The Importance of Design, Branding and Personalisation on Your Website

Importance of design, branding and personalisation for your website

What’s makes design, branding and personalisation so important for your website? 

Well, the importance of design, branding and personalisation on your website is to introduce your beautiful business to your audience.

Your customers want to know more about you and your business before working with you. And your online brand is able to tell your customers what kind of business you are and how you can help them. 

Are you high energy, vibrant brand? Or perhaps a calm, empathetic brand?

These are two polar opposites when it comes to brand identity, and because of this they both require two very different designs for their websites. So what are the differences that brands would use?

What do colours tell your customers?

Did you know that colours evoke feelings from your customers? Red is seen as powerful, exciting and bold. Blue is for a dependable, strong and trustworthy brand, while yellow means optimism, clarity and warmth. The bright the colour the more energetic or emphasise on that brand and their values, while you can use soft pastel colours to represent your brand colours the more calm and inviting your brand is.

Think about what you want your clients to think when they visit your website? What do you want them to associate with your brand?

Let your fonts match your personality

Just like colours, your fonts tell a story about your brand too. They give your clients small insights into your businesses story. For example, a business that has history, or prestige in it’s story, you can use an italic or curly, script font. But for a new, modern business, you would use a simple, sans serif font. Have a look at these companies and analyse what they make you think and feel.

So knowing this, what is your brand styles telling your customers? Is this how you want them to think and feel? Does it tell your customers the correct story about your business?

Consistency

Always use the same fonts across all of your marketing communication. Use no more than 3 fonts, two of which are the most predominant, and the third to emphasise something. Is your font consistently the same, online and offline? Being consistent across your different marketing communications shows your clients a confident brand.

The importance of design, branding and personalisation on your website creates trust, connection and confidence with your future clients. Doing some work on your brand can be invaluable for your business so your clients know exactly who you are, what your values are and if they match theirs.

Clients and customers are motivated by the way they feel when they engage with a brand, and if you can show what that would be like before they engage with you the easier the sale will be for you.

The key take away?

The importance of design, branding and personalisation creates trust and connection with your clients.

So now you know this, what do you plan to do for your business? Will you be making changes to your brand styles, or are they exactly what you thought they’d say to your clients?

 

Leave a comment below, sharing your thoughts and takeaways from this post. Also come find Natalie Faith Web Designs on Instagram or Facebook so we can discuss this topic more.

 

8 Lessons From My First Year of Business

This month marks my business turned 1, so I want to share with you 8 lessons from my first year of business.

Yep, I made it to the 1 year mark, and I am so stoked that I made it. I feel like all business owners hear the stories of not many making it through the first year. Interestingly in Australia the stat is 14% of new businesses call it quits before hitting the 1 year mark.

This is much lower than the 70% rumor I heard when I first started my business. Perhaps this exaggerated stat was confused with another country like America or the UK, or perhaps it’s after 3 years of running a business? (- I still can’t find this stat, who knows?)
Either way, us Aussie are a dedicated and hard-working bunch – and I know, the new business rollercoaster is real, and has tested me constantly this year. You really get tested on how much you want to run your own business, that’s for sure.

If you’re on this rollercoaster currently and are experiencing the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, keep holding on! After a year of the ups and downs, I still haven’t been able to get off of this crazy ride. Instead I’m crafting how those tracks are laid (a.k.a. creating the life I want).

This entrepreneur life will test your mental strength daily, so I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned in my first year of business and 8 lessons I’ve learned this year, kept me motivated and enjoying the process of running a business.

So here they are, the 8 lessons I’ve learned in my first year of business:

1. Location matters

Starting my business I thought working from home would be great. I could sleep-in, wear my pj’s for most of the day, eat when I wanted and make my own business hours. In my mind it was going to be super chilled and I’d pump out the work like a queen.

But after a couple of months of working from my bedroom or coach it became a nightmare. I rarely left my apartment, I barely moved or ate or drank anything (apart from coffee) – I was not in a good way.

My four walls started to get claustrophobic, yet at the same time my anxiety levels were super high and I felt like I couldn’t leave my flat. I was stuck.

During this phase, I told one of my best friends what was happening, and she suggested I should work from a library, café or co-working space.

As I had very little money (#smallbusinesslife), so I looked up all the libraries in the Melbourne area, and discovered they not only have a table I could work from but free wifi too!
I’m not going to lie, it changed everything for me. My anxiety lessened because I was away from those four walls that had been smothering me. I also didn’t have to hunch over my laptop either, like I did when I was working from my couch.

I now mix it up by working from many different libraries all over Melbourne, local cafes and next year I plan to invest in working from a co-working space.

These different environments allow me to be way more productive than working from home.

2. Exercise

I mentioned before how my anxiety spiked when I started my business. Well, exercise has been my saviour.

Whenever my mental health has strayed away from the norm, I go on a walk. If I am doubting myself, I have a bad case of comparison, or if I’m not feeling creative, I put on my runners and hit the path.

I am not a runner by any means. I walk. I walk everywhere. I’m lucky enough to live near beaches, rivers and beautiful parks.

I have made it a habit to walk the long way to wherever I need to go, getting into nature or near it and get my heart-rate up. This way, I get a minimum 30 minute walk in before I start working, have a meeting or catch up with friends.

After these walks I feel like a reset button has been hit and I’m motivated, focused and clear on my goal for the day. All the hard tasks I’ve been stressing about now seem possible and achievable.

3. Good Tunes

If you haven’t curated a motivational playlist for when you’re on your way to work or for while you’re working in a communal space, do it now.

Most days I am dancing and singing along to my different playlists. I have playlists for motivation, focusing or relaxing.

For example, if I need to concentrate I’m not going to play Destiny’s Child ‘Survivor’, because I’ll be singing all the lyrics to that song, I need something along the lines of Hermitude or Petit Biscuit, something with minimal lyrics and an upbeat tempo to keep me focused and motivated.

I find the right type of music cheers me on to work harder and faster, than without music.

It’s also great as you’re getting ready for your day. I’m not a morning person so if I have a good beat it gets me moving much faster. It’s also great when I go for a walk before starting work.

What tunes come to your mind that get you moving? Create a Spotify account and start creating a playlist for your work day.

4. Grit/Tenacity

I feel this is possibly an American phrase, but if you want to start a new business, you will need some of this. Simply it’s defined as “courage and resolve. Strength of character” (- thanks google).
To me it’s not being defeated when you’re hit with daily problems, instead being resourceful and finding an answer or a way to fix the problem.

Small business life is not all sunshine and rainbows (no matter how good it looks on Instagram). There are many days over this past year that I have questioned if I’m cut out for small business life, but I must be stubborn because I keep going.

Perhaps another definition for grit is being mentally strong enough to keep going no matter how hard it gets, and believing in your business idea when know one else does.

Small business life has shook my confidence, finances and my approach to hard situations. And I’m not going to lie, if I didn’t have the tenacity or grit to push through those hard times, I would have packed my (metaphorical) bags pretty early on.

5. Social Media

Just like networking, social media has been a great source of leads and sales. But also like networking, the more you show up, the better the results you’ll get.

In contrast to this, social media has also been a source of much comparison and anxiety. And for that reason, I’d advise any business owners to put daily limits on your social media usage.

As I am writing this I haven’t posted on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest in 3 months. I have been stuck in a “who am I” paradox of not sure if I am being myself, my brand or what my customers want/need. I’m putting this down to information overload and searching to find clarity – I’m in my first year afterall, I feel like these moments are going to happen and I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself, right.

So if you find yourself in the same position, be kind to yourself. You’re just starting out and trying to find what works for you and your business. Don’t feel the need to be like anyone else. And not to be cliche, but you do you.

In 2020, I plan to only post during work hours (Mon-Fri between 9am – 5pm) and during these times I will restrict how long I’ll engage with my community, and what times during the day (e.g. 20 mins at 9am, 1pm and 4pm).
I hope I’m able to, because when I do I get such a lovely response from other small business owners, networks and friends.

6. Networking

This old school technique is one I need to work on the most (#introvertanxiety), but surprisingly it’s been the one that’s gained me the most business.

I have found that when I network and meet people face-to-face I make sales easily verses email or social media.

I found many online and offline groups like Meetup, Business Chicks, LMBDW, and other paid female-based networking groups (my businesses target market). Think about what networking groups would be supportive for you and your business?

The mantra I’m going to use for 2020 is “move towards what scares you”, so for 2020 I have decided to networking like a crazy person in order to attract more business, create new business networks, and get my business to the next-level.

7. Niching

When I started my business I thought this was crazy. Why would I turn clients away? I wanted to help as many small business owners as I could.

And then I got my first bad client, and the case for niching hit me *palm-face*. This is why niching your business is so important, so you don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t appreciate or respect your hard work (a.k.a your blood, sweat and tears. Literal tears).

My hardest lesson was, you’re not always going to be everyone’s cup-o-tea (the people pleaser side of me took a long time to accept this). Instead, look for clients who love your work, the ones who are super excited to work with you and share the same values as you do.

So from one business owner to another, please take note of the clients you enjoy working with. Understand what it is about these clients that make it enjoyable for you? And if there’s a common thread between these client experiences, make these lovely humans your new niche.

8. Gratitude

Gosh this is a good one, it makes such a big impact on my day, outlook and vibes I put out into the world.

Daily I try to be grateful for my life, but there are definitely days I’ve forgotten to be grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, and my life seems dull and grey.

So, let’s get the ball rolling on gratitude. I am grateful for this beautiful country I live in, the opportunity to start my own business, for the resources I have to build it (laptop, phone, notepad, wifi, Spotify, Keepcup, libraries to work from, and my backpack – so I can carry my life with me between my home and workspace, like a little turtle).

If I’m in the afore mentioned anxiety spiral, gratitude makes me stop and laugh off all the crazy thoughts circulating my mind and allows me to realise that I’m actually doing better than okay.

If you have a roof over your head, food in your fridge and the ability to feel safe throughout the day than you have a lot to be grateful for.

 

Share with me in the comments what your biggest takeaways from this post was? And what you’ll do in 2020 to make it your best year yet? Or join the community of wonderful business owners on Facebook or Instagram.

How To Set Your Business Up For SEO Success

The reason I’m writing a post on how to set your business up for SEO success, is because the most common questions I get asked is “Where do I start when starting a business?” and “What is SEO?”.

Now I’m only a website designer so I don’t have all the answers. But when it comes to online marketing, these steps will set your business up for online success from day one!

The following 3 steps will set your business up for SEO success:

1. Research

Business Names

Before you do anything, research the business names you have thought of for your business. Why? There are a few reasons.

First, someone may have used it before you and has already bought the domain name, meaning you can’t have that domain name.

In other cases you may find your domain name is very similar to a dodgy website which could give your business a bad name or bad reputation.

This why research is so important before registering you business.

Domains

Research domain providers. You can purchase a domain from GoDaddy or Melbourne-based VentraIP. Although, you can also go directly to Wix, SquareSpace or Shopify, if you plan to use them for your first business website.

Also, while on the subject of online platforms, research which platforms suit your marketing budget for business. The intuitive “build-it-yourself” platforms are great for new business owners to get their business live.

As WordPress or a CMS platform would be best for businesses who are 2 years+ in business, as they allow you to customise your website to match your branding and allow you to add more features to help your audience.

Socials

Same as above. Is the business name available on social media? Go search for it now on Google or across social media platforms. Also, remember to research what social media platforms your audience use – are you marketing on the right platform?

2. Register Your Business

ABN & ASIC

If your based in Australia there are a few places you need to register your business name with before buying your domain or setting up your socials – and that is registering it with the Government.

First up is your ABN (or Australian Business Number). It’s free to register for all Australian-based businesses and allows the Australian Tax Office assess how much to charge you with tax per year.

Note, a recent condition has been added to eligibility for an ABN. This is to have a Super Fund. The ATO has provided resources to accommodate for this change. And if your anything like me and want to support female entrepreneurs, here are some great options to consider – Verve, GigSuper or FairVine.

Second is ASIC (or Australian Securities and Investments Commission). This is to register your business name and gives you the rights to use this business name in Australia.

Note, there is a small annual fee to register your business name – but if you’re for real about starting your business, you need to have this set up!

Domain

Next step is finding a domain name that matches your business name. Just like ASIC, you want to register your business, but online this time – which is essentially what a domain is here to do.

Purchase a domain from GoDaddy, VentraIP or direct from Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify, or a similar intuitive website creator.

If direct, jump right into the site build and design. Website creators like Wix and Shopify go through a step-by-step set up, so once on that rollercoaster don’t get off until it’s done (usually a couple of hours).

If you buy a domain from a provider like GoDaddy or VentraIP, they usually have information “how-to” documents to walk you through the set-up, to help you link your domain to your hosting service and website.

Or if your hiring a website designer/ developer send them these details so they can do this for you (because why do it yourself, when you’ve got someone who’s experience to set it up for you?).

Socials

Okay, now we’re all set up from a legal perspective, and have a domain name (*high-five*), lets lock in your social media platform names.

Go to the apps you want to promote your business on and start the registration process. Again, you want to make sure the name your registering for your social media channels is the same as your registered business name (this gives your business the SEO boost I was talking about earlier).

3. Get it live

The final part of this process is to get all of this live!

Now that you have a domain name registered, it’s now time to connect it to an online platform (if you haven’t already). When choosing the right platform go back to your research, and evaluate which platform suits your business needs and goals.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, start the set up process. Add your business content and publish it live!

Now that your website is live, copy the url (a.k.a your domain name) and paste it into your social media platforms “website” location. Usually located under the “profile” area.

While in the profile location, review your company description. Is it the same as what is on your website? Make sure this content is consistent with your messaging on other online platforms.

This is great so your customers understand what you do, but it’s also great for search engines to understand what you do too. Once understood they will rank your business accordingly when being searched on Google for your businesses products/ services.

To set your business up for SEO success, make sure your business has consistent brand colours, imagery, or other content like your website, so your customer can easily make the link between the two when viewing either platform.

 

Have you enjoyed this blog? If yes, please share a comment with your biggest take away or join the conversation on Instagram.

Do You Know Who You’re Marketing To?

So you started a business, and you know who your ideal customers are, but are they who your selling your product and service too? And more so, how do you know where to find this information?

Just like on Instagram and Facebook, your website can track business data and information. You may have heard of it? It’s call Google Analytics.

If you haven’t, do not worry, you can go over to Google Analytics and get set up. If your freaked out about trying to do this, talk to a website developer (or a tech-smart friend) they’ll be able to set this up for you – I do for my clients!

Once it’s set up, your website developer can install the code needed to track your website data so both your website and Google Analytics are talking to each other.

 Why is it important to track this data?

Your able to understand your target market, or website visitors, better.

In marketing it’s great to understand how your customers purchase from you. This purchasing or sales process has three stages that describe your customers interactions – acquisition, behaviour and conversion – or put simply how they discover you, what they do on your website, and how + when they purchase your products and service.

The reason I am a big fan of Google Analytics is that it makes tracking your customer data easier than ever, so you can understand your customers sooo much better. And in turn, niche your product and service offering to be something they are SUPER excited to buy your offering.

In contrast, it’s is hard to measure this data for offline marketing because you don’t have a reliable way to track it, other than asking direct questions from your audience.

But online (and thanks to Google Analytics) it’s much easier to track the visitation and sales process. Allowing you to dive deep into who your target market are and what they want. Ahhh, the beauty of data!

What to do next?

Now that you know where to go and why it’s important, what do you do next?

Go back to your marketing goals and ask yourself what you want to achieve by having a website?

Is it you want to make 3 sales a month? Or it could be I want 20 people to read my blog posts and write a comment. You can track this on Google Analytics.

Whatever business goal you have start tracking it using this tool. From here you’ll be able to adjust your marketing efforts on other online platforms (social media, business listings etc.) or offline marketing strategies (networking, traditional media etc.) to ensure you hit your business goals.

You may even find out, your already smashing your visitation goals but not converting sales, so instead of one of the activities mentioned above you could invest in new copy for your website or upgrade your website itself so your customers can easily find the information they were looking for on your website when they clicked on it.

There are a few simple fixes you can do to your website to improve sale conversions, but I’ll cover that in a future post.

If you found this information interesting please leave me a comment or join me on Instagram for more online marketing insights!

 

How To Increase Your SEO With Images

Have you ever wondered if the images on your website help or hinder your business? I will share with you the top 4 tips that make images good for SEO and for your business’s online presence.

1. High quality images

High-quality images are everything. Nothing looks more dodgy than a pixelated image on someone’s website to promote a product or service.

I’m sure you can remember a time you’ve visited a website and left fairly quickly because the images gave you “a bad vibe”, like your computer will probably catch a virus or something? *insert awkward emoji face*

The feeling you had above is how your customers feel too. Poor images instantly create distrust with your customers.

2. Image Size

Image types that are universally supported are jpeg’s. If you’re not familiar with this file type, do not worry all you need to know is it tends to be a small image size.

I’m personally am not a fan of visiting someone’s website and have to wait for the site to load (blame this on my millennial impatience), I would rather exit and find another site that loads faster.

Image sizes can be blamed for a slow load time. Image file sizes can vary from 100KB to 10MB. This is why it’s important to review image sizes before loading them to your website!

Although, if your website is hosted by WordPress you’ll soon realise you won’t be able to load a file larger then 2MB to your website. Even this max. size is HUGEEE, and will effect load speed!
You want to get your image size down to the smallest size without affecting the quality. A good size is to aim for 800KB, but anything less then 1MB is a win!

3. Original Images

Just like your socials, search engines love authenticity. If you are using images you (or a photographer) has taken you will rank higher in search! This is actually a very recent trend on search engines and it’s to cut down on inauthentic blogs that are solely for gaining rankings on search engines, not useful content.

This is great news for businesses, and bad news for scammers!

4. Naming your images

This one is a goodie! When you upload new images online always remember to rename them from IMG_5549.jpg. This description says nothing to search engines, all they see is a jpg image.

But if you rename it to “Natalie Faith Web Designs – New Website Launch” for example, search engines will read this and link your image with your website and increase your websites rankings.
And if it’s an original image that you or a photographer has taken, then search engines will love you even more (as mentioned above).

Just make sure the new name is relevant to the image or website page it will be presented on. If in doubt, use your business name every time.

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