5 Reasons Squarespace May Be Right For You

When deciding which web platform is right for you as a business owner and boss lady, the factors involved can be overwhelming. There are many choices out there and digging through all of the relevant information in order to choose which option is best for you can sometimes cause analysis paralysis.

Today I want to discuss the top five reasons I feel Squarespace is a fantastic choice for female entrepreneurs looking to have a web presence that is professional and customizable but is also easy enough for them to tweak themselves. Having the ability to change minor things on your website with little or no help is a huge plus to this platform and is one of the main reasons I am such a proponent of working on Squarespace!

5 Reasons Squarespace May Be Right For You by Leesa Dykstra Designs

1. Clean Design

Squarespace offers a variety of templates for you to use as the base foundation of your website. From there you can customize to your desired design through the use of their “blocks” system. All Squarespace designs utilize clean, modern lines and beautiful use of white space. Squarespace’s tagline is “build it beautiful” and I think that a quick look at their template choices proves this to be true. I have yet to come across a Squarespace site that does not present a clean and modern feel no matter what customizations have been added to the template.

2. User Friendly

Designing on Squarespace could not be easier. Although, with any system, there is a learning curve. Once you understand the basics of how the system works, it’s a very simple WYSIWYG system. (What you see is what you get).

By utilizing insert points and various blocks for images, text, links, videos, grids, charts, graphs, social media etc…you can essentially build all of the pages on your site to look similar or you can build each page to look slightly different. You are able to see the changes as they are happening and you can easily add, delete, or adjust the design of your page in one simple click.

3. Affordability

For the ease of use, all in one platform hosting, a domain name, and an easy to manage professional website, Squarespace pricing is a no brainer. You can have a personal plan for $8/month billed annually or a business plan for $18/month billed annually. For some other website platforms you have to pay $30+ a month plus also pay separately for hosting the domain. With Squarespace you get everything all in one place, for one price. Sign me up for that!

4. Mobile Ready

Every single one of Squarespace’s templates are optimized to be mobile friendly. When someone clicks on your site from their phone, your template will auto adjust to read perfectly on a mobile device. Nothing will show up too small or take too long to load. The added bonus of not having to do anything “extra” to make your site mobile friendly is a huge benefit in my opinion. Especially now with Google's decision that mobile friendly websites will auto rank higher in searches. The fact that Squarespace decided early on to ensure that every single site built on their platform is mobile friendly shows their dedication to ensuring their users are getting a forward thinking, ahead of the curve service.

5. SEO

Squarespace sometimes gets a bad rap for SEO, but honestly I think that’s more because of intimidation rather than actual poor performance. Squarespace websites come optimized for SEO out of the box and users don’t need to add any additional plugins or workarounds in order to start seeing some SEO gains from their site. Squarespace makes it easy to update page and image descriptions, as well as add keywords and tags without having to worry about whether you are “doing SEO right” or read endless websites and tutorials in order to figure it all out. SEO can be a scary and intimidating subject for many. Squarespace takes away some of that frustration by already doing some of the heavy lifting for you!

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If you are looking for a website provider and/or are currently in the process of looking at a few different options, I hope that this breakdown of some of my favorite things about Squarespace has helped to clear up some of your lingering questions!

Are you using the Squarespace platform? What is your favorite feature or function?

 

7 Productivity Tips to Keep You on Point

Being an entrepreneur and/or working from home can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, but it can also be a challenge! Staying on task and remaining productive is a real challenge when you don’t have a boss, manager, or other co-workers to keep you on point. Today I’m sharing 7 different productivity tips that I use to keep myself moving forward and on task!

7 Productivity Tips to Keep You on Point | leesadykstradesigns.com

1. No Notifications

Notifications popping up on your phone or your computer screen is a proven productivity killer. I don’t know about you, but when you get notified that someone said something or sent you something, the urge to go and check it out is almost impossible to resist. But what happens then? You get lost in the endless scroll of social media or you get sidetracked responding to an email and before you know it a few hours have gone by. What you were supposed to get done gets pushed off until tomorrow. AGAIN. Don’t let notifications get in the way of getting your work done. I turned off all notifications on my phone a few months ago and let me tell you my productivity during the day has increased tenfold! I will never go back!

2. Schedule Blocks of Time

When you don’t have the structure of a 9-5 to deal with, working for yourself or working from home can be kind of a free for all. If you don’t go into every day without a plan, the day can tend to get away from you and you might end up feeling like you didn't get anything done.

Planning out your week at the beginning of the week and then scheduling blocks of time to take care of tasks can be a huge productivity booster. Knowing that every day from 9-9:30 you will deal with social media and from 1-3 you will focus on blog posting etc…can keep you on point and moving throughout the day. Hold yourself accountable to get done what you have pre-scheduled to get done. This will also free you up to not feel “guilty” during other parts of the day when you feel like you should be getting work done that you didn’t get done earlier in the day.

3. Have Office Hours

Having set office hours can be a huge benefit especially if you have other commitments, like children or a spouse, that also need your time. If you know that no one else will be in the house from 9-3, then dedicate yourself to working those hours. Anytime after or before those hours, work will not be done and you can focus your energies on other commitments. It doesn’t really matter what the hours are or when they occur during the day, but be honest with yourself about when you work best, when you have the ability to work in a focused way and stick to it!

4. Give Yourself Breaks

Along with scheduling blocks of time, make sure to also schedule yourself some breaks throughout the day. Whether it be a few minutes to go outside and take a walk, a quick 10 minute break to stretch, a lunch break with a favorite TV show or even a short afternoon snooze, taking breaks throughout the day gives your brain a chance to relax and re-energize!

5. Utilize Resources

Even though in many ways technology has made our lives more complicated, it also has the ability to make our lives so much easier and more efficient. Utilize some really great productivity resources to help you complete tasks that are repetitive or time-sucking. There are so many resources out there that can help small business owners and entrepreneurs (way too many to get into here), but I encourage you to ask others in your field what they use. Do some google searching or ask in Facebook groups for some resources that others use to keep on point and keep their days being productive. I promise you will find some really valuable things out there that can make a huge difference in your day to day work life!

6. White Noise

This might not work for everyone, but I find that having a little bit of white noise on wherever I am working lends itself to my productivity. Rather than the room being completely silent, having some music playing, a show on in the background or even this awesome new white noise website (Noisli) can provide some subtle noise in the background that helps keep me focused on the task at hand. I’m not at all sure why it works, but it just seems to!

7. Schedule Social Media

I’ve saved one of the best for last. Ohhh Social Media. This is probably one of the biggest struggles for most small business owners and especially creative entrepreneurs. We need to be on social media. This is often the main source of finding clients. But once you get there, it is so, so, SO easy to stay there. For hours. And HOURS. An easy solution to stay away from social media as much as possible during working hours is to schedule everything ahead of time. Use a resource like Buffer, HootsuiteCoSchedule, or Edgar to plan all of your posts for a few days at a time and then walk away. You can still get your information out there, but you don’t loose hours in the process by getting sucked into juicy Facebook posts or group conversations.

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I hope these tips have been helpful for you and that you now have some more tools in your tool belt for staying productive throughout the day! What is your #1 favorite productivity tip to keep yourself on point?

 

Today's post was written by the amazing and extremely talented Cinnamon Wolfe of Cinnamon Wolfe Photography.

 

Business Branding 101

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers."

As a graphic designer, I all too often see businesses that have such amazing items to offer, but their business is seriously struggling due to their lack of a cohesive business brand. For example, they will have different images for their business across different sites such as Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter. If your business looks unprofessional then your customers and clients will think that your customer service, and potentially your product, is unprofessional or low quality. That is why having a professional cohesive look and brand to your business across the board is vital.

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Here are four tips to give your business a brand that others will easily recognize:

Business Branding 101 by leesadykstradesigns.com | 4 tips to give your business a brand that others will easily recognize

1. Consistency

Use a consistent logo and/or images to represent your business. For me, I use the logo you see on the top of this blog and a set of cohesive images on everything from Instagram,  Facebook,  Twitter, my business card.... I mean on everything! All of my avatars and profile pictures are the same to keep it consistent.

2. Professional Look

Does the look of your business appeal to a specific niche of people or to a broader customer base? The more customers that your brand appeals to means the more sales you will have. I am not saying that you must hire a professional designer to create your logo and other graphics in order to be successful, but I am saying you need to have a professional look.

3. Professional Tone

When you write an email or post a status update on Facebook, how does it sound? Are you using slang or bad grammar? Nothing turns me off to a business faster than an unprofessional tone. If grammar isn't your strong suit, then write the post in Word first to do a spell and grammar check.

4. Customer Service

You may be asking, “Leesa, how is customer service part of my brand?” Your brand is more than just how your business looks, it’s how your business feels. While your image will help drive customers to you, your customer service is what is going to close that sale and bring them back for a future sale. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have great customer service. One unhappy customer is more powerful than 100 happy ones. Word of mouth is a huge factor in business, so make sure that your customers and clients are singing your praises.

Before you start thinking about the image of your business, first think about how you want to be perceived, what sets you apart from the rest, and how your business is different. You need to answer these questions before you can create that true brand and look of your business. Make sure that your brand reflects not only what you're selling, but what people want.

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Do you have a cohesive, well-designed brand? If so, what are some of the main benefits that you see from it?