I hear a lot of people say that a website is irrelevant nowadays, and in some ways, I agree. However, there are still plenty of benefits of having a clearly articulated website that speaks to your audience. That for me is the biggest reason for maintaining one.
What I’ve found is that writing web copy and deciding how you want your online vibe to look and feel brings massive clarity. If you’re starting from ground zero this may not be the case, but if you’ve had your business for a year or more, you’ve probably got more clarity than you realize—it just needs some refining.
When my website broke a couple of months ago, I decided it was a good time to refine my offers, my message and tweak the design to reflect how me and my offers have evolved.
Although I’ve been through this process before, I’ve always rushed through it and wound up spending too much time on the design (which is a terrible use of my time). This time, I followed a simple mood board process that I teach in my course, Visual Marketing for Beginners and simplified the entire look and feel which feels much more aligned with where I am in my business today.
My website always had a calming, minimalist vibe but depth and maturity were missing. It still felt like early-thirties-me when I launched my first website to the world. I didn’t feel inspired to write, maintain it or send people to it. Don’t ask me why having an online space that felt out of sync with me had such a poor impact on my creativity, but all I can tell you is that it did.
Although my process is simple, the end result is an aligned, connected, inspired space to show up for yourself and resonate with your audience. My new, aligned website has given me the confidence and inspiration to share myself online.
And that’s my hope for you, too.
Step 01. Determine your brand keywords
In the past, I’d usually skip this step. It was too time consuming and honestly, the actual designing was sexier. It wasn’t until I worked with Sarah Hart, the creator of the Brand Mapping Method and followed her process when I realized, there’s something magical that happens when you take the time to articulate the vibe you want your online space to look and feel.
Somehow without this step, I had always managed to create a soulful, inspiring online presence but I always felt something was missing. It’s easy to get lost in the design phase and run yourself in circles when you haven’t honed in on what your brand’s about first.
To do this, start by imagining your dream space. How do you feel when you’re in this space? Relaxed? Grounded? Like you wanna dance? Are you by the ocean? The woods or a cool inner-city cafe? Whatever you feel is perfect for you.
As you envision this space, think about clients visiting this space. Maybe you work with them here. How does your space change? What do people say as they walk through the doors (if there are doors)? Take it all in and bring your awareness to the sights and smells and most importantly the feeling your space evokes.
Then, take a moment to think about three to five words that describe your space. Now that you have your brand keywords, what colours, fonts, images and elements will bring your brand keywords to life?
02. Create a mood board
A mood board is a collage or visual representation of what you want your brand to look and feel like. They can be physical or digital depending on your preference. To create my mood board (pictured above), I followed a simple process I teach inside my Visual Marketing for Beginners guidebook. It’s a bit of a hybrid between a mood and branding board, but overall, it’s an easy way for non-designers (like myself) to create cohesion, organization and see your visualization come to life.
I start by pulling in a few photos that embody the mood I’m going for. In the mood board above, I chose images for their colour, the feeling the image evokes, and subject. In this video, I show you how to create an inspiration board using Pinterest which is a great way to find images to use for your mood board. You can also keep it simple and just use photos straight out of Canva which is the tool I use to create mood boards.
Once I find images that feel right (it’s an intuitive process), I experiment with colours, fonts, photos and elements that align with the energy I want. You’ve got to feel your way through it and trust what you’re getting. If a colour, image or font doesn’t feel right—then replace it with something else. I teach you how to choose fonts and colours that reflect who you are inside the guidebook or the Visual Marketing for Beginners Course if you’d like deeper instruction.
Either way, don’t overcomplicate it or second-guess yourself. Your brand style and vibe will grow and evolve as you grow and evolve. Your mood board is just a quick way to organize how your brand will look and you can always go back and tweak it if it doesn’t feel right.
03. Find a theme that reflects you
In the past, I’ve always designed my website from scratch. This consisted of wire-framing the pages in Canva first (above), then once I was happy with the design, I’d recreate it in WordPress using the Divi Theme Builder. This can be a lengthy process when you’re not a designer so it’s probably not the best use of your time (at least not for me because I’d agonize over the web design).
I knew I wanted to get my new website up and quick, so I researched Divi pre-made themes before finding this one. I found a few nice layouts on Creative Market before deciding to go with the Jane Theme because I felt it aligned with the layout and structure I was going for. It also included a lot of pre-made page templates (more than I found from a lot of other developers) so I took a leap of faith and bought it.
As you can see by looking at my site, you can customize each element to make it your own. Having a pre-made theme isn’t for everyone, however. You must be okay with knowing there are websites that look very similar to yours out there. For me, this wasn’t a big deal because I knew that once I put my personal touch on it, it would be different enough. Also, most websites look the same to me anyway. I liked that this one felt a bit understated and more minimal which is my style.
If you’re not a WordPress user, there are tons of website platforms that have ready-made themes built-in. Squarespace, Weebly, Wix amongst others. Divi has many pre-made layouts, also, but they felt clunky and masculine which is why I didn’t opt for a Divi layout that comes free with my plan.
The important thing is to choose a theme that you can add your own flare and is easy to customize.
Overall, I’m happy with how my redesign turned out. To top it off, using a pre-made theme made the process very quick and the end result is a website that I feel truly reflects me and this stage of life and business I’m in. I didn’t spend a fortune, I kept it simple and set the intention that it had to be done by x-date. This is important because a web design project can drag on for months (even years) if you don’t set boundaries around your time and the date you intend to re-launch.
A website may not be the most important asset in your business, but having an online space that feels like you can boost inspiration, motivation and your desire to want to put yourself out there online.