Have you noticed a new look around these parts? A couple of weeks ago I
stupidly excitedly accepted a weekend site re-design challenge with some fellow Genesis WordPress users. A proper site redesign had been on my mind for months and this was the perfect kick in the pants to get me moving.
— Megan Gray (@HouseofGrays) February 16, 2013
Before I share the details of the redesign with you, I have a confession to make: I started on Thursday night. (In college days, Thursday nights totally counted as the weekend. But just in case that doesn’t fly these days, don’t tell Megan.)
Operation: Weekend Redesign
I offer redesign services for clients ALL THE TIME, but am my own worst customer when it comes to strategic thinking about my site. As a matter of fact, I’ve been so frustrated with my lack of attention, I’d even considered outsourcing the site design.
So, you can see the timeliness of the Weekend Redesign Challenge! Once I said out loud I’d participate, these were the two biggest hurdles I wanted to overcome with my site lift:
- Direct my audience(s) to the right content
- Clearly communicate my service offerings
My Audience(s): The Challenge & Solution
You want a website design to attract and engage your audience. No brainer, right?
My challenge is that I have TWO audiences: My first (and biggest) audience is…YOU, my blog readers. You come here for helpful information and WordPress tutorials, but most of you aren’t looking to hire me, which is fine.
That brings me to my second audience…potential CLIENTS. Generally speaking, this group couldn’t care less how to create an archive template for a custom post type; they’re looking for someone to make a website.
I know from Google Analytics that most of my visitors arrive via search to a specific blog post (my first audience), so it made sense to tone down my blog presence on the home page (where my second audience is more likely to land) and make it more portfolio and business centric.
I also redesigned my About page to help funnel visitors in the right direction.
Will it work? My bounce rate has decreased slightly and conversion rates on my contact forms have increased. There’s still some tweaking to do, but I’m pleased with the results so far.
My Services: The Challenge & Solution
I’ve offered a variety of print and web services a looooong time, so there’s a lot of things I can do (and have done) for clients – everything from designing trade show banners to guerrilla marketing campaigns. But just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I want to do it (or even that I’m great at it).
Before the redesign challenge popped up, I’d already done a lot of soul-searching about what my “sweet spot” in business is. And you know what? I really freaking love working with WordPress, tweaking the heck out of Genesis themes, and teaching others along the way.
My pre-re-design site was a clustered mess of service offerings, not representative of the work I most enjoy, and confusing to potential customers.
Steve Woodruff over at Clarity Therapy has some great blog posts on clarifying and communicating your service (or product) offering. Chris Lema also wrote a thought-provoking post on saying no to work that’s not in line with your core offerings.
I also remodeled the intro to my site with a clear statement of who I am and what I do on my home page. No more guessing, dear readers!
Will it work? After just ten days I’m getting higher-quality leads through my pre-project review form (and by higher-quality I mean that the work requested is spot on with my newly refined service offerings). I’m sure I’ll keep tweaking, but so far so good. And Robert Neu gave me a big fat compliment on that page, which made me feel pretty good.
Hitting the Finish Line
Megan and I weren’t the only ones participating the Weekend Redesign Challenge. Despite my small cheat of starting early, Susan from Real Girl Designs finished first!
— carrie dils (@cdils) February 17, 2013
I rolled out my site later that Sunday. It’s still a work in progress (and always will be), but I’m pretty excited to have covered so much territory in just a weekend. Next up on the chopping block is my Portfolio and completing some long-overdue project write-ups.
— carrie dils (@cdils) February 18, 2013
Megan and I both based our redesigns on the Modern Portfolio theme from StudioPress. She’s got mad design skills, so it was really fun to see her interpretation of the theme.
— Megan Gray (@HouseofGrays) February 19, 2013
How About You?
What is it you’ve meant to do but haven’t gotten around to because of _________ ?
Maybe it’s a site redesign, maybe it’s getting off the couch and going for a run, or maybe it’s cleaning out the garage. As we head into the weekend, make a plan to start your project.
Leave me a note below and let me know what you’re starting. Say it out loud on the interwebs. GO!