New website brings photographer more calls and higher quality clients

I’ve known Angie Whitten, owner of Harmony Photography, for a couple of years. We became fast friends after meeting in a networking group, and support each other in creative small business ownership. I admire her work ethic, constant learning, outstanding skill, and her incredible ability to make people feel comfortable. I have to admit that I started bugging her to develop a new website as soon as I realized her website didn’t reflect the amazing professional that she is.

Harmony Photography website before & after

A high quality website presents a professional image

When the restrictions of Covid made her work almost impossible, Angie had some time to think about the fact that she really needed a good website. She asked me to make some minor changes to her current one, but it wasn’t really set up for those edits to make it much better. Angie loved my work and knew I was the one who could make her website shine, so she hired me!

“The look of my website is elegant and luxurious! It’s more in line with the quality of my work!”

~ Angie Whitten, owner of Harmony Photography

I was thrilled right away to know that she knows her customer

Angie works with mostly female customers, many who think they just don’t look good in photos. But that girl knows how to make them relax and look good! We knew we needed to speak to that customer. We worked together on the copy and messaging so that Angie’s voice was there. I just tweaked the flow and headlines to connect with her customer and help out the search engines.

“I’ve been getting a lot more calls from people since you redesigned my website who say they found me on Google. And those people get the value of my work!”

~ Angie Whitten, owner of Harmony Photography

Better search engine optimization

Speaking of search engines, as I dug into her old website, I found that it was somewhat optimized for search engines, but all of the pages were competing with each other for the same keywords. That part was easy. We researched the words people were actually searching and optimized each page for each type of photography Angie does. Then we made sure to add keywords for the cities she works in.

The results are amazing!

Angie’s beautiful photos just shine in the custom template I built for her website. I chose a dark header and a gold gradation for her logo which portray an upscale, high-quality look.

People have noticed! Not only is Angie getting more calls from people that say they found her on Google, she’s getting more ideal clients.

“I hired them to do a complete rebuild of my website – and they knocked it out of the park! I had so many ideas and concepts I wanted to have but had no idea how to even explain some of them. I gave them my ideas and they created the most beautiful website! They did keyword research, industry research and wrapped all my ideas into a perfect package. The feedback I’ve gotten on my website is incredible! It’s responsive, elegant, informative, optimized and beautifully tells a story of what I do.”

Angie Whitten, owner of Harmony Photography

Show the world how awesome you are!

Are you in need of a website redesign to make your business look more professional?

Contact me at amy@harmonygraphicdesign.

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AmyNew website brings photographer more calls and higher quality clients

My business is successful; do I really need a website?

new website designYou’ve built a great business, relying on doing good work, your shop location, or social media to promote yourself. You may not have marketed your business at all and it’s still in demand. But now people are asking, “Do you have a website I can go to?”

Do you really want to take the time to find a website designer and work with them for months to create a website? You’re probably too busy for that. Check out the reasons why having a website could make a big difference. (And by choosing the right designer, it may be easier than you think!)

A website works for you

Save time talking with potential customers. People are used to finding answers to their questions online. A handful of people still like personal contact, but with a well-designed website people will make the decision to hire you with little effort from you. They can do this outside of business hours – in their pajamas!

A website sells your services by connecting with your target audience, offering solutions, and showing your credibility. If you do this well enough, they may not even shop around. They’ll just push a button to buy or schedule (or maybe have a short call with you). You’ll spend less time answering questions and explaining your services and more time on your good work!

Attract the customers you prefer and sell the services you like to do!

coaching website designerYou may have more business than you can handle, but are your current customers causing you headaches? Take a look at who you’d really like to serve in your business. Would you like to charge more than your customers want to pay? Is there a service you really like doing, but more customers are buying another?

Tailor your website to your ideal clients and services and you’ll see more of what you want. Make sure your website designer is using on-page search engine optimization and clear marketing messaging to hone in on your desired outcomes. Don’t take shortcuts.

A professionally designed website portrays a high-quality business and attracts a higher quality customer

The more pages you have on the internet, the more opportunities people have to find you. The more people find you, the pickier you can be about who hires you.

A website shows credibility

If you haven’t bothered with a website, people wonder how professional you are and may not take a chance with you. They may even wonder if you’re still in business.

Your website is also an opportunity to show your credibility through testimonials and credentials. Wow potential customers and they won’t shop around.

People expect you to have a website

small business website designerI recently created a website for a company that has been successful for years without an online presence. They called me because, as they put it, “the younger generation is asking to see our website.” Now they proudly point people to their website while saving time in the sales process.

I can sell my products on Facebook and Instagram

If you’re just starting out, this can be an economical way to get your products out there. But you miss the opportunity to establish your website with search engines. This takes some time, so the sooner you start the better. If you’re planning to grow, you’ll have to rebuild your store later, redirect people to the website, and start from scratch with search engines.

Social media should still be an important part of your marketing plan, but it can be used to create hype and direct people to your website. You want to create as much traffic on your website as possible to let search engines know you’re out there and desirable.

Budget tip: Start with a 1-3 page website and add to it as your business grows

A good designer or developer will build a website that lasts

It may be easier than you think to work with a website designer. Many will walk you through the whole process and some can write your copy for you. When looking for a designer or developer, take a look at their portfolio to see if you like their style. Make sure they offer search engine optimization. If they do good SEO, local website designers will show up in your Google search. Check out a couple of their websites and see easy if it’s to find out what you need. Then call one or two to see how responsive they are and who you feel comfortable hiring. Don’t be surprised if there’s a bit of a wait, but you should be able to find a good designer that’s available in a couple of months. Our normal turnaround time once we start is 1-2 months.

And of course, I’d love if you contact me! You can check out my work on harmonygraphicdesign.com or contact me at amy@harmonygraphicdesign.com.

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AmyMy business is successful; do I really need a website?

Is your WordPress website safe without regular updating?

Wordpress Maintenance Update

After months of planning, prepping and lots of hard work your website is launched! Done! Checked off your list. Now you can move onto the next steps in growing your business, and you don’t have to worry about your website anymore.

Imagine going to your website and instead of your branding, photos and information, it’s an entirely different website! This really happened to a couple of businesses that we know.

Although this is often an easy fix by updating your website software, how does that look to potential customers? Did you lose business because they thought they weren’t in the right place? People move about the web quickly these days and they’ll be onto a competitor’s website and have forgotten about you in a matter of seconds.

Does this only happen with WordPress?

We’re huge fans of WordPress for its wide range of options, but with 30% of websites built with WordPress software, they can be common targets. WordPress developers are constantly updating the software to prevent hacking (free to you!), which means that you need to be updating to the latest software as often as possible.

WordPress websites usually employ additional software to get the features you want from your website called themes and plugins. Those need to be updated too.

Your responsibility as a website owner

If your website collects any type of information from visitors (and it collects more than you realize), you are responsible for keeping that data secure. Do you collect email addresses, have a contact form, sell products, or have client logins? Stay in compliance with privacy laws and keep hackers out to the best of your ability by updating your software.

Can I use an automatic updater?

Yes! We do that all the time, but it’s not always that simple. This year we saw unusual things happen to websites with one of the WordPress updates. To keep our clients’ websites looking professional, we had to employ custom fixes for each one that looked wrong. Because we learned about this issue almost immediately, we were able to fix the websites before most visitors saw them.

Sometimes themes and plugins are no longer maintained by the developers. When that happens, they become vulnerable and can no longer work with new versions of WordPress. With a consistent eye on your website, you can see when this happens and find a replacement.

Paying a professional to update your WordPress website may be less expensive than you think

Let’s face it, we can have the best intentions to take care of our websites ourselves, but we get busy doing our real work. Hiring a professional can be a valuable option and provide you peace of mind. With Harmony Graphic & Web Design maintenance packages, we keep a close eye on your website, check regularly for broken links and outdated software, watch for important updates coming, recommend feature and marketing improvements, connect you to analytics, are available for content updates and emergencies, and offer free hosting with a maintenance package.

Can I maintain my own WordPress website?

You can totally do this yourself if you want to. Not sure where to start? We’re happy to point you in the right direction or provide a training session. Email us to get on track with keeping your website secure!

You might be tired of the car analogy…but it sums it up!

When you own a car, it’s important to regularly maintain it by changing the oil, adding fluids, and replacing parts along the way. This ensures that you won’t get stranded on the side of the road. Regular maintenance of your WordPress website will keep your website protected, maintain your professional image, and prevent big headaches.

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AmyIs your WordPress website safe without regular updating?

5 components of a great website

I’m often asked by friends and acquaintances who own small businesses what I think of their website and what they can do to make it better. Over the last 25 years I’ve been designing graphics and websites, and today I spend the majority of my time creating small business websites.

So what do I look for when I review their websites? I’ve created this simple list of the most important components of a great small business website. E-commerce websites have some additional components, but online retail businesses can use these criteria as a foundation. The first four items are timeless design and marketing concepts, and the last on this list is a constantly changing subject.

First impressions

When people come to your website, it’s really important that they know your business focus or product immediately. People bounce around the web quickly these days (1.4 seconds on average), and if they don’t think they’ve found what they’re looking for, they’ll click right out of your website and you’ll lose the business. Your branding should be clear as well. If a customer knows you, has seen your advertising or has been given your business card or a sample of your product, they should be able to tell they’re in the right place.

A professional looking website tells the world how you run your business, so this is probably not the time to let your brother-in-law who dabbles in IT put a website together for you. Make sure the design is modern and clear. A timeless design can buy you a few years before another redesign.

Style is everything when choosing a design. What appeals to your demographic? Or even better, what appeals to your ideal demographic?

Is it easy to find what you’re looking for?

Organize your web pages in a way that makes sense, also known as user experience. Visitors want to access everything quickly and easily. The fewer clicks the better. Remember what I said about how quickly someone will leave your website? Well, they’ll click right out if they don’t find what they need ASAP!

I have a theory that people use the menu on their computer and they’re more likely to scroll on their phones. Why not make all of the menu items accessible by scrolling down the home page with a little blurb about each page? I honestly think some people don’t even know how to use the menu on their phones. I won’t laugh at you if you’re one of them, so here’s the scoop. Mobile websites often have three little lines at the top that show the menu if clicked. (By the way, this is called a hamburger. Can you see it?)

And don’t you dare hide that phone number or your preferred way of contact. Put that front and center, or make a button in your mobile version. Don’t lose a customer because they can’t find a way to contact you quickly!

Mobile responsiveness

Speaking of mobile phones. Did you know that over half of web browsing is done on phones these days? (OK, you weren’t surprised because you see all of those people with their heads down over their smartphones…)

If a website is easy to read on a phone, it probably looks different than its desktop version. This is called a responsive website. I can’t believe how many websites these days don’t have a mobile version. This is a really good sign that you haven’t updated your website in a long time and it isn’t giving a good impression to visitors, let alone making it easy for them to read. Also, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you will slowly lose any google ranking because websites with mobile responsiveness are preferred in google search results.

Calls to Action

If someone is clicking around on your website and what they find is interesting, they’ll want to contact you. Let’s make it easy for them to do so? Placing some contact buttons and forms throughout the website makes for more interaction with your visitors.

For those visitors that need a little incentive, why not make something available to them for free in exchange (ex: e-book) for their email address? This way you can contact them in the future if you have a sale or new product. Developing an email list with services like Mailchimp, Constant Contact or MailerLite is easy. Keep your business name on their mind by sending news, tips and coupons.

You can also track what buttons and forms are being used in Google Analytics, so you can either try some new methods or keep doing what works.

Search Engine Optimization

Last, but definitely not least, is search engine optimization (SEO). This is a subject for multiple long articles, so here’s the super short version. For starters, you don’t want to spend time and money creating a website if nobody can find it. At a minimum, your website needs to be optimized for your brand name.

Research the keywords that your potential customers use when they’re searching for your product or service and use them in your website’s headlines, page names and image names. (But don’t overdo it!). This helps search engines know what your business has to offer. In turn they’ll bring up your website in searches. Search engines like a lot of words in your content to really get to know you better, so make sure you write a good amount. Think of it like this, the images are for humans and the words are for search engines.

Break up your text with subheads (containing keywords!) so the text doesn’t feel so long. You’ll also want to make sure that you create SEO page titles and descriptions (also with keywords). These appear on the search results page, so write something that will entice people to click your link!

In addition, there are several things you should be doing outside of your website to encourage search engines to rank your site, such as social media, Google My Business and links to your website from other websites. Again, a subject for many lengthy articles.

Now that I’ve given away my secrets, it doesn’t mean you can’t ask me what I think of your website and how to improve it! I love being a website detective and discovering ways to improve your online presence. I’m passionate about giving businesses a professional image and supporting their success! Contact us at creatives@harmonygraphicdesign.com.

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Amy5 components of a great website