Trust the process, right? Well, I’m going to trust my own process as I completely redesign my website, which I last built in 2013—gasp! I’ve constantly updated the design and made tweaks, but it’s time to start fresh and clean. And there’s no better time than now.
I recently defined the web design process I use for clients in my free report, Get Your Website Done: 12 Actionable Steps for Designers. In the coming months, I’m going to get my own website done by following these steps (because I know it works!) and sharing what I learn.
The goal is to create a website that is the most authentic replication of my business. It will explain what I do, who I am and why it matters in the best way possible to connect with my target clients. I’m going to end with a website. And I’m going to start at the beginning…
Step #1: Pick your niche—Hard, but totally worth it!
Are you afraid to pick a niche? Worried about excluding somebody? Get over it. You will not exclude anybody. In fact, you’ll be including a lot more people because you’ll know who they are and where to find them. Plus, you can choose to accept any project you want…even if it’s outside your niche. Picking a niche just helps you figure out where to focus your marketing efforts.
In my case, I have been saying my niche is creative businesses, but this is a little broad. With Ilise Benun’s help, I’ve narrowed my niche to 2 specific audiences:
- Graphic designers
- Design studios
Years ago, I saved this persona workbook from Hatchbuck. I knew the time would come when I was ready, and I am now. With the persona workbook, I’m starting to really understand each target client. Who is this person? What motivates them? What are their challenges?
The whole point is that when you start honing your message and writing your copy, you’ll be speaking specifically to these people. It’s not about you…it’s about your prospects. By fully understanding them, you can speak to them more clearly.
About vertical and horizontal niches
In a vertical niche, you focus on a particular type of client (graphic designers). In a horizontal niche, you focus on providing a particular kind of service (web design + development). So while I do both, you may choose to do one or the other. If you do have a horizontal niche, like me, this will lead directly into the next step, #2: Define your services. More on that next time!
Need help picking a niche?
Here are some awesome resources:
- Marketing Mentor’s Pick a Niche Kit
- What happens when you don’t pick a niche? By Ilise Benun
- The Persona Workbook by Hatchbuck
- The Niche Notebook by Tomas Fransson lists 100+ niches actually picked by real life creative professionals. (I’m listed there!)
- #080: How to Pick the Best, Smartest Niche for Your Freelance Business, Ed Gandia podcast with Ilise Benun
- Don’t Be a Generalist: How and Why to Pick a Niche, video with Terri Trespicio and Ilise Benun
Want to join me on the journey to a new website? Download the 12 steps here.