You’ve been honing your craft for a while now! Your portfolio is starting to look awesome to the max.
Maybe you’ve even built up a bit of a following on social media.
However, there’s a good chance that you’ve been neglecting your website. With social media being such a powerful tool for creatives, who cares about a website, right? Wrong.
A website’s still the best way to create a hub where people can stay up to date with what you’re doing, get in touch with you, and purchase your products.
Whether you’re a pro creator with a creative studio that has gear valued at the same price as a new Cadillac, or if you’re simply a hobbyist artist who makes cool things on your smartphone, a website is easy enough to create, yet can be powerful enough to build a career off of.
In this article, we’re going to go over 8 different ideas you should keep in mind when building your website. Enjoy!
If you’re new to website creation, you might be a bit overwhelmed.
The most common website analytics tracker is Google Analytics. It’s powerful, lightweight, and relatively easy to use.
Most people simply look at their traffic graph to find out how many particular visitors arrived on a given day.
However, did you know that you can use Google Analytics to track sales, newsletter signups, what people are searching for on your website, and even how many times people download your freebies?
One feature that I’m really digging is called “Behavior Flow”. It shows a graphic of different landing pages on your site and where they go after viewing that particular page (ex. Going to your about page, going to your shop page, leaving your site, etc).
As a creative, some quite valuable metrics you could be tracking on your site are:
According to the Kissmetrics blog:
“40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.”
It’s not enough to just throw a website up and call it a day. I highly recommend – right this second – that you speed test your website on TEST MY SITE. A score in the low 90's is highly recommended.
Whether you only take donations, sell designs online, or simply blog, you need to come off as professional and trusting.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a professional web designer to create great looking sites anymore.
However, it’s still easier than ever to create a bad, unprofessional looking website.
Take a look at the JUST Creative homepage. It’s very simplistic – in a good way.
When a user hits the homepage of JustCreative, there’s only two main places to focus on. Notice in the above graphic that the two places to focus on are 1.) the call-to-action (asking to view Jacob’s Portfolio) and 2.) the navigation, with ONLY the most important links a user should visit.
On the topic of navigations, this is where many people make a big error. A lot of people put so many different links in their navigation which makes the decision process harder for the end-user.
Still think your navigation menu is perfect even when having a ton of different links? Try this.
You will see something like in the image above.
Now the question is: “What navigation links of mine get zero clicks?”
I run into situations a lot where I come across sites that are just impossible to contact. Sometimes the contact forms are even broken!
Make sure it is dead-easy for someone to contact you on your site. Usually, I like to put an email address contact form, my Twitter, and Facebook. This way, no matter what a user’s preferred communication platform is, you’ve got them covered.
Making it as easy as possible for someone to contact you is the difference between making a sale and missing one.
Going back to the idea of simplicity, you’re going to want each page of your site to have ONE clear goal in mind – not several.
If you’re working on a product page for selling an item, you’re not going to want to have other focus areas – such as promoting your social channels, displaying your most recent tweets, etc.
Keep it simple. Keep it focused.
Email is possibly the oldest online marketing channel out there.
However, still in 2017, the power of the email list is cherished by everyone from fortune 500 CEOs, to worldwide superstar musicians, to your friend that makes a few bucks in beer money every month from his t-shirt designs.
Think of an email list as the most stable form of communication you can have with your audience. With social media marketing – On Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or whatever pops up tomorrow – an algorithm can be released tomorrow that will cut your fan reach in half. This happened with Facebook a few years ago and many people who depended on their Facebook page to pay their bills, had their income cut in half overnight.
Meanwhile, an email list is much more predictable. With the innovative email marketing tools we have today, you’ll be able to easily segment (or categorize/label) your subscribers & customers and send them email that’s most relevant to them.
There’s three steps you can follow to start building an email list:
1. Sign up for an email marketing service
MailChimp has a free plan with a lot of features, so I recommend starting there. There’s also other options such as aWeber, Drip, ActiveCampaign, and ConvertKit that are worth exploring as well.
2. Create a signup form and put it on your website
Email marketing services such as MailChimp typically have form builders. However, there’s a plethora of other tools you could as well.
To make being on your email list more enticing than simply “Sign up to stay connected with me”, you could offer a free download. Some example headlines you can use on your form are:
Remember: Simplicity is often the best answer in web design. Keep simple goals in mind when designing pages on your website.