Build Your Site to Attract Clients: Home Page
Homepage, this is your overview. So for the most part when you're on social media and stuff, what's your link? Your main link, right, your homepage. So instead of you guys going ahead and being like so crazy intentionally, you want to give people an idea of what can they do here. Because you're having all these different kinds of people come to your site, you don't know what they want, that's why you have landing pages for your services. That's why you have a blog page, but you never know what kind of content they're looking for. So you want to be able to kind of give them an introduction to yourself. Like for me, I do a lot of things on my website. I have my portfolio, I want to get hired. I have educational courses, classes, e-books. Right, so, and I'm blogging for free. And I want you to sign up for my newsletter. I have all these different kinds of call to action. So I want to be able to explain myself on that homepage. So I'm actually going to go ahead and block out exactly what k...
ind of content you need on your homepage. First things first, big beautiful image, right. What that image is is up to you. Whatever your most important service or call to action is, that's what it should be. If it's your blog, talk about your blog. Maybe have a featured image of your latest blog article. If it's to get hired for a project, your best case study, right. If you're trying to sell a new t-shirt, then have a nice model or mock up of that t-shirt, and having a call of action to that shirt page, right. But if you're like me, and you're trying to get client work, I think you should start with a big, beautiful picture of your best illustration and then talk about your worth in one sentence, right. But how do we figure out what that is? Well you have to think in terms of keywords, you need to talk more on the results, not the process, and don't use words like creative and passionate. Like of course you're creative and passionate. What else is there? Right, try not to use these filler fluff words. Try to be really intentional. So let's go ahead and I'm going to have you guys write out your one sentence worth statement right now. So everyone at home, either type it out or draw it out, whatever you like. We're going to do this together and get you ready for your sentence. Okay, first thing, let's think of keyword ideas. Okay, niche, your top services, and location. So my top niche is hand lettering. My top service is shirt design, and I'm located in Portland, Oregon. Now it's really important that you don't list all your niches and all your top services. Try to be intentional with the main one. If you can go ahead and put it under an umbrella, like okay, I do hand lettered logos and I do chalk art, that's all hand lettering, so that would be my niche, right. And then I have a pretty good sentence. I'm a hand lettering artist in Portland, Oregon that specializes in shirt design, right. I'm talking directly to you, my target demographic. And I'm being SEO friendly, so that way if someone types in, hand lettered shirt design, Portland, Oregon, boom, I'm on the first page of Google, right. Or, even without putting the Portland, Oregon, if they're local in Portland, I will just automatically show up because there is geo targeting in Google. Now let's try to drill this down a step further. Let's talk about the client's needs. Alright, this is an okay sentence, but it doesn't really make me want to hire you. I know what you do, but what's the results of what you do? Right, so think about it like this, clients all need at least one of these three things, if not all of them. This is what all they want. They want to inspire brand loyalty or create awareness, right, for their brand. They want to increase sales, right, they want to sell a lot of products. And they want to drive engagement, right, whether that's to drive someone to take an action. Maybe it's an advertisement, maybe it's a book cover that someone sees and makes them want to grab that book and read it, right. Every client wants these things, so how can your service make those actionable. Well for apparel design for me, how I inspire brand loyalty with apparel is it bonds brands to fans. Right, whether or not it's for a band or it's for a brand that wants a t-shirt made for an event, that's the kind of way I can go ahead and give you your brand loyalty that you're looking for. If I'm trying to increase sales, you obviously want to sell more shirts, easy. Right, go ahead.
When you dial down in your niche and you find your avatar, the person and or brand that you want to attract, how are you fresh in each brand endeavor? So say if you're into sportswear, and I live in Portland as well, and there's a couple of places that I really like. And I make a great t-shirt for someone, then of course three other brands come showing up. How are you able to be fresh even inside your niche every time you're creating something for very like avatars?
Well, as an artist, you're always going to be growing. Right, you're always going to get better. And there's always going to be things that are going to be kind of an evolution. So maybe there's a style that you're attracted to, then maybe your style changes. That's how you stay fresh, just by trying new stuff. You just don't want to get stuck in a rut. Whether, now you and can ahead and change niches. This is all CMS, you choose Word Press or Square Space, it's really easy to edit this stuff out when you're changing your niche. This doesn't have to be my permanent call to action on my website, right. So you can always explore and grow with your brand. But I think having this, versus not having this, I mean, right, to be able to better attract those people. Now, last thing, drive engagement. People want to get shirts that they love to wear. I want to be able to make a shirt so awesome, once it starts deteriorating and getting stained, and it's starting to stretch out a little bit, you still wear it. Does everybody still have that shirt? Whether it's from high school, that favorite band that you saw, maybe it was a really good gift someone got you and it makes your curves all look good. Right, those are the kind of shirts I want to make because those kinds of shirts drive engagement, they increase sales, and they inspire brand loyalty. So my call to action, my one word sentence, just changed to, I'm a hand-lettering artist in Portland, Oregon, that specializes in shirt design that people love to wear. That's sounding a little bit more tag liney, right. Because I'm talking about the results of my work, not just how I make it. Okay, we also have to sell the value of our services on our homepage. So we have to be able to explain. Remember those qualifications we talked about, this is a shorter version of your about page. Now again we don't want to copy and paste because you will get dinged for duplicate content on your own website. So don't do it. Either paraphrase or restructure, but you could do it something as simple as you have an icon of your service with a little name and like a one word sentence. Right, of that service. Or you can have bullet points. There's always an easier way and a more visual way to explain something in a shorter version. Because again, we're just doing an overview. We're not trying to tell our life story here. Now, we have to be able to show our work. So we want to include only our best work. So this is where you show your services. So if you have a different landing page for every single service, I want to see a picture of that service, right. Say it's chalk design, I want to see chalk design. And I click it, and I go to the chalk page. I do logo design, I want to see logo design and I want a picture of my logo design, you click it. But if you just have one service, then I want you to go ahead and showcase your top three pieces. These pieces should be your case studies. The ones that you're actually able to explain your design decisions. The ones that have testimony. Because if you only have three pieces, you better make sure they're really good and they're really informative and they're selling for you. Okay, because you're not there on your website to be like, hi, I'm Dina, will you hire me? Okay, I want to answer all your questions, and I'm here whenever you need me. No, you're sleeping, you have a life, you're working. You can't always be there, as much as I love those 24 hour little chat widgets on websites, I don't have time for that. I need to be able to explain myself on my website when I can't do it in person. Right, so we need to be able to include testimonials, beautiful pictures, even something as simple as, you have an image, right, you have the title, and then you have just a little synopsis. Just like a little summary of what you did and then a little button that says, read more. Or learn more about how I can do this for you. Right, because when you're thinking about call to actions, one little tidbit I'll say is, you don't want to stir away from the learn mores, the read mores, you want to give them an actionable item. Like what's more powerful? If I go, hire me, click here for a free quote. Versus, let me help you discover how to make more money for your brand. See the difference. One's more actionable, where the other one is more like a fluffy, like okay, just a direction. I want to feel inspired with your buttons. I don't want to just be like a default. Because learn more, read more, okay. But then all of your call to actions say, learn more, read more, so how do I know which call to action is for me. Because I don't know what I'm going to do after I click that button.
I just have really quick question about location. So for example, you've got Portland, Oregon up there, we're in Seattle, Washington, what if you live in a suburb like half an hour out? Is it more advantageous to put the main city that you're closest to or do you be specific to where you're actually located?
If you're next to a big, urban city, then use the city, but if you're not anywhere near a city, then just use your state, is what I would recommend. Right, because it's still searchable. So that way they have a location to ping next to. Because some states don't really have an urban city, if we look in the midwest sometimes, like I've heard people like, oh I'm from here. It's the capital of this. And I'm like, I think I remember learning about you in elementary school, but after that, does anything happen in your town? You know what I mean, like just be able to use the state. And for me, I don't even live in Portland, I live on the outskirts of Portland because it's expensive to live in Portland. So I live in actually Beaverton. But that's not as impressive, right, then say, Portland, Oregon.
Kristen asks, is it necessary to have a website? I think you answered that.
Oh yeah. (laughter)
So can I just direct the audience to my Instagram or Facebook page instead? So why would you not do that? Obviously we see the value in the website, for a person starting out, is that a good place to start?
And then build that content.
Definitely, so right now we're in the phase two, right. You've been practicing your craft, you've been posting online. Now in the meantime, yes of course, if your only presence is Instagram and Twitter and Dribble, then you should be directing people to that place. But again, you're limited by that platform. Because those platforms sometimes aren't, can't give you the kind of context you need to sell yourself. And again, the illustration industry is huge. Do you really want to do yourself the disservice by just automatically giving people a leg up that have websites when you don't? Right, what's your question?
I'm wondering, is it a good thing to have more than one website, if for instance, I do some lettering and I do intricate drawing. I also do illustration. Do you do different websites for the different types of art that you do?
No, I think that if you, I think it's fine to do more than one service and to keep it under your umbrella. It's only if maybe the audience like really, really changes. Or you're doing something completely out of the scope of what you normally do. Then it would make sense to have a different brand associated with that. Like if I were to, like I really like marketing and also like design, I wouldn't sell marketing on lettershop.com because it doesn't make sense.
Specific question from Zoe in Hawaii. I'm a digital media artist from Honolulu, Hawaii that specializes in fantasy book covers that pull readers into your universe. Something like that, so she's talking about doing what you're doing here, is that a good sentence?
Yeah, that's a very good sentence.
I'm not sure about how to word the last part.
Your universe, yeah, you're storytelling. I mean if that's what you do, you're illustrating stories, then yeah, you need to be able to have proof that you can do that kind of thing. And you want to be able to directly speak to those people that want that kind of service. I think that's a great sentence.