This is the first in a series of 4 episodes on Websites for Creative Entrepreneurs. This week we are tackling the topic of Strategic Website Design: What it is, and how it benefits your small business.
– Three factors of a great website – strategy, site design, and showing up, and how they all contribute to noticeable growth
– Understanding how a strategic website design can help grow your creative small business
– The importance of aligning the messaging and design with your ideal client’s needs and struggles, so they feel understood, leading to increased conversion rates
– Combining visual elements such as colors, logos, design and messaging to create a customer experience that makes them feel at home on your website
– How a clear customer journey, messaging, and branding can help you attract the right clients while repelling those who don’t align with your business objectives
– The advantages of prioritizing good design for your website – from building credibility and trust with potential buyers to higher conversion rates and increased referrals
– How technical website design elements such as SEO, site speed, mobile optimization, media file sizing, and using suitable keywords all combine to ensure you rank high in search engines, leading to more traffic
Next week, I’ll be sharing how to get a strategic website for your creative small business. We’ll talk DIY, Full Custom Design, and Templates, from cost to time commitment, to the people you might want on your team to get a killer website.
Kate Hejde is the host and creator of How You Pictured It Podcast and Dear Kate Brand Strategy. She helps creative entrepreneurs and service providers create a profitable business that fits into their lives. With over 10 years of experience running her own photography business, while raising three kids, Kate believes that business is not one size fits all and that you define your own success. Kate teaches through her podcast as well as through her signature course, The Website Launch Accelerator, done-for-you website designs, and 1:1 coaching.
Welcome back to how you pictured it. I’m your host, Kate Hyde of dear Kate. Brand Strategy today we’re kicking off a brand new series all about websites. Over the next four weeks, we’re going to deep dive into the world of website design and strategy. Tailored specifically for us creative entrepreneurs. This series will show you what a strategic website can do for your small business and help you move beyond a basic online portfolio and book portal to a powerful business tool. Whether you’re a photographer, wedding planner, musician, therapist, blogger, or any other creative entrepreneur, this series was tailored specifically for you.
We’ll get into the secrets of a strategically designed website and why you don’t need to break the bank on a custom design. We’ll talk about the essential pages you need for your website and the role each one plays. And more importantly, we’ll get into the role your website plays in your overall marketing strategy to help you drive traffic and attract those ideal clients. Whether you’re about to create your first website or looking to revamp an existing one, this series will provide you with the tools, insight and confidence to help you show up online in a way you can be proud of. Let’s get into today’s topic what a strategic website can do for your small business. First, what is strategic website design? Well, when we first start our businesses, we know that we need a website. It’s a part of the puzzle. We know that it’s something that we have to do, but it oftentimes just gets pushed to the back burner and not given very much thought.
We build a portfolio, we maybe get online booking portfolios, but we don’t give it really the attention that it deserves. There are so many things to do when we start a business that it just feels like part of a never ending checklist and we kind of do the bare minimum and get something up there, which is totally fine when we start out. A strategic website, though, is one that’s drenched in brand messaging and design. It understands the journey a customer is on before, during and after working with you. It’s more than a list of pricing procedures and a portfolio of your work. It’s an expression of your business itself, the goals that you hope to achieve in the work that you do. It shows how you differ from other businesses that are like you and how you help potential clients reach their goals. A strategic website should be the core of your marketing message and helps you show up online in a way that you can be proud of.
There are three main factors of a great website. I like to call them the three S’s strategy, site design, and showing up with strategy. I’m talking about learning who our ideal clients are and what they need and how we can communicate with them through our brand visuals and our messaging. When we’re clear on what we do, who we do it for, and how we do it differently and special. It’s easier for those right clients to feel seen and say, yes, this is for me. We want our dream clients to feel at home when they land on our website. We do this with a combination of the visuals, like the colors, the logo, the design, all of those things we consider usually to be branding, but also with the words that we use our brand messaging. You might be thinking, but Kate, nobody reads anything anymore.
And that can be true, especially if you’re giving them boring things to read. No one reads anything. Boring words are 100% necessary on our sites, though. Not just for Google to crawl, but to help us communicate and connect with those right clients. When we match our words to our ideal clients, we get them feeling like we’re in their head, like we know exactly what struggles they’re facing, how they landed on our site, and we know how to solve their problems. When we’re clear on our messaging, we’ll also repel those not so right clients, and that’s a good thing too. Our second S is site design. We have to think through the journey someone is on when they land on our website.
What do they need to know to make a buying decision? What path will they take to get them from viewer to client? Remember, not everyone is going to land on your home page. We have to make sure it’s clear on every page of our website who we help, how we help them, and why that’s the right fit for them. We have to make it easy for them to understand where to go next at all times. Our main header, navigation, footer navigation, and calls to action throughout our page act as guides to make sure our visitors are in the right place. We have to make it easy for them to find the information they need and want to make that booking decision. The visuals are also important. Here is our font choice and text color. Easy to read? Is there enough space between each of the individual items on the page for our eye to travel through and still keep it interesting? 42% of people will leave a website because of poor design.
That means that even if you are the perfect fit for a client, if you have a poor website, it’s likely that they’re just going to click away without giving you a second thought. Our third S is showing up. This is the more technical side of things and mostly revolves around SEO or search engine optimization. This includes things like site speed, mobile optimization, making sure your photos and videos are sized properly, and making sure that you’re targeting the right keywords. Search engines are smart. They want to serve results that they know are going to provide their viewers with the best experience. So while all of these components affect your SEO and how you show up in search results. They also affect how your viewer interacts with your website.
So how does a strategic website like this really help you in your business? Well, it boils down to two things one, more clients and two better clients. First, let’s talk about how it brings you more clients. With a strategic website, you rank higher in search results. That means more visibility for you, as Google is showing your site to more potential clients. The people searching for your services are also warm leads. That means they know that they need your service and are ready to book. With a business like yours, they’re just trying to find the right fit and the right solution to their problem. That’s a lot different than trying to market on social media.
On social media, people are just scrolling for entertainment or maybe education. They’re not really looking for anything in particular, and so when they come across your services, it might not be the right time for them. Social media is a much longer game from first contact to actual booking. Typically, getting traffic from Google has always been a top priority for me, as I know that those are warm leads and those are people that are really looking for my service. When that warm traffic lands on your site, if it’s well designed, you’re making a great first impression. If you’re walking them through the customer journey and using your copy and your navigation to get them from where they’re at to where they want to be, you’ll see a huge increase in bookings. With clear brand messaging and visual identity, you’ll also become more referable to their friends. If they can clearly understand what you do and who you do it for, it’ll be easier for them to tell their friends too.
That means even more clients. So how are the clients better? Well, with a strategic website, you’re calling out the people that you want to work with. You’re walking them through the process of what it’s like to work with you, and giving them the language and understanding of what you do, who you do it for, and why it’s the best option. Oftentimes with a strategic website, I see my inquiries coming back to me using the words that I’ve used on my website, showing me that they understand exactly what it is that I do and that they feel connected to that message. When I got really clear with my messaging on my photography website, I stopped getting inquiries like how much or asking for services that I just don’t offer. And I started getting inquiries that were qualified and ready to work with me and wanted to work with me for exactly what I love to do. That said, you’re also repelling clients who aren’t quite the right fit. You’re weeding out the people who want something different from what you offer, maybe can’t afford your prices, or just aren’t a good fit.
Personality wise. That happens and it’s a benefit of being a small business owner, is working with people that we really love to work with. It makes every part of our business more enjoyable when we feel truly connected to the people that we work with. A strategic website also builds credibility and trust. When they land on that well designed website with the great copy, clear messaging and an understanding of the journey they’re on as a customer, it makes it easier for them to trust you and pull out their credit card. They see a professional site and they value what you can do and how you can help them. A strategic site makes it easier for you to charge higher rates and get paid easily. You’ve built that trust and confidence in the buyer, and they’re ready to work with you and have you solve the problem that they’ve come with so you can see how a strategic website truly can help you grow your business with more and better clients.
In our next episode of the series, we’ll be talking about how to get a strategic website. From DIY to templates to full custom design, we’ll explore the cost, time commitments and the team members you might want to look into as you get ready to grow your business and build your presence online. If you have more questions about websites or there’s something specific you want to hear in this series on websites, DM me over on Instagram at Dear Kate Brandstrategy. I love hearing from you. I will talk to you soon.