Digital MastersTM: Growing Your Web Dev Business

How I Build Custom WordPress Websites in 20 Hours or Less

If you have any agency experience, you know how long it takes to build a website matters to your boss’s bottom line. At one of my first agencies, we were budgeted about 40 hours for a full website (WordPress, custom coded theme, probably 5-10 pages and blog). That 40 hours was just development; by the time it reached the dev team, the copy had already been approved and the main designs created and ready for us.

But even then, I felt like 40 hours was a long time to build one website. That’s when I started to refine my own processes to figure out how to build a better website faster. After all, I was repeating a lot of the same work even though the websites were wildly different.

Over the last 7 years, I’ve found the trick that works for me and I’d love to take you through how I spin up a new dev site and get it built faster – sometimes in less than 15 hours for a full, mutli-page website. And buckle in, because this is some major tea I’m about to spill.

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How Training Your Clients to Update Their Own Websites Helps You

Ok, bear with me here. I understand the concern many of you have about fully turning over the keys of a website to a customer.

In the years I’ve been a web developer (16 or so), I’ve heard everything from customers from “I have no clue” or “I don’t have access to that” or “My other web developer handled that, but now they won’t answer my emails.”

When a business doesn’t have control over their foundational marketing piece, i.e. their website, that’s very bad news for me. However, this is a way for you to strike a happy medium of giving them control without worrying about them breaking that site you spend so many hours creating.

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Consistency Improves UX & Makes Your Life Easier

If you’re like me at all, you probably want to build websites faster every time you build one.

After all, time is money and a fast build means a higher profit margin – especially if you charge a flat rate fee.

I’ve learned through years of building hundreds of websites that the key to building fast and building for the best UX is the same answer – consistency. Continue reading “Consistency Improves UX & Makes Your Life Easier”

Optimizing Images for SEO & Page Speed

If you’re not worried about the page speed of the sites you’re building, you should be. Most of us won’t wait very long for a site to load – research says we have about 3 seconds before our users will go elsewhere.

One of the key ways you can speed up your website is by ensuring that your images are optimized properly.

That means your images are the right size – both dimensionally and are the correct file size – and ensuring that you use the right image types. There’s also an awesome side benefit to optimizing your images – improving your SEO and on-site accessibility. The key thing here though is most of this work happens before you even think about uploading your images to a website.

Let me walk you through 4 easy steps to optimizing your images every time.
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3 Web Design Tips that Improve User Experience

Ah, design. The most subjective and hard to articulate part of the website creation process for every single one of my customers. Many people know less what they do like and more what they don’t.

If you’re a web developer, design might not be your strongest suit. But no matter what your personal style is, there are some simple things you can do to not only improve the look of the designs you’re creating, but also help to improve your UX. The best part is, these design tips can fit in with any type of website. Continue reading “3 Web Design Tips that Improve User Experience”

Writing Website Copy that Sells – in 5 Steps

Look, I’m going to be harsh with you.

That pretty, modern, clean, user-friendly website you built can only get your client so far.

Those expensive photoshoots they did are great, but the pictures aren’t the main thing a customer cares about.

And you can build a website that moves at lightning speed, but your client is still not going to win on that alone.

What is it, then, that takes your website from everyday to something that actually stands out and converts?

Hint: it’s what you’re reading now. Continue reading “Writing Website Copy that Sells – in 5 Steps”

How to Create a Site Structure for Better SEO

When it’s time to start a new website project, we often want to skip ahead to the “fun” parts. But the very first step you should be working on? The site structure or sitemap.

Having a solid site structure can do way more than what colors you choose. In fact, it can improve your click through rates, lower your bounce rate, and increase your crawlability. If you’re trying to build better websites for your clients so you can get better results and charge more, you’re going to want to improve their SEO from the beginning through a solid site structure.

So how you create a site structure that will improve your SEO?

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Why You Should Build Single-Page Websites for New Businesses

Well hey, you’re still with me after I bashed on Wix and SquareSpace last week…thank you!

I get it. You want to build websites that are affordable for your clients because you want to capture those leads. Especially brand new businesses, I totally understand that they don’t have the budget for a big $6K+ website and it can be too much for what they need right now anyway.

So what do you do for that brand new business owner when they come to you?

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Stop Building Websites in Wix, SquareSpace and Webflow

Look, this is going to be a rant, so fair warning.

Website builders like Wix, SquareSpace, and Webflow have their place to help small business owners get their first websites off the ground.

But web developers and even designers shouldn’t be using them.

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Finding and Speaking to Your Ideal Client

Buyer personas, target clients, ideal audience, ideal customer avatar – all ways that I’ve heard and seen others talk about finding your preferred audience.

Niching down and discovering who you like to work for – and more importantly, what they like about working with you – is a huge key to growing your web development business.

Often when others talk about niching they think they need to work with a specific industry, like financial or fitness. But that can get bored after you’ve built 10 gym websites. So how do you niche down and identify your ideal client, without risking boredom?

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