Category: Web Design and Development

Before you decide to create a website for your business, you first MUST consider marketing. IN other words, you have to seriously consider how you will get people to your website

I recently wrote an article that answers the question “What is SEO”. In the article, I made an analogy that compared the internet to a shopping center/mall of information. In other words, the internet today is a place where people go to look for information they want and need.

In this shopping center (like many other shopping centers), there are areas that see more foot traffic than others. These areas are often close to mall entrances, near parking lots. 

If you owned a store in one of these shopping centers, it would be in your best interest to try to have your store located in one of these high-traffic areas. Because this would give you access to more potential traffic every day than other stores in the shopping center.

Now say you happen to decide to open a store in that shopping center. But you don’t do anything to try to get your store in a high foot traffic area, you might struggle to get new customers.

Let’s also say that you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars just to build the store, without having a strategy for getting new customers, all the money you invested in building your store might be money wasted.

Unfortunately, this is a story I have seen far too often in my digital marketing career. Many small business owners spend lots of money on building websites without any strategy on how to get new customers to their websites.

This often ends up becoming a waste of time & money for these small business owners. They build this great digital marketing asset (their website), but the website is useless because there’s little to no traffic going to the website.

I decided to write this section in this article about how to create a website for your small business because I want you to avoid making the mistake that I have seen so many business owners as you make.

So, before you go on google and search for “how to create a website for my small business”, start searching instead for ways to get more traffic to your website. Because if you build a website before thinking about how to get new customers to it, you might end up with a marketing asset that is bringing little to no value to your business.

How to get traffic to your website

In today’s digital marketing world, there are two main ways you’re going to be able to get traffic to your website. I’m going to mention them here to give you a place to start in your search for how to get traffic to your website.

I’ll also mention it because your strategy for getting new customers to your website will dictate what kind of website you decide to create.

  1. Paid advertising
    1. On of the tools you can use in digital marketing to get new customers to your website is paid digital ads. 

Paid digital ads are what they sound like. You pay social media platforms or search engines so they can display your ads on search engine results pages (SERP), websites, social media, and or social media networks.

Advantages of paid advertising

There are a few advantages of paid advertising.

  1. Paid advertising is fast.

Paid advertising is faster than organic advertising. With paid advertising, you can start getting customers to your website on day one.

  1. When done right, and for the right reason(s), paid advertising can be an effective digital marketing tool. 

Disadvantages of paid advertising

Though paid digital ads can be a great tool in certain situations, it has major drawbacks.

  1. Digital ads convert less than organic marketing.
    1. For example on a SERP like this, customers are much more likey to click on organic search results than they do on paid search. (numbers)
    2. Customers are much more like to buy from brands they know (social media)

The benefits of Organic marketing

By the end of this section, it will become clear to you which marketing strategy is my favorite (this one). This is because I believe organic digital marketing is a much better strategy for the long-term viability of any good company.

  1. Organic marketing is more authentic. Paid ads can be impersonal. More over, 
  2. Organic marketing is more effective.
  3. Organic marketing is more sustainable.

In the article I wrote about SEO, I noted that SEO was everything you do to put your store in a high traffic area of a shopping mall. The work you do at the beginning to get your store in those high-traffic areas might be a lot more than creating paid ads.

But it is not only more efficient, but it is also a more sustainable way to grow your business. Think about it, if you don’t do this work to get your store in a high foot traffic area of the shopping mall, you’ll have to consistently think about how to get your customers to walk back to where your store is.

However, if you do the work at the start to put your store in a high foot traffic area, you’ll have to do less work in the long term to get your customers to your store. The high visibility of your store will mean that you’ll have an endless source of potential customers to your store.

Type of websites?

As I mentioned above, the strategy you decide to implement to get customers to your website will determine what kind of website you decide to build.

If you opt for paid advertising, you’ll need one or multiple landing pages. 

Landing pages are web pages that are meant to advertise a specific product or service. With a landing page, you won’t need to have a website with many pages (About, Contact, Services etc). All you’ll need is one webpage with a clear description of what your product or service is, and how they can purchase or subscribe to it.

You’ll also need to know how to run ads or hire someone that can help you do it.

If you go instead with an organic strategy, you’ll have to develop a comprehensive strategy to get customers to your website.

In this case, you’ll have to dedicate some time for content creation, or you’ll have to pay someone to do it for you. When it comes to SEO, content is king. You cannot rank without sufficient content.

How to create a website for your business

Now that you know what to do before you decide to create your website, let’s talk about how to create a website for your small business.

There are a few things you’ll need in order to create a website for your small business. I’ll go step by step and explain each of the steps and why each of them matters.

Get A Domain Name

Whether you choose to drive people to your website using ads or organic marketing, you’ll need a domain name.

A domain name is simply the address of your website. In other words, what server in the world is your website located on? A domain name typically looks something like this:

Why a Domain name matters?

Your domain name matters because it plays an important role in SEO.

Consider the following scenario.

You’re a restaurant owner, and you’re getting ready to open a new vegan restaurant in your city of Los Angeles.

Your grandfather’s name is John Smith, and in his honor, you’re planning on naming the restaurant after him: “Smith’s Place”.

After you take care of all the legal paperwork it’s time to choose a domain name for the new website you will be creating for your restaurant. You’re torn between, &

Which one of these domain names would be the most beneficial from a digital marketing perspective?

If you chose, you’ve chosen correctly.

As a vegan restaurant owner, your target audience will be users/customers searching for “vegan restaurants”.

Nothing will inform search engines like Google, that your website has to do with vegan restaurants, more than have the words “vegan” & “restaurant” in your domain name.

If you go with a domain name like, you’re going to increase your chances of ranking high for the search term: “Smith’s Place”. But what is smith place? Google doesn’t know. Neither do your users. They are unlikely to search for your restaurant using those terms.

So, you might be missing out on many customers searching for “vegan restaurants”.

It’s tempting to want to come up with unique names to try and differentiate yourself from the competition. However, unless you have a huge budget and can afford to do some market and competitive research to determine what kind of a name you might use to differentiate yourself from your competition, it’s better to make it clear online what your business is about. 

Choose your hosting provider

Simply put, website hosting is a rental service similar to renting apartments. In the case of website hosting, however, the hosting providers rent space/storage on specialized computers called servers to businesses who need the storage space.

While choosing your website hosting platform, you probably will have to choose your website building platform as well. This is because many of the website builder platforms out there (like Wix, and Squarespace) come with website hosting built-in. So, if you choose a website-building platform like Wix or Squarespace, you won’t have to give website hosting another thought.

I recently wrote an article about why I believe WordPress is the best website platform for small business owners.

If you go with WordPress you will have to be selective when choosing your website hosting provider.

As with many things in life, with website hosting, you get what you pay for. Companies like Bluehost, or GoDaddy provide hosting services along with domain registration services.

However, their web hosting services are not built for WordPress. They are generic web hosting services.

Companies like WPEngine or Kinsta are specifically built to handle WordPress websites. Full disclaimer: I personally use WPEngine for all the websites I manage.

Do it yourself or Hire a professional

Once you have your domain and website hosting service it’s time to create a website for your small business.

For this step, you’ll have two options:

  • Do it yourself or
  • Hire a professional

Do it yourself

At the dawn of the internet, creating a website by yourself might have been impossible for the average person. You had to know how to code.

Today, with the advent of website building companies like Wix, and Squarespace, creating a website alone is as easy as dragging and dropping elements onto a screen.

No matter what website platform you choose, if you decide to create the website yourself, the process will be relatively the same:

  1. Choose a theme/template
  2. Customize the theme/template
  3. Create the pages for your website

Platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are much easier to use than WordPress. However, that ease of use comes at a price: They are harder to scale.

That’s why I recommend business owners with plans to grow and scale their business to choose WordPress. Furthermore, plugins like Divi and Elementor can give WordPress features comparable to easier platforms like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly.

Pros of doing it yourself

One of the main benefits of doing a website yourself is that you’ll save money from not having to hire a web designer/developer.

Cons of doing it yourself

There are a few disadvantages of creating a website yourself

  1. Time consuming. 
    1. One of the biggest disadvantages of creating a website yourself is the time it takes to create it. You’ll have to spend time not only creating the website, but also learning the platform.
  2. Bad/inconsistent design
    1. If you’re not an expert designer, or don’t have a good feel for design, the design you create for your website might not be adequate. User interface is an important part of creating a website. Bad user interface can have many bad effects including: 
      1. High bounce rate
      2. Lower rankings on search engines
      3. Low conversion rate

Because of the two disadvantages listed above, my recommendation is if you can afford to hire a professional, do it. It’ll be worth your while if you find the right designer/developer for the job.

Hire a professional

If you choose to hire a professional, there are few things you will need to know.

First, it’s important that you understand the difference between a web designer and a web developer. Knowing the difference between those two will help you save time and money. For your convenience, I have written an article on the subject that you can read here.

Second, it’s important that you understand web design pricing. Here is the most comprehensive article I have ever read about web design pricing.

This article will give you a great starting point when you think about a budget for your website.

Finally, you’ll need some resources on where you can find good developers/designers.

Personally, I have successfully used UpWork on many occasions to hire designers. Though I like UpWork, a company that is built specifically for customers who use WordPress is Codeable, which I have also used successfully.

Other companies where you can find freelancers of all types are Thumbtack, and Fiverr.

Final Words

So, there you have it: How to create a website for your business, including the most important thing to consider before you start creating your website: marketing.

I hope you enjoyed the article. If you did, have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Category: Web Design and Development

I recently wrote an article that attempts to answer the question “what is SEO“. In the article, I used a unique analogy that likened the internet to a shopping center/mall of information. In other words, the internet is a place where people go to search for information they need about products, services, and more.

Websites and SEO are closely related. They are so related that you could consider websites to be prerequisites for SEO, in the sense that you can’t really have SEO without a website.

I said “can’t really” because you could have an SEO strategy around using social media accounts, third party review websites such as Yelp, or directory accounts such as Google My Business.

However, implementing such a strategy without a website can make any SEO strategy more complicated and less streamlined. Moreover, you would lack the control of showcasing your products and services exactly the way you want. That’s because third party accounts such as Yelp, Google My Business or social media accounts control and limit how you can modify your pages, and what you can and can’t show your customers.

Since websites and SEO are so related, I thought I would use the same analogy I used in my SEO article to answer another important question in the online marketing industry: what is a website?

What is a website: The basics.

If you do a quick Google search for ‘what is a website’, you’ll find many answers similar to this one:

A website is a collection of web pages which are grouped together and usually connected together in various ways. Often called a “web site” or a “site.”

This definition is accurate. However, when I first started building websites, definitions such as these never made it easier for me to understand the concept. So, I came up with an easier way to understand what a website is.

A website is a folder

When I started reading website definitions such as the one from Mozilla above, I always thought to myself: “I get that a website is a collection of pages related to one another. But how are they related? How is this collection stored and where?”

After years as a web developer, I figured it out. In the simplest terms, you can think of a website as a folder. A folder similar to folders you have on your laptop/desktop (see below pic (yes, I’m very messy)).

This is a screenshot of the homescreen of my laptop. The screenshot shows multiple folders. I used the analogy of folders to try to answer the question: 'what is a website'.

Like folders on your laptop (the blue folders in the screenshot), the folder that make up a website can contain a bunch of other folders and/or files.

The simplest of websites contain mainly .html files. That is the file type that is responsible for rendering (showing) web pages.

Now that you know that a website is like a folder on your laptop, you might be wondering where is this folder stored? How do customers access this folder? These questions lead us to the next few definitions of terms that can help us answer the question: ‘what is a website’.

What is Web Hosting?

Answering the question ‘what is web hosting’ helps us answer the question where is the website folder stored.

The folders on your laptop or desktop are stored on your computer. The folder that make up a website are stored in specialized computers called servers.

If you have enough money, time, and expertise, you could also build your own server and host (store) that website folder on your own server. However, creating such a computer can be time-consuming and expensive.

Moreover such an endeaver comes with added difficulties of securing that server (against hacks), managing users and many other tasks that are above my paygrade.

Many companies such as WP Engine, Bluehost, Dreamhost, or Godaddy own many of these specialized servers, and rent space on these servers to businesses like us at Brandwell Studio, and many other small businesses for a small monthly fee. In the digital marketing world, we call this service Web Hosting.

What is a domain?

Answering the question ‘what is a domain’ helps us answer the question how is the website folder accessed?

Every device that is connected to the internet has a unique identifier called an IP address. You can think of an IP address like a phone number: A unique number that is used for people to reach you.

With a phone number, customers can reach you via phone. With an IP address, customers can reach your website folder via the internet.

IP address are hard for humans to remember. So, in 1985 domain names were introduced to make it easier for us (humans) to remember these addresses. When that happened, we no longer needed to remember IP addresses like ‘191.54.887’. Instead, all we had to do was remember the domain names.

Phonewords are great example for why domain names came to be. When companies use phrases to represent alphanumeric equivalents of a telephone number (like changing 1-800-724-6837 to 1-800-PAINTER), it helps customers remember their phone numbers more easily.

Domain names server the same purpose in the internet world.

What is DNS?

In the internet world, DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is a system that converts human readable domain names such as ‘’ into computer usable IP addresses such as ‘191.54.887’. Web browsers help facilitate this process.

Web browsers are pieces of software that helps us navigate the internet. You’re probably using a web browser right now to read this article. Some of the main web browsers out there include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.

When you type in a website domain like ‘’ into a web browser, the web browser has to find the server (computer) where this folder is located.

It does so by finding the IP address associated with the domain name you typed into your search bar.

Domain name registrar services such as GoDaddy, help connect (associate) domain names to IP addresses for a small monthly or yearly fee.

What is a website: The analogy

Now that we have covered some of the basics when it comes to answering the question: ‘what is a website’, let’s talk about how it relates to our previously mentioned SEO analogy.

In short, my analogy about the internet as a marketplace for information is simple: The internet is like a shopping center in that it’s where people go to find/search for information they are looking for.

To illustrate that, I have attached the shopping center map/illustration I used in my SEO post.

This is an illustration of a map of a shopping center I created to answer the question "What is SEO" using a shopping center/mall analogy. I'm using this illustration here to answer the question: 'what is a website', since websites and SEO are tightly related.

In this example, think of the shopping center on the illustration as the internet. Your website in this case would be a store in this shopping center.

Without a website, any customer who walked into the shopping center, would not see your website because you would not have one. So, if you wanted to have a chance at being seen by customers entering this shopping center, you would HAVE TO have a store in the shopping center

This is one of the primary reason you need a website.

What is web hosting: The analogy

In the context of a shopping center, a web hosting service is like the leasing/renting services that the shopping center owner provides to store owners.

You don’t own the space where your store is located, you simply pay a monthly fee for the ability to sell products or services in that space.

Likewise with web hosting, you don’t own the server where your website folder is stored, you simply pay a monthly fee for the ability to store your website folder on that server.

What is a domain: The analogy

In the shopping center analogy, your domain name is like the address of your store in that shopping center.

When customer enter the shopping center, they can go to any of the directories in the shopping center and search for your store using your address.

Just like your address would be used to determine your precise location in the shopping center, your domain (name) helps web browser determine the precise location of the server where your website folder is stored (located).

Website domain + Web hosting

The reason I explained what website domains and web hosting are, is because they are the primary tools you need to have a website.

Domain and web hosting services are also two of the must have services to have a website on the marketplace (shopping center) that is the internet.

There are other additional services you can purchase to make improve your website performance.

For example you can purchase SSL certificates to make your website more secure. You can purchase plugins or additional pieces of software to help increase your webpages rankings on search engines.

Without a domain and a server (web hosting), you cannot have a website.

2 simple reasons your small business needs a website

1. Without a website you’re invisible

As I have explained previously, having a website is like having a store in the shopping center that is the internet.

This shopping center that is the internet is constantly growing. Moreover, more and more customers are turning to this shopping center of information whenever they need certain products or services. estimated that 87% of shoppers now begin product searches online.

Having a store in this shopping center is becoming more and more essential for business owners everywhere. Not having a website means your business is invisible to customers who enter this shopping center looking for products and/or services your business offers.

2. A website can help you work more efficiently

A website doesn’t have to be merely a selling tool. A website can help you do more things, including helping you work more efficiently.

To understand this, imagine applications you currently have on your laptop. One such application is the one you are currently using to read this article: your web browser.

When you download this browser on your laptop, you are effectively downloading a folder similar to the folder that make up your website. The difference between your website folder and the browser folder is that the browser folder comes with files that can help you accomplish tasks such as helping you navigate the web.

You can also add files in your website folder that can help you do more than just showcasing your products and services.

What you can do with a website is beyond the scope of this article. To learn more you can read this article I recently wrote about 5 surprising says to increase website traffic by using your website for more than just selling.

Final Words

I hope this article and the analogy I used help answer the question ‘what is a website’ for you.

Again, in simple terms, a website is just a folder that needs to be stored somewhere (in a server using a web hosting service), and that can be found using a domain name (typically provided by a domain name service).

If you have any additional questions of feedback, feel free to leave a comment below. If you enjoyed the article, feel free to share with anyone you think might need it.

Category: Web Design and Development

You are a small business owner. Over the past couple of years, you have been working on this amazing idea for a new company.

You created the businesss plan, carefully crafted your service packages, & made plans to incorporate your business.

After all of this planning, you knew you would need a website to tell the world about your company and why customers should do business with you. So you hired a web developer or web design company, and they created an amazing website for you.

You’ve now launched your company and your new website, but months into starting the company and making your website live, you are stuck with the question that plagues too many small business owners: How do I get people to my website, so they can see (and hopefully purchase) all these services I offer? In other words: How can I increase website traffic to my small business website.

If you’re struggling with this question, you’re like most of the small business owners I have worked with thus far in my web development career: You’re using your business website solely to sell your products or services.

Business owners who use their websites to “sell only” typically have websites with the following few pages:

  • A home page
  • An about page
  • A services page
  • A contact page

I recently wrote a blog post about how to succeed at social media, by shifting focus from trying to sell at every turn, to being more helpful.

The same concept applies here. One of the best ways to help drive more traffic to your website is to find a way to be helpful to your customers.

How Helping Can Help You Increase Website Traffic

It’s not always easy to find ways to help your customers using your website.

Fortunately for you, I have identified 5 surprising ways to increase website traffic and grow your business without selling.

These surprising uses for your website are all designed to help you grow your business online by showing you different ways you can be more helpful to your customers using your website.

Focusing on being more helpful to your customers offers these 3 main advantages:

Improve your SEO

This image shows a screenshot of the ranking for a website we created and are currently managing. It shows how someone can increase website traffic with better SEO metrics.

Organic traffic is one of the hardest traffic to get. Organic traffic is traffic you get to your website without having to pay for ads.

Finding ways to help your customers using your website will give your customers a reason to come back to your website over and over again.

Having more traffic to your website will enhance your SEO metrics. In short, SEO is how you get webpages on your website to rank higher in search engine pages such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

One of the metrics Google uses to rank webpages is engagement. Engagement refers to how long and how well users interact with webpages on your website.

Having customers come back to your website over and over again will increase your engagement metrics by telling Google and other search engines that user thouroughly enjoy whatever content you have on your website.

This will increase the chances that search engines ranks your content higher than that of your competition.

Improve User Experience

User experience is how people feel when they interact with your brand, your business or one of your products. How do these items make your customers feel? Happy? Sad? Frustrated?

A better user experience means happier customers. Happier customers means repeat customers.

Whether you’re a fitness trainer, yoga instructor, or dog groomer, having a booking system directly on your website can lead to a better user experience than forcing your customers to leave your site and rely on third party software.

In this case, the better user experience will make your customers happy/satisfied after interacting your website, which will increase the chances that they come back for more satisfying experiences.

Improve efficiency/workflow

Finding ways to be more helpful to your customers can also have the amazing unintended consequence of making your own life easier.

Take the previous example of having a booking system on your website. Doing that could help you not only create a better user experience for your customers, but also help you work more efficiently.

I have had clients who run classes/bootcamps rely on emails, text & phone calls to book their clients appointments.

This method is so time consuming, that it can lead you to spend too much time on unnecessary tasks such as the back and forth communication it takes to book an appointment.

Having a booking system on your website in this case is a win-win situation for both you and your customers.

5 Ways to Increase Website Traffic to your small business website

Share Your Expertise

Sharing your expertise online is one of the easiest (though time consuming) ways to grow your business online.

It falls into the better SEO benefit category, as more content will help increase the chances that you rank higher on search engine page, but it will also help increase the chances that you get more recurring traffic.

Who is it for?

Any type of business owner can choose to share their expertise one their own website.

However, sharing one’s expertise is would be more useful for business who who’s services tend to be more expensive, such as law firms, financial advisors, web design agencies.

How does sharing your experience help?

Most marketers believe that it takes a customer 7 times to interact with a brand/company before they take an action (make a purchase, join a newsletter, subscribe to a services).

Sharing your expertise is better suited for such business because it allows customers to freely interact with the company (content) over and over without making a huge commitment (making a purchase).

If your content is good enough, it can leave memorable mark in the mind of your customer, which increases the chances that they will remember your business, when they need the products/services you offer.

Furthermore, sharing your expertise online could help you gain more readers. These readers could turn into recurring traffic.

If your readers liked your content enough, you could start a newsletter, and leverage those emails to conduct email marketing campaigns for your business.

Start a loyalty/reward program

Who is it for?

This way of using a website especially comes to mind when thinking about small restaurant owners, fitness coaches etc.

Although a loyalty/reward program can also be considered “selling”, it offers additional benefits that a simple website doesn’t.

How can a loyalty/reward program help?

This is another way of generating recurring traffic to your small business website by enticing your customers to come back over and over again by to track, use and/or redeem their points.

If done right, a loyalty/reward program can also help you improve user experience. If your customers feel good about interacting with your loyal/program, their pleasant experience with your website could also entice them to come back to your website.

Save time & money by automating payments

Who is it for?

Though any business owner can benefit from automating payments, this way of using your website is more useful for business owners who sell low cost products/ services.

In the past I have worked with ect.

Too many coaches, trainers, instructors and other small business owners who teach classes, run bootcamps, some of these small business owners still rely on checks, venmo payments, paypal, ect.

This causes 3 main problems.

1. It’s hard and time consuming to keep track of payment platforms

Imagine you have to keep track of each one of these acounts. That would mean each time you have to do accounting, you have to pull each one of these accounts to find out who paid you and who didn’t.

You’d be looking at many different dashboard reports, which can significantly increase the time you have to spend doing accounting.

The more time you have to spend doing accounting, the less time you get to spend doing what you actually love: running your business.

2. It’s almost impossible to keep track of your customers.

In addition to the difficulty of tracking different payment applications, it’s also almost impossible to keep track of clients.

When a client misses a payment, you have to contact them, sometimes repeatedly so that they make the payment.

The clients/customers also might have difficulties finding where and how to pay, which can create a feeling of unprofessionalism. This could cause lower user experience at best, and a loss of potential repeat customers at worst.

Finally, all this tracking down of customers and the headache associated with potentially losing repeat customers, adds unnecessary (& time consuming) tasks to your workflow, and can make your business run less efficiently.

Turn Your Website into A Booking System

Who is it for?

This way of use your website to increase website traffic is best suited for any business owners who rely on appointments to conduct business or make a sale such as lawyers, financial advisors, fitness coaches etc.

Just as your website can help you easily automate your payment process, it can also help you easily schedule in bookings & appointments.

How can a booking system help?

There are many advantages to implementing a booking system on your own website.

1. Keeps your customers coming back

As many of the previous website uses, having a booking system on your website will help increase website traffic to your website by enticing them to come back each time they need to make an appointment.

2. Better user experience

Having users book appointments directly on your website can increase the user experience for your customers by eliminating the extra step of sending your customers to a third party website to confirm appointments.

It can also lead to better user experience by eliminating the back and forth of emails, text or phon calls, in case you didn’t have any booking system at all.

3. Possible Higher Conversion

Many studies have shown that business owners can increase conversion rates with less steps in the checkout process.

Having a booking system on your website eliminates an extra step (sending user to third party software) and can in turn increase conversions on your website.

Automate Your Hiring Process

Who is it for?

This way of using your website can be used by any business owners who needs to hire employees.

How does it help?

If you have ever had to hire employees, you know how hard the process can be. Between having to send, copy, scan, print, and save forms, the process can be extremely time-consuming.

You can streamline this process and help make your workflow more efficient by automating parts of this process using your website.

You could simply have a form on your website and ask potential hires for the information you need from them. You could also easily store that information in your servers so you could access it whenever you want.

Finally, having automating parts of your hiring process can help boost your trustworthiness by showing potential customers that not only are you hiring, but also that you have a streamlines process for doing so.

Being helpful to your customers is easier than you think

After reading about these 5 ways to increase website traffic, you might think to yourself: ‘Implementing these ways are probably expensive’ or ‘it has to be hard to implement them’.

No, and no. In many cases, implementing these tactics are cheaper and easier than you think.

I recently wrote an article about why I believe WordPress is the best website platform for small business owners.

With WordPress, anything is possible. Moreover, creating applications such as booking systems is easier than most business owners realize. In many instances in comes down to purchasing, installing, and setting up plugins with a few button clicks.

For example, in order to create a legally binding form potential hires can fill in on your website, you’d only need 3 FREE plugins, and setting it all up would just take a few clicks.

Final Words

There you have it, 5 surprising ways to increase website traffic by using your website for more than just selling.

I hope you enjoyed the article and that it was helpful in someway. If you have any question, comments, or feedback, feel free to let your voice be heard in the comment section below.

Category: Web Design and Development

So, you’d like to create your color palette for a new painting you have in mind, or a graphics design project you are working on.

To achieve your goal, you search the internet for the best resources about color theory and how to mix colors.

You even read a couple of books on color schemes, but most of what you find teaches you about the theories, and no one talks about the holy grail: How can you create your unique palette.

No worries. You’re in the right place. Today, I’ll show you a few tricks to help you create your own color palette.

Before I do, it’s important to go over the basics. If you believe you’ve had enough of all the basics, skip down to the main section section. Otherwise, let’s get started.

Color Basics

Color is one of the main elements of art. The others are line, shape, form, space and value.

Elements of art are the building blocks for any design project.

Though many designs don’t require colors, adding colors to one is an easy and fast way to add unity & harmony to it.

Below is “Color Basics Cheat Sheet” that I created to help my students learn the basics of color theory.

You can download the pdf version of this cheat sheet by clicking this link: color basics cheat sheet.

Color definitions

Let’s start with some common color definitions.


Hue refers to a specific wavelength of light. It is the portion of the spectrum that is reflected (not absorbed) when light hits an object we see.


Shades are created by mixing any hue with black.


Tints are created by mixing any hue with white.


Tones are created by mixing any hue with gray.

The image below illustrates the difference between a green hue, one of its shades, one of its tints, and one of its tones.


Value refers to the amount of light reflected by a color, regardless of hue. Values are on a scale from lightest (white) to darkest (black).

Hues have intrinsic values. For example, the purple hue below is intrinsically darker than the yellow hue next to it.

I have included a value scale below the hues, to show you how dark and light each one of the hues are.


Sometimes referred to as intensity, saturation is the amount of purity of a hue.

Colors can become desaturated (less intense) by adding black, white, or gray.


In addition to values, hues can give us a sense of temperature.

Some hues feel warm(er) (reds, yellows, oranges), others feel cool(er) (blues, greens, purples).

Primary Colors

Primary colors (hues) are red, blue, and yellow. They are called so because when mixed together, they create other hues.

Secondary Colors

Secondary colors (hues) are created by combining two primary colors. They are orange, green, and purple.

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors (hues) are created by combining two primary and/or secondary colors.

Below is an image illustrating primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. The illustration also covers temperature, by showing you which hues are often known to feel cooler and those that feel warmer.

Picture illustrating primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, along with temperature.

Color scheme vs color palette

Color schemes are general guidelines for how to harmoniously combine two or more hues, tints, shades, or tones.

Your color palette is the resulting color combination you’ll create, using your knowledge of color schemes.

There are an infinite number of ways to harmoniously combine colors.

Below are 5 of the main ways that are known today.
Pictures of basic color schemes, based on color theory.


An analogous color scheme combines three or more colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.


A complementary color scheme combines two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel.


Split-complementary color scheme combines three colors. The first one on a side of the color wheel, the other two are opposite to the first color, but on each side of its complementary.


A Triadic color scheme combines three colors that are the same distance apart from each other, on the color wheel.


A Tetradic color scheme combines four colors. When connected, the four colors create a rectangle.

How to create your own color palette

So now you’ve got the basics. You’re ready to create your own color palette. But the question remains: how to get started? Let’s jump right in.

Step 1: Choose your hue(s)

When creating your own color palette, it is good practice to start with emotions.

In case you did not know, colors have the ability to evoke certain emotions in our brains.

Neil Patel, a digital marketing expert, wrote an extensive article on color psychology.

The article discusses in detail how colors affect our emotions, and how to use that knowledge to create a color combination that accurately reflects the message we want to send with a design.

You can refer to the article for a more detailed explanation, but for the sake of this article, let’s choose the blue hue below as our main hue.

Picture showing the the main blue hue I chose to for this tutorial.

Step 2: Choose a color scheme

Digital colors vs paint colors

Mixing digital colors is easy. Often, it involves choosing colors from a digital color picker, like the one below.

Picture of digital color picker.

To create a complementary color scheme, simply choose two colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel. Creating a triadic color scheme means finding three hues that are evenly spaced on the color wheel, and so on.

Mixing paint colors is a completely different story.

I use acrylic for most of my painting projects. With acrylic alone, I know of 5 different hues of blue: Fluorescent Blue, Phthalo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Primary Blue, Cobalt Blue.

Each one of these different shades of blue has a different pigment than the other. Consequently, each one will have a slightly different complement on the color wheel.

With paint colors, creating a harmonious color scheme involves knowing each individual hue and being able to match them to the correct corresponding hues.

Choose a color scheme

Whether you are using digital or paint colors, one of the next steps will be to choose a color scheme.

If you need a color palette with a lot of contrast, you can go with a complementary or split-complementary color scheme.

On the other hand, if you wanted a color palette with similar values, you can go with an analogous color scheme.

For this example, I chose the blue hue from earlier, and I created an analogous color palette with that hue as a base.

Step 2: Consider tones and values

When I got back into painting about 5 years ago, I predominantly used pure hues in most of my artworks.

My color palette was often similar to the color palette above.

While I was able to create beautiful pieces at the time, the quality of my paintings significantly improved when I started using tones.

If you remember tones result from mixing a hue with gray. There are two main advantages to using tones instead of pure hues.

Get more unique colors

Mixing primary, secondary, and even tertiary hues are easy. You just get two, three or more hues together, combine them and you have something new.

Since those colors are easy to replicate, most people (typically beginner artists) tend to use them. The more you see them, the more you realize there isn’t anything too special about hues.

However, when you start adding grey to hues, it’ll take your palette to a whole new level.

Take a look at the color palette below and compare it to the previous one.

The colors for the one below are richer and I believe even more harmonious than the one above.

Make your design more realistic

One of the reasons we tend to like tones more is because most of the world we see is made up of tones, rather than pure hues.

Take a look at the landscape picture below. I used a tool in adobe illustrator to pick out a few of the colors present in the picture. Guess how many of them have a saturation of 100% (pure hue)? None of them.

picture of a landscape and the color palette that was used to create it

Indeed colors found in the natural world are often a variation of tones derived from various hues. That’s why when you only use pure hues, your paintings/digital project will tend to look more like fantasy worlds.

That is because pure hues are rarely found in the natural world.

Step 3: Experiment, experiment, experiment

This is the part that most artists/creatives often struggle with. It is also the part that most articles and tutorials won’t cover.

Experimenting will take your color palette to the next level, and will make you a better artist/creative in the process.

What distinguishes great artists from average ones tend to be how unique the latter are.

There are many ways for artists to distinguish themselves. Using a unique, harmonious color palette is one way to achieve this goal.

I created the color palette below based on the hue we started with earlier.

After choosing a color scheme and adding different tones to the palette, I expanded the palette by adding a couple of tones of green.

For this palette, I was inspired by the picture of the landscape above.

Picture of a unique color palette created using a analogous color scheme.

Not all tones of green would have beautifully complemented the colors that I already had.

Check out the modified palette below. The palette below might look as harmonious to you as the previous one. To me, it does not. There is something off about this palette. It could be the jarring transition between the last purple and the first green.

Picture of a unique color palette created using a analogous color scheme. This palette unlike the previous one in this article, is not harmonious.

The first palette has a much smoother transition between all colors, which makes it more harmonious.

This leads us to the final and maybe most important tip when it comes to creating your own color palette.

Trust your instincts

If you find the last color palette harmonious. Don’t feel bad. You are not wrong.

In fact, after taking a second look at it, I thought to myself that I could use that palette in a project, and make it look good.

Creating a color palette is a subjective endeavor. While doing so, you have to follow your instincts.

Color combinations that look good to you, may not look good to others. Furthermore, if your goal was to create a design that looks good to everyone, you’ll just end up creating something boring and uninteresting.

As I said earlier, what separates great artists from average ones is how unique the latter are.

Having one or more unique, harmonious color palettes you can use as an artist, is one way to distinguish yourself from others.

One of the best ways to create a unique and harmonious color palettes is to experiment over and over and over again and find a palette that speaks to you.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below or contact me.

Category: Web Design and Development

If you’re a business owner or solopreneur, you probably already know how important SEO can be to your business.

SEO can help your customers find you online, which can help your business get more leads, grow your customer base and increase revenue.

Over 81% of customers conduct searches online before making a purchase. So, businesses that are offlline, risk missing out on a majority of potential customers.

However, SEO can be expensive. estimates that the average spending for SEO, is between $750-$1500/month!

So, before taking the leap, and hiring an expensive SEO, check these four (cheaper) items off your to-do list.

1. Improve the look of your website

Why it matters

Humans are irrational shoppers. 85% of customers report buying a product simply based on colors.

This means that within a few seconds of landing on your site, a customer will instinctively know whether they’ll purchase a product from you or not. 

Looks and SEO

The way your website looks not only affects your customers’ purchase decision, it also affects how Google ranks your website. 

Part of the Google search algorythm is engagement metrics. The way it works is simple.

Say a customer lands on your website searching for a specific product or service. 

If this customer leaves your website within seconds of landing on it, it tells Google that the customer was not satisfied with the information they found on your website. 

In the future, Google will be less likely to serve the content of your website to customers who are searching for similar product/service. This could negatively impact your search rankings.

How to fix it

A good looking website doesn’t mean a fancy looking website. 

In digital marketing terms, good looking simply means easy to use. In other words, you want to build a website where customers can easily perform the actions they need to perform (search, read, buy etc), without friction.

Below are some examples of easy fixes to make your site look instantly better. 

Use a grid

Say a customer is searching for “How to get started with SEO”, they land on a website and they see this:

Picture showing an example of bad graphic design

The customer will more than likely leave the website within seconds. The information is hard to read, and it’s hard to make up what the information is about.

The image below shows the same information but sectioned into four boxes.

Picture showing an example of what a grid looks like in web design

This makes the information easier to digest at first sight and gives the reader an opportunity to visually distinguish four important main arguments. 

Choose your fonts wisely

The image below contains the same information as the previous images. The only difference is that I changed the header font.

Picture showing an example of how typography can improve design.

Font selection is one of the easiest ways to improve a design.

Fonts have the ability to envoke emotions in customers.

Better font selection can make customers feel good about a design. If customers feel good as they are interacting with your content, they will stick around and explore.

This will increase the chances that customers buy from you, positively impact your engagement metrics and in turn your search rankings.

Pay attention to the hierarchy

Finally, take a look at the picture below. Again, it contains the same information as the pictures above. 

Picture showing and example of great design

The difference here is that we made some of the texts dark (to stand out more) and some of the text smaller. I also changed the text sizes and colors.

Now, at first glance, you can see what the most important information is. It makes it easier for customers to parse the information.

The customer can now decide which information they would like to read, and which they would like to ignore.

2. Improve your website’s loading speed

Why it matters

Customers hate slow loading websites. So does google. 

Speed matters because of the first topic I discussed: engagement metrics.

As I mentioned earlier, Google puts a lot of stock into the user’s satisfaction with search results.

If a customer clicks on a link for a website they would like to visit, and the website takes more than 6 secs to load, most customers will click on the back/previous button and search for products or services elsewhere.

Though site speed is not a direct ranking factor, it indirectly affects your rankings in a negative way.

How to fix it

Fixing site speed is complex and depends on what platform powers your website.

If you are using a website builder such as Wix, or Squarespace, customization is somewhat limited.

Last time I checked, neither one of those platforms allow customers to have access to the source code. 

With a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, you can go in the source code and make changes as necessary.

Before making any changes, you will need to find out where you currently stand.

There is an array of available tools online to help you determine what the loading speed of your website is.

Below are three of the tools that I use to ensure the websites we manage are always optimized for speed.


Pingdom is an amazing tool that allows you to test the speed of your website. Additionally, Pingdom will give you recommendations on what aspects make it slower.

Screenshot of Pingdom, a tool used by developers to increase site performance.

Yup, a few of the website we manage load in under 2 seconds. We’re proud of it. also allows you to test the speed of your website.

What I love most about is that it gives you the ability to test it on more than one device.

For example, instead of making a general test (from an unknown device) you can test it as if it was being loaded on a mobile device. You can do the same for Ipads, laptops or any other device you would like to test. 

I strongly recommend testing on mobile devices and tablets. Sometimes the speed varies significantly from one device to the other. 

Screenshot of, a tool used by developers to increase site performance.

Google PageSpeed

Google PageSpeed is Google’s own page speed tester and optimizer.

The advantage of Pagespeed is that it gives you more of a quality grade instead of an exact loading speed number.

Screenshot of Google PageSpeed, a tool used by developers to increase site performance.

Use one, two, all three or any combinations of the tools above to check the speed of your website.

3. Make your website mobile-friendly

Why it matters

Having a mobile-friendly website matters for two important reasons.

It’s in demand

More and more customers are using their mobile devices to conduct searches for the products and services they need.

Below is a graph of how much that has increased over the years. 

Picture showing the increase in time spent on mobile.

A majority of customers (51%) now spend more time on mobile devices than they do on the desktop.

Business without a mobile-friendly website risk missing out on over half of potential customers.

Google likes mobile

In 2015, Google developed something called mobile-first indexing. 

With this tool, Google started ranking mobile website and desktop websites separately.

Today, this means that without a mobile-friendly website, businesses are invisible to about half of potential customers. 

The first picture shows a non-mobile-friendly website, while the second shows a mobile-friendly one. I’m sure you can tell the difference.

Picture of the before design of a website I build for a client.
Picture of the after design of a website I build for a client.

How to fix it

In most cases, fixing this will come down to either choosing a template that is already mobile-friendly, or hiring a developer to help you achieve it. 

At its simplest, all you will need to do is add a small piece of code in the header of your Html file.

The piece of code will look something like the code below.

meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"

However, that won’t always fix it. In many cases, you will have to edit the Html code of your site to make your site mobile friendly.

Case Study

Before you hire an SEO, it is important that you check all of the boxes above first.

Not doing so is like putting the cart before the horse: It’s inefficient and might even impede your progress in the long term.

SEO is important. However, there are many components of SEO that you can improve before working on content, link building, title tags, etc.

One of our customers had a website that was mobile-unfriendly and hard to navigate.

We built a fast, secure and mobile-friendly website for them. Today, this client is getting over 6000 impressions per month, and it ranks ~6th on average on Google.

Below is a graph of how engagement has increased over the past year. 

Picture showing a graph that shows improvement in impressions. It's the first step to doing SEO.

Final Words

So, as you can see, though SEO is important, it is not necessary in all cases.

If your website is already mobile-friendly, loads fast, and is easy to use,  take the next step and start looking for your SEO expert to help you grow online.

If any of these criteria are untrue, double-check these first before hiring an expensive SEO expert.

Not only can these four cheaper ways help you rank higher on search engines, but it will also help you save money.

Category: Web Design and Development

So, you’ve heard the term ‘brand’. You didn’t know what it was, but you did your research, and now you’re ready to start creating your brand.

The only problem is, Adobe products are not the cheapest. You are just getting started so you don’t quite yet have the budget to afford an Adobe subscription.

No worries. I am here to help. Below are 5 free and amazing websites that I have used in the past to help clients create stunning logos and graphics.

1. Canva

Screenshot of Canva website, a website that can help you get started creating your brand.

Canva is an AMAZING product. It is extremely easy to use (compared to other counterparts), with a beautiful interface that will make you want to come back and design over and over again.

Canva has apps for both tablets and mobile devices, so you can create graphics from anywhere.

Additionally, Canva has a free plan that will allow you to start creating a brand for little to no money.

The only problem I had with Canva was the limitations when it comes to file formats.

Canva doesn’t have an option to download SVG files, which is an essential feature when creating logos.

2. YouIDraw

Screenshot Image of YouIDraw, a web app that can help you get started creating your brand.

Youidraw is a step up from Canva in someways and a step down in others.

It’s a step up because it is as close to Adobe Illustrator without being Adobe Illustrator.

For example, unlike Canva, Youidraw has a pen tool. The pen tool allows you to freely draw complex shapes with your hand.

Canva, only allows you to create simpler shapes like squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, stars and a few more.

Another step up from Canva is the fact that with this software, you will be able to download SVG files. However, in order to enable this feature, you’ll have to opt into the paid version of the software, which starts at $9.99/month.

Youidraw is a step down from Canva because as you can see, the user-interface is not as inviting.

Furthermore, the learning curve for using YouIDraw is steeper than that of Canva.

3. Google Fonts

The choice of a typeface (font) is one of the most important steps to any design project.

Typefaces can convey certain emotions in a reader. So, the choice of a font can give the right or wrong first impressions.

If you have the budget, you can explore options such as,, or even On those websites, you can search for, and buy premium fonts, uniquely crafted by expert typeface designers.

If you don’t have the budget, Google fonts is a great option.

Screenshot of Google Fonts website, a website that can help customers get started creating a brand.

Google fonts, like Canva, has a great user-interface and is easy to use. You’ll be able to easily look for fonts, filter by type or size, and download the fonts you need for immediate use.


Screenshot of

Speaking of fonts, will make choosing fonts much easier for you.

One of the most difficult things in creating a design is choosing a set of fonts that go well together.

Fontpair gives you suggestions about different typefaces that go well together.

Additionally, the software allows you to visually check to see if the fonts feel right next to one another.

Finally, Fontpair also allows you to easily choose what kind of typefaces you want to pair together.

For example, you can view ‘Serif + Serif ‘ pairings only, or you can choose to view ‘Sans-serif + serif’ pairings.

Don’t forget, the pairings you will see on this website are mere suggestions. Be sure to explore typeface pairings that are similar to the ones on the website, but not exactly the same.


Screenshot of website is one of my absolutely favorite website to use.

This web app helps you create beautiful mood boards with beauty and ease.

The user-interface is as good as that of Canva or Google fonts.

Moreover, has a feature to randomly generate colors. So, if you’re ever out of inspiration, you can go to the website and get hundreds of automatically generated mood boards.

Like, the colors are mere suggestions. So, you can play around with different hues, change values, and increase or decrease saturations to find the perfect color for you.

Final Words

So, there you have it: 5 free websites that will help you get started creating your brand.

These are just starting points. When you can afford it, you can move on to better/easier options such as hiring a developer or subscribe to one of the Adobe Creative cloud plans and streamline all your creative apps into one.

Did I forget some websites? What are some of the apps/websites that you use? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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