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4 Ways To Launch A Better Website With A Smaller Budget

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4 Ways To Launch A Better Website With A Smaller Budget

Your website is your online shopfront, the outward facing persona of your business, so it’s important to get it right when it’s time for a website redesign. This can be tough when you or your team continually have lots of great ideas to be incorporated in the new site. It can be tempting to delay the launch to add just one more new feature.

However, this can also result in some massive headaches. What features should you prioritise? Will the website do it’s job? And importantly, will it fit the budget? With that in mind, here are some simple ways you can ensure that your website redesign project runs smoothly and within budget.

1. Nobody Gets It Right The First Time Around

Getting your new site absolutely perfect first time around is impossible. The most successful businesses understand that achieving ‘perfection’ as far as their website goes is an ongoing pursuit that they need to pursue each month, making incremental improvements and gains where they can. These businesses understand that the traditional way of building a website and then redesigning it in 2 year cycles is flawed, and this is essentially hindering their business online for 2 years at a time.

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Some tips to be aware of when planning a website redesign:

  1. The objective of the first launch of the new website should be to bring live the new visitor friendly design framework you have decided upon.
  2. Future design changes should improve upon the UI of the site, add content and restructure pages to improve the return on investment from the site.
  3. The site should be built in such a way that it can be added to and improved each month.
  4. Aiming to get everything ‘absolutely perfect’ for launch is generally a waste of time and resources. Once the site goes live you will be able to gather data on its performance and the path users take through the site, enabling you to quickly make improvements based on data.
  5. Have a clear cut off for all features that will be in the first version and what will be added later.
  6. Any new features you think of during the development process should not go live until after the site launch

2. Avoid Scope Creep

One of the biggest reasons web design projects going over budget is scope creep, which is when you think of new additions and functionality for the website once the project has started and work has begun.

This severely hampers progress and can be very costly, especially if functional changes to the site conflict with the existing work that you or your developers have done, as well as adding unnecessary costs for ‘nice to have’ features that may not actually offer much real benefit for customers, or could be added later

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Not only does scope creep slow down the project and cost more, it can often ruin the entire layout and focus of the new website by adding functionality and areas of the site that don’t fit well or conflict with the main objective of the site. Therefore, the solution is to avoid adding any new features while the site is in progress. Remember, the first iteration won’t be 100 percent perfect, but will have the most important functionality included.

3. Trim The Fat

It can be tempting to plan that all functionality from your old site be included in the new one. However, do you have evidence to back up whether or not certain features are actually useful to your customers? A more effective process is to include core functionality, then add optional functionality piece by piece and run user tests on the site to determine what would help users the most, and what doesn’t add to their experience.

Consider testing your old website using whatusersdo.com to get people in your target market to test the site. Learn what parts of the site are useful and what aren’t. Use this to guide your process and trim the fat – don’t rebuild any parts of the site unless there is evidence that it improves the user’s experience.

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4. Educate Yourself About Growth Driven Design

Many of the points described above are part of an emerging web design process called Growth Driven Design. Adopting a Growth Driven Design approach for your next website project can help to eliminate these main causes for website projects to go over budget, as well as a number of other key benefits:

  1. A more effective method of redesigning a web site
  2. An agile method of continuously improving the performance of your website using real time data from the website
  3. Requires a much smaller time investment
  4. Quick to launch
  5. Maximises the return on investment from your project spend

In order to successfully use this framework for a website project, it’s important that if you’re working with a team on your website project that everyone’s on the same page. Therefore, preparing a presentation to educate everyone else involved in it about the Growth Driven Design philosophy and ensure all activity is done with this process in mind can really help ensure your time is used productively.

Once everyone is in agreement, you can refer back to this process any time features are suggested. These features can then be added to an ongoing plan, allowing you to keep your initial website redesign project within your budget, while having a solid plan for when to add in new functionality.

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The result is a more efficient website design process, saving both time and money!

Featured photo credit: Helloquence via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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