One of the awesome parts of being a freelancer is collaborating with other freelancers, especially those who offer complimentary services. A few weeks ago over coffee, my friend Tara (a copywriter) pitched an idea to our friend Stacey (a photographer) and I — an in-person brand refresh.
The idea is simple — entrepreneurs and small businesses always need help with great photos, great websites and great content, how often does this fall by the wayside? Why not offer a quick service jam-packed with value? 30 minutes with each of us where each person leaves with:
- A professional digital headshot
- A list of exactly what to update on their website
- A list of go-to content ideas for posts, email and social media
We picked a name (Refresh Your Brand in 90 Minutes), a date (March 27), a location (Stacey’s studio) and brainstormed a list of small businesses who might be interested.
In this post, I want to walk you through how I got a quick website up at 90minuterefresh.com and why this is an important piece of the puzzle.
Because we had a name, it was easy to search for domain names. When choosing a domain name, look for something easy and simple. Domainr.com is a great place to start. 90minuterefresh.com was available, so I picked it up from Namecheap (free privacy included).
From there, I added the domain name as an add-on domain to my SiteGround hosting account. With my GrowBig plan, I can add additional domains at no additional cost. I created a new WordPress site and added a quick coming soon page.
Although not completely necessary, I created an email address at SiteGround ([email protected]), created a forward to my GSuite email and configured the “Send mail as” feature to receive and send email in GSuite. (No need to check an additional mailbox elsewhere.) As an added bonus, the email address adds an additional level of professionalism to our endeavor.
When I create a new site, I always set up backups first. There is nothing worse than spending a ton of time developing a site, only to lose something because you don’t have a backup. I do double backups with ManageWP and Updraft (backing up to Dropbox).
Template + page builder
Elementor Pro is my favorite builder, so I scanned their library looking for a good starting point and ended up with the one-page wedding template. I didn’t love the pink from the template, so I searched for new photos on Unsplash. When I found a good one for the header background, I sampled a darker green color from the clouds and looked for color palettes based on that color.
Putting it all together
Using content and additional images from Tara and Stacey, I put the page together. I configured the contact form and added a Google recaptcha. Lastly, I added a featured image.
Using SEOPress, I configured a meta title and description. I checked the social sharing preview on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn AND shared the link via iMessage with a friend to make sure everything looked good.
Launch + tweaks
At this point, I removed the coming soon and soft launched the site with some close friends and colleagues, asking for feedback. From there, I:
- Corrected typos and grammar
- Added and configured WP Rocket to speed up the site
- Created and added a favicon
- Created a 404 page
- Redirected the uncategorized category page to the home page
- Added Google Analytics
- Configured Google Search Console
Because this is a public event, I wanted to try to get it to show on Google, so I:
- Created structured data with Merkle, a schema markup generator
- Added the JSON in a code block on the page
- Tested the schema with Google’s structured data testing tool
- Submitted the URL to be re-crawled in Google Search Console
Allowing people to pay directly on the site saves time and paperwork. I use WP Simple Pay on my own site and already have a Stripe account, so I was able to quickly install and configure to allow people to pay online. Here’s what I did:
- Installed WP Simple Pay
- Connected to Stripe (in test mode)
- Created a form/button
- Added the shortcode/button to the site
- Configured the Payment Confirmation and Payment Failed pages
- Tested the flow
- Reconnected Stripe in live mode
I also created a page with a form to collect additional information after purchase and linked to it on the payment confirmation page.
So why did I do all of this?
Why is a website an important part of this event? For many reasons! An official website:
- Shows cohesiveness of the offer with the legitimacy of a website
- Gives people all the necessary information
- Allows people to ask additional questions
- Allows people to quickly pay online (creating a sense of urgency)
- Lets people find us via Google and other search engines
We sent the link to the website via email, text and social media along with a blurb about who we are and what we’re doing. For those friends who liked the idea but weren’t interested themselves, we asked them to share the link with their friends and on social media.
We have a lot of additional marketing to do, but I know we have a great start with the idea and website!