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A Digital DNA Design for the Beautiful Amy Kessel

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Amy Kessel.

Amy-KesselShe works with women who are moving into a more intentional and authentic way of living and leading. By signing up to her newsletter list, you receive her complimentary Personal Power Assessment which will help you uncover where you can tap into your own personal power. Her intuitive and intellectual ability to hone in and help you negotiate your challenges will leave you craving her compassionate touch. I adore her and her work.

Let’s dive in and meet her:

What’s the best way to bottom line what you do?

I’m a co-conspirator, an ally and a muse for women committed to living, loving and leading with integrity and heart. Call me an empowerment whisperer.

Let’s pretend we just met on the sidewalk and both of us are free for the afternoon [yes!]. Where would you suggest we go for our first in-real-life conversation?

That’s easy — let’s head to the beach. Toes in the sand, waves crashing and sun on our skin is the set-up I love best for the kind of connection that leaves us each feeling refreshed, satisfied and seen. In the winter months I might suggest we head to a cafe whose owner waits on us and where the playlist includes Edith Piaf and Billie Holliday. And where we order wine even if it’s the middle of the afternoon.

How do you describe your work?

I work with women both one to one and in small groups, drawing out what’s challenging in order to expose the factors that are keeping them from what they say they want. I also reflect back their innate gifts, their core values and the truth they’re here to speak. And I remind them how the world is hungry for their unique contribution as women and as leaders. Dream job!

What’s the one thing you wish everyone understood about what you do?

I believe we all have superpowers, and mine is my listening. I can hear waaaaaaay below the surface, to what you’d say if you gave yourself full permission. I wish everyone understood how incredible powerful it is to feel heard, without judgment and without expectation. I am deeply honored to share this gift. This simple gift transforms the playing field entirely.

What’s your favourite place to hangout online right now? Why?

I’m a bit embarrassed to say it’s Facebook. Not that it’s my favorite landing place, but it’s where I find the links that lead to news, inspiration, knowledge, touching stories and, of course, connection.

Close your eyes and think back to your old website. What do you remember?

I remember a freshly minted entrepreneur trying to reach my Right People through words, imagery and a sense of spaciousness. I wanted my rootedness to come through, so I chose a nature-based theme and color scheme. I had an aversion to slickster-ism, so stayed away from ads and pop-ups and anything that remotely resembled a bell or whistle. My website was more of a brochure than anything else; I asked little of it, and it provided the bare minimum. A nice place to land, but not much more than that.

How is your new website iteration reflective of the work you do?

It’s clear and direct — like I am. I connect best with women who take the work of looking within seriously, and who are already committed to living and leading with integrity. My website is an invitation to sit down with me, to reflect on powerful questions, and to be inspired to instigate some meaningful change in their lives. There’s nothing extra on the site, nothing to distract us from the importance of living this one life fully empowered.

What kinds of compliments have you received about your new web design?

Tons! People have used the word “adore” alot. They love how clean it is, how spacious, how warm without being gooey. They love the simplicity, and the fact that my photos and language are so “real”. I have had an uptick in newsletter subscribes as well as initial sessions; these are probably the best compliments of all.

What’s one thing you discovered about web strategy/web design/personal branding/technology from working with Krista?

I learned how important consistency in branding is to creating an invitation people can say Yes to. This is reflected in the phrases we use, the offers we make, the colors we choose on our websites, the whole shebang. While I’m still mildly allergic to the concept of personal branding, I understand how important it is for my tribe to identify with me online, and that branding enables me to show up in an accessible and recognizable way.

What do you now know for sure?

This is a great question, clearly written by a fabulous coach :). What I’m sure of is that deep down we each know what’s truly ours to do. And that our work is figuring out how to make the doing of it a joyful, life-filling, heart-opening success. I’m here to coax the whispers into words, so that my clients can name what they’ve come to do and figure out the next step, and the next, and the next. In order for me to do my work, I need the world to see who I am and what I do — hence the huge importance of an online presence that conveys just that.

Here’s a screenshot of Amy’s new online home:

screenshot-amykessel.com 2014-06-30 16-02-57

You can visit her site in person here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Amy. In the comments, both Amy and I would love to hear your thoughts — on personal power, on her new design, or on her work!

 

Creative Ideas for your 404 Page

One of the pages you rarely think about is your error page.

By intentionally creating a page that your web visitors will land on if they arrive on your site in error, I believe you’ll strengthen your personal brand.

You’re illustrating to your clients that you’ve considered every part of the user experience when you customize your 404 error page.

Google defines a 404 error as:

Google discovers content by following links from one page to another. Generally, a Not Found status error (usually a 404 HTTP status code) is returned when Googlebot attempts to visit a page that doesn’t exist—either because you deleted or renamed it without redirecting the old URL to a new page, or because of a typo in a link.

Now, don’t worry too much about having these errors returned. Google tells us:

Generally, 404 errors don’t impact your site’s ranking in Google, and you can safely ignore them. Typically, they are caused by typos, misconfigurations (for example, for links that are automatically generated by a content management system) or by Google’s increased efforts to recognize and crawl links in embedded content such as JavaScript.

You may be wondering a couple of things right now. You’re probably thinking that you may not have enough content to worry about Googlebots not making a connection. Or, you could even be wondering how customizing your 404 page could really make a difference in your user experience.

Trust me, beautiful, it DOES matter.

I even had one client in the past year tell me one of the reasons she ended up hiring me as her web designer was because she noticed my 404 page.

My top 5 tips for making your 404 page reflective of you:

1. Photo: use a photo of you while visually telling the story of the words on the page. Here are some great examples:

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2. An apology: Your web visitors did not end up where they were supposed to and for this, I believe you need to apologize. There are so many creative ways to apologize. How would YOU say you’re sorry for a web visitor not landing on the page they were looking for? A great exercise is to write one sentence five ways. The default wordpress, “Surfin’ ain’t easy dude,” just doesn’t work for everyone. Below, I’ve written three examples of how you can express the same sentiment using different words to reflect your personality. It’s easy — give it a try!

Surfin’ ain’t easy, and right now, you’re lost at sea. But don’t worry; simply pick an option from the list below, and you’ll be back out riding the waves of the Internet in no time.

I’m so sorry – it seems you’ve landed on page that’s no longer here. Clearly, this is not what I was hoping would happen! Have no fear, just hop over here and try again!

Whoops. This is kind of embarrassing. You’ve landed on a page that somehow doesn’t exist! I’ve been busy lately and on a big clean up so it’s entirely possible I renamed the page you are looking for! How about you…

You found me! Hold on a second…this may not be the page were looking for. Shucks. I’m a rainbows + pot of gold girl so I’m considering this a message from the universe that you landed here for a reason. How about…

3. Offer alternatives: A really good 404 page offers your web visitors a second way to reach their goal. See these examples:

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4. Have a call to action: After your apology and alternatives, it’s time to engage them and I personally consider it a great opportunity to invite them to sign up for your newsletter.

Can you spot mine in my 404 error page?

screenshot-www.kristasmith.ca 2014-06-23 14-28-38

5. Infuse the page with your personality: You can do this through the type of image you choose to use as well as the tone you use in your copy.

My invitation to you is to have a look at your own error page. Looking at what’s there now, and decide what YOU can do to make the user experience feel more like the rest of your brand. What tweaks can you make?

 

In the comments, I’d love to hear your creative ideas on what you could do to make your 404 error page more you.

 

 

 

Fonts I love for June

I’m introducing a new monthly series today on font families.

Choosing type (or fonts) for your website is an important piece of creating a cohesive personal brand.  When thinking about the fonts you need for your website, you also need to consider web safe fonts. Google has a wide range of web fonts that, when used creatively, can punch up your website to show off your personality.

I encourage all my clients to consider readability, size, color, letter spacing, and font weight when looking at fonts.

All of these factors can be tweaked to make a big enough difference for you to use or not use a font. If you have trouble reading what’s there, imagine how your web visitors might feel!

Here’s an example of one font (Helvetica) and the differences you can create by changing the size, color, letter spacing, font weight.

Hello I’m Krista Smith.

Hello I’m Krista Smith.

Hello I’m Krista Smith.

Hello I’m Krista Smith.

Hello I’m Krista Smith.

You can see just by adjusting simple characteristics like size, color, letter spacing, and font weight, you make a different impact, all using the same font family.

Here is your font inspiration for June!

 

Font-Suggestions-by-Krista-Smith-1

Font-Suggestions-by-Krista-Smith-2

 

 

You can find the FREE fonts I used in my June Font Inspiration right here: Monserrat, Playfair Display, Oswald, and Droid Serif.

In the comments, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.

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