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#TopTips: Setting up a Website for Your Creative Business

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On Tuesday 2nd April we hosted a workshop on ‘Setting up a Website for your Creative Business’ kindly facilitated by Lizi Daley head of web at Kaizen Brand Evolution.

It was a fantastic workshop with loads of really useful information, here are our top takeaways:

General tips

  • Your website is as or more important than social media – for having a professional image, a reliable service that won’t suffer uncontrolled network problems and for sharing basic info – opening hours etc
  • The look and feel of your website is as important as its function. Your website is an extension of your brand and it’s important to give the best first impression you can
  • It takes on average 5 seconds for people to make a decision on a brand from a website (test yours out with friends and ask them what the first they saw was)
  • Have a keyword focused headline on the Homepage
  • Keep it simple & consistent – don’t make your users think keep it easy to navigate with important info clear on the landing page
  • Keep your website up-to-date for consistency and for ranking high in Google
  • Your narrative should change and reflect consumer behaviours and evolve with the web.

 

Web content

  • Do your research and think about your content in advance
  • Map out your journey – ask yourself who your target customer is (location, age, gender, income & hobbies) and what they would want to see
  • For site planning use post it notes or online platforms such as Gloo Maps for planning your site and content
  • Establish your goals – what is the role of the website – to inform? To sell a product or service? To generate leads?
  • This will define how you communicate with the audience through your website
  • What are the functions you require? Both now and in the future e.g. online shop, contact details, blog
  • Use a maximum of 600 – 700 words per page
  • Make sure headers make sense to your customers
  • Write in plain English
  • Think about how your write your content and the language you use to appeal to your target customers and fit with your brand
  • Get your content double checked by someone else

Colours

  • Think about your brand colours and consistency of colours and what colours will appeal to your audience
  • Try and maintain this consistency across social media
  • Use colours for call to actions

Images

  • Images are more important than words – users read 20% of text
  • Homepage images are most important
  • People like to see the people behind a business so add pics to the meet the team page
  • Try and use professional or good quality pics
  • Make sure images are not too big as they can slow the page down and use up hosting space – use software such as tinypng to resize the images but keep the quality
  • Free stock photos can be sourced from unsplash and similar platforms but be careful about just using stock photos as they can be off-putting
  • Plan your images in advance so there is no hold-up in the site going live

Blogs

  • Blogs are excellent for seo, google prefers recently updated websites
  • Blogs are also useful for getting people on your website from social media
  • Blogs should be no more than 600 words and done preferably a minimum of once a month

 

Technical tips

Different Web Platforms

  • WordPress – is good for blogging, and for plugins, Woocommerce can be used for selling online online without the need to move to a different platform. Beware though hosting with WordPress can be expensive so its often better to host your site with an independent hosting provider
  • Squarespace – is simple and straightforward to use and a good entry level platform with hosting and support all in one place
  • Shopify – is ideal for selling online, there are only a small amount of free templates, but it is an easy platform for web developers to work with

Domains

  • For professional email address
  • Try and buy .com or .co.uk addresses if possible for a professional image and so competitors ca’t redirect to their site
  • If you are using 2 words together in a domain name ensure the 2 words together don’t make 1 word (either something dodgy sounding or just confusing for your customers)

Hosting

Think about using local company for customer service and trouble shooting

Google Analytics

Regularly use google analytics to see which pages are popular, where traffic comes from and the best times for social media/offers etc

Google Search Console

Use to get your site recognised with Google, establish problems on your pages and get it ranked well on Google

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- - 1 W E E K T O G O - - Apply now for our 'Womenfolk DIG DEEP' 9 month creative enterprise program for young women 18 - 30 years. This program brings together young women (18 - 30) from different backgrounds NI & BAME to help them build successful and sustainable creative industry businesses. Taking a holistic view of starting a business, combining self-care and creativity alongside business skills and knowledge. It will be a tailored program to help you grow your creative business to meet your values, goals, and ambitions through a series of online workshops, resources, peer, and one-on-one mentoring. Topics covered will include: - Business planning - values, vision, aims & objectives - Finance planning & management - Branding - Social Media - Setting up a website - Sales - Confidence - Failure - Self Care - Habits - Work-life balance - Imposters syndrome You will also get to connect with a group of like-minded creative women for support, community, motivation and peer learning. Closing for applications next Sunday 4th October at 5.00pm Limited spaces available! To apply, visit our website www.womenfolk.co
Are you a creative business that needs a city centre address to help with your professional public image for your business? At Blick Studios, we offer business address services where we will redirect business mail to the address of your choice. Whether it be weekly or monthly. Check our website for the full range of prices at https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/ As a virtual office customer, you are entitled to 20% off meeting room hire fees and free AV equipment use with any hire. This is a handy service due to the COVID Lockdown restrictions. You can have the ease knowing that your post is directed to you without having to leave the comfort of your own home. One of the premises to choose from is our Cathedral Quarter address 46 Hill Street, BT1 2LB. If this is something that suits you, apply via our application in the link below. https://blickstudios.typeform.com/to/apPUH1mV If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch at info@blickstudios.org
Tomorrow night at 8pm we have a live IGTV event about our new  audio documentary on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on a range of local creatives. Hear from podcast co-creators @karishmasworld and @theinfinitejest and Dr Brian Dixon who provided academic support and ask any questions you have or share your experiences --
Super excited our new Small Town Big Dreams audio documentary on the impact of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic on local creatives is almost ready! Our first episode drops on Tuesday 29th September. Small Town Big Dreams - The World Turned Upside Down, is a collaborative project. Co-created by @karishmasworld and @theinfinitejest with academic research by Dr Brian Dixon (Ulster University). It's a 4-part audio documentary series sharing stories of how the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives and livelihoods of people working in the creative industries in Northern Ireland. We have a live IGTV event on Wed at 8pm or subscribe now to Small Town Big Dreams on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Presented with support from Future Screens NI @northernirelandscreen and @ulsteruni @belfastschoolofart
#Meettheresident - @roryquiggillustration Introducing a resident that has just recently joined Blick Studios in our Hill Street space. We got to catch up with Rory, who is the founder of Rory Quigg Illustration which is an illustration business based in Belfast. We got to hear about his journey of becoming self-employed, his struggles, and his top tips to stay inspired! The full interview is on our website! https://www.blickstudios.org/meettheresidents/meettheresident-rory-quiggs-illustration/
Are you happy working from home or just starting out but want a professional address for your business? We offer virtual services for all business types with reduced rates for creative industry businesses. Whether you are just starting out and can’t yet afford workspace or are happy to work from home but seeking a professional public image for your business. A city centre address creates a confident and professional first impression and separates your business and home life and as a virtual office customer you are entitled to 20% off meeting room hire fees and free AV equipment use with any hire. We have two premises to choose from: our South Belfast address at 51 Malone Road, BT9 6RY or our Cathedral Quarter address 46 Hill Street, BT1 2LB. For more information, please visit our website at https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/
We are currently working on a podcast series on the impact of the pandemic on the creative industries in Northern Ireland and are creating an accompanying creative enterprise toolkit as a useful resource to help creatives in NI. To make this as comprehensive as possible we would be very grateful if you could take the time to fill in our short survey about your experiences and insights (it should only take a few mins) https://blickstudios.typeform.com/to/LXSuoU68
We are excited to introduce our September Resident Blog #Meettheresidents - The First 47 @thefirst47 is the studio of Irish graphic designer and artist Alex Synge. The studio specialises in design for print, web and visual identity for a wide range of clients in the cultural, commercial and academic fields. We got to catch up with the founder and hear about their journey of starting their own business, how they stay inspired and the recent projects they have been working on. Full interview on our website! https://www.blickstudios.org/meettheresidents/meettheresidents-the-first-47/
'DIG DEEP' is a project born out of a love of entrepreneurship and empowering women to create the steps they need to succeed in starting their own business. We wanted to take a different route on developing a business course that will actually create the long term progress that is needed to start your own business. Often there are business courses that mislead people, saying that a business can be created in a quick and fast route but we have realized that doesn't create long-lasting change. We are passionate about creating a course that gives people the time and space to build sustainability, to ask the big questions needed, to build self-confidence, to nurture, and to support everyone through the process. Taking a holistic view of starting a business, combining self-care and creativity alongside business skills and knowledge. It will be a tailored program to help you grow your creative business to meet your values, goals, and ambitions through a series of online workshops, resources, peer, and one-on-one mentoring. Our applications are open now! There are limited spaces available so book your space today! Apply here: https://blickstudios.typeform.com/to/G8VR3EMD Or you can head to our website www.womenfolk.co Full interview on our facebook page! This program is kindly supported by Ulster Bank. We are excited to share our co-Founder of Dig Deep, Esther Mogada @namokobe Esther is a creative based in Belfast and has been working in the creative industry for the last 5 years. She has worked on various projects in relation to fashion, podcasting, events, and now is building a video production company called @creatingaspace Video by @creatingaspace
Do you have a desire to start your own creative business but don’t know where to start? 'DIG DEEP' is Womenfolk's new free creative online business program which brings women from different backgrounds together in a supportive and nurturing environment. It is designed over a 9 month period to help them build successful and sustainable creative industry businesses. The 9 month online programme is created for young women (18 - 30 years) especially reaching out to recent graduates and young women from NI & BAME backgrounds. This course is designed to help you BUILD and GROW into the person you want to become, the business you want to have and the life that you want to live. All of the information about the course will be featured on our website so please visit www.womenfolk.co Our applications are now officially open! Limited spaces available! Visit : https://blickstudios.typeform.com/to/G8VR3EMD This program is kindly supported by Ulster Bank. Without further ado - we want to introduce one of the co-founders of this project is Christine James who is the founder of Blick Shared Studios, Womenfolk and Co-Founder of Belfast Design Week and many other creative projects. 🎥 @creatingaspace
Happy bank holiday weekend. Hope everyone has a restful weekend and gets a bit of a break during this stressful time
Great to have our main room in Malone back in use today for filming. A slow return to normality.
Gorgeous sunny Friday in the Cathedral Quarter. Hope everyone gets out to enjoy the good weather while it lasts
‘The Power of Design’ series is a project that was created by Creating A Space & Belfast Design Week with the aim to explore and interview different designers within Belfast. The aim of this series was to ask designers what their process is, how they got started in the industry, who inspires them, and what advice they would give to people just starting out. ‘POWER’ was the theme of Belfast Design Week 2019, and we wanted to explore how people receive that word and the connotations attached to it. This week we are revisiting an interview we did with @cricky_captures who is a Belfast based compositor and photographer. We asked him – “what does power mean to you? “ “I don’t see power as being physically fit or better than someone or in a position of superiority. In terms of being a creative or a designer, power is using those skills to empower those around you, to challenge the norms, and just using your skills to benefit those around you, or push further to grow Belfast.” https://www.blickstudios.org/belfast-design-week/the-power-of-design-series-chris-mckenna/
Almost the weekend and thankfully a bit of sun ☀ for a change. Let's hope it lasts
‘The Power of Design’ series is a project that was created by @creatingaspace & @belfastdesignwk with the aim to explore and interview different designers within Belfast. The aim of this series was to ask designers what their process is, how they got started in the industry, who inspires them, and what advice they would give to people just starting out. In this interview we get to talk to @lydia.mokros who is a German designer based in Belfast. We asked her ‘what does POWER mean to you’? ‘POWER’ was the theme of Belfast Design Week 2019, and we wanted to explore how people receive that word and the connotations attached to it. “For me POWER has mainly a negative association when I hear it. I guess design is a good opportunity to empower people. Sometimes within institutions, or in societal structures, we feel everything is as it is, but then we have to question if we can swell change it. I think with feeling powerful, that is the kind of possibility for us to change something or be part of the change. And maybe we need to rethink about the term power."
Have you entered yet? @belfastdesignwk has teamed up with @jamesonwhiskey_ni on a t-shirt design competition for emerging creatives and those studying design (18+) to capture the 2020 Northern Ireland spirit on a Jameson t-shirt. . With prizes of £500, £300 and Jameson Whiskey and Merch Pack for all shortlisted entrants, industry feedback and Intellectual property retained by the entrant, so this is a great opportunity for emerging designers and creatives to work on an industry brief. The winning designs will be chosen by a panel of judges from Jameson Whiskey NI, Belfast Design Week and the local hospitality industry. Prizes are as follows: 1st Prize £500 cash prize + Jameson Whiskey & Merch Pack + t-shirts printed and given to bartenders across NI 2nd Prize: £300 cash prize + Jameson Whiskey & Merch Pack + t-shirts printed and distributed through our promotions and events in NI Shortlisted finalists: All 10 shortlisted entries will receive a Jameson Whiskey & Merch Pack and be showcased in our winner announcement countdown activity Competition deadline is Sunday 9th August! For full details visit: https://www.jameson-creatives.com/ https://www.blickstudios.org/belfast-design-weekblog-posts/jameson-design-competition-for-emerging-designers/
VIRTUAL SERVICES We offer virtual services for all business types with reduced rates for creative industry businesses. Whether you are just starting out and can’t yet afford workspace or are happy to work from home but seeking a professional public image for your business. A city centre address creates a confident and professional first impression and separates your business and home life and as a virtual office customer you are entitled to 20% off meeting room hire fees and free AV equipment use with any hire. We have two premises to choose from: our South Belfast address at 51 Malone Road, BT9 6RY or our Cathedral Quarter address 46 Hill Street, BT1 2LB. What we offer : - A Monthly Business Address Service Please check the website for pricing options https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/ - A Weekly Business Address Services Please check the website for pricing options https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/ For more information, please visit our website where you can see the price options, and different packages appropriate to your business needs. https://www.blickstudios.org/virtual-services/
Behind The Scenes - The Blick Team⁠ ⁠ We wanted to share a team photograph we took back in February - showcasing the Blick Team. ⁠ ⁠ Introducing Christine James who is the CEO of Blick Studios. She has a background in fashion design and Founded Blick Studios in 2007 after returning to NI from Italy. ⁠ ⁠ Christine is passionate about the creative industries, building creative communities, encouraging diversity within entrepreneurship and supporting and championing creative entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland.⁠ ⁠ Introducing Rosy James who is in charge of Finance & Operations at Blick Studios. Rosy studied Economics at University before moving into the financial side of business. ⁠ ⁠ Rosy has been working with Blick Studios since it began in 2007 and with Christine has worked to grow Blick from scratch into the organisation it is today. Rosy has responsibility for the finance and operations at Blick Studios. Rosy has a strong interest in entrepreneurship and the growth of small businesses.⁠ ⁠ Introducing Esther Mogada who is in charge of social media, marketing & events management at Blick Studios. ⁠ ⁠ Esther studied Fashion & Textiles at University and then ⁠went on to a Masters in Retail Management in Fashion and Textiles. She is currently building a small video production company called @creatingaspace whilst working with us to do social media, content creation & event planning. ⁠ ⁠ She is passionate about the creative industry in Belfast and has been working alongside Blick the last year. We just wanted to show the faces behind the brand!
We’re excited to announce that as part of our podcast project @stbdpodcast we are creating a special 4-part audio documentary series exploring the experiences and personal stories of creatives during the Covid-19 crisis.  We’ll be looking at how the last few months have impacted on the work, communities, networks and health of entrepreneurs, freelancers and workers within the creative industry sector in Northern Ireland. We want you - the listeners - to get involved too and we’ll be sharing some call-outs so you can add your voice and tell us your stories! This project is funded by Future Screens NI and @northernirelandscreen as part of their ‘Rewriting the Narrative’ project and co-produced by Blick Shared Studios with Small Town Big Dreams #smalltownbigdreams #creativeindustries #belfastcreatives #podcasts #nicreatives #creativeentrepreneurship #creativity #creativecity #collaboration #creativestartups #creativestories
We wanted to do a throwback to last year's Belfast Design Week and highlight some of our favourite videos we created. ‘The Power of Design’ series is a project that was created by Creating A Space & Belfast Design Week with the aim to explore and interview different designers within Belfast. The aim of this series was to ask designers what their process is, how they got started in the industry, who inspires them, and what advice they would give to people just starting out. Our first interview was with Paul Boal who is the Creative Director at @thatcleverghost a brand & design studio, Blick Resident of Hill St Blick Studios. He kindly shared with us some advice for people just starting out in the industry and his journey on how he took the leap to become fully self-employed. “Get involved with design. Get involved in every level. Collaborate with people in house, take that harder job and just learn the craft. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out of your comfort zone.” You can reach Paul Boal through his website & social media handles. Website: www.thatcleverghost.com/ Instagram: www.instagram.com/thatcleverghost/
Slowly getting back to normal and so nice to see a bit of sunshine after all the rain!
Looking for a new podcast series to listen to? ---- We have something that can sort you out! ---- We are excited to introduce a new project that we have been working on the last while. As part of our work with @belfastdesignwk , we have been helping with their new podcast in collaboration with the team at The Graduate School at Queen’s University. ---- This series will be focused on sharing diverse stories of design and entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. ---- We want to highlight that opportunity is all around, if you know where to look for it and to delve deeper into understanding how a product or service comes about from those “in the know” - the designers and entrepreneurs themselves! ---- For links and more information, please check the Belfast Design Website. www.belfastdesignweek.com ----- https://www.blickstudios.org/belfast-design-weekblog-posts/great-creators-podcast/
Hopefully not too long now until we can get back in here and our other studios properly. In the meantime we have been busy behind the scenes working on some exciting new projects to be announced over the next few weeks