Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

Whether you are just starting out in business or have been running your empire for a while, it’s always good to get some inspiration from those you admire.

And for me, it is important to understand some of the mindset and ‘soft skills’ required as well as learning within your industry. 

With that in mind, here is my list of my MUST READ books that have helped me along the way and that I share with my Web Goddess Academy members…

The Desire Map
Danielle LaPorte

First things first. If you’re not clear on how you want your life to FEEL then building a business you adore will be really tricky.

So, this book and program is my go-to first step for any entrepreneur. 

Everything is Figureoutable
Marie Forleo

As a B-School Alumni, I love the way Marie Forleo helps you get clear on what you really want.

From facing your fear and dealing with imposter syndrome, to bouncing back from failure, this book is another must-read from my collection.

Start with Why
Simon Sinek

If you’ve not heard of Simon Sinek and his now-famous TED Talk, get on over and watch it and then get this book to discover why you need to Start with Why in your own business.

I love this book, but need to buy another copy as I’m pretty sure I lent my copy to someone…

The Fire Starter Sessions
Danielle LaPorte

Once you’re clear on how you want to feel, check out Danielle’s Fire Starter Sessions to help you create soulful success on your own terms.

Full of juicy prompts and permission to do things YOUR WAY – I re-read this book often.

Blue Ocean Strategy
W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne

How to win by not competing, this book is full of actionable steps to help you succeed in your business without worrying about what everyone else is doing.

It’s a very dry read so I only digest it in small chunks, but still worthy of being on my shelf of inspirational books.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k
Sarah Knight

With a nod to Marie Kondo’s book of a similar title, this sweary little number is an irreverant guide to “stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like”.

It is the permission you need to do things your way and stop people pleasing. Definitely one of my favourite books for life as well as business.

 

So, which book are you going to start with first?

Web Goddess

Note: this post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission if you purchase a book after clicking through using the links on this page. This doesn’t cost you any extra, but does help me a little!

7 Free Tools to Grow Your Business Online

7 Free Tools to Grow Your Business Online

Running a small business (or any business for that matter) can require costly investment in everything from premises to products – not to mention the costs of being online and running a website.

But, there are TONNES of awesome free resources out there to help you get the message out to potential customers and keep existing customers happy.

Here is my list of 7 Awesome Free Tools that you can use NOW:

#1 Google My Business

Even if you don’t have a physical location that customers can visit, registering for Google My Business is a must.

As you keep your listing updated your online ranking will improve and your clients can add Google Reviews straight to your profile. This helps you appear in map searches too.

#2 Facebook

Facebook is still alive and kicking and is a great place to build a community for your business – as long as you post and interact consistently.

Try giving 80% information and only promote products or services 20% of the time so your customers aren’t constantly bombarded with icky sales messages!

#3 Instagram

I recommend upgrading from a personal account to a business one (it’s still free) if you are using Instagram for business.

You can use your Insta feed to update your Facebook page as well as your website so your images are always online in multiple places.

#4 Email Marketing

Social media is amazing, but you have no control over your online reach or when the platform algorithms change.

So, having an email newsletter is still one of the best ways of getting news out to your clients. I use MailerLite now and can track insights for all of my email campaigns.

It’s important to set a schedule and figure out your reason & vision before sending emails but it can be a wonderful way of connecting for free.

#5 Blogging

Don’t have your own website yet? No problem (although I would recommend that you have one). You can’t use that as an excuse not to start writing & sharing it online NOW.

Sign up for a free account with a Blogging site such as Medium or Blogger and start writing. You can always move and update your posts later when you have a website!

#6 Google Search Console

This option is only available if you already have your own domain and website, but being able to track your visits and search queries is a great way of understanding your online reach.

You can sign up to Google Search Console for free and improve your online ranking.

#7 Canva

This online graphic design platform is my favourite tool of all! You can sign up for free to create any type of graphic you can think of – from social media to posters to ebooks – Canva lets you do it all.

And, if you need a little more (like extra stock images, premium fonts or a brand kit) then you can upgrade to Canva Pro at any time.

I create all of my graphics (including the infographic for this post) using Canva and use them for my website, social media, business cards and even presentations.

With all of these tools, all that remains to be done is to learn how to use them!

Set aside some time and choose ONE to work on first. Give it some time and energy (and have a PLAN) and see how you can improve your online reach without spending a penny.

And, if you need help, pop along to one of my Digital Workshops to help you get started!

Web Goddess

Note: this post contains an affiliate link to Canva Pro and I may receive a commission if you sign up through the link. However, as with everything I recommend, I do so because I use it and bloody love it!

10 Reasons to use Canva

10 Reasons to use Canva

I simply love technology! The amazing things we can now do with the click of a button still amazes me and graphic design is one of those areas that has long been only available to professionals. BUT, with online services such as Canva, all that has changed.

Now, before you pop me a nasty email telling me that graphic designers are awesome please note that I love them too. They can create designs that I would never conceive and have creativity and skill that can never be replaced. But let’s face it, no-one is going to continually hire a professional every time they want to create a social media graphic – so I believe there is room in this world for BOTH.

With that said, here are my 10 reasons why you should give Canva a go…

#1 It’s easy to use

Before I discovered Canva, creating images for my social media posts and websites could be a long and drawn-out process. You either needed specialist software or the online interface was slow and difficult to use.

Canva changed all of that! Their user interface is drag-and-drop and there are so many templates for you to use that you can create a gorgeous image in just minutes. Whether it’s for social media, a poster, invitation or even business cards – simplicity and speed are second-to-none.

#2 Image Library

With the free version of Canva you have access to 200,000 royalty-free images to use in your designs and that increases to 2 million with Canva Pro. You can use the inbuilt search feature to find the perfect image for your design or upload your own images to create something completely bespoke.

#3 Awesome Templates

No matter what type of graphic you are creating, Canva has a template already set up for it. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest graphics? You can create a post with the ideal dimensions in one click right from your homepage. And if you have Canva Pro, you can even resize a design to another template instantly. It saves hours of work and is great for all types of social media campaigns you may wish to run across multiple platforms.

#4 Fonts Galore

The free version of Canva offers you a large range of fonts that you can use to personalise your designs. If you upgrade to Canva Pro, you get an extra 500+ exclusive fonts AND you can upload your own and save them within your Brand Kit to access for all of your designs.

#5 Brand Kit

This is a feature of Canva Pro and definitely one I am pleased that I have. Here you can upload your company logos, fonts and colour palettes so that they are always on hand when you create a new graphic. My palette for this website is pretty simple, but it still makes it quicker to find the right teal colour by having it at hand…

#6 Store your designs in Folders

This is another Canva Pro option and one that I love. I can create folders for my own work and a new folder for each of my clients. As I can create up to 50 images a week sometimes, being able to sort these and find them easily makes my job just SO much easier!

#7 Design School

A resource open to all Canva users, Design School is a series of video courses on everything from graphic design basics to branding your business. There are also short challenge videos and quick tip videos to make sure you are getting the most out of this online tool.

#8 Animations & GIFs

This is a relatively new feature and only available to Canva Pro users – you can now create animated images and GIFs! I simply love this and created a simple animation for my Facebook page – so much fun to do and it creates interest in a way that static images simply can’t do…

#9 Collaboration Tools

As a Canva Pro user you can add Team Members to your account and share specific designs and folders with them. This is great if you are working with a group or collaborating on designs within a business. It may not be something that everyone needs, but to have it as an option for future work is worth remembering.

#10 Transparent Backgrounds

Hate the white background that appears around each of your designs when you create a graphic? Again, Canva Pro allows you to remove the background and save your design as a transparent PNG file. This automatically removes any sections of your design that are colourless (basically the background if you haven’t used an image or a colour) so they show up on your website or over other designs without the annoying white area showing. Cool huh?!

With all of these reasons to give Canva a go, it only remains to say that every single graphic that I create for my own website and my clients is done in Canva Pro – my job would be A LOT more difficult without it!

And, if you need help with your graphics or getting started, I offer digital mentoring and am happy to you make the most of this amazing tool too!

Web Goddess

Note: this post contains affiliate links to Canva Pro and I may receive a commission when you click one of these and make a purchase. However, as with everything I recommend this does not impact my review of this product. My 10 reasons listed above are based on my own continued use of this product and this post is written to help you make the best decision for your own business.

Why I Love Create.net

Why I Love Create.net

My niche market is designing websites for clients who want to manage and update their sites themselves after they are launched but simply don’t have the skill or motivation to build the initial site themselves.

I’ve been designing websites professionally for 5 years and as a favour for myself and for friends and groups for much longer. In that time I have used many website builders for simple websites and Create.net is definitely my favourite.

My Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Create

#1 Free Trial & Great Pricing

All new Create accounts start with a 14-day free trial – and there is no credit card required so it truly is free. That makes this a great platform to have a play with if you’re looking to test it out before parting with your cash.

When you are ready to sign up, Create’s Website Builder package is just shy of £70 per year and is one of the best value sites on the web – especially as this price includes SSL (something most other companies add on).

#2 UK-based Customer Service

Yes, there are real people based in the UK that you can email or call to get your problems solved! Although my clients generally take over the management of their site once I have built it for them, I can still communicate on their behalf to sort out issues if I have to and the Create.net team are always swift to reply and get any issues solved.

#3 Up to Date Templates & Technology

The templates on offer are fresh and can be customised to match your brand. New templates are added often and you can move between them or see what your website would look like with a new template at any time.

Also, I love using WordPress, but you need to constantly ensure that your plugins are updated (or pay extra for dedicated WordPress hosting to do it for you). Create.net is always evolving to meet new online requirements such as GDPR and mobile responsivity so your site always looks great – and if you do have to manually upgrade then they give you heaps of tips and help to do it.

#4 Shop Facility Included

The built-in Shop facility on Create.net is amazing. I still sell some of my wares through a site I built over 10 years ago and the whole package is simple to use and has many of the options of bigger WordPress builds. You can upgrade your account from a lower package at any time to include a Shop and the annual cost is just under £150 for their Shop Builder package at time of writing and that’s all you pay (apart from your Domain Name).

#5 WYSIWYG Editing

Last but definitely not least, ‘What You See is What You Get’ editing makes updating your Create.net site a dream! Many of my clients are technophobes and if faced with strange looking codes would freak out at having to change their sites. But with a WYSIWYG interface, my clients can simply edit text and view their changes as it will look when published. It’s something my clients really appreciate and even the least technical of them can deal with – without having to call me to make small changes to their site.

What’s Not-so-Good?

All website builders have limitations, so it would be remiss of me to avoid these. In my opinion, the two biggest issues Create.net has are:

No Email

While Create doesn’t provide mailboxes – you can forward emails to your current address using alias addresses which is great for most clients, but you’ll need to add on your own email through G Suite or similar if you want to have a dedicated business email address. This isn’t hard to solve, but is something to be aware of.

Blogging Feature isn’t Great

If you’ve used WordPress or similar and are used to creating gorgeous blog posts with the ability to share them to different parts of your site, then Create.net can be a little disappointing. Whilst there is a blogging feature, it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of WordPress and you get a simple chronological feed of articles. There are still categories and tags, but it feels more clunky than other blog-focused builders.

In summary, Create.net is still my preferred solution for clients who want something stylish and simple to self-manage and I recommend you take a look at what they have to offer if you need a new website and feel happy building it yourself. Take a look at my post ‘Can I Build My Own Website?‘ to see if this is right for you.

And, you know where I am if you need my help!

Web Goddess

Note: this post contains affiliate links to Create.net and keep in mind that I may receive commissions when you click these and make a purchase. However, this does not impact my review of this product. My review above is based on my own continued use of this product and I try my best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

What the Font!

What the Font!

A client of mine recently had her logo redesigned as part of rebranding her business. The new logo is bright and in colours that suit her and her brand. However, the designer has chosen a font that really doesn’t suit her or her business and has made it very clear in the branding guidelines that she needs to stick to it.

So, why is this such a problem?

Well, the fonts you choose for your brand and, therefore, all of your marketing materials and website help convey your vision and your message. It’s not that the font was a bad one, it’s just that it didn’t match her vision or her business. As someone who designs websites with my client’s vision at the forefront of all that I do, it felt like a massive oversight to me.

Which font should I use?

The first thing you really need to do is figure out who your ideal client is; if your business is pitched at high-end clients, then choose a font that oozes style and class; if your brand is modern and funky, choose fonts that convey this.

There are so many wonderful fonts available now that there is no excuse using Comic Sans for everything (don’t get me started on how much I hate that font), and there is no excuse for selecting something random without putting some thought into how it matches your brand.

Secondly, it has to be readable on every type of media – from business cards and letters to websites and social media. It will become a huge part of your brand identity so choose wisely.

Sans Serif or Serif?

 

Sans Serif fonts, like Helvetica, convey a modern feel and lack the extra strokes at the ends of letters (hence ‘sans’ Serif), whereas Serif fonts, such as the classic Times New Roman, are more traditional and professional. Each family of fonts has hundreds of choices so once you have decided which family to choose there are endless possibilities.

You may even choose to use both – a Serif for headings and a Sans Serif for content. As long as you stick to these throughout your materials then your brand will be consistent. It’s important to avoid font overload though, so sticking to two or three fonts at most is recommended.

What next?

Well. for my client this means a redesign of her new logo to better suit her vision. For you, it means getting clear on your own vision so that you can choose fonts that match it right from the start. A great place to have a play with fonts and see how they look together is Canva – it’s free to register an account and they have some great design tutorials to help you put fonts and colours together.

And my final advice is that you have to like the font you choose! There is no point going with someone else’s choice then realising a month or two down the line that you hate it! Trust your intuition and have fun choosing your fonts!

Web Goddess

Can I Build My Own Website?

Can I Build My Own Website?

So, you’re running a business and the next step is to create a website.

The question is:

Can I build that website myself?

And the simple answer is YES – of course you can!

There are some amazing website builder packages out there that I recommend and use for my clients. My favourite two are Create and Squarespace, depending on what my clients actually need their website to do.

But before you hurry off and buy a domain and get cracking, I want you to ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. Do I want to design the site myself
  2. Do I enjoy learning new skills and keeping those skills up to date?
  3. Can I spare the time to build the site myself?
  4. Do I know how to build a website that converts visitors to customers?
  5. Can I solve and technical issues that arise?

If you answered YES to most of these questions then off you pop and I hope that you enjoy the challenge of building a great site – I love it and I know you will too!

If, however, you have answered NO to even some of these questions then I would argue that outsourcing your website will actually pay dividends in the long term. It will also free you up to spend time in your business doing the bits you really love.

And, if after answering these questions you are still confused about whether to hire someone or not, ask for some advice. Contact a few different website companies and ask colleagues who already have websites for their thoughts on the best way to go. The more questions you ask BEFORE creating a website the better.

My niche is working with clients who want to have control over their sites once they are launched but need help with getting the site launched in the first place. Here’s what one of my clients has said about this option:

WG Testimonial - Wear it Baby

If you need any help deciding or just want some honest obligation-free advice then please get in touch.

 

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