Website designs come in many different formats and unless people are using the same template in the same format over and again, (almost) no two websites are the same. Even if the design is similar, what will make a great website stand head and shoulders above a mediocre one is the content.

What makes people buy the same product from one person and not the other? Excluding the ease and convenience of Amazon shopping, why would someone buy product X from Sarah in Nottingham rather than from Laura in Birmingham?

Assuming that the product, price and postage times are the same, the difference is often that Sarah’s story is more compelling that Laura’s.

Websites and Social Media have developed so extensively over the past decade (and more) that it can be hard to keep up. A few years ago the term ‘influencer’ sprung up and a lot of the world (other than the influencers) didn’t really know what the term meant. Now we all know what the term means but how do people get in a position of going from regular person using Social Media to influencer with agents, book deals, paid gigs and the ability to leave the day job to do this full time?

There are a process of steps that they take; the most important one being that they tell their story.

The second is that they’re consistent.

Consistency works in more than one way. Yes, influencers tend to put up a post every single day but it goes deeper than that, they tell their story consistently. This has nothing to do with how often they post, and everything to do with what they are posting.

Want to become well known, liked and respected as a food blogger? Great! Create some brilliant, user friendly recipes, invest in good camera equipment, take photos of the food from many angles, produce the recipe in a variety of different content formats (videos, blog post, photo posts etc), be consistent and you’re sure to be successful. Scatter the content with photos of your Grandma, the morning dog walk and a night out with the girls and your audience, who are following you for your recipes, won’t really know what to do with that. They’ll stop engaging with your posts and they’ll find other food bloggers who are more consistent, to follow, engage with and recommend.

How does this relate to you? How does it relate to websites? Your website should be the first place people go to, to learn more. For this reason it must be well designed, clear what you want the user to do when they’re on the site (this is known as a Call to Action) and it should be an opportunity to tell people who you are, why you are, and what it is you do.

It’s really up to you how much detail you go into when telling your story and how comfortable you are with sharing online. Ultimately if you tell your story in a compelling way, people will feel a connection with you and want to buy from you.

How to tell your story

There’s no one right way to do this but I like to sit down with a cup of coffee. I also like to go somewhere that’s distraction free but still has a bit of a background buzz to keep my brain occupied. So for me a coffee shop is perfect. If you like to be distraction free, a quiet room might suit you better. I like to use my laptop as it means I can re-read and edit as I go, many other people like pen and paper and to create a few drafts before producing the final document. 

Once you’ve settled on the right location and method for you, block out a couple of hours as you’ll be surprised how long it can take, to get the perfect pitch for you to present to your audience.

Try putting together some headings to write under. These might not make it into what appears on the website but they’re a good guide and starting point so you stay on point when speaking to your audience and you don’t write too much. Ultimately you’re aiming for 1 – 3 paragraphs under each heading.

Who are you?

What qualifies you to be doing what you’re doing?

What was your inspiration behind setting up your business?

What was the catalyst that made you want to set up your business?

Why should people buy from you?

What else would you like people to know about you that they will relate to?

Here’s an example

Who are you?

Holly, 37 year old website designer, based in south west London. I work from home which means I often work in the evenings as well as daytime and occasionally nip out during the day to have coffee with friends or help school with swimming lessons.

What qualifies you to be doing what you’re doing?

I’ve been in marketing for most of my working life. I specialised in education & consultancy for 7 years and for the last 5 years have worked with Start-Ups and parent led businesses. During my years of marketing I learned the fundamental triangle of successful marketing using Social Media, websites and email lists.

In 2004 I used to work with a tech team where I would design websites and they would build them. As WordPress grew in popularity I learned how to build websites using WordPress and started to offer website development as part of my marketing offering.

Over the last 10 years I’ve learned and practised all the fundamental elements to creating an excellent user journey on websites. This means if your website is designed and built by me, people are a lot more likely to stay on your website, engage with your content and ultimately choose you/your product when looking to buy.

What was your inspiration behind setting up your business?

I originally set up as a Social Media strategist and marketing consultant. Whilst working for clients I was offering a lot of advice about updating their websites so the content supported what we were working on in the Social Media platforms. With brand consistency in mind across Social Media, websites and email templates we would often end up rebuilding their website, in WordPress so it could be regularly updated.

As time went on people became more confident when using Social Media for their work. There are a wealth of online courses and workshops available and I felt it was time to move away from consultancy and focus fully on websites. The extra time I would have from not working on Social Media strategy would allow me to research the latest trends in website development.

What was the catalyst that made you want to set up your business?

I was working part time in the private education industry and part time as a marketing consultant & website developer. I wanted to leave the private education industry as it conflicted with my personal ethos. As a single mum I wanted to work from home so a child being sick and needing to be at home wouldn’t throw out my working day. I also wanted the autonomy of working for myself and with clients who were venturing into working for themselves for the first time. 

Why should people buy from you?

My experience (and portfolio) speak for itself, as it will for all other website designers out there. What makes me different is the relationship I build with my clients. Most of them are relatively new in their entrepreneurial journey and I’ve been there (twice!) I understand the commitments and challenges that come with setting up a new company. I understand that people don’t want to be locked in a room with their website designer nailing every last detail and that as a new business, there isn’t the budget for a member of staff to write the content, choose the images, research keywords and work 1-1 with the designer until you’re happy with everything. I have a variety of methods of working which support my clients and allow them to view updates and respond in their own time. I also assist with writing copy, editing and GDPR compliance.

What else would you like people to know about you that they will relate to?

I have experienced a lot of what they are experiencing; setting up a business when there are a lot of external commitments and a busy family life to contend with. I’ve been through the feelings of ‘how am I going to make this work?’ and come out the other side of it.

How to use this information on your website

Now that you’ve written these points it’s time to incorporate them on your site. Remember your whole site is selling you/your product rather than just the about page. It’s not (usually) appropriate to use the entire lot in your website bio. If the whole thing is about you, then the message you’re giving your audience is that you’re more interested in you than them and what your product/service can offer them. Therefore splitting up these points and using them in key areas of your site will show people your personality, values, experience and ethos consistently so that by the time they have browsed your entire site they have been given a consistent message that you have a solid (online) identity with values similar to them (otherwise they wouldn’t have lingered on your site for so long) and you are the person to buy the product/service from.

Putting it into practise

If you look at the Homepage of This Demanding Life (right click on the logo to open it in a new tab/window), you’ll see that a lot of the information addressed in the points above are on the Homepage. It tells the story of:

Why I use WordPress & what the benefits of it are.

How long I’ve worked in marketing & how I came to end up developing websites.

Who I cater for (small businesses & Start-Ups).

That I understand the hectic life of the small business entrepreneur.

This frees up my bio on the About Page to approach my audience in a more chatty, less formal manner. I start by asking who remembers dial up internet? This shows people that I’ve been around, in the industry for a long time plus it appeals to people of a certain age group who are my target audience. I then talk about my experience and how I came to be a website designer then finish with what goes on behind the scenes and how to keep up with my family life blogs for anyone who wants to know more about me. This is relational content. It directs the user to my portfolio, facebook and blog pages. If someone has perused my website and still aren’t quite sure if I’m the right fit for them, they can check out my life behind the work scenes and see if there’s anything there they can relate to.

My way isn’t the only way though and if you’re looking for more inspiration check out these two About Pages:

Fay Wallis – Bright Sky Career Coaching

Fay is a Career Coach, helping people gain clarity and confidence in their career.

She keeps with the theme of the site by explaining a little about career coaching and the ways of working with her: ‘you can choose as little or as much help as you need’. She then goes on to explain different methods of coaching and what it can help with.

Fay assures her audience under the section ‘My Career Coaching Credentials’ she then compounds this information with the section titled ‘I Know About CVs, Interviews & Job Search Strategy Because…’

She has a couple of personal pictures which shows people exactly who to expect when they envision working with her and finishes with a strong Call to Action: Get in Touch.

(Full disclosure, I designed & built Fay’s website)

Another great and totally different styled About Page is that of John Espirian – Technical Copywriter.

He also directly addresses the ‘why’ he created the business (and why you should work with him).

Finally….. Images

Once you’ve put your story together and included it in pertinent places on your website remember to use photos which match the text on the site. Websites tend to be a 50/50 split between people booking a photoshoot and the website being dominated by photos of the person. The other side of the coin is people who have a website without any photos of them anywhere.

If people are to engage with you, they need to see a photo of you. That doesn’t mean you need a photo on every page but you do need some sort of reference and pull back to you to remind the user who they are engaging with.

Make sure your photo is relevant to the type of site you’re designing and story you’re telling. If you  have a website that sells baby merchandise, a photo of you and your baby would be perfect. If you’re running a high end consultancy, you’ll probably want to leave the kids at home for your photos.

Also think about locations….. if your role is primarily office based, a photo of you at the beach will be jarring and won’t complement the hard work you’ve put in to developing your story and your voice across the site.

I fall into the second category, only using a couple of images of me across the website. This one is my favourite as it was shot, on-site when I was filming for a client and (hopefully) portrays my working style to be casual, competent and confident.

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