Why Hire A Squarespace Designer?

In my opinion, Squarespace is the best platform out there. It's incredibly easy for my clients to use. Making simple text and image edits is easy, for just about any generation of people. It's like editing a simple Word Document. 

Not every business needs to hire a Squarespace Designer. If you're just getting started out, and you're on a super tight budget, Squarespace is a great platform to try and learn on your own, and get a really basic website together. 

But once your business starts to get established, you're making some income, and paying your bills, a professional website design is one of the most crucial ways to stand apart from your competition, and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.

In 2018, almost all businesses need a website in order to appear professional, credible and reliable. Even if you've been in business for 20 or 30 years, and you've been using a basic website from the 90s or 2000s just to get by, in the near era of business, your website is the cornerstone of your marketing plan.

Word of mouth is great, and repeat customers is awesome for businesses to maintain their business income. But if you want to grow and thrive your business, a properly designed professional website is the very first step in growing your business in 2018. 

So while start-ups or low-income businesses probably shouldn't spend the money on a custom design website, a business that is pulling in over $100,000 in revenue per year or more will find a lot more value in hiring a professional Squarespace website designer. 

Here are the main pros to hiring a Squarespace specialist: 

  1. Expert Knowledge: A Squarespace web designer will have an extremely in-depth knowledge of all the tools available for a business
  2. Marketing Techniques: A good website designer will understand how to use a website as a marketing tool that will bring in more leads through email address submissions and contact form submissions
  3. SEO Integration: A good Squarespace designer will understand how to properly set up SEO on a blog or other pages of your website in order to drive more SEO traffic from Google searches
  4. Page Optimization: A Squarespace specialist will know how to use Google Analytics and other tools to learn the best page layout and optimization of your website to make it easy and productive for your visitors to use
  5. Ongoing Marketing: A Squarespace web designer will understand how to use outside marketing tools like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Social Media and SEO to bring more people to your website.
  6. Training: A good Squarespace specialist will teach you and your team how to effectively use your website to help you grow your business online.
  7. Aesthetics: Above all, a good website designer will understand minimalist & modern design techniques to make a beautiful website that will impress your visitors and give your business validity.

With the right website design & marketing expert, your website will become your best marketing tool. A beautiful website helps you establish your business as a leader in your industry.

Talk to our design team today about growing your website through a beautiful website design

Here's Why Simplifying Your Website Home Page Is Important

Minimalist websites don't just look good and trendy. They function well for business. That's because a simple home page design clearly communicates your business message, tells visitors what action to take on your website. A simple website also loads faster and is preferable by Google for indexing in their Search results for SEO.  

Aside from aesthetics, here are 3 reasons why a simple home page for your website is important for your business.


1 | Faster Loading Time

In 2018, one of the most important things Google will be looking at is page loading, especially on mobile. Google requires that websites should load within 3 seconds or less on mobile in order to be ranked higher in Google Searches. According to their data, over 50% of website visitors will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That's because people think their time is wasted on a slow website, when they can likely just go to another website that might load faster and be more worth their time. The more complicated your home page is, with lots of photos scrolling and moving all over the place, the more likely people will leave your site. It doesn't matter how cool the website looks. It just matters that it loads quickly. That's why a minimalist home page for your website is so important. 


2 | Most people wont read all of the text, anyways

People only spend about 5-10 seconds on the first page of a website they visit for the very first time. So if your home page is not super clear, super simple, easy to read, and easy to understand, then they will leave and move on to your competitor's website.

There are only 3 things your website's home page should address clearly:

a) What is your website about? This should be in less than 5 words. Not a paragraph.
b) How does your website solve a problem I have? Visitors have problems they are trying to solve. If they don't think your website addresses their needs, then they will leave.
c) How do I take action? Do visitors need to book a call? Do they need to download a PDF? Fill out a contact form? The call to action is super important. If you don't make it clear what to do on your site, then people will leave out of confusion.

Everything else on your home page should be about experience, value and design. So a beautiful photo helps, or maybe a customer review, or information about a free, helpful PDF download. Your website is a visitor's first impression, so it must absolutely be your best position on your website.


3 | Google no longer cares about SEO on the home page

In order to make the internet a more enjoyable place to find content, Google cares more about good, quality content. Not keyword stuffing. In the 2000s, Google allowed people to keyword stuff (putting tons and tons of text) on their home page. Today, Google ranks almost no pages on your home page. Instead, they want you to focus on getting your marketing message across, with more valuable text and images in other pages. So your home page should focus clearly on your website's purpose, and not on cluttering keywords. Make your website beautiful, interesting and helpful. That is what helps get your website ranked high in 2018. 


What To Tell Your Photographer When Taking Photos For Your Business Website & How To Hire The Right One

This is a common question from my clients, and it's an important one. How do I get the right kinds of photos for my website? What should I tell my photographer?

First off, here are 3 things to consider when hiring a photographer:

Don't expect to pay less than $800 USD for a good quality photographer.

Anything less than that is probably going to be an amateur or un-professional photographer. I've discovered this first-hand when hiring third-party photographers for my clients. It doesn't matter if you are in Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle or Dallas. Don't plan on spending less than $800 USD. Otherwise, you'll end up with photographs that you'll be disappointed with. On the other hand, paying over $2000 USD for a single one-day photoshoot also seems to be where there is no extra value-added for a photographer. A $2000 USD photography is going to be very high quality and professional. And, from my experience, a $3000 USD photographer isn't going to be much different unless there is a stylistic preference you have between the two. 

Photographers tend to be booked out 2 weeks in advance, and have a 2 week turnaround.

Meaning, the whole process will take roughly 1 month between hiring & getting the actual photos. A hard-working photographer will get this turn-around to be much shorter. I've done hundreds of photoshoots for clients in the past, and it can take me less than 1day to get the photos in my clients' hands. But some Photographers want to delete all the bad photos shoot, and find the top 10 images to present to you. A good photographer will submit to you 3-5 images as a sneak-peak so you're not anxiously waiting to see the final results.

The Photographer should be pro-active about choosing a location or background for your photoshoot.

However, you should also give the photographer a few example of the style you want to go for ahead of time so they know exactly what to shoot, and then can make some recommendations in terms of location or backdrops, or at least ask you some questions about the process at least a couple weeks before the shoot actually occurs. 


Here is what to tell your photographer about getting good photos for your website

I am always amazed at how few photographers actually know how to take good photos for a website. After all, websites are the most powerful and important marketing tools a business uses these days. But most photographers are stuck in the mindset of treating these pieces as a final piece of art, rather than a raw photograph that will later be used for brochures, websites or social medial. 

So here are 3 things you need to tell your Photographer when doing a photoshoot for your business website:

Get 50% Horizontal and 50% Vertical images

Websites, brochures and social media photos are mostly horizontal or Square in shape. Except, on mobile devices, Pinterest images, or tri-fold brochures, they need to be vertical. Therefore, let your Photographer know that you need both horizontal and vertical orientations of shoots, as much as possible. I am amazed at how many photographers only do Horizontal or only do Vertical when shooting. You need both. So be firm about letting your photographer know this. 

Lots and lots of white or blank space

This is another thing that bugs me about Photographers. Obviously, text is going to be overlayed over these images. Only on an Art website is the image a stand-alone. Virtually all websites & brochures overlay text on top of images. So make sure you ask your Photographers to allow for as much white space, or simple background, or simple compositions as possible so that these images actually look good on a website. Show your Photographer examples of ones you like so they understand. Most Photographers get this wrong. 

Don't have then touch up and crop the images afterwards

Another thing some Photographers do is crop, touch-up or alter images and often spend weeks doing this. The best thing to do is ask them to send you the Raw, un-touched images first, in high resolution, then narrow them down to your final selections. Photographers have this tendency of waiting as long as possible to get you the final images, or to play around with them in Photoshop for too long. Speed up the process and ask for the raw, un-edited, un-cropped, un-filtered photos they took from the photo session. They'll need to be altered for website use anyway, so that we can figure out the right layout & orientation of these photos for your website. 

How To Create Effective SEO Content For Your Architecture, Interior Design, Photography or Art Website

I get a lot of client who say something like, "My friend who used to do SEO 10 years ago told me I have to do this and that to get good SEO rankings." 

But the way SEO works today has changed dramatically, even in the last 1 or 2 years. Google prioritizes websites that provide good, helpful and powerful content, like blogging or PDF downloads. They prioritize websites that are mobile responsive, have a clean simple design, and websites that do not try to cram a bunch of keywords, text and tons of gimmicky tricks to try and get their sites to rank high. 

What has worked in the past no longer works today. In 2018, here are the things you should be doing to create better SEO value for your website if you are an architect, interior designer, photographer, artist or custom home builder.



All of the text & images on your website should be extremely helpful, interesting, powerful, useful and compelling

Don't make a boring website. Make something that people will want to look at, that is beautiful, that they will understand what it is all about, and that they'll want to take a clear action once they get onto your website. Websites which are boring are places that people leave and forget about. Google ranks websites higher if they have interesting content that adds value to peoples' lives.



Blog on a regular basis about all of the incredible knowledge you have - Give good information away for free

Google loves it when you create valuable, helpful and expert advice to the public for free on very specific topics. As an expert in your industry, you are already equipped with the right knowledge about how to plan for your next custom home build, or most popular venues for wedding photography in your area, or information on the highest-quality furniture lines for modernist interior design & decor. Create content where people will say, "Wow, this was extremely helpful" after reading your blog posts.



Use a simple platform like Squarespace that makes it easy to blog or update your content

Not only is Squarespace the easiest platform to blog and update content on your own, it's automatically mobile responsive, which Google Search loves to see. Get into the habit of updating your website and posting new blog content every week to keep your site up-to-date. When you use a good, easy-to-use platform like Squarespace, you get to spend more time on marketing and building your business through SEO. When you use a complicated platform like WordPress to promote your small business, your time will instead by wasted on trying to figure out how to even blog, or worrying whether or not your website is even working at all.



Make sure your website is SSL or HTTPS secure

If your website is in Squarespace, this is an easy one because all you have to do is flip a switch and your website is secure. If your website is in WordPress, get ready for a nightmare. You'll likely have to spend hundreds to have a web developer make your website secure with an SSL certificate.


There is a lot more to SEO that just these 4 items. But SEO is much more simple than it used to be. Today, focus on building a beautiful & helpful website, and over time the natural views from Google Search will show up. SEO is about building a helpful online business, not on sneaky tricks or obscure techonologies.