Don’t look like every other business out there – do yours with style
It’s not easy to be individual.
I’m not a very interesting dresser. My wardrobe is full of bland clothes, jeans, comfy trousers, plain tops and a couple of hoodies (so I won’t be allowed in Lakeside then). None of this reflects my bonkers personality. If I was to wear my character out there I’d probably be dressed in multi-coloured floaty dresses with a hint of tutu about them. Plus long socks because they are comfy. With ballet pumps because I hate wearing them without socks.
I don’t, because I’m not five, but really, because I’m just not brave enough. At least, not on the school run. So I stick to my Mummy Uniform.
But my business is another matter!As my brand has developed from staid (ish) to beautiful and magical I’ve found that it’s been closer to the real me. I find it easier to sell, to shout about, to write and to connect with people who love the five year old in me. I know I’m getting it right when my Dad looks at my latest video offering and shakes his head with the smile that says, ‘that’s my Katherine’. Well, I was dressed up as a Christmas tree! Big grin.
I love my business. It feels effortless and amazingly simple. I’m just being me and creating things I love! Am I smug? – well, maybe a bit.
I’m sure you started your business because you were passionate about what you do. It’s part of being an entrepreneur (even if you don’t really think you are one in your own head). You’ve created something that is totally yours and completely and wonderfully you. At least, it should be…
I know, we are told we need to appeal to our ideal customer, that our brand should attract the right people to buy. And that is true. But it is also really important that you don’t lose sight of who you are and your own contribution to the business. Your unique selling point may be a revolutionary way of doing things, outstanding customer service, a stand out invention that is going to change the world but without your character driving your brand there will always be a disconnect between your brand and your business.
Do you love your branding? Does it make your tummy do little flips of excitement? Do you love showing it off? Do you find it easy to create new content, sell new products and shout about your business all over social media? Yes? Great – go and make a cup of tea. No? Read on…
Here are 3 ways you can align your brand with your true, underneath it all, if you could, you would character.
Put yourself in the limelight and shine
I work with a lot of solopreneurs whose business is all tied up with their expertise but when it comes to having their face up there in lights they all want to hide in a corner. ‘What should I be doing?’ ‘What poses should I do?’ they ask me. I always tell them to show what they are best at and to show what they do.
So if you are a speaker, a communicator and a teacher then show yourself speaking. If you are a writer, show yourself writing or thinking with the tools of your trade before you. If you are a creator, show the behind the scenes you. If you sell beautiful things, show the moment you discover the perfect addition to your shop. That is the interesting stuff. Not the coiffured, suited and booted headshot we see on most websites.
Choose colours that make your heart sing
Yes, I know, your ideal customers should like them to. But you will naturally attract the right people, the people who will buy, if your brand is aligned to you.
I teach how to find your brand colours at the very start of my Online Gorgeous course as colour is such an important part of your visual brand. It can create the right mood, make an impact, attract the right people and guide people around your website. One of my gorgeous ladies took inspiration from her favourite scarf, saying she always gets complimented on it and once she’d built up her new colour palette it just felt right.
If you are stuck for inspiration hop onto Pinterest and pin pictures you love. What patterns emerge? Or visit www.colorlovers.com and explore the fantastic range of colour palettes. If it catches your eye, it’s bound to catch your customers’.
Pick images that do it for you.
We are all sick of the average, corporate looking, smiling twenty something model smiling at the camera. These pictures are everywhere and are nothing but space fillers. The images you pick to support your marketing should add to your content, or even stand on its own.
So how can you find the right sort of images? First, have a think about the character of your brand. Is it fun, quirky, elegant, traditional, playful or humorous? Jot down how it makes you feel. You’ll end up with a whole lot of adjectives that will help you to pinpoint the right images for your brand.
My key words for The Business Beautician are playful, magical, zesty, simple, colourful, straightforward, whimsical, storytelling, transformation and many many more. Then, when I move on to finding images for my marketing I will use these adjectives for the search.
So when I was on the hunt for an image to support this blog I typed into the image search, ‘dressing up play’, ‘colourful fairy clothes’, ‘magical transformation girl’. And I think this image says it all – both about me and about the blog itself. Perfect!
If you find it really difficult to find those perfect images for your brand, you can also download my free images cheatsheet so you’ve got a list of really handy and commercially useable images for your marketing. Helpful, eh?
A good story has a beginning, a middle and an ending
This is harder than you may think.
My eight year old daughter loves to write. She uses her best pens and makes sure her writing is as small and neat as possible. All illustrated with her wonderful drawings of course.
Last week I bought her an A4 hardback notebook (like Mummy’s) and she has already filled eight pages full. No spaces. She loves it.
So I asked her if she would like to write a story for that 500 words competition for Radio 2. She shook her head emphatically, ‘no, you HAVE to do 500 words, that’s hardly any words at all and I want to write lots and lots’. Looking at her full notebook she had a point. She was enjoying the process of creating SO much she didn’t want it to end. She imagined a book full of her beautiful work to show off how much and how beautifully she can write (perfect for showing off to teacher and definitely worth a merit mark).
For her, the story didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if it didn’t end because she was enjoying the process of writing so much. Which is fantastic when you are eight and exploring your own creativity, but not so good when you are creating something for a specific purpose.
It is SO easy to get lost in the detail. Making something beautiful or perfect can be really addictive but can often scupper our chances of getting things finished, launched and sold.
Websites are the worst (or the best) for this.
There is SO much to think about and plan when you are creating a new brand and building your website. The pressure is really on to create something that will get noticed, sell your products, and be future proof and that is truly scary.
The temptation is to just keep creating, trying to get it absolutely perfect before you launch your business into the wild. What if it is a flop, what if nobody is interested in my lovely new business, what if nobody visits my gorgeous website, what if I don’t sell anything at all? I’ve seen it with so many new online businesses, they get stuck in the exciting stage of developing that new logo, fiddling with colour schemes or shuffling website content around before launching anything. They keep busy with creating pretty stuff even as business targets start to slip and that product never gets launched.
Don’t get stuck in the creative stage (great as it is), make sure every single stage of your business story has a (hopefully happy) ending.
Keep it simple and use my 4 tips to avoiding the creative trap to launch your business.
Before you start launching into creating that website or that new brand, write down the first thing your business needs to achieve. Make it specific, such as building a list of 1000 super customers, launching your first 4 week programme or selling X no of widgets.
Pin it to your wall and keep returning to that one goal – everything else you do now is just to get you there
Forget perfect. It doesn’t exist. You just need your creative efforts to achieve that one goal pinned to your wall.
Once you’ve achieved that first goal, you can start to work towards the next goal. Yes, you may have to start changing your website, tweak your branding, realign your marketing to appeal to a changing customer base, but this is part of a modern online business. Be flexible, embrace change and your business will be able to grow.
Have you got stuck in the fiddling stage of your business? It can be really hard to recognise that you are doing it and scary to get out of, to get out there and launch your new business to the world. GO FOR IT!
Planning a new website can be fraught with decisions that leave most business owners running for the duvet
As business owners we have to be jacks of all trades but for those that know me well by now, I am useless at accounts. I’m ok once I’m gently shown what bit to fill in where and given some clearly written rules of engagement with my accounting software, but up until that point I haven’t got a clue.
Now, you may be an accounting whiz or just naturally know what needs to be done when a customer pays you, but in my non-accounting brain a nice gift of money in my Paypal account spurs a series of confusing accounting tasks that I have ABSOLUTELY no understanding of – the why and the how alludes me to this day. Luckily (you will be relieved to know) I have a lovely accountant to sort it all out for me and make sure all my columns, invoices, accounting do dahs add up … or whatever it is they are supposed to do.
When I started up my business, and knowing that I should try to get all my accounting sorted out for me, I ran straight to the experts and got help, listened to their recommendations and let them get on with it. They knew what I (and my business) needed, what software was right for me and how it could support everything I planned to do in the future. They asked me questions about my customers and future plans that I hadn’t even considered and certainly had no idea would effect the way I set up my accounting. And I’ve really noticed the difference – my business has grown and expanded into new markets and everything still runs like clockwork in the background. Perfect!
In the same way as setting up my accounts made me want to hide under the duvet not even knowing where to start, planning a new website can be an impossibly daunting task if you haven’t done it before.
You’re desperate to get your business online but don’t know where to start, how to hire a website designer or how to build one yourself?
You’ve no idea which of these options would be best for you anyway.
You’ve no idea where to start with planning that new website or even what it needs to achieve.
AND it all seems to involve investment.
ARGH! It can seem like a mountain to climb!
Many business owners decide they need a website, are determined to build it themselves, choose WordPress to build it on because they have heard great things about it and then have just been daunted by the amount of choice out there – themes, widgets, plugins, bells and whistles!! WOAH THERE! So to help you figure out exactly what you need from a website before you get hopelessly confused by the HUGE amount of choice, I have put together a really simple step by step guide to planning a new website to make sure you have the essentials in place before you even think about hiring somebody to build it, or start thinking about creating it yourself.
Your easy guide to knowing what you want AND need when planning a new website
1. Who is your website for?
I know, you’ve heard it all before. You need to focus on your ideal / super dooper customer who you LOVE to work with. But really, this is the stage of planning a new website that underpins EVERYTHING it will do for your business. After all, your business is nothing without those customers.
A well planned website will convert visitors and get them to take action. The more you can focus your website in converting those people, the harder your website will work for your business. And the trick of converting as much traffic as possible is to make sure that your website appeals to and talks to your ideal customer. You need them to feel as if your website is made for them. You need them to fall in love with your business simply by exploring your website. You need them to make that connection with you and your business without you physically being there to shake their hand and explain what you are all about.
Try these 4 quick tricks to get started and return to them throughout your planning:
Pinpoint the person you love to work with, who never quibbles on price and who loves what you do. If you already work with somebody like this GREAT! If you don’t then pick somebody you dream of being able to work with. This is the person you will be writing to, appealing to and helping when you write your content and design the look of your site.
Describe your ideal customer. What do they love to do, where do they hang out, what do they love to hate? Social media profile pages can be wonderful places for inspiration. Find a few good matches with your chosen ideal customer (or actually your ideal customer if you are already working with them) and explore what they are saying, what groups they are in, what they share and what inspires them.
Visit your competitors’ websites – who are they trying to speak to? Is it the same sort of person or can you differentiate your business by talking to a slightly different customer base?
Visit the websites that your ideal customer shops from. You’ll start to see similarities in colours, patterns, spacing, fonts, images they use. Steal these ideas (not the pictures), they work!
2. Jot down everything your website needs to do
What will visitors to your website be looking for?
Information about your business
A solution to a problem
A particular product
New ideas and inspiration
Advice from an expert
An answer to a specific question
What problems will your website seek to solve for your visitors?
Think about your ideal customer, the person who loves your products and is a pleasure to work with.
What can you help them with and how can you help them get the answers they need through your website?
What is THE SINGLE MOST important role of your website?
Selling a product / service
Getting them to sign up to a membership club
Getting visitors to sign up to your list so you can sell to them later
Building your brand identity
Giving your visitors information
How will your website make your business money?
Selling physical products
Selling downloadable products
Selling your services
Sharing discount vouchers to encourage real world purchases
What is your main marketing message?
It is SO important that your website introduces what you do straight away, up front and not hidden amongst reams of text. Keep it short and sweet, no jargon and straight to the point.
What is the most important thing visitors should learn about your business? Try thinking:
What results can your website’s main focus get your ideal customer?
How will that make them feel?
What problem does it solve for them?
What questions does it answer?
How do you plan to attract people to your website?
I’m afraid that getting good (and the right) traffic to your website involves a lot more than publishing it and waiting for people to find it. But the good news is that there are lots of free and easy ways to get new people to ‘discover’ you online. Plan these tactics into your website early on and you won’t be sat waiting for somebody, anybody to arrive once you’re ready to launch.
Consider a really helpful and regularly published blog. Create a very social site that encourages comments and share posts within social media to get people interested and visiting your site.
Talk to other business owners who are aiming at your ideal customer. Could you share information and link to their website?
Share your marvellous blogs to other websites, such as The Huffington Post
Have a good root around google to find out what people are asking and answer those questions on your website.
3. How will all this work together?!
Make a map
Draw a little map of your website showing where all your pages are going to go. I use powerpoint most of the time as it is easy to draw boxes, but a biro and paper does just as well.
How will your visitors find their way through your website?
If they were to land on your home page, how will they get to the page where they can sign up for that membership club or buy that product
If they land on one of your helpful blogs, how will they get to the page where they can sign up for that membership club or buy that product
Make sure your products are easy to find and easy to buy once they get there
The truth is that a well-designed site is not necessarily the site with all the bells and whistles, but the site that is the most user friendly.
What action will be taken?
Now, for each page, make a note of what call to action needs to be included. This might be a read more button, a sign up form, a guide to which section of your website would suit your visitor most or a buy now button. Make sure every page asks them to do something.
4. Get an idea of the look you want
Sketch out your home page
Just on an envelope, with a crayon, stick men and plenty of scribbles if you must, but this will really help you to visualise what you are looking for before you spend hours of your precious time cruising through reams and reams of website designs. Where are your calls to action going to be and where is all that precious information going to go? Don’t go into too much detail, you needn’t write it all out now. Get a good idea what information, what amount of information and what the purpose of the homepage is and you will start to understand what sort of design will suit your new website best.
And now it’s over to you. It may be that you decide to get a website professional to help you out on your journey, but by going through this little guide you will have a MUCH better idea of what your business needs and a MUCH better idea of what you are buying. Start off with the basics and you won’t go wrong. Love Kat x
PS: Have fun planning your new website, there is no right or wrong at this stage. Don’t limit your imagination. Create something that works for you, your business and your ideal customer. Then, and only should you think about building it 🙂 Have fun!
Business owners spend on average three whole months preparing for the Christmas rush. It doesn’t matter if you sell products or services, Christmas mania is something you just can’t avoid. Christmas campaigns can be fantastic for boosting sales and not just for retail, but BtoB businesses see a huge rise in sales in the run up to the holidays.
The only problem is that the start of the New Year, after everybody has overindulged and come back from a week of (well deserved) lazing around after eating too much turkey and watching old films on tv, can seem pretty lacklustre.
Cue – the planner
It seems that each year more entrepreneurs are releasing a planner to help you over the Christmas bump and launch into the New Year with focus and vim. Which is great … BUT can leave you with the feeling that you have filled in your planner, done the work, laid the foundations and can now forget about it over the holidays.
Your well laid plans MUST be followed by action and updating your new year branding is a huge part of this. Nothing signals a leap into the new year with a new lease of life than new visuals. Nothing will show your well laid out plans better than a fresh face and polished, well thought out, scrummily spot on new year branding.
So don’t come to market in 2016 with a whimper, make sure you bounce into the New Year with a super special regenerative campaign to get your customers to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions.
Spend some time during the holidays to have a good look at your brand. Are you sending out the right messages to your ideal customer? Is your brand consistent across social media, websites and printed materials? No? Then this is a great time to get it all sorted.
Tops Tips to Rockin’ your New Year Branding
Now is the time to spruce your business up ready for the New Year so here are some top tips to let your crowd know that this year is YOUR YEAR and you really mean to ROCK YOUR BIZ (with stars and many exclamation marks!!!)
Grab that planner and add on your notes on the visual impact your plans will have on your branding.
Want to double your income in the coming year – how will you look the part?
Will your brand need some tweaking to represent your new big, bold and successful business? If your branding is looking homemade or tired and unloved, it can stop you from taking your business to the next level.
The last thing you want is for your visual branding to hold you back as you reach for the stars. Updating and looking after your visuals can sky rocket your reputation before you have even put your new year plans into action. If your business looks the best, you will be able to charge more, sell more and achieve your income goals – because ‘you’re worth it’ (hair swish)
Want to launch new products – does your present branding help to sell them or hinder your growth?
Businesses change very quickly these days. I’m sure you have grand plans for new shiny offerings in 2016 but have you considered how they sit within your main brand.
One of my lovely one to one clients has recently taken the plunge and moved away from her old brand, even her old brand name, and reinvented her business under a more flexible new title, with fabulous new graphics, new colours, new photos, new approach – THE LOT. She has done it with her ideal customer in mind as her product ideas developed and as her crowd moved forwards. The opportunities were there and she is grabbing them with both hands (all with be revealed in 2016 – promise!)
If she had stayed with her old brand, she would have been restricted, she wouldn’t have been able to expand her business and if she had launched her simply wonderful ideas under her old branding, she would have only appealed to her present crowd who love what she does but not brought in the new people a business desperately needs to grow.
So she took a deep breath and leapt. And the results? Watch this space – it is all very exciting!
Want to focus your business on another niche – will your present branding speak to them?
Time spent considering your ideal customer is never wasted. Even more so when you consider that it takes just seconds for new people to your business to make that decision of whether yours in the business for them or move on. Yikes!
Once you have worked out exactly who you will be targeting in the New Year, it is time to make sure that your New Year branding will appeal to them and draw them in. Big businesses spend the big bucks on customer research, so you don’t have to.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by jumping on social media. You may already have a few of your new ideal customers lurking in your list or if you are new to the business maybe some of your friends or their friends fit the bill. Look them up on Pinterest, Instagram or even Facebook and see who they are following, what they are pinning, what they ‘like’, what gets them involved and talking. See any patterns? You can create something unique to your business by using imagery, colours and patterns that your ideal customer has already bought in to. Give them the ‘wow, this is made for me’ moment in 2016.
From this you can start to build up a picture of what will make them feel right at home with your business. And if your present branding doesn’t quite cut it, don’t ignore the problem, sometimes a few little tweaks to colours, layout, fonts or spacing can make the world of difference.
Want to play in the big kids’ sandpit in 2016 – will your business just be another noise in the crowd?
Yep, playing with the big kids can be scary but you can’t afford to hide away. Leap in, show off and create an impression right from the start.
BIG branding doesn’t have to cost the earth but it can make a BIG impact and place your business right at the top. This year I have seen many new to the game ‘business and life coaches’ launch on the scene with top notch sparkly new brands and whizzy new sales sites. This has been the year of ‘I made a six figure business in one year’ and don’t their brands just show it. Would they sell as many places on their courses if they looked homemade? No.
Now is the time to get your New Year branding spruced up and ready for the big time. Investing in new graphics and upgrading your social media and even your website will go a long way to helping you achieve your dreams.
Want this year to be YOUR YEAR – what will you be doing differently with your visuals?
Part of your planning for next year should be looking back on what was super and what didn’t work for your business last year. Brand wise, this could be anything from consistent social media to whether your website is working hard for you.
Social media – same brand messages on your banners, in your graphics, on your page and in groups?
Logo – used across all media in the same way?
Graphics and photos – same sort of theme? Do they feel disjointed or are they sending out the same message about your brand?
Fonts and colours – are you using these consistently throughout your marketing or are they a bit higgledy piggledy?
Website – Is every page selling for you? What is the point of each page – what does it need to achieve for your business? What route are visitors to your website taking – are they bouncing off straight away to go and explore elsewhere or are they staying and moving through a funnel to buy or sign up on your website?
And finally – does your branding feel right to you? If you are embarrassed or apologetic about your logo, your website or your social media presence then it may be time to invest in an upgrade. A stale brand can suck the life out of a business and dampen your dreams for growth.
Whatever you dream for 2016, don’t let it fade, decorate it in glorious technicolor, shout out your plans from the rooftops and may your year be absolutely fabulous!
DIY can be great. But not in our house and there is a time when it’s just necessary to call in the professionals
Our garage is broken. No two ways about it, the door is well and truly foobar. I can sort of close it with an ‘air gap’ of about 30cm at the bottom and sort of open it which requires some impressive limbo moves to get in. At least nothing can easily be stolen (although if anybody needs a broken lawnmower and a mouldy fridge, be my guest).
The thing is that it has been this way for two months now. I’ve tried duct tape, wedged bits of wood, wedged bits of polystyrene and hit the runner with a hammer, but it’s still not working as it should. I can just about get in and out and sort of shut it but it’s just not doing the job.
If you think this blog isn’t really about my garage door then you’d be right. There comes a time when DIY just isn’t cutting it and it’s time to call in the professionals. But sometimes it can be tricky to know when that time is, the time when a professional can really add value to your business and give you a leg up to the next level.
I teach DIY design and website creation to my gorgeous ladies and really encourage them to leap on in and enjoy being creative. They have produced some wonderful websites and created brands that sing with their personality. Their new branded businesses are growing because of it. But these ladies are often just starting out or just getting their businesses working online. They need a platform to launch their gorgeous businesses and a well-crafted DIY website has answered their wishes – and more!
BUT (you knew that was coming) the internet is constantly changing and online brands have to move to keep up. They change and evolve in a relatively short time and what was fresh and successful 6 months ago can easily look a little stale as you create new products, new competitors steal the scene and suddenly people are landing on your website with totally different expectations. It’s exciting, but frustrating!
So how do you know when it’s time to get the professionals in and transform your brand and website into something that can be so flexible?
It’s a tricky question, but I’ve put together a list of questions you should ask yourself to see if you and your business are ready to upgrade.
Time to look THE BEST
A well-crafted, well organised, market optimised and beautifully presented brand will always ooze professionalism.
First impressions are SO important, especially in such a busy market, so if you are starting to position you and your business as the best solution or the best product for your customers, a professionally designed website is a must. You’ll look like THE expert in your field and your products will shine with quality.
Time to raise your pricing
A beautifully professional and well targeted website can command higher prices. If you have invested good money into creating a website that looks the part, your customers are MUCH more likely to buy and spend more when they do.
If your business is booming and it is time to raise your prices, you will need to invest in your online presence too. After all, nobody would expect to spend Harrods money in Poundland.
Time to stop trying to do and BE everything
Running your own business is BUSY! You have to be a jack of all trades – marketeer, accountant, social media guru, website developer, designer, copywriter …. the list goes on!
When you first start out you are often doing everything and the learning curve is a steep one. I still hate doing my accounts and although I’ve learnt how to reconcile those books, it’s still a dark art to me. I now outsource all that. It just isn’t a good use of my time.
As your business grows (eek, exciting!!) you simply won’t have time to be EVERYTHING and if you carry on not only will your business suffer, but your health will too. Once your time is better spent doing the things you are best at, making your products, looking after your clients, organising that next sale then it is time to invest in getting professionals in to do the dirty work. You’ll bring far more into your business doing that then spending hours learning and fiddling with your website with mixed results.
Time to lead the way
Technology is constantly changing and keeping up with it is a job in itself.
Get the edge over the competition by getting a professional to design your website using the very latest techniques and design trends. A great example of moving with the times is the emergence and complete transformation of online design for mobile devices, which many business owners felt completely unprepared for.
A good web designer will know that your website needs to look and work perfectly across all devices, all browsers and everything in between. They’ll be able to advise you of the latest online marketing tricks, widgets, plugins and doodads to give your business the edge, look fresh and get more sales.
Time to be unique
When your online brand is starting to feel a bit samey.
There are SO many websites out there and all shouting the same things. No business is entirely unique, but each business does have its unique character and proposition. To make the very thing that makes your business unique really clear and to get you to stand out in the crowd, however, is not an easy task.
A professional designer will take the core of what you do and present it to the world. Visitors to your website will be in NO DOUBT who it is aimed at and will buy.
Time to grow
Using a website template is an easy and really effective way to get your business up online but can really limit you in terms of functionality and growth as you need to expand.
Getting a customised website can not only boost the look of your brand but also add much needed functionality – online booking, directory, ecommerce, sales pages, contact forms, pop ups, social media integration, advertising, galleries, forums … the list goes on. If you can imagine it, I’ll bet your web designer can make it happen.
Time to up those sales
A great website designer is also a specialist in online marketing. A good website will take your visitors through a journey to buy through layout, hierarchy, colours, fonts, shapes, images and take away the barriers to buy that we unknowingly create on a DIY website.
Time to make your message REALLY CLEAR
There’s nothing that prevents sales better than a confused sales message and the problem is often that this message is complicated by mismatched branding images, colours, fonts and layout.
A professional web design will make your ideal customer feel right at home and make your marketing message really resonate with them. If you are finding that you are getting traffic to your website, but they just aren’t buying or getting clicks on your ads but no sales then you may well be sending out mixed messages and scuppering your chances of building your business.
Time to up your game, show the world you are serious and invest
Take a deep breath and imagine where you want your business to be. DIY is great for getting you off the ground, getting you out there and getting you known but there comes a time when you need to up your game.
Getting a professional web design and top notch branding is a commitment to really going for it. A cheaper alternative might be cost effective in the short term, but long term, for the future of your business, investing in your online brand is far more beneficial. If you think that a custom site is only for the big girls who’ve made it, consider how they got there in the first place. What makes them look successful? You could too!
Find out how YOU can transform your online business from ‘meh’ to irresistible, boost your listbuilding, increase your sales and create the business you dream of.
I talk through the possibilities and potential with every new client before we agree to work together as it is SO important for them to feel confident that we are a really good fit and for me to see what their business really needs to take it forward.
So if you are unsure if you are ready to make the leap into the big time and invest online, or have BIG plans for 2016 but have no idea how it’s going to ever happen, then drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see how a fabulous brand and website can transform your business.
PS: If anybody could recommend somebody to come and fix my garage, I would be much obliged.
Find out how to resuscitate your old website and get it working for your business again.
Even if your website was lovingly designed in the beginning and you spent lots of time and money getting it going it is really easy for it to go off the rails and start misbehaving. Technology changes and your business changes and your even your audience might change and it can all make for a wonderful website mess.
The problem is that changes are often unplanned and reactionary. Argh! I need that super whizzy plugin that connects me to that brand new social media platform. Argh! I’ve just created a new programme, a new range of products and completely changed my focus. AND it HAS to all be at the top of my website on the front page in BIG!!!
Before you know it, you’ve tweaked, added, diy-designed and moved around most of the elements of your website and ended up with a bit of a mess.
The well-planned, SEO friendly, brilliantly laid out website you started out with can easily descend into a confusing muddle, which will effect everything from your brand image to your search engine rankings and sales. Eek!
There is life left in the old website yet. It is possible to breathe a new lease of life into it and get it working for you and looking lovely. Don’t believe me?
Here are 5 magical fixes you can use TODAY to transform that old warty frog of a website back into your online prince, without spending loads of money on an entire redesign:
Clean up the mess
A great website knows what its main purpose is.
This may well have changed since you first started out online so taking a step back and re-examining what you want your website to do for your business is the most important thing you can do.
Ask yourself these questions…
What is the MAIN focus of your website? Do you want visitors to sign up to your list, buy your latest programme, browse your online shop, buy a particular product, join your social media conversations, be THE place to find what they need, become your number one fan or learn from your brilliant blog?
You may have a few of goals here but pick the ONE thing your website should DEFINITELY get your visitors to do when they land on your website. THAT is your MAIN focus – everything else is part of the journey.
Once you have your main focus you can then trim back everything that doesn’t contribute in some way to that focus. Be brave, it’s like ripping off a plaster but once it’s done it’s all better.
Get rid of the clutter (not everything should be on the front page). Give your main focus the stage and let it shine.
Grab a pen and a notebook and scribble down your new website plan and try to think how your customers will navigate around your website. Adding new pages or directions in the sidebar can make it far easier to find their way around.
Find out what’s really wrong with your website.
You may hate how it looks now, but some bits might really be working for you (and your customers). The best way to find out what is working and what isn’t is to get yourself on Google Analytics and do some digging. You’ll be able to see what pages are most popular, where people are landing when they visit your website (this can be surprising and isn’t always your front page) and where they go after they’ve landed on the site.
Ooh – it’s a bit stalkery but good stuff. Just go to http://www.google.com/analytics/ and create yourself an account.
Dress it up
A new header can work wonders for a website as they make such an impact on your brand image. They take up some of the most important space on your website, so can really colour the way you feel about your site.
Find a brand new image for your header or change up your marketing message.
Leap onto Canva and have a play with your new look.
Not feeling arty? Then this could be a good thing to invest in and save you LOADS from having to get the entire site redone.
Create your look
Style guidelines aren’t just for the big girls. Have a look at the fonts and colours you are using throughout your website. Is it a bit of a mishmash? Are your ads using a different font to your header and your text using 3 different colours in one article?
Mixing it up can really mix up your audience.
Choose and DECIDE on no more than 2 fonts to use throughout your website (including in the graphics) and choose and DECIDE what your main colours will be.
Most websites these days are built with something called CSS, which means that a simple tweak to the code and you’ll be able make your whole website theme blue, or pink, or yellow or change all your fonts with one click. If you have access to editing your own website (using a content management system like WordPress or Squarespace) you can probably do this yourself. If your website is custom built then it won’t be an expensive change.
There is nothing worse than a website that looks like it’s shouting at you. If you’ve been trying to make new additions to your website stand out with bigger and bigger text then you may be shouting so loud that nobody can work out what you are really saying.
Go through your text on each page and work out what the MOST important parts of it are. You will already have your headings set up behind the scenes and you should use them as they can really help your rankings on search engines too.
Play around with your headings settings – maybe an interesting font will make them stand out, maybe just a larger size or style (bold, italics etc).
But once you’ve chosen your settings, stick with them and make your Header 1 top dog on every page.