Blogging tips – shake up the world with the word ‘why’

18 November

The word ‘why’ shakes up our world – it helps us find out who we are and what excites us! There is a constant stream of whys rolling through our mind every day. I’m here to help bloggers (newbies and seasoned ones) to understand how important this word is. Why do you like certain content, brands or experiences and why do you dislike others? In order to create great content, you first need to examine what you like and don’t like.

A big shout out to John-Paul Flintoff as his sketch below was the trigger for this post. What a great question to get us started! Why do you have favourite or least favourite foods? I’m encouraging you to practice your ‘why’ muscle!
Illustration by John-Paul Flintoff

I’m going to show you ways to catalogue this information to inspire your own writing and branding. Your likes and dislikes may be completely different to mine. That’s what this exercise is all about!

I started writing about the things that excite and annoy me and then I had this idea – I’ve been talking about making a podcast for a while so this is the perfect topic! Here’s some of the things I’ll be talking about –

I like… honesty

Informal writing styles

Simplicity

Thought-provokers

Fun and humour

Variety

Business stories

And visually attractive brands

Now, what do you like?

Let’s get you started with some practical action steps. I am constantly researching and saving content and find that Google Docs or Evernote are great tools for this. Below is a simple example to show you how to create categories to save links in. I have included Good design, Good ‘About’ or bio pages, Fresh approach, Clear calls to action, Captivating post titles, Competitors, Striking visual ideas and Mixed media content. You create categories for things that inspire you. Include some negatives in there too! Simply save the links and an explanation in each case.

Tools for bloggers

How does this help you to blog?
You’ll soon get a clear sense of what you like and don’t like on the web. This will help you design your content in every sense of the word. And you’ll have more fun with it too, When you’re passionate about your writing, it shows!

Tips and takeaways for you;
Know what you like and dislike on the web. Use that as a way to inspire what you create. Awareness is the first step!If you’d like help with that, give me a shout. I train business owners how to tell their story on and off-line.

Credits:
Connect with John-Paul Flintoff – WebsiteTwitter
.

One great Pinterest tip for business

16 April

In my last post I promised to share a Pinterest how-to video. Did you know that by adding a dollar price tag to your Pinterest image, it automatically gets added to their Pinterest Gifts section? That means that people who are actively searching to buy something, can view your product or service, with a direct link to your site. This simple hashtag can lead to increased sales and exposure for your business.

What is a hastag? It looks like this # and when it is placed directly beside a word or phrase, it allows you to tag content online. This helps other people to be able to find information related to this topic. It works in a similar way to facebook tagging, which uses the @ symbol. In this Youtube video, Andrew McCarthy shows you how simple it is to add your images to the Gift Gallery on Pinterest.

I visited the Gift section and did a quick search for ‘frames’ and found a huge selection to choose from. Each image is a link to the original source, where the item can be purchased. Search the Pinterest Gift  Gallery for images from your industry – it may give you ideas for product photography or infographics that you could create. 

pinterest tip how to add images to pinterest gifts section

In my next post I’m going to be talking about making the time to blog. I’ll be sharing a new 30 day habit I’ve challenging myself to. It involves early starts but I’m enjoying it hugely!

I’m now offering a course of three, one-to-one sessions to help blogging novices get launched. If you need that extra bit of encouragement, get in touch and we’ll have a chat!

Blogger spotlight – Live & Breathe Pilates

2 February

In this new series, I’m thrilled to interview some of my Three Thought Bubbles, blog students. They have kindly agreed to tell their story, share their experience and inspire others to start writing a blog. If you want to learn something new, it helps to talk to someone who has been there before you. I’m really grateful to each of them for baring their souls; I’m very proud of them too!

First up is Steph Grey from Live & Breathe Pilates. Steph took one of my ‘Introduction to blogging classes‘. Working together, we looked at how she could reach and help her customers online. This is a continuation of what Steph does in person with her clients. We tackled her nervousness about ‘putting herself out there‘ and I gave her fresh tips on writing for an online audience. Steph impressed me with her speed in getting launched. As she says herself you need to ‘Just do it’! This is my no.1 mantra too. Let’s hear what she has to say;

live breathe pilates dublin
 

What made you want to start writing a blog? Tell us about where your skills and passions collide!

I’m really passionate about what I do and I wanted to spread the word about how Pilates and movement can help people in their day to day lives – to improve their posture, feel better, get stronger, recover from injury and in many cases get them out of pain. Making people aware that there is a way to take control of their own bodies and be an active participant in staying fit and healthy is a great motivator and the feedback we get is amazing. Having clients telling you that they are pain free for the first time in years, have no longer to take daily painkillers, that they can now touch their toes or feel they have their bodies back post pregnancy is fantastic. And I just want other people to feel and see the benefits too. I’m one of those annoying people who love their jobs because there’s a real satisfaction for me in helping people. That and being told by our website designer and digital marketing lady that I had to 🙂

Who do you want to inspire to think, feel, or act differently?

Everyone! Pilates can be beneficial for so many people – our two oldest clients are in their late 70s, and if I’m as strong and flexible as they are when I’m their age I’ll be very happy. Our youngest clients came in yesterday with her Mum, she’s just 12 ½ weeks old and her Mum is getting back to Pilates after her pregnancy. Baby is working on her roll overs. Pilates can be tailored to suit the individual body – and should be – so it can be appropriate for all. I really believe Pilates (done correctly) can help many people – so I’d like to get as much knowledge out there about the benefits as I possibly can. For example, if one of our over 55s clients learns how important balance is as you age and can then explain that to their friends and family, then that can maybe have an impact on reducing falls and fractures in their circle. Most new mums want to get back to having a flat tummy as fast as possible post delivery – and decide to start doing sit ups – not the best thing for their bodies immediately after having a baby. Educating people about their bodies and the “why” is as important to me as teaching the exercises. It empowers people.

What reservations did you have before you started blogging?

Loads. I’m not a writer – I’m a talker. I even talk to myself all the time. My husband will tell you I never shut up. So sitting down and seeing the blank screen in front of me, with a flashing cursor expecting input was very daunting. I didn’t think anyone would really be interested in anything I had to say – or that I’d say the wrong thing and make a tit of myself. All the usual fears of failure that we Irish are so scared of.

How did you talk yourself out of these and press the publish button?

I decided I needed help first. I had no idea where to start so when I saw Aisling’s blogging workshop online I decided to start there – in the hope it would enable me to put some sort of structure around what I wanted to do.

During our blogging session, Aisling made a very good point to me – I stand up in front of groups and talk about Pilates and anatomy every day with no bother at all. My clients (as well as my husband) will tell you I never stop talking. So she suggested I think about it more as a face to face conversation and I have found that really helpful. And I’ve accepted I’m not going to be perfect – but everything has a learning curve. I think it’s good to scare the hell out of yourself regularly and do things you’re unfamiliar with. It keeps life interesting.

It’s early days yet but what are your initial reactions to ‘putting yourself out into the world’?!

I’m starting to get more comfortable with it and to be more engaged in the online world – blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We’re all in the same boat and have to start somewhere I suppose – and people are genuinely really nice and friends and family and our wonderful clients have been very helpful and supportive. I’ve also met some great people online too. So the plan is to keep at it, keep plugging away and I’m hoping the more I do it the easier it will become.

What sort of feedback have you had from customers or readers? How is your blog helping your business?

Many of our client’s have been with us long term – so I know they get the benefits of Pilates and also like our classes and studio. We get a lot of new clients into the studio from word of mouth – so it’s good to be getting the word out online too. We’ve lots of testimonials on our website from our clients – which I’m very proud of and we have had more likes on FB and follows on Twitter. I’ve been told blogging helps with your google rankings too. We’ve also recently updated our website and put in an online booking system – so all this has helped us to stay on page 1 of the google searches. Not bad when you’re a small business and handling all your own marketing etc inhouse – as opposed to other studios out there with massive marketing budgets. We have no PR machine behind us or celebrity to rely on – it’s just me, my hubby and our fab web designer Clare. And of course, the consistent quality of the studio and the classes we offer all help too.

I’ve learnt a lot about running a business over the past 2 years – though my background in business has really helped too. I worked in IT for many years as a sales executive, handling global accounts from initial contact all the way through tender writing to project management of rollouts for successful bids. The skillsets I picked up along the way are useful in my new role as a studio owner. Many people have commented that’s an incredible (even stupid) jump to make – from a well paid IT job to a penniless Pilates instructor – but it’s all very similar really – you’re still dealing with people and people buy from people. The scariest thing was leaving a full time well paid job for self employment – earning a fraction of my previous wage in the middle of the worst recession in years. Working for myself and being responsible for my own destiny is scary as hell but it’s the best thing I have ever done. I’d highly recommend it.

What were the key takeaways from your Three Thought Bubbles class?

As I said earlier, keeping in mind that your blog should be like having a conversation really helped me to get the words out. Also having a structure around how to get started and the general demystification of how it all works. That and actually getting started writing!

Do you have a structured way of writing or planning your content? Or what’s working for you now?

I’m still a bit of a nerd so I use online tools like Evernote to take notes of ideas as I’m out and about. I follow lots of Pilates and anatomy sites and blogs using Feedly. And I listen to clients – what they ask in class, niggles or injures they feel have improved after coming to Pilates for a while – and also reading other non Pilates based blogs and websites for ideas.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone considering starting a blog?

Just do it. You’ll make mistakes, but the more you do it the better you’ll get. Same as starting Pilates I suppose.

What does a ‘successful’ blog mean to you?

Interaction is key really – the more interesting your content the better. But it doesn’t always have to be about the specific business you’re in. I wrote a blog about new year’s resolutions earlier this year. And lack of motivation about keeping them as we end up just feeling deprived. Not Pilates specific at all – but hopefully helpful to clients in a different way.

Thanks for talking with us here Steph. It’s been fascinating helping you and seeing how your ‘job’ and way of life are so naturally entwined. I wish you all the best with your business and will be keenly following your blog.

Connect with Steph online:

Website and Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Steph’s website designer is Claire Regan, from
Fierce Clever.
 

5 reasons why a business blog is better than a Facebook page

13 January

My clients frequently ask me; “What’s the difference between a blog and a facebook page for business?”. Once you hear the answer, it makes complete sense. If you write content for facebook, you do not own that content. If Facebook closes tomorrow, all of your content will be lost! However, if you host your own blog, your content is owned by you and will remain archived and searchable, indefinitely.

We are constantly giving out about Facebook; “Why does no-one see my updates any more?” or “Why are Facebook trying to promote products and services to me?” Why? Because, Facebook are running a business and they want to make money!

Blogging versus facebook

Here are some reasons I recommend you choose to write a blog, in addition to your Facebook page. I’m not suggesting that you exclude Facebook for business – rather, be clear about what each platform offers your business and your customers.

1: Control

With Facebook, you’re relying on a third party to market your business. They constantly change their rules of business and you have no control over this. A self-hosted blog is a stable platform which you manage in a way that suits you.

2: SEO

Blogging can improve your search ranking
if done well. Facebook doesn’t contribute to Google rankings.

3: Shelf-life

Facebook updates have a life of a few days and are not searchable. Blog posts are indexed and searchable for years to come.

4: Audience

Facebook decides who sees your updates. Recent Facebook changes have resulted in fewer followers getting to see these updates in their time-line. A blog allows all readers or followers to view your latest content.

5: Sharing

Although you can share Facebook updates on other people’s ‘walls’, blogs allow people to easily share content across a wide number of social platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Before you jump into using all of the social platforms, find out which ones are best suited to your business. Trial and error is the only way you’ll find out what works for you! I read a great post called “Digital Sharecropping: The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Online Marketing.” It’s well worth a read if you want to explore the topic in more detail.

I teach one-to-one classes as well as small workshops on how to write a business blog with heart. Really what I teach is how to be more human online! Give me a call or leave me a comment if you’d like to hear more.

Huge type

20 May

This has nothing to do with the fact that I bought my first pair of reading glasses this year! Reading online is very different to reading a book. And I’ve noticed that the blogs that I want to read most, all have something in common; a largish font size and optimal characters per line, (or words per line).

This post by Mike Anderson inspired me to share this idea with you. The fact that Mike has exaggerated this idea makes me laugh (which is always good). But sometimes you need to see an exaggerated version of something for it to register. Mike talks about size of the font as well as the optimal number of characters per line. Our eye can only take in so many words in one line before getting confused. So, the perfect solution is to use a decent font size and between 50 to 75 characters per line.

huge type

I’m sick and tired of cramped websites that have tiny type and don’t use the whole screen well. I’ve come to believe that the problem with reading on a screen isn’t the backlight—it’s that the type is too freaking small. Most designers don’t even know that there is an optimal number of characters per line. Let me take you through some of my thinking so that you can consider if you can take away any ideas to use on a project of your own. The fact you’ve read to this paragraph is proof that there is something to my argument. Mike Anderson

Mike also talks about ‘losing the noise’. This is something that I’m also really interested in. Make you message clear and remove ‘clutter’ from both your post and website template. How can you remove words and get to the core message of what you want to say? Or more importantly; what do your readers want to hear? It’s well worth reading Mike’s post over on his blog.

Writing a blog is an ongoing learning process. If you look at my Rangoli business blog, you’ll see that my font size and character length needs to be changed! It’s on my to-do list. But I’m happy with the format here on this blog. What do you think of it? I’d like to hear if you have a preference or does it bother you at all?

Here are some more examples of websites that make online reading a pleasure!

Zen habits – Leo Babauta

The Digital Storyteller – Roger Overall

Simply Zesty – Digital agency

House and Home – Irish home and interiors magazine

My blogging workshops cover lots of aspects of business blogging; from content and writing authentically to visual impact. Anyone can learn how to tell their business story. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, read about my one day workshops. I’ll be announcing my next workshop date soon and would love to meet you at one of my classes.

How to plan your blog posts

7 May

This is not an A-Z list about how to plan your blog content! But I’ll tell you some of the things that have worked for me while blogging for my jewellery business Rangoli. And I’ll show you tools and techniques that I find useful. I discover new stuff all the time. I mix and match my note-taking tools!

I have a good friend called Ayelet and I have marveled at her idea capturing technique for years! Whether we’re stationery or striding down the street, she will whip out her special notebook, when she hears an interesting idea. I used to laugh but now I do the same!

blog notebook
 

Ideas need to be recorded when you get them. They often need time to brew!

So what are the best ways to catalogue these idea seeds? Back to Ayelet! One day, I watched her try to ‘scribble’ a flow of ideas using a mobile phone application. It wasn’t as quick as writing with a pen and she lost her train of thought.  So what I’ve learned is that it’s good to have a mix of old-fashioned paper notebooks with online or phone applications.

Here’s what I currently use:

A functional, un-lined, brown paper notebook! It’s small enough to fit in my handbag and I scribble down notes to trigger ideas for later. One side is for post ideas. The other is for doodles. I never know when a new design might dazzle me!

Then online, I have two favourite tools; Evernote and Google Drive, (previously Google Docs) .

In Evernote, I create individually named ‘notes’. Some examples include ’how tos’ which contain links to technical tutorials, or ‘Inspiring posts’, with articles to trigger new posts.

I find Google Drive is great for collecting tables of cross-referenced content. I recommend this for all new bloggers as a way to record the blog elements that you like. You can make a table with headings to suit the information you need to collect. This is especially useful if you are planning to get your template professionally designed. You will have a clear list of examples to show the style and content that you like. Here are some categories that I use to save my favourite online inspiration:

‘Visually beautiful blogs’, ‘Good storytelling’, ‘Good ‘About Me’ pages’, ‘Good taglines’, ‘Inspiring videos or podcasts’, ‘Quirky design details’ and ‘Clean navigation’. To these, I add a link to the source and a brief description for future reference.

Here’s one more useful application; Instapaper. It allows you to save web pages for reading later. If you browse as much as I do, you’ll find this is a great tool for storing interesting content to read when you have more time…

Are you thinking about starting a blog? If so my Three Thought Bubbles workshops will show you how to choose content and write like ‘you’! I’m taking bookings for my next class now! Let me know if you have any questions you’d like me to answer!

Blogger Spotlight – Curious Design

6 April

Rachel and Marie from Curious Design

I get a great buzz from chatting with other business owners and hearing how they do things. So I’m starting a regular feature called Blogger Spotlights where I’ll be introducing you to some of my favourite Irish and International bloggers. Diversity is the name of the game. The best blogging advice I got was to look outside your industry or area of interest for inspiration!

So, first up (after my own self-interview!) is Marie from Curious Design. Marie and Rachel run this Irish company and design everything from branding to brochures and email newsletters to e-commerce. They especially love creating identities for small creative businesses. Let’s meet Marie;

The ‘Curious Design’ and ‘Curious Casa’ blogs

Hi Rachel and Marie! I love following both your blogs; your Curious Design as well as Curious Casa. Curious is a brilliant word – tell us how it sums up you two and what you do?

Thanks Aisling, we really like it too!

We thought long and hard about our name. Asking questions, researching and getting to know our clients is a big part of our design process and something we really enjoy so we wanted to reference this in our company name. Curious was a nice friendly word that felt like a good fit. We are also quite nosey!

 Branding, website and print for photographer Magda Lukas

You describe yourselves as ‘friends, work-mates, and design junkies’. Tell us a bit more about those three things!

We’ve been friends since we met on our first day of college in 2001 and collaborated and bounced ideas off each other all the time during those 4 years. After college we still shared inspiration and ideas when working for various companies, as well as brainstorming (some would say obsessing…) over our weddings, houses, and quite a few fancy dress parties. In 2011 we set up curious together. Those years of collaborating have proved invaluable, as we know how the other ticks at this stage and work very well together.

We have very similar taste and love simple modern quirky design. We occasionally drive our other halves batty showing them pictures on pinterest so curious casa is a good outlet and way of sharing cool things we have found with each other.

Branding for BFI - an organisation offering free resources for educators and bilingual/multilingual families.

When was Curious design set up and who do you most want to help?

Curious was set up in 2011. We really like working with smart enthusiastic small businesses and individuals and start ups. It’s particularly fun working with people who are just setting up as you can follow their journey from idea to fully fledged business.

I’m envious that there are two of you! It must be brilliant to share skills and bounce ideas off each other. What are the benefits of working together? And are there any downsides? Spill the beans…

Having a business partner is fantastic!

It’s great to have someone to share the load with and to bounce ideas off. Rachel has lots of experience working with print and knows all the different techniques inside out while  I studied web design and development after college and specialises in that area. We overlap a lot on projects but having different skillsets means that we can offer a broader range of services to our clients, as well as learning from each other.

The downside would be that business talk can eat into “friend time” very easily, we try our best to keep the two separate but there will always be an overlap.

 Website design and development for the Swift Satire Festival 2012

Why did you set up your Curious Design blog and were you nervous before you started?!

We started the blog to help clients get to know us a bit better and also to learn about blogging ourselves. At the time we were also launching curious so there were nerves abounding!

Have you any reservations about sharing your design process online?

No. We try to make our process as transparent as possible for our clients and anything that helps us do this is a good thing.

How do you measure how your blog helps your business?

We keep an eye on our analytics and will also usually ask clients how they heard of us. The majority of our clients are referrals but they will usually have checked out the website and blog before they get in touch. Having a little bit of our personality online helps people feel they know us a bit better before getting in contact.

Do you share the writing?

Yes, and we share the proof reading too – Rachel is good at spotting typos!

Irish Mammies t-towels
 Design of Irish Mammy “Tweet Towels”

What is the best thing about blogging for you?

We find that our blog has become a great resource for us and our clients as we have posts explaining many of the common questions we get, like the difference between a vector file and a jpeg. Connecting with like-minded people is fun too – we love comments!

What do you find hardest about it?

Finding time to blog! Like any small business we are usually busy working on client work so it’s difficult to make time to blog on top of this.

Do you have a content planner or how do you plan your posts?

How we plan depends on the type of post – if it’s part of a series we tend to plan more and have a shared folder in dropbox where we save our plan and schedule. We usually write and save posts as drafts and get the other to review them before scheduling them.

Posts inspired by a project we’ve finished or a lovely piece of design we’ve spotted tend to be less planned and more spontaneous.

 Website design and development for Ciara of Style Serendipity

Do you have a favourite on-line app, tool or resource that helps you with blogging?

We use photoshop all the time for work anyway but it is also extremely useful for resizing and cropping images.

Has blogging brought you any unexpected opportunities?

Rachel’s home was featured in the IKEA live magazine after one of the editors spotted our blog which was a fun experience.

Who inspires you in the blog world?

I (Marie) am a big fan of Gretchin Rubin from the happiness project. She has 2 best selling books on the topic of happiness both of which I really enjoyed. Her blog has played a huge part in this success and she uses it as a reference and resource for her
books.

What one tip would you give a new business blogger?

If you aren’t sure how you will come up with ideas for posts a series can be a useful format. We found the design a-z was a good structure that helped us come up with ideas.

Thanks for those curious insights Marie! I agree with your thoughts on being as transparent as possible with your clients. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging myself. Your a-z series is a winner too!

 

So, if you’re an aspiring or established blogger – what does your design brand say about you? Is your blog a pleasant place for your readers to hang out? Get in touch with Marie or Rachel if you’d like to spruce up your space!

Call Rachel and Marie on 01 453 7907
Curious Design website and blog
Twitter: @curious_design
Facebook: CuriousDesignIreland
Websites mentioned in the interview: Magda Lukas Photography, Style Serendipity, Swift Satire Festival 2012, Irish Mammy “Tweet Towels”

What’s keeping you from sharing your work?

28 January

As a designer, I’m really curious and interested in what inspires other people to create what they do. But I’ve noticed that there seems to be a huge reluctance to share this type of information publicly. Why are we so scared of revealing our creative thought processes? My biggest aim with my blogging workshops is to get people talking about the how and why of what they do!

Two things happen when we do this;

We open ourselves up to feedback (positive and negative) and we create possibilities to collaborate with other people. Most people can’t seem to get past the fear of negative feedback – what if they criticise me? what if my competitors copy what I do? The inner voice goes on and on. Try turning it off and see what happens!

Here’s what I believe –

Constructive criticism can help you improve your idea and positive feedback will encourage you to keep going! I have worked by myself for 15 years and loved it. Recently though, I’m actively seeking to collaborate with other people. Blogging does that for you. On-line connections lead to three dimensional coffee dates. Conversations can start adventures.

This is a book that I recently read. It’s full of really simple but totally mind-shifting ideas. I totally recommend it. I also follow Austin on Twitter (@austinkleon) Today, he posted a link to a discussion on his Tumblr site –

What’s keeping you from sharing your work?
What are your greatest fears when it comes to sharing your ideas, your process, and the stuff you make with others? If you do share your work, whether it be reading a story in a writing workshop, showing a painting in a gallery, pitching an idea to a team at the office, or posting on your blog, what problems have you run into? What would help you solve them? Open question because I’m curious.

Go and check out all the readers replies. Maybe it’ll make you realise that we all feel vulnerable about sharing ideas. I’m making a concerted effort to lose the fear and put myself out there more. How about you? Leave me your thoughts and niggling fears below! Let’s blast them away.

Would you like to join five other business owners for a totally different blogging workshop? Get in touch and I’ll tell you more about how blogging can help your business.

Being honest

7 January

What’s the point in writing for an audience if you’re not being truthful and honest? One of the things that blogging has taught me is that I need to keep it real for myself too. Otherwise I would have stopped long ago!

The best way to improve your blog is to discover the elements that attract you to other sites. How can you use these ideas in a way that suits your business? It’s not about copying. It’s about taking that idea or concept and making it your own.

Yesterday’s web discovery was The Honest kitchen; an Australian food blog with a difference. The name  intrigued me first, followed by their honest and simple philosophy. Basically this blog is all about presenting food in an honest setting;

No intimidating ingredients or complicated stocks. No using every single pan in the house and creating a mound of washing up, just to create a delicious and healthy dinner.

The photographs, too, reflect this philosophy. Our food is approachable and achievable in an everyday setting, so it is plated and photographed truthfully, in a real working kitchen, before being devoured by family and friends, the people we love to feed.

An Honest Kitchen blog

 

This approach really appeals to me as a reader and has encouraged me to write some posts with a similar feel over on my business blog. It’s so tempting to make everything look and sound perfect on your blog. Lately, I’m pulling myself back from this way of thinking. Perfection can be boring!

While scrolling through the visual feast, I found this post about a failed recipe called ‘Some recipes don’t work‘. One of the main reasons why I want to teach others to write a blog is that there seems to be a reluctance or fear of putting ourselves out there. Why are we nervous of sharing our creative process?

 

‘Some recipes don’t work’ post

 

This post shows the reality of creating any new thing; it doesn’t always come out like you expect! And that’s the exciting part of the process. I’d like to be brave enough to share similar projects on my business blog. This post has certainly inspired me to think differently. If someone is reading a blog about a creative person, they are interested in the how and why of what you do. That’s where the interesting story is to be found.

So my tip for you is to start gathering inspiration – look outside of your industry for fresh ideas. What grabs your attention and why? What can you tweak to make it distinctively ‘you’ and inspiring for your reader? Let’s get more honest and knock perfectionism on the head!

Credits:
Top photo collage – images by Luisa Brimble
Bottom collage via An Honest Kitchen.

Hold their hand – Make your online user experience as easy as possible

20 December

Hold their hand! Make your online user experience as easy as possible. Don’t create stumbling blocks. This is the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given.

Every day, we visit sites that make us want to scream. ‘What do they do?’, ‘How can I get I contact them?’, ‘Why do they want my zip code when I don’t have one?’. It’s as if some companies go out of their way to lose customers.

This video from Google Analytics is hilarious. It compares the online browsing experience with a “real life” checkout experience.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes when you’re designing your website or blog. Keep everything simple and make it easy for the user to do business with you. (I could watch this video over and over; it’s important to have a sense of humour too!) What makes you scream when you visit a site? Let’s create a list…

My workshops cover this topic along with other customer-focussed tips. Courses are on-going so get in touch if you’d like to register your interest.