3 Things to Consider Before Building Your Website (Guest Article)

3 Things to Consider Before Building Your Website (Guest Article)

3 Things to Consider Before Building Your Website (Guest Article)

In the age of platforms like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly, we’re commonly fed the lie that building a website is easy. That you can download an app, push a few buttons, and boom, you’ll have a fully functioning website.

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work like that. As a Web Designer, I often work on sites that have been half DIY’d. There are a few things that I frequently find myself wishing people knew before they had attempted their site.

If DIY’s not your thing, and you’re looking to outsource to an agency or freelancer, read on! You’ll make everyone’s life a lot easier (and probably save yourself some money) if you’ve thought about these three things first.

 1. Consider The Design/Branding

You know those websites with five different fonts, every colour in the rainbow, and no consistency in imagery? You don’t want to be them. Promise.

One of the easiest ways to make your site look polished and professional is to keep things consistent. Pick two (three if you really must) fonts, a few key colours, and STICK to them. No matter how ‘creative’ you are with the layout and rest of the site, if you’ve got your branding sorted, your site will look infinitely better.

2. Pick The Right Platform

This question comes up a tonne. As a WordPress and Shopify web designer, I’m probably definitely going to give you a biased response. But here are a few things you should think about:

  • Managed service – if you’re not particularly tech-savvy/don’t want to pay someone to manage things like setting up your website hosting, back-ups, caching, etc then you probably don’t want to use a platform like WordPress. You’d be better suited to something like Squarespace or Shopify, where a lot of this is taken care of for you.
  • eCommerce – if you’ve got an eCommerce business please think about Shopify. It’ll make your life easier. Alternatively, WordPress with WooCommerce is a solid choice. Again though, you’ll need to consider the more technical stuff.
  • Flexibility – this point’s kind of related to the first one, but a massive downside to a managed platform is that you’ve got less flexibility. With WordPress, there are few things you can’t do with the help of a good developer. Shopify on the other hand, has limitations, no matter how good your dev is.

3. What Are Your Traffic Drivers?

What’s the point in having a website if you don’t have a way to drive traffic to it? I always ask my clients how they’re planning on getting people to the site because that’ll drive the design and even landing pages that you have.

Ideally, you’d have your marketing strategy laid out, and answering this would just be a matter of seeing where your website slots in (you’re on the right site if you need help with your marketing! More info here.) In reality, though, it’s something that a lot of businesses don’t consider.

My advice? Map out what your key traffic drivers will be, and then figure out what that means you need to do when building your website.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Search – Google’s (sometimes) awesome, and if you play your cards right, it can generate some serious traffic. If you want more info on this, Google 🙂 SEO. Some basics to think about when you’re building your site would be meta descriptions, title tags, and heading tags.
  • Social media – definitely a long term game, but hanging out on platforms like Instagram and Facebook can be a useful way to drive traffic to your site. If, for example, you’ve got a lot of traffic coming from Instagram, then it may be worth considering the addition of a LinkTree-style page to your website.
  • Pinterest – again, this is a point you’re getting a biased answer on. I blogged for about five years, and over that time found Pinterest to be the absolute best traffic driver. Create those Pinterest-friendly images, pin consistently, and watch the traffic come to your site. Disclaimer – there’s a little bit more to it than that 🙂

Are you in the process of building a website? If you’d like to bounce around ideas or get some advice feel free to pop any questions in my Facebook Group!

About The Author

Kat is a Melbourne based Web Designer. She works with small to medium-sized companies to build web solutions that work for their business. Experience working on websites for both service-based and eCommerce businesses coupled with a background in blogging, Kat looks at how to maximise the potential of your website.

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8 Steps to Creating Copy That Converts

8 Steps to Creating Copy That Converts

8 Steps to Creating Copy That Converts

 

It can be daunting to create content for your business, because you don’t want it to be boring, unprofessional or ineffective. So it’s easier to avoid it altogether! Which is why I’ve created this article to give you the steps and confidence to write brilliant copy that connects with your customer.

1. What are you trying to achieve?

Your objective will help you to clarify what information you need to get the result you want, so start with the end in mind. Do you want to educate your customer about a particular topic? Persuade them to book an appointment, or download your e-book? Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can reverse-engineer you content to get there.

2. Know who you are writing for

If you speak to everyone, no one will listen. So speak directly to the person you are targeting. Get to know her, who is she, what’s her lifestyle, what keeps her awake at night? These insights will allow you to speak directly to her. When you tap into and use the specific words she uses, you create a stronger connection. Connection then conjures trust, and trust creates sales.

3. Think benefits, not features

Emotions make sales, logic bails. Of course, tell them about the product or service they will receive, but not first, or in too much detail. Instead, tell your customer how it will change their life, what your product or service will do for them and how it will make them feel. Turn their fears and frustrations into love and happiness and make them need your product or service.

4. Plan the structure

The flow of information is important. Start with the most attention grabbing information first and put the less important at the end. Think back to your days at school and plan what information you will include in the introduction, main body and conclusion. You have done this before, you will be fine.

5. The actual writing

Start writing, whether that’s with pen and paper, or typing it up, whatever works for you. Write clearly, don’t use big words and be concise. Don’t overload your reader with too much information, just enough to connect with them and get them to take action.

6. Personality

Write as if you are talking, make it sound like you (not a robot). Add something funny or quirky that the reader will connect with. If you are targeting stay at home mums, then write something that only she would understand to help build that connection. Let the pizazz and character of your brand shine through.

7. Edit and proofread

Go back and read over the content. Break it up with headings, use dot points and tidy up any grammar and punctuation. If you do not feel confident with the content, give it to a friend or editor to read and make some changes.

8. Publish

You can’t help someone or build your brand if you don’t press publish! Share your knowledge and love for what you do. Have the confidence to put yourself out there. If you’ve followed this guide, you’re already way ahead of most brands out there doing it on their own. You’ve got this, press publish!

Conduct a Competitor Analysis in 6 Easy Steps

Conduct a Competitor Analysis in 6 Easy Steps

I get asked alot ‘why do you need to do a competitor analysis’? It is an important part of a marketing plan, it’s not done to copy what others in the market are doing but it’s about seeing how competitors are positioning themselves.

So, what is a competitor analysis? It is the research, analysis and comparison of players in the market which allows you to see how they are positioned, what services they offer and their current strategy. This will help you differentiate yourself in the market so you can stand out. It will also let you see what prospective clients will see when selecting and what choices they have.

To conduct the analysis find their website, look at their social media channels and the ways they choose to advertise. I have put together a template for you to include all your findings (when you click on the link, the document will automatically download).

Let’s conduct the competitor analysis!

Step 1: Who are your competitors?

List a maximum of ten direct competitors, think about ones you know and also do a google search to find others. Include only ones that are in direct competition, and consider your niche and location especially if you are restricted by your product or service offerings (e.g. if you are a plumber and only service parts of Melbourne, do not include Sydney competitors).

Step 2: Look at their brand positioning and personality.

Have they marketed themselves as a leader in the industry, are they quirky or serious? Are they a luxury brand or an everyday one?

Step 3: Write down the products and services they offer.

Notice the words they use to describe them. Have they packaged them together and how? Do they offer multiple services or specialise in just a few?

Step 4: Who are they targeting?

Are they targeting small businesses, a high-end consumers or retailers – look at their offerings, pricing and channels they use to work this one out. How are they emotionally connecting with their prospective customer? What problem and solution are they focussing on?

Step 5: Look at their strengths and weaknesses.

What are they doing well, what could they improve.

Step 6: What channels are they using and how?

Are they printing out flyers and doing a letter box drop, do they have a website and monthly newsletter, which social media channels are they using (if any)? Do they have sales, do they share valuable content? Check what marketing channels they use and what they use them for.

What to do with the template and findings when you are finished: this exercise will give you insights into your competitors, what they do and how. This will help you work out your place in the market and how you can differentiate yourself.

See what others are doing well and what improvements they could make, these will give you some ideas of what you can do and what you can do differently. Remember, it’s not about copying, it’s about being unique and doing it differently!

6 Common Marketing Mistakes and How To Overcome Them

6 Common Marketing Mistakes and How To Overcome Them

Last year I was interviewed by Auspicious Arts where we talked about common marketing mistakes and how to overcome them. Our chat inspired me to write this blog post so that my readers can learn from these mistakes and get the most out of their marketing efforts.

Mistake 1: No market research

You need to know if there is a need for the product or service you are offering, who your competitors are and how to position yourself in the market. It doesn’t have to be onerous but get out there talk to people who buy similar products and services and get their insights. You can also do a survey using free online tools, or access other online material to help you understand the market.

Market research gives you very valuable insights into what people are looking for, what appeals to them and how to position yourself in the market accordingly.

Mistake 2: They don’t have an ideal client

You can’t talk or target to everyone, your message will be too diluted, won’t connect with anyone and won’t stand out in the crowd. Know who your ideal client is, who are you targeting, are they a consumer, a business owner or government and what position do they hold? Understand your ideal client, their pain points and frustrations, and then solve their problem better than anyone else.

Pick that one person that you love to work with, that one person that lights you up, and make them your ideal client. This will help you connect with them, write better content, share posts about issues that your ideal client relates to, and don’t worry you won’t scare people away doing this. It means your marketing will be consistent and people will connect with it.

Mistake 3: Doing too many things

I see this one all the time, people have amazing ideas, want to do too many things, get overwhelmed and spread themselves too thin. They either don’t get much done or the things they do aren’t strategic.

As your budget progresses and evolves, continue referring to your SMART objectives. Stay focused and remember your goals – they will always inform what your next step will be!

Mistake 4: They don’t ask for help or outsource

It can be hard to ask for help or outsource for many reasons. Even just talking about your idea or problem with someone else can give you clarity. A problem shared is a problem solved (ok, maybe halved).

As your budget progresses and evolves, continue referring to your SMART objectives. Stay focused and remember your goals – they will always inform what your next step will be!

Mistake 5: No marketing plan

Don’t yawn or stop reading yet, planning your marketing is important. It doesn’t have to take months to do this. Get a calendar and start to write down what events you want to attend (e.g. markets, expos, etc.) and what other marketing activities you want to do throughout the year.

Write down themes and ideas for content and plan ahead. If you don’t want to do a full twelve months start with three months. It will help stop that overwhelm and you can spread your marketing and budget throughout the year. Remember to tap into special dates if they relate to your ideal client (e.g. environment day, Mother’s Day and Christmas day).

Mistake 6:Don’t evaluate their marketing

This is another step in marketing which is often left out, business owners don’t look at what marketing they have done, evaluated what has worked and what hasn’t. Why is it important? It is full of marketing insights to take your marketing to the next level.

Grab a coffee and write notes after each marketing activity. For example, after going to an expo write down what was good, bad and what ideas you have to make it better next time. When a similar event comes up you are equipped and ready to take it to the next level.

Let me know your thoughts, have you seen these ‘mistakes’ out in the market? How have you seen businesses overcome them?