1 simple secret to web design that you should know
Let me guess at why you’re here…
You’re looking around at all of the beautiful websites of competitors, peers, and influencers in your space and feeling like yours will never be as good. You question how you could possibly raise your rates to their level when your website betrays you as a DIYer and looks amateur.
Am I on track so far? Let’s keep going.
You know you’ve got to uplevel your online presence before you can level up you package prices but you’re not sure how to choose the best web designer and copywriter. You’re not even sure of all the pieces you need or in what order you need to get them done.
More than that, you’re worried about the big “WHAT IF?”... What if you invest in hiring someone and the result doesn’t feel like “you” or create any tangible return on that investment? Because, let’s be honest, the type of website transformation we’re talking about IS a significant investment.
That’s why you’ve been DIYing your words + web design up to this point and taking what you’ve learned from courses and free content to piece something together. But it’s time to start fresh, wipe the slate clean, and create an online presence that truly represents you and elevates your expertise.
So you open up your design document and stare at the blank page… where do you begin?
You’ve already made your first mistake...
Never start a website redesign with the “design” part. This is the critical mistake that separates the wallflower websites from the spotlight ones. (And I actually am an introverted wallflower most of the time, so this has nothing to do with your personality.)
To generate profits and PR automatically:
You’ve got to have a standout digital presence.
...But that doesn’t mean bold colors or loud fonts (definitely not). When I encourage you to “rebel against website conformity” and craft a “standout website”, I am NOT advocating that you create something outrageous, over-the-top, or oddball.
The thing about user-friendly website design is that it IS ever-evolving (yes) but is it also pretty formulaic (which does NOT mean “cookie cutter”). There are a set of best practices for web design + development as well as established design patterns for how best to layout a website.
These “best practice” guidelines exist because we don’t want to create frustration, hesitation, or uncertainty with our website visitors. We want to foster connection, trust, and taking the next step together.
By having a framework to create within, you won’t have to fight with the blank-page syndrome. And you’ll have a repeatable process for designing user-friendly website pages that convert.
In order to design a standout website for your brand, you should become familiar with the guidelines and best practices of a well-crafted website. Whether you want to hire someone to do the heavy lifting for you or not, it would be a huge benefit to you to understand this framework.
Effective website design is about creativity within constraints.
Because creativity is not a muse-driven gift that comes out of nowhere. It’s not something that you have to be born with or something that only “right-brained” artistic-types can access.
Creativity is a skill and, as such, it can be learned.
I know because I went through the uncomfortable growth process of learning to activate and tap-into that right-brained creativity while earning a fine arts degree from NYU.
In my high school years, I was firmly in the “left-brained” logic-ruled camp. I absolutely LOVED math, chemistry, and theoretical physics (still do). And I thought that I was just one of “those people” that aren’t blessed with the gift of creativity.
And my first year at NYU as an “undecided” major, I continued down that path –– studying general chemistry and calculus. Until I decided, “Hey, I’m at NYU. I might as well study what they do best.” After this light bulb moment, I applied and was accepted to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Film School.
This is when that uncomfortable growth process began –– when I had to learn how to use that near-dormant creativity. It was hard but not impossible.
Years later, when I first started working as a web designer, I realized that designing a user-friendly website meant practicing “creativity within constraints”.
What I mean is this:
It’s actually an equal effort of both “right” and “left” sides of your brain because it’s about problem-solving.
You have this problem that you must design a solution for within a given set of constraints (sounds a little bit like math, eh?). So you can understand why I often use terms like “formula” or “blueprint” to speak about my web design process.
The thing is: a well-crafted user-friendly website doesn’t come from spontaneous creative activity. It comes from practicing the skill of creativity within a set of established constraints.
What are the creative constraints of a website?
- Your personal brand (voice, vision, + values)
- Your audience (what they want/need)
- Your offerings (products vs services vs something else)
- The goals for your website + marketing
- Best practices (for website development, navigation, + SEO)
- User Interface (UI) patterns (for how best to layout a page in a way that “users” of the internet understand and expect)
Some of the constraints we know and are generally the same (best practices + patterns). But some of them we don’t automatically know. Instead, we need to do a bit of research (both internal and external).
Some of them we STILL can’t know from research and so we need to test them. Do we know exactly how a member of our audience will react to the copy and call-to-action on our homepage? No.
The only way to find out is to test it (after researching to come up with a hypothesis, of course) and then to monitor how our goals are tracking. From there we can tweak our messaging and/or graphics and test again.
The idea here is that we want to get our page up as quickly and as professionally as possible. We want to go through the internal and external research, work within our known creative constraints, and then test our ideas.
This can mean testing a new service offer with an MVP (minimum-viable product) version. (This systematic way of researching, writing, and designing an MVP sales page is what I walk you through in my QuickSell Kit program).
But it can also be done on a much subtler level by continuing to iterate and improve on your existing website or website redesign project. Of course, even though I recommend putting up your site or sales page as quickly and professionally as possible and then iterating on it, I do NOT want you to rush things.
By saying “quickly” I only mean that you shouldn’t allow yourself to get trapped by perfectionist tendencies or comparison-shame that prevents you from moving forward.
You should always follow the full web design process (even if you’ve done it a dozen times before because, trust me, taking shortcuts will only extend the process and time to completion).
And I’ve laid it out for you in a comprehensive website checklist that I’ll gladly share with you for free.
Another helpful activity is to start identifying + analyzing pieces of inspiration
...both in terms of messaging and design. Keep a folder on your computer with screenshots of words + web pages that move you. Then analyze what they have in common.
- By analyzing inspiration in this way, you’ll start to recognize the common patterns + practices that make a website or a sales page particularly effective.
- And by following my 9-step comprehensive website process, you’ll be able to go from DIY to dramatically different with the words + website that automatically attract more profit potential and PR opportunities your way.
...So you can finally raise your rates and feel confident in your website (and ditch both the comparisonitis and the blank-page syndrome).
You can have my signature 9-step website process completely free.
I’ve put it together into a single comprehensive Google Doc for you to copy and start using immediately (with plenty of extra resources to help you along the way).
Here’s what Halley Gray of Evolve and Succeed had to say about this checklist:
“...this could be a paid product with the amount of info you're giving Meghan.... you've gone above and beyond (again).”
Start by grabbing your FREE 9-step website checklist here: