What mistakes do most people make when starting a website?
It's tragic, but there are tons of new sites that flop. A few months after launching, it's clear that the website isn't doing anything for the business. The website is not reaching the people who share the same values or would benefit from the services being offered.
Often, the issue lies in the focus of the website. When you build your website, you need to focus on your clients, not on yourself. When you hire a marketing and web design professional, they can help you understand who your website is for, and why you’re creating it, which will get you the website that you need for your business to thrive (if they are good at what they do).
How much does it cost to have a website?
Websites give you what you pay for. You can get a cheap website for about $60/year. For certain situations, this is a great solution--however, I've found that for most people, the up-front savings of getting a cheap website is outweighed by the time (and often money) they pour into their site to get it to do what they need.
I work with Squarespace, a website hosting platform starting at $144/year (see plans and pricing). There are a bunch of reasons I love Squarespace:
Great customer service
User-friendly backend, easy to update
Includes all features you need
They are rockstars in the web design world, and for what they offer, I find their pricing very reasonable. The best part is that my clients can take over updating their own websites after I set them up and teach them the basics.
The main "hidden cost" of building a website is the time and energy you have to put in working on your message. Getting your mission, services, and the finer points of your offering across to your audience in a clear and inspiring way can be difficult for many business owners.
That's why I don't just build websites for my clients--I build an authentic platform that delivers your message and frames the way your client experiences your business.
How much time does it take to build a website?
This is the hardest question to answer. When you work with me, it depends on two things:
How prepared you are before our start date
How available you are during the process to give feedback
I've built websites in less than a week, and I've built websites that took 6 months. Typically, I aim for a 2 week period with each client, where we're both primarily focused on the website during that process.
I use the analogy of building a house to help my clients re-frame their idea of website building. When you build a house, if you consider it "done," then everything from that point forward is maintenance for a house that's falling apart. If you consider your house to be "alive," then your house grows as you grow. I'm here to help you get the right foundation in place, so your website can grow as your life and business evolve.
What do I need for the web design process?
What makes me different from other web designers is the emphasis I place on the client experience. You can't just build a website and expect it to reach the people who need what you offer. We will focus on building the framework for the journey that your clients go on through clear messaging that gets them clear if you’re a good fit for working with them.
I'll need content and feedback from you throughout the design process. It’s important that you make yourself available when you hire me in order to get the most out of your investment.
Do you also work with Wix, Weebly, or Wordpress?
Currently, I only work with Squarespace. I find that it meets my client's needs better than Wordpress or other options (Weebly, Wix) because of how easy it is to learn to manage yourself for long-term maintenance. Squarespace also offers award-winning customer support, which isn't available for Wordpress unless you hire a service person or team.
Check out this detailed (and technical) analysis of the pros and cons of Squarespace v. Wordpress for more info.
Are all web designers the same?
The reason I share so much valuable information for free is because I want my clients to be well educated to understand what makes a website successful or not. I can't help everyone with my services, but I hope that everyone who comes to my site leaves with more knowledge so they can make empowered decisions about their own online presence.
Most web designers know how to make things look pretty -- they're not concerned with developing a site that makes it easier for your clients to work with you. They're more concerned with you looking really good at face value. Nothing's wrong with that—it's just that my scope of work is different—I’m going to make sure your website actually achieves your business’s goals.
Do you offer branding?
I help you create a brand strategy, but when it comes to the visual and graphic aspect of your brand, I work with designers and photographers to develop that for you. You can also bring me your brand's visual strategy that you created with a designer, or professional photos you’ve gotten done, and I can work with those assets.
“I don't know what my website should say.”
You can build a website without first understanding your story. However, this kind of a website won't connect to your audience, and certainly won't get you the clients or outcome you want. It will also likely take a lot longer than you expect, because you aren't prepared with content or a plan.
When you work with me, we work to get clear and specific about they journey you take your clients on with a story map. Then we build the framework of your site based on the strong foundation of your message platform--not the other way around!
Websites are expensive!
You're investing in your business. They type of well executed website I can help you create will provide a value that's far greater than the upfront payment.
Is there anything Squarespace doesn't do?
While Squarespace is robust and powerful, there are times that it isn't the best fit for your needs. Squarespace isn't currently built to support:
Anything that would necessitate integrating with a third party API
Of course, some of these functions can be built in with the right custom code injections. However, typically, these are beyond my scope of work with Squarespace.
Can't I just have a Facebook page?
Facebook is important and can drive traffic and sales, but it's not a substitute for a website. Facebook is akin to having a booth at a farmer's market--lots of foot traffic, but the creative freedom is limited. The signal-to-noise ratio is low, and, at the end of the day, the visitors belong to the market (Facebook) itself, not to you.
Facebook is a great place to post new content, especially videos, and then you can put a link to your website, where people can learn more about what you offer. Facebook is not the best place for making your offer.