5 steps to creating better web designing: Attract more traffic

5 steps to creating better web designing: Attract more traffic

Web designing is one of the topics I love the most. I have been creating web experiences since I was just 16 years old. But back then, I was doing just okay websites. Some will say I was at a immature designer mindset.

As I grew older, I opened a business based on web designing and development. I was crafting beautiful websites, but had one big problem. I was only concentrating on my ‘Client’s needs’ and not on their clients needs. A few years after, I was going through youtube searching for a good web designing tutorial for a project I had.

Through my search of words like How to run a web designing agency’, I ran into ThisWeekInWebdesign. A UX pro named Jose Caballer who used to be host for the show, he spoke about something that changed my thoughts. He spoke about a brand driven design

I know you are wondering what that is. So let me explain it to you briefly. A brand driven web design, takes into consideration three things:

1. Website Users

2. The brand of your business

3. Your business goals

How does this differentiate from what I was doing? Easy, answer this simple question ‘Do you buy your own services or products?‘ . Well, not everyone buys their own product, hence building a website to meet our needs….. makes no sense. Instead, we need to create a website that meets our users needs. They are our key reason for having a business at the end of the day.

Today, I will walk you through a simple process to create the right website. Let’s concentrate on the design and your goals and not on the coding part of it.

What will you learn:

  • What is a brand driven design
  • Identify your Brand
  • How to do User Profiles and Stories
  • Create Goals
  • Tools
  • Design Your site

Let’s start with the brand driven design. For any blog or website, there are three main things you need to keep in mind. One is your users, you have to understand them, their lives and what they like. Second, is your brand, I am not talking about your logo or business cards. I am talking about the voice you use, your message and your style. Third, is your business goals, to get more clients and  anything you want to achieve.

If we put this into a diagram like the one below, you will be able to identify a user driven design. How? easy! you will find it where all these three points meet.

Why was learning this so ground breaking? I noticed that most web designers or developers are not doing this. They ask the client what they need and a few days they have a website. What is wrong with this is that the website will not perform as it should. Why? because it was not built for the users, instead it was for the clients to use.

I began to put in place this process to LIONDEVELOPMENT. The results we saw were incredible. First, the design of the websites we created improved. Second, the websites we are creating started to have a ROI! isn’t this what you want your website to do?

Identify your Brand:

You can define your own brand by doing a simple exercise. Some of us like to call this brand attributes. I have added a video below from the Skool network, where they share a workshop for defining a business brand.

How to do User Profiles and Stories

Now this is one of the parts that will need you to take your time. If you have not identified your markets, you can use a tool named ‘The business Canvas‘. It helps you align your main target markets. Once you have done that, you can work on individual clients.

How do I come up with my customers?

For those who are already established as a business, you know who they are as you deal with them all the time. You are most likely to have data or done a market research on them before. If not, that is okay! You can define them by describing your key client. This is the person who you want to talk to.

What do I need to define about my customer?

Let’s start with a name, just pick any name. By giving a name to this person, it creates a sense of reality of whom they are.  Second, let’s talk about demographics, age, gender, income. Try to describe as much as possible. Third, work towards creating a story of this person. Describe a current situation they are facing, and the problem that needs to be solve. Remember this problem’s solution is your value to them. Last, look at their needs towards your product. You can consider this the features of your website.

Create Business Goals

You can create these goals by dividing them into the most common three. I am sure one the first ones is going to be ‘Increase revenue’ or monthly income. The second goal you will need to have is to create awareness of your brand or blog. Last, you can set up goals to increase productivity, save time and manage cost.

How do you set the goals?

  • Start with the most important goal (revenue, brand awareness, Productivity)
  • Create a table with 4 columns
  • Add the following headings to the columns (concept, obtainability, desirability, total)

Each concept is going to be a goal you want to do. For example, for increasing awareness you can have something like ‘Increase facebook fans’. The obtainability of this task can be measured from 1 – 10 to keep the math simple. If you think it is easy for you to get it, then put a number from 5-10. If it is difficult then work with numbers from 1-5. The desirability of the goal is to know how much you desire that goal. Let’s work with the same numbers as we did for obtainability. Last, on the total column add the numbers from the obtainability and desirability columns.

As a result, you will  see some goals have higher totals than others. These are the main goals you can achieve. You have the ability to make it happen and you also want it for your business!

Tools that I use when designing a website

  1. Keynote: This application allows me to create documents like the ones shared above. I can also create workbooks that I can use with clients. To be honest, unlike Microsoft PowerPoint, I feel like it is not fighting against me.
  2. Google Drive: Google drive and documents give you great resources to edit on the go. I use it to create Sheets for tracking data, as well as for documents when I am doing a live session with a client. Remember, you can allow them to edit the document. For online clients, this is great as they can edit the document while we consult.
  3.  Website Framework: Most web designers love Photoshop. I do as well, but I get more freedom when I am working with Adobe Illustrator.
  4. Web Design: For this tasks, I choose Photoshop. There are also other tools like the Ol’ Grid, that you can use when designing a website.
  5. Testing / Design: There is a new tool by Adobe named Adobe Experienced CC. It does not allow you to do the stuff that Adobe Fireworks used to do, but so far it is pretty great. It also allows you to test the interaction of your website and app.

Improve your web designing

By now  you have your goals, your brand’s message, and the most important ones your users. I have added here a playlist from TheSkoolRocks with few videos of their design process.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/CJnfAXlBRTE?list=PLzKJi2GjpkEELRD-YatYYLyItQ9O_MPU8″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

When designing, keep your users right next to you. This will help you to not loose track of whom you are designing for. Remember how I told you to give your users a name? Well they are your new best friends! Remember they are going to be interacting with your website.

 

Conclusion

With these 5 steps, I have worked in designing websites that are giving a ROI. Also, we have seen a huge growth when it comes to users staying on the website and the way the flow through the website.

These are just 5 steps, there are many more available. There are also good packages that come with all the workbooks you need for creating a better website.  Here is a link to buy them. They value they give you is worth the price.

For this blog so far I have used the following tools:

  • keynote: I used it to create users, brand attributes, goals.
  • Google Drive: Google Sheets: I used to create a few sheets. The first one was a sheet to stop feeling overwhelm with all the tasks. I will share this one with you in upcoming posts. The second one, was to create a list of affiliate partners I have added to this blog. The third one, has keywords and other data I need to collect.
  • Adobe Illustrator: I used to create a frame work of what I needed to have on the website. I am also using it for images that I will be using through out the blog.

If you have any other tips or process you use. Feel free to share with us by commenting on this blog!

Do I need a website redesign?

Do I need a website redesign?

Do you need a website redesign? Find out!

Over the last few years, I have noticed that website design projects follow the same path.

First businesses realize they need a website or a redesign and they look at their options. Then, they find the right freelancer or business that will do a website as they say it should be. A few months later, they have a website.

And that is it until 1.5 to 2 years down the line…

This process was okay for most companies. Actually, most websites out there were built using this methodology.

And the same thing happened when a company needed a website redesign. They will wonder why their website is not giving the results and contact a freelancer or agency.

Then, they will come up with the latest website trends and development one base on it. Three to Six months later, there is a new website that is launch to the market and remains the same for the months to come.

But what is the biggest issue with this? It seems simple and straight forward doesn’t it?

The biggest problem is that the new website or the redesign will remain stale and will not adapt to your customers as your business grows.

This is where Growth Driven Design has taken over.

Instead of going through the traditional methods and looking at the latest trends, it allows you to create a website that is 100% compatible with your customers.

growth-driven-design-chart

My main goal with this post, is to help you understand if you need a website redesign. Also, I want to tell you about growth driven design, as I know website redesign can be expensive and full of headaches.

So why should you consider a website redesign at all..

Getting your website back to speed can be a huge help for your business. Actually, over 90% of potential customers are on the web.

They are finding the right business for all their problems with just one click or a search on google. Hence, your website needs to be able to help them accomplish this goal.

Also, your business needs to create a powerful brand presence. To be honest, having an online presence is the best way to go. It helps you create brand awareness locally and even internationally if that is your goal.

Furthermore, it gives you the ability to show case your products 24 / 7. As you may know your website is your number 1 sales and marketing representative. As a result, it is supposed to help you engage and generate leads while you take care of the business.

Now we know why your website needs to be up to date and constantly adapting to your customers.

Let’s talk on how you can find out if you need a website redesign..

I have also added a FREE checklist that will allow you to do this by yourself with ease.

1. Are you getting the results you want?

Think about how your website is currently performing. Is it helping you increase sales, get more traffic? If not, then you need to consider if a few tweaks can do the job. If not, then you might need a full website redesign.

2. Has the purpose of your website change?

Most business are constantly changing and so are your goals. It is key to re-evaluate your website even if you getting results. Then, ask yourself if the results you are getting are exactly what your business needs.

3. Understand what is not working on your site

Is your site confusing to navigate? Have you got sliders on the front page? Not enough content? all these are key aspects of a website.

4. Do you need to update the platform or framework?

If your current website is not mobile friendly, then you really need to consider a redesign. More than 80% of customers view websites on their mobile devices. Also, think about the opportunities for growth that your current frame work provides.

5. Do you have a strategy if you need to redesign?

Once you have answered the previous questions, it is time for you to think about a strategy. You have gathered what works and does not work, so it is time to move forward.

6. How has your business, marketing and other goals changed since you first did this website?

Your website is part of your business, hence it needs to continue to change as your business does. Think about the message it sends to your customers and what allows them to do.

7. What are your competitors doing?

Usually, I do not like to focus too much on competitors. But when it comes to websites, you need to see what they are doing with their website. Is your website making you stand out? is it letting your value proposition show over your competitors? Does it look similar to their own?

8. Do you need a content strategy?

Content is king! Every website needs a content strategy. By doing this it helps you educate your customer better and helps you rank on Google and Bing.

9. Do you need to update your website features?

Many websites are using pluggins and custom made features. Are these up to date? are they working? are your customers using them?

10. How is your SEO?

If your site is not up to date, then most likely your SEO is being hurt. Most of the latest SEO techniques need constant updates. Consider doing a SEO audit on your website.

 It is important for you to choose the right methods to accomplish a website redesign. If you have any other questions you think should be answered when considering a website redesign comment below. Also, if you have any questions about redesigning your website, comment below. Let’s create a conversation

 

 

 

How to create user personas for your business

How to create user personas for your business

How to build user personas for your website..

How well do you know your customers or your ideal customers?
 
Over the last five years, I have been working on developing great user personas for my business. What I have found, is that by doing this I am able to adapt my business and create better solutions for my audience.
 
Why?..
 
Because the goal is to target the most ideal customer possible.
 
Furthermore, another thing I have learned, is that most websites or products are not based on user needs. Instead, websites and campaigns are being built on the best trends of 2017, 2016….
I am sure you have seen websites and post with ‘Best website design trends of 2017’.
 
As a result, we are seeing websites, campaigns and products based on trends and not needs and websites that look the same as others.
 
The goal of doing user personas or buyer personas is to understand your customers goals. As a result, it is key to identify their background story, demographics, needs and goals. Furthermore, it will help you understand their interests and the tone of voice to use when engaging with them.
 
The results?
 
Well you get to understand them better and communicate better with them. Overall, this is what inbound marketing and growth driven design are all about. Engaging rather than disrupting.
 
Today, my goal is to show you how to do this even if you are just starting blogging or new in business. It works for both online and offline businesses. In addition, I will share with you the best method to do this, by using a template that is great and easy to use.
 
Before we dive into the process and the benefits, let’s talk about the personas we are about to work on.
 

What are user personas or personas?

In simple words, it is your ideal customer, reader or user. In addition, it is the fictional person or group of persons you build to identify your key customers.
 
If you are a new business, it is key to identify your ideal customers. Also, it is key to do this even if you are identifying your brand and not only when you are doing a website or product.
 
For those who have been in business for a long time, this process is a lot easier as you already know who your customers are. In addition, it is key that you do this for any new project that requires your team to know the customers you are targeting.
 
how to create user personas
 

So why User Personas are important then?

 
  • Allows you to create products base on your customers’ needs and goals
 
  • Helps designers and developers create website with a User Experience based on actual customers
 
  • Gives marketers the ability to create powerful marketing campaigns
 
  • Helps you understand your customers needs and goals better
 
  • Helps you identify your main customers
 
  • Gives you the ability to align your business goals with the people that love your product

 

How to create user personas for your business?

 
The first thing you have to do here is to give your ideal customer a real name and a category.
 
Why?..
 
You want to feel connected to them. If you name them client 1 or 2, there is no connection between the two of you.
 
But, if you name your client Mary and put her in the Marketing director category, there is a connection that is instantly created.
 
userpersona
 
From there, you look at the overview of this person. Start by discussing their background. Here are a few questions to help you with this section.
 
1. What she / he likes to do
2. What she / he does at work?
3. How do they feel about they do ?
4. What are her hobbits or what she does after work?
 
Then start working on her demographics..
 
Let’s talk about her age, culture and other aspects that make up a persons demographics.
 
Here is a few examples..
 
Age: 30
Married
2 Children
Lives in the City
Makes x amount of money per year
Husband is an architect
Is very active (for fitness companies)
 
user demograpics
 
From here you can move on into the pre-sales section. Here you will look at her goals, the problems that she might be having and your solution for this (value proposition).
 
It is key to identify at least 3 – 5 goals that your ideal customer is looking to achieve.
 
Then we move into identifying the problems they are having. They key here is to identify a solution for each problem.
 
The worst thing you can do is identify a problem for a client and not give them a solution. So identify 3 – 5 problems and give them each a solution with one of your services or products.
 
user goals
 
One of the elements that helps us connect better with people and clients is to understand their emotions. The way they feel before they buy from us and the way we make them feel after they are your clients.
 
So divide emotions into two. First, is what they are feeling before they buy..
 
This can be stressed, excited, worried...
 
Then look into describing how they felt after the bought from you…
From here you are now able to understand and engage your new customer. You are understanding their emotions and learning about their needs and the value you are creating for them. Now, it is time to create a quick elevator pitch for this client category…
I am sure you have seen the TV show ‘Shark Tank‘. In this great tv show,  entrepreneurs go to make a hopefully good pitch to investors. Well, the pitch you want to write here, is not as big, but it is even more powerful.
Why?
Because you do not have 5 – 10 minutes to tell your clients what you do, why you are the right choice and the results you can achieve. Instead, you have just a few seconds or minutes to do this.
If you are not too sure on what this is, in simple words it is a persuasive speech you use to tell your ideal customer what your value proposition is.
Customers actually take about 20 seconds to make a decision once they enter your website. Hence, having a message that speaks in your customers voice is key at the start of your page.
Take a look at this website, where you can learn to create a great pitch for your user personas.
Most of the time when learning how to create user personas, this is where the tutorial ends. The problem is that this is just the pre sale part of your customer or user journey. Whether you have a blog or business your goal is to keep and continue to drive your customer to your website or business.
Hence, when I am teaching how to create user personas or working on creating my own personas, I do two more steps.
Not every sale is closed right away. As a result, the user is not a client, but a lead. So for you to be able to increase the percentage of leads that become clients, you need to understand the following:
  • Customers goals (6 to 12 months goals)after they have learned about you. Can you help them achieve these goals?
  • Biggest on boarding Challenges and your solutions to these challenges (Come up with at least 3)
  • Biggest new customer challenges and your solutions

Once you have these questions answered you are able to easier transform leads into customers. One of the greatest platforms where you can keep track of where your customers are in the customer journey is Hubspot. And it is completely FREE.

 

 

From here, you need to imagine that you have successfully get this customer or user to read and share your blog. When we are looking at how to create user personas we need to think about their goals when they sign up to work with us.

Let’s do this again in a 6 to 12 month goals plan, but think about it as if they are now your customers. Also, you have to think about the on boarding challenges that your customer will have in order to remain a client for long period of time.

Come up with a few challenges and some great solutions. In this post on how to create user personas, my goal was to give you an easy way to do this. As a result, I strongly recommend you to download the template we have created for you. As a result, you can follow this post and work on your user personas.

I strongly suggest you to do at least 3 personas categories. Keep in mind, that you can create multiple variations of the same persona. If you think this was useful, make sure to share it with your social media communities.

If you have any questions or got other methods that can help others to learn how to build user personas, share them below! let’s create a discussion.

Download your FREE template on how to create user personas.

this is the same template we have used to create user personas for our businesses and clients. It works towards really identifying who they are and how you can help them.

how to create user personas ebook

Improve On-page SEO:12 ways to help your rank better

Improve On-page SEO:12 ways to help your rank better

Improve SEO with this 12 easy steps

When you think SEO, you think about On-Page and Off page SEO. I am sure you have heard about all the different setting you need to have on your site.

Here I will provide with a practical guide on how to improve On-page SEO. As a result, you will have a page that is capable of improving  your rankings and traffic to your website.

What will you learn today:

How to make SEO-Friendly Urls:

Google likes to see URLs that can tell them what the page is about. They have also stated that the urls need to be short, as it makes the urls more powerful.

Make sure your urls are short and have the targeted keyword in it. This will help you improve On-page SEO ranking for that specific keyword.

Let me show you an example:
Bad URL: http://leopoldopirela.com/p=?4512
Great URL: http://leopoldopirela.com/improve-on-page-seo

Note:Readers are more likely to click on a link that can understood.

Here is how you can do this in WordPress

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Click Permalink
  3. Choose Post name

How to place keywords:

If you are writing a blog, then you already did the keyword research needed. If not, don’t worry.

The  first place where we are going to place your keywords is on your title. The closer your keyword is to the beginning of a paragraph or title the more powerful it becomes.

Once you begin to write the content, you need to start placing the keyword throughout the content. Also, make sure you do not over flow the content with the targeted keyword. If you are using YOAST SEO, you will see the amount of times you have used the keyword.

The previous blog I wrote had over 1100 words, the target keyword is found 7 times through the content.

I took this tip from Brian at Back Linko:

“You don’t always need to start your title tag with your target keyword. But if there’s a keyword that you’re gunning for, try to put it towards the beginning of your title. “- Brian

Use different title tags

If you are using WordPress you will see the different title types, from H1 to H5. Since you have the ability to use them, I will show you how to use in the correct form.

Let’s start with h1 titles, this is the title tag WordPress will use to print the title of your blog. So, make sure it is eye catching and drives readers into reading more.

Remember titles tags work in a hierarchy form. So, you will start with H1 and work down to h2 and h3 titles. Also, one tactic that has worked great for me, is to add a title tag within every 250 to 300. As a result, It gives the readers a break from reading and gets them involve into what you have to say next.

How to use images to help to Improve On-page SEO

Paragraphs and titles can only take your content to a certain level. So to improve On-page SEO what you can do is enhance the content on your website with images, great images. I am sure you have noticed in all my blogs, after a few paragraphs you will see an image related to my content.

Digital Marketers like Neil Patel have used great info graphics as forms of images. As a result, he is able to explain thousands of line of content with a few images.

Optimize images

One the disadvantages of images is that they will slow down your website. But, there is a solution for that!

If you are using Photoshop, you can save your images for the web. There is a tool I love to use, the name is TinyPng. This tool allows you to save images at a low file size, but with great quality. Don’t believe me? give it a try.

Let’s talk about improving your On-page SEO with image. By now, you should have images in your content, so let’s make them do the work. All images have a title and Alt Tag, you can use this to add targeted  keywords. Make sure all your images have a Alt Tag description. Also, make sure to add your targeted keyword here.

Use of responsive design

Over 80% of website’s users are reading content from their mobile devices. So, why only focus on how your content reads on a computer.

A few months ago, google decided to penalize all websites that are not mobile friendly. If your site is not mobile friendly, I will recommend you to ensure you fix this issue before you proceed any further.

Internal Links

I love to use internal links to drive my users to read more content on my website.  Also, it allows me to keep my users in the website for a bit longer. As a result, the time on the website has increased from 1 minute to 00:06:56 minutes.

They key with internal links, is not just to add crazy internal links through out your blog. Instead, use this to create connections among your blogs.

If you go to the first blog post I wrote, you will how I have internally linked that blog post to the rest of my website.

Outbound links

Outbound links are external links you have on your content. I would recommend you to have at least 5 external links. Also, make sure these links are going to powerful sources. As a result, google will see your website’s content as being powerful.

Page Speed

If you ever read the google’s algorithm for SEO, you will remember page speed is part of it.  You can improve it by compressing images, having a great host, compressing html, css and removing JS form the top of your page. This will give you a great boost to improve on-page SEO perfomance.

Make sure your website does not go over 4 seconds to load. Here is an interested research’s result.

 MunchWeb found that 75% of users wouldn’t re-visit a site that took longer than 4 seconds to load.

There are a few FREE tools to check the speed of your website. The first one is Google’s Page speed. It works, but some times it  is not accurate. The second tool is GTMETRIX, this tools is a bit more accurate than the previous tool.

I am currently working on continue to enhance my page speed. Here are my results at this moment.

Social Sharing

Social Sharing is key to improve traffic to your website. Keep in mind, social signals do not directly help you improve on-page SEO, but they help you get noticed.

The more people you have liking and sharing your content, the more trustworthy you will be.

Most studies on this topic show that adding social share buttons to your website can increase sharing by 700%.

Create Powerful Content

Content is great for adding targeted key words, and helping your users stay on your page. Also, long content is even better!

Any time I write a blog I try to aim for 1200 words the least. Studies show that blogs with 1000 – 5000 words tend to rank better than anything else.

If you do a quick search on Google on any specific topic, you will see the longest post are always in the top 10.

Keep users on your site

The last part has to deal with keeping users on your website. If someone visits your websites and closes it one time, Google will see it as your content is not relevant.

The way you can increase this time is by implementing the above tip. Long blogs will keep users engaged and reading.

Conclusion:

I have shared with you the tips that can help you improve On-Page SEO. Make sure to download my check list, and keep it next to you when writing your blogs.

If you have any other tip or comment please let me know by commenting below.