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Archive for September, 2013

19 Sep 2013

5 signs your website designer is spidey-riffic [just like mine!].

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I love my new website.

I mean, I LOVE it. I lurve it, heart it, super-heart it, & may be a little obsessed with it & all its sparkle-iciousness.

And honestly, it simply wouldn’t exist without my amazing website-designer-slash-developer-slash-colleague-slash-friend, Karen Barry.

I love Karen, love her work & love working with her. And believe me, coming from a content writer who has worked with a couple dozen different website designers over the years, that is a rare trifecta.

So here’s what it is about Karen that made me want her to do my website, makes me want to work with her to do other peoples’ websites, & makes me refer her as frequently as possible to people who may be searching for someone to do their website.

1. She gets where you’re coming from & takes you further. A wonderful web designer is first & foremost an excellent inquisitor & listener. She hunts & gathers information about your business, preferences & vision throughout the site-building process, & turns it into a website that makes you feel heard. She also offers expert guidance, thoughtful recommendations & creative ideas that turn your concept up a notch, to a whole new level [up to eleven!].

2. She knows it all [but isn’t a know-it-all]. A website design master knows the best web-hosting providers, the best website-template collections, which templates will work best for what you want your site to be, do & look like, how to customize templates when you want them to be or do or look like something a little different, how to auto-connect the website with your email & social media marketing, how to sprinkle it all with SEO mojo, &, of course, how to make it all pretty. Oh – & can explain it all to you so you actually understand it.

3. She’s a crackerjack project manager. A great website creator is organized & detail-oriented. She ends every interaction with a clear outline of next steps & respective responsibilities. She is assertive & responsive in order to keep the behemoth moving forward, regardless of stumbling blocks, slowdowns or setbacks [all of which are inevitable, incidentally]. She is an affable taskmaster toward an end-game website that is consistent, creates connections & ensures conversions.

4. She can set it up & let it go. A terrific web architect will not only put a delightful site together for you, but also do it in such a way that she can teach you how to maintain it your own self. Let’s face it – launching a well-done website is no cheap feat, so you don’t want to have to keep forking over the big bucks evermore for every itty bitty alteration or addition you want to make. The best web designers I’ve worked with build the bulk of their sites in WordPress [as this one is], so almost all maintenance is diy-friendly.

5. She understands the importance of rock-solid content. Yeah, you knew it was coming. A fabu web guru will urge you to spring for professional content to complement her professional site design. Because, again, a striking architecture without a strong foundation simply won’t stand – it ultimately won’t deliver the way either of you desire. And neither you nor your designer want your terrific efforts to launch a WOW website to go to waste. Get a pro to write it right!

Yes, it’s a loaded list, but check off all five & you’ve got yourself a website-designing superhero, just like mine [radioactive blood, whole-head mask & unitard optional].

9 Sep 2013

Well, hello!

Welcome to my new website – plus bonus blog!

And yes, it’s been a while coming. I’ve been the 21st-century version of a shoeless cobbler’s child – a website-less writer-girl – for almost eleven years.

I know, I know. Embarrassing. Shocking, even. I’ll give you a moment to settle your eyeballs comfortably back into their sockets.

Life Truth #246: Writing your own website well is difficult.

Marketing professionals see it happen all the time: A business invests thousands in a shiny new website design, but insists on writing the content themselves. Because anyone can write, right?

This style-over-substance approach typically leads to online fail; rather than clicking through, visitors get clicked off. The expectations you’ve established with your visual bells and whistles aren’t fulfilled with the words, the content, the meat.

Sizzle? Yeah, baby. Steak? Enh, not so much.

And your potential fan moves on.

The fact is, almost anyone can write. But when it comes to your website, not everyone can write it right.

You gotta getta pro. Yeah, like yours truly.

So, if I’m the pro to go to [and I am!], then why was it difficult for me to write my own website? Same reasons it’s difficult for anyone, really.

1. Perspective. Owners are often too close to their own business to write about it appropriately for an outside audience. They tend to either under-explain or over-explain their work [leaving readers either puzzled or bored]. A good writer can adopt the persona of your target audience, and write to what they want or need. For my own website, I created an intimate focus group of current clients, colleagues and friends to check my perspective, and make sure I was giving enough, not too much and the right info.

2. Time. Writing well takes time. And most working joes are too busy running their businesses to write a website full of great copy in their “spare” time. But that’s what a good writer’s business is. For me, I’ve been lucky enough to have fairly consistent client work, and writing someone else’s website content for a paycheck-in-the-hand continually trumped writing my own for two paychecks-in-the-bush, as it were. Until now.

3. Quality. Professionals just do it better. It’s why you call a plumber rather than following a DIY YouTube video, and why the man who legally represents himself has a fool for a client. A good pro has the experience and expertise to write effective, engaging, error-free content with logical flow and consistent voice. I confess, I was paralyzed by perfection for quite a while, but now that I’ve moved forward, I hope I’ve achieved all of that here.

So, the moral of the story is twofold: [A] Don’t put off your best website and [B] Don’t make it more difficult than it has to be. Turn it over to a pro [yeah, like yours truly!] today.