Episode 7 // Your Website is Your Most Valuable Employee

February 17, 2015

In today’s episode of Being Boss Kathleen asks Emily (website expert extraordinaire) all things web and how creative entrepreneurs can make little (and big) shifts in their site to attract more dream clients and get more business.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"Your website is your showroom. It should be clear and concise."
- Emily Thompson

Discussed in this Episode

  • How creative entrepreneurs can use their website to its fullest potential (and what lots of creatives aren’t doing that is hurting their business)
  • How your website translates and delivers your brand to attract dream clients
  • We answer the age old question of whether or not you should be blogging
  • How to evolve your website as you change and settle into your business
  • The difference between a website designer and a website developer
  • How to use data, analytics, and metrics to make your online presence better
  • Make your website work for you – almost like another employee or virtual assistant
  • Why search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t that hard and how you can use it to your advantage
  • Identifying your website’s core purpose
  • How your customers are moving around your website and how it affects your content strategy
  • Less is more and why you should cut your content in half (or more!)
  • Whether or not you should include your prices on your website


More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:04
Get your business together, get yourself into what you do, and see it through.

Emily Thompson 0:10
Because being boss is hard, winning work and life is messy. Making a dream job of your own isn't easy. But getting paid for it, becoming known for it. And finding purpose in it is so doable. If you do the work,

being boss, a podcast for creative entrepreneurs, from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon, welcome to Episode Seven. Your website is your most valuable employee.

Kathleen Shannon 0:40
So I was recently asked by one of my ecourse students, if having a blog or even a website is necessary for creative entrepreneurs. And I think that most of us can agree Yes, that having an online space is really important whenever it comes to having a successful business this day and age. But at the same time, I think that a lot of us maybe aren't using our sites to their full advantage, or we're confused around what's supposed to be on our websites, whenever it comes to growing our creative businesses. So today, Emily, and I want to talk to you about why your website is your most valuable asset, and how sometimes it can even act as your most valuable employee and what you can do to leverage your online space. Now Emily is our well at least my go to web guru and expert. That is what I Emily.

Emily Thompson 1:41
Yeah, websites are what are sort of a weird, disgusting passion of mine. And one of those like website trolls, like I have folders of bookmarks that are just like really cool websites or really bad websites. I'm totally a website, junkie.

Kathleen Shannon 1:59
website junkie. Yes, I really want to like tap your brain, you know, whenever people are like, Hey, can I buy you a cup of coffee and tap your brain? And you're like, No,

Emily Thompson 2:09
I don't drink

Kathleen Shannon 2:10
to pay. You have to pay for that. And I don't drink coffee. Buy me a drink.

Unknown Speaker 2:15
Yes, buy me a cocktail, and then we'll talk.

Kathleen Shannon 2:18
But you know, you get asked a lot like, Hey, can I tap your brain? And you're usually saying no, because people pay you to tap your brain. But our podcast listeners today are going to get it for free.

Emily Thompson 2:29
You do you get free Emily brain today only? So

Kathleen Shannon 2:32
let's get in there. And what have you seen Emily? Like? What are some limiting ways that creative entrepreneurs have been using their websites? Like what is lacking? Everything is lacking?

Emily Thompson 2:45
No, that's that's super, that's not even the case.

Unknown Speaker 2:47

Emily Thompson 2:48
what is lacking? I think, for me, being boss, in general, is about is about using what you have to its fullest potential. And a lot of cases that's, you know, really rocking out something free like Twitter, I think I think being bald sort of goes along those lines in every aspect. Whenever you're running an online business, or whenever you're running a business, I think your brand definitely has to be like, front and center. And that's where you have to put in a lot of attention. But whenever you're running an online business, and most of us are, you have to put just as much tension attention into your website. And I think what's lacking and most in most creatives businesses, is that sort of level of attention on something as important as your website. Your website is everything.

Kathleen Shannon 3:41
What are some examples of how people are not paying attention to their website. And so like maybe one that I can think of is not updating your about page every so often, or maybe not updating your profile picture. And it's from five years ago, like what are some other ways that people are not paying attention to their website.

Emily Thompson 4:00
For me, one of the biggest things is making it super easy for people to contact you. Locally, I ran across this website of a creative in town and I wanted to invite her to our bizon booze, which is the thing that we do at the studio, and I found her website, and there was no contact information. There was no contact form. There was no contact information and no links to social media, like I couldn't do anything except order, which is cool. And talk about getting super narrow with the purpose of your website. But I also could not simply contact her so having relevant up today and very clear ways for people to contact you is really important. I hate seeing sites that are just information buckets, or people just fill them with words. And in a lot of ways that's totally just a mindset shift where you have to think of this site not as like this personal like Online diary or like vege space where you just go in and like put out every bit of information that you can think about in terms of your brand. It's really about curating content. So that your purpose is really clear. And it makes it really easy for people to buy you.

Kathleen Shannon 5:18
So I think what I'm hearing you say is that a lot of people have been using websites as a place to dump anything and everything about their business. So it's kind of like the junk drawer. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 5:27
yes. Whereas a struct drawer,

Kathleen Shannon 5:30
but we need to think of it more as, like, if you're writing a book, like if you're carefully editing that book, and really thinking about maybe a website, almost I know that this is so cheesy to say, like your brand, is your story, the thinking of your website as a story that you navigate. And where do people What do people see first?

Emily Thompson 5:51
Yeah, well, and third, you know, how

Kathleen Shannon 5:54
do you take them on a journey through your website.

Emily Thompson 5:56
And that's exactly what it should be, I think, a really, really great website. I mean, I think brand yes tells your story. But your website is your showroom, like your website is where you show people your brand. It's where you can be where you should be very clear and concise. And doing so can help you attract your dream customer, and answers questions for them. Hopefully, if, if it's unclear about what it is that you do, immediately, they can find just the right information on your website, I can call them to do exactly what it is that you want them to do. So if you want them to buy you, or if they want, if you want them to contact you like your website, you can make them travel from homepage to about page to products to hire me, you can you can do those things, you just have to be super concise with what you want your website to accomplish.

Kathleen Shannon 6:55
I had to really shift my thinking around our website. One of those is that okay, so talking about brand, one of the things that we always tell our branding clients is that your brand is the outer layer of who you are and what you have to offer, and all of your content. And so your brand is like a clue for people to see if they want to go deeper or not your brand should attract the people that you want to attract and repel the people that you don't want to work with. And so I think that a website is a great place to think about that. Like this is just the outer layer. So again, it's the showroom. If you want to take people to the backroom and show them everything you've got. That doesn't have to be on your website. Yeah, yeah, that's

Emily Thompson 7:44
the utility calls that we keep that door closed. But But yeah, your your website, your website is sort of a it's a translation of your brand. It's it's taking branding that you have. And that's that's going to be you know, design, just general visuals and messaging, and you translate that onto a website. And you should be just as concise and clear on your website as a well designed brand platform would be.

Kathleen Shannon 8:14
So it's really like a delivery mechanism for your brand.

Emily Thompson 8:17
That's exactly what it is. That that is that's what it is.

Kathleen Shannon 8:21
Okay, I have another question. And I get this all the time from my clients. It's kind of a two parter. A lot of people think that there's a difference between a blog and a website. Yeah, and sorry, that wasn't really a question. Should I have a website that is separate from my blog,

Emily Thompson 8:40
I always ask my clients, if they want a blog, with a website or website with a blog, because those are two totally different things. And whenever it comes to branding, the multiple facets of you, we can probably do a whole podcast on that. And we will good because like Personally, I do have a a website with a blog, that is Emily Thompson calm. And that's where I just do a lot of personal stuff. And really sort of trying to grow my personal brand separate from my business, because I want my business to grow bigger than I am. So then we have the initial biography site, which is just our website. And it's that way, because that's how I want my brands to function. So in answering the question of should you have a blog or a website or both, and should they be separate? It just, it's about what fits for you. I don't think there's a right or wrong way to do it in the grand scheme of things. But I do think there is a right or wrong way to do it for your personal situation.

Kathleen Shannon 9:45
I'm super passionate about blogging, and I feel like it's a really great way to grow your personal brand online and to share your gifts of knowledge with your tribe. But I don't think that it's for everyone. If blogging is not for you. I think that finding another way to connect is really important, and that your website should direct people to those places. So whether that's Facebook or Twitter, or Instagram, and how you integrate those into your website is really important.

Emily Thompson 10:15
Yeah, I talk to my clients all the time, most people come to me thinking they should be blogging. And if they ever proceed that question with, I really hate to do it. But should I be blogging, or I really hate writing or I don't know what to write about, or whatever sort of negative thought comes before should I be blogging, then don't blog, blogging. Blogging is not a standard in the online world anymore. It used to be if you if you wanted to grow an online business, you had a blog. That's not how the world works anymore. And if you don't want to, or if you're gonna suck at it, or if it's not something that you have the time to put energy into it. I don't think you should have a blog I've even personally thought about. I've been blogging for 13 years. That is actually a thing. I started a blog when I was a teenager, which then it was like online journaling. And I will tell you that did you have?

Unknown Speaker 11:10
Did you have a life?

Emily Thompson 11:11
I didn't have a live journal, I had a diary land. Oh, yeah. That's, that's actually a live journal. I bet you did you I can see you being a live journal. Are

Kathleen Shannon 11:26
we What does that mean? What's a live journal?

Emily Thompson 11:28
I don't even know how to explain it. But I just, I can't imagine you being there. Like, I guess they were a little like, techie or savvy. They definitely shared a lot more, and you just want your oversharing person like over share? Yeah. Okay, so

Kathleen Shannon 11:43
another thing about, um, about a website that like I had to shift my mentality round is that it's kind of a living, breathing thing. Like it's so I come from a print background, where you design something and you print it and is done in in the world, until it's decomposing. In the ground, somewhere. A website is more fluid, it's more alive. And I think that's like, also a blessing and a curse whenever it comes to websites. Because like, really, your content is never done. No. And so like you said, it means that constant attention, but then it's also beautiful, because you can always change things.

Emily Thompson 12:24
Yeah, I have to preach this to my clients, a lot of time clients come to me and they think, all right, build me a website. And I'm done. And I say no, that is not how this works. There. I've never launched a site that was final. And there's never been a site that was ever done. It's never going to be perfect, it's ever going to be exactly you and the Well, that's a lie, it will be exactly you if it's done well. But you will change, you will constantly change your website. And it's constantly changed with you if it's going to stay relevant to who you are. So, sites will consistently change as they grow. And you sort of have to Nestle into it, I like to think of it as like, as moving into a new home, like, you build a house, and it's exactly what you want, but then you still have to move in and make it a home. And that takes a while. I have always found every time I design a new website for us, whether it be in the show biography or me and my personal brand. It always takes me a couple of months to kind of settle into it for it to actually feel like my site. And that's just how it works. And I think most people come and they think Alright, build me a site is gonna be perfect for me. Now we're gonna launch and it'll be done. But you have to move into it, you have to start making it your own, you have to have to test things and change things for your customers. And we'll get into a lot of that in a minute too. But a website does require constant work, even if it's just a portfolio site that you're going to throw your stuff up on and, and relatively leave alone, you have to update your portfolio, you have to make sure that your contact information is up to date. And that's for both attracting those dream customers but also search engine optimization, a dead site that isn't being consistently updated. With or without a blog blogs just make it easy. The search engines will stop indexing them as often which will make you rank lower and search engines. So no going into into any website project. The nature of websites is to be ever changing, and ever growing and to be constant work. But very good work.

Kathleen Shannon 14:35
Can you just clarify really difference? Or really quick? The difference between a website developer and a website designer?

Emily Thompson 14:44
Yeah, they're two totally different things. But you will occasionally find people who are both. So a website designer will design a website they do the graphic work to lay out a website. a web developer will take the graphic website And make it work. So they'll write the code behind it so that your search box isn't just a box. But it's a box that you can click on and type in and hit Search and pull something up. But a lot of people these days are finding that to be good at one, you have to also at least know how to do the other. And this is something that I do in the studio, you know, I'm training up all of my folks to start taking over all of our design projects. And I'm making everyone learn both design and development, even though one of them came with design background, and one of them came with only development. I sincerely believe that the best people when it comes to website design and development can do both. Not that they do, there may be people who only develop, but at least they know enough about design to be a good developer. So that's really the difference. And then you will find people who simply do both I do both I do web design and development. And knowing how to do both. So completely, I'm pretty sure makes me really great at it.

Kathleen Shannon 16:06
I agree. Okay, I want to talk about data and analytics, because this is something that kind of freaks me out a little bit. And I recently well, within the last year, I did a blog post on my personal blog about why I don't care about analytics anymore, and why I removed it from my site. The truth is, and I got some people riled up, like some people were kind of harsh at me about it. And I bet you remember the posts,

Emily Thompson 16:33
people feel very passionately about when

Kathleen Shannon 16:38
people feel strongly about analytics. So anyway, I ditch my analytics, because I use my personal blog to like, it's like a creative outlet for me at this point. And of course, I send some people to my business site from there. But really, it's about being able to share what I want. And whenever my analytics, were telling me that a lot of my traffic was coming from a site that's made for hating on bloggers, like that just hurts my feelings and made me not want to create as much. And so I stopped looking at the analytics, and also the good side of analytics, like whenever you're getting a ton of numbers, and like really, people loving what you're putting out there, that can be stressful to you. And there can be a lot of pressure attached to that anyway, so I just wanted to ditch analytics, and really get back to telling my personal story on my personal blog that said, Emily, you are our web guru for braid creative. And I'm pretty sure that you're looking at our analytics, to help us understand how to transform how we're using our website, to grow our business. And so obviously, analytics are important. But can you tell us a little bit more about why analytics are important and how we can use them to grow our creative businesses?

Emily Thompson 17:58
Definitely, I think analytics are a double edged sword on is it actually even the right metaphor, maybe not. On one end, I want to say they're really great. And they're really great for helping you set goals and have a very functional website. But that only works if you are tracking the right data. So for your case, for example, you know, you don't sell ads on your website, you don't do like tons of huge sponsorships. Like how many people coming on your website doesn't actually mean much for you, except except generally how popular your website is, but I'm sure you probably have other metrics to to help you figure out the level of whatever it is that you want to know, for your site. It doesn't have to be traffic based. And traffic is what most people think about whenever they think of analytics. So let's take a second to talk about analytics for or talk about traffic first. Because I think traffic is probably one of the worst metrics for Yes, for tracking how great and how great your site is, or how great your business is. Because it

Kathleen Shannon 19:10
really been so traffic is like you've had 1000 people visit your page today or you've had 60,000 page views. Is that yes considered track.

Emily Thompson 19:17
Yeah. Okay. I think in terms of those, it can be one of the worst because it simply is the default. And by being the default, most people think that's the most important and it's not. There are way more important analytics out there than just traffic.

Kathleen Shannon 19:34
So like what are some important analysts so

Emily Thompson 19:37
one of the things that I really love to watch with my own site with your site and my client sites, like as we're working on things, is where's the traffic coming from? Which is something that you talked about and you know, having it come from a site that's really crappy, a hater hater site. Oh my god, it's just because you're so fantastic. So there's the negative ones like that. But there's they can also be really, really great, especially whenever you're trying to figure out your social media strategy. So one of the things that we do a lot of on our site, and one of the reasons why we recently stopped using Facebook so much, is because we saw that the amount of traffic that we were getting from Facebook pretty much proved that waste book was one of the wasted platform for us, we were putting energy into a platform that wasn't getting any traffic. So it what analytics also showed us was that Pinterest was huge for us. And that was the place that we weren't really even paying much attention.

Kathleen Shannon 20:42
So I bet that shifted the way that you create content. So you're thinking we need to create pinnable graphics, maybe put in a pin this button on all of our images that pops up. Yes. So that people are pinning more. Yes, that and then maybe getting more active on Pinterest like now? Are you going into Pinterest and pinning stuff of your own or like interacting with people who are pinning your thing?

Emily Thompson 21:06
Yeah, we interest we're working on developing a whole strategy that again, because we because we use analytics to know that Facebook was the waste of time, we were able to take to save that time and put it into Pinterest. So yeah, we've added like on my blog, we've added like the pin hover thing, I go in daily, even for 15 minutes and just pin stuff like having a very active Pinterest account. And, and yet, we're working on creating, creating more pinnable graphics. And that is simply that's huge. That's the way you're supposed to use analytics for your site, is to use it to actually affect the way you run your business. Another way that I do this, it's one of my favorite ways to do this is an A B testing of web forms. So what is that? I know, right? That sounds really scary. So is the idea of having two or more forms that do the exact same thing. The one I use most is newsletter, subscribe forums, and I always put them on multiple places of a website. And then I go in and I track like which ones are being the most effective? Which one are people using most? Is it based on where it is? Or is it based on like the copy? That's that's around it? So is it just a subscribe now? Or does it say subscribe to get something amazing for free. So that's, that's one of the best ways, I think, to use analytics is to decipher exactly how it is that people are using your site, and then maximize that to benefit you as much as you can. So whether that's adding in an opt in, or putting the opt in on all your forms, or moving your newsletters describe form to the very top of your website. Or maybe it's also having one at the footer of your website. using that to dictate how your website grows and changes is the best way to use analytics.

Kathleen Shannon 23:04
I love looking at for braid creative, our newsletter analytics because I can send out a newsletter and see how many people have opened it. And I remember I called you the other day Emily and I was like only 50% of the people getting my newsletter or opening it and you really actually that's pretty good.

Emily Thompson 23:21
5050 is really, really great. I think, I think 40 is usually pretty average. So anything over 40 is great. I will Okay, perfect example. I recently use those analytics right there to to completely clean out my email list. So my open rate had gotten really low, like read like 3020 some days, and and they made me realize like I just have an unhealthy list and how do you fix an unhealthy list? You clean it out. So I sent a series of emails to my entire list. And I told them I was like, you know, it's time for email, like list cleanup. If you want to continue receiving our email, click through and re subscribe. And probably 50% easily 50% did so. And now my open rates are back up to like 770 to 80% Oh, wow. So now I can go back to growing my list and keeping the open rate really great so that I'm having really great impact with my newsletters that I send out.

Kathleen Shannon 24:28
We'll have to do an entire podcast on email strategy like newsletters because I am feeling like that's where it's at. And I love I think Alexandra Franzen has a really great email list or you know, emails that she sends out. And one of the things that she regularly does is she invites people to unsubscribe, and like wow, how vulnerable and scary is that? But I think it's kept me a loyal fan. So I'll be sure to include her in the show notes and we'll be sure to Another episode later about growing your newsletter, or, you know, effectively using an email list to grow your business. Yeah. And one thing I like seeing is even and I don't do this often, but I can see people opening an email and they'll open it like eight times.

Emily Thompson 25:17
I love that isn't the best feeling. Like, wait,

Unknown Speaker 25:21
what are you doing? Like

Kathleen Shannon 25:22
opening? It's a nice, I wonder if it's a glitch like, what are you doing opening this email eight times. But like analytics, like it's really fun to see that 60,000 people read this email or whatever. But if you can see at one person is opening multiple times that one person matters way more than 60,000 people whenever it comes to getting, like capturing a cell even. And so I might even look at that person, see if they have a website, go to their website, see what they do maybe even reach out to them on Twitter and not in like a creepy way. But just like, Hey, I see that you're looking at my stuff. Maybe not mentioning that. I see you're opening my email eight times. But no, I

Emily Thompson 26:07
do the exact same thing too. And I'll tell you just sort of behind the scenes stuff. That is a glitch. But it's a glitch because they forwarded it to someone. Isn't that even better to know? Yeah. So So what's happening is that person opened it, and then they forward it to someone and that person opened it. And it did it created a weird little glitch where you get like, several

Kathleen Shannon 26:29
opens. So you know what that makes me think is that I need to now update my newsletters to say yes, for this to a friend. And if you're reading this as a forward, you can subscribe to my newsletter here, because I just assume that everyone who's getting my email is already a subscriber to my email list. But that might not always be the key. Yes,

Emily Thompson 26:49
that is how you use analytics to make your business better.

Unknown Speaker 26:52
I love it.

Unknown Speaker 26:53
Yeah. But

Kathleen Shannon 26:54
y'all are seeing this in action. These are like the kind of dorky conversations Emily and

Emily Thompson 26:58
I, they are we discuss analytics and data and how to make make business better. That's exactly what it is. And that's something that I've even, it's actually on my to do list for Corey, I think for next week, because I have found that a lot of people are forwarding my emails. And that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm going to add a little bit of text at the bottom that says, you know, did you get this forwarded and subscribe here. Or what it'll sound better than that. But that's exactly what it does. That's how you use analytics and is not about just tracking to see how many people are visiting. It's about using analytics to make your website or your email marketing list or whatever. It's about using analytics to actively make your online presence better.

Kathleen Shannon 27:43
Okay, I love it. Let's talk about more ways that you can make your site work for you. Like just good. Some ideas, like what are some other ways that like so Okay, so this is another big shift in thinking whenever braid. Whenever we redid Our website is I remember coming to you, Emily. And I was like, I want my website to feel like another full time employee. Like I want it to be able to weed out bad inquiries from the get go. I want people to be able to contact us more efficiently. I want to funnel those contacts that I'm not getting all the emails, so they're going to the right people who can respond to them in a timely manner. I want and so a lot of that is positioning and branding and the stuff that braid we're best at. But I also wanted to tap you and be like, what are some things I can do to make my website super efficient? And almost like this fifth employee? Yeah,

Emily Thompson 28:36
well, and that's it's not hard. Like if you can find a developer that has some chops, then those sorts of things are hard. But it's also about communicating those things, because a lot of things like that are possible. But also a lot also aren't which is just important of communication. So what we did for for brain site is we created a contact form, where people got to choose like what they were emailing about. And we had each of those emails go to a different person, depending on what they were asking about. So you know, if someone was contacting you guys about a new project, and that went to Liz so that Liz could go and like contact them with all relevant information. If it's a customer service issue, where they're having problems accessing their ecourse they submit that form the exact same form, but they tell us that it's you know, technical issues with the ecourse and that goes straight to me. So for you, and and Tara, the owners of of your business, you don't have to worry about this communications, your your website is literally acting like a fifth employee that sends emails where they need to go.

Kathleen Shannon 29:48
So it's almost like having a virtual assistant that I'm not having to pay for Yeah, no, no, I'm here and I also want to say that if you are a solopreneur another idea for this is if you have a contact form like this, maybe have multiple emails. And so when could be scheduling at whatever your business ain't name is an info or inquiry requests, you know, you could you could bust out your emails in a way that it sorts and organizes it for you so that if you're not wanting to answer any inquiry emails until the end of the day, you're not being bogged down by your inbox.

Emily Thompson 30:24
Yeah, using using multiple email accounts is a great way, I think to sort of maximize efficiency, whenever like running an online presence like this, I think. I think that dividing things up like that, as long as you don't get too nuts, always like get a little weird when a client wants like 20 different emails for just one person, like you need to like bundle that up a little bit. But I think that using separate email accounts does allow for you to have your site assist you and sort of making your day to day job just a little bit easier.

Kathleen Shannon 30:56
One of the things that I asked you about when it came to overhauling our website was SEO, which is search engine optimization. And I feel like that phrase used to be this scary thing. And now it's just par for the course, like there used to be social media experts. And now it's like, if you don't know how to Twitter,

Emily Thompson 31:16
I probably need to I need to find something to do with your life,

Kathleen Shannon 31:19
find something else to do. And I think that SEO is the same way. And I really love the way that you debunked it or made it easy for me, you really just use the words that you use to attract people. And again, using analytics. So seeing what people were searching to find braid creative, like seeing that they were actually typing in Kathleen, they were using my name. And so I might even write Kathleen here in some of my blog posts. And using the words that attract my tribe, like creative entrepreneur, or creative coaching, so say a little bit more about search engine optimization, and how people can really use it to their advantage without having to buy an SEO expert. Yeah, I mean, to tell them how to do SEO experts,

Emily Thompson 32:04
they're smart people. And I am by no means an SEO expert. But I've always found that there's a very fine line between the really good ones and the really skeezy ones who are just going to take your money. And that may be unfair. And I apologize to any SEO experts out there who resent me for that. But in my experience, that's what it's been so. But if you can find a good one and SEO, having very great professional SEO is something that you that's really important for you and your business model, then go for it. Otherwise bootstrap it, because it's possible. I really like for my clients to start out with just organic search engine optimization, which is exactly what you talked about. And simply using the your brand words in your content, like use them naturally. Don't make it feel weird. Don't like start sentences with like, graphic designer, web designer. Hi, guys, how are you doing? Like, that's not not what you need to do, but use it organically. Because Google even has gotten a little better at recognizing that sort of organic SEO stuff. So be very organic with it, and then just do some basic things. If we if people were to hire us, we do. We do a little coaching on how to like put these words into your content. We code sites very cleanly. And this is where this is where I can start getting really nerdy. But you know, we don't do premade templates, we start every project from scratch. And we hand code everything so that the coding is very clean. Because if your coding is junky, which happens a lot with pre made templates, and happens a lot with big, like overused platform, excuse me platforms. If you don't have your website well developed, then it could sort of cut your SEO off at the knees, which which is why investing in someone who's going to develop it smartly is really important too. And then the last level of that is doing a little bit of search engine optimization. Most platforms these days, will allow you to add like keywords and some metadata to blog posts and pages, do a little research and sort of learn how to do the basics for your ongoing content updates. It's not hard, it's just keywords and it's just like using smile. Another question

Kathleen Shannon 34:24
is linking to your own content, like within a blog post, for example, like linking back to other blog posts. Is that good for SEO? Oh,

Emily Thompson 34:34
honestly, I don't even know all right, Corey for that.

Kathleen Shannon 34:38
Alright, if there are any SEO experts listening, maybe you can tell us a little bit on Instagram or on our Contact Us page. Maybe we'll even have you on as a guest to talk to being boss listeners about SEO.

Emily Thompson 34:52
Yeah, that'd be really great. Um, no, I mean, it definitely can't be bad. It's not bad and helping. Actually it is probably really good because all your Doing as you're telling Google, like what relates within your own site, which isn't a bad thing, I don't think it's something that you should like, put tons of energy into, that's one of those things don't over Yeah, exactly. Or don't waste 30 minutes, linking back five posts, when you could be spending 30 minutes doing something with higher impact, which is going to be going and tweeting your blog post, and really doing the marketing. And that's that, I think, is where search engine search engine optimization, gets that thin line between really great and really sort of skeezy and not great is that so many people, a lot of times will spend so much time and money on search engine optimization, when they should be spending their time and money on simply organic growth. And, you know, I like the way that you say that about, like going and tweeting

Kathleen Shannon 35:50
about your blog post. And I think that this is something that I'm not the best, because I spend all my energy writing a blog post, and then I'm fatigued. And I don't spend as much time promoting it as I could. And so even with our podcasts, you know, we have a little bit of an Instagram strategy, we Instagram it, we but it's it's really directing your user to different places and from different places to your platform. And so can you talk a little bit about that, like how someone navigates your site, how they move around through the site, like what are the most visited pages, and then using social media to get people back to your site or using your site to get people to your social media, like it kind of feels like a dance like that

Emily Thompson 36:34
it is a dance. And this is something that I've found myself specializing in a lot over the past two years as web strategy. So not just designing and developing website, which any designer and developer can do. But it's about planning a website to do exactly what you want it to do. So obviously, homepage is going to be the most popular page.

Kathleen Shannon 36:58
And so what kind of content should be on your homepage, your most important content.

Emily Thompson 37:02
And this is where you create like a hierarchy. So what I like to do is I like to start every website project with some with some website strategy. And the first part of that is simply deciding what your site's core purpose is. So what is the and I always give the sort of ultimatum question of if your site could do one thing, only one thing for you and or your business, what would that be? And the usual answers are usually sharing content or growing your community. Or if you're a business, and I would imagine that most of you are it's selling your products or services. And as a business, selling your products and services should always be your core purpose. And if it's not, you need to get out of business.

Kathleen Shannon 37:47
Over you're freaking out, because I can't decide between sharing content, or selling my serve well. And

Emily Thompson 37:52
here's where it gets really fun. So you can have like secondary purposes, obviously, your homepage isn't going to be your product, like in a Buy Now button. That's usually not how people like to buy things. So you have to think of the other things as supporting purposes. So how are you going to convince people to buy you, for you, Kathleen, in braid, it's sort of sharing your bits of knowledge. That's why you have your blog, more or less. And that's why you guys have so many parts of your website's about showing it sharing the content, because sharing your content will get people to buy you. Well, and it's like you think a lot about web strategy and how people are navigating a site. And I think a lot about content strategy and how sharing you and giving it all away for free will position you as an expert that makes people want to buy Yeah, so Okay, it's about taking that content strategy, and laying it out on a website. So for for you guys. Let's see on your homepage, you have the slider at the top, which is sort of like, here we are. And here's what we do. And then you guys have blogs, snippet, and ecourse. So you're sharing content. Because that will help people buy you like the top of your homepage is not hire us now to do your branding. Right? It's here's who we are, here's what we do. Because those are the things that actually encourage people to buy you. It's about

Kathleen Shannon 39:16
sort of all around it. In every blog post, we remind people how they can engage with us whether that's signing up for our newsletter, which is then going to remind people how they can engage with us more by buying our ecourse or hiring us. And then I mean, as well as I do believe in inbox as a sacred space. So I'm always sure to make sure that whatever I'm sending out and again, we'll do an email newsletter podcast on its own, but that it is worthy of being in someone's inbox. Anyway, um, but I remind people how to hire me all the time. And I think that a lot of creative entrepreneurs are scared of doing that because they have this fear of feeling like a used car salesman and pushing their product. But the thing is, you have to remind people how to hire you and whenever people like you for who you are, which is personal branding, which we'll talk about in another episode, and they want to support you by hiring you, and by buying you and so I just feel I feel pretty passionately about. And creative entrepreneurs being compensated for what they do. And to do that you have to remind people how to hire you,

Emily Thompson 40:21
you do and and that's that's sort of how the web strategy starts to flesh out. So once you know that getting hired is the purpose of your website, that is why you have a website, then you can be very concise about, about pulling people that way. So for you guys, it's you know, they're on the homepage, they click your blog post, they go read the blog, and then at the bottom, they're either subscribing or they're clicking through to see how to hire you. Either way, it's that simply the path that you're making them take this ultimate place of actually getting in touch and hiring you and whether that's the courses that you guys offer, or the branding packages that you guys offer. That's sort of the magic of, of web strategy. And thinking about it as this whole thing is, you can create a path from homepage, to where you actually want them to go. And you do that through very clear and concise calls to action, but also very few of them. So we just actually today, the day that we're recording this, in Detroit biography is launching their new site, or we did this morning, I guess. And Graham, thank you. I'm so excited about it. It's my favorite website. Ever. I like I really feel that strongly about this website. And the reason I do is because I feel like we've finally sort of narrowed our content down so that our web strategy is so clear and concise that it's already proven that people are already going exactly where we want them to go.

Kathleen Shannon 41:52
And so I saw in your newsletter this morning that you cut your content by 80%. I did cut my so how did that feel to like, really, I mean, because it's one thing to say, whittle down your content. And then to actually do it, highlight and delete, you know, you're highlighting and deleting that content, like how does that feel? What was How did you decide what went in what state?

Emily Thompson 42:14
It was really? Well, I say it was really hard. In theory, it was really hard. And for most people in practice, it was really hard. But I think because I'm so in it, I get it, and it wasn't a problem. So I actually did not bring any content, I don't think really from the old site to the new one. So I literally just deleted all of that. It's all gone. And I started completely over. And I think the most bit of content that we have is probably at our about page, there's like three or four paragraphs, maybe

Unknown Speaker 42:45
like it's

Emily Thompson 42:46
really, really content like

Kathleen Shannon 42:48
so my, one of my favorite, and I don't even know what to call her. One of my favorite people is Gwen Belle. And I've written a lot about her on the braid blog, and I'll include a link to her stuff. She's super edgy, though sometimes, like, she's not like she writes ebooks and does consulting. But she'll kind of burn it all down. Yeah, and then offer something completely different. Anyway, she wrote this ebook called, I think it was align your website. And one of the things that she recommended in it is to don't look at your website and just write it from start. Yes, that's exactly what I did. And I think that it is so smart, because especially after you've been in business a few years, you know, your stuff

Emily Thompson 43:32
you do and your site also, as it grows, unless you do hardcore curating and editing, it starts just you start adding content places like someone emails, it becomes the junk drawer, it because it will grow into a junk drawer. So being able to just ditch a whole site and go at it completely fresh was huge, for me was really, really huge. And I'm probably going to make all my clients do it from now on to they're going to hate it. But it really made all the difference. And so now we have a site that set up so that you really only get the information that you want. So our core purpose of our site is obviously getting hired as having people hire us to do our indie boom projects, which is how we do, it's how we work with our clients. We do branding, which we often will pull in braid to do those projects with us. And we do the website, red web strategy, web design and development, and some other things too. So the goal of this website is obviously to get hired via indie boom. And we develop the site in a way or strategize the site in a way so that all paths sort of lead to the contact page. So if you're on our site, like everything has just a little bit of content, like just enough to sort of keep you going, and then you land on the contact page and if you want to hear more and information, you submit it, and it will send you like ourselves slides, which are beefy these days, like, if you really want it, you talk to us first. And then that allows us to control that relationship. So that you know we can, you can get on our newsletter, you can hear more about us, we know that you're contacting us, which means you're probably interested. So we can sort of help you along the way, we sort of become in control of our online presence, beyond the first little bit of looking around, they do on our website, which is a magical place to be.

Kathleen Shannon 45:36
So I get asked a lot, and I'm sure that you get this too is should I include my prices on my website, like if you are a service based entrepreneur, and I've tried it both ways, I have to I have like, last year, we included our prices on our website, because there's almost like if you can't afford $6,000 for the branding, which is what we cost as of today, which is February, very for February 4 2015. Right now, you know, our branding packages start at $6,000. And so if you can't afford that, like I don't want to spend a whole lot of time giving you more information. You know, I want to just that to be one of my first ways of people to opt out this price was their number one factor like I'm not the cheapest. Yes. So if you're looking for cheap, you can go somewhere else. Anyway, I tried that. And I, I didn't close like I thought that I would have more of a close rate on people who did inquire For more information, because they already knew my prices. But I really didn't. And so I took prices off. And we continue to grow our business. So I don't know what the exact metrics are anyway, this is just to say like, I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. whenever it comes to including your prices on your website,

Emily Thompson 46:54
I don't think there is either I think it depends on the field, you're in also your pricing, like, I mean, I wouldn't not disclose it, if your ebook is 20 bucks, like just put 20 bucks, right. But I'm in the same place. As you guys, you know, I've tried I tried it both ways. And what I have found is like I would rather for my business, I would rather get those people in contact with me, so that we can talk it out. And but that's also where like the sales slides come in. And that's that is exactly how it is that you take a website, and you expand it beyond your website. So this idea of creating an online presence, your website is just a small portion of that it's I think, the most important portion of it, but it

Kathleen Shannon 47:36
is it's like the gatekeeper

Emily Thompson 47:38
is the gate it is. And so once people get in, you know, our cell slides, like have things like our core beliefs, and more about us and a letter from me and introduces you to the team a little more. And like there are lots of things like that, that most people would usually put on their website. But I want you to get in touch with us first before we give you that sort of really good, fun information. Because our cell slides are also super branded, like, I think you would enjoy them. Kathleen, I think you'd be proud of me.

Kathleen Shannon 48:05
I'll say, I love and that's part of what we do at braid is we create sell slides for all of our clients because it is such eye selling is a whole another beast, which we'll have to do a podcast, like eight of them selling and closing deals is Wow. It's like a science and an art and trial and error and experimentation. Yeah. But as a site like, like it's all about experimentation is

Emily Thompson 48:32
and that's really the fun thing about sighs you know, people sees websites is like this big, scary thing that no one understands. And they just, they know we need one, but what are they going to do with it? But they're fun, you get to try things, you're never going to get it 100%, right? Because there is no such thing as 100%. Right? If you were to find right, there would be a new coding language that came out next month, and you have to do it all over anyway. So it really is the nature of websites to be constantly changing, which is just sort of having fun.

Kathleen Shannon 49:02
All right, well, I think we're getting towards the end of our time for this podcast. So I think that we've covered a lot of ground. Let's just go ahead and recap a little bit. Let's, let's recap. So some of the things that we talked about is less is more, you know, cutting your content starting from scratch, is a really good way to narrow down and to get more concise.

Emily Thompson 49:29
Yeah. And you really have to think of your website as as a part of your business. It's not this thing. It's not that it's not your business card. It's not something you just actually more people put more thought into their business cards than they do their website, which is a little bit of a shame. So think of your website as a part of your business that will work for you. If it's like an employee it is it is an employee but you also have to like dress your employee and give them your brand manual and make them an order. I'm a little bit

Kathleen Shannon 50:01
well, because you have to think of your website as your brand showroom and that gatekeeper. And it is the first layer of what will attract or repel your tribe and your dream customers. Yeah.

Emily Thompson 50:11
Also, no site is ever final. It is never done, your work is never done, it will consistently change. So get over it.

Kathleen Shannon 50:21
I loved what you said about defining your site's core purpose. Like if it could only do one thing, what is that? And that's definitely gotten my gears turning around what I want my website to do for us yeah,

Emily Thompson 50:32
and, and for a business, your core purpose is getting hired, you may think that it's sharing content. And you may think that it's building community, but you're doing those things so that you can get hired.

Unknown Speaker 50:49
Amen. Amen. A man.

Emily Thompson 50:55
Let's see what else we talk, we talk about metric metrics. So metrics are used, but you have to find the ones that are relevant to your business, don't just go look at traffic. But actually find things that will help you like the most looked at page and make sure it's immaculate testing forums to see which ones are working best for you. One of my favorite metrics, is looking to see how people are finding you on search engines. It's a really great way for coming up with extra blog topics.

Kathleen Shannon 51:26
And speaking of blogging, staying really consistent about how much you're blogging and this is something that we didn't really touch on. But consistency does breed legitimacy. And so staying consistent, not only in the content that you're putting out, but how you're directing people around your site, and even outside of your site, like in your email and social media.

Emily Thompson 51:47
Yeah, consistency is everything. Actually, can we just do a whole podcast on a preaching consistency?

Kathleen Shannon 51:51
Well, I really love thinking about like consistency and persistency. And I think that those are definitely boss qualities. Yeah, that you have to keep front of mind every single day. And that's just beyond your website. Sure.

Emily Thompson 52:07
Well, and I also think another really important part of your website, and something that people tend to get a little passive about is calls to action. If people can't use your site, and they don't know how to use your site, then what's the point? And more importantly, is how do you want them to use your site? What do you want them to do on your site, tell them through calls to action.

Kathleen Shannon 52:30
And a great site and a great brand will attract your dream customers and your dream tribe. Because the message will be clear, you will be positioned as an expert and people will know exactly how to hire

Emily Thompson 52:41
you. And that, folks is the purpose. So yeah, I think that's basically it find, find something that will work for you. Whether it's a platform, it's a designer, developer, think about strategy, make your website work for you, because it can and it makes your business so much easier if you invest your time, and even your money, and having a website that acts like an employee.

Kathleen Shannon 53:12
And if you need help with your website, like I shameless plug here for me, just to holler at her, because she's a web genius. And she's not for everyone. But I think that indie boom is a really great product. And if she's not a good fit, I'm sure that she can direct you to someone that is.

Emily Thompson 53:33
Yeah, definitely sorry,

Kathleen Shannon 53:35
not to like create a lot of emails for you.

Emily Thompson 53:37
Obviously, all of our forms go to Chris now. So you're not

Unknown Speaker 53:43
perfect. No,

Emily Thompson 53:44
definitely we are open for hire our website is is up. We're booking projects for the year. Web strategy is something that I'm insanely passionate about. And I like to think pretty damn good at it. So if you are in the market of building a website, that will seriously work for you. We're pretty good at it. And if we're not for you, because we are very picky about the clients that we take, we will help you find someone who will hopefully give you exactly what you need.

Kathleen Shannon 54:12
And you do offer a lot of free content and gifts and knowledge on your

Emily Thompson 54:17
blog. Yeah, blogging still is hit and miss and that that okay.

Kathleen Shannon 54:22
But your newsletter, I would say but your newsletter, like you offer really genius tips. And they're they're really geared more towards the strategy sides of things that anybody can do. You don't have to be a designer or developer to be able to implement some of the strategies that you share in your newsletters. So sign up for those. For sure. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 54:43
if well, blogging, I have years of blogging. Emily Thompson comm is where you can find my blog I there's lots of like technical stuff. Lots of just business savvy stuff, but that's really where you'll learn a lot of my website specific content, but then also sign up for my indie tactics. email and D sharp agraphia comm slash newsletter, that's where I send out weekly that's practically my blog these days. It's where I send out weekly newsletters to my list and a lot of it is very website centered sort of look at your website. I did a website audit worksheet not too long ago. So Andy tactics is, is probably the best place to get free content

Kathleen Shannon 55:22
will include all of this information and links in our show notes. So thank you for listening to being bossed from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Find our Show Notes for this episode at love being boss calm. You can also sign up for our newsletters there. And listen to past episodes and subscribe to new episodes on our website at iTunes and on SoundCloud. And if you like our podcast, show us some love by reviewing being boss on iTunes and sharing it with a friend. So do the work be boss and we'll see you next week.

I wanted to tell you my friend Lindsey was like I love the way Emily says Amen.

Unknown Speaker 56:14
Hey man, my

Kathleen Shannon 56:14
god do I really say man and like you see you and imitated you and it was like the cute is how

Emily Thompson 56:23
we don't

Unknown Speaker 56:24