080: Optimizing your website with Jessica Freeman

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Your website is basically your digital business card and portfolio so you always want to make sure it is optimized for your current season of business. Jessica Freeman of Jess Creatives takes us through some tips and mistakes of website design, SEO, logos and more.

Jessica Freeman is an Atlanta-based award-winning web designer that helps nutrition and fitness business owners build authority and get more clients. When she’s not working with clients, you can find her teaching inside her Better Collective community. Jess also runs her own YouTube channel and her podcast, the Work Your Wellness Biz podcast.

Discussed In This Episode:
 
  • Jessica’s number one tip for optimizing your website
  • The best elements to put on your homepage above the fold
  • Key tips on how to speed up your website and the biggest thing that slows down your site
  • How to use SEO to rank higher with search engines
  • How to know when it’s time to rebrand or revisit your website design
  • The best way to use inquiry forms that you might be overlooking
Mentioned In This Episode:
 
Connect with Jessica:
 
Other Helpful Links:
 
Do You Need More Structured Help In Your Business?
 
Wouldn’t it be nice to: Remember where your accounts are, always know who’s in charge of what areas of your business, effortlessly know how to create lead magnets and landing pages … you know – all the things you think about everyday but don’t really have the time to organize or execute.
 
Join The Systems Lab if you would like to: Learn how to create systems, to-do lists, and methods to help you stay on top of your work, and beat overwhelm throughout the day, even if you’re the queen of procrastination and avoidance.
 
What’s included? It’s a collection of templates, workflows, challenges, and planners for complete efficiency and productivity. Plus bonuses for annual subscribers.
 

[00:00:01.150] – Miranda

Welcome to Coffee Powered Systems equipping women with actionable steps to overcome overwhelm and streamline business and life. So grab your favorite drink and come hang out with me. I’m your host, Miranda Merton.

[00:00:14.150] – Miranda

Hey, friend. Welcome back to another Coffee Powered Systems interview. Today you’ll hear me chat with Jessica Freeman and Atlanta based award winning web designer. If there’s one thing that we all need to continually manage and keep up, it is our website. It’s basically our digital business card in our portfolio. So we want to make sure it’s optimized for your current season of business. And Jess Freeman takes us through a lot of tips and mistakes of website design we cover so much. This one is actually a little bit more lengthy than the normal CPS episode. And you’ll hear that as we go through because we had so much to cover. We went over elements of your home page and your about page, key tips for speeding up your website ranking with SEO. So many things like go ahead and grab a pen and paper for this one. You’re going to want to come back and revisit this one when it’s time to revisit these aspects of your website. And a little bit more about Jessica before we dive into the episode. Jessica is a web designer that helps nutrition and fitness business owners build authority and get more clients.

[00:01:26.170] – Miranda

When she’s not working with clients, you can find her teaching inside her better collective community. Jess also runs her own YouTube channel and her podcast, The Work Your Wellness Biz Podcast. I’ll drop all those links down for you so you can connect with Jessica after the episode. But for now, go ahead and tune in and listen as I chat with Jess about optimizing your website.

[00:01:49.970] – Miranda

Welcome back to Coffee Powered Systems. I’m your host, Miranda, and I am joined by web designer Jessica Freeman of Jess Creatives. Jess, welcome to the show.

[00:02:00.450] – Jessica

Yes, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

[00:02:03.520] – Miranda

I am so excited to have you here and talk about optimizing your website and having the right content. But before we dive in, I would love for you to share. And you can choose either one, either a book you’ve been reading lately that you have been loving or if you watch TV, maybe something that you are watching lately that you’d love to share.

[00:02:26.270] – Jessica

So I will share what I’m watching, but it’s probably not very interesting because it’s The Office, which is my all time favorite show. So it’s not at all new or exciting, but I think my husband and I watched it once or twice a year.

[00:02:45.170] – Miranda

Really awesome. Yeah. That’s one of those shows that it’s like you can go back to all the time. I think we all have those shows that were just like, I’m going to pick this up and we’ll do this.

[00:02:56.780] – Jessica

This is like my Comfort TV show.

[00:03:00.290] – Miranda

I love that. Very cool. All right. So web designing. I have always been fascinated with how web designers become web designers. So for you, were you in a corporate position or did you kind of slowly work your way into web design?

[00:03:19.490] – Jessica

So I went to College for graphic design and learned a little bit of web design, but not a lot, and then started in corporate after College and was working as a designer. And it was, like my second or third job that they started kind of having to do some web design projects, and so that’s when I started to get into that. And then shortly after that, I started actually doing it for my business because I was running just creatives basically in College. And then ever since College, I’ve been doing just creatives. It was just on the side for a while. And then about a year before I actually took my business full time, that’s when I started doing web design. I was like, okay, we’ll try this. And I could see that more and more people were wanting websites and asking me for websites. And I was like, okay, so I think this is what I should do. I was a little intimidated, but I was like, I think this would be a good business movement just in terms of, like, everyone needs a website, and I think obviously, everyone still needs graphic design services, too, but websites are a lot more prevalent.

[00:04:39.170] – Jessica

So then I kind of made the dive, and then within probably two years, I was just doing websites, and that was it. That’s what I’ve been doing the last six or seven years.

[00:04:51.420] – Miranda

Oh, cool. I love how that’s always fun when you’re just like, maybe I should do this. Yeah, I feel like, kind of cool.

[00:05:02.350] – Jessica

I feel like that’s how I do a lot of my I mean, obviously it’s a little more strategic than that, but I feel like sometimes in my business journey, there’s just been moments of like, maybe I should try this.

[00:05:14.460] – Miranda

Maybe I should try this.

[00:05:15.730] – Jessica

And then I do. And then sometimes it doesn’t work out, and sometimes it’s like, that was really smart.

[00:05:22.370] – Miranda

Yeah. I love it when it works. Actually, part of my story, too, is like, that where I was just like, I can do this. When people start asking you for more stuff, it’s kind of like, let me see if I can make this work.

[00:05:38.390] – Jessica

Yes, exactly.

[00:05:41.270] – Miranda

So as we all know that there’s, like, a short amount of time to catch people’s attention. Right. So what are the best tips you have for utilizing that above the fold space? And for anybody that’s listening, that doesn’t know that’s the space when you land on the website before you start scrolling, what is the best thing that we can have in that top area?

[00:06:04.210] – Jessica

Yeah. So my number one tip here is to always have a really clear headline and make it about what you do and who you help. Like, we don’t want to land on your site. And it’s like, hey, my name is Jessica. This is not the information that people are looking for. I mean, yes, they’ll want to know who you are and that kind of thing at some point. But in that 3 seconds they are like, is this the web design I’m looking for? Is this the VA I’m looking for? Am I on the right site? Because we’ve all been there. We’re Googling searching and you’re like, oh, is this what I’m looking for? And you land on a site and you’re like, this is not at all what I was looking for. Whether it’s completely the wrong service or you’re like, they don’t have the services, it seems, or I’m just not connecting with them. So a really clear headline, no jargon, no cutesy terms. You can use that in other places around your website. I wouldn’t go overboard with those things because in general, your website should be really clear. But in that headline, super specific.

[00:07:12.330] – Jessica

I am a VA who offers whatever tech support. I am a copywriter who offers blog post writing or whatever be Super, super specific. And then I usually would also encourage either a picture of you next to this text because we like to work with people. We like to work with people. Not just logos and brands, we like to work with actual humans. But if you are like, oh man, I really don’t like my picture. Or maybe you don’t have any professional brand photos. Use a stock image that is relevant to your services. So copywriters, you can put like a stock photo with laptops and pencils or something along those lines. Not just I see a lot of people who make the mistake of like, oh, I found this really pretty stock photo on Splash. And it’s like a river in a forest. Unless you are hiking coach or running coach, something like that. If it’s not relevant to your services, we don’t need like these nature outdoors photos. We want relevant to what you are offering. Because that again, just helps give context and helps you look more professional. And so again, in the first three to 5 seconds that people are landing on their site, they see a clear headline, they see a picture that makes sense and not a river in trees.

[00:08:47.780] – Jessica

And they’re like, oh yes, this looks good. And then they keep scrolling and clicking and that applies to every page. Really. I mean, you don’t need that same headline on every page. But a lot of times I see just on a services page, it’ll just say services and it doesn’t have to be like a full headline, but it could be like copywriting and copy editing services. So again, it just gives a little bit of context, right? And not just my services.

[00:09:23.930] – Miranda

A little more descriptive. Yeah, cool. And what about should they have a call to action at that point? Or is it fine to have it below the fold where you keep scrolling a little bit.

[00:09:39.030] – Jessica

There’s not 100%, like one right way here. I usually say if it’s the home page, don’t make it such a strong call to action where it’s like, hey, book a call with me because they don’t even know who you are. Like, they’re not going to want to book a call. So in that sense, I might say, like, check out my services or something like that. Even sometimes I know people love to put their opt in right there at the top. And they’re like, right away, grab my free guide. Again, they don’t necessarily know who you are. And so asking them for their email address, which we are all very protective of, is a big ask. You might be like, but it’s free. But it’s like, but do they really want another newsletter? Probably not. They really want to make sure that they are connecting with you first before they’re going to schedule a call or give you their email address. So you can put a call to action in the top, like banner or headline on the homepage, but make it something that’s very easy. Ask like, just view my services now on your services page.

[00:10:51.820] – Jessica

You could at the top, put like, and apply to work with me or book a call or something. Again, I sometimes caution against this because they haven’t looked at your services yet, and so they may not have seen your prices, looked at your packages or anything. I used to have a button at the top of my services page because I was like, oh, let’s give them multiple buttons to click on where they can fill out the form. But I found that I was getting more people that hadn’t actually looked at all my services or hadn’t looked at the packages. So they weren’t a right fit in terms of budget or what they needed. So I took that off, and once they had to, the button was down by the pricing and packages. That helped kind of cut down on those not so good fit inquiries.

[00:11:47.790] – Miranda

That makes total sense. Yeah. And go back to what you said about the headline. I don’t know if you’ve been on my site, but I have a service based writers, whatever. But I also have a changing phrase, like where the word changes. Do you recommend those or. No, I should drop that. So it’s like better systems and then it changes and then it’s like, whatever. Like the picture doesn’t change, but the word changes.

[00:12:15.220] – Jessica

Yeah, I think those are okay because there’s going to be a word or phrase there when someone lands. And so it’s not just totally blank that they’re like, where is this headline? Like, what is happening? So I think they can be a little fun. And it’s a way to kind of describe your services or who you are talking to or whatever. Because I have a client who actually uses something similar where she has a phrase in her headline that kind of rotates.

[00:12:43.650] – Miranda

Right?

[00:12:44.050] – Jessica

So, yeah, I think those are okay, cool.

[00:12:47.320] – Miranda

And what are the best ways to optimize your website on the techie side of it, talking like speed or SEO.

[00:12:55.530] – Jessica

Yeah. So speed and SEO are the two things people worry about the most. Once they’ve got the design, they’re like, Is my site fast? Is it going to show up at Google? And actually the speed can affect your SEO because Google looks at that site speed. So that also can play into your SEO. But it also affects. Yeah, it also affects obviously, like, the user experience because we don’t like slow websites. So the first thing I say for speed is if you’re on WordPress, make sure you have a really good host. Like, Bluehost and GoDaddy are actually pretty slow. I do not recommend them. I usually recommend SiteGround or Flywheel. WordPress engine is good. There’s other good ones, but the two popular are actually pretty slow. Usually, even if you don’t think your site is that slow. I’ve had several clients who switch away from Bluehost and they’re like, oh, okay. So my site actually was kind of slow. Now I noticed that it’s actually faster. Regardless of what platform you’re on, if you’re not on WordPress. Compressing, your images is Super, super important. So you have those nice, pretty brand photos from your photographer and then they’re like ten megabytes.

[00:14:19.390] – Jessica

No, you’re just going to slow down your website so much. And there are three image compression tools out there. Some of them do have limits. Like, they’ll be like, oh, sorry, our free plan, you can’t upload a ten megabyte picture, so you may have to pay for an image compression tool. Keep in mind, you can always pay the monthly fee, use it for a month and then cancel it, and then when you need in the future, come back to it. So like, Tiny PNG is a great site for image compression compressor. Io is another common one. Or like, I even sometimes just on my Mac, if you open up the picture in preview for all your Mac users, you can export and then decrease the file size and that will help you compress that. So that’s an easy way. There might be something similar on PCs. I don’t know. I’m not a PC user. I’m sorry, but the images are like one of the biggest things that slow down websites. You also have to think about any third party integration or if you’re on WordPress again, any plugins you’re using, those can always slow down your side as well.

[00:15:43.510] – Jessica

I’m not saying don’t integrate anything, don’t use plugins, but be cautious about how many you are using. I was auditing a client site recently and she was saying my site is really slow. Can we look at that? And she was using Deadline Funnel, which is like a third party platform that uses Tripwires and Countdowns and all this kind of stuff. She had something that was Facebook for WordPress, so it was doing something for that. And then there was another something I can’t remember. So it’s all these things that are running in the background because they’re just these platforms that are 24/7. So just be cautious about how many of those you are using. Again, I’m not saying don’t use them at all. Just be aware of what you’re using.

[00:16:39.190] – Miranda

Yeah, they bog it down.

[00:16:41.510] – Jessica

Yeah. And then when it comes to SEO and optimizing your site, SEO is so overwhelming for people. And there’s so much that goes into it, literally. There are over 200 different factors that go into SEO, and they’re all kind of weighted differently. So some of them, it might be like, oh, you are deducted 25% for this penalty. And some it might be like -100 points you lose. Not that they actually have a point system, but they’re weighted a little differently. But when it comes to SEO, the number one thing I remind people of is just be specific. The more specific you can be in your page titles, your product titles, your blog post titles, the better. So instead of just saying, oh, I’m a virtual assistant and putting that in your title, put like virtual assistant for service based business owners, virtual assistant for photographers, copywriter for dietitians, whatever it is that you are. So if you can be more specific in what services they are, who you serve, services you offer, especially like, I know a lot of VAS are very specific. They’re like, oh, I’m a Kajabi VA or I’m a WordPress VA or whatever.

[00:18:10.450] – Jessica

Use those platform names in your title as well. And so this goes across all of your pages, posts, anything like that. I always talk about like if blog posts, let’s say you’re writing a recipe or whatever, and it’s like breakfast smoothies. Okay, well, there are like a million breakfast smoothie blog posts out there. So we’re going to need to be a little more specific. So it might be like six protein breakfast smoothies for children or women, whatever. So I’ve added, how many are there? Are? I’ve added, what’s in it like protein? It’s breakfast. I’m saying it’s breakfast, not dessert or dinner or whatever. And then I’m saying who it’s for as well, which is children or women or whoever you’re choosing. So anytime you can do that, it’s going to help because people are very specific. I mean, yes, people might just be searching smoothies, but again, it’s going to be really hard to rank. So those people who are searching for protein smoothies for breakfast, you will have a higher chance of showing up. So the more specific you can be, the better. And then just make sure you’re also just think about what do you want to show up in Google search for when people search?

[00:19:42.910] – Jessica

Like WordPress virtual assistant. You’re like, that’s me. I want to show up there in Google. That’s what I want to be known for. Great. Then you need to make sure you are obviously, like I said, putting that in your page titles, but you also want to put it on the page itself because Google loves to make sure that your site is relevant. Like, you’re not just saying that you’re a WordPress virtual system, but that you actually. That’s really what you are talking about. So they want to see that you are using the words WordPress and website and assistance and Virtual Assistant. Like, they want to see all these context clues in your content because then they’re like, okay, so she really is a WordPress assistant because it used to be 510 years ago that people would just be like, I’m going to optimize the site for WordPress virtual Assistant or whatever. And then you click on the site. It’s like, just kidding, whatever else. And you tried to trick them and you were like, oh, I just use these keywords because it was easier to rank for just get the traffic. And that was all I cared about.

[00:21:01.170] – Jessica

So Google caught on to that and they were like, okay, so they got smarter and now their algorithm can read your site and detect. Okay, are you talking about these things on your website?

[00:21:15.310] – Miranda

I remember those days, right?

[00:21:18.490] – Jessica

It was scary.

[00:21:20.890] – Miranda

This isn’t what I clicked on. What is this? Or it’s WordPress 15 times in the article.

[00:21:28.510] – Jessica

Yeah, we don’t need that either. I’m glad you brought that up, because that’s the other thing. We don’t want to spam your pages or your blog posts with your keywords. Again, Google is really smart and you can actually be penalized for doing too many keywords. Like, they catch on if you’re, like, saying WordPress in every single sentence or whatever. And I know now people are like, okay, so I have to put it in there, but not too much. So just make it sound human and then maybe make sure in every other paragraph or so. That’s very arbitrary. But like, every other paragraph, you have your keywords there in, like, one of the sentences. So that WordPress or Virtual Assistant or whatever it is, is sporadically throughout the post that gives Google all the context clues they need.

[00:22:26.490] – Miranda

Yeah, I love it. There’s so much that goes into SEO, and I had a client that wanted me to help her SEO. The website. I’m like, that is a people’s full time job.

[00:22:37.690] – Jessica

There is so much that goes into it. Yeah, but I mean, one of the worst, if you want a really bad example of SEO, go to your local dentist website. They always hire SEO companies and you can see like, hello, we are Atlanta dentistry. We are in Atlanta dentist, and we serve people in Atlanta. So if you’re looking for a dentist in Atlanta, we are Atlanta dentist. It’s like, okay, so this doesn’t make any sense. And I don’t know if other people notice that or if I’m just hyper aware of it being a web designer. But it is very annoying. And I’m like, this is no, don’t do this.

[00:23:25.650] – Miranda

Yeah, I have noticed that. And we’re actually in the same city. I think we’re both in Atlanta area. And I’ve noticed that it’s like the sky spa sites and it’s like Atlanta Spa. And I’m just like, who wrote this?

[00:23:44.590] – Jessica

Don’t stop doing this. Stop doing it. Yeah. I’ve occasionally had people reach out to me who were like, hey, I’m thinking about hiring this SEO agency. Not like a specific one, just they’re like, I’m thinking of hiring an SEO agency. What are your thoughts? And I’m like, I have lots of thoughts.

[00:24:06.870] – Miranda

That’s fun.

[00:24:07.780] – Jessica

Yeah.

[00:24:08.480] – Miranda

And going back to what you said about getting the right host and site feed. Last year, actually, I had Bluehost and I started with Bluehost. Everybody host when you very first start out doing anything right. So I was food blogging like ten or 15 years ago. So that’s where I started. And I’m like, who knows? I’m just going to stick with it. It’s been good. So last year I’m frustrated because I’m editing my site and it’s super slow and I’m like, what is going on? So I do a site test. It’s like 12 seconds. And I’m like, okay, so literally ten minutes. I was like, I’m done with this. And I switched to SiteGround immediately. And then I do the speed test and it’s like 1 second literally. I go back in to edit what I was trying to edit because I couldn’t upload the photos. It was being super slow. It’s like, oh, we can’t upload this. There’s an error. And immediately changed like the blinking of an eye. And I was like, oh, it was my house. And then that’s when I go and look at it and I’m like, oh, yeah, find all these articles.

[00:25:17.930] – Miranda

I’m like, okay, so now I love SiteGround.

[00:25:20.150] – Jessica

I’m like, yeah, if you are listening to this and you are like, well, how do I like, I’m always like, research your options. Do like Bluehost versus SiteGround or whatever. It reach several ones. And be cautious if they have affiliate links, if they’re like, I’m an affiliate for Bluehost and I’ve got a comparison and they are just raving about it. As someone who does a lot of blog posts and YouTube videos about tech comparisons and choose this or that, usually yes, I am an affiliate for one of them. Not always, but I still try to keep it fair. Like, hey, this is a downfall of whatever platform or this is a good thing about Bluehost. But still, at the end of the day, I would recommend whatever. So just read those blog posts and read several so you can get a good feel of like, what are people actually thinking? And is it just because they’re an affiliate or do they truly recommend it? Yeah.

[00:26:32.350] – Miranda

And how do we know if it’s time to then take a look at our own website and see if it’s time to either rebrand or redesign. Because I would imagine looking at most people looking at their own website, we all like our website and we probably think it’s great if nobody says anything. We would go on forever unless we have an outside attending. So how do we know when it’s time to make a change?

[00:26:55.850] – Jessica

I would say there’s no hard and fast deadline of like, okay, it’s been this many years, it’s time you have to redo it. But I would recommend if it’s been like two or three years, maybe see about getting like a website audit or someone to review your website where not we’re totally overhauling it, but maybe it’s just get a fresh pair of eyes on it. What do you need to tweak in terms of design, copy, SEO, anything like that? But I do think most people, not everyone but most around the four to five year Mark need a totally new website or a big overhaul. And that’s because think about where you were five years ago. You may not have been in business, you may have just started. Your services have changed, your offers have changed. I can’t think of anybody that in five years hasn’t made big changes to the market they serve or they have new offers, they have new photos, which I mean obviously photos can be added. And yes, you can obviously add and hopefully have added these new pictures and new services to your site. But after a while it can start to feel kind of pieced together when we’re like, oh, we have a new service, let’s just add this.

[00:28:29.200] – Jessica

Okay, well, now I have newest product. Let me just stick that on that page. Okay, let me just put this over here. We’re just trying to fit into that. So it’s kind of like when you are like, oh man, I need to move into a bigger apartment or a bigger house or whatever because you’re like running out of room. Okay, so we’re just trying to make this work and we’re trying to make this work and that kind of thing. So again, two to three years, maybe get it review, get an audit. And around the four to five year Mark, you might think about, okay, do I need to get a whole new website? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rebrand. You don’t have to go get any logo and colors and everything like that. Some do, but some don’t. But yeah, it’s not that we are like we want to stay trendy and look great like whatever. But yeah, you want to stay current and make sure your site really does have a good experience for your users.

[00:29:35.090] – Miranda

Yeah. And then what are some of the things if we’re talking about rebranding, what are some of the biggest mistakes you see or that you’re like that’s kind of cringy on websites.

[00:29:49.010] – Jessica

The biggest thing is being super trendy. I remember, like, five or six years ago, I was in a group of creative professionals, and it was like, designers calligraphers photographers, and all of the photographers were using these very similar script fonts, and they were everywhere. And then there was I’m sure you remember, like, rose gold when rose gold was everywhere, not just in websites and branding, but then, like, the iPhone was rose gold. So don’t hop too far into trends. There’s something to be said about looking current, but we don’t need to look trendy because then, yes, in two to three years, people are going to look at your logo and be like, your logo was designed in 2017 when whatever it is was trendy. And we can tell. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is your logo does not have to have an image of whatever it is that you do. Again, photographers not to pick on photographers, but they love to have a camera or a lens in their logo. And I’m like, McDonald’s does not have a hamburger in their logo, guys. So don’t feel like you have. Yes, sometimes it fits and sometimes it’s not cliche.

[00:31:23.320] – Jessica

Like, maybe you’re a book editor and you have some books in your logo and it doesn’t look cliche. Great. I think when it’s forced that’s when you’re like, oh, I’m going to replace this letter with this picture. The lens or the books are going to make the I or the L in my name or something. We don’t need to force it. So, yeah, those are like, the two things. Don’t be trendy and don’t feel like you have to put a picture of whatever it is that you do in your logo, especially for us online business owners, as a web designer, like, what am I going to put, like, a laptop in my logo? No. So if it works, if it doesn’t look cringy, then go for it. But don’t feel like homie. And I have to give these context clues for what it is I do in my logo.

[00:32:24.390] – Miranda

And there’s still some fonts that when I land on websites, I’m like, oh, my gosh, font.

[00:32:29.650] – Jessica

I hate it.

[00:32:31.350] – Miranda

And you know exactly what font it is. And you’re like, that’s salsa or whatever.

[00:32:37.710] – Jessica

Yeah. Lobster is one of the ones that I still see every once in a while. I think it’s kind of faded out, but it’s one that when I see it, I’m like, what are you doing? What are you doing? Please stop using the font. Yeah. All right.

[00:32:55.020] – Miranda

And then as far as inquiry forms on a website, like, I know I have contact pages and schedule. How do you use inquiry forms on your website to the best of how you can use them.

[00:33:10.390] – Jessica

Yeah. So inquiry forms are literally like, my favorite ways to tell clients to like, it’s like, this is what you should really focus on. Not the only thing but I’m like, please put some effort into this. It will be a huge time saver for both you and your clients. And so most people, I feel like, just have a very basic contact form, name, email message. They might say, like, oh, like, please check the box of what service you’re interested in. And that’s it. Well, that doesn’t give you typically doesn’t give you enough information of that potential client. So then you have to be like, Hi, Jessica, thanks so much for reaching out about my VA services. Can you tell me more about what you’re wanting and what type of business you are and what’s your budget? And then you have to go back and forth. Or obviously, you could also get on a call that too. But I have been using my inquiry form. I don’t even know for, like, seven years now. And I’ve tweaked it along the way. But it helps me so much because I can literally tell at a glance of this.

[00:34:26.500] – Jessica

I get the email that’s like, hey, you have a new inquiry. And I can see right away, okay, Amy is a photographer. She’s looking for this kind of help. This is her deadline, this is her budget. Like, whatever good, I think I can help her. Or it’s like, hey, Jim Bob from the auto parts store somehow found your website and wants a new website, but only has $75. Okay, sorry, Jim, I don’t think I can help you. Best wishes. Literally. I can send those types of emails. Very nice. Like, hey, I don’t think we’re a good fit. And I usually say based on your timeline of your needs or your budget or whatever, and then I don’t have to waste 17 back and forth emails or hopping on a 30 minutes call just to be like, oh, sorry. Actually, I don’t think we’re a good fit.

[00:35:24.450]

Yeah.

[00:35:24.900] – Jessica

So I usually say keep it under or around, like eight questions. Like, that usually feels like a good amount of questions because we don’t need the full picture of I’m not asking in my inquiry form. I’m not like, please list the functionalities that you want in your website.

[00:35:43.530]

Okay. Yeah.

[00:35:45.030] – Jessica

But I’m getting an idea of what their business is, why they want a website, that kind of stuff. And usually they will say, like, oh, I want to sell products, or I just need to list my services. I’ve rebranded. I need a new website. So then I can say like, oh, great, yes, I can help you set up a shop or, great, I can implement your branding. That’s totally fine. So it not only helps me get a good picture of who I might be helping, but I can also potentially answer more questions when they’re like hey,

[00:36:22.050] – Jessica

I’m wondering about this. I’ve rebranded. I can kind of reassure them, like, great, I’m not going to change your branding again. I’m not here to change your branding. If you just got it done. So I can just implement those colors and fonts, add your logo, obviously, and then we’re smooth sailing. So then they don’t even have to ask the need that question because I’ve already answered them upfront.

[00:36:47.370] – Miranda

Yeah, that’s so good. That definitely would eliminate a lot of just enter your name, phone number, email. Because if you just get a box of tell me what you want, you’ll never really get all the answers.

[00:37:01.690] – Jessica

No, you won’t. So the main contact on my website is my Inquiry form. I do have a contact form that’s like Linked in my footer. But when you open it, it says, this is not the form to fill out if you want to work with me. If you fill this out, I’m not going to reply to you. I’m like, because if you can’t follow basic instructions that say this is not the form to fill out if you want to work with me, then I’m like, we’re already not a good fit.

[00:37:35.790] – Miranda

That’s amazing.

[00:37:37.150] – Jessica

Yeah. So use that inquiry form. And even if you have different services, I know some people have like a one to one consulting, a three month package, and then like a group program, you can have slightly different questions for each service or offer. So just think about like, what is the bare minimum of information I need that would help me see if this person is a good fit or not. And I will say yes. There are times when I get an inquiry and I’m like, okay, well, they didn’t put a ton of information here, so I’m like, they might be a good fit. They might not. So sometimes I’m like, hey, can you tell me a little bit more? Because you were super short your answers. But like, 99% of the time, I get a really good picture of like, okay, perfect. This is a business I can help. I think I can ask clarify this kind of information, but overall, it looks like we would be a good fit to work together.

[00:38:36.630] – Miranda

Awesome. So just let us know what your favorite apps and tools are that you are working with right now.

[00:38:44.610] – Jessica

Honestly, I think one of my favorites is HoneyBook.

[00:38:48.460] – Miranda

Okay.

[00:38:48.740] – Jessica

And that’s what I use for my contracts invoices questionnaires. All that. It’s the whole client portal, basically. And it is a huge time saver because literally that’s where the inquiry forms come in. So it’s like, okay, Angela filled out my Inquiry Form. We talked. She’s going to hire me. I can go to her little tab and then send the contract. And then I have like a whole onboarding sequence of emails. And then it’s like, okay, schedule your call. Here’s the questionnaire. So I literally click, like one button and then she gets all the communication and I don’t have to do any of it. When I think about when I used to not have Honey book and I used to do it all by hand and I’d be like, okay, here’s the contract. And invoice. And then I’d be like, oh, crap, I got this in Angela. My questionnaire. We should have scheduled our call last week. I don’t have to worry about that anymore. So that’s one of my favorites. And then I also really love Social B, which is a social media scheduler. And it repurposes, like, reschedules your content. So I really only use it for, like, Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn.

[00:40:10.630] – Jessica

But it’s just like I have this library of content and it’s like, okay, we’re going to send out these posts. We’ve gone through all 500 or however many there are. Now we’re going to, like, restart. So, like, my blogs and my videos keep being pushed out on social media. So I still have, like, a presence there without having to actually be there and spend a lot of time because really Instagram and YouTube are like my main content platforms that I use. So I’m like, I really want to spend my energy there, but at least having a presence on these other platforms I think is important just in case someone happens to find me. Like, last week, somebody tagged not me, but my business page in a Facebook group. Someone was asking for a web designer. And I was like, I don’t even know who you are. Like, thank you for tagging me. But I was like, she knew my business name and so she just tagged my business page instead of me. And so I was like, yeah, I’m not super active over there. I checked the messages, the inbox or whatever, but I’m not overly active on it.

[00:41:24.990] – Jessica

So those two tools save me a ton of time in my business.

[00:41:31.030] – Miranda

Awesome.

[00:41:31.530] – Jessica

Yeah.

[00:41:31.700] – Miranda

I want to point out that those two that you mentioned, they allow you to automate a whole lot of stuff, saving you time. So how long do you think it took you to set up your honey book and get all your things in Social Bay? Because I think that’s probably the biggest thing that people are like, when they start to automate it’s like, oh, but all the upfront stuff, it’s going to take me so much time.

[00:41:56.130] – Jessica

Yeah. I would say, like, maybe a day for each social probably took a little bit. It probably took a few days because I was using another scheduler and I had to move it all over manually and there wasn’t like an export option. So it was like, okay, I’m just going to sit here and copy paste all day. I don’t know if it took like a full day for HoneyBook, but yeah, it was a nice and easy set up. And then I just kind of added things the more. So my email sequence wasn’t as long as when I started, as it is now. Now I have multiple questionnaires because I’m like, oh, like, I could use this questionnaire if we’re only doing XYZ, and I can use this questionnaire or whatever. But when I first started, it was like, here’s my questionnaire. Here’s my one contract and here’s the other three emails they get or whatever. So don’t feel like you have to have a full email sequence or everything figured out. You can kind of start with the bare basics with whatever you’re using.

[00:43:14.770] – Miranda

Cool. Thanks. That’s a good tip because everybody’s always, like thinking that they can’t move forward until they have everything in place and they get held back and they put things off and procrastinate and then they never end up doing it.

[00:43:29.770] – Jessica

I know people who use HoneyBook or dubstado or whatever, and I can think of one person, one friend that she uses HoneyBook for the invoices and whatnot. But she hasn’t moved over her questionnaires. She doesn’t have an email sequence that she uses. Yeah. That’s not part of her process, but she just really uses it for contracts and invoices. And so it’s like, yeah, she should move over the questionnaires. But for right now, okay, at least I have the invoices are automated and that takes something off your plate and then hopefully eventually she’ll move over the other things and can set up some more automation there.

[00:44:16.870] – Miranda

Yeah. All right. Lastly, we have covered so much. If somebody was looking to optimize their website and get started this week, what is your one action step for them?

[00:44:30.790] – Jessica

I would say go read the headlines on your website and are they clear? Like, have someone else read them? Like someone who doesn’t go to your website a lot, whether that’s people on your Instagram or business friends, your partner, a friend, someone who doesn’t go to your website a time and super familiar with your business and just tell them, read this really quick. Not the whole page. Just this part doesn’t make sense. Do you understand what I do and see what they say? Good.

[00:45:09.870] – Miranda

Thanks. So, Jess, if our listeners want to connect with you, where is the best place that they can reach out?

[00:45:17.040] – Jessica

Yeah. So of course, my website is justcreatives.com and like I said, I’m Super active on Instagram, so at just creative over there.

[00:45:27.670] – Miranda

Thank you so much. If you are watching the video, you can see Jess creatives and at Jess creatives on the screen right now. Otherwise, I will drop those in the show notes for anyone else that’s watching. And thank you so much, Jess, for joining me on the show today.

[00:45:44.690] – Jessica

Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me.

[00:45:46.900] – Miranda

All right. That’s all we have for today. I’ll see you next time.

[00:45:50.360] – Jessica

Bye.

[00:45:52.030] – Miranda

Thanks for listening to coffee powered systems. You can find links to everything mentioned in the episode down in the show notes or on the the website. Miranda merten.com, if you enjoyed this episode, rate and review it in itunes or where you enjoy listening so others can find it too. And join me here next time. Bye.

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