! 

If I haven’t said it enough already, a website is integral to to the growing business. It’s an invaluable tool and necessary platform for most, if not all companies. Your site should work for you and your customer. That means it should have a simple but comprehensive structure, follow efficient navigation pathways, allow for easy and accessible use, and provide website users with all important information. 

Besides good, solid bones to structure your website, typical pages, widgets, and forums, and extras like an online shops are expected and often necessary. Just as important though? Having a website that truly represents you and your business, inside and out. Besides the basics, ie. product info, service description, layout etc., offering something more to your clients can help build that aforementioned (and undeniably valuable) personal connection. 

 

Falling Head Over Heels 

Basic isn’t bad! Simple is sought after! But when someone offers you something more, something that makes your heart sing, you remember it. Rather than presenting yet another “basic” website to the world, adding your own heart and soul into the mix makes a world of difference. 

Showing the world what your all about – your goals, your hobbies, your passions, your energy, even your pets – lets people see the real you, allowing for those with the same interests and ambitions to find you and reach out. Making yourself visible to others, showing transparency, and inviting people into your life shows that you are open to building relationships. You’re trusting the world to get to know you, and in turn, taking action to attract likeminded entrepreneurs. It’s active manifestation! 

 

We Need To Talk 

Having a web designer on your wavelength bolsters this in many ways. It’s the first step in transforming your business from just another shop or service, to something built on a foundation of trust and communication. Clear communication is paramount to any personal or professional relationship. 

In a romantic relationships, things fall apart when lines of communication aren’t open. Why would it be any different in business? If you are asking for one thing, and you web designer is pushing for another, and neither can compromise, that isn’t simply because one or both parties are stubborn. There are reasons behind our actions, and it is likely that your designer is steering you in a specific direction for a certain purpose. But if you don’t understand why, and they are unable to elucidate, there is likely a break in communication. 

Moreover, if they can actually explain it to you, but you still can’t see eye-to-eye, the issue may not strictly be communication, but a lack of deeper understanding. Yes, they might get which colour-palette you chose or what option you want in your drop down menu. But if they can’t see the intention behind your endeavour or relate to the needs of your clients, the work they put in may not reflect that deeper purpose. 

 

Making It Work 

To the unengaged contractor, your website is just another project. You’re just another means to an end; that end being a paycheque. But when you connect on a deeper level, the work becomes so much more than just a business interaction. It isn’t about money, or even the success of completing a project. It’s about building and nurturing a relationship with someone with whom you want to continue working. You’re in it for the long-run. 

And this isn’t just true of web designers. Your graphic designer, manufacturers, printers, producers, staff; it all matters. This isn’t some one-off print job, but the beginning of a long-term relationships. And work with graphic designer who really gets your vibe and shares your energy? The difference it makes is visible, almost tangible, to your and your customers. 

This is about more than success and profit. This is about working with those who share your vision. This is about putting something into the world that you can be proud of. Cheap options and cutting-corners might save you a bit of capital, but if it’s at the sacrifice of your ideals and integrity, it isn’t worth it. 

Another positive aspect? The opportunity to meet likeminded entrepreneurs. A solid trusting partnership with one fellow business may lead you to meet others on your level. It creates a network of possibilities that will only continue to grow. 

 

A Dream Come True 

From your logo, to your website, to all your marketing, it pays to have someone who understands you. When you share the same goals, have the parallel values and intentions, and put the same energy out into the world, it’s way more likely you will produce good work, because you are on the same path. From both the business side and a personal standpoint, you’re working towards the same thing.

More to explore

Is Your Website Giving Your Ideal Client The Wrong Vibe?

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Is Your Website Giving Your Ideal Client The Wrong Vibe?

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

An Intro To Energy

People are reading your energy. That might sound kind of woo woo, but hear me out! Every person you meet exudes some kind of energy. Whether it’s their level of pep, a metaphysical essence, or simply their attitude, on a subconscious level, people register the energy of others. 

Think about the feeling that is so present at a concert or live sporting match. There is a buzz in the air, an excitement that radiates from the crowd, and though it is intangible, it is also undeniable. You can feel the energy shift as soon as you step into that excited atmosphere.

Were you to suddenly walk into a contrasting venue, say a bank, you certainly wouldn’t feel that same excited energy! In fact, your own energy might drop to match. And if it didn’t and you stayed excitable, those around you might find issue with your buzzing demeanour. And who could blame them? They are opposing energies!

Stepping away from the positive/negative dichotomy, no one energy is better than another. A laid-back, esoteric type who values inner-peace over profit might not have the right energy to run a Fortune 500 multinational corporation, while the take-no-prisoners A-type with a super-strict schedule might not exude the right vibe for a yoga teacher. 

That’s not to say it’s impossible. Perhaps the ambitious hippie type is a successful online entrepreneur, while the enterprising career woman has a side hustle teaching acro-yoga. Anything is possible! 

More often than not though, people gravitate towards energy that matches their own. In careers, in relationships, in friend groups, heck, even in neighbourhoods! If you want a quiet lifestyle, you’re  much more like to enjoy the countryside than the city centre. For others, being surrounded by tall buildings and bright lights brings them inspiration. The hustle and bustle energizes some, but drain others.

I may be repeating myself but I want to make it clear that it isn’t “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to energy. Different things work for different people.

 

Like Attracts Like

It’s true, they often do. But there is an argument here for like-attracts-like. As shown in many comprehensive studies, when we are with people we like (or people we wish would like us!) it is common to mimic them subconsciously. We may match their stance or copy their behaviour. Or we might try to get on their level, altering our attitude to reflect their mood. 

Besides this psychological aspect, on a more conscious level, we seek out others who share our view of the world. We choose universities and like institutions of education that share our mindset, outlook, and life views. We hunt specifically for jobs with companies that share our values. We decide where to live based on our hobbies, lifestyle, and need or distaste for close community. Why wouldn’t it be the same in business? Like attracts like, yes, but moreover, like works with like.

 

Your Website + Your Energetic Vibes

You’re a soul-centered entrepreneur, walking the walk and talking the talk. You’ve got the business side on lock and a vibrant spiritual world, striking a perfect balance between work-life and the need for something deeper. Your clients know this; they know you. And while your work, or your mindset, or even your social media might reflect this balance, your website simply does not!

While that may not ring true for all of us, there is something to be said about authenticity. When your website isn’t a true representation of your energy, it can send the wrong message, leaving your clients confused and not sure of who you really are; a feeling that won’t really make them feel ready to jump in and work with you.

 

Authenticity

On a spiritual level, when you are your authentic self, you don’t have to worry about consistency because everything you do, say, and feel, along with your words, actions, beliefs, and values will be consistent across all aspects of your life and your being. Same with transparency. When you are living your truth, you aren’t censoring who you are and what you believe in. Everything is real. Everything is authentic.

On the web side of things, authenticity, again, is key, and active consistency and transparency are just as important. Your website isn’t just a part of your business but an extension of who you are, and an entity outside of your internal realm. It’s important to take the extra step to ensure that the vibe of your website is consistent with the energy you put out into the universe.

As a more tangible step? Ensure your products and services, your website, social media, and online presence, and your in-person energy are consistent. Show who you really are and what you really stand for, across platforms. This leads clients to see the real you, and the ones who share your vision find you.

 

Your Ideal Client

What is a soul-aligned client? It is someone whose intentions, goals, dreams, values, and energy match your own. They are the long-term clients; the ones who you are excited to work with! The ones whose work stirs up your passion and drive; whose values reflect your own.

This isn’t just a one-time, quick-turnaround contract, but an actual relationship you’re building. These are the clients you want to hold onto, and the ones who will be compelled to work with you.

 

Don’t Miss Out

Depending on what products or services you offer, clients may react differently to different energies. For example, if you’re selling custom rockabilly kitchenware, your chief audience likely expects a loud, lively, high-energy website, whereas if you’re a spiritual life coach, clients would likely lean towards are more esoteric, peaceful vibe.

Of course you need to know your audience, but it is just as important for your audience to know you.

If your website doesn’t reflect your intentions and values, it may not resonate with clients that share these same views. This, in turn, can lead to missed opportunities, as these clients are the kind of people who seek to work with those on the same wave-length as they are.

Designing your website to reflect who you are – that is, to reflect your intentions and values, and the energy you put into your work – will benefit both you and your dream client. First of all, it will attract clients who are living on the same plane as you. You are on the same wavelength, working towards the same goals and seeking the same results. You understand each other. That is a soul-connection. That is your ideal client.

Having the opportunity to work in tandem with someone who shares your worldview allows you to produce work, products, services, and offers that provide the same positivity and objectively necessary energy to the universe. 

 

Feel The Energy

What makes a soul-connection? The feeling of sharing goals, beliefs, values, and interventions.

Shared energy lends itself to reaching shared goals, and the existence of shared goals begets shared energy. It’s a symbiotic relationship in the best kind of way.

Soul-aligned clients, those are the ones you want to work with. In turn, they are the ones who don’t just want, but need to work with you.

Your vibe attracts your tribe! So make sure your website is congruent with your energy and everywhere else you’re showing up online. 

More to explore

The value of email marketing

The value of email marketing

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Speed, efficiency, ease, and impact; email marketing has it all! Not to sound like a salesperson straight off the bat, but when it comes to a tool this useful, it can’t be undervalued. Digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing as the most profitable and efficient method of promotion, and a large portion of this comes directly from e-mail marketing.

But what makes email marketing so great?

 

Spread Your Message

 

 


Well, for one, it allows you to communicate with the masses. In 2019, research found that over half of the world’s population was using email; a number expected to grow to over 4.3 billion in four years. With so many people online, your audience pool is immense. Email allows you to share information, promote products and services, and communicate with the public on a massive scale; an opportunity that, honestly, is invaluable.

That being said, a substantial email list is only productive if you’re reaching the right people.You’ve heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder”. Building your subscriber list follows this principle. You want quality over quantity. Acquiring a large number of subscribers might seem like a positive, but if they aren’t engaging, it’s a fruitless endeavour. Sending information to readers who couldn’t care less won’t benefit your business. Not only are you wasting your own time and energy, but it can greatly skew your analytics. 

 

Subsequently, if you have a large list, but your emails keep bouncing, this can imply several things. On one hand, your emails may not be reaching their intended targets due to spelling errors or an obsolete address. On the other? You may have been blocked! It is fundamental that your list consists solely of subscribers that want to be contacted. In fact, in many countries there are regulations put in place to prevent companies from subscribing people without their consent. 

 

As long as you are following regulations and not contacting people with unwanted spam, email marketing hits the mark. The long and short of it? Email works, so make it work for you!



Pick Your Pie

 

Or rather, know your audience! Once you have developed a streamlined subscriber list, it’s important to tailor your emails. This can be done through segmentation, an integral aspect of quality email marketing. Segmenting allows you to customise emails, sending relevant content only to those interested in said content. Through the use of analytics, you are able to learn what content intrigues which readers, what topics different groups engage with, and what content can be reworked or removed altogether. Some programs, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, have their own built-in analytics feature, but other CRM tools such as HubSpot work just as well. 

 

Why is it so important to segment? Picture a pie! Let’s say it’s apple, fresh out of the oven and ready to eat. You slice it up, ready to serve, but not everyone wants apple pie. Some people prefer cherry. Others, pumpkin. How can you satisfy everyone if you only offer one kind of pie? 

 

While it may take some time, by knowing your audience and their preferences, you can learn which pies to bake, or rather, which content to send to whom. Whether you base your segments on interest, engagement, location, or another characteristic, knowing your demographics is integral. What’s more? With email marketing, not only can you segment your emails to reach specific audiences, but you can automate the process. Producing targeted campaigns and implementing automated correspondence saves you time, money, and energy. Get the baking out of the way, automate, and send your readers exactly what they want, when they want it, one slice at a time.



Control Your Costs

 

Like other forms of digital marketing, email marketing can offer an inexpensive, yet profitable form of promotion at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. TV and print ads can run a high bill and may not have the same reach as email marketing, both in terms of numbers and specifics. In fact, in 2019 the ROI on email marketing surpassed all other forms of online marketing methods.

 

 

Even if you decide to contract out marketing and communications, you are still likely to save on cost, and certainly on time and energy. It reduces employee hours and labour, not to mention extra costs related to paper (in the case of print media) while concurrently lowering your environmental footprint. For small businesses, especially those with a lower budget, investing in email marketing just makes sense. 



Measure Your Results

 

Another advantage offered by email marketing is the ability to measure results. Other methods are measurable as well, but obtaining concrete, useful insights can prove difficult. Depending on your alternative of choice, whether it is a television ads or a print piece, data is often estimated. This does not mean it is totally invalid, but it may not be entirely accurate either. 

 

No matter the platform you use, email marketing generally allows for accessible, accurate analytics, often in real-time. As mentioned above, some platforms work in unison with outside insight analytics programs, whereas others have built in analytics, allowing for absolute ease. Either way, they deliver veritable results and useful insights, not to mention detailed information on a variety of select demographics; something traditional media can only estimate. This allows for the aforementioned segmentation and customisation. 

 

Why is this so useful? It allows you to deduce which email marketing practices are the most productive and which you might need to drop. You can find out which campaigns work best, what time people open their emails, and who clicks on what. Which leads convert your readers from curious to customer? Is your CTA effective? And what can you do to improve? No matter your question, there is a high likelihood your analytics can provide an answer. 

 

Confused about which analytics are worth noting? Check out these need-to-know metrics and find out why they are indispensable to your marketing campaign!

 

Get Started

 

I cannot stress enough how valuable email marketing can be! It allows you to communicate clearly and concisely with customers and clients worldwide, using the most productive marketing tactics, without breaking your budget. It is both far-reaching and personal. The opportunity to measure results means the opportunity to constantly improve. 

 

Want to learn more about the basics of email marketing? Hang tight for my upcoming blog, giving you a full run-down of campaigns necessities!

More to explore

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Why does your small business need a website?

Why does your small business need a website?

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Congratulations, you’ve started a small business! After careful consideration, planning, and budgeting, the time and energy, blood, sweat, and tears, all your hard work has paid off! Whether you’re a local coffee shop, a boutique recording studio, or a swim school for babies, you did it. You are now a proud business owner! So what comes next? 

 

Seriously, What’s Next? 

Chances are, if you’re opening a small business, you’ve already thought about a website. And why not? Every other business seems to have one. But, no doubt, you have concerns. Between the time, the cost, the energy, and the risk, is it even worth it? 

In short? Yes. 

There are numerous reasons why a website is integral to a small business, and the pros far outweigh the cons. But what exactly tips the scale? 

 

Everyone Is Online 

Of course not everyone! But a majority of the planet uses the internet in some capacity. A 2016 study noted that 92.6% of the UK population is online. That means there are many eyes that might view your business; eyes belonging to potential customers and clients. 

And while time online is largely spent streaming, surfing, of scrolling, many spend it researching products and services. In the past, most ads were on TV or in print, but a majority are now delivered online. Although this can be in the form of pop-ups, banners, and pre-video YouTube ads, a notable portion comes through content marketing. (Want to learn more about content marketing? Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered!

Whereas in the past a storefront would suffice, the modern client seeks the convenience of a website. No need for endless trips to the shops, as customers can now research products from home. 

The addition of an online shop increases your marketplace presence and, in turn, can lead to an increase in sales, growing both your local and global customer base. An extra point of importance? It offers accessibility to those who may not be able to shop in-person. 

 

Too Legit To Quit 

Studies upon studies have shown that people are more likely to trust a business with a website, and for good reason. The opportunity to learn about a business before buying its products or using its services is both a luxury and a utility not offered by those without websites. It offers a degree of legitimacy too, proving that your business is real and trustworthy. It shows that you are willing to put time, money, and effort into a tool which will benefit both client and company alike. What’s more? It’s expected! Many customers won’t even consider a business without a website. 

A reputable business will have a reputable site. This means that the site is well-designed, easy to navigate, and free of errors. For the same reason a customer may avoid a restaurant that, through the window, looks less than stellar, a customer may avoid a poorly designed website. In this way, a website acts as a window into your business. It is your storefront, your business card, your office, all in one. 

Moreover? It’s a first impression! Research from Stanford shows that 75% of internet users will judge a business on its website. In fact, it only takes 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for users to make a decision about your website. And if they judge it poorly? They will bounce! 

While not having a website is a missed marketing opportunity, having a bad website can be just as detrimental. The solution? Learn some design basics yourself or hire a reputable web design firm to help your create the perfect site for your small business. 

 

But What About The Cost? 

Business requires investment. Whether it is a small business or a large corporation, a certain amount of time, energy, and yes, funding, goes into it. Like any business venture, the creation and upkeep of a website will cost you. There are costs for domains, hosting, and web-building, along with maintenance and incidentals. And if you hire an outside source to design, build, and maintain your website? While a good idea (more on that ahead!), it can definitely put a dent in your budget. So what is the point if it’s going to bleed you dry?!? 

Like other investments, there is always a risk. This risk, however, is worth taking! A small business with a website is much more likely to experience revenue growth, compared to one without. This is especially true when it comes to retail. Worldwide, ecommerce is predicted to grow 19% in 2020. As online retail continues to grow, brick and mortar stores are feeling the effects, as the cost of building a website vs. the cost of renting a storefront is considerable. 

That isn’t to say there is no value in a real-life shop, but the investment in a website can double your marketplace reach, and in turn, your profit. In 2019, 18% of all retail sales in the UK came from ecommerce, a number that is growing steadily every year. If 18% really doesn’t seem like that much, consider the impact of online research on in-store purchases. 

But it isn’t just retail that benefits from online sales. Perhaps your small business offers services as opposed to products. Anything from counselling services, to wedding bands, to web design can benefit from a website. In fact, some businesses don’t even have a physical location, as many careers allow one to work from home. In this case, a website works to present and promote your services in a concrete way. 

While word of mouth is integral to the promotion of small businesses, much of that “word” is written, with links being shared by satisfied customers and clients, not to mention the advent of online reviews and testimonials. As mentioned above, a staggering proportion of people start online to research products and services. Having a website available increases the visibility of your business, directing potential customers and clients your way (whether you have a physical location or not). 

As an additional point, there are often higher costs behind traditional marketing. Whether you are mailing out flyers, buying business cards, or promoting your business on TV, marketing is going to cost you. 

A website can deliver all of those; it is at once a business card, a Yellow Pages ad, and a flyer (if we include email marketing). And while some situations call for more traditional methods of advertising, those are often paired with a website. 

 

Why Can’t I Just Use Facebook? 

You could. Unfortunately, social media just doesn’t cut it. While a platform like Facebook has its benefits, it does not have the authority of a website. It feels less professional and less credible. Anyone can make a Facebook page, and while the content may be unique, they all follow the same template. This means you cannot customise or personalise to suit your brand. And Facebook only reaches a specific audience. The same can be said of any other social media platform. It may complement your website, but it should not be your priority. 

 

Time Is Not On My Side! 

Building a website, especially a good one, takes time. Between the design, the copy, the construction, and all the other little details, it can be notably time-consuming. And that isn’t even including maintenance, updates, and all the other behind-the-scenes work required to keep a website running. 

As a small business owner, adding in these extra hours may not be an option, but there are ways around that. Consider working with another small business to create and maintain your website for you. While it is an extra cost, partnering with another small business provides you with the website, saves you time, and supports a fellow entrepreneur. I may even have a great recommendation for a reputable web designer with experience in designing for small business. 😉

 

Hiring a small business to conceive and implement your marketing plan, create your content, or keep you organised can also be of benefit! Here are some great links if you’re looking for a Virtual Assistant or copywriter.



Up Your Game 

In today’s modern age, the lack of a website can be a huge detriment to your small business. To really make a name for yourself as a reputable company, a website is expected. It’s the easiest way to present your products and services, prices and rates, and contact information, all in one place. Your customers and clients anticipate that the information the need will be available online, so make it so! 

Yes, there are costs. Yes, there are risks. But it’s a risk worth taking. 

For more information on the web design services I offer, check out my services page and see what I can do for you!

More to explore

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Why is it better to send people to your website rather than your social media profile?

Why is it better to send people to your website rather than your social media profile?

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that I always say you shouldn’t let not having a website hold you back from launching your business and getting yourself out there. It’s seriously one of the biggest excuses people use as to why they’re not going all in on their dream biz…

‘Oh yeah, it’s fun, I’ve been in business for a year and a half but I still don’t even have a website, so….!’ (sound familiar?!). 

So in the meantime, if you can’t afford to invest in a website, it’s great to start with social media and use that for building your brand, doing market research, collaborating with others, finding amazing communities, etc. 

But once you know your audience, your offer and are solid with your branding, having your own website is so much better than running your business solely on social media. Why, though?! 



How using your own website rather than relying on social media helps elevate your brand 

I promise this isn’t just another thing to add to the looooooong list of things to do that you carry around when you first launch your business. There’s enough things on there already! And if you aren’t quite ready to invest in your own website yet, this can be some food for thought that will help you know when you are ready to start looking for the best web designer to collaborate with.

 

1. You own it.

You may run your own social media pages, but you don’t own the platforms. Your accounts could get suspended, you could get locked out, they could shut down. The last one is maybe not highly likely, but still…you get the picture, right? You’re renting your space on social media platforms. 

Don’t you think it’s more secure to build your business’s online home on your own website, where you’re running the whole show?! You own all of your content, you call the shots, nothing changes without your permission. It’s all you!

 

2. It looks exactly how you want it to look.

Instead of trying to customise your own page or profile on social media so that it looks how you’d like it to as much as possible, it will still in the end look just like Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, etc. Because that is the platform you’re on. 

With your own website, every single part of it can look exactly how you’d like it to. This is even more the case if you have your branding done already or a really clear idea of what you would like your site to look like.

This even goes for things such as using Linktree in your instagram bio. Do you really want to have Linktree’s branding there when you’re trying to use it as your landing page?! Not really! What’s 100 times better?… using a page on your own website specifically for this so that you have only your own branding. This helps remind people who you are and keep them 100% clear about who’s website they’re on.



3. There’s no competition.

Do you want to constantly try and stand out on a platform with tons of other people doing the same thing as you? Or is it getting a little hard to stand out?

On your own website, you’re the star of the show. There’s no one else there competing for attention. It’s all about you!

You can have your website be more photo based, text based, include a blog, previous work, upcoming events…really, whatever you want. So rather than trying to shoehorn your business into a platform that may not necessarily be the best for showing what you do, on your own website you can show off exactly how you like and in a way that puts you in the best light. Minus everyone else that’s in the same niche on social media platforms who’s trying to do the same.



Having your own website lets you run the show

These are just a few reasons why having a website to show off your brand is better than using only social media.

So much work goes into preparation before the actual site build, and that can all be made much simpler when you’ve been in business long enough to be really clear on your branding, ideal client and goals. Bringing all of that to the table will give you a website you really love that truly represents who you are and what you do, which will make you even happier with your investment.

How about you? Do you only use social media to run your business, or do you have a website?

More to explore

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Does good web design really help build brand credibility?

Does good web design really help build brand credibility?

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

There are many reasons you need an awesomely designed, well thought out website to really help get your brand out there and spread your message. People are so quick these days to bounce away from your site if it doesn’t immediately grab their attention, and it takes them quite a few visits to your site to decide whether they’ll spend their hard earned money with you or not.

 

Not only do you need to grab people’s attention quickly, but you need a website that truly shows your brands essence and properly conveys how you can help your people.

 

Think about it; how often have you judged a brand by their website? Did you decide whether or not you would contact them, book them, visit their site again based on what their site looked like?

 

I think people make this snap decision based on a site’s design more than they actually realise they’re doing it. Personally, I often find a new brand on social media. If they seem interesting or like something I need, I’ll head to their website or Google them. If they sell a product on something like Etsy that’s brilliant, but I like an actual website so I can learn more about them, what sets them apart, how they got started, etc. If I take the time to Google them or look them up and they have no website at all, chances are I’ll forget they exist.

 

So does great web design really make a difference to how your brand is perceived?

 

I understood in principle how important great web design is, but recently found myself in a situation where it became very clear to me exactly how important good web design is to help build brand credibility. 

 

As well as my web design, I’m also a musician and have been for most of my life. I play folk music and have a BA in Scottish Music from the RCS in Glasgow. I’ve performed, recorded, gigged and taught music for over 20 years now, but launched a new brand for my online music lessons (Modern Bodhrán) nearly one year ago. So; not very long ago!

 

I really wanted to get back into teaching again after taking a break for a few years following the birth of my older son; I taught extensively around Glasgow for about 8 years and really loved it. Late last year, I decided to launch some online music courses so I could still teach in a way that worked for me and would allow people from all over the world to learn how to play. Luckily, my husband is a recording engineer and has also just started making music videos so we set up at the studio where he works, recorded and filmed 30 lessons, I built my own website, and I launched! It was such a great learning experience and I’m loving being able to connect with people in a different way like this.

 

I wanted everything to be very high quality and to look good, but I hadn’t thought that much more into how having my videos and website done to such a high quality level would really speak to the general perception of my brand.

 

What was the general impression of my brand?

 

I won’t pretend I’ve launchd and made 6 figures my first year promoting and putting everything into my courses. At this point it’s fun, I’ve got a great group of people who love the courses, it’s enjoyable and very rewarding! In the beginning, I never really thought further of how my brand was perceived by people even though I had people buying the courses without me really marketing them too much.

 

I should also note, while I love what I do and have been doing it for many years and I know I’m good at what I do, it’s not like I’m ‘known’ on the scene and everyone was excited to see my courses come out and rushed off to buy them. 

 

Generally though, the impression of my very new brand was that it had been around for way longer than it actually was. And it turns out, most of this was due to the quality of the website’s design when I launched.

 

Great web design builds trust in your brand

 

The first lesson here is trust: if you have a solid and credible online presence with your website and digital marketing, you will be much easier to trust. Do you think people will want to put their credit card details on a website that looks really old school, isn’t mobile optimised and doesn’t have an SSL certificate? I don’t think so. They likely won’t even enquire about what you’re offering; they’ll just leave your site.

 

When people come to your site and it doesn’t look very good, doesn’t work on their mobiles and is hard to navigate, it gives the impression that you don’t care. Do you want to work with someone who you think won’t really care about you? I doubt it.

 

If you truly want to serve people and share what you have to offer because your work can change their lives, you need to show them that you believe in what you offer, that you care enough to invest in yourself, and that you’ll look after them that well too. If you can’t believe in and invest in yourself, why should anyone else?

 

Great web design builds credibility

 

As much as it would be nice if you had time to get to know people and for them to learn more about your brand, people make snap judgements and don’t have the time to spend forever trying to navigate your website or figure out what you do. There is such an overwhelm of new content, new websites, new businesses, and new products these days; people can’t consume everything that comes across their paths. 

 

The first time I realised my website really spoke to my brands credibility was when I got an email from a lovely player in Germany who wanted to know if I’d ever thought of translating my lessons into German. She thought there was space for me to do really well in Germany if my lessons were translated so that they would be more accessible for people based there to use them.

 

After much discussion, I eventually decided that it wasn’t quite the right time to translate them into other languages yet, mainly as my brand is so new and I feel my time would be better spent in other areas of that brand before starting to offer them in different languages. After all, they’ve been out for less than a year!

 

When I explained I felt the timing wasn’t quite right and I had other ideas I felt would be better explored first since my lessons were so new, she was really surprised; she thought my lessons had been online for at least ten years.

 

The quality of my website and the videos we’d produced were so good, it gave the impression that I had been online and developing them for years.

 

Invest in your web design to build trust and credibility in your brand

 

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know I often say you shouldn’t stop yourself from launching your dream business just because you don’t have the budget to have a website designed. In fact, I think that’s a really common excuse that a lot of people use not to put themselves out there. Investing in a web designer already feels like a big step, never mind dealing with all those beliefs around how scary it feels to put that money behind your own brand and put yourself out there!

 

Taking that step to getting a beautifully designed and well thought out website will go a huge way to building your brand credibility and gaining trust from your followers. Don’t you want people to feel they’d be in good hands with you when they come across your website? 

 

You’re putting yourself out there and have something amazing to offer the world; helping people take that step to investing with you by making them feel sure they can trust you is something you can easily do if your website is up to par.

More to explore

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Why Websites Are About More Than Flashy Design

Why Websites Are About More Than Flashy Design

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

A well-designed website can be the ultimate tool to support your business. Good design, however, doesn’t always equate to extravagance!

Your website has a purpose, and very rarely is that purpose simply aesthetic. Of course you want your site to be visually appealing, but going overboard on ostentatious details and graphics can do way more harm than good.

The key is to find the balance between form and function, with the latter taking precedence.

 

Function Comes First

Function, your website’s reason for being (or raison d’être if we’re getting fancy), is what draws people to your page. People seek out sites like yours with a goal in mind. They want a service you offer, a product you sell, a solution to a problem, or information you can provide. But there are many other sites that offer the same thing. With so many options available, why would you delay? Give them what they want first!

 

Accessibility Is Essential

Think about design in terms of utility. Following conventional paths and patterns may sound boring, but when it comes to websites, user experience should be easy and straightforward. No one will stay on a site they can’t navigate. Too much choice might distract your audience, while a convoluted site structure might confuse them. The steps they take to reach their goal should be accessible. That is, a homepage should work like a homepage, and any navigation bar, drop down menu, or footer should feel effortless to operate. If innovation can be integrated into the function of a site, fantastic! But it needs to have a purpose.

 

Avoid Excess

Excessive buttons, links, and pop-ups are another issue. While some pop-ups are necessary and sometimes even appreciated (50% off just for signing up? Yes please!), they can also be obnoxious. Unless your audience is fully invested in reading your newsletter or making a purchase, forcing them to view pop-ups can deter a potential reader or customer.

It is extremely important to use restraint when including extras of this nature. The same can be said of links. While your audience should be able to reach every page of your site easily, a hundred different links scattering your homepage looks messy and unprofessional, while an overkill of sub-topics in a drop down menu is confusing. The key word here is streamline!

 

Restrain The Razzle-Dazzle

Likewise, too much flair can be a detriment. A website of full of flashy colours and graphics may discourage customers, clients, or readers from staying on your site. You want your audience to land, not bounce! A high-bounce rate shows that people aren’t sticking around. While this could be for various reasons, a web design faux-pas could be the culprit! For one, a multicoloured homepage can prove difficult for some to read.

This is where the value of knowing your audience becomes evident. Vibrant colours may draw in a younger market, but if it’s difficult to read, an older audience may skip the site altogether. As an additional point, consider the inclusion of moving visual carefully. Videos can add interest to a homepage and improve you SEO, but a slow- loading clip does nothing for you or your audience. Do your due diligence and research the best platforms before adding a video so it doesn’t leave your audience waiting.

 

Analyse Your Audience

All that being said, well-designed doesn’t necessarily mean minimalistic. Eye-catching design can be beneficial depending on the kind of products, services, and ideas your website provides. Bold colours, vivid imagery, movement, and animation may be exactly what your website needs.

Again, this is where knowing your audience is integral. What will make the biggest impact? A stark, white homepage might be the exact opposite of the message you want to send. Research your desired market; learn their interests, their concerns, their wants and needs. Really understand who you are catering towards so you can design site to suit them. As long as design doesn’t takes precedence over utility and it helps you reach your goal, go wild!

 

Authenticity Is Inspiring

If I could offer any piece of advice, it would be this: Don’t design simply for the sake of design. It’s essential that you stay true to who you are. Flash and flair can be fun, and even useful, but if it’s just for the sake of show, it isn’t a good representation of what you can offer. Keep your design genuine and relevant to you and your audience, and you’ll be golden!

If you need help getting the perfect balance of flair and functionality on your website, get in touch with me to have a chat about how I can help you.

More to explore

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

5 Things You Need To Know About WordPress

5 Things You Need To Know About WordPress

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, Wix, Weebly…there are so many different platforms you can use for your website! Where do you even start?!

All of the websites I build are on WordPress. I really love it but by no means think that it is always the best solution for each and every build. Every website is different and therefore you should work with a designer or developer that will produce exactly what you need and suggest the best solution for you.

There are many reasons I love WordPress so I wanted to share some of them with you so you can see why I love building on it, and hopefully learn a bit more about it if you’re trying to decide what you’d like your website to be built with.

Why exactly is WordPress so awesome?

Above all, WordPress actually has a totally amazing and really inclusive community all over the world. I didn’t realise quite how much until I went to WordCamp in Edinburgh last year, and feel like I got a tiny glimpse into why so many people love it. What an experience! It’s so fun to feel like a part of a bigger community. 

Aside from that, there are a few things to consider before you choose WordPress as your website’s platform. 

1.It’s easy for you to use your website once it’s live.

WordPress has a super user friendly CMS (content management system). This makes it easy for you to add blog posts and make small changes to your content as and when you need. If you have a good designer, they’ll either show you how to do this or offer you a monthly management service where they make small changes like this for you.

Also, because WordPress is open source and very popular (it currently powers around 30% of websites on the internet!), it’s easy to find tutorials and help with any problems you might run into. 

It’s worth noting here that many small business owners don’t ever touch their websites once they’re live. But if you care about your online presence and want to have a website that truly represents your brand, being able to post your own blogs and tweak and test your copy is an ability that you really need to take into consideration.

2. You need to buy hosting and a domain name.

A lot of people talk about how WordPress is free. While WordPress.Com is free, WordPress.Org is a self-hosted CMS (you can read more on the difference between the two here), which means you need to take care of the hosting yourself. There are a variety of  solutions for this, but most hosting solutions are usually paid for in a small monthly fee. You want to do your homework here and make sure you choose a reputable company with good support before you take out a hosting package with them! 

Another cost some don’t realise is your domain name. You’ll need to purchase this before you build your site, and you can even purchase multiple domain names to all point at the same site if you want. The price of this will depend on what domain name you want, and also on the ending (.com tends to be more expensive).

3. Themes can make or break your WordPress experience.

With WordPress, you can use or purchase any theme or plugin you need to build the website you want. There are so many to choose from, it can be totally overwhelming!

I often see people complaining about WordPress and certain styling or functionality, and the truth is that issue has come down to their theme. Anyone can build their own theme and sell it on a site like themeforest; you want to make sure you do your homework here and choose a theme that has been updated recently, is compatible with your version of WordPress, has good ratings and a decent download number. 

Basically, don’t blame WordPress when the problem you’re having is because of the theme you’ve used.

4. You need to keep it updated.

Here’s another thing you really need to know about WordPress; you need to keep it up to date.

Depending how your site has been built and what’s been used, this is easy to do and doesn’t take long. You need to update three main areas on your site:

  • Your theme.
  • Your plugins.
  • WordPress itself.

Luckily, WordPress makes this really easy for us and you get a notification every time you log in to your website and an update needs made. 

The important thing here, is that you keep on top of your updates to ensure there are no security lapses. Most designers and developers offer monthly WordPress packages where they will update and look after your WordPress website for you so that you don’t need to worry about it.

5. It’s SEO friendly.

Many people who have built their own sites on other platforms ask me about switching to WordPress as they hear it’s more SEO friendly. While having your website built on WordPress won’t magically improve your SEO results on it’s own, there are many aspects of WordPress that mean it is pretty SEO friendly straight out of the box.

It has proper HTML markup, SEO friendly permalinks (or pretty URLs, which we can talk about another time!), different heading tags, and many different plugins you can use such as Yoast or All-In-One-SEO to help you work on your onpage SEO.

WordPress also makes is super easy for you to create your own posts, which is a huge contributing factor in SEO. If you publish to your site regularly, Google knows that you’re giving more valuable information for your followers, which is something they love to see.

WordPress is the best!

All in all, there are many reasons why WordPress is awesome. For brands that want beautiful websites that also have the functionality they need to run their businesses, it can provide a really amazing solution.

Have any WordPress questions? Drop them below and I would love to help if I can.

I will leave you with this awesome infographic by WPBeginner

More to explore

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

What is your online presence really missing?

What is your online presence really missing?

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

From your website to your social media channels and email marketing, your online presence should be one big coherent part of you

Everyone wants to learn and implement the latest growth hack, messaging bot and sales funnel. While I do believe that so many of those have a valid place in the intricate puzzle that is your overall online presence, I also believe there are two main places where brands and businesses really miss the mark with the core of their online presence.

 

Are you thinking about these points within the context of your website and digital marketing?

People crave connection. There’s a lot of negativity that floats around about the internet and how social media taints our perception of ourselves, other people and makes us compare ourselves to others. I am as guilty of that as the next person sometimes, but I also think the amount of connection and community we gain from being online is absolutely huge and not to be ignored. 

Websites and digital marketing used to be a lot about ‘look at us! Look at what we can do! Come to us instead of our competitors!’, or rather, based on push marketing. 

Does that type of website grab you? Do those posts make you stop scrolling on Facebook?

I didn’t think so. Me neither.

Given that everyone craves connection and community, there are two massive things I think many businesses don’t think about in the context of their online presence.

 

1. Focus on what your ideal client struggles with and how you can help them with their problems.

Instead of talking only about your business and all the amazing things you’ve achieved, pinpoint your customers struggles and speak to them in their own language. 

It can be really easy to think that people know more than they do, or that you’re explaining things to them in a much too simple way. There’s a reason they need you though! And you can help serve them by showing them exactly how you can help them.

Often people know they need help, but not exactly what they need from you. If you can show very clearly that you know what they’re struggling with, it will clarify everything for them and also give them confidence in their decision to work with you. 

Too many businesses have their entire website copy and digital content tailored to speak only about themselves, and not more about their customers. In fact, the majority of everything you do online should be about your customers and to show that you understand them and how you can guide them to a solution.

 

2. Be yourself! Be social and make connections.

There are also many posts floating around right now about vulnerability and authenticity. There is a reason for this though, and so much to be said for being yourself, online and off! 

You’re never going to please everyone. It’s not possible! And you can’t be everything to everyone either. By being yourself, you’ll attract the type of clients you would love to work with. You’ll also repel people who don’t agree with your point of view and the content you put out, but be honest with yourself; would you really want to work with them anyways?

If you want to have a calendar filled with clients who light you up and that you can’t wait to talk to every day, don’t be afraid to show up as yourself. Because by being yourself online, you’ll connect with the people you’d love to hang out with in real life.

As for being social and making connections, many businesses often forget that the whole point of social media is to be social. And while worthwhile goals can be to makes sales on Instagram and book new people into your classes on Facebook, I believe that before all of that, we need to focus on building brand awareness and community through our online presence. Having a social media presence is necessary for any business these days, but if you’re not there to be social and make connections with your followers, you aren’t going to get very far when you try to put out a new offer or launch your latest course.



Are you guilty of forgetting these points?

How do you feel about your online presence? Do you have an overall strategy? Are you getting leads online and building an awareness of your brand? Are you creating a community and connecting with your customers?

If not, review your website and digital marketing content to see if you’re maybe missing the mark with your online presence. 

Once you shift your perspective away from shouting about your own business to focusing on how you can help potential clients, show up as yourself and be a bit more sociable, you’ll find people will understand and relate to you on a whole new level.

What do you think? Are you good at this already or could your online presence use a bit of work? Get in touch with me if you need help.

More to explore

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

4 easy SEO strategies you can implement on your website now

4 easy SEO strategies you can implement on your website now

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

SEO can seem like a bit of a dark art to some, but a general working knowledge of the basics of SEO can go a long way to helping you improve your website’s search engine results. If you don’t have the first clue about SEO and even thinking about it puts you off ever looking into it, check out one of my earlier posts here where you can learn a bit more.

When I’ve been working with some new clients recently, I’ve noticed some of the same questions about SEO coming up time and time again. I decided to compile my top 4 (most asked) easy SEO techniques you can implement on your website today! These are easy to do and if you haven’t looked at them yet, working on them will start to make a big difference to your site.

 

Easy tips to help you improve your SEO results

These are a bit of a mix for you to look through; some of these you’ll work on once, and some will be more of an ongoing effort. Here are 4 strategies you can start with today to help you work on improving your search engine results.  

 

1.Optimising your image sizes

How quickly your website loads has a big impact on your SEO rankings. Optimising your images is one of the first things you can look at to improve that, and often something people don’t realise makes a difference.

If you have high res photos, they’ll likely be at least 5000 px wide. For images on you website, you’ll want them to be 1500 px wide, up to about 2000 px wide max. You can either adjust the size of your images before you upload them using something like Photoshop, or edit them in your image editor in your CMS (‘Media’ if you’re on WordPress). Alternatively, you can also try a plugin like Smush to help with this.

 

2. Use a variety of heading tags

In the text editor in your CMS, you’ll have a ‘styles’ dropdown where you’ll be able to choose from  headings 1-6. Make sure you use a variety of these through your written content! Not only does it make it easier for Google to scan your content and keep it well-organised (which pleases the Google gods), but it makes it much easier for your users to consume your content.

Different headings and shorter paragraphs make it much easier for people to scan your content, see what it’s about, and choose what they want to read; they will likely completely skip over large walls of text.

 

3. Regularly updating your content

Google wants to give people the most relevant, up to date search results for their queries. If you Google ‘best Facebook ads strategies’ you probably aren’t going to want to read a blog post from 2015, are you? You want something more recent than that!

This is in part why having regularly updated content on your website is a necessity. It allows you to continuously work on other SEO strategies such as your keywords and internal and external links. On top of that, having new content is more interesting for your audience and a great way to provide value for them.



4. Researching and using keywords

Before you start to think about the written content you’ll have on your website, you need to research and think about what keywords you want to use. To put it simply, what are they search terms you want people to enter during their query to then find your website?

SEO is a long-term game, and putting keywords on your site won’t make you appear on page 1 of Google overnight, but think about them and work them in to your content in a natural way. As your website starts to move up the rankings and once its been live for a while, you’ll be glad you worked these in in the beginning!

You can look for volume of traffic by keyword using a tool like Google Keyword Planner while doing your research, and then keep track of keyword performance once your site is live using Google Search Console.

 

Putting these strategies to use

I hope these 4 easy changes you can make to improve your SEO are useful to you! You should be able to implement these easily yourself, or else discuss them with your web designer or content producer to discuss how you you can work them in to your overall strategy.

As always, I welcome your questions and comments below.

If you need help with your digital marketing strategy, I would love to hear from you; you can get in touch with me here.

More to explore

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Join My Mailing List

I’d love to connect with you! You’ll be the first to hear about any promos I’m running and get my must-have strategies to your inbox.

Grab my FREE guide to help you optimise your blog posts for SEO every.single.time.