Your website is a living, breathing part of your online marketing and online presence. So if it’s been a while since you’ve given it a refresh, it’s probably time to do just that. And I’m right there with you, too!
Don’t neglect your website. Give it the time and attention it deserves.
This week on the podcast, Samantha Mabe from Lemon and the Sea is sharing details on updating and refreshing your website and figuring out what your website copy should look like, what pages and information you NEED on your website, and she shares five quick updates you can probably do in just an hour or two.
Be sure to tune in!
Mentioned In This Episode
About Mary Williams
Samantha Mabe, creative director and designer of Lemon and the Sea, empowers service-based business owners to raise their prices with custom-designed websites they are proud to share. She loves creating websites with beauty and brains that are designed to convert and give you the power to make edits yourself. She currently lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and one talkative toddler. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Instagram.
Abby Herman 0:08
Hey there, and welcome to episode 174 of the content experiment podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it. All right all of the time, you have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content, to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience and what grows, your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you. I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and consultant for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. And I’m CEO and creative director of the content experiment, a content marketing agency that offers full service content marketing and podcast management. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so called gurus think is the right thing. It’s about you and your business, your lifestyle, and frankly, your values and belief systems. You get to do business in a way that works for you. Now, do you subscribe to The New Year New you philosophy? I don’t, mostly because life and business overhauls can be really stressful and expensive. And they don’t always work out the way you think or hope they will. But if you’re feeling like your website is a little bit stale, it might be time to make a few changes to revive it, and make sure that it feels really good for you.
Abby Herman 1:33
On today’s episode, I’m talking with Samantha Mabe about updating and refreshing your website and figuring out what your website copy should look like what pages and information you need on your website. And she also shares five quick updates that you can probably do in just an hour or two. This might be just what you need as we start this new year. Now, Are you new to the podcast? If so, welcome. Here, I work really hard to make sure that this podcast is full of no nonsense support, to help inspire you to get your message out there and give you the actionable steps that you need to make it happen so you can get on with business your way. If you like what you hear, hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss another episode. And if you’ve been around a while, be sure to leave a rating and review. Ratings and reviews are what helped to get the podcast in more earbuds and any podcast host would be incredibly grateful for one.
Abby Herman 2:33
Okay, back to our guests. I’m chatting today with Samantha Mabe the creative director and designer of lemon and the sea. She empowers service based business owners to raise their prices with custom designed websites that they are proud to share. She loves creating websites with beauty and brains that are designed to convert and give you the power to make edits yourself. She currently lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and one talkative toddler. Here is our conversation. Hi, Samantha, thank you so much for joining me. I’m so excited to reconnect and to chat.
Samantha Mabe 3:11
Hi Abby. Thanks for having me today.
Abby Herman 3:13
Yeah. So before we dig in to the interview, I would love for you to introduce yourself and to let listeners know what you do and who you do it for.
Samantha Mabe 3:26
Right. So I am Samantha Mabe. But I am a Squarespace website designer. And I do custom websites in a day for service providers and coaches, anybody who has a signature service or a course. And it’s really focused on getting them launched. So they feel confident putting their work out there and raising their prices to what they deserve to be making.
Abby Herman 3:52
Yes, raising prices. I love it. So before we hit record, we were talking a little bit about just kind of doing a little bit of catch up. And I know you’ve got a little one, a two and a half year old. So how does the way that you work with clients help you to live the lifestyle but you want so if you could explain a little bit about what that client work looks like, and then how that helps you with your lifestyle and being able to spend time with your little guy.
Unknown Speaker 4:21
Sure. So I started my business six years ago, seven years ago now it’s been a long time. And I had like a six month process for website design. And a lot of times that meant back and forth emails and things got delayed. And so when my son was born, and I had to cut my hours back to 20 hours a week, I was really looking for something that worked for me that I could get a website done, I could get it out there I could get my clients happy without feeling like I had to work every evening and starting at four o’clock in the morning. And so I switched over to a one day process, so it’s an eight hour process for a four page website. And basically, I send my kiddo off to the in laws for the day I sit and I work. And I don’t do anything else except that clients project and then at the end of the day, I can be done. And those other hours in business can be the behind the scenes, and when I’m not working, then I can spend the rest of the time with my family. And we’ve hit a really good rhythm with that I get to take my Wednesdays off, and we have adventures. And it’s a lot of fun, to really be able to do both parts of life in business without feeling like they bleed into each other too much.
Abby Herman 5:43
That is so great. You know, I remember when I started my business, when I went full time in my business, my daughter was going into sixth grade. And I got that so long ago. But yeah, I mean, I felt like I was working all the time, I love the idea of having a model where you can kind of pick and choose your days, and that you have the support at home, you know, to get it done to get the work done. So what a great model. And the fact that you get to deliver these websites in a day, and your clients don’t have to wait six months for, for a website to be done. And all the back and forth. Emails that you’ve cut out. Email is like my nemesis, I hate you fell. So that sounds like a really great opportunity for clients. So as this podcast as this episode is being released, it’s the time of year I feel like where people are trying to refresh things and do overhauls and all of that I did the same thing this time last year where I you know, changed my branding and I, I changed my website completely in the name of my business. And I have heard a lot of business owners, especially in this online space, talk about how long it took the process of creating a new website and working with somebody to, you know, deliver a new website, and how much they’re spending on this website. Can you talk a little bit about that, and, you know, like the big, you know, quote unquote, big and beefy websites where, you know, everything is included, and it takes months and months to create? How are you able to do it in a day,
Abby Herman 7:28
I have been designing websites for a long time. And I’ve noticed that with people who provide a service, or maybe they have a course, they generally have like that one thing that they want to focus on the one offer that they want people to buy. And so it’s so much simpler to design a website, if you know, this is the thing I want people to purchase from me, this is the way that I want to work with people. Because you can use your whole website to point them in that direction, you can make sure you’re getting the right people, and you’re repelling the people that aren’t going to be a good fit. And you don’t have to have all of those other offers and the back end pages and all the crazy funnels and timers, and all of those sorts of things that we see so often in this online space, I have really found that simplifying your website, and simplifying your business is the best way to find something that works for you. And it’s the best way to serve your clients because you really know what it is that you do and how you do it. And you can get things done if it’s like a concentrated process.
Abby Herman 8:44
And so how do you help clients with narrowing it down? Because I mean, I feel like creatives and business owners in general, we have all of the ideas and we want to do all of the things. So how do you help them through that process?
Unknown Speaker 9:00
So I have a lot of clients who have a lot of ideas. And what we generally focus on is like, what is the thing you have got down what is the thing you want to be known for, and that makes you the most money in a timely manner. And then all the other stuff can you can grow in your business to get those things added. But you don’t have to concentrate on all of the things at once. It’s better to I like to do a service first just because then you know how you work with people, you get to know them one on one. And then if you need to add those other revenue streams, you can do that down the road. And what I have found is even for people who have different tiers of a service, they’re really all based in the same thing and they might just be adding a couple of things. And so it’s not as complicated as a totally different offer every time it’s just, you know, you might have a little bit of extra time for Somebody or an extra service you throw in there, if they invest at a higher level instead of totally different programs for every person that books with you.
Abby Herman 10:11
Mm hmm. Yeah, I feel like that’s kind of a go to, for a lot of people is to, you know, I’m just going to offer this one service. But then there’s so many tiers to be a little confusing sometimes, too. So when you think about simplifying websites, and creating a website that targets one specific service, or product, or whatever it is, what are some of the things that every website needs to have that you should make sure that you’ve got on your website, and this is something that you don’t want to cut out as you’re trying to simplify.
Unknown Speaker 10:42
Abby Herman 12:05
Yeah. So you mentioned you know, some of the messaging around it, too. And I know that that’s not your specialty, but how do you recommend clients create their the message? Because I’m imagining that they come to you? And they say, oh, yeah, I’m gonna write on my own copy. Let me know what what you need. And I’ll do it. And then I’m guessing, because I used to write website copy. For people like you who are you would tell me, I’ve been waiting for two weeks for their copy, they need support, can you help them? And so I would I would help people in that way. What do you do when it comes to website copy? How do you handle that?
Unknown Speaker 12:47
I do have most of my clients decide to DIY it themselves, even though I know that they probably should not. But I have a workbook that I have created from all of the things that I have learned and all of the people who have taught me about website, writing, that just kind of outlines the things that you need a couple of examples, resources to people who have written much better things than I can possibly tell you. And so it just gives them an idea of, you know, you need to share who you are, who you work with, what the things that they might be struggling with are the transformation you bring. And just help them to kind of get those pieces together so that their website copy actually helps people know if they’re in the right place and know if you are the right person to help them. Because a good looking design is not going to convert anybody if the copy doesn’t actually speak to them.
Abby Herman 13:46
Yes. 100%. I agree. Yeah, I totally agree. All right. So how do we make sure as we’re creating the copy, or, you know, fine tuning the design and the development of the website? How do we know that people are taking action on our website? And how do we encourage them to take more action on our website.
Unknown Speaker 14:12
The first step in any of this is to figure out what action you ultimately want them to take. So for many of us, this might be applying to work with us, it might be purchasing our service or our product, depending on what it is that you offer. So you need to know what you want them to do before you can figure out any of the rest of it. When it comes to seeing who’s actually taking action. A lot of that is the analytics on the back end, you need to get Google Analytics set up on your website, so that you can actually track you know, where people come in, what they do, how long they stay, all of that kind of stuff. And to make sure that they’re actually the right people are moving through your website and taking action. You’re always pointing them back to that thing you want them to do, you want to make sure that they know if they’re the right fit or not. And how it is that you can help them. So when they’re on your website, they have a good idea of, yes, this person has exactly what I need, I want to hire them now. And then they know how to take the next step. This is especially important on something like services page, you have one call to action. So if it’s fill out an application, you tell them fill out the application, you probably want to write that in better terms, and then include it in multiple places. So they’re not having to scroll all the way up or down the page in order to get to that because people will they don’t have the attention span to stay on a website that is not quick and easy for them to use.
Abby Herman 15:52
Mm hmm. Any other considerations that we should think of? If we’re trying to get them to take action? Like how do we get them to click that button or to take that action?
Unknown Speaker 16:02
From a design standpoint, buttons need to stand out. So make it a different color. Usually, yellows and reds work really well make it look like a button. So head, they actually know that it’s clickable, and then just go through and test it to make sure it’s working. I think we missed that step a lot. And we wonder why is nobody filling out my contact form when the contact form isn’t actually showing up in your email for some reason. So test all of that stuff to make sure that actually works before you go through and change everything on your website.
Abby Herman 16:39
Yes, testing is here. And I’ve been totally guilty of not testing and just throwing it up there because I was in a hurry. So yes, totally agree. So I want to go back for a minute to the pages on your website that you said that we should that everyone should have. So the homepage, the about page, the services sales page, the Contact page, what about for podcast hosts, or people who are blogging on their website, is that something that is really easy to add? Is that something that can be added later? You know, tell me a little bit about that. Because I as a content creator, and someone who helps clients with things like that, I feel like that’s really important to have that non static content that’s being added to your site all the time.
Unknown Speaker 17:29
Generally, that’s a pretty easy page to add. And so I will help clients get that ready, because it’s pretty much your landing pages, kind of a template, it’s going to populate as you prove as you publish new content. And you just need to kind of know, this is how you outline it. This is how you set it all up. You can also add it later. That is the what like an important piece. But not everybody has one I enjoy I like blogs or podcasts for the SEO factor for giving people something else to take action on if they’re not ready to purchase with you. So it is definitely a page you can include. It’s generally not a very difficult page to set up. It’s more about the back end of getting that content ready, getting it published. And many times my clients know that they want a blog, but they haven’t gotten it ready yet. And so we’re just kind of templating it out for them. And it’s ready when they want to start doing the work to actually write everything. Okay, I just had to break that up.
Abby Herman 18:35
That’s kind of what I do so. So what if someone so we’re at the very beginning of 2022. And people are kind of doing a little bit of website overhauled or rebranding or they are just trying to clean things up a bit. And you gave some really good ideas for how to do that. And to simplify things. If someone were to sit down in front of their website today and decide that they’re going to make some updates to their website to clean it up. They’re not ready for a total overhaul yet, what are some things that a business owner can do right now, on the road,
Unknown Speaker 19:13
I would say start by looking at the headlines on your pages, make sure they are up to date with what you do. They’re really compelling. They’ve got your keywords in them for your SEO purposes, then I would just go and look and make sure that everything’s up to date. So just do a quick scan through your website. If you have changed the way that you offer your services, or maybe you’ve changed the pricing of something just make sure that that is up to date with what you’re doing now so that people aren’t confused. I also always encourage people to go on their contact page and make sure they have their email address somewhere. Not everybody wants to fill out a contact form and especially if it’s geared towards a program or service that you offer. And so by including something like an email address, it gives them another way to quickly get in touch with you. That’s how I always get in touch with guests. For my podcast, I’m always searching for that email address somewhere on their website. So those are three really quick things you can do. And I always, the other thing I would encourage is just to test things out on your desktop and on your phone to make sure that they both look good, that nothing is missing, nothing was really out of whack. Because we are generally designing a website on a desktop screen. And we don’t think about how other people might see it on different screen sizes, different devices.
Abby Herman 20:46
Yeah, that’s one thing that I forget about a lot too. And you never know how that image is going to resize or what the text is going to look like when you know open your site on your cell phone or on a tablet. So and you actually have a freebie that walks people through the updates too. Can you share a little bit about that?
Unknown Speaker 21:07
Yeah, so it’s the five updates for higher conversions. They’re really quick things, some of them we’ve talked about here, that just you can go through your website in 15 minutes and kind of make sure that all of this is taken care of. And like I said, we’ve talked about a lot of them here. But it just gives you kind of a checklist to go through to say, Okay, I’ve got this down. And you can get that at lemon in the sea.com/five updates. And it’s the number five get updated student. Okay.
Abby Herman 21:37
All right. So one other thing I wanted to talk about that I feel like is getting more attention in the online space and something that I think a lot of people need to consider. And so I’m going to preface this with a story. Last year, I was getting ready for my Summit. And I had this was last March, February, I think I started having the conversation in January, February, I was posting about my summit in a Facebook group somewhere. And a woman Her name is Aaron Perkins reached out to me about accessibility. And she asked me, you know, what are you doing to make sure that the summit is accessible to everyone? And I was like, Well, I’m posting it online, but it makes it really accessible, right? Wrong. She and I had a conversation, I ended up hiring her. She was a speaker at the summit, I ended up hiring her to help me with accessibility. And by accessibility, I mean, you know, supporting people who are you know, so and by accessibility, I mean, you know, what about for those people who are visually impaired or hearing impaired, or, you know, have some other challenge that makes it difficult for them to access the content. And I actually discovered several other things that I should have considered, you know, as I was doing the summit, it’s like someone who had trouble processing the information at the speed that the videos were playing at, and needed needed the adjustment for to be able to slow things down and speed things up. So there’s a lot to consider, what are some things that we can do on our websites to make sure that our websites are accessible to everyone? Because I think if, I mean, I didn’t have experience with it before. And so this was all new information to me. And so I would love to share that with listeners, like how can we make our websites more accessible to others without leaving, you know, without leaving people out?
Unknown Speaker 23:37
Sure. So I will say I’m not an accessibility expert, but I do make sure that I at least hit those basics for people. And Erin is a great resource for so much of this. I follow her on Instagram, and I’ve learned a lot from her. When it comes to websites, you there’s like you mentioned, there are so many different things that accessibility covers. And it’s not just people who are visually or hearing impaired, it’s also people who have slow internet and so things won’t load for them. It’s people who might have to only watch things on their phone and not on a desktop it there’s so many different things we have to consider. But the main things that I like to look at are first fonts and just the legibility of your website. So you want to make sure that your font size is big enough for everybody to read. Many times we’re sizing things at like 12 point because that’s what we’re used to when we write our papers in school. I like to go up to at least 16 point font, even larger can be better sometimes. And just making sure you’re using things that are really clear. So a lot of us have those really scripty fonts on our website that look nice, but they’re hard to read. So You just want to go through. And you don’t have to change the whole thing, you can make a couple tweaks like increasing your font size, maybe only use the script fonts and things that aren’t super important for people to read. And make sure that when it’s on a mobile device, it’s also really legible as well. The second thing is the color contrast. So this is something that I have noticed on a lot of even designer websites is we like to use a white background and a light gray font, because it looks really pretty, but it’s not easy to read. And so you need your text to be pretty close to black. And if you have a background color or a background image, you want to make sure that it’s the text that you’re using is legible. I like to use a tool called Web ame. It’s web ai m. And you can actually go in and enter the hex code for your background color, enter the hex code for your font color. And it’ll tell you if it’s legible for people or not. And then it’ll kick it can give you some suggestions for maybe change it up to this color a little bit. So that is a really helpful tool. And a lot of these are, they’re quick tweaks because you’re just doing it in your style settings, you’re not having to go in everywhere. But that makes a big difference. And I had to do this on my own website. So I have a yellow button with white text. And it is hard to read. So I had to change it up. It might not look quite the way I want it to look. But it’s more important that people can actually see what that button says, Then it looks, you know exactly the way I envisioned in my head.
Abby Herman 26:52
Yes. Well, and one of the things I remember Erin saying when she and I worked together was that it’s not about like redoing everything, you don’t have to redo everything on your site, you don’t have to if you’re hosting a summit, you don’t have to redo everything, it’s about making little changes and doing a little bit in showing that you’re putting forth an effort. And if someone needs additional support or something isn’t accessible for them, it’s not a reflection on you being a bad person, it’s you know, you can make the change still, you know, you can see that person. So, you know, it’s not, it doesn’t have to be perfect, you know, make an effort, and then continue to make an effort moving forward.
Unknown Speaker 27:41
Yes, absolutely. And good user experience good. Accessibility is good for your SEO too. Google is taking that into account now. So they are looking at things like can people read your website, they’re looking at as your page loads, how quickly does it load, do things jump around as it loads. And so if you are thinking about this, as you’re creating your website, or as you’re adding new pages, as you’re adding new blog posts, it’s really beneficial for you as a business owner, it’s beneficial for the people are coming to your website. And it also helps with people searching for you on things like Google.
Abby Herman 28:23
Mm hmm. Yes, yes. So as we wrap up, if listeners, were only to take two actionable things away from today’s episode, which there were a lot, but if they were to take away two actual things, what do you hope they will do with the information that they learned today?
Unknown Speaker 28:42
I think the first thing is to just take a quick run through your website and make sure that nothing is broken or looks really bad. You know, you don’t have to change everything all at once. Just hit those major points. So that, you know, when somebody comes to your website, you can feel confident that they’re getting the information that they need and that it doesn’t, you know, nothing’s broken. The second thing I would say is to really just figure out what works for you. So if you want to, you know, ditch some of the stuff that everybody says to do, then you can go ahead and do that and just feel the freedom to do that and concentrate on the things that actually get people to take action and benefit your business.
Abby Herman 29:33
I am 100% on board with that. With, you know, do what works for you. You don’t have to have all of the bells and whistles and if you want the bells and whistles then add to them. And yeah, you have to do just what works for you and don’t let other people tell you that you have to have one thing or another. So yes, thank you for that. Thank you Samantha, thank you so much for being here today. I appreciate it. Can you share with listeners where they can find you online?
Unknown Speaker 30:08
Sure, I am pretty easy. It’s lemon in the sea calm is my website, and I’m at lemon in the sea on Instagram and Facebook. And usually I’m hanging out on Instagram sharing about websites and my adventures with my kid.
Abby Herman 30:23
Awesome. Thank you so much.
Samantha Mabe 30:26
Thanks for having me.
Abby Herman 30:29
So I hope you took away from this conversation that it really doesn’t have to be difficult to have an up to date, beautiful and functional website. And there are a few things that every business should have on their website. Take some time to do a little refresh in this new year. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. You can tag me add to the content experiment and tag Samantha at lemon and the see. The more you share the more we can get the podcast into the hands and earbuds of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time. Take care
Transcribed by https://otter.ai