MadeVibrant.com just got a face lift!
Today is one of my favorite kind of days… it’s LAUNCH DAY! Hooray! As you can see, my new website refresh is officially live and ready for feedback!
You may remember that last week’s email was all about focus.
After spending the first 8 months or so of my business in a period of exploration, trying to figure out my “sweet spot” was in terms of service offerings, about two months ago I finally felt myself emerging with some sense of clarity on the direction of Made Vibrant moving forward.
However, with that new focus in mind, it became painfully obvious how ill-suited my own website structure was for communicating my new message effectively.
Over the course of about six weeks I reimagined and restructured my website so that it would work with me, not against me, in attracting new clients for my business.
Today, I’d like to share with you some of the thoughts that went into that process with the hope that it might prove valuable to those of you out there that are at a similar spot in your creative journey.
First off... let's talk about:
THE NEW FOCUS
Since the launch of Made Vibrant in January, I’ve done my best to juggle branding, web and blog design, hand-lettering, illustration, marketing consulting, digital products, and print design. (WHOA, I'm exhausted just writing all that.)
In the beginning, I admit I enjoyed the variety, but after a while it became frustrating to constantly be taking on projects with different timelines, price points, expectations and processes. It was hard to feel any sense of momentum or mastery in any one thing.
That’s when I sat down and thought long and hard about which of those things brings me the most value (both in terms of financial freedom and daily joy) and which of them brings others the most value.
When I framed it to myself in that way, it became clear to me that brand development and identity design for creatives is my passion.
I feel that my strength as a designer is my desire to get to know my clients in a real and authentic way - their motivations, their passions, their personalities - and then to design a brand around what makes them unique. There’s nothing I love more than when a client takes a look at the mood board or new logo I’ve created for them and says -“Holy crap, that’s me. You nailed it.”
That’s why on the home page of the new site, you will see big and bold the following sentence:
“I help soulful creatives build vibrant, authentic brands.”
There's a purpose behind that big, bold statement. The #1 thing that your website should do is communicate plainly and simply what you do so that potential clients/customers immediately know what you have to offer.
WHY I DECIDED TO INTEGRATE MY SITES
Another huge factor in this site refresh was the structure of my sites. When I launched MadeVibrant, I pretty much had four different sites:
1. MadeVibrant.com (hub site with links to the three sub sites)
- 2. Blog.MadeVibrant.com (home for new blog posts)
- 3. Studio.MadeVibrant.com (home for design services)
- 4. Shop.MadeVibrant.com (home for what I thought would be a resource/paper shop. Not so much. Just ended up as a glorified email capture.)
The segmenting made sense at the time to me because I truly didn’t know which of those three arms would become my passion, nor could I find a unified theme that integrated functionality for each piece. However, here’s why the three-pronged approach became a bad strategy:
Blogging doesn’t pay my bills.
I love it, of course, but at the end of the day it should act as a marketing tool for the paying part of my business - the design studio. I thought that by putting a couple of links on the blog to the studio site, that it would drive traffic and clients to the studio site, right? WRONG.
Since January, I’ve had almost 37,000 visitors to my blog. Do you know how many visitors I’ve had to my studio site, the PAYING part of my business? Just 3,000. Quite the disconnect, huh?
So here's the lesson there:
Keeping that in mind, moving forward I knew that it was of paramount importance that my design services and my blog live under the same roof. That way, if people came to my site through the blog, it would be seamless for them to check out the rest of my site. (I also made my navigation sticky for the very same reason.)
WHY I CHOSE SQUARESPACE
This is a whole can of worms for a different day perhaps, but for those unfamiliar with Squarespace, it’s another website content management system, similar to Wordpress. I’ve been in love with Squarespace since I chatted with one of their team members at ALT SLC back in 2012 and she converted me. Unlike Wordpress, there are no updates, no plugins to worry about breaking, their themes are highly responsive and flexible, and most importantly their user interface is simple and powerful.
I’ll likely be diving into this into detail on the blog in the future, but many of their templates include the ability to house a portfolio, a number of pages & a blog, which was the integration I was looking for. When I went hunting for a beautiful solution that served my needs, I realized it was the perfect time to make the switch.
There are still some kinks to work out - especially with transferring my domains and such, but I expect to be cleaning some of those things up in the coming days.
Now, all of that said, some of you might be wondering...
WHAT WILL CHANGE FOR THE NEWSLETTER?
Not very much at all! My working mission for this newsletter is exactly what you see on the new site: “Grow as a person. Grow as a business.” I believe the two complement one another. So some weeks (like this one) the topic will be more business-related and geared toward the creative entrepreneur, but other weeks I’ll be discussing broader topics like whatever challenges I’m facing in my own life.
Right now I’m (thankfully!) completely booked through the end of September, a fact that is already proof that focusing on one thing can positively impact your business. Despite the packed schedule, I’m still committed to creating great resources for soulful creatives like Connecting With Your Core. My goal is to release yet another Self-Made Guide before the end of October. I'm excited for what's to come and I hope you all will continue to follow along as I try to grow Made Vibrant.
I appreciate each one of you. Thanks for the continued encouragement. Please poke around and check out the new site, and feel free to email me with any typos/broken links, etc. I would really appreciate it!