12 Critical Elements Every Website Homepage Must Have [INFOGRAPHIC]

“If you’re considering a website redesign or are wondering how to generate more leads from your website, it’s a good idea to start with your homepage. Serving as your company’s virtual front door, this page is generally responsible for drawing in a majority of your website’s traffic. And despite its prominence, many businesses struggle to optimize it properly.” via Hubspot.com

Infographic provided by Hubspot.

12 Critical Elements Every Homepage Must Have

Tech Talk – Creating a Wix Website

I wasn’t a fan of WIX until I tried it.

I can’t knock their hustle. Their product isn’t for everyone and that’s ok. There is a lesson in there for us creating products and services.

In the short (3 minutes, 26 seconds) video tutorial below, I show you how easy it is to create your website using WIX.

Did you find this tutorial helpful? Will you try WIX for your next website project?

Top 10 Secrets to Boost Your SEO

Everyone wants to be number one, especially when it come to search engine rankings. “Ebony, I want to get on the first page of a Google search. Can you do that?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, it’s possible to appear on the first search page. And, no I can’t promise that it will happen. In fact, anyone that makes that blanket promise to you is probably (ok, most definitely) lying. Or, at the very least, just trying to make a sale.

The truth is, search engine rankings are in constant flux. One month, you beef up your content to be found for a certain keyword and you’re flying high. Unfortunately, your competition notices this, and they start beefing up their ranking, too. The struggle is real.

So, how can you ensure that your content gets seen by search engines and, more importantly, by humans that want to read your content?

No promises here, but I’m going to give you my top 10 secrets to help boost your SEO ranking. Follow these and you’re likely to be in good shape. Maybe not first page “good shape,” but at least you’ll have a fighting chance.

MY SEO Secrets Revealed

1. Use Synonyms
Google is pretty smart. If your website is selling art supplies, there’s no need to repetitively use the phrase “art supplies” over and over again. Actually, this will hurt your ranking. Instead. mix it up, just as you would if you were describing your site to a friend (think: tools for artists, arts and crafts, etc.)

2. Blog and Blog Some More
Having useful content for search engines to crawl is super important. It allows your audience to find you using several different search terms.

Be aware, though, that even if you blog twice per week, it may take up to six months for search
engines to really start favoring you. Regularity is key!

3. Don’t Use Too Many Tags in Your Blog Posts
Most of us use platforms like WordPress, where we can categorize our posts. However, putting your blog posts in too many categories can confuse search engines, and your site will likely get left out of the party.

Streamline your tags/categories and just stick to one per post.

4. Promote on Social
The more traffic your drive to your site using social, the more Google will favor the pages viewers are navigating to.

Think of it this way: Google is a business. What is the goal of any business? Isn’t it to give their customers what they want?

Looking at it like that, the more site traffic you have to a page or to your site, the more Google will realize that you’re giving its customers what they want.

5. Stop Using Canned and Stuffy Keywords
Most of us know that keyword stuffing is long gone. It’s spammy, awkward, and it just doesn’t work.

However, some people still have the mindset of using keywords in a very calculated formula. With more and more voice searches performed every year, though, it’s easy to see why keywords need to take a more relaxed approach. So stop thinking like a computer and start thinking like a human.

That’s all any of us wanted when the whole keyword world began, anyway, right?

6. Link to Reputable Sites
Your reputation is usually only as good as who you hang out with. And that’s true online, too.

Linking to reputable sites (and referencing the site or company name) can go a long way to building your reputation as a reliable business.

7. Improve Your Time on Page Stats
Google uses a tool called “RankBrain.” Basically, it measures the amount of time a user spends on your page.

Let’s say your art supply store ranks number three in a search. If your customers click on the search result for your site and spend several minutes there, it’s likely that Google will bump you up in search engine rankings.

How do you increase the time users spend on your page? You need to create relevant, customer-focused content. Use this customer focus calculator to see how your site ranks.

8. Use Long-Tail Keywords
Examples of short keywords are: “art supplies” or “art tools.” Examples of long-tail keywords include: “art supplies in Charlotte, NC” or “cheap supplies for new artists.”

Using long tail keywords may reduce the number of page visits you get, but it will also boost your ranking for those long-tail keywords, since your content will be more targeted to a specific audience.

9. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Last year, Google announced its switch to mobile-first indexing. Since 60% of searches are performed on mobile, this change was really inevitable.

Use this tool to make sure your site is mobile-ready. https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

10. Get Yourself on YouTube!
Finally, you’ve probably noticed I’m a little obsessed with creating video content. So, if you’re a little obsessed with watching videos, we’re a perfect match.

In fact, YouTube is now the world’s second-largest search engine. If you’re not maximizing your time on this giant platform, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to boost your search engine rankings.

How to Create Your YouTube Channel 

There you have it! My top 10 secrets for boosting your SEO ranking. Now go forth and rank!

If you found this information useful, please share it.

Thanks!

3 Signs Your Website is a Hot Mess and How to Make it Over

Here are 3 signs that your website is a hot mess and in need of a makeover. I’ll show you three ways to make it over.

How to Get Unstuck with Your Website

Creating a website can be overwhelming especially if you’re trying to do it yourself.

Here’s the one thing you can do to ease the overwhelm and get unstuck.

Five Things Every Speaker and Life Coach Should Have On Their Website

If you want to promote yourself as a speaker or life coach, you should have a website.

You want a website that quickly tells others who you are, who your services are for, how you help your clients, testimonials and a way to contact you.

In this post, I will share five things you should have on your website if you want to promote yourself as a speaker and life coach.

* Please note, this post will include examples I’ve used with my clients as well as affiliate links.

1. Video of You Speaking On One of Your Topics

Do you have clips from YouTube, Facebook or Instagram that you can share on your website? Video is a powerful tool to showcase your delivery style and position you as a speaker.

2. A List of Your Core Topics

Include a list of three or five of your core topics you speak about along with descriptions of each one.

In the example below, we created a speaker page for Deanna Bookert, a Public Relations Specialist. The page includes a list of her topics, a screen shot of her speaker sheet and a contact form.

3. Speaker Sheet

Your Speaker Sheet should include a brief bio about you, your contact information, a list of your speaker topics, the organizations you’ve spoken at, a few testimonials, your contact information, and a few pics of you. You can hire someone to create one for you or create one yourself using Canva, Microsoft Power Point or Google Docs.

I created my speaker sheet with the help of a Google Doc template I downloaded. I saved it as a pdf and linked it on my About page. Here’s a link to my speaker sheet

If you prefer something more colorful, there a host of examples on Pinterest.

4. Email Sign-up Form

Give your your website visitors a free download or link to one of your most popular videos showing them how you can help them. You can send them a weekly update with links to your blog, Facebook Live videos or Instagram updates. The goal in building your email list to build your following and stay connected to those who are interested in your topics, service and programs. There are many email marketing services to choose from, but I like the ease-of-use of Mailchimp.

Sample Mailchimp email signup form

5. Your Services

What are the coaching services that you offer? Whom do you offer them to? How will these services transform your ideal client? Are there testimonials to back these claims up? How much are your services? How can your clients sign up for these services? When you are as detailed as possible, you will convert more website visitors to either subscribers of your newsletter or sign up for your services.

The Coaching theme from Themeforest.com shows how a speaker can layout their services, programs and testimonials on their website in an appealing way.

Speaker and Life Coach Theme screenshot

Bonus: A Blog.  Updating your website with fresh content in the form of blog posts will help drive traffic to your website. One of the ways Google ranks websites is based on fresh content, how many links you have back to it and relevancy. (Source: Forbes.com).

You could also include, in the form of a blog post update, each time you speak. Include photos, videos and a summary of what you spoke about. Share the blog post via social media and in your weekly email updates to your list.

In conclusion.

Even if you are just starting out as a speaker of your topic, you can set yourself up with a professional website that can serve as your online resume. If you have been a speaker for a number of years, it might be a good time to refresh your current website content and look at ways to reach out to new audiences.

There is always room to grow.

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Marcos Luiz

How to Create the Perfect Color Palette for your Brand

Colors can evoke emotions and move people to action or inaction.

Colors are important to building your brand story and creating your website. Creating your color palette doesn’t have to be difficult.

In this post, we’ll discuss

  • Understanding the psychology of color
  • Identifying your target audience
  • Online tools to help you create your color palette and mood board

1. Understand the Psychology of Color

Colors bring emotion. Understand what emotion you want to bring.

Color Psychology in Marketing - Coschedule

via Coschedule.com

2. Identify the target audience of your brand

  • Are they women, men, children?
  • What are the ages of the audience?
  • Are they entrepreneurs or do they work in an office?
  • What feeling do you want to evoke from your potential client? Is it excitement, calm, power, motivation, happy, sad, angry, etc. (This is mentioned again on purpose.)

Answering these questions will help you decide how you want to communicate your concepts and ideas to them. If they the concept is off, base, you might miss your mark.

What words define your brand?

  • Rustic
  • Fresh
  • Flowery
  • Natural
  • Sophisticated

When we think of these words, certain colors and intensity of hues naturally come to mind. This is a good place to start.

The next step would be playing around with the colors on your Mood Board. ‘Color Board’

3. Use Online Tools to Help You Create Your Color Palette (and Mood Board)

Use a color generator website such as the Adobe color CC website – color.adobe.com

Pinterest is great for inspiration. For example, type the words “color palette” in the search bar. It will reveal a variety of boards that can provide inspiration for you. To get specific, type in your color choice in front of the words “color palette.” (Such as Pink Color Palette)

Try this: Create your own MOOD BOARD by creating a secret board titled “My Brand Mood Board”. Pin the photos you find from your research.

 

In Conclusion

Look at your current logo and website. Do your current colors reflect what you want for your clients?

Following these steps will help you create the perfect color palette for your brand.

Five Ways to Rebrand and Restyle Your Website

restyle your website
Rebranding has to do with changing how you want your company image to be perceived, then delivering on that promise. It’s more than just putting a new logo at the top of your letterhead and website. Before any website rebranding and restyling project, it is always best to know WHY you want to change your image. Here are a few questions to ask before rebranding and restyling your website:

  • Are you changing your website to appeal to a specific or broader audience?
  • Are you adding new services to your service offerings?
  • Are you bored with your current website?
  • Did you see someone else’s website that you thought looked better than your website?
  • Have you sensed that your current website isn’t getting you the results that you expected?
  • Did someone tell you that you needed to update your website?

Here are five easy ways to restyle and rebrand your website.

1. Update the colors on your website that reflect how you want your audience to feel when they visit your website. These colors can compliment the logo, but doesn’t have to be exactly the same color as the logo.

2. Change up the photos to reflect current styles. Do the main photos on your website look dated or ‘old’? Do the main photos reflect the image you want to portray or the clients you serve?

3. Do an overhaul on your website copy (or verbiage). Words mean A LOT on a website because they can help or hurt your website SEO (search engine optimization). Also, your words will either attract or repel your site visitors. Headings that might have worked years ago for your website, might not work now if you are moving into a new direction.

Things to consider before writing your copy:

  • Who is is the intended audience of your website?
  • What exactly are you trying to help them do?
  • Do you know what your website audience really wants?

4. Add a new opt-in offer.  Create and give away some free content either as a video, worksheet or special report on your industry. Opt-ins create engagement on your website, helps you build your email list and adds value.

You can create a simple opt-in offer using Mailchimp or Constant Contact to capture the emails, then send them the information they requested.

5. Update your logo. Sometimes all you need is a new logo to represent who you are. Did you create your logo in Word years ago? Does your logo reflect the new direction your company is taking? Does it feel dated?

Making a few simple changes can go a long way with your rebranding and restyling your . website. Whether you decide to design it yourself or hire someone else, you can spruce up your site with a fresh new identity.

Three Lessons I Learned in 2016 About Life and Makeup

2016 was a year with good days and not so good days. There were days I was intensely focused on my personal and professional goals, then there were days I was just burned out from life. Sometimes my cup runneth over with joy, and then there are times when I was running on empty. Nevertheless, I am thankful for all the lessons that I was able to learn so that I could step into 2017 with clarity.

Here are a few lessons I learned in 2016.

Sometimes your eye makeup will break if you drop it. 

Things happen. It’s ok. No one’s perfect. We will have setbacks if you drop the ball. I’ve dropped the ball a few times this year. It was disappointing, but I have been able to move past the setbacks and forward. (BTW, there are a 1000 ways to repair broken makeup on Pinterest.)

via GIPHY

Your makeup will smear if you put it on when you are sleepy.

Learn to rest when you need to. It’s ok to take a break to recharge. I burned out physically and emotionally mid year and learned my lesson. I’m scheduling a few breaks thru out the year. (BTW, I stayed in a treehouse this year for the first time and it was very relaxing and perfect.)

Sometimes all you need is one good lipstick color and lip balm.

This year I began the process of simplifying and decluttering my life. I was reminded that I needed to let go of unnecessary baggage that was holding me back, such as debt, negative feelings of my self-worth and stuff that didn’t bring me joy. The simpler I keep my life, the happier I feel. (BTW, here are a few ways to begin decluttering your life via Pinterest.)

via GIPHY

Thanks for joining me on this journey and letting me share with you. I look forward to sharing more lessons I learn along the way.

A video posted by Ebony Looney (@ebonylooney) on

Five Quick Ways to Make Over Your Blog and Website

blog makeover

Truth be told, I’ve made over my blog and website at least seven times since I started blogging in 2007. I started out with a maroon theme on Blogspot with a basic header, but no logo. Then decided that I wanted to keep the blog light and ‘airy’ and changed the color to a soft pink now with a new logo I created. At the time I was making all these changes, I was really just having fun testing out new blog tech tools. I eventually started helping others get their blogs started or giving them a blog makeover.

Since 2007, blogging designs have changed. With each blog makeover, I always included the use of the latest standards. I have realized that it’s ok and actually normal to have a website (blog) upgrade every year or two to stay consistent with current trends. For example, are you still using Windows XP or have you upgraded to Windows 8, or are you now on a MAC?

Here are a few ways to makeover your blog to stay with the current trends:

1:  Make Your Theme Responsive

This is probably a no brainer, but if you are still using the same theme or layout that you did 3 years ago, it’s time for a makeover. Get a blog theme that automatically changes (or responds) in size depending on what device a user is on.  How does your blog look on a phone, tablet and desktop. Most WordPress themes are now equipped to respond. It’s the new web normal.

image3_1

2:  Add New Pics to the Home Page

Photos are selling point on any website. If your homepage has a slider option, add new slides to new blog posts on your site. If your blog is equipped to do this automatically, then you are already one step ahead of keeping the home page fresh!

3: Add an Email Signup Link after Posts

Add a ‘newsletter’ subscribe link at the end of each post so your readers can get tips delivered to their email. Use a service such as Mailchimp.com or ConstantContact.com to create simple emails and collect email addresses. Using your blog as a way to build an email list and grow leads for your services and products.

email signup screenshot

4: Update Your About Page

Are your goals are the as they were in a few years ago? If not, then why not update your about page to showcase what you are doing currently to highlight your skills and post new testimonials. Do you look the same as the photo on your about page? It might be time to include a new photo. Here are 10 great tips on how to write a good “About Page”. http://thestoryoftelling.com/10-rules-for-writing-about-me-page/

5: Update the Menu Bar with Only Relevant Links

The menu bar is a great way to showcase what categories and pages that you want to highlight. Take off the links that you want to de-emphasize. For example if you aren’t hosting any events, you might want to remove that link from your main menu bar.

So there you have it, just a few ways to update your blog and make it new. Why not take a few hours and update your blog. Then post a screenshot of your updates to your Facebook page asking your fans what they think of the update. If you need help with updating your blog, click here to schedule a consultation with me today.