A big commitment
Imagine having to pick out one outfit to wear for at least the next year. No matter where you go, out to dinner, to the laundromat, a rock concert, or your best friend’s wedding, you have just one look. You can spice it up a little with accessories, but when push comes to shove, it’s pretty much just the one get-up.
To complicate things, unless you’re loaded or have enough free time to learn how to design your own clothes, you can’t just buy a bunch of things, wear them around to see how they feel for a few days and then return the ones that you don’t like. You pretty much have to pick one and hope to sweet whatever and whomever you pray to that it fits right. You’re going to be wearing it everyday for a good long time.
Make a statement
That’s pretty much what designing my website felt like. As a solopreneur, I knew that my site had to invite people into my world. It had to feel like me. It had to radiate the spirit and energy of who I am and what I do to people that have never met me. I could totally feel what my site, Deeper Ground, feels like, but I couldn’t see it visually. So, I decided to hire someone to help me translate that scrumptious feeling into something tangible.
And it worked! I love my site. Actually I more than love it. If I was a horse and it was a salt lick, I’d be in heaven. But if I hadn’t done a lot of legwork to prepare, it could have been a nightmare and a major waste of money!
My stellar friends at The Salt Design Project and I worked together in a really creative way that helped us hit the ball way out of the park. I’m thrilled that I get to pass these tools along to you…
8 Kickin’ tricks of the trade
1. Choose wisely
If you’re going to use a designer, pick someone you click with + whose taste you admire. This is a process so you’ve got to feel good with them. Notice how you feel in their presence, in their world. Notice how you feel when you’re surrounded by the things they love. Trust your gut. If you don’t get a yum, find someone else!
2. Dream wildly
Create a Pinterest board and let your imagination to run wild. Don’t limit yourself here. Let yourself go in a million directions and add anything that evokes the feeling or the idea of your business. Invite your designer to add images too. This tool is ridiculously helpful and awesome because you can collect as many things as you want without paying a single dollar! Genius.
3. Whittle it down
What colors, patterns, are you drawn to again and again? What feeling tone are you trying to convey? What is the main message and what images carry that message? Get down to the essence of what your site is about and make another Pinterest board with this more streamlined collection of images, fonts, and textures.
4. Create a soundtrack
Making a soundtrack for you and/or your designer to listen to while you work on your site is super helpful. It brings the vibe of your business to life and helps them get what you’re going for. I found that using music that communicated the essence of my business worked way better than music that I just really dig listening to.
5. Tell a story
Write an adventure story for your designer that takes them into the place you’ve been imagining. Describe what it looks like, smells like, and feels like being there. Doing this was the big breakthrough for me. It totally enabled my designer to get out of his own world, out of his aesthetic habits and into my world and the
world my business inhabits. Before this I would say things like it needs to feel more feminine and he would respond by making things more manicured, but what I wanted was things to be messier, more raw and primitive feeling. Words mean different things to different people so take them where you want them to be, or they don’t know how to get there. If you’re designing your site yourself, this will help you get really clear on your vision.
6. Get feedback
People who know you (and have good taste) will be able to put things into words that you can’t. Lot’s of times something won’t resonate with you but you can’t put your finger on what it is. Then someone savvy in your inner circle will say, “You don’t feel like that. That’s gray and you’re not gray, you’re pink and purple and bursting with energy.” If what they say resonates with you go with it and pass that along to your designer.
7. Sleep on it
Best trick ever. Your subconscious will dissect the whole thing while you’re sleeping and you’ll wake up a genius. Well, at least you’ll see things you didn’t the night before and will probably have a better idea of the direction things need to be moving in.
8. Hire a coach
Get a professional to look over your site and tell you what’s working and what’s missing. It’ll save you weeks or months or years of trial and error!
Remember, since your virtual get-up is one of the main ways the outside world comes into contact with your business, it’s a big deal to get it right. Updating copy, refining a few functions, and adding a new plugin is like throwing on some earrings and a nice shawl with the little black dress you’ve been wearing all day (or a snazzy fedora with that swanky suit).
A major site re-design is another story!
I know you want to be dazzling and comfortable in all terrain, so tell me… does your website fit you right? And if not, what footwork are you going to do before you start the re-design?