Web Design: The Mama Ladder

 
 

BRANDING | WEB DESIGN

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

The Mama Ladder™ International is a brand-new partnership between mompreneurs Crystalee Beck & Lynette Evans. These two powerhouses came to me with so much motivation and action taking-- and it paid off!
During our sessions together, we mapped out a strategy of creating an optimized website that encouraged sign-ups, and an irresistible freebie course geared specifically towards their dream clients.
As part of my Luxe Branding & Web Design experience, I designed their freebie and set up their entire 3-day email course automation in Mailchimp.
The entire experience is designed to captivate visitors and turn them into clients and raving fans!
From a branding standpoint, Crystalee and Lynette wanted a clean, feminine design with a touch of whimsy-- that appeals to their mama target audience. Ladders, confetti and gold foil find their way into much of the design, but keeping things subtle and modern at the same time!

 
 

Web Design: Nielle Branding

 
 

BRANDING | WEB DESIGN

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

Jhenielle is an experienced marketing professional who currently lends her expertise at a Fortune 500 company. She decided to expand her reach to local business owners in her city of Atlanta, thus Nielle Branding was born.

The newly-minted boutique branding agency helps small business owners harness their marketing efforts and grow their business using proven strategies.

The inspiration behind her brand mood and colors was quite familiar-- and very similar to her own beautiful wedding in Summer 2015. I happened to be in attendance, and may have shed a tear or two!

The brand features rich navy blues accented with gold foil and olive green. She also wanted her fun-loving, yet professional style to shine through, which is brought through in polka dot and chevron accents. Click here to check it out!

Web Design: MakeUp By Sparkle

 
 

WEB DESIGN

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

Sparkle is a nationally-known makeup artist with over 18 years of experience in the industry. She's done celebrity makeup across the country, and has even been featured on Good Morning America!

She has since parlayed her expertise into a high-end makeup line. She wanted a robust eCommerce platform that delivered a seamless customer service experience, and user-friendly system for her to run.

Of course, Squarespace was my solution! I used the platform (and a bit of custom coding) to deliver my most complex online store yet, 12 products with multiple color variations.

On the branding side, Sparkle loves the simplicity of black and white, modern fashion-- but with a Sparkle twist on it! I integrated the sparkle in subtle ways like in custom hover effects. Click here to see the site in action!

Web Design: Kay Zulu

 
 

Branding | Web Design

About This Project

Kay is a business success coach for go-getter ladies. She came to me looking for a brand and website that spoke to her free and feminine energy, and captivated her ideal clients with the same energy.

During the moodboard collaboration, Kay loved the beautiful, soft pinks and shimmery golds, so I made sure those were front-and center during the web design and logo creation process.

The result was not only a beautiful website, but one that is built for converting visitors into subscribers. I designed her awesome freebie email series and 3-day audio course, all hosted on her website

 
 

Web Design: Heidi Day

 
 

Branding | Web Design

About This Project

Heidi is a Trauma to Transformation life coach. She came to me after working with a designer who didn't quite capture the eclectic, mystical brand she was looking to portray.

She loves abstract paislies, and the texture of the albalone shell, so that played a major role in the final design. 

Heidi's audio freebie with world-renowned author, Lisa Nichols is also featured front-and-center, along with her Well-Healed tribe membership site.

 
 

Why I LOVE Squarespace For Luxe Brands

Are you dealing with the website blues?

I hear the stories from clients when they first come to me, that twinge of shame when someone asks for your website link, or the frustration of tweaking your site through trial and error, and still not coming out with the right vision.

I'm a firm believe that you should be IN LOVE with your website and branding, and that's why I do what I do.

It's been nearly a year since I made the big leap from Wordpress to Squarespace, and my business has thanked me for it. Here are a couple of reasons why Squarespace is AWESOME for luxe brands!

Maintenance

If you’ve ever had a Wordpress site, you know that you constantly have to update plugins, themes & software to prevent a crash.

I was always worried about updating a plugin and crashing my whole site, or using a plugin that might bring a virus into my site.

With Squarespace, there are NO UPDATES to worry about, they take care of it! I went from spending about an hour a week in maintenance on my Wordpress site, to ZERO time on maintenance, this is one of the best things about Squarespace!

Site Speed

My Wordpress site had extremely slow page loading time, this hurts SEO! This tends to happen when you are paying under $10 per month for hosting. When I started to look into premium Wordpress hosting, the price was much more expensive than Squarespace, that was the final straw that made me switch. Now my site loads quickly, and I have Squarespace's 24/7 support team has my back, so they jump on any issues before I even know about them!

Typography

 As a designer, typography is SO IMPORTANT.  The right fonts can make or break your design. One of the things that drew me to Squarespace were the amazing variety of fonts available right out of the box. Some fonts like "Brandon Grotesque" and "Proxima Nova" are VERY expensive to purchase on your own, and I used to get so much website envy seeing those fonts on Squarespace Sites!

All of the fonts and colors on your site are easily editable in Squarespace's style editor, which is another reason why I love the platform.

Cover Pages

This might be my favorite feature on Squarespace, because it's so dang easy to use! A cover page is basically a landing page template (think LeadPages) that you can setup and customize very easily. I use them to put up a quick freebie sign up page, or to create a "Thank You" page after people sign up. Cover pages are also great for "Coming Soon" pages while your site is under construction.

These are just a few of the reasons why Squarespace is such an amazing platform for luxe brands. That's why I created a course to show you the ins and outs of Squarespace, as I build an actual client website step-by-step.

My course, Toastworthy Websites not only includes 6 modules starting with the branding, logo and moodboard going all the way through the site-building process. You also get access to my exclusive Facebook group only for course members.

I also throw in a BONUS module, that will teach you how to link your Mailchimp with your cover pages, design your freebie and your emails, so that the entire subscriber process is on-brand and professional! That Flawless Automation Masterclass typically sells for $49 on my site.

When you put it all together, my masterclass is like getting the full DIY version of my done-for-you Luxe Branding & Website Experience, which is worth $3800!

For a limited time, you can get my Toastworthy Websites Course for only:

$397

Imagine having a beautiful brand and website of your own before the Summer is over. You can do it, and I can help!

Web Design: Bianca Joseph

Bianca Joseph
Start-Up Success Coach

BRANDING | WEB DESIGN

About This Project

Bianca's website was one of the first ones I ever built on Squarespace, I immediately fell in love with the platform.

Bianca was looking for a vibrant luxurious brand for her coaching business, inspired by geometric shapes and gold foil.

She also wanted to place a lot of focus on her freebie business start-up guide. We designed her freebie PDF and automated email for her new subscribers, as well.

9 Ways to Re-Purpose Your Periscope Broadcasts

Periscope is quickly becoming my favorite social media site, because it takes interactivity to the next level, on top of that, Periscopers are providing so much value and tips, that this goodness needs to be preserved forever!

For those of you who haven't discovered the magic of Periscope yet, Periscope is a live streaming app that allows you to broadcast from anywhere at any time, as long as you have an internet connection. The app is owned by Twitter, and it's super new! Many people started hopping on in July of this year. The broadcaster is able to interact with viewers through their comments, and the viewers can tap the screen to give hearts as a show of approval. The hearts stream along the side of the broadcast, adding a warm and fuzzy feeling to Periscope.

This app has quickly become a hotbed for brilliant entrepreneurs offering free value and live feedback to anyone who wants to learn. It's made an amazing difference in my own visibility for my business. I recently did a Periscope about simulating the LeadPages experience on your website, if you can't afford it. This all stemmed from a Periscope broadcast from 2 days before. That's when I realized: I'm putting all this content out, and just letting it sit there without sharing it with non-Periscopers! That LeadPages blog post is now the 2nd most visited page on my blog, and got me 30 new email subscribers in 1 day! That's when I knew I needed to start finding ways to re-puropse these Periscopes to help grow my business!

Periscope broadcasts are only accessible for 24 hours, and then they're gone from the app forever! That's a lot of value down the drain if you aren't finding ways to re-purpose these gems! This post will show you 9 core ways to do that, and maybe a few bonuses, if I'm feeling generous! Feel free to watch this in Periscope form, if you're more visual:

1. Sign up for a katch.me account

This is the first step to making your scopes last forever! Katch.me automatically saves your Periscopes into embeddable videos that you can continue sharing long after they expire on the app. If you don't already have a Katch account, do it RIGHT NOW! No more awesome content disappearing into the wind!
 

2. Post scopes to Facebook groups

 

Up next, we've heard it so many times: you should be posting in Facebook groups! I am in a mind-boggling number of Facebook groups, and I always see other entrepreneurs posting things: from the most mundane topics, to super valuable posts and links. What could be more valuable than your best scopes? If you have a particularly good scope, share it with the class, missy! I find that the response from other group members is great for this!

3. Add your periscopes to your social automation & Twitter posts (don’t post just once!)

When you broadcast on Periscope, it is automatically posted to your Twitter page. But guess what: the ONLY people who see that tweet are the people who are on twitter that time. This is very important: ALL of your content should be posted MULTIPLE times on Twitter. Social automation tools like Buffer, Edgar, Hootsuite and CoSchedule help bloggers to automate their sharing, and continue to send out old posts even months after they were first published. Your Katch.me broadcasts should be included in this. Continue to share them long after the first broadcast, at varied times of the day.

4. Put an announcement bar on your website for recent scopes

Take a look at the top bar of my site: That's an Announcement Bar! Squarespace allows you to add an announcement bar to your site, and link it to whatever you want. I recently started pushing people towards my katch.me page, because they can really see my personality, and more of the value that I offer. It's a good way to turn visitors into raving fans! For Wordpress users, there are lots of notification bar plugins including Hello Bar and WP Front!

 

5. Put a Periscope image + link in your sidebar

Just like the announcement bar, make your blog's sidebar work for you. Create a branded graphic that can fit in your sidebar, and give people the option to visit your Katch.me page and view your past Perisopes! 

 

6.Write a blog post with the Scope embedded (use good past scopes!)

If you already had a Katch.me account, you probably have a goldmine of old scopes that are not being shared nearly enough! Go back through your broadcasts, and see if any of them inspire new blog posts. For example: I Periscoped about Twitter cards, but then I never thought to to a blog post about it, until someone commented that they really enjoyed that scope! So look through your past scopes, and get inspired! Remember to embed the Periscope into the blog post, so people can see you on video!

 

7. Link to scopes when they're relevant to a sentence 

Sometimes I tend to ramble on and on when I start talking about business. I get so passionate about these things! Well, that rambling can come in handy, because it gives you the opportunity to reference Periscopes that may be relevant to what you're talking about. For example: in my Free Bombshell Brand Makeover Mini Course, I reference the importance of finding your "why" in business, While I'm talking about that in the course, I remembered that I had a very excited scope on the day that I revealed my "why" in a Facebook group, and got such an amazing response from people. So even though "Day 1" of the course isn't about that scope, I still found a good reason to share it, because it was relevant to the topic!

8. REFER PEOPLE TO A SCOPE WHEN THEY ASK QUESTIONS.

Especially in Facebook groups, people ask a lot of questions that have been asked before. If you want to be helpful, give them a quick answer, but also link to a Periscope that you did about the topic (if it exists.) For example, maybe someone wants to know how to figure out what Wordpress theme someone is using on their site. Well I did a scope about that a few weeks past, so I would point them to the replay on my Katch.me. Not only will that person get your helpful answer, but so will anyone else who comes across the feed will see it, as well! Also, remember that commonly-asked questions are good ideas for Periscope topics in the future!

 

9. Send YOUR best scopes to Your email list

If you're struggling to find things to send to your email subscribers-- consider your Periscopes. Perhaps you did a really good one this week, or maybe you just got finished with a good series of scopes on a certain topic. Take that opportunity to introduce your subscribers to Periscope, encourage them to follow you, and they even get a preview of your style by watching you on Katch! Remember that everyone on Periscope now is considered an "early adopter." There are millions of folks out there who don't know what it is yet, and a lot of those people are on your list! Let's spread the word and make this Periscope thing really BIG!

BONUS TIP: PIN your scopes into info graphics!

I am a lover of pretty things, so as I was compiling this list of tips, of course I had to make the list all pretty! That's when it hit me: this would be a great infographic for Pinterest! Infographics get re-pinned a lot because they offer a "quick win" without having to read an entire blog post. People who want to hear more will click through, and see what you have to offer! Here's my infographic below. Feel free to re-pin it if you'd like! My handy SumoMe share buttons make it super easy for you to post my images to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

extra bonus: post periscope snippets to instagram!

Katch has an option for you to download your Periscopes, which means you can edit them as you please. Instagram allows you to upload 15 second videos, and Instagram Ads allow 30 seconds! The possibilities are really endless, here. You could put together short videos showing you giving value on Periscope or a particularly fun or funny moment during your scope so the non-scopers can see what a rocking party we have going on over here!

That was the final tip, from me, but new ideas on sharing Periscope are coming to me every day! Do you have any suggestions? Let me know below! Also, I'd love for you to share this out to your friends and followers so we can keep this scope party going! Ahem! I even wrote the tweet out for you, click the button below to share!

Can't Afford LeadPages™? Here's How I 'Fake It' With Squarespace & Mailchimp

Simulate the LeadPages experience on your site! Stock photo from @RekitaNicole

Simulate the LeadPages experience on your site! Stock photo from @RekitaNicole

I was recently talking to a friend who is just getting started on her entrepreneurial journey, and is planning out her website. She told me “I feel like I NEED LeadPages™ to even get started.” Let me tell you that this is a widely-held misconception, and it's not true!

For those of you who don’t know what LeadPages™ is, it’s a paid software that makes it super easy to create landing pages for your webinars and freebies, and makes it simple for your subscribers to share that content. It’s quite an investment at $25 a month for the cheapest package, and you pay the whole year up front. It’s an awesome system used by most of the popular entrepreneurs and coaches out there.

For those who aren’t making big money just yet, Lead Pages may be out of reach, but I’m here to tell you that you can still create a beautiful, awesome user experience, similar to Lead Pages without the price tag. My theory is: if you can’t afford it, then just get started, so you can make money and afford it ASAP! I’m going to show you how I ‘fake it’ using Squarespace and Mailchimp.

 

LeadBoxes™

One of my favorite aspects of LeadPages™ is the LeadBoxes™ feature. Basically, it allows you to have a “CLICK ME” button for your freebie, which pops up into a subscription form box for people to enter their email address. I’ve heard many online marketing gurus say that people are more likely to subscribe when they click a “Download Me” button that pops up into a form, instead of seeing the form that asks for their email address and name outright. In fact, Lead Pages says the conversion rate is up to 30% higher when using a button and Lead Box.

There is a little-known Squarespace function that mimics this, and it’s called a lightbox form. Click the button below to see the lightbox, and sign up for my Bombshell Brand 5-Day mini-course while you’re at it!

This is compared with a simple newsletter block that immediately signals viewers that you’re going to be asking for their email address.

So how do you create a lightbox form in Squarespace? Simply insert a form block on your page, and hit the “Advanced” tab. If you scroll down to the very bottom, you will see the option to enable lightbox mode. Need a video tutorial? Subscribe below for the full mini-training on Faking Lead Pages with Squarespace!

Squarespace Form Block

Squarespace Form Block


Subscriber “Thank You” Pages

You may notice that after you sign up for a webinar or freebie from a LeadPages customer, you are sent to a “Thank You” page that makes it very easy to share the content with your friends and followers. This is how you facilitate a viral response to your offers, by encouraging a LOT of sharing. In the example below, to of my faves: Mariah from Femtrepreneur and Melyssa from The Nectar Collective have a very personalized “Thank You” page with share links.

From Mariah and Melyssa!  :-)

From Mariah and Melyssa!  :-)

Not only are the share links prominently placed, but they already have an example “tweet” text in the box that pops up, so subscribers don’t even have to think about what they’re going to say in the tweet they share. Pretty cool, huh? Well, the way I pull this off is by using a “Cover Page” on Squarespace. These easy-to-customize templates allow you to include an image, some text and “Call to Action” buttons in a nice, responsive way. You can see my “Thank You” page for my Brand Breakthrough Course here.

You will notice that I have share buttons for Facebook and Twitter, just like the Lead Pages Template. If you click on the Twitter button, you will see that I have a suggested tweet ready for my new subscriber to share out. So how do I get the tweet link to work? I use a service called “Click to Tweet” this allows you to type up a suggested tweet and get a special link that will generate that tweet for anyone who clicks it.

So you may be wondering: how do I re-direct my subscribers to a “Thank You” page, instead of the default email confirmation page that Mailchimp generates? This is quite simple, and can be done in your Mailchimp account.

1.         Click “Lists” in the top panel

2.         Select the Mailing list you want this to work for

3.         Select “Signup Forms” above your list

4.         Select “General Forms

5.         Click the grey drop down menu, and select “Confirmation Thank You Page”

6.         You’ll see an option that says “Instead of showing this thank you page, send subscribers to another URL”

7.         Paste in the link to your custom Thank You page

Having this page will help deliver a personalized, branded experience, and encourage sharing for your new subscribers. I generate the Facebook link using this Link Generator tool.

 

Webinar Pages

Another great tool from lead pages is the webinar page. A very simple, straightforward page with a video, a chat box and a ‘call to action’ button for people to buy your offer. Here’s a secret: making a page like this in Squarespace is easy as can be!

All you need is the YouTube link that Google Hangouts provides you for your live broadcast. I explain this process in detail in my bonus video training (sign up below.) You embed it in Squarespace usine the "video" content block. You create a chat box using a tool like Chatango. They will give you an embed code that you can place in the site. In between the video and the chat, I place a standard Squarespace button that links to your offer. And that’s it! You could honestly set up your whole webinar page in 15 minutes!

I hope this post was able to show you how to create an awesome, branded and share-worthy opt-in experience similar to the premium LeadPages service. If you think you need a little video instruction, sign up for my video training, where I take you step-by step through these tips!

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions, or maybe you have some hacks that you use to simulate the Lead Pages experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

New Site Launch- 727 Event Planning

 
 

Branding | Web Design

About This Project

I am so excited to unveil my latest website launch of 727 Event Planning, it's my favorite project so far! Erica, The founder of 727 Event Planning, reached out to me about creating a client portal for her brides, where they could log in and view all their important planning documents in one place.

After her initial inquiry, I suggested that we do a full site re-design, and move her Wix site over to Wordpress. She agreed, and I could hardly get started fast enough! It started with the logo concepts, that I really enjoyed putting together.  She LOVED Option #1, which was also my favorite.

After she selected the logo, I couldn't wait to hit the ground running on the site design. Let's just say I pulled an all-nighter, designing the lop-level pages (Home, About, Services, Contact.) This was partially due to a 20-ounce mocha from Wawa, and the fact that I was just in love with designing this site. Don't tell anyone, but I wish it was mine!

 
 

I recently heard from Erica after attending a bridal show. She brought an iPad, and showed the portal to some potential clients. She said they LOVED it, and one even booked her on the spot! It's so great to get feedback like that.

Designing this site has really re-invigorated my passion for the web, and I can't wait to get my hands on the next project. If you are interested in booking me, check out my services page! Thanks for reading!

How To Crush Impostor Syndrome (And Get Things Done)

The prospect of putting yourself out there in this world of blogging and online entrepreneurship can be exciting, but also pretty scary. You log on and see so many people with beautiful websites, huge social media followings and awesome graphics. It's easy to get a twinge of the old "Impostor Syndrome" wondering "am I good enough?" or "why would anyone want to read my stuff, when they can read their stuff?"

As I write this post, I feel like I am writing it to myself just as much as I am writing it to you. I decided to start this design blog about two months ago, after studying web design and blogging for about 6 months. Since then, I have yet to write a single post, as I constantly tweak my website and take more design courses, or read more blogs. Anything to feel more prepared to launch. This week, I'm finally deciding to change that and just write something real!

I chatted this weekend with my new blog coach @freshalina, who has had years of success with her own entertainment blog. I know what you're thinking: "who hires a blog coach when they have no blog??" But bear with me here! I think I just needed someone to tell me that it was ok to start! To finally stop watching other people do things and start doing them! So here I am.

If you've stuck with me to this point in the post, and maybe you get what I'm saying, I'm going to list out some "tips" on breaking out of impostor syndrome, and putting yourself out there. Just know that I am preaching to myself just as much as anyone.

 

Cut Down on Social Media Browsing

 

When I first decided that I wanted to design and blog, I got a new twitter account and started following every designer, developer and marketing expert I could find. My Twitter feed has become a constantly-flowing arsenal of content (and clickbait.) From "The Number One Thing New Designers Need To Learn" to "How I Got 1,000 Email Subscribers In A Week" I clicked on ALL of them. Next thing you know, an hour has gone by, and I don't really have any actionable takeaways from what I've read.

I think when you first get started, a certain amount to this is acceptable, because you're just so excited about learning everything, and I did learn a lot. But it's super important to get down to the doing, otherwise, you'll never get started!

 

Make a Big Investment

 

Being the frugal person I am, I find that I am much more committed to something once I've spent money on it. Not bargain-basement money, but a substantial investment that puts a dent in your yearly latte budget. For me, the first step in that process was web design and development training. I've spent a few hundred dollars on courses that can take my design skills to the next level, and they have been worth it.

Not only that, but the fact that I'm spending money on my business makes it that much more real. I'm less prone to spending my money on clothes or shoes now, and I actually have a savings account that automatically withdraws $100 a week from my paycheck. That money is on reserve just in case I come across a course or coaching offer that could be a game changer in growing my business. I've already found one that I'm so excited about, and because I have that fund, I don't have to think twice about purchasing. At the end of the day, that fund will be a part of my "Leap Fund" for when I make the jump to full-time freelancing.

 

Know Your Worth

 

It's easy to feel like an amateur when you see people who have been in business for years and seem to have it all figured out. Only recently did it dawn on me how much I have learned over the past year, and how 'present day' me is much closer to expertise than 'past day' me was. Back then, I didn't know what a widget was or how to change the permalinks on my site, and that's just scratching the surface. All the podcasts I have listened to, webinars I sat in on, and articles I have read (yes, some of that clickbait helped!)

If you've been in this game for any amount of time, you have a knowledge an expertise that comes with the trial and error of simply doing the work. That is knowledge and expertise that people will pay for. Maybe you didn't even know what a domain and hosting was this time last year. Or maybe you avoided the "text editing" column of Wordpress-- but now you know exactly what's going on in there. There are people out there who are still at stage 1, and they don't know any of this stuff. They will pay for your expertise. Things that may seem easy to you now, may have been a huge challenge last year. Remember that, and know that somebody wants/ needs the knowledge you have!

 

I hope these tips will help you break out of your own thoughts a bit, and realize that you've got something to offer. I am using this post to coach myself up, as well. The more clients I work with, the more I realize how much I have learned, and it is valuable to those them! So go ahead and put yourself out there!

Do you struggle with limiting thoughts as well? Let me know in the comments, and tell me how you break through them!