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Five crucial things to consider when designing (or re-designing) your website

Krista Smith, your personal branding coach

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Activating your web essence is my approach to creating a home for you online that conveys exactly how awesome you really are. It’s Digital DNA. I adore watching new clients show up in our initial conversations exploring what they want their website to look and function like. As a trained coach, I love asking powerful questions that uncover what it is that they’re truly after.

I’ve discovered there are five things common to each new design I create that can set each client apart from others in her industry when creating her web essence.

1. Photographs & Images

I believe there is a direct relationship between images on your website and how your personal brand is positioned and understood online. The question: how can you use photographs and images to help your personal brand convey its message? The answer: it lies in your creativity. You need professional photos for your website. It’s ultra important, ladies. That profile picture you’ve been using from your cruise in the Caribbean just won’t cut it. Find the best photographer you can afford and let your personality and passion for your work be communicated through the images she takes. Think props, live shots of you doing your thing, backgrounds, colors, close ups, clothing changes, and more. You’re a facilitator? Get a close up of that prop you always pull out in the middle of your facilitation. My best advice? Ask your photographer to capture images of you as if you were creating a storyboard to pitch to the producers of a movie being created that chronicles a day in your [work] life.

2.  Content

The written copy on your website helps people buy what you’re selling. It really is as simple as that. You’ll want to create a connection through the written words on your website that establishes you as the person who’ll help solve your website visitor’s problem. By communicating with them in a way that feels genuine to you both, you’ll help them and help others find you.  I’m a believer in getting help in this area.  Good copywriters can articulate your brand voice better than you can!  I believe they can make your words sing and dance across your website instead of letting them hang out by themselves. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that having useful content on your website can also contribute to boosting your SEO. Can you do it yourself? Absolutely. Many creative entrepreneurs do. If you have a budget, consider putting some aside for copywriting. It’s a wise investment that does make a difference.

3.  User

Getting super clear on who your ideal client is very important when designing your web presence. Start by creating an ideal client avatar – a biography of sorts. What are they attracted to? What helps them? What don’t they like? What would make sense for them? How can you make it easy for them to get the information/products/services you offer? What gender are they? Does it matter? What is important to them? What is their biggest struggle? When you begin thinking about your ideal client and their needs, it’s often just the perspective you need to see something you did not even know you were missing!

4.  Strategy

All design elements aside, one of the goals of designing a website should absolutely be how it can generate more business for you. It’s called conversion, ladies. You need to leverage the areas of your website that receive the most traffic. You’ll want clear calls to action on each page. By creating areas in your sidebar that highlight your most desired products and services, you can give your visitors a second chance to see how they can work with you. Consider ensuring everything important is ‘above the fold’. The navigation should be clear and easy for the most novice user. Please, please, please make sure your contact information is super simple to find. If I’ve landed on your site and what you say is of great interest to me, it’s critical that you have an easy process for me to get in touch. Finally, keep in mind that every single time you include a badge, affiliate program link, or social media widget, you’ve created an opportunity for your site visitor to leave your online home and venture somewhere else. If the goal is conversion, keeping them on your site is a must :)

5.  Aesthetics

From color palette development to incorporation of your personal style, the overall aesthetic feel of your site is a piece that can easily set you apart from others in your industry. Give careful consideration to what fonts you use for your headlines, main content, and sidebars. If you’re going to bring in images from a photo sharing site like Flickr, ensure to give credit where credit is due. When choosing the color palette for a site, I always begin with the images we’ll be using. There’s nothing like taking a small detail like the beautiful depth of chocolate color in a brunette’s hair on her about page to use as the main content color of her font on a cream page background. It just works. This is where you get to infuse your personal touch into your online home.

Combining all these things into a powerful representation of your work is what activating your web essence is all about.  As a professional coach, I help women just like you create a website that represents your work in way that is genuine and real. I’d love for you to keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many other things to consider and I look forward to hearing what you think are other important components in creating your online presence.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

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Krista Smith

Hi there, I'm Krista. Not only do I design + code websites, but I offer customized strategy and coaching that help you highlight your gifts, identify & attract your ideal client, create services that sell, and code happiness right into your business model.

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