Monday, November 23, 2009

Designing Your Own Service Website

Yes, this blog is rather off-topic from my usual posts, but I've recently had the opportunity to design my own business website for my coaching services (among other ventures), and I hope that my experience will contribute to one of you, out there, somewhere!

Everything that follows is MY opinion, of course, based on my corporate experience with office and business management, systems organization, and graphic design.

When considering a design for a website top represent your services, the very first thing needs to be a clear picture of what you want to provide and to whom. A mission statement, if you will. That will give you a solid foundation from which to proceed. It also makes decisions easier, as each one can be tested with the questions, "Is this consistent with my mission?" If you aren't yet there, then reading, writing, listening, thinking, and talking about it with others is the place to start.

Having just designed my web site (, here were the components required to make it happen:

1) Layout
- What pages do I need? How do I want them to flow?

You'll see that I chose to have a Home page to introduce my services and overview the site; an About Me page to introduce myself and tell some of my story; a Mission page about my larger purpose in the world (because I have one, not everyone necessarily will); a Coaching page about my coaching and consulting business; a Workshops page about my presentations and workshops; and an Authored Works page for my book that's about to come out, to link to my Blog, and to eventually house teasers for my next book.

2) Visual Feel/Design -
What do I want my site to say to my clients - non-verbally - during the first seven seconds?

The words I used to direct the design of my site were "Organic, natural, growth/growing, safe, and open." These guiding words led to my color palette, the background textures and the tree/flower forms. I happen to have two visual design degrees, and any designer worth your time can help you suss this out. Don't forget a photo of You.

3) Content
- What do the pages say?

Your content needs to address how you meet the needs of your clients - not what you do as much as the results that they will experience through working with you. It will likely take some time to write the content that speaks to your prospective clients, and I recommend that you have it edited by someone else. Other people always catch things I miss!

4) Ancillary Materials/Sites
- PDFs for class outlines, videos of presentations, downloadable business forms - if you want your clients to be able to watch or download something from your site you'll need to create those items. What about a business blog? You're reading mine!

It is highly likely that, if you have a solid understanding of what you want to provide and to whom, once you begin writing content for your website a business name will make itself known. The emerging visual appearance of your website will also inform the design of your business documents and logo (having a consistent visual appearance is part of branding yourself). So, as you see, each part will support the others, all of them growing out of your mission/vision.

If you start with a clear mission or vision, it will all flow from there. I wish you abundant success! M. Makael Newby, 2009 - All Rights Reserved -

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