SAY GOODBYE TO WEBSITE SHAME, AND HELLO TO A WEBSITE YOU LOVE
As the gateway to your business, making a great first impression with your website plays a crucial role in the success of your business.
You instinctively know this, which is why when your website isn’t everything you know it should be, you get that distressing feeling of website shame.
What is website shame?
Website shame is that anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach when a potential clients asks for your website address. It’s the compulsion to make disclaimers about how your site isn’t finished yet. It’s the force behind continually tweaking your website whenever you get the chance, but never feeling pleased enough with the results to cross it completely off your to-do list.
Website shame is a thief. It steals your peace of mind and your future success because it reminds you, just as you are about to hit SEND on a promising new lead, your website isn’t done or that it isn’t good enough.
I want to change that. I want you to experience the confidence that comes from having a website that is beautifully designed to make a stunning first impression.
You only have 8 seconds to make a good one, so let’s make every second count!
These are the tools I use every day in my web design business. ALL are tools that you can use to say goodbye to website shame and hello to a compelling website that delivers the business of your dreams.
01 | DREAMHOST
One of the best bits of advice I followed when I first started my business eight years ago was to get a self-hosted WordPress website. It’s the same advice I pass on to anyone who asks.
At the time, I had no idea what self-hosted anything meant. I am so grateful for the young lady who recommended DreamHost to me at a She Speaks conference where I was first exploring blogging.
I blindly followed her advice at the time, but I have NEVER had cause to regret it. DreamHost has exceeded my wildest dreams as a hosting provider, and the dreams of millions of others. They are an award-winning company trusted by millions of users.
02 | WORDPRESS
The next best bits of advice I received that day at the conference was to use WordPress as my platform for my website. Again, I am SO glad I followed that advice because it ignited a passion for web design that has become a thriving business.
WordPress is one of the most powerful and versatile content management systems in the world. With WordPress, you can run a blog, or a static website, or a combination of the two. Because it is open sourced, it is constantly being improved. Did I mention WordPress is also free?
With WordPress as the foundation, you are almost limitless in tailoring your website to suit your needs. Through software add-ons called plugins, you can add features like membership areas, forums, an online shop, and so much more.
It’s easy for your website to grow with your business when you use WordPress because it uses themes to change the look of the website. Change the theme, and you have a whole new look and layout to match your growing needs.
Probably the single most important reason to choose a self-hosted WordPress website is that you own it. There is no argument that Squarespace, Showit, and other similar website vendors offer beautiful websites, however; at the end of the day you don’t own the platform. If the company fails, has a glitch or your site goes down, you lose business. With a regularly maintained WordPress website, if something happens with the host, getting back online quickly is simple.
WordPress is easy-to-use, yet powerful. Business owners can run their business without having to pay a middle man to upgrade, make changes, or maintain their website. Numerous plugins help automate security, maintenance, search engine optimization, ecommerce, and anti-spamming functions.
03 | PREMIUM WORDPRESS THEMES
The design and layout of your website either draws people in or turns them away. To make a good first impression, you cannot fail with a Premium WordPress theme. My favorite are StudioPress Themes for WordPress.
StudioPress, the developers of the Genesis Framework for WordPress and Premium Child Themes, describes their product this way: WordPress is the engine of your car, Genesis is the frame and body, and StudioPress child themes are the paint job.
On any beautiful car, it’s the paint job we see and admire. If the paint job looks good, the car sparkles and shines. Similarly, when your website looks good, so will your business.
StudioPress has over 50 beautiful themes, each geared toward specific business niches. You can select any one of their themes, whether it’s your niche or not, and customize it to fit the look you want and the functionality you need.
You will never be on your own trying to launch your website either. They have awesome theme support with detailed instructions to set up your theme. Want to make tweaks? Ask a question in their active forum, and chances are one of their extremely knowledgeable moderators will chime in to help. If not, you can usually find the answer by reading the questions and answers of other contributors.
Bonus: StudioPress has endorsed several smart, talented developers who design their own themes using the Genesis Framework. Here are two that I love:
04 | BEAUTIFUL IMAGERY
Using professional images that compliment your brand and elevate your website from ho-hum to compelling reaps dividends for your peace of mind and your business.
Beautiful photos draw viewers in. They arrest their attention for a moment, giving you precious added seconds to captivate them with your offerings.
So what do you do if you aren’t a photographer and it’s not in your budget to hire one just yet? Try stock images.
Not all stock images are created equal, so below you will find my go-to sources, both free and paid, for images that are unique, beautiful and compelling.
Free Stock Images:
Death to the Stock Photo (also offers a paid subscription for exclusive photos)
Paid Stock Images:
05 | CONTENT WRITING & STRATEGY
The topic of Content Strategy is far reaching, but absolutely vital to the success of your online business. Nothing nixes website shame like the confidence that comes from have a proven strategy to win the hearts and minds of clients.
From the writing on your website, to your email opt-in, to your About page, the words you write on your website will either connect with your potential clients or lose them completely.
I learned early on many people have a lot to say about mastering a content strategy. Feeling confused and overwhelmed by it all, I learned to shut out the cacophony by seeking voices that seemed sane and trustworthy.
Copyblogger was where I turned to learn about, create and implement a compelling content strategy. I started with their FREE ebooks for a solid foundation. Then I moved on to paid memberships to delve deeper into certain topics. With Copyblogger, you will learn to write better using the power of words to market your business online with proven content strategies. They aren’t by any means the only professionals on the internet with sane, good advice. They are just my trusted, go-to source.
I also highly recommend Writing To Delight and Wooing an Email List, online courses offered by Hey, Sweet Pea Academy.