Could a website redesign be the thing that helps you make more money in your business? Maybe, maybe not. 😉 We’re at the end of our own website redesign process, so in this video, I’m going to share with you some website redesign goals + 4 things I’ve learned as I’ve gone through website redesign steps. Get your game face on for behind-the-scenes website redesign best practices … and maybe your own website redesign before-and-after story.
“If I’m gonna spend time and money on this, I’m going do it right the first time”—a potential client said that on a call with me yesterday and hand way up in the air, I feel like I say that all the time as a creative small business owner. Click like if that seems to be your MO way of thinking as an entrepreneur as well. If you run a business, you know that having a digital doormat rolled out aka your website is of the utmost importance.
You also need that website to work and be a conversion machine, even when you’re sleeping, and I truly mean that not in the like sleazy way of (I always think when I think of sleazy car salesman, I think of the dad in the Matilda movie—I know you don’t wanna be like that) but your website does need to work when you can’t.
Today I’m walking you through the experience I’ve had in my very first custom website redesign, revamp, refresh, kinda from the ground-up process. This is the first time I’ve done this in my five-year-old business. I’m gonna go through exactly the order I’ve done things and how I’ve done them.
My website as of right now is built off of a $1,000 template— but I realized it’s time to invest five figures in a heavy redesign process because now I know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—this will help us make more money. I’m not going to rehash every. single. step. of this that we took. Instead, I want to equip you with the 4 things I learned throughout the process that will increase the ROI of the hefty investment of time and money that a website update can be.
By the way, this is part three of a three-part series where I’m focusing and zooming in more on website copy and design. I want you to be able to understand if, how, when, and why you need to update your website. So you can check out those other two videos here as well if you’re interested.
All right, let’s dive into what I learned in this whole website design process.
⬇️Don’t forget to click here or down below to snag my FREE Google Docs Website Copy Starter Template ⬇️
First up, and honestly probably the most important, we’re getting much more clear on pricing and communicating our offers. But we’re doing it in a way that helps the user be able to self-select what they may need. I’ve shared this before, If you’re a student inside Copywriting for Creatives you know that I’ve talked about this, but let me introduce you to usertesting.com. If you haven’t before, I talk through this at the 11:02min mark in this video here where you can understand how to conduct this on your own website, but essentially you’re getting strangers to look at your website and just vocalize their experience.
I’ve joked that you need either a bowl of candy or a glass of wine or something to get through listening to these people feedback— ’cause it can kinda hurt so good.
Listening to people’s opinions about your website, and I did this very intensely before this website revamp, I invested in a whole lot more of these than I typically do for any of our client projects.
It kinda feels like when you were in middle school and you read Seventeen Magazine’s Traumarama section.;)
You just have to take a breath and take a minute
My big takeaway from listening back to people is something that I say all the time anddd I needed to take a dose of my own medicine. In a lot of places, I was being either too clever or just too communicative. I needed to get crystal clear on what I do, how I do it, and who it’s for.
One takeaway that was interesting that made me excited about our new website design is how clear our top navigation is going to be. And it already helped—I saw with those user testings, how clear it was. But this is something that I harp on a lot when we have clients and they’ve installed the copy that we have.
I recently did it on a client project. We had our post-install call. I was helping her look at the design and how she’d moved all of our copy in. One of the first things I said was that the main menu is entirely too cluttered—there’s way too much going on, streamline that. I know it can be trendy or cool to have a lot going on above the fold, but, just don’t do it.
If anything, that bottom footer navigation, using that to put a lot of the different links that you want to include, this can be your best friend—leverage that.
(By the way, in next week’s video, I’m talking and digging into the elements you need to have on your homepage. So click subscribe if you don’t wanna miss that because some of this lends to that.)
Another takeaway that I learned from this is that we ARE keeping what I dub a services splash page. So having a work with me page that people click on and then they can see more of like a menu of different options. That enables me to speak specifically to people where they are because the person that needs the $750 offer is very different from the person that’s investing at $10,000.
This is why for a lot of service providers and creatives, it may be worth having a long form services page for your offer. If it is high value and super expensive, maybe break them up depending on the offer and the audience. Because by speaking to that specific person who’s a fit for that high-end offer, you’re able to talk more to their problems and their desires than if you’re lumping all of your packages on one page.
Related: 7 Steps to Organize and Plan Your Website Content
In last week’s video, I talked through this and why I am such a believer in it. I gave some ideas as well about how you could maybe do it on your website.
One more tip for you here—I want you to open up your website, mobile, desktop, doesn’t matter. Open up the menu or look at the top navigation and answer me this >>> Do the links mentioned add clarity or confusion to your ideal client or customer’s journey? Basically, it’s a fork in the road. We want to either lead towards a conversion or it will lead towards confusion—and I think you know what the answer should be.
Okay, the second big takeaway that I had through this process is now that I know my offer ladder here after five years in business, I could really clean up what’s been Frankensteined over time and just added to as the website has just grown and undulated. This has helped me rework the number one thing that I want the user to do on each page of my website. Each page has got to start with the end in mind.
This is why I think it is so very important to be able to understand and articulate your offers and your positioning on each thing before you sprinkle outsource magic fairy dust and send it over to a copywriter—’cause they’re gonna try to pull this out of you as well. You gotta know it to an extent. Or, if you’re trying to work with a designer, they’re gonna be asking you for this as well—at some point, you gotta be able to tell me.
Related: How to Write a Website that Converts
Being in the game for a minute so I could play in the sandbox and kinda figure out what works and what doesn’t and throw spaghetti at the wall….all that helped me get to a point for this website redesign process where I was able to answer these two questions for each page. >>>
I also showed in last week’s video on my YouTube channel exactly how to find a conversion rate on any given page of your website. I still stand by that being soooo important. Once you’re able to understand the volume of what needs to get there to actually fill out and take that action step that you’re asking them to take, you can start to then outline about the amount of time it’ll take you to fill those client spots or book out or whatever it is. Then we can start to see how the website revamp or website design can be an ROI game. We understand how long it’ll take us to start to make back that investment.
Personally, if I had invested in custom design early on before I had, again, flung that spaghetti at the wall and started to figure out what my offers were, what the positioning of them was. It might’ve worked for a little while but things were still such in flux that I needed to hack it along the way and get really good at the business side of things, the strategy of the business.
I’m gonna pause right here and give you four simple lightning round strategies—these are powerful ways to drastically increase your conversions. ⬇️⬇️
Okay, go back to your landing pages, get to work if there were any of those tips that were helpful.
Related: Time For a Website Update or Refresh? Ask These 5 Questions to Find Out!
Think A.B.C. here—always be collecting— but have a good intake system in place for your customers and clients over time so you’re making sure that you do take back that data on why this was a good option for them and why they picked you and how they enjoyed things.
But here’s where I got five years into my business. In the past, and I still recommend it, I’ve talked about having a foldering system in your Drive or your Dropbox where you’re dropping those different files along the way, that’s case studies, those screenshots.
I stand by that, but, again, after five years, I learned, now, that I understand the objections that people have for the different offers that I have in my offer ladder. And yes, it’s still worth harvesting these like crazy, don’t stop doing that. What I did learn when I did a copywriting project for a client, Amy Porterfield, that I could see a little bit behind the scenes of her incredible testimonial build-out. My biggest takeaway from that was that I need to make sure that I’m categorizing and having an organized filing system for our testimonials, organized by either business type or level in business or objection that it overcomes, so on and so forth. That was gold—so thanks Amy for that. I got to see that while I was researching and I thought, I’ve never thought to do anything like this with my own testimonials.
Related: 8 Ways to Get Powerful & Persuasive Client Testimonials (+ Examples)
Now when I have a testimonial or a case study that we’re collecting in my business, I’m also being wise to earmark and categorize it based on some different stipulations, again, that would help my business. How does this come into your website redesign? Well, it helps me know what testimonials I can put where on a sales page or an offer page ’cause I understand now what objections I’m trying to overcome.
The last big thing that I learned is, I’m actually pretty glad I did things in the order I did over the years in my business. I did not put my time and my money early on in my business into custom website design.
My first website design was completely hacked on my own, but I was spending more time trying to figure out and solidify exactly what my service was, my copywriting service. I also had a calligraphy side of my business then and I was working so much on productizing the service and making it something that I could do a set number of times during the year and how I could sell that.
I was focusing on the UVP, the USP, the onlyness factor of my business in those offers, messaging that and getting that out there and booking clients. Once those signature offers were developed, I then started to kinda play around and figure out, what are some auxiliary offers that I can add in to flesh out and create an offer ladder that I wanna work people up? So at this point, all my website images were from trades that I did with photographers. I also used a lot of stock imagery from SC Stockshop to build out my website at first as well.
Then, about a year into business, I finally purchased my first website template that was from Tonic Site Shop. Again, it’s been so good me, it cost $1000, and that was one of my first big website investments. The next big investment that I put in my website was for brand photography and imagery ’cause I knew it had this template, but I couldn’t just rely on stock images forever. I needed some with my face in them, some that were professionally done that had more of a cohesive library and look to them. That year, I invested around $10,000 in brand imagery and then the next year, about $5,000 in brand imagery, more that had my face in it.
Related: 5 Secrets to Choosing the Best Website Template
I’ve done some videos on that here, but I actually put my money there before I put my money into a custom website. Again, I’m glad I did that because I think it helped me—I was able to stretch those images and use them on social media and other assets. I could take my template and stretch it a little longer because it looked more custom because the imagery was all custom.
Finally, with my offer ladder now in place, I know what my offers are, I know the messaging behind them, I have the imagery library. At this point, I was finally ready to go ahead and invest in a custom website design.
Now I truly understand—I know without a shadow of a doubt—I’m going to make back the five-figure investment that I’m spending on my website design. BECAUSE I understand the conversion rates for the pages, I understand the offers, I understand the sales projections for each offer in a year.
So there you have it, those are my 4 tips for redesigning your website so you can understand how a website redesign or refresh or investment is gonna be worth the ROI for you (or not) and how it could be fruitful for you and your business.
As I always say, I’ve made so many mistakes and I’m always very happy to share them with you so you can learn from them along the way, but on this, I definitely learned a few things.
Now that you know how to tell if your website design or website refresh is gonna be worth it and actually payback with the ROI, but you may need that gut check on if this is gonna be something that you need to invest in this quarter or even this year. Well, if that’s you, I’ve got a video teed up for you next where I’m gonna take you through 5 audit questions you can ask yourself to determine if this is something you should spend time or money on right now— you can find that here. Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle.
⬇️Don’t forget to click here or down below to snag my FREE Google Docs Website Copy Starter Template ⬇️
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Reading Time: 12 Minutes Could a website redesign be the thing that helps you make more money in your business? Maybe, maybe not. 😉 We’re at the end of our own website redesign process, so in this video, I’m going to share with you some website redesign goals + 4 things I’ve learned as I’ve gone through website redesign […]
Warning, spending your time and your hard-earned cash on a brand new website, or even a website refresh or website update may be exactly where you need to be spending said time and money, or it may not be. After all, time sure is money when you’re a creator or a creative entrepreneur and small business owner. Sometimes a DIY fresh coat of paint will do the trick but sometimes you need to go all HGTV on your website or “Trading Spaces”.
Does anyone remember that show???? So good.
Anyway, you need to pull your website down to the studs and start all over again. In doing that, you’d be consulting an expert or two along the way. But how do you know if you actually need a website refresh or update? Or whatever other sales problems that you’re seeing are happening somewhere else in your marketing plan?
Well, today I’m walking you through 5 audit step checkpoints that you can go through to determine if you even need this website update or website refresh.
Here’s the good news: there are some gut-level questions that you can ask yourself here in these next 10 minutes that will help you determine if your website is the culprit—or maybe not—and what to do to fix it.
I’m going to give you specific actionable audit steps that you can take for each of the five checkpoints I have. I’m also going to get a little math nerdy and tell you exactly how to find your conversion rate. So if you’ve thought that is mystical or hard to figure out before, hopefully, you won’t after today.
This is part two of a little three-part series that I’m doing on your website and your website copy. So if you haven’t yet, be sure to open up in another tab to watch last week’s video on my YouTube channel—I walk through the seven phases or parts of gathering and making sure that you have your website content and copy together so you can execute your website update. You can watch that here.
Next week’s video is going to be all about what I have learned from my *very* FIRST custom website. I’ve been in business for five years, built a seven-figure business but I’ve never invested in a custom website till now—so I’m going to tell you kind of what I’ve learned along the way. To make sure you don’t miss that one, hit the subscribe button on my YouTube channel here.
P.S.—make sure to read until the end, I’m going to tell you three things that I’ve learned from being around people that are more visually driven when it comes to websites. Graphic designers, art directors, photographers—I’m going to share those with you too.
Okay, let’s get right to it.
⬇️ Don’t forget to click here or down below to grab your FREEBIE:44 Questions Your Website Must Answer Checklist ⬇️
You may need a website update if you haven’t listed (or argued for) your prices clearly.
Oh, I know I’m going right for the jugular with number one but picture this for me.
You’re out to dinner at a nice-ish restaurant with some new-ish friends and you all sit down together and by the way, you’ve only got cash in your wallet. Nearly every single thing on the menu looks really good and it’s got the price listed to it. It’s perfect. You’ve got the cash to cover it. One thing that looks like a whole situation that you would be into says available at the market price— there’s no price point listed. Again, this is not your family or your BFFs, and you only have cash. What are the odds that you stick your neck out there and ask for that or ask what the price point is in front of everybody? Here’s the thing, a lot of us are probably just going to play it safe and go with what we know that we could afford.
I bring up that little illustration because I’ve worked with thousands of students and hundreds of clients at this point—I don’t care what industry you’re in—people want to know or have some sort of framework or understanding for where you might fall in the pricing spectrum before they reach out to you. I mean, maybe there’s exceptions, but they’re very rare.
I have heard the excuses before. I have felt the excuses, hands up, before. Maybe you only do custom work and custom quotes—been there. Maybe you just feel like your prices are too high and they are going to scare people off—I’ve felt that.
Maybe you feel like I don’t know how to convey the value of what I do and to put my price point out there, just, it seems like no one would inquire if I stuck it out there. You may be the type that thinks, if I can just get them to the call, then I can show them my beautiful pricing and services magazine and they’ll want to work with me then.
Or maybe this is you—you worry that your competition is then going to see what you price at and beat you on price.
Do any of those resonate?? I have absolutely felt this before.
For your audit checkpoint question number one, I want you to pause and answer this for me :
>>If your dream client or customer was scrolling through your website right now today, what three questions would they have about your pricing or your pricing structure? Would you be able to find the answers to them on your website without reaching out, emailing you, filling out your contact form, getting on a call, whatever? Are they answered on page? <<
There are so many different messaging work throughs you can go through to price anchor and communicate a price without coming out and saying something that you’re not comfortable with. One idea is that you can give us starting at price point or a percentage of budget.
So for example, if you’re a calligrapher or stationer, you could say something like, “Most of our clients tend to spend eight to 15% “of their entire wedding budget on stationary and paper.” That at least helps her understand, “Is this even in the realm of my budget or not.” You can provide common ranges and you can also list maybe what would affect that going up or down as well. And you can showcase the different factors that will influence your pricing.
My system for writing sales pages or services pages is the Sweet 16 System, I have this template in my shop, but essentially it walks through in one section, what I call the Starbucks Test. Because I feel like we’ve all bought something and to anchor it, we hear something like, “You could buy four coffees a month “or you could skip that and get this.”
That’s price anchoring.
It helps take something that’s a little esoteric and pull it down into layman’s terms for us and how we’d spend on a daily or week to week basis. You need to be able on your pricing pages and your website, services, sales pages, however you’re categorizing it to communicate that to your dream client or customer. That way they can self-select. Either they can afford it or even after seeing the explanation, they can mosey on their way if it’s not a fit for them.
You’ve heard the rumors. It’s true. When people are on your website, they’re not looking for you—they don’t care about you as much as they are looking out for number one. And they’re looking at your website to have a mirror held back so they can see themselves.
So a ninja trick on figuring out this,—I want you to go to a page of your website and hit Ctrl F. Run a search for words like I, me, we and us, and then run another search for the word you. Who wins the word count situation there? Like I said, they’re looking for that mirror back to them, even on your about page.
I’m going to get a little granular here but I’ve talked about this with sooo many different clients and customers over the years. And I know what it’s like to feel like, “Well, I can’t use you language “’cause it feels like I’m trying to solve a problem “for them. “And what I do doesn’t solve a problem. “I offer a luxury or I offer something that is beautiful “and it’s artistry based. “And so I can’t bring up all this you, you, you language, “because then I sound like, “I don’t know the dad in the “Matilda” movie “where it’s just so sleazy in car sales-manny, “and I don’t want to be like that Ashlyn. “So that’s what I’m talking about myself.” I get that and I hear you on that.
BUT I want you to keep this in mind.
When people are out there shopping, they’re looking to purchase a better version of themselves no matter what they’re buying. People want to feel like they’ve made a wise smart shopping decision or money decision. They want to make their friends and family proud or even impressed. Ego absolutely plays into our shopping and our money decisions.
Maybe they want to feel nostalgic or at peace or rested or some emotion they’re looking for. Maybe, this goes for you if you’re B2B, they want to be looked at as one smart cookie or the hero to their team, their colleagues, or their boss. And yes, the problem, one you hear all the time, they want to solve the things that keep them up at night.
I run through this because as you talk about yourself and use your language on your website, I want you to speak to that desire they have. If you’ve always framed things, as you’re trying to sell to the problem and you’re trying to solve their problem, maybe it’s the desire that you actually need to speak to and you still need to make it about them and their desire.
Another way that you can mirror back to your clients and customers is to get absolutely obsessive about collecting testimonials and social proof. But pro tip, be on the lookout and keep your nose to the ground, ear to the ground, what, it’s ear to the ground about making sure that when you’re pooling it, people are either telling you, you’re asking them, or you’re just highlighting the ones that showcase the people that had an objection first to purchasing from you or working from you, but they bought anyway, and you overcame that with your product or service. There’s also going to be absolute gold when you’re installing them on your website because that is a brilliant way that you can mirror back to people without you talking. You can let somebody else do the talking for you.
Here’s a little hack if you’re bad at collecting testimonials or social proof. Definitely get into the habit of screenshotting if someone shares about your brand. One thing I do is on Thursdays, I have a checklist point on my daily tasks for every single Thursday, where I make sure that I’m taking those and I’m filing them in the appropriate folder. Or I’m baking them into whatever page on our website or landing pages/sales pages so I can speak against objections.
Make this a recurring task for you—screenshot like crazy. Screenshot things when clients and customers send them to you. I’ve done some videos in the past. I’ll link them about testimonials. All I want you to do here is start to get in the habit of collecting them like crazy.
Related: 8 Ways to Get Powerful & Persuasive Client Testimonials (+ Examples)
You may need a website update if you’re not clear on your business strategy or offer ladder.
So the other week I was on a dream potential client call but it took about 30 whole minutes for me to understand their offer ladder and their dream progression of a customer journey that they wanted their customers to take. Even understanding the basic value prop of each offer that they had because they had a few, it took like 30 minutes for us to figure out and for me to understand. A lot of times when we feel flustered about what our offer ladder is or what the value prop of our individual offers are, it can feel like the best solution is just, “Let’s get a new website. “One that is more articulate towards our dream customer “or client, or has better design or whatever.”
The problem though is that puts the cart before the horse. And yeah, maybe you do need a website refresh or revamp down the road, but your problem is deeper than that. Before you work on any of that, you’ve got to get hype clear on your offer ladder and what the UVP or USP of each of your offers, products or services is.
Related: How to Plan & Write Your Website Content
What I so admired about this client is they were like, “You know what? “Let’s listen to the research. “Let’s dig into what are people even want from us. “And then we’ll start to flesh out “what this offer ladder is, how we want to move people along “and then how we can communicate and package that, “I’ve called it your onlyness factor, “your UVP or your USP is “for each of those offers.” Ding, ding, ding! Soooo smart.
So they’re using data to inform their structure and their content on their website. That’s what you have got to be doing too. If you don’t have an offer strategy behind your whole website and clear positioning for each of your offers, then no, I can pretty much guarantee you that the individual landing pages of your website are nowhere near converting like they should be.
Pretend we’re talking right now and tell me off the top of your head in a nut shell, what the pitch is for your signature product, your offer?
For example, Copywriting for Creatives is the first and only solution for you to master your message, write your site and launch it to sell in 30, 60 or 90 days. And what you’d be able to do that and be so clear about your different offers and understand where they fall in a customer client journey. Then the website structure and site map can be formulated around that. If someone is trying to wheel and deal and sell you on website design, without making sure you understand that and you can communicate to them, run for the hills.
Build the business first, understand that and then start to invest.
Again, I’m going to talk about some solutions to that in next week’s videos so don’t forget to subscribe here if you have not yet.
You may need a website update or refresh if you have a traffic issue. your content isn’t exactly the milkshake marketing strategy, bringing all the customers and clients to the yard—AKA this is a traffic issue.
I told my email list in my weekly dog ear email the other week that launching is essentially a numbers game. It’s a math game and websites are very similar.
For example, I’ve seen people launch a website before and hear crickets on the back end of it and wonder why that happened but they didn’t give people a reason to go check out that new website or see what’s there. Or they had their one big launch and then the traffic peters off after that.
I bring this one up because it may be time to get a little more advanced with your content strategy to keep regular traffic coming there so the conversion rate can do its thing.
Some ideas here:
Again, so much of your website’s conversion rate is based on a traffic strategy and how much traffic is actually landing on that website so it can work. If you’re just out there kind of willy nilly, spray and pray social media plan without driving them back to this foundation, this website that you know converts like a machine, why are you spending so much time on social media? ‘Cause it needs to be pushing them to a place where they see your offer. They can very quickly decide whether to work with you or not, understand how to do that, pay for it, move on.
I want you to check your conversion rate.
We’re going to do some math. In last week’s video on my YouTube channel, I gave some specific points for your industry that may be a good conversion rate for you to consider. Don’t freak out about data. It is absolutely your friend when it comes to website design, content, copy and strategy. Essentially conversion rate is the number of conversions there divided by the number of visitors in a given time period. Then you’ll take that, multiply it by a hundred.
So if you had 6,000 unique views to your pre-designed logo shop or watercolor item shop in a year, and 40 sales (e.g. bought something), your conversion rate would be:
40/ 6000 * 100 = 0.7%
Also pro-tip, I go to geteasysolution.com or I just Google X is what percent of X like, and plug in my numbers. That’s a great way to find the conversion rate as well.
Comment below if that helps you demystify what a conversion rate is. I certainly hope it does.
So if you’ve gone the first four that I’ve walked through earlier and you’ve green light passed them. You my friend are finally allowed to wave the cosmetic flag and tell me that it’s the aesthetics that you don’t like on your website, and that’s why you need to change it.
Why is this the last piece?
We’ll as we say down here in the South, you can’t put lipstick on a pig. And I promise you all four of those steps that I mentioned earlier are wayyy more important than the aesthetics of your brand and the actual visual branding of it. You do need to look and walk and talk the part of seeming like the brand that you’re claiming to be, and that you’re proposing to be with your business.
I’ve talked to so many followers and students and clients that have spent a chunk of change, like truly an arm and a leg on the aesthetics of a website without those other four components we talked through—annnd it’s not working. I don’t want that to happen to you.
So don’t reach for the fact that your website doesn’t look the part first when you’re trying to assess why you might need a website refresh or things just aren’t working. It may be one of those other things I talked about. OR it may be the aesthetics— but it could be a combo.
<< I told you at top of this post I was going to tell you three things that I have learned over time, being a copywriter and a words girl, but working with people that are way more aesthetically in the know than me. Here they are >>
You may have heard me say this story before but I was working with my very first art director on my very first brand shoot. And she was going through my website and she said, “Ashlyn, some of these images are great, “but they have nothing to do with the copy that they’re next to.” Duh! I totally needed to hear that. Your imagery should be reflective of the copy that you’re working through. So even on a long-form sales page, if you’ve got some sort of copy then make sure that you’re reflecting that in the image back. She was absolutely right. So this goes for your entire website and even on your landing pages too. Stock imagery is a good thing, but be aware that you’re trying to message match along the way. And if you’re talking about something in your copy, how can that be absolutely accurately reflected in the image next to it?
I think early on in my career, I just stopped and stuffed my website with all the images that I could find for my portfolio and so on and so forth. But over time I learned to trim that down and give fewer better images.
Here’s another little tip—I think I’ve said this to Copywriting for Creative students all the time—but be really careful with carousels and when you’re installing carousels on your website. We had a client one time and we were testing. About 10% of the traffic that landed on a certain page clicked through to the next image on a carousel. And then 10% of that traffic click through to the next image. I’ll boil this down by saying that carousels, especially the ones you have to click through, just don’t usually work when it comes to showcasing your work. So have them on auto scroll and only have, like I said, as few images as possible or nix the carousel completely and figure out how to showcase your portfolio work elsewhere.
I’ve learned as I’ve worked with graphic designers, website designers and brand photographers— you absolutely need to stage and develop multiple iterations of the same styled look. So if we’re shooting this scene, I’m going to want horizontal, I’m going to want horizontal with a lot of white space to be available, and I’ll get some long shots of it. Nothing is worse than being to the point where you’re installing on your website and you think this image is so great but it’s not going to work because all we have is vertical versions of it and we need a horizontal. And if we crop it, it loses the whole integrity of the image.
Take it from me—always make sure you have a photographer shoot lots of different iterations of those style looks you have. All this goes to say, if you fail to outline why you do what you do the way you do it differently or better than your competition in your website messaging, then it doesn’t really matter how pretty your website is. So I just want to make you aware of that but the design does matter.
I have a video here where I walk through my best strategies for picking a website template. Again, I’ve said it. You can make a lot of money and have a really great website that’s built off a template. I just don’t want you to start with the visual brand.
Okay, now you’ve heard these five questions to ask to see if you need a website refresh or update. You can honestly rate yourself on where you fall. You may know, yep, 100% I need a website refresh or revamp, or you may think, “Nope, I’ve got what it takes. I’m good to go. I’m going to mosey on my way.”
If you’re in that former camp though, I’ve got two tools that may help you out today AND they’re both free. 🙂
Now that you’ve determined if you need a website refresh or not, we’ll have that in the seven steps you need to go through to do that teed up in this video for you here. Make sure as always you ask your questions below, love answering those for y’all. Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle.
⬇️ Ps-Don’t forget to click here or down below to grab your FREEBIE:44 Questions Your Website Must Answer Checklist ⬇️
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Reading Time: 16 Minutes Warning, spending your time and your hard-earned cash on a brand new website, or even a website refresh or website update may be exactly where you need to be spending said time and money, or it may not be. After all, time sure is money when you’re a creator or a creative entrepreneur and small […]
When it comes to planning your website content, you may be struggling to organize and plan—easy to do … website launches can be a BEAR of a project! Here’s the thing: a lash burning 64% of people shopping online said that the experience of shopping on a certain website is actually more important to them than the price point I would say it is high time that we skip that freak out session that we have about our prices being the thing that’s holding people back on our websites. Instead, we make sure that your website visitors have *exactly* what they need when they’re scrolling your website because it is just so confidently organized and planned as they navigate it.
But before you book that designer and go ahead and start your website refresh, revamp, or facelift process—you need to ask yourself:
+Do I have all the tools and assets that I need for this website revamp or refresh ready?
+Do I have the time that it takes set aside?
You know you need some sort of workflow of sorts teed up as you revamp your creative small business’ website…
What comes first, chicken or the egg? Where do you start?
Well good news, today I am going through these seven steps that you need to walk through to confidently organize and plan your website content and copy so you can avoid being overwhelmed in the whole process.
(Ps— this is part one of a little three-part series I’m doing on your website and specifically website copy. So be sure to hit the subscribe button on my YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next two videos!)
These seven things I’m outlining today are the same big keystone steps that I have taken more than 1600 students through inside my signature Copywriting for Creatives program. So pulpit here, it’s your turn.
We’re going to start with the most unsexy part of the website content and copy process. Because like I said earlier, today’s buyer people like you and me want to be in control of our buying process— so we need to start by listening to the people.
I don’t know if you feel like this but I don’t typically go out ready with my credit card shopping with a list of problems in mind and looking for a solution. Instead I usually, no matter if I’m purchasing software or something for inside my house or whatever, I have some sort of predetermined solution in mind. I just need an expert to speak into me and say like, yep, you’re moving in the right direction or no, actually I would recommend XYZ— I just want to know I’m making the right choice.
How can your buyers know that if they don’t see themselves reflected back when they are on your website? If they can’t decipher that you are the very one that holds the solution to unlock whatever problems going on in their life. This is why we’ve got to start by putting out ear to the ground and listening to your clients and your customers and doing that research, deep diving into it.
It’s why Copywriting for Creatives alumni will go ahead and start by teeing up in scheduling surveys and interviews and all sorts of types of competitor research even before we start working on brand messaging.
Likewise, on the agency side of my business, we do different surveys or listening data mining types of things we like to do and we’ll pick at least three to four for each project. You can watch this video here to learn different ways of how to arrange a different research that you’re working on as you prep your website.
But I did want give you a quick peak at this research rainbow that my team and I’ve started working off right now—we file it inside our website content and copy planner!
We’re adding this into CfC too because it’s been very helpful as a way to codify and organize all the different types of things you’re gonna hear as you start to listen to people.
One more side note on this—if you have taken my online voice vibe quiz then you are aware that there’s four different buying and selling styles out there. You typically buy like you like to be sold to. Some of us love to hear about how we’re gonna make that ROI back. Others of us really need our heartstrings pulled and that’s gonna be what motivates us more to buy. Doing this research phase can also help you start to figure out, okay, there’s gonna be different messages that certain people need to hear at different points in my website.
Here’s a quick takeaway tip for step #1—if you haven’t before go to Ashlynwrites.com/quiz and take that quiz so you can at least go ahead and assess what your selling and buying style is. And you’ll go ahead and see the other three big archetypes that are out there. That will help you as you craft messages for your website content. If you’ve taken that quiz before too, comment below and tell me what results you get. I get the same thing every time I take my own quiz—it’s kind of interesting.
What so many of us do when we are trying to work on our website is we start by picking out that beautiful design or that template or picking out that designer instead of the website copy. And I get it, that’s fun but you probably heard me say this before—copy dictates design, not the other way around. What you think you want to say in the order that your clients or your customers need to actually see it in are usually two different things and that difference is big.
This is why I’m such a proponent of having your brand messaging style guide. If you couple that with what we talked about in step one you’ve got that data and that research done and now we’re figuring out what you wanna say and how you say it, what your style is.
Also, as we work through your brand messaging style guide we wanna find what I call with my CFC students your “onlyness factor”… essentially your USP or your UVP, your unique value prop or selling prop. I’m going to share some examples from my students that have come up with this so well. And what I love is that students like Ida and Tanya have said I could even stop doing some other work in CFC because that one message was so pivotal that once I figured it out, I was really able to book myself out because I could tell people why I do what I do the way I do it differently or better than my competition and why I charge what I do for it.
>>> That is a killer piece of messaging to uncover. <<<
Why does this work so well? ‘Cause we’ve got to figure out where these messages overlap and exactly what the people want and need to hear from you. And it’s gonna be a Venn diagram overlap of what you wanto to say and what they need you to actually say to them in your website content.
My takeaway tip here is to start your brand messaging style guide if you haven’t ever done that before, or if you’re like me and you’ve had one for years. Freshen it up, make sure that it has the UVP or the USP the onlyness factor of all your big offers as well.
Essentially, you want to start with the end in mind for your website content and entire website—for each individual page of your website. You wouldn’t go to the grocery store without a list when you’re planning a massive party and welcoming a lot of people into your house—which is kind of what your website is—so you need an overarching plan and strategy for your website content as well AKA a site map.
Here is an example of a stationer and calligrapher that we have in the agency side of my business right now, So you can kind of see what I mean when I’m saying this word site map. It’s gonna map the user experience in the flow that somebody has when they land on your website.
The major reason this is so important is because it’s gonna help carve out exactly what the goal on every single page of your website is. If you’re not new here, then you know that I nerd out big time on conversion rates. A good landing page conversion rate is usually dependent on having one big call to action. Competing CTA is can confuse your visitors and the result there’s gonna be fewer leads or people filling out that work with me form or clicking on your purchase button or whatever.
One quick takeaway tip here—grab a screen shot of the image below—these are some basic conversion rates and the ones I like to give to clients as we’re working through and setting benchmarks for their projects.
The reason I love them so much is ’cause it’s gonna help you set reasonable expectations. It’s so easy sometimes to launch something or have a page go out there and be frustrated because it’s not working like you wanted it to. But kind of comes down to us sometimes and if we manage our expectations and we know what we can actually expect for a conversion rate, that can tip our things a lot.
Next up in organizing your website content and copy is gathering your raw materials. This is copywriting formulas, testimonials that correspond with your offers. and then all sorts of copywriting templates. I try to provide these all the time. Wireframes for each of your pages and the website content and copy that needs to go in there. Headline, formulas, and templates, that kind of thing.
So you’re clear on who you’re speaking to, did that in step one.
Step two, you’re clear on what you want to say and what your message is. And thanks to the last step, you’re now clear on the number one action that you want them to take before they leave each page of your website.
So now let’s talk about some simple ways that you can pull things together so you can actually get to the website copywriting part. *Spoiler, that’s the next step.*
Maybe it’s just me but at least help my ego sometimes when I’m cooking, I like to set everything out and feel like I’m on a TV show for a minute or at least like I’ve just got everything in front of me and I don’t have to run all around the kitchen, pooling out ingredients as I cook—you should NOT feel like that when you’re writing your website copy.
You should have everything in front of you all together so you can quickly go through the website copywriting process. So this step four is actually gathering those things there at the ready.
I mentioned a copywriting formula or a framework. I’ve done ones on homepages and about pages and sales pages before. I’m also passionate about giving CFC students a good working framework for each big keystone page of their website. So that’s what I mean here. Don’t start with the blinking cursor, start with some sort of framework or template.
To note—these are less mad-lib style templates. So don’t think that as much as think framework and messaging hierarchy. You wanna say this, then come in with this message and so on and so forth until you work yourself down the page.
Another thing you’re gonna need are your testimonials pooled and ready to go. I honestly don’t think I’ve made any big purchase the past few years without looking for some sort of customer review or testimonial. Whether it’s checking out the Amazon reviews section or asking friends who loves their hairstylists so I can get a good rec. I wanna pull the people and I know I’m not alone on this. Social proof is a key element on your website no matter what you do. And if it’s missing, then you’re creative, small business just isn’t gonna seem as trustworthy as you are. But I’m telling you this from firsthand experience over the past few months, gathering testimonials, case studies and all of this social proof, it takes a minute.
I would recommend definitely spending some time pulling these together. Plus this is how you’re gonna be able to leverage those testimonials really well and start to think, okay, on this page this objection comes up all the time so, aha,I need a testimonial that specifically has somebody saying they felt like that and they tried it and loved it.
So you can go into your testimonial arsenal and you can pull that and then pop that copy on that page.
At this point, it really shouldn’t take you that long ’cause you’ve done all the legwork in advance. You’ve started with those basic formulas. If you wanted to get fancy and stretch them out then you can do that now in this step. Again, hit subscribe because I’m going through again, my homepage formula and frameworks so you can hear about that. I’ll link ones I’ve done to my about page one. Again, I just want you to know that you’re not alone and you don’t need to start staring at the blinking cursor when it comes to writing these pages.
Now we get to talk about the pretty stuff, the design. Here you can pick your template or your designer and determine the imagery and the video assets that are gonna fit into the buckets of your pages. Like I said earlier, copy dictates design, not the other way around.
I did a video too on how to pick the best template, design template for your website—you can watch that here—I am so passionate about you not having to start with custom work. I love custom work, I do custom work as a copywriter, but it’s expensive and you can build a really dang good seven figure business, I know cause I did it, on a template. The problem is a lot of people trying to build the brand before you build the actual business and I don’t want you to do that.
Build the business and the business strategy first.
Figure out how to hack it really good with these steps I’m going through. Figuring out your message. Figuring out your unique selling or value prop, your onlyness factor. Folding that into a beautiful website template. There are so many good ones out there.
Here’s a takeaway tip here. If you are working off of the template or working hand in hand with somebody who really speaks imagery and design, definitely get their two cents on what imagery should go where. I learned this the hard way. The first time I was ever able to outsource art direction or imagery for my brand, I was working with the art director and this is before she created assets and she was kind of looking to see what I may need. She said, “Ashlyn, these images are beautiful but they don’t connect at all to the copy that you’re trying to explain on different pages of your website.” Well, she was right.
Whether you’re gonna go full on custom here or template, I would recommend having some sort of an expert speak into things. I just found it was so helpful once I had the messaging all set to have somebody come in and say, this image goes here, this image should go here, so on and so forth. It was just a beautiful dance in combo.
Ok, the last step in our website content process to actually install the design that you have and get it ready to hit go. You’ve heard me talk about how the design is so very important and copy is so important as well. So finally here in step seven, it does become that marriage that dance back and forth where there’s some give and take.
Also in this step, you can go through an editing checklist and you can start to think about things like search engine optimization.
I just recently did a three-part video series where I talked about how to set yourself up for good SEO, copy and content. So make sure you tee those up next to watch. Your website is a living and breathing organism in your business. But if you do it right you should be able to have it be a sustainable piece of marketing in your business that you can get by on just doing some minimal updates every month on.
Now I know this was a lot, going through these seven steps to organize your website content, but if you want to get started, just go ahead and click here or down below—I’ve got my free Google Docs website copy starter template. This will at least get you moving in the right direction as your start crafting your website content. It’s about 24 pages but it’s gonna show you how to center in on some of the things we talked about. Like having one goal for each page, making sure you’re using good frameworks so on and so forth.
Again, click here or down below to grab that and now that you know how to organize your website copy, you’re gonna start writing it like we talked about in step six. So be sure to watch the next video I have teed up for you. I’m gonna give you my best tips on how to write witty entertaining copy even if you don’t think you’re funny. So your customers and your clients are delighted as they read your new updated website.
If you liked this video, click that like button and make sure that you hit subscribe and the bell next to it so you don’t miss these next couple of episodes I have coming out all about your website copy.
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Reading Time: 12 Minutes When it comes to planning your website content, you may be struggling to organize and plan—easy to do … website launches can be a BEAR of a project! Here’s the thing: a lash burning 64% of people shopping online said that the experience of shopping on a certain website is actually more important to them […]
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