Using the Divi WordPress theme? 5 reasons to hire a designer

Starting your online business is easy.

Deciding you want to do it is the first step.

Securing all the social media profiles is number two.

But somewhere around this point, you start hitting some bumps in the road.

It’s time to start your website.

Your 24/7 home that you have entire creative control over….but the process isn’t very well outlined there are a million choices and geez…you’re just getting started so hiring someone to help is OVERWHELMING.

I know…

It is a story I hear over and over again in the online community and the outcome?

DIY-ing it because there are so many tools available to get you started that you don’t need an expert by your side. You decide to take the plunge and get something up there becasue good enough is good enough, right?

Sorry but that thinking is going to end up costing you time, clients, and $$$….

Seriously.

What is the number one thing that you do every time you land on a website? You may not even think about it because it all happens so fast…

But you make a determination if that website is credible, professional, and worthy of your time and potentially money.

And if you are being totally honest with yourself you can tell when someone has DIY-ed it and it wasn’t what they’re an expert at. You know you can.

Even with all the builders and tools out there, you should still hire a web designer to get you rolling. I’ll tell you why in just a second.

But first, let’s take a second to talk about WordPress and the Divi theme.

It’s great and it really lets you have control over everything without having to touch a bit of code so you can feasibly make a good enough website with the drag and drop builder… but the magic I think comes from being able to make changes and adjustments later with ease so you don’t feel like you are constantly bothering your designer to make minor changes.

So let’s dive into my 5 reasons you should still hire a web designer even if you are using a Template builder for your website.

Familiarity with the tools

One big reason to hire a web designer is that they are already familiar with the tools. Whether that is WordPress, the Divi Theme, another theme or another platform.

They know the ins and outs and can help set your website up for long-term success.

For example, you may or may not be aware of some security plugins or an extension to the media library that will save you tons of time and help your website be secure. But when you reach out to an expert on that platform they will know the direction to steer you in or even like I do for my WordPress clients install and configure my base plugins for them as a part of the process.

Now this is going to be a common theme throughout this whole post and I’ll go into the details in its own section but this will save you time and money because you don’t have to spend so much time learning all the ins and outs of the tools you can focus on learning what parts of the tools you’ll need to know for maintenance and minor changes.

Outside perspective (valuable for all sorts of spots of running an online business)

I know that many, myself included, have struggled at one point or another with “getting in our own way”.

Yup, that’s a thing.

You could be self-sabotaging or not seeing an opportunity or stuck hitting the same wall over and over again or… the possibilities are endless.

But when it comes to your website having another set of dedicated expert eyes to look it over is going to be very valuable.

You’re going to see gaps in the content that happen naturally because you know exactly what you mean but others may not.
They will also be able to give you ideas on what you can do to connect with your audience and how to display that content effectively.

And I help my clients with their Google Analytics so that we can make educated changes to the site rather than guessing what works and doesn’t. Which is a great part of the long-term strategy for online business growth….

pst…let me tell you a secret.

Websites are never fully finished. You’re constantly experimenting and trying new things as well as growing your brand so it is important to keep fresh eyes helping to guide you on your way, think outside the box, and make sure all the important pieces are there.

Quick a cake break…

I want to share with you an analogy I came up with while discussing this over coffee with other online entreprenuers.

I bet you can make a cake. And I bet that it is delicious and perfect and just exactly what a cake should be.

Now picture the setting.

It’s a wedding. You can make a cake and it fits all the requirements of what a cake should be…. but do you make your own cake?

Sometimes but more often than not we head straight to an industry professional who knows the tools of the trade, deals with cakes all day everyday and can make a beautiful masterpiece for the happy couple to share with their guests.

So why do you try to make a homemade cake for your online business? Doesn’t it deserve an experts touch to make it exactly what you dream of?

Chew on that for a bit…

expertise in lead generation strategy and how to create an effective website layout design to attract your client

saves you time and money

Frustration central

if you aren’t enjoying it then DIY is not the route for you – you can get a great understanding of how to interact with your site even if you didn’t do the design yourself

To wrap it up…

I want you to consider one more thing as you go forward.

Your web designer is a great tool to have in your tool belt. They know their industry and have multiple strategies up their sleeves to help you create the website that is best optimized for you.

So even if you want to make changes down the road consulting with them for their ideas is a great way to make sure your website stays professional, cohesive, and on point for you. Think about it this way. I’m sure you’ve seen an older house while out on the road.

You can clearly tell where the original house began and ended because different sections were added at a different time. Presumably by different people with different ideas and materials available to them. This can happen to websites too if you aren’t careful.

And that really can undermine your message so consider reaching out for a consultation or a small add-on project to help keep everything nice and beautiful for your online business.

 

Are you a small business owner who is ready to tackle your website to grow your business? A web designer can help guide you in the best direction to connect with your audience, increase your visibility, and keep your business looking polished and professional online.
Are you a small business owner who is ready to tackle your website to grow your business? A web designer can help guide you in the best direction to connect with your audience, increase your visibility, and keep your business looking polished and professional online.
Are you a small business owner who is ready to tackle your website to grow your business? A web designer can help guide you in the best direction to connect with your audience, increase your visibility, and keep your business looking polished and professional online.
Are you a small business owner who is ready to tackle your website to grow your business? A web designer can help guide you in the best direction to connect with your audience, increase your visibility, and keep your business looking polished and professional online.
No email list? How to still get visible and grow your business without one
Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
Sometimes you may not be ready for an email list and all that goes with it…
That’s ok, it can be scary to get into when you aren’t fully ready.
I’m always going to advise starting to grow your list because it gives you more power and you can work out the kinks early.
But I know that it may take some time.
In the meanwhile, I don’t want you to not do anything for growing your business.
Here are some things you can do while you are gearing up for a list…even though you should get yourself an email list going.  It’s never a good idea to wait out of fear until you’re ready to pull the trigger on these things. Do things to help you get closer to the goal and keep moving forward.

Turn to your current clients.

Treat current clients like gold and give them an experience they are excited to share with everyone.

This is a great way to grow your referral network. And you never know people may not be the right fit right now but they will remember you when they are especially if their friend referred you.
They are also a great resource to talk to and find out what content you could create to help others with similar problems.

SEO Strategy

Invest in your blog content’s SEO strategy.
This one is huge for residual traffic and getting found in the first place.
It may take some time, money, and frustration at first but it will pay off in the end. I only say frustration because it takes a while sometimes for your efforts to pay off and that can be really frustrating because you’ll want to try different strategies and see what works.
But coming up with a plan for your content and taking the time to implement it, learn about it or pay someone else to take it over will really help you show up in search results.
And this even helps with things like Pinterest and Facebook because Google is now searching and returning that content.

Local Connections

Don’t underestimate the power of using local connections to grow your business.
Local connections are a great networking resource as well as being a great place to start growing your email list.
When doing local events as long as you can capture and keep confirmation from them when they sign up you can add your local network to your list and start growing your online presence that way.
There are a lot of rules when it comes to what you can and can’t do with email signups so do some research before you start collecting and making sure you are compliant with the Anti-spam laws.

Testimonials are POWERFUL

Testimonials are a powerful method for attracting new clients and getting your name out there.
Sometimes you’ll see testimonials referred to as social proof.
And that is exactly what they are proof from people to people. There is another level of confidence people gain from having this outside source backing up what you are saying through your content.
Start gathering testimonials that you can sprinkle throughout your site, use on your social media, or put up around your office to remind you how amazing you are!

Invest in an awesome website

And the last suggestion I’m going to share with you for growing your business without an email list is to invest in an awesome website.
Your website is your online space to connect with and convert visitors to clients or customers and you need to have a strong online space to accomplish that.
It is especially important to have a strong website because your visitors may not come back so you’ll want it to be clear and have a strong flow that helps first-time visitors move through your site getting to know you and connecting so that they do remember you and what you do when they need your services.
Your website is the best place to connect the “what” you do with the “who” you serve and clearly make that connection with your visitors.
So if you aren’t ready to start working on growing your list right now my best piece of advice to you is to put in the time and energy to make your website functional, professional and clear.
And I can help you with that.

Are you my next dream client? Let’s get started!

Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
Are you an online service provider struggling to get noticed by your dream clients or get your services booked up? And you aren't quite ready for the commitment that comes with an email list? While it is still crazy important for long term growth here are some ideas you can use to get visible while you get your email list in order.
How to boost your content strategy in 4 easy steps

4 Steps to Improve Your Content Strategy Using Your Analytics

As an online service provider, I want to constantly be making my content strategy better.

I believe in the power of my content to connect with and help other business owners navigate this online space.

So I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve and I’m going to tell you what I learned in just a second. First I want to tell you about how I began my journey with content strategy.

At the beginning of developing my content strategy, I was just throwing all kinds of ideas out there looking at whatever everyone else was posting and putting my own spin on the same idea.

I think this is how a lot of people get started because unless you go to school for online business (not even sure you can) you mostly learn by observation and practice.

Let me stop you, yes there are some specific principles that apply to all business but the implementation can be different and online seems to be a whole different beast because you can connect rather than shout at your people like in traditional marketing.

Anyway, I was writing on all of these topics that were interesting to me and trying to tie them back to my overall business idea and services. But it just felt like I wasn’t getting any traction.

I was posting a LOT, like 3 times a week. But I wasn’t really getting anything for it. Just frustrated and burnt out.

That’s when I started developing my content strategy and learning how I could take my topics and break them down to support my main focus. Which made writing way easier.

Through this process, I started reviewing my analytics and trying to understand what worked on my website and what didn’t.

Sure there is still the occasional post that I write outside of my strategy because I deeply believe that it needs to be said but I always look at my numbers because it is really the missing link between determining how your topic is in alignment with what your audience is looking for.

You could be putting out killer content but unless your audience cares about it they aren’t going to stick around. You’ll have some die-hard fans that are going to read everything you put out but cognitively people are only interested in reading what is important to them right then.

Now onto what I learned about strengthening my content strategy through my analytics and how you can apply the same principles to your content strategy.

Review

Always start with a review of what is going on. But look for what content is popular.

These articles that get lots of hits or get hits consistently are great posts to look at for creating more content.

What do I mean?

These popular articles are telling you exactly what your audience is interested in and you can incorporate more content surrounding those topics into your strategy.

Maybe they are supporting articles that talk about topics in parallel and you tie them together, or maybe you are writing content that drills down even deeper into the topic and could be thought of as an advanced post to that previous one.

The beauty of building on your popular content is that you know it’s already getting traffic and you can link to the other content you create to help people click around on your site. Thus staying longer and building the relationship with your content.

Compare Content Types

Not all content is created equal and this is true of the way you are presenting your content to your audience.

Do you only do written content? Long form blog posts? Short blog posts? Videos? Graphics? Podcasts?

The list of content types goes on and on. You’ll want to create one set of content in different types and test out what your audience prefers.

Maybe your audience really loves the written transcript that goes along with your podcast content.

Maybe your video content performs really well.

By either reviewing what content you’ve already got out there or testing out some new content and running an experiment you’ll get to find what content you like to create and what your audience loves to consume.

The best way to find out what content types your audience prefers is to review the analytics and see what content is popular and then reviewing what type of content is at that URL on your site.

Traffic Drivers

Another cool think your analytics can tell you to create a better content strategy is to review where your visitors are coming from. By finding your best traffic drivers you can focus on marketing your content in those locations and letting go of underperforming strategies.

Why is this important to your content strategy?

Besides giving you the freedom to say no to posting on social media platforms that aren’t working for you…you could develop better strategies for these underperforming platforms.

Test out different ideas for driving traffic from them or give them up altogether and focus on the places that are performing well for you.

Metrics & Goals

Use your analytics to Identify what metrics and goals you want to achieve. Not every goal is supported by the same strategies with your content plan. So having a clear idea and plan for what you want to work on and then breaking it down into the steps you have to take to make it happen.

This way you aren’t wasting your precious time on strategies that aren’t in alignment with your goals.

It’s easy to get this way. You hear of this next big strategy you need to try and so you throw yourself into it. And that is totally fine but it could be even more powerful for you when you know what you are aiming for. And then you can make the decision if this strategy is right for you to try now or try later when you are reviewing your strategies and trying new things.

This knowledge gives you real power to take control of your content strategy and not get sidetracked by this new shiny strategy or that.

In conclusion…

Make your plan and implement it, then review your analytics and see how you are doing.

It’s a constant process that your content strategy will evolve through. Sometimes what is working now may not work later because of timing and what your audience is looking for right now.

The biggest thing to remember in my opinion is it is a moving target. You are going to have to keep circling back around and trying out new things, tweaking your plan and reviewing again.

So don’t give up. You’ll get more efficient at the process as you get familiar with it. And your content strategy will improve as you focus in on what is working and how to amplify that.

Now it’s your turn!

What questions do you have about using your analytics to develop your content strategy? Let me know in the comments!


Want to dive deeper into your Analytics?

Get my Google Analytics Crash Course and learn what all those numbers mean for your website and content!

4 Steps to Improve Your Content Strategy Using Your Analytics
4 Steps to Improve Your Content Strategy Using Your Analytics
4 Steps to Improve Your Content Strategy Using Your Analytics
Case Study – Branding & Web Design for DeLozier Strategy & Execution

My client…

Dane DeLozier came to me to have an online presence created for his growing consulting business. He had been growing his business by word of mouth referrals only but felt it was time to have an online presence for people who didn’t personally know him get to know him and his business. He wanted a place to send people and start to have a solid online face to his growing consulting practice.

During the process, I started working with Emily, an employee of the practice to finalize the design details and bring everything to life.

Why he reached out…

Before reaching out to me Dane had been operating strictly offline with people that he knew or people who were one person removed from him. However, over the last several months of growth, he was extending beyond those circles and starting to get clients who he didn’t have a personal connection to.

This is when he decided he needed an online presence as an informational hub for people to get to know his business and for him to start building brand recognition.

Dane reached out to me to help him strategically take his ideas about his brand and create a cohesive visual identity that we could translate to his online presence.

How I helped…

We started out talking about the goals for the business’ visual identity, both short-term goals and the ultimate long-term direction the business would take so that we could take into account how the brand needed to grow rather than constantly being adjusted and changed.

He had lots of great ideas and connections he wanted to bring in and explore during the process. One of the fun ideas we got to explore was the connection nature has to business growth.

The process…

You took my ideas into careful consideration, you were patient with my hand-drawn design renderings, and you responded quickly and accurately to all of our edits and suggestions. You also gave excellent advice on matters pertaining to website functionality, which we needed. – Emily, DeLozier Strategy & Execution

We worked together over the course of the project to explore how the goals for the project could be designed in such a way that to connect what DeLozier Strategy & Execution does for their clients.

We started with the branding because without that we wouldn’t have a solid look and feel direction for the website and our biggest concern was making everything fit and be cohesive.

Once we had a visual brand direction through the use of a mood board I was able to start drafting up different logo design ideas using the mood board as my starting guide.

Once the logo, vision, mission and color palette was nailed down it was time to tackle the website.

We sat down for our strategy session and hashed out all the different ideas we wished for the website and then prioritized the list based on what we felt like we could accomplish during the initial launch of the project.

I’ve found that while it would be great to have 100% of the content ready to go sometimes there are ideas that are just too big to wait on and when I know the direction the website is going to go I can plan for its growth. This way any additional features feel like an extension rather than a lean-to added on later.

Results…

Michaela is skilled at taking what you have in your head and making it come alive via branded design. We were clear on our own mission, but we didn’t know how to communicate it effectively, incorporating all of the visual elements that have become the norm for today’s communication. We had the words, but we didn’t have the design. That’s where Michaela was the perfect fit for us! Her thoughtful incorporation of our content (and attempts at design layout) with her vision for how to best represent our consulting services yielded a website and other marketing collateral that not only say what we need them to say, but reflects who we are. – Emily, DeLozier Strategy & Execution

Dane is ready to start using his website as the foundation for his online presence. With a few blog posts ready to publish as soon as we launched he is already building a strong SEO base for driving traffic his way.

 

 

Are you my next dream client? Let’s get started!

Make the Most of Your 404 Page

How can your 404 page help you grow your business' email list? Check out this blog post for 3 quick 404 page tips!

Today I want to share with you three quick tips for getting the most bang for your buck out of your 404 page.

First of all, let’s cover the role of your 404 page and what it means to user flow for your visitors.

Your 404 page is the page people get to if they mistype a url or a link is dead.

It’s not necessarily a bad page, you really want to have one and use it strategically so that it isn’t a dead end to the user flow of your visitors.

No matter how hard you try to keep from having dead links it is just something that happens.

Let’s cover 3 quick things you can add to your 404 page to optimize your website strategy.

Add CTAs

This is a great opportunity to redirect your visitor back to main site. Whenever you want to send them or whichever action you choose to do make sure you have strong CTAs to help create clarity around what you want your visitor to do.

Give people a chance to opt-in

You might consider adding a chance to opt-in for one of your freebies here.

This spot may not provide you with a huge conversion rate because people don’t come to your 404 page to opt-in.

But it is a good place to give people a chance to get on your list right before they leave your site so that you can stay in touch with them.

Feature some of your popular or foundational content

And finally, you can redirect them to some other content on your site that you would like to feature.

This could be some of your most popular blog posts.

Or it could be a blog post or two of your cornerstone content.

Just make sure to highlight it and clearly create a path for people back to valuable information on your site.

Now it’s your turn!

What questions do you have about your 404 page and the strategy behind it? Let me know in the comments!

How can your 404 page help you grow your business' email list? Check out this blog post for 3 quick 404 page tips!
How can your 404 page help you grow your business' email list? Check out this blog post for 3 quick 404 page tips!
How can your 404 page help you grow your business' email list? Check out this blog post for 3 quick 404 page tips!
How can your 404 page help you grow your business' email list? Check out this blog post for 3 quick 404 page tips!