Most Important Factors When Building a Website

key things to build a website

You might think, that is having a logo, the latest technology or the best wordsmith of copy…

But nope, if you don’t know this one thing…it really doesn’t matter if you have the most thought out logo, flashy site or that it’s optimized for search engines….

The most important factor is knowing the intention with your website.

Breaking it down you need to know: 

Exactly what you are selling (you know, how you are offering your service, what your process is, the cost etc).

To who (your favorite client, the ones that give you no headaches, pay you, know your worth and scream your name at the top of their lungs to the rest of the world).

And how you want them to take action (sign up for a free consultation, fill out a prospect form, buy something etc.).

Having this crystal clear will not only transform your website, it will set you up for any success you are looking for!

Do Your Own Brand Audit

Do Your Own Brand Audit

Let’s take a look at your website today to make sure it’s doing what you want it to do!

I’m going to go over the main things I take a look at when I do a website + brand audit.

If I know you correctly, you most likely want to jump right into learning the best tricks to setting up your website so it converts better and you get more clients. I get that.

But let me slow you down just a little bit, we need to dive a little deeper before fixing those things, to make sure we do them right.

You need to have a little clarity on your foundational pieces:

  • Who is it for?

  • What problem are you solving?

  • What do you know or do that is unique?

  • What is the benefit of working with you?

This is what we went over last week in part 1, so head to that article first if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Then for the website, what is the main thing we want the user to do? The number one Call To Action (CTA)?

It could be something like this:

  • Call you/Schedule an appointment

  • Sign up to receive your content

  • Buy something

When we have those clear (or sort of clear as I know it can take a little time to be fully clear on them), we can get going on making that audit! 

I’m going to go over the top 7 things to look for, to be sure your site is set-up to convert the right clients:

  • Home page – without scrolling: does the user know if it’s for them, how you can help them and can they take action (in other words click a button and schedule a call, sign up to receive your content or buy something)?

  • Are you using a set color palette throughout or might your site look like a circus? I suggest having 1-2 main colors ,1-3 accent colors and 1-2 neutral colors. I would go with less rather than more so if you pick one for each category you are all good. Then stick with them throughout your marketing material and touch points.

  • Do you have enough negative white space to let the user easily digest your content?You don’t want your website to feel like you just stepped into a hoarders home! Yikes. Leaving plenty of space around your content and buttons might feel counterintuitive because it will make the user scroll a bit more, but it actually helps the user to take in the content easier even if they might need to scroll a little extra. 

  • I know you might sell multiple things but try to have one main CTA (Call To Action) and sprinkle it throughout to help the user to easily click that button and convert into a client. That is for example schedule a call, sign up to get your content or buy something

  • Are you being too wordy and not very clear on what you are trying to communicate? It’s much harder to say what you want to say with fewer words. I would recommend going through paragraph by paragraph and see if you can cross stuff out that doesn’t bring any extra goodness. Less confusion, more clarity – yes please!

  • Do you have original images or really good stock images that reflect who you are and what you stand for? The type of images will make a huge impact on your website.  Humans are visual creatures and even if you are analytical you actually take in way more with just looking vs reading. In fact, website users only read on average 28% of the words on a page.  Furthermore, 90% of the information processed by the brain is visual.

  • A little SEO goodness, have you named your images properly along with alt tags and descriptions?  There is tons of stuff you can do to optimize your website for search engines. This one is fairly simple, and does bring a lot of juice.  Instead of naming your images, tophomepage.jpg  name it KHD-Website-Brand-Audit-Clinet-Karin.jpg then all those words are searchable by the search engines simply by using keywords and putting a dash in between each.  Then also include a sentence in the alt tag describing what you see on the image and a bit more details in the description.

Alright if you look through all these you should be able to clean up your website to make more conversions.

If you want my help, we have a great offer where you get to chat with me over Zoom for almost an hour, we look over your site together to make sure it presents you properly and converts. When we are done with our call you get an action filled list from me, to update as well as I will check in a week or two later to make sure you made it happen.

You can sign up here to get that scheduled!

Other than that, I highly recommend you do 1 of these each week and before you know it your site will be performing better.

The Foundation to a Brand Audit

Foundation to a Brand Audit

Looks and first impressions are shallow.

Only, if they don’t have a strong foundation and a reason for being there.

We do make an impression on anyone and anything within seconds, so to tell someone to not judge the book by its cover is sort of hypocritical, it’s just how our human minds work.

My philosophy is to make sure you have a cover that reflects you and then let people judge away.

Which just made me think of a little incident a while back…

I was with a group of friends and acquaintances who like to dress very differently from me, glitter in the face, interesting headpieces, wild patterns, etc. not my jam but that doesn’t defer me from hanging out and loving them for expressing themselves. 

I was dressed in a way that reflects who I am and how I feel good, which typically means I’m in clothing that is more minimalistic, classic with clean lines and something with a touch of an edge.

Because there were more of “them” than me, I was standing out. One of them came up to me and said, in a slightly condescending way:  “You look very Swedish.”

I said: “Thank you!”

He was spot on. I am proudly Swedish. 😉

Knowing who you are and what jives with you is the first step in a brand audit. And even the first step in life. It’s something that can take some time to develop so don’t fret, go with your best guess until it feels right.

Keep being curious and questioning yourself.

 It helps to refine what really feels like you and how you want to present yourself, who you like to work with, what type of work you thrive on etc.

So now to make it apply to business…

Often when people think of brands, they think of a logo, but the logo is just one piece of the puzzle. The whole experience working with you/your company is part of your brand.

To make the puzzle, you need to know the foundation. Sort of like collecting your ingredients before you cook your meal.

So let’s collect some good ingredients by answering these questions:

  • Besides, the occupation you are in, how do you want to be presented? (For example, Swedish, kind, funny, bold etc)
  • Who can you help the most? Who do you understand? Who do you thrive on from working with? (Ex, new business owners, mid-career doctors, french-americans, stay at home dads…)
  • Which problem are you uniquely solving for those folks? (Ex, step-by-step guidance on how to gain financial freedom, the ____ framework to build a closet that has you ready to take on casual to dressy) 

Now make sure that is communicated on all touchpoints from email signature, social media platforms to website.

That might be easier said than done, so I’d like to invite you all to follow along as this is a 2 part article. I will be giving you all my tips + tricks for a website plus brand audit in the next one!

The Importance of Consistent Branding

Have you ever walked into a hotel room expecting something magnificent, just like the picture you had seen online, but it looks nothing like it?

Well, it is false advertising, but it is also inconsistent branding.

When done well, branding makes the user feel a certain way throughout the entire experience.

Let’s use the hotel example.

When you look up the hotel online, when you call to reserve a room, the way you get welcomed when you arrive, the quality of bedlinen, pen, shampoo, towel, etc., it should all give the same level or type of experience.

If you are at a luxury hotel you might expect things like light and airy surroundings, beautiful flowers in the entrance, magnificent art, a high celling, a glass of champagne handed to you by a gentleman with white gloves at your arrival, the best linens and fluffy white robe, a leather-bound menu with a golden logo embossed.

At every interaction with the hotel, you have an exceptional experience.

If you’re at a motel, you might expect something very different, and it’s different at every touch point too, from arriving and no one greeting you, no fresh flowers, no high ceilings, darker rooms, so-so beds, and a laminated menu. Although not as luxurious, it is the same level of experience in every interaction.

This is consistent branding, consistently impressing or not.

We as humans like to put things in boxes.

Yes, even you…

We are masters at jumping to conclusions based on our previous experiences.

It’s one of those things that is human nature, we try to interpret our experiences as soon as we interact with them. If we don’t know how to receive them, we simply “push” the experience into a box of something similar that it reminds us of so our brain can take it in and spit out a translation of how we should feel or react.

That’s why first impressions are important.

To keep that impression throughout the experience, is however just as important.

Consistency through all touch points on how you do things will reiterate who you are, what you believe in, and how you serve.  Again, our brains are trying to find the shortest/easiest route (which is both a blessing and a curse).

Make sure that initial impression is what you wanted to give and create that experience by consistently showing up. Before you know it, you are in the user’s mind as the best/most/healthiest/cheapest etc.  _______ in town.

This is also why it is important to start with defining your brand first, so you know in what way and style you want interact with your user/customer before you start creating all touch points from logo, marketing material, interior, exterior etc.

Is there any touchpoint you just can’t get around to matching the rest?

Ways to Connect With Your Client

So you have your color palette, logo, website, and business card handy…. But now what? Do people use business cards still?

As summer begins and business doors re-open the thoughts of, “Where should I go to network?” and “What should I say?” may pop into mind.

Setting it all up is one thing, but letting the world know you exist is a totally different one.

Here is a list of handy-dandy suggestions to connect with the people that want to hear from you.

Content Marketing

Write original content weekly/bi-weekly about your industry. It can be long in-depth articles, short nudges, or a list of suggestions. Take a stand and be bold. A bit time consuming but long-game goodness.

YouTube Channel

Do you like to be in front of the camera (or even if you don’t)? Start a YouTube channel sharing your knowledge and maybe even a few jokes.

Invite people

It could be that simple. Have you emailed, say, 10 people to just let them know about your insightful and delightful weekly posts? While you are at it, suggest they sign-up so they don’t miss one and maybe even remind them that they can share the news with a friend

Interact in Facebook groups

Find groups that fit your industry and expertise and go interact. Answer questions, suggest things, help others. This online presence will showcase your expertise and let people know you are available and know knowledgeable.

Ask to be a guest

Look up podcasts that are related to your industry, where you could provide support/guidance to the audience. Reach out to the person running the show and let them know you have some content you think would really benefit their audience.

Do some work for a discount or free

You can give away your service or product to let people try it out/see what it is like to work with you in exchange that they mention you every time they go anywhere. Or, a good ol’ positive review does the trick too.

Social contest

Show your audience that you do something neat. Take a photo, like, follow and tag a friend. Ta Da!

Write about the right thing

Do your research to see what topics your audience is curious about. Use the specific keywords and phrases from this research in your titles, subjects, articles, and social posts.

Interview somebody

Do you know some thought leaders, interesting, or not so interesting people? Interview them and write about what you found out, credit your interviewee, and ask them to share your post.

Do the work for your client

There are so many options out there, for products/services/tools etc. How about you compare and let users know what conclusions you came to?!

Collaboration

I have always been a team player; it makes doing things more fun while quickly extending your reach. Partner with a charity you like, a related business, co-host, co-author… co anything basically.

Recycle

Use your content in multiple ways. For example, if you have a podcast, video record it, transcribe it, pull snippets for social post about it, maybe use it for a course, etc. Each solid content you create, you should be able to at least use in three more places

Ok, I hope these helped, sparked some ideas, and got you inspired to connect and step it up.

I inspired myself… anybody want to collaborate?  If yes, hit replay and maybe we can come up with something fun!

Let’s go.

Disconnect to Reconnect

It's time to take a walk.

Are your days full? Your to-do list so long you can’t see the end of it? The life of running your own business…yes, but you cannot forget you also have a choice what you focus on.

Today, I want to give you permission to stop for, let’s say, 30 minutes.

Turn everything off; phone, email, notifications of all sorts and then stand up and walk outside.

It’s just 30 minutes, you will be right back.

While you go for your walk, think about these questions:

  1. What difference are you wanting to make with your business?
  2. Who do you want to serve?
  3. Are you offering your services in the most ultimate way for you and your client?

If you been in business for a while, you might already have these answers, but still, I want you to look at your business with fresh eyes. We are constantly growing and changing.

Sometimes, we tend to get lost in the day-to-day to-do’s that need to be done, working IN our business, instead of ON our business.

These kinds of questions will refresh your memory of why you are doing this in the first place, because let’s be honest sometimes that is the number one question of the day. But more importantly, it will strengthen your foundation and clarity of your brand and how to articulate it. 

The movement? Well, that it helps creative thinking and is good for your overall health.

The more time you take to work ON your business, the more transformation you will see. The sooner you will reach that big vision of yours.

Ok let’s keep up with the honesty: Do you block off time to work ON your business? If yes, do you stick to it?

If no, now is time to make that a habit, a certain time and certain place to work on your business and its future. How much time? As much as you can!

So today, do yourself a favor, take 30 minutes to walk outside and think of/answer the questions above. I have a feeling something really neat will come to you.

Want to bet?! 😉

Hit reply and let me know your answers!

I hope this inspires you to disconnect from your devices, get some fresh air, and reconnect with your creative side! 

You have questions, I have answers. Let’s talk branding.

I remember my university web developer professor once told me he never told folks what he did for a living when he was introduced to new people.

Instead of telling them he was a web developer, he told them he was an insurance broker. Why would he do that? Less questions that way.

Back then I did not really get it, but now I know what he meant in regards to the endless questioning. However, I still don’t understand his approach, but we are all wired differently.

I am the opposite of my professor.

When people reach out to me with questions, it lights me up.

Whether it’s design, business, or how to simplify, optimize, and organize things (I also get quite a bit of sporty topics because of my athletic background or how to fix things – yeah, I am a proud handywoman!), to me, that simply means I get to make a greater impact.

I especially love it when somebody asks in a middle of a dinner party, “Do you mind if I ask you some branding questions?”. Heck yeah!! You are speaking my love language. How much time do you have? 😉

I also appreciate people who are looking to learn and grow – those are my kind of people!

If you are ever curious about anything, always ask.

Even if it is to somebody who you think won’t answer, the worst response you’ll get is a “no”, but on the flip side you might learn some goodness and dive into an interesting conversation.

So obviously I hope you realize you can always ask me questions. I once received a less than perfect review because my client did not know he could ask me questions after our project was done. This experience may have led me to being overly clear with clients now, but if you confuse, you lose. One of my company values is:

Curiosity – to continue to learn. To not judge but to listen.

If you are curious to learn what my other company values are and what we stand for, you can check them out here.

If you just started your business and want a bit more help, then just ask the question!

If you want more support, we have a fabulous service that you really should take advantage of, where I look through your whole site, give you feedback on design, site structure, your offers, how and where to begin with SEO, how to present yourself, and more. The best part of it is that you will get actionable steps that I will check up on. Yep, I know taking action is the hardest of it all. Ideas are basically s*@t unless you make a move.

So, if you are somewhere in between I-just-started-my-business-and-my-friend-built-my-website and I’m-ready-to-pay-to-have-a-professional-just-take-care-of-this-for-me, this is the perfect stepping-stone, a clear path to the later.

I am not an insurance broker. I am proudly and loudly a brand designer and brand strategist, here to support you make a greater impact on the world.

Let’s go.

Hint: Most often your ideal client is very much like you.

Are You Charging Like You’re Selling Last Years Model?

I have noticed something that affects us all, regardless of where you are at in your business-building career or which field you are in.

I have experience working with a wide range of professionals, specifically within the financially industry.

One struggle has remained constant among all individuals: Charging what you are worth.

Yep, it really does not matter where you are on your business journey or what field you work in.

It takes courage to believe in yourself and your vision.  And it seems that if you are in the professional field the world assumes you are born with courage….and that is not always the case.

I also know that from going through the struggle of charging my worth. In order to grow, you must constantly challenge your way of thinking on just about everything, including correctly interpreting your worth as a price tag.

I frequently look at how businesses charge for their services because it is directly related to connecting your brand to your target audience.

Are you running (or have a desire to run) a small business with less clients who get a top-notch expertise with one of kind white glove royal treatment? Or do you run (or hope to run) a business where you have less touch points, a higher number of clients, and an automated process with immense value delivered?

Either way, I know you have a unique perspective on how you do business, and you do business right, meaning you give way more than what is expected from you.

So to you I say: It is okay to charge for it!

Heck, it is not just okay, you should charge for it.

Here is why…

The thing is, when you get compensated for the value you give, you get inspired and excited to give even more. Then your clients gets thrilled of the value they recived and before you know it, you start looking at how you can optimize and provide even more. That is what happens when you get some breathing room, or in this case a financial boost, you create space to make a greater impact.

I have had many clients share their visions with me, what they want to do and how they do business, which has resulted in me encouraging them to increase their price.

Like clockwork, a few months later I get a call from the same client, as they do a happy dance on the other side of the phone, because they finally got the courage to increase their pricing and they are continuing to book out despite their increase in fees.

Great value = Charge for it = Happy dance. 

(In short, basically all I am saying is – let’s dance more!! ;))

Ok hold up, when do you know it is time to increase?  Because of course you need to be in the right place for it too.  This might sound a bit fluffy, but you will feel it. If you have just even begun playing with idea of increasing your prices, do it. You have already waited too long.

If you just started your business or changed it up in one way or another and it feels like things are coming at you from all different directions, you may be feeling like you can hardly see the light. You feel overwhelmed and not sure how to make it work. This is a sign that it is rather time to simplify your work/process.  Rinse and repeat what you are offering, so it starts flow more easily. After going through that for some time, it will starts to flow better. For example, you will probably even feel like those sells calls actually seem kind of fun and don’t need a lot of prep.  Then we are back to that feeling I was talking about above, where you feel more confidence in your offerings, and it’s time to charge more.

I know, you immediately think, “If I charge more, am I going to lose clients?” The truth is, you might lose the ones you have out-grown. 

In the end, you will gain more of the ones you want to work with, the ones who value your worth. 

Yep, that is how it works.

Have you thought about changing how you charge for your services? Maybe?

Hit reply and let me know what you are working on.

I am here to support you in your dance.

How to Create a Personal Brand

The best thing about a personal brand is that you get to be, just you.

Yes, I know, this can sometimes be a little tricky, because it brings to the surface some deep questions, like:

“Who are you really? Why are you doing what you are doing? What kind of values are important to you? How do you want to show up?”

If you ask me, those are all fabulous questions and a reason why I love what I do. I love to dive deep and bring out the golden nuggets that you have.

That is really what it is. Highlight your unique traits or quirks and use them to your benefit. Then swirl that up with the offerings you have, and you will never have to compete for work ever again.

That unique combination is your “magic” trick.

Yes, it will exclude potential clients and yes you want to do that.

I don’t know how often I hear, “I don’t want to exclude anyone.”

I get that. It feels a little backwards, because you want to serve as many as possible. The truth is that you shouldn’t and you can’t…at least not in a way where you can deliver a great outcome and client experience. At the end of the day, that is what you are looking for and what your clients are looking for – a great experience.

The only exception for this is when you are just starting out.

You want to take all the work you can so you can pay bills and figure out who your ideal client is, what your process is and/or how to optimize it. But as soon as you can start filtering out the people who are most fitted to work with you, I highly recommend you do that. It will be life changing.

A silly example, but here it is: would you want to go to a cardiologist to have your broken foot fixed?

They are both doctors, however, it doesn’t mean a cardiologist can help you in the specific way you need.  Same goes for you. By honing in on your way of being and doing, as well as what and how you offer your services, you will become the sought-after expert in that specific area.  People will know where to go. You will not be lost in an ocean of sameness. You will have a much easier time creating your experience, because you are not trying to talk to everyone, but rather a specific group who you understand and can support.

That sidetracked us a bit to branding in general, so to bring it back to creating a personal brand, I want to wrap it up with this: don’t be afraid to dive deep and own your ways. Your people will love it (and you will love the results too).

Hint: Most often your ideal client is very much like you.

How to Launch a Brand like a Brand Strategy Consultant

There are two categories here:

Either you are launching for the first time or you are re-launching (meaning you have just updated your old brand and it’s time to pull back the curtain to reveal, and show off, your brand-new outfit).

The way you go about each is slightly different. I’ll go through both of them.

Category 1: You are new to the online world.

You have finally put it all together and ready for the big announcement… #exciety. Yes, it’s stinking exciting, but of course there is some anxiety that comes with it. No way around that.  

Stepping out on stage for the first time is a big deal. But it’s also the first time. So, although you can prepare as much as possible, it’s okay if things don’t go exactly the way you envisioned they’d go. The best thing about stepping out into the world as a new online business owner is that your audience is most likely quite small. And although that can sound like a not-so-good thing, it’s honestly a blessing in disguise. When your audience is small, not a lot of people will know about the mishaps…and there will be some. [Nobody comes out of the womb being a marathon runner, no one.] But on the other hand, you can give way more attention to each person who is on the ride with you.

With that established, let’s embrace the #excitety and get to it!

Creating and developing a brand is about being clear about who you are talking to, where you want to go and how and why you do what you do. With this clarity, you want to give the same experience on every touchpoint. This is means, anywhere your client interacts with you and your business, it should feel the same.

Here is a list of places (and touch points) for your brand:

  • Social media platforms, banners and profile images, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram
  • Any kind of accounts associated with your company, such as eMoney, Ameritrade, etc.
  • Email signature
  • Note cards sent to potential new clients to let them know you are open for business

Now, flip the switch on your website! Remove your Coming Soon mode on your new site, so people can see it.

That’s really it. I would not make it into anything bigger than that, because the fact that you are doing this is, on its own, amazing! It’s a big leap. And, what really needs to happen now is you need to celebrate you. Staring your own business is big so before you rush into work, take a little time to celebrate. You did it!

Category 2: You have been in business for a while and you are leveling up your game.

I don’t know what year you are on, but did you know that only half of small businesses survive passed the five-year mark and beyond that, only about one in three small businesses get to the 10-year mark. Wherever you are on that spectrum, fantastic! It’s not easy, but you are doing it anyway! And you are not only doing it, but you are also leveling up. Beyond neat!

 

How do you launch a “facelift”?

 

First, plan for the date you are making the switch.  Then from there, reverse-engineer what you need to do and when.  The amount of time would depend on how you want to announce your new brand.  I would take the opportunity to be really loud, in a good way of course. 😉

You can think of it like a movie actor announcing a new movie. You know how they go around and speak about their new movie to drum up excitement…I would recommend you do the same.

Here are some suggestions:

After you’ve set the date for your new brand to go live, let your current clients know about your facelift.  You want them to feel special and apart of this, because they are. They have possibly supported you from the start and they should get royal treatment. Let them know why you are updating your brand, what difference they might see in the future working with you and or even send them some goodies with your new look.

There has been a lot of work put into creating your new brand and website, and now it’s time to scream on top of your lungs how exciting it is to announce it to the world. Here are some steps to take during your relaunch:

  • It is a perfect opportunity to offer your audience something to help celebrate your relaunch. Consider a giveaway of sorts, such as a free consultation, a discount on one of your offerings, etc.
  • Gather all assets and make sure everything for your offering and announcement is set up properly.
  • Reach out to other blogs or podcasts that have similar audiences to you in which you feel you can bring additional value to their audience.
  • Give a sneak peak in advanced to get your audience excited.
  • If you want to take it a step further, perhaps buy advertising and take the opportunity to reach more people.
  • Before the big day, make sure to update all touchpoints, including social media platforms, banners and profile images, email signatures, logos on accounts that are associated with your company, etc.

And that is it!! Super exciting. Done is better than perfect.

I hope this gives you clarity on how to launch your brand like a brand strategy consultant, no matter your stage of business.