small business

Sharing your "Under Construction" Squarespace website

Sharing your "Under Construction" Squarespace website

Squarespace offers a special home page called a lock screen that you can use while you're designing your website. The lock screen appears when people go to your password-protected website. Use a lock screen to build excitement for your brand, get a head start on Google search results, and provide a preview option for reviewers.

The best of both worlds — your own domain and a free Weebly website

The best of both worlds — your own domain and a free Weebly website

I recently learned that you can use your own domain name with a free Weebly website. You'll want to start with a free Weebly website, then upgrade to the Connect plan and purchase a domain from Weebly or use one you bought elsewhere. It's a good compromise between choosing a professional domain and taking advantage of cost savings as you start a new venture.

Your new website: How much will it cost? How long will it take?

Your new website: How much will it cost? How long will it take?

Heeding advice from a self-guided business course I'm taking, I sent out a survey a couple of months ago to my website design clients to learn more about their preferences and concerns. One of the questions I asked was "What were you most concerned about before working with me?" The two answers given most frequently were "How much it would cost" and "How long it would take."

Words on your website speak loudly too

Words on your website speak loudly too

The words on your website are as important as the images. They tell a story about you, your work, and your customers. If you rush to publish your website pages and blogs without proofreading, those missed grammar and spelling mistakes can lead visitors to question if you will rush through your customers' work also. 

Important Squarespace features for small businesses are dropped from Personal plan

Important Squarespace features for small businesses are dropped from Personal plan

On December 1, 2017, Squarespace changed which features are included in its lowest-cost Personal plan. Many simple customization and third-party integration features are now classified as Premium features, only available with the Business and Commerce plans. I'll have to take this into consideration as I talk with new clients about their options.

Adding a PayPal "Buy Now" button to your website is easier than you think

Adding a PayPal "Buy Now" button to your website is easier than you think

It is surprisingly easy to create PayPal button code that adds a Buy Now, Add to Cart, or Donate button to your website. Use the Button Tool with a PayPal business account to generate code that creates a custom button for your website. This blog posting shows you an example of a button for visitors who want to purchase an online gift certificate. This is a simple example; I encourage you to explore the button options in PayPal for your own inspiration.

A good website has everything a local bakery has

A good website has everything a local bakery has

People have been asking me recently what they need to put on a new website. What pages do they need? What information do they need to include? It occurred to me that a website is like an old-fashioned bakery, like those I've seen in the North End section of Boston or in small European villages.

Quit telling me to "submit"

Quit telling me to "submit"

It's a pet peeve of mine. Both Squarespace and Weebly use the word "Submit" as the default button text and I hate that word on a form I'm filling out. I might like to send you a message but I'm certainly not going to "submit" to anything. Do me, and the internet, a favor and change the default button text on your Contact forms to anything other than "Submit."

Letting go frees you to embrace something new

Letting go frees you to embrace something new

As I sit here this morning, no longer a motorhome owner, I feel a familiar feeling of being in an in-between time. I can tell you from experience though that when you let go of something that no longer serves you and use the in-between time to relax, dream, and follow your heart, the freedom and spaciousness of that time will allow something better to come into your life.

Creativity and focus needs time and space

Creativity and focus needs time and space

I read an article today about a writer who resorted to renting a cabin in the woods for two days without internet service or a cell phone to reach his goal of writing 40,000 words for his upcoming book. I won't be renting a cabin in the woods anytime soon, but I think I'll take some inspiration from this article to think about unplugging at regular intervals to give myself some quiet time to allow creativity and new ideas room to grow.

You need a website like you need a coat rack

You need a website like you need a coat rack

A coat rack is a central location in your house where all the coats, hats, and scarves are kept. It's a meeting place for all of that outdoor apparel. A website is like a coat rack that organizes all the marketing apparel for your business: your About Me information, your Services descriptions, testimonials, photo galleries, product pages, blog posts, a contact form, and links to social media accounts. So what are you waiting for? Get that long-postponed website designed and launched. After all, your home (page) is where you hang your hat.

Where do your potential customers hang out online?

Where do your potential customers hang out online?

I use social media for my website design business to establish my expertise and promote my business, to get ideas from others in my field or related fields, and to inspire or share information with my potential or current small-business clients. For the last four or five months, I've been trying to educate myself about how best to use my time on social media to let more people know that I help small businesses create websites on Squarespace and Weebly. I have decided that my approach, given the time I have, is to do my best to post on several social media channels several times a week. I create original posts and I also share helpful posts from others in my industry. I researched where my potential customers are spending time online and now focus on posting in those locations. 

Popping your head out from time to time is good for your business

Popping your head out from time to time is good for your business

As a confirmed introvert, I've tended to favor online networking strategies rather than in-person networking events. That's why it was a stretch to go to a local Women's Business Networking event last night. Reflecting this morning on the evening, I'm really glad I donned my courage cape and took the chance at trying something new. I'm glad to be back in my den this morning, but if I hadn't popped my head out to check the weather "out there," I would have missed out on learning and networking opportunities that I couldn't have had any other way.

You're the boss, so be the boss of your time too

You're the boss, so be the boss of your time too

If you have started your own business recently, I encourage you to read this article for tips about how to understand where your time goes, so you can become more deliberate about the choices you make: "My Biggest Mistake as a Solopreneur – And What I Learned From It." After I found this helpful advice a couple of months ago, I started keeping a log of how I was spending my time on marketing and learning activities related to my website design business and also how much time I was spending on personal social media and a personal website and blog I maintain. Now I am much more deliberate about how I spend my time online and I've narrowed down my business-related social media focus to Facebook and LinkedIn and I aim for weekly blogging.

Why compressing files to save space is like stuffing pillows into a suitcase

Why compressing files to save space is like stuffing pillows into a suitcase

When you have limited disk storage (such as the free 15 GB of storage you get with a Google account), it's important to know how to store files in a way that takes up the least amount of space. When someone asked me the other day about what it means to create .zip files to save storage space, it occurred to me that the process of compressing files into a .zip file is like storing pillows in a suitcase.

What's the personality of your healing business?

What's the personality of your healing business?

I came across an article today about developing a "brand" for your healing business that echoes much of what I think about as I'm helping small businesses plan the design of a new website. Your business "brand" is who you are and what you have to offer as a healer. The colors, images, and text you add reflect what you have to share with clients as you help them on a healing journey.

Your website design is an extension of you and your business

Your website design is an extension of you and your business

When a potential client approaches me about working together, the first thing I do is send out a questionnaire to get a sense of what the vision is for the website. The questionnaire includes practical questions about which features are needed, such as a blog, a calendar, a newsletter, and so on. But it also includes questions that elicit more thoughtful responses about what the personality of the business is and how the website will support that.