I have a new (and exciting) website design case study I wanna share with all of you.
Now, this was an interesting project. Brittney Carmichael is one of those people you meet and you’re like, “Woah! This babe really has her shit together.” And it’s true! If you look up the definition of self-empowerment in the dictionary, you’ll find her beautiful face there.
But self-empowerment can also be problematic. When you’re that much of a visionary, the ideas never stop flowing out of you. And it certainly doesn’t help when you’re doing the vast majority of it on your own — including building and managing your own website.
So when Brit contacted me, she had reached a point where her business wasn’t going to be able to grow any further until she got her website in order. The following case study documents what we went through together in order to bring new life and energy into her online business.
Name: Brittney Carmichael
Goal: Redesign the website and create a clearer roadmap of Brit’s offerings in order to turn the site into a lead-generating and sales-making machine.
Timeline: 6 months
I commonly meet entrepreneurs and small business owners whose main goal is to build a website that will generate leads and sales for them. Brit’s situation was a little different.
Her business had been around for about 10 years, she had a robust collection of products and services, and her website was actively promoting all of it.
Brit’s brand was lacking personality. To put it simply, it didn’t speak “sparkle-magic”! So I did just that, I branded her with “magic” being the primary driver in everything I designed.
As Brit explained:
“I was struggling with my website before working with Ash. I had a lot of parts and a lot of stuff going on with no real clear path on how my user could experience all the magic that I had to offer.”
Take a look at the old “About Me” section on her home page and you’ll get a taste for how much Brit has going on. It was no wonder why people would visit her site and feel confused or overwhelmed by everything. (Even her friends didn’t know which service to choose! 😂).
She had other issues with her site as well. For starters, it was painfully slow to load. It also looked pretty basic since she’d built it on her own using a templated drag-and-drop builder. And also, her branding was inconsistent due to all of the changes she’d made to it over time.
What Brit needed was a website strategist more than anything. Someone who could take her vision and turn it into a high-end digital platform that immediately sucked in her target audience.
She really needed someone she could delegate this work to. For so long, she’d been doing it on her own. It was her vision after all. Who better to design the website and do the marketing for it than her?
But Brit is a business coach, founder of Shine School®, and co-founder of the popular podcast The Elevated Life®. At this stage of her career, she shouldn’t be getting her hands dirty with her website. She needed someone like me to come in and take the reins from her. And so that’s what I did! 😁
“It was really nice being able to delegate my ideas and visions to someone who could bring my website to life far better than my DIY version.”
For those of you on the fence about having a custom website designed (or redesigned) for your business, keep reading! Don’t worry. I’m not going to go crazy with the technical details about what me and my team do. 😝
This is more to show you how involved the website strategy and design process is and why it’s incredibly valuable to have an expert handle it on your behalf (and how it can save you moola in the long run!).
The first phase in any website design project is information-gathering. So just as I do with all my clients, I met with Brit to talk about her website, what was going on with it, and what her goals were.
These meetings are always beneficial as they give me and my team the chance to speak directly with the client. It’s the fastest and most effective way to root out the problem and come up with solutions before we start any work.
My clients also appreciate these kickoff calls as it gives them a chance to get to know me more. I can also confidently say I always end up making a new friend! My clients are more than just clients, they become part of my inner circle! 🥰
“I felt Ash did a great job onboarding and educating me along the way. She was open to hearing my ideas and feedback and easily adapted to any changes suggested. She really captures your personality and brings it to life through her work. I also appreciated how much she communicated with me during the design process. I never felt like I didn’t know what she was working on.”
After the kickoff, Brit provided me with a wealth of information. She left no crystal unturned when it came to filling out my onboarding questionnaire.
She also sent over a copy of her brand messaging guide. Any questions about her brand or how we were to position it were clearly answered here.
My team and I got to work, familiarizing ourselves with Brit, the market she was working in, as well as her target user. 👌🏼
The next phase was a critical one for this project. Because the website’s main problem was information overload, we needed to try and bring order out of all the perceived chaos.
One thing that helped us out a lot was that Brit gave us a list of websites that she loved and the reasons why she admired them. (This is a question I always ask in my onboarding questionnaires!) This allowed us to see how other entrepreneurs were structuring similar offerings. It was never the quantity of what Brit offered that was the problem, it was the manner in which it had been presented on the website.
Me and my team came up with a new navigation structure that would put her most valuable and popular offerings front and center. It also simplified and clarified what her website was about, so that visitors would instantly know what they were going to find once they started exploring!
I also spent a ton of time drawing up new wireframes for the dozen or so pages of her website. She had tons of information in there and I needed a way to cut back on how much of it was included on each page without sacrificing any of her offering or vision in the process.
With everything mapped out, the real work could begin.
My copywriting team and myself worked together to create new content and designs for the entirety of the site. We also brought Brit into the mix to ensure that the copy and designs had the right amount of “sparkle magic” infused into them.
After the copy was finalized, I was able to bring it all together to ensure that the text and design told the same story from start to finish.
To be honest, this tends to be one of the tougher stages in the website design process. It’s the first time the client reads through their new content and sees their new designs, and some of them have a tendency to feel uneasy and scattered.
Brit explains why this is so common:
“Rebranding your business can seem scary — making massive changes to the way your mission is showcased. Ash made it so easy to leave behind the old outdated version of my branding and to step into a fully aligned, professional, and comprehensive experience. My website feels like a work of art.”
Going into business for yourself is a risk. And Brit understood that in order to win, she needed her website to be a more accurate and clearer reflection of her badass self.
Once we got Brit’s approval on the copy and design, it was time to move it all into development.
I use a platform called Showit to build out her website. It enabled me to create the fast, beautiful, and luxurious website that Brit deserved for her business. It also allowed me to provide Brit with a user-friendly platform she could use to easily manage her content going forward.
In this last phase, we focused on testing the website for bugs, responsive issues, branding inconsistencies, and any other type of friction that could intrude on the user experience.
Once everything was finalized, we walked through the working site with Brit and got her final approval on everything. This walk-through also included several Google Docs with small tweaks, minor content updates, image swaps, and site link-checks.
We also provided her with all of the deliverables from the entire process. In addition to the website and all the assets we created for it, she also received a brand board which documented the cohesive brand style established throughout the site.
It’s not uncommon for self-made entrepreneurs to look at the price tag of a cheapo do-it-yourself website builder and think that they’re going to save themselves a ton of money that way. But Brit is proof of why a cheap, template-based website will only get you so far in business.
Brit understood this and that’s why she invested in this new website. This wasn’t about creating prettier visuals or a new logo or anything like that. This was about bringing together my expertise in strategy, copywriting, business marketing, website design, and development to craft a top-notch user experience. She didn’t just get a “website”, she leveled up in every way possible!
“Ash has been able to take what felt overwhelming and chaotic for my users and has now made it something that they want to explore more of. I find myself on the website scrolling and reading through all the content. I’m just so blown away by the journey that it leads you on. Without Ash, my website would not be as beautiful, as functional, or as elevated as it is today.”
By creating a website that prospective clients feel comfortable in and excited about, they become more open to and trusting of the person behind it. And that’s ultimately what Brit needed in order to get over the hurdles keeping her business from soaring.
With the website live, Brit is getting compliments on it left and right, and gaining new opportunities day by day.
And with all of this praise, Brit now has the confidence and freedom to move ahead with other growth strategies. This will allow her to throw more weight at things like her confidence masterclass and podcast, among the many other things she’s being called to!!
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Ashley Gadd is an award-winning digital marketing strategist, graphic designer, and educator who helps clients turn their squirrely ideas into captivating and strategic brands that convert. Blending her background in nonprofit marketing with her education in design, Ashley offers customer-centric brand experiences that connect the visual and strategic dots to give her clients the tools to build a sustainable and profitable business they’re proud of.
Use this worksheet to bring more clarity to your business! Let this be your first step before you tackle your ideal customer profile and buyer persona.
and bring much-needed clarity to your business.