This post especially goes out to the Self-Made Society’ers with a creative business or side hustle (or any of you who dream of starting a creative business - it's for you guys too!)
If that’s you, I’m sure you inevitably have reached that point in the life of your business where you’ve said to yourself, Man, I realllllly want to change the design of my website or Man, I realllllly want to update my branding.
I think it’s only natural that we want to update “our look” as our business evolves, just like it’s only natural that we want to evolve our sense of style as we get older. (As someone who REALLY had a rough time during the low-rise jeans craze in middle and high school, I’m grateful for this fact.)
And, yes, taking your brand into the present is a good thing, and it’s certainly the reason why you’ll notice some differences in the Made Vibrant brand on the new website.
However, there are times when I see entrepreneurs or bloggers or business owners completely overhauling the look of their brand and site every six months to a year, and I think that could be a mistake. Here’s why:
Brands build over time.
TIME is crucial part of the magic. Seeing brand elements used consistently over time is when they start to have staying power in the minds of your audience.
The more time that goes by, the more your audience feels like they know you. They’re comfortable with you. They get you.
If you switch things up too much on them, while it may serve you well in the short-term by giving you a boost in attention to your business, beyond that buzz is just a community that has to get to know you all over again.
So, all that said, here are my quick rules for re-designing your website or brand:
(And keep in mind, I’m talking about a pretty major overhaul, not just adding a new section to your blog sidebar or switching out your body font.)
1. Update your website if the primary objective of your site has changed.
If you don't have a primary objective for your site, you should! It helps to know what you're trying to accomplish because that will inform the layout and design for your site.
For example, about eight months in to Made Vibrant, I wanted to get serious about taking on more client work, and so the primary objective for my site was to create more inbound design leads. I made that the focus on the home page and called out my services throughout various parts of the site, not to mention the fact that I consolidated my three separate Wordpress sites into one Squarespace site so that all of my blog traffic would also more easily click over to my design services.
Now, almost 8 months later, my primary objective has changed again. Many of you have been here through the journey of evolving Made Vibrant from a client service business into a products & resources business. For months now I’ve been working behind-the-scenes to make that transition, but my website and brand remained better suited for a client-based design studio. Now you'll see the emphasis in the design is on the community and on downloading/purchasing my resources.
**Note: Two website re-designs in less than two years can feel like a lot, for the exact reasons I mentioned above. That's why I deliberately left parts of my brand in tact during those transitions, and even in this bigger brand refresh. The logo, the keystone pattern, and the overall vibrant tone of the brand has remained consistent, keeping things familiar and comfortable. That has helped usher my community through the process of those various website re-designs/brand updates.**
2. Update your brand if you feel it no longer accurately reflects the personality of you or your business.
I am not just an advocate for unique branding; I'm an advocate for authentic branding. I believe your website and brand is your opportunity to communicate who you are and what you're about to your audience. It's your chance to attract the right kind of people, people that see you and your business for who they really are. That's why it's so important that the design reflects your true sense of self.
Let's say you're a photographer who has been shooting weddings for the past five years and your brand has been all romance and fairytales, but now you feel like maybe if you look at another dang piece of white cake you might scream... yeah, in that case, it's time to move on from romance and fairytales. That's not your vibe anymore, it isn't coming from a sincere place, and so that's your cue that it's the right time for an update.
3. Update your brand/site if you feel your current look and feel is affecting your confidence.
The other two reasons have more to do with how branding can help you when it comes to other people (your audience/community, etc.) But what I don’t think gets talked about nearly enough is the other, less obvious reason for having a quality brand: that it makes you feel good.
Now, I don’t mean to make it overly simple. It’s just that in business, confidence is so important. Being able to tell someone what you do, what you believe in, who you want to help with conviction is the key to getting someone on board with your mission. And if you don’t have a brand or a website that you’re proud of, you may not feel so compelled to share your business with the world.
If you feel like your current website or brand is preventing you from projecting confidence in your mission or business, then by all means throw every other rule out the window and invest the time to change it.
Now, in this case, for me it was time to not only update the site to reflect my new goals, it was also important to give the brand itself a face lift. For one, I feel different than I did when I was starting Made Vibrant or even six months ago. I feel so much more sure of the direction I want to go and that is reflected in what I think is a more confident and bold brand. But, more importantly, as I embark on this new chapter in the business, a full year under my belt and finally seeing profitability, I wanted to be completely in love with my brand. And now I can say that I am. (Not to mention I feel much more confident teaching a course about branding when I have a brand I'm super proud of!)
BONUS RULE: Being bored with your branding is not a good enough reason to change it.
If you're changing your branding or website, either you're a) a designer, in which case you're investing a lot of time and energy or b) you're hiring someone, in which case you're investing time, energy and money. Make sure those investments are worth it.
Feel like your vibe doesn't suit your tastes or reflect your true self anymore? By all means, change something. Want to update your typography or add some fun graphic elements that reflect a new skill (eh hem, hand-lettering…), okay awesome! Go right ahead! BUT, please, please do not just overhaul the thing because you’re bored.
Spend that time and energy on reaching your business goals and give your brand the time it needs to start working for you.
This week, I want you to think about which of those three rules applies to you and your creative business.
Is it time to rethink the objective of your website or update your brand? Do you feel confident in your branding and what it's communicating to your audience?
Do a little audit and email me back with why you do or don't feel the need to give things a facelift right now. (Plus, I'd love to check out your website! I want to see the cool things that you guys are doing and creating!)
Thank you guys SO MUCH for all your support as this little business and community evolves. I'm so excited about the future of Made Vibrant - there are A TON of resources I want to create to help you become your brightest self and make your dream life a reality. I finally feel like I have the right digital home to make that happen.