creating awesome websites blog 2019 hd

Creating Awesome Websites In 2019

       “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci

NOTE: This blog was originally written in 2013! OMG. So much has changed, and SO little has changed. I decided today was a good day to update it. Here we go!

Having a website today is like having an address and phone number was in the 80’s. As a small business, we seem to know we need one but we don’t necessarily know why. And as I always say, thanks to Simon Sinek, start with why. When we understand the why, the what and how come more naturally.

So why do we need websites today? First off, they are our home base, our calling card, our address and phone number, our identity. They express our image, brand, voice, purpose, promise and most importantly, allow visitors to engage and take an action with our business. Remember the great Instagram and Facebook blackout of 2019? If you learned anything from that day, I hope it’s understanding that the only online platforms you actually own is your website and email marketing.

BEFORE building or re-building your website, get clear on what outcome you are seeking, user experience you want to create, your budget and the content you will want for your site.

User Experience + Outcome
What action do you want visitors to take? Look at your menu, book an online reservation, read your about section, call you, see your salon, meet your team?

What is your budget? Today, there are many awesome templates. I love Squarespace and WordPress, and both are affordable. In addition to the template though, be mindful of any custom programming or design you may need. Remember, this is your image and brand and is many times the first impression potential new clients will have of you. Make it awesome, but you do not need a website that breaks the bank.

Where is your content coming from? Do you have a copywriter, do you have hi-resolution professional images? Do you need them? Many manufacturers provide these types of resources if you need. But remember you are your own brand, and need to communicate that via your digital + social pages. Most importantly, less is always more, so think more images, less copy. Always.

9 Super Important Things To Consider

1. Mobile + Responsive
Over 50% (now 70%!) of social + digital sites are visited by mobile and tablets. Just think about how you personally engage online. So that means in order to have the best user experience, you must have a mobile responsive site, which means it “responds” to smartphones, tablets and laptops/desktops. It’s just knows how its being accessed, like magic! If your website/booking experience sucks, you are losing opportunities in both search, user experience and potential new clients.

2. About
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, as the awesome Simon Sinek says. Take the time to craft a meaningful story that expresses your purpose and promise and make it easy to find on your website. This includes pictures of the people behind the screen. Humans want to connect with humans.

3. Reservations/Appointments 
It’s 2013 (it’s 2019!), and the connected customer wants to book a reservation whenever they want, not just when you are responding to texts. And seriously, you need to set boundaries for your own mental health, and that means not being on your phone 24/7 answering text messages.
Love it or hate it, if you want to stay relevant and grow, it’s time to make it happen. No excuses. To determine the right platform for you, begin with a list of GOTTA have’s, get clear on your needs, and ask for referrals from people you trust. Then begin your research on each platform. Many have similar features, but not all have what you will want. So get clear on that first.

4. Contact/Subscribe
Seems logical, but many times it’s hard to find a businesses hours, address, phone, etc. Be sure it’s easy to find. Also be sure to add a plug-in from your inbox (email) marketing platform so you can build a database of clients who want to subscribe to your newsletter and more deeply engage with you. Remember, your website and email list are all you really “own” in the social and digital world.

5. Social Links
Today’s connected customer wants to engage on their terms. Be sure your social pages are visible and the links are working.  Content sharing plug-ins are awesome if you have images and videos on your site that are share worthy.

6. Menu
Having a simple and clear menu is super important for any service business and one of the most popular pages on many service biz sites. Remember, people are visiting your website to learn more and possibly take an action with you, make it clear and simple. In regards to adding pricing to your menu, there is no right or wrong answer on that. Much of it has to do with your preference, brand, and business model. Trust your gut on this one.

7. Language + Key Words
Be mindful of the language and key words you use when writing copy for your website. This includes how you title the images on your website, page titles and descriptions. Why? Search engines job is to deliver relevant results, and if you write like you speak, and your words are relevant to what your business is about, you are more likely to be discovered in search results. Remember, this is a human to human experience.

8. Measure + Monitor
Be sure to add FREE Google Analytics to your site so you can measure and monitor traffic, popular content, traffic coming from social pages like Facebook or Yelp, etc. You can learn a lot about what is working and what can work better and where to focus your energy. You may be spending hours a day on Instagram to find out your referral traffic is coming from Yelp. For instance, in the last year, our traffic from Instagram Stories has surpassed traffic from our link in bio. This is good info to have when we make decisions about where to place our efforts.

9. Maintenance
It’s always good to update your website at least quarterly, if not monthly, to keep fresh images, changes in services, new team members, check links, etc. Search engines also love fresh content so if you have a blog/podcast/vlog on your site, even better, as long as you actually are consistent with blogging, podcasting or any fresh, relevant content.

Remember to keep it simple. Clean. Clear. As the awesome Brene Brown says, clear is kind, unclear is unkind. This goes for leadership, culture, communication and even how you design y0ur website.

Are you ready to learn more about creating more awesome with your social + digital marketing? Join S School, our online school for creative entrepreneurs, where we have classes on websites, email marketing, brand storytelling, social media and more. Click here to learn more and join us!

Love + Gratitude-
Nina xo

Passion Squared This On Demand Life HD

This On-Demand Life

“The future of business lies in experience architecture and you are the architect.” Brian Solis

Today is Cyber Monday, which was created in response to Black Friday when e-commerce became a thing. And can you even believe that was in 2005? Exactly 10 years ago. Ten. Years. Ago! And now look at the world. E-commerce has now become on-demand anything. Think the W Hotel, whatever, whenever. Wow!

As I was scrolling through Instagram last week, I happened upon an ad, yes, an AD, done well, and seemingly timely and relevant to me, good job ad.

This ad was for Zeel, what I will call the Uber of Massages, yes, in home massages on demand. Breakthrough? No. Not now at least, as we are living an on demand life. And e-commerce has become more than just a transaction; it has become a way of life. We are consuming 24/7 via our mobile devices. All day, every day. We are even paying for our beloved Starbucks with our phone, without a wallet. Think about that. No money is exchanging hands. None.

Whether its someone to build my Ikea desk, thank you Task Rabbit, to someone to do my grocery shopping, thank you Instacart, to someone to deliver late night snacks, thank you Eat24, to someone to whisk me around town, thank you Uber, to someone to run an errand while I have the flu, thank you Postmates. On demand everything. And lets not even get started on Amazon’s new Prime same day delivery. Thank you Amazon.

The world has changed. Again. Just when you thought having a website and a presence on Yelp, Instagram and Facebook mattered, that now feels like so 2013.

With 2016 around the corner, it is imperative that we really take a serious look at our client’s digital experience if we want to stay relevant. Period.

This on demand life is creating experiences that are so seamless and awesome, there is almost no question as to why we would not just pick up our “phone” and click “book now”.

Here is a little “on-demand” quiz for your biz…

Can I book from my “phone” easily? And I mean awesomely! No bugs, easy to read, awesome to experience.

Do I have a responsive website (mobile + tablet friendly) that allows for no more than one click to connect with me?

Are all my links on my social profiles relevant? Meaning, why would you have the URL of your Facebook page on your Insta profile? I want a phone number and on online booking link.

Is your payment processing seamless and easy? Email receipts? Online sales?

Is your confirmation process seamless? And I mean without me having to pick up the phone?

Is there a system, which allows me to review your biz, not because you want a 5 star review but because you care enough to hear about my experience? Is it a one-click process?

Is it easy for me to share my experience of your biz with my friends? Like in one click?

Based on your answers, my challenge to you is to audit your entire online and offline experience, and create a plan to crate an experience so awesome, your clients truly enjoy engaging with you and shout it from the rooftops to all that will listen.

If you are thinking, screw that, I like the good old fashion way of doing business; here is what I will say…

This is NOT about changing face-to-face experiences; it is actually about making them better. This is NOT about not picking up the phone, this is actually about engaging on clients terms, not yours.

This is NOT about today; this is about being in business tomorrow. The world has changed, as have the clients seeking salon and wellness services, so my passionate plea to you is to open your mind, and focus on building the new, not fighting or defending the old. My challenge to you is to see the entire client journey from discovery of your business to entering the door of your business. What does that experience look and feel like? It matters.

Adele may try to call 1000 times, but your current and for sure your future clients won’t. #fact

Love + Awesomeness-


PS: All of the above on-demand services I mentioned are all ones I highly recommend. Of course.

PPS: If you are looking for some tools specific to the salon market, I blogged about that here and here.

The Social Awesomeness Manifesto

The Social Awesomeness Manifesto

“Always be yourself. Unless you are a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.”


The Social Awesomeness Manifesto

Here is an audio recording of this post. Thank you for listening. <3
The Social Aweseomeness Manifesto

The world has changed. And change can sometimes mess people up. As an artist of business, with a huge passion for engaging, I created a manifesto of sorts for those seeking some guidance on how to be socially awesome on social platforms. I like many am not one for rules, but I dig manifesto’s, so I made one.

One thing I really think we need to understand is this is real life. The new real world. The same “rules” apply online as they do offline. So when in doubt, just remember this is about people. And I know you know to engage with people. It’s what you do every day.

A Squared
Be awesome. Be authentic. I am smart, at least that is what my mama told me. I can see right through you. Do you. Keep it real. And I promise to do the same.

Caring Matters
If you cannot or do not care to listen, engage, respond and reply, you are not ready to engage in the social space. If I ask you a question, I will be waiting for an answer. If I give you a shout out, a simple thank you goes a long way.

Chill On The CAPS LOCK
You really think I want to engage when I am being yelled at? Does anyone want to listen when being yelled at? No. Be cool, chill on the caps lock.

Nobody Likes A Litterbug
Spamming my wall with your product, event or political agenda only makes me want to hide you, delete you or block you. And I love you, so please be mindful of littering on my wall. If you ask nicely, and are offering something I believe in or see value in, then trust, I will share it, buy it, or like it.

Don’t Bleed The Feed
Whether its Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, be mindful that when you post 17 pics of your dog, baby, Starbucks, etc. in a row I may get hostile and stop following you or hide you. Same goes for hitting the share button. Post. Then chill.  Share. Then chill. Inspired by the awesome Instagram i love you vid by Casey Neistat.

Link Love
If you are trying to lead me somewhere, like your website, event, your salon, or a blog post, please include the URL, phone number, email, Morse code, whatever in your post. It’s super helpful if you actually want me to do something.

Check One Check Two
And while we are on the topic of links, check your links on your social pages. If you are a business, and you want me to check you out, working links (on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YELP, etc.) will get me to you much faster. In fact, if your link does not work, you may have lost me, forever.

Hide And Seek Is Fun But…
If you are a human, please share that with me in your About section on your social + digital pages, profiles, etc. The Internet may seem like a super secret shield, but if you are hiding from me I will be scared and hide from you too. Marketing is about stories. Tell me one.

Sharing Is Caring
But taking credit for someone else’s stuff is lame. If you see something that inspires you, and you know the source, like someone else’s page, just hit the share button (or repin, or #repost #regram) and credit the source. It’s good karma. And the right thing to do.

Quote This
If a quote came from you, awesome and congrats. If it came from someone else, like Thomas Edison or someone cool like that then give them credit. If you don’t know, Google it. If anyone reading this knows who created the unicorn quote, please share, I have Googled for days, but no luck so far.

To be continued…

Have something awesome to add? Know someone who is socially awesome? Please share in the comments below or with me, I’m listening and I care.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)