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Beautiful Business

Sharing messages of leadership, empowerment, and motivation to help you enjoy your work and bring beauty to your daily life as a business owner.

Branded websites and what to look for when hiring a web designer.

What to look for when hiring a web designer?

Are you confused about what to look for when hiring the right person for your brand and web design project?  These tips will guide you to the best fit, an amazing experience and a beautiful authentic brand that will help you serve more of the clients you are so passionate about helping.

Branding and website design are an important part of your business.  Those pages of text and images that share information about what you offer, how you help, and your why, along with blog posts and marketing material; those pages are instrumental in amplifying your brand and helping you engage potential clients.  Eventually, business owners have a need to elevate their brand and become more intentional about their design so they can grow their business and that’s when they need to hire a web designer.

Although much of the marketing you see online leads you to believe that web design is just a matter of dragging and dropping images and text; branding and web design is a specialized skill.  Yes, nearly anyone can select a few images and type in some content, however, effective web design requires a combination of skill and creativity that many business owners just don’t have.  While I recommend you learn how to update your own website and publish your own blog posts as part of your entrepreneurial journey, investing in a skilled brand web designer is one of the best ways to elevate your brand and engage your visitors.

Hiring a brand web designer can be a challenge.  After all, you don’t know what you don’t know.  So where do you start?

Your website is the marketing hub of your business.  You own the content.  It's the one online platform where you can strategically present information to inspire your audience to take action.  Your website gives you an opportunity to engage your audience with what you offer, how it enhances your customer’s life and what they need to do to work with you.  All the relevant information is in one spot in an organized fashion where you can take them on a guided journey of possibilities to the point of buying.

Think of branding and web design as an investment in you and your business.

You will want to invest wisely and intentionally.  You will want value for your money.  Budget alone will not give you a clear picture of the value a particular web designer can provide.  I’ve seen this time and time again when conversing with clients about previous projects – you usually get exactly what you pay for in terms of quality and results.

So, what should you consider when hiring a brand web designer? Here’s how to find the best fit for your web design project.

Is the web designer asking about your business, goals and needs?

Your website is so much more that pretty pictures and clever headlines.  When looking for a brand web designer, find someone who wants to learn about your business, your goals, your needs and your aspirations so they can design a website that will help you get the results you are looking for and evolve and grow with your business.

Your goals need to be defined at the business level to ensure that an effective solution is provided.

For example, if you tell your web designer that your goal is to have a testimonial page, they should be asking you why.  A testimonial page is a solution.  The higher goal may be to build trust and credibility in your business so more prospects are confident in their buying decision.  A better solution would be to sprinkle testimonials throughout your website content so that visitors are continually reminded of the of the results you deliver and can picture themselves working with you.

Your website is a solution to help you attain your business goals so you will need to ensure that your brand web designer focuses on those higher level goals.

What is the web designer’s branding and design process?

In addition to being creative, you need someone who has a solid branding process that takes into account how you want to be perceived, who you want to attract and what their pain points are so you connect with the clients you dream of working with.  This, combined with your business goals and aspirations, will help your web designer determine the flow of your website, design elements to elevate your brand, and overall look and feel to position you as an authority in your field.

This is called the discovery process.  It is an exploratory process to refine your vision and amplify your brand so that your website is a true reflection of you and your business and at the same time creates engagement with your audience.  Together, you will determine how you are perceived by your clients and leverage this to position you to attract more of your ideal clients.  Your designer needs to show a research phase that determines the best possible solution for you, your website and your business to help you reach your goals.

Are they a strategic web designer?

Although imagery and design elements are an important aspect of amplifying your brand, this needs to be done intentionally.  Strategic design involves asking if each section and element on your website will help bring you closer to your business goals.

For example, you may love flowers - the aroma, colours and textures.  Your web designer could include the most stunning images of beautiful flowers throughout your website.  And your website will be beautiful.  But will this help you get the results you are looking for?  Does it amplify how you want to be perceived?  Will it resonate with your ideal client?  Will it help prospects picture themselves working with you?  Will it help buyers envision how much better their life will be after working with you?  Will it help your visitors believe that you can deliver the results you promise?

Your brand needs to position you as the solution to your prospect's problems.

In addition to your business goals, these are the questions your web designer should be asking so that your brand positions you as the solution to your prospect’s problems.

Strategic design will maximize engagement on your website, creating an inviting and easy to use experience so that customers are excited to buy from you.

Does the web designer work collaboratively?

When I first started designing websites, it was a bit of a guessing game figuring out what my clients wanted and needed.  Sure, I did a discovery session with them and then promptly went off and created 3 websites for them hoping that they would love one of them.  Frankly this was a lot of work and nerve racking.  Luckily, I have a strong intuitive sense and 90% of the time my clients chose the first design I showed them.

Fortunately, now I have strong processes in place which includes collaboration with my clients when required.  No more surprises and guessing.  I know exactly what they are looking for and how to translate their vision into a website they are confident to show to their clients and that is designed for conversion.  And this is why I love custom design – because it allows my client and I to work together, step by step, through their goals, their inspiration, and their vision, to create wireframes, moodboards and style guides that guide the identity of their brand, design and website strategies.

Every design decision is intentionally guided by your input and their design expertise.

When you work with a web designer in a collaborative way, every design decision is intentionally guided by your input and their design expertise and culminates in a solution that is simple, beautiful and authentic.

What is your expected commitment and timeframe during the web design project?

The drag-and-drop marketing industry has led many entrepreneurs to believe it’s possible to create a website in a day.  Although it is possible, is it going to be a cohesive brand and effective website that helps you attract more leads and generate more sales?  Has the ground work been done to determine your goals, define your brand and design an effective website?  Most likely not.

Ask the designer what timeframe will be required for the website and what that entails.  Most importantly, ensure they communicate what your expected deliverables are and how much time you need to allot to do the work and provide feedback.  Will you be providing the content or will you hire a copywriter?  Will you be curating all the images or arranging for a photoshoot?  You will need to book time in your schedule to answer questionnaires, review page layouts, content, and proposed strategies.

Be clear on your commitments.  You will want you and your designer to be positioned for success so you can proudly plan out your new website launch so that the world can benefit from your special gifts.

Will the web designer provide training?

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to call your web designer every time you want to change something on your website.  Sure, you want to stay focused on what you do best and serve your clients and transform lives.  But sometimes you may just need to change a date, or a sentence, or write your own blog posts that are authentic to you.

Custom training will empower you to make that choice.  Make the call or make the change yourself.  It can really be that simple when you have a little bit of training in your arsenal.

Beautiful design is just one part of my work.  I build tools into your site so you can edit your own content, build marketing funnels, and make changes without waiting for my help.  Your site will grow with your business – simply and beautifully.

Does the web designer’s style resonate with you?

Branding and web design are a very creative process.  It requires you to have an open mind and dig deep into what you are looking for, how you want to be perceived and the kind of experience you want to offer your clients.  Which is why it’s so important to work with somebody who inspires you and lights you up.  Nothing kills creativity more quickly than worrying about decisions and conversations rather than looking forward to possibilities.

A talented web designer will be able to create a brand that resonates with you and your clients.  You can determine if they have a versatile range of creativity by checking out their portfolio and case studies.  Do they explain their strategic design process?  Do they show a variety of brands and styles that may fit your brand?  Are any of their designs esthetically appealing to you?  Do they create an emotional connection?  Ask the designer for references to websites they have designed.

A good designer is one who can create a strategic, engaging and beautiful website for a variety of clients.

Between their portfolio and your initial consult call with a web designer, you should be able to tell if they resonate with you.  If not, you will get much better results by continuing your search for a web designer that is a better fit for you and your business.  Your business will thank you for it, you will get better results and you will enjoy the experience so much more.

Hire with intention.  Know the results you are looking for.  Find a web designer who lights you up.

My intention is to always offer the best possible service and solution to my clients and as such, I always schedule an initial consult call to get to know more about their goals and needs and what they are looking for.

When I work with business owners, I start by understanding their goals and needs so I can create a design that solves the problems they are looking to address and gives them the results they desire.   I approach every design like a puzzle and I work collaboratively with clients to ensure that I deliver a solution that is both esthetically pleasing and functional.  We start with discovery, research and a strategy session to determine needs, preferences and sitemap. We create Pinterest boards so that I get a sense of design elements, fonts, styles, and messaging that they love.  I have strong processes in place that allow us to get crystal clear on their brand.  I create wireframes so we can determine the best flow for their website and create a journey that will engage visitors to a point of action.  Style tiles are created to explore design esthetic and solidify their brand.

I approach every design project like a puzzle.

All this information combined is used to design a website that is authentic, strategic and beautiful.  It’s that simple and that’s what I want for you.

So, keep searching until you find a brand web designer that asks the questions, provides the strategies and lights you up.  When you do, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you learn about yourself and your business and how inspired you will be about the future of your business.  You’ve got this 😊.

What to look for when hiring a web designer? Read More »

Woman with hand over heart healing her business

I’m a healer, not a business expert. How can I fix what’s wrong in my business?

Healing people and transforming lives can be one of the most rewarding jobs on this planet, especially if you run your own business.  You're in charge of your destiny!  

You get to call the shots!  You choose who you work with and what hours you work.  You decide on the services you offer and the experience you provide for your clients.  You get to transform lives and spread the word on the magic of holistic healing.  Life as you imagined it should be pure bliss!

Only it’s not!

Your phone is not ringing off the hook from eager clients.  Your calendar is sparse and the bills are piling up.

When you do work, your hourly rate declines by the day and you're working into the evenings to ensure your clients are satisfied.

Long forgotten are those anticipated leisurely dinners with your family and a glass of wine while you watch the sun set on your back deck.  Or the adventurous travels you had planned where you could work from any destination in the world because your business is online.

You begin to doubt whether you’ve made the right decision.

After all, if you’re honest and work hard then you should be successful.

Unfortunately, running your own business is not that simple.  However, there are questions you can ask yourself to gain clarity on your situation and determine what solutions you can put into place to create success in your business.  And you don’t have to be a business guru to do it.

Simple thought-provoking questions can lead you to take intentional action that can transform your business so you can focus on what you do best – healing people and changing lives.

Are you getting inquiries?

You may be thinking – “I’ve done all the things”. You have a website ready for your visitors to contact you, you have an email list ready for people to sign up and you go to networking events on a weekly basis.  And yet, crickets!

You were told that a website would solve all your problems.  After all, it is available 24/7 for people to find you.  You would be able to focus on what you're most passionate about and what you do best, healing people so they can live their best lives.

Designing a website requires more than just beautiful images and a contact page.  Yes, your website is the hub of your marketing experience, but there are many other components required to create abundance in your business.  Let's consider some of those areas.

Does your website show how you solve real-life problems?

Even though I studied Homeopathy for years, I often found myself asking our instructor questions on what it would specifically help with.

Will it help for burns?

Can it help with scarlet fever?

Will it help reduce stress at work?

It took years of studying for me to realize that homeopathy can stimulate your immune system to resolve almost any health issue, whether it be physical or emotional.

Websites that describe how they help, without getting into details, are missing opportunities to get inquiries if people don’t understand how the product or service can specifically enhance their life.

I see so many websites that indicate they can help you feel better or happier but that is not enough to compel you to inquire and spend money on a service.  Feeling better or being happier can have different meaning for each individual.

Have you ever encountered a website where you felt like they really get you and that you absolutely need their product or service?

Typically, these businesses are being very specific about the problems they solve and it’s like they are reading your mind.  For example ...

“Heal that nagging back pain so you can play soccer with your kids”.

“A sustainable meal plan that is delicious and helps you lose weight without the headache of counting calories”.

“Stop arguing and reconnect with your spouse so you can feel excited to come home from work again because it means spending time together. “

Being specific helps people identify with the pain point and how you can enhance their life.

When people believe that you can deliver the results you promise, they can picture themselves working with you, they get excited about working with you, and they can imagine what life will look like after working with you.

Website Tip ⇒ Describe your potential clients' pain points, how they create challenges in their life and demonstrate how their life will improve as a result of working with you.

Does your website guide your visitors to take the next step on their buying journey?

You know the drill.  You land on someone’s website.  They have interesting content.  You scroll for hours consuming their content, read another blog post, followed by another blog post until you get distracted by another thought or reminder which brings you to yet another website and then you forget what you originally were searching for.

You have fallen into the sea of endless interesting facts.

It’s like sending a child to pack for a weekend at the cottage.  You could just send them to pack and hope they navigate their way through the packing.  Or you could guide them.  Did you pack your swim shorts and towel? Hoodie? PJs.  Toothbrush?  You are taking them on a journey through their day to ensure that they have everything they need.

Your website is much the same.

Anybody can land on your website and wander aimlessly through your content and leave on a whim.

However, if you design your website to take your visitors on an intentional journey, guiding them to take the next action, you have a much higher chance of getting them to your contact page where they can inquire about your services.

Each page on your website needs to have a call-to-action which guides your visitor to take the next step on their journey - whether it be to learn more about your services, then more about you, then read your testimonials to build trust and to finally contact you.  Your visitors need to be guided.

Website Tip ⇒ Always invite your visitors to take the next step on their buying journey, otherwise they will leave.

How is your website getting traffic?

Your website is an invitation into your business.

You may have a beautiful website that clearly articulates how you help your customers become a better version of themselves, however, it may be the best kept secret on the internet.

There are over 1.5 billion websites in the world so your dream clients may need a little help finding you.

With today’s technology, there are multiple ways you can use to send traffic to your website.  You can:

  • Create blog posts with relevant content that solves your ideal client’s problem, so they can find you online.
  • Send emails to your subscribers to stay top of mind and remind them of how you can help.
  • Leverage social media to intrigue your audience to visit your website and engage them with your brand.
  • Use Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your website by creating a free download and build your email list.

Once you engage your audience, you can build connections and nurture your relationships to help people understand the value that you offer and build trust and credibility.

Website Tip ⇒ Don't assume your potential clients will find you.  Use strategies to stay top of mind and drive traffic to your website.

Are you attracting the right people to your business?

You may be one of the lucky business owners who is getting inquiries and some may say that this is a great problem to have.

You feel that twinkle of excitement every time you get a new referral or someone fills out your contact form.

But then the dread sets in.

"What if it's someone I’m not excited to work with?"

Although creating abundance in your life is always uplifting, it can’t be at the cost of your spirit.

You became an entrepreneur to fill your soul and make a difference in people’s lives, not to trade services for money.  Consider these questions to ensure you are attracting your dream clients to your business.

Is your brand professional?

Professional can mean different things to different people and should not be confused with brand style.

What I mean by professional is intentional design and attention to detail.

In other words, does your website look like it's DYI or designed by a professional?

My first job out of University was in Kingston at the Queen’s Psychology Department where I helped some of the Professors develop experiments to test their theories (more on that another day).  I met a few wonderful ladies and we used to pop out for lunch to celebrate the end of the week.  My friend, Barb, whose favourite restaurant was a little joint downtown that served the best coconut cream pie around.

A rich creamy coconut pudding filled the flaky melt in your mouth crust topped with fresh whipped cream and crunchy roasted coconut.

It was heavenly.

However, the storefront of the restaurant was run down with old chipped paint and an off-brand sign that was crooked and tired.

Had I not experienced their food thanks to my friend, Barb, I would have never entered that restaurant.

Your website is an invitation into your business.

Your brand is like your storefront.  If your brand is not professional and appealing, the people you want to attract will move onto something more appealing that resonates with them.

You may even attract the people with low budgets because you have set that expectation with your store front.

Website Tip ⇒ Create a website that is intentionally designed to create a polished and professional look and feel so that your visitors take you seriously.

Is your brand authentic?

There is a lot of controversy around authenticity these days.  Some say it is over-rated.

Imagine you’re in need of a lawyer for some legal issues.

You do your research and choose a firm based on their website.  It appears professional, classy and modern.  Their blog showcases valuable information that is well articulated and up-to-date.

You prepare to attend your first appointment dressed in a beautiful tailored suit, high heels and every hair in place.

The office building looks elegant and inviting.  You open the massive smoky glass front doors and are greeted by young urban lawyers dressed in leather sandals and khaki shorts with hummus and flatbread in the office meeting room.

You are clearly overdressed and confused.

There is a disconnect between your perception of the business and what you have experienced- this disconnect creates an automatic feeling of distrust.

Even though these lawyers may be the best in town ... there is a misalignment in their brand that creates an instant barrier to a great connection.

Their website did not authentically reflect who they were and the kind of experience you could expect from them.

A misaligned brand creates a disconnect and subconsciously creates feelings of mistrust.

On the other hand, have you ever met a business owner whom you felt like you have known your entire life?

As a matter of fact, you start believing that you have met them before.

This is what authenticity on your website does for you.

It creates an instant connection where visitors feel like you really get them and they can picture themselves working with you.

When people believe you can deliver the results that you promise, they get excited about working with you and can begin to image how their life will be better after working with you.

That’s what authenticity will do for you.

Website Tip ⇒ Design an authentic website that captivates your essence, represents who you are, and creates an experience consistent with what your potential clients can expect when they work with you.

Do you have a niche?

Niche is a real buzzword in the Entrepreneurial world and it is important for so many reasons.

When I first started my business, I didn't want to limit my prospects and operated from a mindset of lack.  What if I miss out on an opportunity?

As you may already know, I now choose to work with coaches, healers and creatives.

By niching down, I now get to work with the type of clients I am passionate about working with.

We get excited about the same things; we raise each other’s energy levels and we could talk for hours.

And the best thing is that I can create their websites with ease because I understand their lingo and their mindset.  It's almost intuitive.

I understand who their clients are and the transformations they are capable of creating for their clients so we can create an experience that engages their visitors.

On the other hand, when I design websites in other niches, I don’t experience that same ease and flow.

Don’t get me wrong!  I am still able to produce beautiful strategic websites that align with their brand.  But it does require more research to understand what their needs are, the type of clients they work with and the kind of results that will create success for their business.

This is what I want for you!  Working with clients where you get results easily and effortlessly.

Clients who feel that you truly understand them and can create transformations far beyond what they ever expected.

That’s what niching will do for you.

Website Tip ⇒ Choose a niche that you are passionate about and have the knowledge and skill to create transformational results so you can become the go to guru in your field.

Are your visitors buying your products or services?

At this point you're probably driving traffic to your website and getting inquiries from your dream clients, but they are not following through on buying your products or services.  There are a number of reasons why this may be happening; I’ve covered a few of these below.

Are you top of mind with your prospects?

You may have many visitors to your websites and the real question is, are they sticking around?

Reviewing your analytics will show you whether most of your visitors are new visitors or returning visitors.

A compelling and educational blog may attract new visitors through search engines; however, existing visitors may not be returning to your blog because there is no compelling reason.

They may not be aware of new content or services on your website and they probably won't remember to go visit your site, people have way too many distractions for that.

People need to be reminded that you exist and provide value and one of the best ways to do that is to offer them a free gift (freebie).

The freebie could be a checklist, a how-to document or a mini-workbook.

The intent is to provide value in exchange for their email address.

I can see you rolling your eyes at the thought of this “manipulative” tactic and I used to feel the same way.

However, when I shifted my mindset to “being of service” and explored what could really help change my client’s business, I was able to explore options that would provide exceptional value to them.

Once you have email addresses, it can be super easy to remain top of mind with your prospects.

The intent is to provide valuable information to them on a regular basis, and even though they may not read it, your business name will remain fresh in their mind.

When they come across a need that you solve or hear of someone else that may need your services, your name will pop into their head and you have an easy referral.

Website Tip ⇒ Creating a freebie that helps your clients solve a problem is an effective strategy to provide value and collect email addresses so you can stay top of mind with your followers by sending out regular emails.

Are you building trust with your prospects?

If you’re like me, you regularly encounter an attractive website with a compelling product or service that solves a problem you are experiencing.

How often do you buy directly from them without learning more about them?  I know I don’t.

I will explore their website, read their blog, download their freebie and follow their newsletter for a while before buying.

It’s like a relationship, you don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date.  You get to know them, go out on a few dates, build a connection and then possibly consider the option of getting married.

How do you build trust on your website?

Blogs are an excellent way to create a connection with your audience by showing them that you understand their pain points, empathize with their journey, and build credibility by showing them you have the perfect solutions to solve their problems.

Authentic client experiences are another great way to build trust and you can achieve this through testimonials. More specifically, client testimonials that clearly describe how miserable life was before they purchased your solution and the beautiful transformation they experienced as a result of working with you.

Being “nice” to work with is no longer good enough, your visitors need to believe that you will deliver the results you promise.

Your testimonials need to clearly showcase the transformation clients can expect.

This builds credibility in your offering and creates trust in your services.

Website Tip ⇒ Publish blog posts that add value and build credibility.  Share testimonials that show the incredible results your clients are experiencing as a result of working with you.

Are you guiding your visitors to take action on your website?

One of the biggest mistakes I see on many websites is that the visitor is not regularly invited to take action.

With the sea of information on the internet, it is so easy for people to hop from blog to blog and website to website to get information to solve their problem.

Hence the issue, there is no compelling reason for visitors to stay on your website.

As I mentioned earlier, you need to take your visitors on a journey through your website so they get to know you, your business and your services.

You build credibility and authority along the way, intentionally guiding them through your website.

As they explore, you regularly invite them to contact you, schedule a consult call or purchase a service.

Have you ever noticed that the simple nudge to buy a product can create a sense of urgency?

Like “I’m not ready to buy yet but I’ll read a bit more to see if your solution resonates with me.”

Or maybe you are ready to buy and can’t find how to purchase their services or contact them.

This gentle invitation reminds them how they can work with you, and if they are not ready, reminds them that they need to explore your business a bit more before buying.  Without these “call-to-actions”, you may be losing profitable opportunities to grow your business.

Website Tip ⇒ Ensure every page on your website invites your visitor to take action.

Fixing your business will create abundance in your life.

As a healer, your business is an integral part of your life.

It’s not something that stops at 5:00 pm every night.

You’re always learning and practicing - whether it's on yourself, your family or close friends.

So, running a successful and profitable business will not only create growth in your business, it will create growth in your personal life as well.

Applying the business strategies above will attract more dream clients to your business, build connection, and inspire them to explore what is possible in their lives.  My services help healers like you leverage your brand so you can get more clients, charge more for your work, and build a successful business you enjoy.  Ready to get intentional about fixing your business?  Let’s chat.

I’m a healer, not a business expert. How can I fix what’s wrong in my business? Read More »

Why I changed my business name to Simplicity And Design

Why I changed my business name to Simplicity and Design

Does your business name light you up?  Does it resonate with your dream clients!  Does it capture your brand essence?  Wondering if you should change your name?  Here's my story and why I'm thrilled I did.

I’ve changed my business over from “Creative Integration Web Design” (now that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?) to “Simplicity and Design” and I am thrilled with my new name.

Sometimes you just need a little expansion in your life to inspire a business name that lights you up.

Here’s the story behind the transition to my new business name and of course, the ever important why behind it all.

I started my business a few years back with the intention of creating beautiful designs for my clients and to spread the word about the magic of holistic healing.

When I started my business, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a business startup workshop over the summer.  It was exactly what I needed and the universe provided for me.   Of course, part of the completion activities was registering a business name.  At that point, I knew my intention was to make things as simple as possible for my clients so I explored combinations and permutations of names that included “Simple”, “Simply” and “Just” :

  • Simple Web Designs
  • Simply Websites
  • Just Web Designs
  • etc.

Many people raised the concern that these business names gave the impression that I only created simple websites.  That is, websites that were simple in design with little or no strategy for attracting and engaging clients.  The names did not convey my intention of creating an experience of simplicity and ease for my clients.

And so, I did what most aspiring new entrepreneurs do … I invited family and friends to provide ideas and they enthusiastically suggested names that included “Crystal”.  Although I love the name my mother gave me, it just did not resonate with me for a business name.

Rather than choose from the heart, I used logic and launched the birth of my new business under Creative Integration Web Design.  It embraced the creative aspect of my business as well as the intention of integrating beauty and strategy to create gorgeous websites.  Although the name satisfied the criteria, I always felt that it was too long and I didn’t love it.  Plus, people found it difficult to remember.

Why did I change my business name? I wanted my clients to experience a sense of ease.

Fast forward to 2021.  We downsized, sold our house and I moved into this beautiful apartment that lights me up.  It was a big move from a 4 bedroom 2 storey house down to a 2 bedroom apartment.  There were lots of touchups that needed to be done on the house and logistics that needed to be ironed out.  Throughout the entire process, I found myself saying over and over “Simplicity and ease!  Simplicity and ease!  Simplicity and ease!

From staging the house,  the fast paced realtor activities and the final lawyer visit.

This became my mantra – over and over -  “Simplicity and ease!  Simplicity and ease!  Simplicity and ease!

And it was so!  Simplicity and ease flowed into my life.  Literally!

I noticed that I started saying this to my clients.  Including it in my emails.  Mentioning it on Instagram.

Then one day, it dawned on me – “Simplicity and Design” – it totally and completely resonated with me for my business name.  It encompassed the simplicity and ease that I am passionate about bringing to my clients and the gorgeous visual designs that I love dreaming up for my clients.  Creating a brand and a beautiful engaging website can be a daunting and overwhelming process and I aspire to lead my clients through this experience with simplicity and ease.

Changing your business name can re-ignite your passion and purpose.

What happened next?  Fear.  Overwhelm. Resistance.  It was going to be too hard.  It was going to be too much work.  Did I really need to do this?

But it felt so right.  So I started exploring the possibility.

The universe was nudging me in the right direction.  As it turns out, my original business name had expired – I had forgotten that I had to renew it every 5 years.  This was the sign I needed.

Yes, I could have gone with, that would have been the easy route.  But it just didn’t light me up.  It felt boring.  Plus, who knows?  Maybe one day I may have the opportunity to sell my business and it can be easier to sell your business if your business name is not associated with your personal name.

The more I let go of the fear of changing my business name, the more I embraced my new name and the energy around it.  It created a mindset shift of simplicity and ease for me as well as renewed excitement around offering the best possible experience for my clients.

I fell in love with my business all over again and felt a renewed sense of authenticity and connection with my clients.  A breath of ease!

You know that web design involves a whole lot more than just pretty pictures and compelling content.

Without a plan on how to explore your brand, create your key design elements and define a flow through your website to engage your visitors, you can get lost in the sea of details.

Where do I start with my website?

  • What colors should I pick?
  • What fonts will be right for my brand?
  • What kind of photos do I need?
  • How do I write my content?
  • What goes on my homepage?
  • How do I convert visitors into clients?

This is why I love what I do.  I love exploring your vision, and with your input, creating a design that you love and resonates with your visitors.

I want you to be excited about embarking on this journey and eliminate the overwhelm.

I want you to embrace the web design experience and feel like you are co-creating every step of the way.

And my process will allow you to be guided every step of the way, easily and effortlessly.

You see, I want the best for you and your business.  I want you to exceed your wildest dreams.  And I want your website to make you smile … every single time you look at it.

And my promise to you is that you will experience all of this with as much simplicity and ease as I can possibly deliver.

Thinking of changing your business name?  You can get started with these tips.

  • Write a paragraph about your mission, your values and how you want to help your clients. Then extract the key words that have meaning for you and your ideal clients.
  • Create a mind map to lay out all the possibilities and permutations to explore potential business names. Look at other business names of existing businesses to see if they spark new ideas.
  • Brain storm – ask family and friends for ideas. They may just plant the seed you need to explore other possibilities.
  • Keep it short – if your website name is too long, potential clients won’t be able to remember it.
  • Remember, nothing is cast in stone. You can always change it later if you really feel called to it.

Your business name should light you up when you talk about it!

People will feel your excitement and your energy will be contagious.  And that’s what will make you memorable.

My mission is to create an experience that creates this excitement with simplicity and ease.

I love designing websites and helping you define your brand.

I love the journey of discovering your brand.

I love the creative aspect of introducing design elements, fonts and colours that capture your essence, resonate with your followers so that you can reach and transform more lives.

This is what I want for you …

  • Simplicity and ease in your business.
  • Simplicity and ease in attracting more clients to your business.
  • Simplicity and ease in designing a brand and website that lights you up.

So there you have it!  This is why I made the shift and I’d like to personally welcome you to the new!

Welcome to Simplicity and Design where your questions are answered with simplicity and ease.

I get it, hiring a web designer is a big investment and  you may have more questions.  These posts will help you get more clarity on your decision:

Still have more questions?  You can contact me for a free consultation. During our time together, we’ll explore your vision and what’s possible for your business and your website. Our work together starts with a custom proposal once we’re both excited to work together…

This call is simply where the magic begins!

Why I changed my business name to Simplicity and Design Read More »

Entrepreneur writing core message and wondering whether she should hire a copywriter.

Should you hire a copywriter for your website?

One thing I think all entrepreneurs struggle with at some point is writing content for their website that attracts and converts visitors.  You want to pack a punch with words and build your brand voice that connects and supports your website.  Right?

But… crafting website copy (at least, good copy) can take some time and talent unless you’re well-versed in that arena.  Now, if you’re gung-ho to knock it out, be my guest – but if the idea of writing out your website copy from scratch makes you want to scratch your eyes out, worry not.  There is another solution to this painful dilemma.

Namely?  Hiring a copywriter.  Now I know hiring a copywriter can be an investment, especially for new businesses.  After all, you need to hire someone who is willing to explore your business goals, craft a core message that engages and converts, and tells your story in a way that resonates with your ideal client.

Are we getting ahead of ourselves?  Do you really need to hire a copywriter?  Or can you write our own copy?  There are definitely pros and cons to both.  Let’s explore the value of working with a copywriter, when you should hire a copywriter and what to consider when looking for a copywriter.

How important is copywriting for your website?

I won’t lie, investing in a copywriter was a big decision and investment for me and my business.  I had decided to rebrand and dedicated a significant effort into clarifying my brand and creating a design to elevate my brand.  I needed compelling copy that would align with the aesthetic of my brand, connect with my audience and build the trust and authority that I needed to convert them into clients.

I had a lot of ideas on how to identify my clients' needs, show empathy, and convey the solutions I provided.  I knew what my brand essence was.  But I just didn’t know how to pull it all together in a structured cohesive manner that was succinct, natural and genuine.  And I certainly did not know how to distill that down into a core message that I could weave throughout my website.

This is what I learned from working with a copywriter.

Copywriters help you discover your natural tone of voice that connects with your audience

Although I was aware of my brand essence when I worked with the copywriter, I needed help distilling it down into something simple and concrete.  My copywriter captured my essence in a meaningful and delightful way.  It felt true to me and I knew that it would help me attract more of the clients I loved to work with and connect with them in an authentic manner.  She incorporated words that I love to use and that my clients often use as well so they naturally resonate with my content.  This naturally builds trust with my visitors and starts them on their buying journey with a sense of ease.

A copywriter is an expert at crafting persuasive content that converts

Your core messaging is important in that it not only addresses your client’s felt need, it explains how the solution you provide goes beyond that need and positions you as an expert problem solver for your client.

For example, your client may come to you because they want to lose weight.  What they don’t realize is that by following your expertise, they will also have more energy, sleep better and have better mental clarity.

A good copywriter will explore the problems you solve and the results you create for your clients and craft your message so that your visitors can sense the excitement of working with you.  When your visitors believe that you can deliver the results that you promise, they get excited about working with you and can picture how their lives will be better after working with you.

More time for you to focus on your natural talents and growing your business

Let’s be real here – getting that first word or sentence down on paper can be brutal.  You toil and agonize over every word, the tone, and the intent of the paragraph so that every single word has impact.  Is the content engaging and captivating?  Does your audience feel like you understand their struggles?  Do they get excited about the results you share?

You could spend hours and days trying to get it right.  And even if you do manage to get the words down on paper, is it generating the leads that you expect?  Is it converting into the clientele you’ve been dreaming about working with?

Or you could hire an expert to take the burden off your plate and focus on what you do best.  Working with clients and transforming lives.  Now that’s what I call ease!

A copywriter helps build trust and position you as an expert

How many of you are comfortable delivering your elevator pitch to new prospects?  If you’re anything like most of my clients, you are very humble and just want to serve your clients so they can experience life in the best way possible.  Boasting about your super-powers is not something you are comfortable doing at the best of times, never mind in a stressful situation where you feel like you need to prove yourself.

Copywriters have a natural super-power of uncovering your unique gifts and strengths that your clients appreciate.

They can craft your core message so that it highlights your best skills, positions you as an expert and builds the trust that you can deliver the results that you promise, all without sounding like a sleazy salesmen.

A professional copywriter can succinctly capture your services in a way that delights and compels your visitors

I don’t know about you, but I can tend to get overly wordy trying to convey what I do and how I help.  Visitors can get lost in the sea of words, confused and jump ship to another website that is clear, simple and compelling.  Yes, ease!

This is where a professional copywriter comes in and creates ease in your life!   They are experts at crafting customer focused copy that clearly conveys the value of your service and the results your clients can expect.

A copywriter can help you get found online and bring in more clients

A good copywriter will explore what problems your clients are experiencing, the solutions you provide and the results your clients can expect.  A great copywriter will determine the keywords that will attract your ideal clients and strategically inject them into your content so that your website converts.  This will improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that Google lists your website pages as authorities in your field.

Higher visibility leads to more clicks which leads to more of the clients that you are so passionate about helping.

A copywriter provides messaging that complements your website design and elevates your brand

Have you ever noticed how you feel when you visit a website? What emotions it evokes?   A cohesive website will have images and content that complement each other and elevate your brand.

When you combine great website design that supports your core message, you will create a memorable experience for your clients.  Showing empathy through images and words shows people that you understand their pain.  Your audience feels heard.  And when people feel heard, they are more open to the solutions you provide and are more likely to become your client.

People will forget what you said.  People will forget what you did.  But people will never forget how you made them feel.
~Maya Angelou

When should you hire a copywriter?

This may not be the right time for you to hire a copywriter.  Maybe funds are tight.  Or you don’t have the time to work with a copywriter.  And that’s OK.  But before you decide, ask yourself these questions:

Are you pressed for time?

Trying to squeeze in the time and rush through writing content can end up driving visitors away from your website.  You’re most likely very busy working in your business and spreading yourself too thin so that nothing is getting done well. If that’s the case, it may be a good time to hire a copywriter so you can focus on your clients and help them get the results they are looking for – after all, great results translate into great testimonials which leads to more clients.

Is writing difficult for you?

We’ve all met those people where the words just flow, copiously, onto the screen.   They know exactly what to write to captivate their reader and keep them engaged, weaving in stories that compel and inspire.  If you’re not one of them, you may need to look at your return on investment.  If it is taking you hours and days to write content, then your time may be better spent on your clients and pay a professional to do what they do best.

Do you know what your brand voice is?

Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation as if you were someone else?  It’s exhausting.  I know because I worked in High Tech for over 20 years with Software Designers who were mostly introverts.  Containing my enthusiasm and repressing my feelings was very draining.  When I discovered my voice (i.e. my brand voice) and how I could use it to inspire and bring out the best in people, my energy and career improved.

A good copywriter will help you uncover your brand voice and leverage it to attract more of your ideal clients.

They will coach you on how to write conversationally and yet still sound professional.  An authentic brand voice will resonate with your audience and will automatically create a connection and a sense of trust which brings them one step closer on their buying journey.

Do you know how to write effective copy for your website?

It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, if your audience doesn’t understand the value you offer and how it will transform their lives, then you’re wasting their time and yours.  An effective copywriter will create a consistent compelling messaging across all your marketing material.  They will know how to entice your readers using your brand tone that resonates with your ideal client and compels them to start their buying journey.

Do you know how to optimize your copy for Search engines?

Search engine optimization (SEO) can bring on a new level of challenges to your copywriting activities.  What keywords or phrases should you include?  What do you want to be known for?  How do you include them in your content without sounding spammy?

Copywriters can create a simple strategy for you to incorporate relevant keywords into your website and follow through into blogging so you can free your brain up for what you do best and have your prospects find you online.

What to consider when hiring a copywriter for your website?

When I hired my copywriter, I already knew her through a group Bootcamp that she coached.  From our experience together, I already knew how brilliant she was with words and how she always asked the right questions to ensure she understood what you were looking for so she could provide you with the information you needed.  Bottom line, I knew she was a great fit to work on my copywriting for my website.

Michelle Hunter is a brilliant copywriter who listens, explores and delivers the content you need so that you can elevate your brand and delight your clients.  She has a plethora of extremely valuable content on her blog that can help you with your marketing and attracting more clients.

Michelle provides great tips on what to consider when hiring a copywriter so I would encourage you to read her article:

Do you have the time and/or expertise to write your own website copy?

Hiring in a copywriter can be a significant investment and it’s more than just time versus money.  If you’re struggling with writer’s block, how much is that really costing you given that you’re not working with clients and creating future referrals.

It was a big decision for me as well and I am thrilled that I took the leap.  My website copy forms the tone and inspiration for my blog posts and social media content.  The messaging resonates with me and my clients and is the foundation that I base all my marketing material from.  It has given me the confidence and clarity to talk about my business with ease.

That’s what I want for you – core messaging that makes you easy to relate to, connect with, along with a compelling story that builds trust with your audience and guides them on their buying journey.

Should you hire a copywriter for your website? Read More »

Entrepreneur reviewing her business metrics

Elevate the health of your business using these simple metrics

Oh, the dreaded numbers game.  You’re probably thinking that you started your own business so that you could focus on what you love doing and what you are great at.  If you work hard, deliver what you promised and treat your customers with respect, that your business would thrive.  After all, the universe rewards those good people.  Right?

Only, that’s not happening.  Somehow, your bank account is never where you need it to be.  You’re not sure what’s working well with your marketing efforts because new leads are barely trickling in.  As for your website, you’re not sure how effective it is. You feel overwhelmed and hopeless and don’t know where to start.  The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

When I graduated from University, I was so excited to get out in the real world and start working on real projects.  No more assignments, no more all-nighters, and no more working on projects that seemed meaningless.  Life was good.  I was working on a variety of projects and interacting with real clients who cared about the outcome. Somehow, after 6 months, I was feeling empty and depleted and realized that I was not getting the regular feedback I had been receiving in University.  During my University years, assignments were being handed in weekly so I was getting consistent feedback on what was working and what I needed to improve on.  I had metrics to measure my performance against and that was very gratifying.

Your business is similar to school in that, if you don’t have metrics to measure your success against, you can end up wandering aimlessly hoping you will succeed.  You won’t know when things are starting to deteriorate, why they are failing and what actions you need to take to steer you in the right direction.  This is where metrics can be a lifesaver and these are the metrics I use to ensure I’m on the right path.

Review your financial metrics to improve your business

As coaches, healers and creatives, we often feel very uncomfortable talking about that dirty little word called “money”.  We’re much more comfortable talking about passion, healing and transforming people’s lives.  Here’s the thing, if we don’t have enough money, then our businesses will not survive and we won’t be able to help people live better lives.

My life was transformed years ago by a simple book I read by David Bach titled The Automatic Millionaire.  It was life changing and money seemed to be magically accumulating using his recommended strategies of pay yourself first, make it automatic and the latte factor.  But I didn’t know how to translate that into my business until I came across Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.  As a result, I now have multiple bank accounts that make it easy to track my sales revenue, my expenses and my profit.

How much sales revenue is your business generating?

The main goal of any business is to create income.  Your income can come from a variety of sources including services, courses and products.  This metric will show you if you are getting enough clients to sustain your business.  As soon as an invoice is paid, I deposit it into an account I have labeled as “Income”.  Twice a month, I transfer a pre-determined percentage of money out of the “Income” account into the following accounts:  HST, Federal/Provincial Tax, Expenses, Owner’s Compensation and Profit.

Next Step – create strategies to improve income

If you’re income is not sufficient then you can look at taking actions such as:  improving your marketing strategy, creating a more effective website, generating more leads, raising your prices and/or adding more services.

What are your monthly expenses?

Even though your sales revenue may be outstanding, understanding your monthly expenses allows you to determine if you are able to pay your business bills as well as pay yourself.  I used to only look at my expenses at the end of the year when I did my taxes and never really had a good indication of how profitable my business was.  I now track it on a monthly basis so I can ensure that I stay profitable on a quarterly and yearly basis.

Next Step – reduce expenses

Should your expenses outweigh your sales income, you can take action by:  increasing  your sales and/or looking at what expenses you can reduce or eliminate until your cash flow improves.

Are you generating profits in your business?

One of the main aspects I loved about the “Profit First” approach was the idea of paying yourself first.  This is in addition to your bimonthly owner’s compensation.  Mike Michalowicz insists that you spend part of your profits on yourself even if it’s as simple as buying yourself a new plant for your office.  Having a reward to focus on at the end of a quarter is great incentive to focus on all the other hard stuff.  Last year, thanks to my profits, I was able to buy myself a new computer and monitors for my design work.  As a result, I was pleasantly surprised at how proud I felt for what I had accomplished all year.

Although tracking your financial metrics is important, there are other areas to monitor in your business that drive your day-to-day business activities.  The next two categories will help you determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and your resulting conversion rates:  social media metrics and website metrics.

Monitor your Social Media Metrics to enhance your business

Chances are, you’re a very busy Entrepreneurs wearing many hats, including that of a “Social Media Guru”.  With so many activities requiring your attention, you know you don’t have time to be ineffective, particularly when it comes to driving traffic to your website.  Let’s look at some metrics that will help you determine what’s working, what’s not and what you can do to maximize your marketing efforts.

How many followers does your business have?

Although the number of people that follow you is an indication of your marketing effectiveness, the quality of your followers is what really matters.  Having loyal followers does two things for you:

  • It allows you to build trust and connections with potential buyers so that when they are ready to buy, you are top of mind.
  • It generates referral opportunities.

That being said, tracking the number of people following you is a simple metric to monitor to give you a high-level view of visitors interested in your content.

Next Step – reflect and redirect your marketing strategy

If you notice that your numbers are going down, you can review your marketing activities and the marketing climate to see what’s changed.  Have you changed your content topics or strategies?  Is there something going on in your area or the world that may impact your efforts, such as a pandemic?  Has a social media platform algorithm changed?  Take some time to reflect so you can redirect your efforts and focus on a tactic that is more effective.

How much social media engagement does your business create?

The purpose of Social Media is to create connections and build relationships with potential buyers.  Engagement can range from post shares, post comments, reviews and post likes – this can be accomplished by inviting your visitors to take some kind of action.  If you can compel your visitors to engage with your content then your posts will have more visibility, will show up in more search results and will help you achieve your sales and marketing goals.

You can find this metric manually on each platform or by using a tool to manage your social media, they typically provide a summary of these numbers for you.

Next Step – invite your visitors to engage

Increasing engagement on your social media platforms can be as simple as including a call-to-action every single time.  Your audience will become accustomed to taking action and respond accordingly so that when you make a big ask, they are not surprised.  An ask can be as simple as “Double tap if you agree”, “What do you think?  Let me know in the comments”, “Like this post”, “Sign up”, or “Contact me”.

How often do visitors click on your social media page links?

Your visitors engage on a journey from the moment they find you on Social Media to the point of buying.  As you build trust with them and educate them on the value of your product and/or service, they become more comfortable interacting with you and the experience you provide.  You can measure the level of trust by monitoring the level of engagement.

Every time a visitor engages with your content, they are committing to moving forward on the buying journey.  At first, they may just be viewing your posts.  Once they start resonating with your posts, they will choose to follow you, like your posts and even share your posts if they believe they will add value for other people.  This means you are positioning yourself as an expert and their level of commitment is increasing.  Clicking on the page link means they are actually interested in taking the time out of their busy day to read your content.  Often this brings them to your website where you can take them on a journey of sharing more details of what you offer, how it enhances your customer’s life and what customer’s need to do to buy.

Next Step – inspire your visitors to click on the link

If people are looking at your social media content but not taking the next step of clicking on the link to your website, then you need to ensure that your content resonates with them and explicitly asks them to click on the link to continue reading.  Compelling content that resonates with your readers empathizes with the problem they are experiencing, hints at potential solutions and describes how your solution will enhance their lives.

Assess your website metrics to elevate your brand

Most website metrics are measured through your Google Analytics account.  Although there are many metrics that can be tracked, depending on what your goals are, the following numbers can help you determine the effectiveness of your website.

Before getting into the details, you can get an overview of your website performance by looking at your Google Analytics-> Audience-> Overview, Acquisition-> Overview and Behavior->Overview to get a feel for who your visitors are, where they are coming from, and what pages they are spending their time on.

Listed below are some specific metrics that will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing and website.

How many users are visiting your website?

Like the social media metric for followers, the number of visitors will help you determine the traffic that is coming through your website (Google Analytics -> Audience Overview).  If your traffic is flat or decreasing, there are a few things you can do to assess your efforts.

Next Step – evaluate traffic sources and content

If the numbers are increasing, you can evaluate what marketing efforts are effective by digging down into where your traffic is coming from, what pages they are landing on and what the bounce rate is for those page.  Conversely, if your metrics are declining, you can verify what content is not working and focus on what is popular with your visitors.

What social media platforms are most effective?

Many business owners are using Social Media as a marketing strategy to drive traffic to their business and website.  You are busy and wear many hats as a business owner and your time is valuable.  Understanding which platforms are most effective for your marketing tactics and which ones aren’t will help you plan out your strategy so you can attract more prospects and convert them into buyers.

Acquisition-> Overview will show you how many people come to your website by typing in the link directly, how many come through social media, how many through search queries and how many through other websites or platforms.

In particular, Acquisition->All Traffic->Social->Overview, will help you find out exactly which social platforms are most effective at driving traffic to your website.

Next Step – focus on engaging marketing platforms

If you have been focusing on Facebook and your numbers are indicating that Instagram is more effective, you may want to consider putting more effort into Instagram and cutting back on Facebook to optimize your time.

How often is your business showing up in search queries?

According to Smart Insights, 81% of people search online for a product or service.  The number of times your website appears in a search query is an indication of the effectiveness of your SEO and the keywords you are using in your content.  You can find your total impressions metric by visiting your Google Search Console and clicking on Performance (Google Search Console -> Performance -> Total Impressions).

Next Step – create SEO rich content

Review what search queries are being used to find you by clicking on the Queries tab in the Google Search Console Performance view.  Choose a phrase with a high number of clicks and create content around that phrase to drive more traffic to your website.

What landing pages are most popular on your website?

Creating content for your website can seem like a lot of work with not much return but this is where you can see the results of all your efforts.  You may be pleasantly surprised by which pages attract the most visitors – sometimes it’s the page that flowed easily and effortlessly for you.  You can find which pages are most popular from your Social Media by clicking on Google Analytics -> Acquisitions -> Social -> Landing Pages and for Search Queries by clicking on Google Analytics -> Acquisitions -> Search Console -> Landing Page.

Next Steps – guide your visitors to take the next step

Identify your top 3 landing pages and add call-to-actions to guide your visitors to take one more step toward buying.  This could be to sign up for your newsletter, download a freebie, read a case study, view your services or to contact you for a free discovery call.  The goal is to build trust and create a connection where your leads feel comfortable reaching out to you.

How many conversions have you acquired?

Conversions come in many forms and don’t necessarily lead to an immediate buy.  It is simply an “ask” that leads to the next bigger “ask” to the point of sale.  A small ask could be to like a blog post, or share a blog post.  A bigger ask could involve downloading a freebie or signing up for your newsletter.  And the final ask could be to schedule a discovery call and eventually purchase your offer.  As your visitors navigate through this marketing journey, you are building trust and credibility with them.  You can track many of these metrics through the conversions tab on your Google Analytics by clicking on Conversions -> Goals -> Overview.  You will see a list of destination pages that have been created to track specific actions such as a Thank You page for signing up for your newsletter or scheduling a discovery call.

Next Steps – adding intentional call-to-actions

Our job is to make it extremely easy for visitors to take action on our site.  Although it may seem repetitive to us, you don’t want your visitors to have to search for your contact form or email opt-in form.  The simplest way to increase your conversions is to make the call-to-action visible and easily accessible.  This can be as simple as adding it to your header, your footer, and in your sidebar.

Track your metrics to improve the health of your business

Imagine always knowing what to do next to improve the health of your business.  You create blog posts, engage on social media, and guide your visitors on an amazing customer journey.  Even if you are getting some leads, there are many moving parts to your marketing efforts, right?  Get strategic, track your key business metrics and take intentional action.

An effective website amplifies your brand, engages your visitors and is aligned with your goals.

An effective website is intentionally designed to attract the perfect potential clients to your business so you can simplify your marketing efforts, get more clients and create more abundance in your business.

My services help entrepreneurs like you create beautiful strategic websites that engage more visitors and transform more lives.  Together we’ll determine your goals, track your metrics and create strategies to improve the health of your business.  Let’s chat.

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