As a Wix Marketplace Partner, I get a lot of enquiries from small business owners around the UK looking for help with their websites.
We're not supposed to be everything to everyone and so many of these are a straight no from me (...and if I'm completely honest I do quite enjoy hitting the 'Decline' button in a Britains Got Talent stylee).
Reasons I hit the decline button
X They want a website with ALL of the features, but for a £300 budget.
X They want a website with ALL of the features, but for a £300 budget - and they want it delivered last week.
X They're in the business of fences, tattoos, sheds or computer software. I work with wellness and creative businesses - this is what lights me up and where I'm best placed to help.
X They don't tell me anything at all about their project and I'm left guessing what they do based on their email address. Sorry, it's a no again.
It's just as validating to know what you DON'T want, as it is to know what you DO want, isn't it?
So a lot of what comes through the Wix Marketplace is just is noise....but then there are the enquiries that restore my faith and make fielding all of these other enquiries worthwhile.
The diamonds in the rough.
...these are the brands that make me want to go the extra mile because they've gone all-in on creating and spreading positive ripples in the world.
They're leading with purpose at their heart and they make it through my filter because they're ticking my boxes...but what do they need help with?
The most common request is I get via this avenue is for help with SEO
And I get it, because if your website isn't generating sufficient leads then it's easy to put two and two together and assume that it's your SEO.
But SEO in itself isn't a magic bullet, it's just one element in your toolkit and it might not be the reason that you're not attracting / converting leads.
What's the real problem with your website?
I'm going to say it (and apologies if I offend anyone)...but you can't polish a turd.
When I look at lots of these sites, they're not only missing the basics of SEO but they're also missing the very basics of web design, branding and usability.
Spending money patching up SEO when the foundations aren't in place is (in my opinion) a waste of your money. It's a bit like spending money on boosting random posts on Facebook - you may as well take a £20 note and cut it into pieces, because it's not going to deliver value for money.
We don't just want people to discover our website, we want people to discover it and then love it so much that they sit a while with us.
So how do we do that?
Imagine for a moment that your website is an event or party...
Stick with me...all will become clear.
SEO might help to get people to your party initially, but if the conversation, music, atmosphere and food are rubbish...your guests will make their excuses and leave at the first opportunity they get.
Which in tune signals to Google that your site isn't relevant or engaging.
What we want instead is for people to arrive at our event and immediately get a great first impression.
Because we know the type of people on the guest list (our ideal customers) we've been able to spend lots of time thinking about the perfect atmosphere that they will enjoy.
We've curated the perfect food, drinks, playlist, lighting and finer details to exactly set the mood.
We welcome people with open arms and answer any questions they've got so they know what we're about.
And because our guests like what we've created, they want to stick around and spend some time with us...they might even have a good old snoop around (after all, who doesn't love a nosy round with a glass of something pink and bubbly in hand!).
All of this means that they'll want to get to know us better. Hopefully they'll leave their calling card and ask us to get in touch.
Which gives us the chance to step in and nurture them towards the Golden Buzzer moment when they entrust us with their business.
This in turn signals to Google that we're relevant and primed to engage with the right attitude.
Focusing on SEO without also addressing the fundamentals - structure, messaging, style - is a bit like advertising a party without planning the party itself.
What does Google say about this?
John Mueller of Google (who leads on Search and is therefore quite an important voice regarding this matter) recommends that small businesses would do well to focus on the basics rather than implementing age-old SEO tactics, because it's about appealing to people first and foremost.
Focus on building a strong website first (messaging and offers)
Let your business stand out with custom images (and I'd argue, your brand style)
Create a clean, easy to follow structure for people (usability)
Show Google & visitors that you have great content (using SEO and all of the tools we have available both on-and off-site)
Because of the above, it's very rarely that I take on an SEO project without a complete rework of the website homepage if it's needed.
I'm not someone who would feel comfortable to charge for SEO tweaks knowing full well that it probably won't increase your discoverability and leads - because we need to get discovered but then your website also needs to be pulling it's weight in terms of getting people to stick around and to complete on your CTA.
That's all for this post and I hope you've found something useful in here. If you need help to create the brand, website or imagery that will set your business apart and empower you to share your message and create ripples in the world, then please do feel free to get in touch.
And rest assured that there's none of that clunky, complicated Wordpress technology here.
My clients demand a simpler, more intuitive solution to their websites - which is why I choose Wix for all of my sites.
I'm a brand designer, photographer and Wix website designer based in the UK. I help wellness & creative businesses build their brand and online presence through photography and web, brand & human design, so that they can create positive ripples in the world.
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