If you’ve been following along with R Artspace, you'll notice that my website got a little makeover. And while I think it’s prettier than it was before, the changes I made were strategic and intentional.
Today I’m walking you through my site and highlighting 5 areas where I narrowed in to allow visitors to better understand what I do and they can learn what R Artspace is about. And hopefully, as I'm going through each tip, you can think about your own site and if you're implementing these things already and where you can make some tweaks to improve for your audience and potential customers.
1. Clearly identify who you are and what you do
This may seem like a no-brainer but when I first launched my site I was caught up in the branding: the images, the colors, the fonts and honestly I was still figuring out what I wanted to focus on.
Now that I’ve had some time to work with some clients I know that I want to focus on branding. But with that being said, as soon as someone lands on your site you need to immediately tell them who you are, what you do / what you’re about.
In the updates to my site I included a lot of branded images that SHOW people what I do. And I added phrases front and center explaining what I offer and how I can help people in their businesses.
So think of concise, descriptive phrases of what you do, adding in the value you bring, and showcase those phrases in prominent places on your site such as the home page, about page, and services.
2. Use plain language
One of the things that got me tripped up A LOT in the old version of my site was using language that not too many people understand. Before in my headline it said “Branding that gives you room to breathe” and while I thought it sounded dreamy, idealistic, and clear that I provide a stress-free branding experience, people were somewhat confused as to what I did.
Sometimes you need to be less dreamy and more concrete. Explain how you can help, how people will feel when working with you, or what you can do. People’s attention spans are dropping by the day, so when you are more clear, more direct, and using language your audience will relate to, it’s a win-win-win.
3. Identify your main goal
What is the main goal of your site?
This should be answered before you start any process of design or development.
You need to have a clear purpose when people land on your site because it affects all of your navigation.
When a visitor comes to your site you want to be the tour guide leading them through your business and, depending on your main goal, you have the opportunity to do just that.
For me in particular, I start off with a strong statement and call to action as soon as people come to my site. The View Services button takes them to the Services Overview, where they can see the 3 branding packages I offer. From there when they choose a package they have the option of looking at my portfolio which takes them there and then there's another button that can take them back to my services and finally to the Contact page. My goal is to have my visitors find out about my branding services and book me. You want to be clear and intentional with your goal and with the navigation.
Tip: Make sure at the end of each page you lead them on to another page. You don’t want to have any dead-ends. Dead-ends leave your visitors wondering what they should do next. In the design of your navigation you should leave no question to what you want your visitor to do next. You are the one to guide them through the site as a whole.
4. Explain the process
In my old site I thought I outlined the process... and I did, but there may be a difference with your creative process and the process to hire you.
Although they sound the same, it may be confusing for someone who is new to your website. So I thoughtfully and clearly outlined both my creative process and the process to hire me.
Sometimes, especially when you’re designing your own site, it’s difficult to think of your site in terms of how someone would view it if they had never been there.
So it’s good to explain and simplify throughout the designing process and when you’ve done that, ask 5 friends to look over your site and give you their honest feedback (I did this and it was SO helpful!). They may catch something you didn’t or give you feedback on how to make it better. It’s always great to have some fellow business owners or creatives in your corner!
Another helpful tool is using the website peek.usertesting.com where someone can walk through your website and give you feedback. So you go to the site, submit your URL, then they send you a video of someone visiting your site and you can hear their initial reaction and what they think as they go through each page. This is helpful because the people who look at your site and give their feedback don't know you or what you do and they truly have fresh perspective. And, did I mention, it's free? Such a great and useful tool.
5. Get brand photography
Branded photography simply means photography made for your brand. Photos that represent your business that are customized to convey the message you want your audience to hear. With your website you have a lot of opportunities to show people how creative your business is, you can set the tone with your color combinations and you can quickly engage viewers with your images.
These are only some of the great benefits of having photography branding.
When I set out with my first site, I thought I knew how I wanted to be seen and I came up with a shoot that I thought would show I’m a branding photographer but it didn’t help that all my photos were of me with a camera taking pictures of an engaged couple.
In my mind it was me doing branding photography but other people immediately thought of “lifestyle photographer.” So even though the headline on my old website said “Branding...” people didn’t think that I did graphic design at all. And first impressions matter!
So something I did with this go-around was to showcase quality photos I can do for other brands, and also photos of me designing - which is the missing piece from the old site.
To sum up, when you redo or update, or start from scratch:
• Clearly identify who you are and what you do
• Use plain language
• Identify your main goal (and work off that with every page)
• Explain your creative and hiring processes
• Use brand photography that captures your business personality and vision
Which of these points do you struggle with the most on your site?
Did I skip a point that you would like more clarity on?
Updating or even starting to create a website for your business is tough and takes a lot of time, thought and energy.
I would love to help you if you’re looking for quality brand photos.
I’m currently taking on new clients and I would love to give you a fresh start coming up on the new year. If you’re interested in chatting more, contact me!
Do you need some help with your website strategy?
Contact me to get a complementary website review