Going from graphic design to web design can be a tricky transition. While many basic design principles can carry over from print design, logo design, branding, etc, there are a lot of complexities in web design that often deter graphic designers from joining the club. Things like hosting, domains, website tools, responsive design, browser compatibility, etc are all things that print designers aren’t accustomed to worrying about but are none-the-less, essential in web design.
Luckily, me and my guest Emma Kate of EmmaKate.co (web dev mentor to graphic designers) have both transitioned from graphic design to web successfully and did this episode to help prepare those of you in that journey as well! In this chat, we cover a proven 9-step process to help you successfully transition from graphic design to web design.
Emma’s 9-Step Proven Path:
00:14:26 – 1. The Goals
00:22:40 – 2. The Goods
00:29:35 – 3. The Style
00:39:14 – 4. The Foundation
00:50:59 – 5. The Tools
00:55:44 – 6. The Secret Weapon
01:01:20 – 7. The Build
01:07:05 – 8. The Fitout
01:10:12 – 9. The Tune-Up
Episode #039 Full Transcription
What’s up, everybody? Welcome to Episode 39, who I’m excited for you got a good one for you here. In this episode, we are going to dive into a topic that is very, quite frankly near and dear to my heart. And that is how to transition from graphic design to web design. And the reason I’m really passionate about this topic in particular is because that’s the path that I took to get into web design. In fact, for those of you who listen to my story, if you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to go back listen to episode number one, where I talk about my story going from a cabinet maker to being a drummer, and then getting into graphic design, and then transitioning into web design, because that’s exactly what I did.
And I’ll tell you, I learned a lot of things the hard way. Because going from print design, branding and graphic design into web is just a whole nother ballgame. I found out there’s a lot of complexities and a lot of different layers involved. And it was a struggle for me in a lot of areas. So we’re we are going to help you get past all that and give you a solid plan of action for those of you who are in that situation. And for this topic, I brought somebody in who does exactly that.
My guest from Down Under Emma Kate is a web dev mentor to graphic designers, she helps people going from print design and graphic design, how they she helps them guide them to getting into web. And she’s awesome, this interview was great. What we do in this one is we cover a nine step path that you can follow. It’s a proven path that she lays out and a wonderful, wonderfully designed PDF that will be available by the way in the show notes for this episode for is a free download. But it’s a path that you can follow to go again, from graphic design to web design. And even if you’re not a graphic designer, and you’re just getting into web design from a different industry, this will be really helpful helpful for you as well.
So I’m really excited for you, and you’re gonna love Emma, you know what’s funny, you’ll hear this in the episode but Emma is kind of like the girl version of me. She we found out that she got into Dreamweaver and hand coding websites like I did back in around the same time around 2010. And then she discovered WordPress and Divi around the same time that I did. And then she grew a successful web design business and just like me is now starting to give back and now has this teaching business to where she helps graphic designers around the same time that I started this Josh Hall co endeavor. And to top it off, my website is Josh Hall co she is EmmaKate.co. So very, very cool. I had a blast talking with her real excited for you in this episode.
And before we dive in this one is brought to you by my recently launched SEO course, if you’re going from graphic design to web design, chances are you probably are terrified of these three letters S E O because you’re like, I don’t know what it is I don’t know where to start. And that’s exactly why I created my SEO course it will walk you through the foundations and best practices with how to build your sites for solid foundation SEO, and then I’ll show you all the most important things you need to know because SEO is a massive, robust, complex topic, I’ll show you all the important things you need to know to understand SEO, and to how to make sure your sites are formatted and set up for Best SEO practices. So if you’re interested, make sure you check that out. I’ll have the link below in the show notes to this episode. And I would love to help you in the wild scary world of SEO through my SEO course. Alright guys, well without further ado, enjoy my episode with Emma Kate on transitioning from graphic design to web design. Enjoy. Emma Kate, welcome to the show. awesome to have you on.
Thank you for having me.
Hey, first off, I said this before we went live, but thank you so much for getting up very early. It’s just after 4pm my time, but you are in Australia and it’s 6am for your time. And I told you before live that you look great. For 6am to 6am interview, it would not be good news. So thank you so much for making the time at a weird time for us.
Oh, good. I don’t have kids yet. So getting up this early is not something I’m used to. So yeah, I’m highly caffeinated at the moment. So fingers crossed. I can keep it together.
Yeah. You said you’re already on tea. Right? You went from from coffee.
I can’t have more than one coffee a day. Otherwise I just get too jacked. So yeah, I’ve had one coffee and now I’m on to taking and yeah,
Nice. I’m already on my third coffee in the afternoon. So but yeah, I’m really excited to have you been connected on Facebook for a little while now and I did not realize how established you are or exactly what you did. But you do something that is awesome. I’m a big fan of yours already. Now Only because your domain is your name, CO which so is mine, your your website is Emmakate.co. But you are helping people who are in a situation, and something that I experienced myself, which is going from a graphic designer, to a web designer, and I love your mission. I love what you’re about. And I think what we’ll do in this talk is I know you’ve laid out like a nice PDF with kind of nine steps to be able to do that effectively. And really excited to dive into that in this episode. Before we do though, why don’t you just get, give everybody? Just a download on who you are, where you are and what you do for your business?
Yeah, sure. Thank you. Um, so I’m Emma Kate. I’m from Australia. I live in the beautiful Tweed Heads of Australia. And I’m like Josh said, a graphic designer turned web designer. And I got into, you know, WordPress, fairly early on, and then eventually into Divi and now I use what I know to teach other graphic designers who want to get into web who were, you know, just maybe doing print or branding design or something like that. And web really scares them, especially the whole development side and building. So I, you know, I was lucky enough to sort of figure that out. And now I have a courses and stuff. And I teach people how to do that.
That’s awesome. Yeah, if you are, you know, what I think would be a great place to start and would be just a summary of your story, like, what did that look like? Did you because I don’t know how much you know about my story. But I went from graphic design in the band world. And then my church basically asked me if I was interested in running the website, and I was like, I guess I’ve never done that. And that’s what kind of started it and then it just kind of spiraled from there. But what did that look like for you? What was your jettison going from graphic designer to web designer?
Yeah, sure. Um, so Well, I went from I went to uni into graphic design, I thought I want to build, you know, design logos and brochures and things like that. And at uni, I learnt we sort of have one or two subjects on web design. And this was pre sort of WordPress, maybe WordPress was only just kind of coming out. It wasn’t being so we learned some HTML and CSS and Dreamweaver. And so I was one of those abnormal designers that really liked the coding side. Not that I’m particularly good at it. But I, you know, I just feel like a total geek when I can, like create something in CSS. So I really got into that some of the first websites I built were in Dreamweaver, we just like basic HTML, CSS stuff, you didn’t need responsive design back then. And they weren’t mobile friendly, because we didn’t have iPhones and stuff back then.
And then I think, like, one of my auntie was a web designer. And so she was like, oh, you should look at this new thing called WordPress, you know, so I had a look at that. And eventually, when I started, when I finished uni, and started freelancing. On the side, I started looking at building websites with WordPress, because you could, you know, clients were wanting something that they could, you know, edit themselves. And you could sell these for a higher price tag than just like a basic kind of Dreamweaver HTML website. So I started doing that. But realize that I couldn’t. WordPress was just a whole nother learning curve. I was familiar with sort of designing in Photoshop and then designing it, and then building it out in Dreamweaver. But building it then in WordPress was like a whole nother ballgame.
So I used to just design in Photoshop. And then I had a developer and I’d give it to him. And he would then put it all together for me. And we did this for many years until things like Divi came along. And that was just obviously, probably for you too. And I know a lot of designers, it’s such a game changer, that, you know, we don’t need to rely on these hardcore web developers. Now to be able to build websites ourselves, we can harness the power of Divi and Elementor and things like that and be able to build websites ourselves. So that’s what I’ve been doing, you know, using Divi for the last maybe about four or five years and and that’s what I sort of teach in my courses, that kind of process being able to use a page builder or something like that, right?
Yeah, look like you were trying to make it very easy because I mean, things can get complicated. But you can also do it from an easier perspective starting out, which is what’s so great about Divi. You don’t have to do CSS if you don’t want to. But when you’re ready, you can you can do it to take it to that next level. Yeah. And actually, I need to ask, when were you in university? When did you when were you doing the hand coding and Dreamweaver stuff?
Um, I’m gonna say I started that degree, I think 2008 So yeah, and it took me two and a half years. So
So we were right around the same time then because I learned I when I started getting into web, it was Dreamweaver and that was 2010. The end of 2010. So yeah,
That’s probably was probably my final year that I did. That was probably Definitely the same time.
Yeah, gotcha. Yeah. Now, do you still do print work and graphic design yourself? Or do you full time teach other graphic designers and stuff? Now what does that look like?
So I made like, at the beginning of this year, I had to politely and sadly, bitter sweetly say goodbye to a lot of clients. So I’ve kept like a handful of like four or five, that I’ll still do the occasional thing for mostly web stuff. But you know, if they need something, you know, like a Facebook cover image or something, I’ll do it for them. Because they’re lovely clients that I’ve had for like, 10 years, and I just, you know, so I couldn’t, I couldn’t break their hearts, I couldn’t break my heart saying goodbye to them. But mostly, you know, the bulk of my businesses like now my mentoring ecourse side and teaching. But I do have yet a handful of clients that I’ll do some web work, or even just a little bit of graphic design here and there,
Gotcha, what a great place to be in I mean, the fact that you can kind of selectively choose the people who you want to work with is awesome. It’s so funny, because we’re like, you’re like the girl version of me, we started around the same time, we work with clients for a decade, and then you’re doing in a cage, co teaching designers and I’m doing Josh Hall, co teaching web designers. So it’s kind of funny, it’s like a parallel story. And I’m in the same boat, like I’m being a little more selective right now. And then I’m not really, I’m not doing as much client facing stuff down, I’m kind of even more getting out of that side of the business.
So very cool. And you know, I, what’s really cool about this is I can tell that you’re really passionate about what you do. And more importantly, giving back like your verbiage on your website is very clear that there’s a mission behind it. I love your email, sign off just saying you want to make the web a better place. Like there’s a lot of things in your messaging that are very clear. I’m actually curious, before we dive into these steps from how people can practically go from a graphic designer to a web designer, where did the work? Just out of pure curiosity, curiosity, on my end? What made you want to teach? Did you feel like you always liked teaching and that you always wanted to do this kind of thing? Or was there another passion behind it? What made you really want to give back the way you’re doing right now.
Um, the sake got planted with a couple of my graphic designer, web designer friends who I mentored, like, I’d kind of started my freelance business a few years before them, and just, you know, randomly just started mentoring them, we’d have like Skype, chats and stuff. And every now and then, and I help them out, and I’d send them my email templates in my processes and how I did things. And they sort of planted the seed for me were like, you know, you’re really good at this. What have you ever thought about sort of teaching or, you know, doing something like that, because I was saying how it made me feel really good being able to help them. And so the seed sort of got planted a few years ago, there. Shout out to Lou and Haley who did that for me. And then, um, yeah, so then it just sort of went from there. And it was, it was an idea that I had in my head for a long time. And then I just a couple years ago, went, Okay, this is what I’m going to do now. Work with the business coach and sort of get my courses and everything happening, and then you brand and all that kind of stuff.
Beautiful. How many courses do you have right now?
I have to I guess, like, I have, like a, like a mini one that’s like a, you know, a module like a taster of the bigger course. So I guess, gotcha. Yeah.
Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, I know you’re producing some really valuable stuff. And that kind of kind of leads us to getting started here with these nine big tips that you recommend for designers. And what’s interesting. You know, I’m gonna be a part of the summit that you’re hosting here pretty soon, which I’m sure we’ll talk about. And I think it sounds like my talk is going to be about conversion based design for websites, which is different from print designs. That’s one big struggle where people go from graphic designs, where things are like flat to a website that’s multi dimensional. There’s a lot of moving pieces, it has to work on different screen sizes. So I think a lot of designers get hung up on just the cosmetic aspects, which are really important. But I think what’s most important is the goal of the design goal, a business card design is different than a website. And that’s your first tip, the goal. So what would you what what does that look like to you as far as how important the goals are?
Yes. So I guess this isn’t something that’s unfamiliar to a lot of designers because that’s, you know, for any beginning of any project, like you said, you figure out what are the client’s goals for that particular thing. And so I like to include that and even in my course, it’s like a pre work thing because some people might already have goals now some people might not. But for me for a website, in particular, you have sort of, I like to break it down into like three different orders. It’s goals. And so you’ve obviously got your target audience so that, you know, whoever the website is built for. So whoever, you know, the ideal client or clients are figuring sort of that out and what they want from the website is obviously super important. But then also what the business wants from the website.
So the goals for the actual, you know, business that you’re working with, because that, obviously, it might be a marketing tool for them. But as you know, we know with websites that can also be like, an automation tool, and like, you know, you can incorporate it into your systems and things like that with free forms and stuff. So keeping all those things into consideration as well how you can incorporate both of those goals, and also the goals of the business of what they actually want. The ideal clients to do when they learn that, like, it’s not just maybe that some people want a phone call, some people want them to fill out a quote, form some people, you know, like, it really depends on what that business how that business wants to receive their leads.
Yeah, that’s a good point.
I was just gonna say, cuz a lot of clients, sometimes they don’t know, like, sometimes when you’re working with a client, and they’re making a website, they haven’t gone through this kind of thing. They’re just used to, particularly if I found what blue collar industries, whether it’s automotive, or construction or something, they just do their work. And they get leads, however, they’re used to getting leads, but when they’re like thinking about their website, they’re like, Oh, crap, I never thought really thought like, do I want a phone call? Or do I want a contact form? Or do I want to build an email list? Like there are these different goals, which definitely need to be talked out? And what I do in my proposals is I try to ask my questions to think about that, like, think about, and you can have different levels of goals.
I don’t know if you how you approach this with your students, but I’ve found that they’re like, first tier goals like, which might be get a call or get a quote, and then the second tier goals might be read our blog, or to sign up for a free download, or, you know, like you said, some sort of automation process, or something else, where they may have different types of funnels. So I think that’s one thing where a lot of designers, print designers, or at least when I was in that world, there was pretty much one goal with every piece, it was like, you know, it was either whatever you could fit on a design was, what they were going to do. Whereas a website, you have the opportunity to put 100 goals on there, if you want. So you almost have to figure out what’s most important.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And yeah, just like agreeing with what you said, I do the same thing with like, the sort of, you know, the main goals, and then what are some other sort of goals? So then you kind of from that, you can then when you get to the design stage, you can work out? Okay, what are the main things that you’ve got sort of your main calls to action, the top of the page on the big real estate, you know, the biggest real estate section of the page kind of thing? And then, you know, you have the secondary goals and stuff like that throughout.
So, yeah, definitely important to, to keep all of them in mind. And yeah, and trying to extract them from your client, I think is the I guess it was, it’s not that hard, if you know, the right questions to ask, and you have a client that’s willing to give you that sort of information. And following on from that, too, I also, I have like a brief form, I get clients to fill out at the beginning, before I’ve even quoted on a job to get this idea from them. Because if they can’t really give me that information, or they feel like it’s a tedious exercise, and they’re probably not the best client, because you never gonna, they won’t because they don’t know what they want.
So yeah, or Yeah, or they’re going to be terrible to work with, or they just don’t give you anything and expect the website to be done.
Yeah, and expect to love it, and it’d be perfect. Yeah.
Now, that’s a good point. And then I don’t one thing you talk about to his target audience like figuring out, because that’s the other big thing. The goals may be different for different audiences, who are people who are customer segments who are looking at the website? So do you have any tips or tricks for figuring that out? Like, do you work? Do you recommend working with clients and figuring out you know, what the best customer is and then and then morph the call to action to them and then have secondary goals? Or what does that look like as far as like a target audience perspective?
Yes. So like, for example, if they had like, kind of two different ideal client kind of audiences, that would be coming to the same website? Is that what you mean? Yeah,
like a popular example is like realtors. They have buyers and sellers it’s really two different paths. They could go down on the website, but a lot of my clients like we work with a I surgical place and they had a few different types of customers. They had one that like, was an emergency they have a problem with the their eye, but then they have people who are curious about remedies are help but then there’s other people who are looking for different types of information. So yeah, I was curious, like, what you recommend as far as figuring that out to help clients?
Yes, sir. Um, Guess it’s just really it’s asking those questions, seeing how much you can narrow it down. And seeing if you can kind of split it up into two or, you know, Max, sort of three different kind of user journeys, I guess you’re going to have on the website. And potentially, you know, essentially, they’re all going to be on the same level rather than, you know, mainly targeting emergency eye surgery or whatever. And, you know, targeting people that are curious, there’s going to be the same amount of people with those things coming to the website, potentially.
So I guess it would just be the benefit of a website as you can have a lot of different links and buttons and things going on. So you can be splitting that up. And I just like to make it really obvious on the website, which thing, a different type of ideal client should click on, not overcomplicate it make it really clear from the get go. You know, if you if you need emergency eye surgery, click here. Or if you’re a buyer or your seller, with real estate, you know, which sort of thing to go down. And I’m sure you probably have a lot of tips, because you, obviously very into conversion design and stuff like that. And that’s one of the first places people go, yeah,
I totally echo what you just said there. I like the term that you use user journey. And that is a great way to picture what’s happening on a website, it really needs to be a journey, if it’s going to convert, and if you’re going to get somebody information, or really get them to take the next step, it has to be a journey. So I totally agree, I think what you said the two or three main paths, I would definitely not do more than that as far as like main call to actions, because then it’s just too confusing. People don’t know what to click on. So that’s great, though, as far as being able to narrow that down. And I think the really cool thing about that, is it you don’t have to do that on the first design of the site. I mean, ideally, you would but these are things you can revamp and look at ongoing to I found with clients.
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Because you know, even once you’ve, you’ve built the website, you’ve launched it, and then a year down the track, their business might change a little bit, or they might realize something new about their audience or something. And that’s a great thing with web compared to printing an expensive 20 page brochure. Is that just a few quick updates, and it’s all changed?
Yes, that’s a great point. That is definitely a huge benefit of going to web despite the struggles of dealing with some painful, you know, coding mishaps or browser compatibility and stuff like that. It makes up for when Yeah, you don’t have to get a whole nother 1000 brochures reprinted when you just got a new service or something.
So yeah, yeah,
That’s awesome. And that leads us to number two. And by the way, this PDF, I’ll make sure everyone has a link to it to where they can to check this out and follow along if they want to. Because it’s great. It’s designed beautifully. It’s awesome. But that is the pages, which you kind of talked about as the goods. And one thing I like that you talked about in this is not only creating a sitemap or a roadmap for all the main pages, but also the hidden pages, which I’m a big fan of I have a whole section in my business course about hidden pages that I have in my site that no one else is going to find unless you knew about them. So yeah, what does that look like for you? I love that you’re keen on that? And then do you have any other? Do you have any ideas and tips on creating a nice roadmap? And then, you know, optimizing for SEO and stuff like that?
So with the, like creating the sitemap yet, it’s, like you said, like getting people to think about, okay, what are the actual hidden pages you’re going to need, because people just typically go home about contact service, one service to that kind of thing. But then really thinking about, Okay, well, if you’ve got an opt in, then you’re going to want a thank you page, because obviously, that helps with your, you know, just tracking your Facebook pixel, you know, and knowing things or converting stuff like that. But then you might have Yeah, like, brief form pages, I think is a typical one.
So, you know, in my be the boss course, it’s mainly for designers, and it’s teaching them how to build their own website, first and foremost, before they sort of start building for clients. So for you know, a lot of my students, when they go through that part, it’s figuring out, okay, what brief forms do I want to have on my website? Which ones are they sending via PDF now or something? And maybe they want to put it on their website as a form. So thinking about that kind of thing.
Yeah, and just like you maybe some hidden pages, like even like, I know, on your website, you have an awesome like page with all the videos that you send to your clients and your studios one. Yeah, I like it. Put that as a reference. I show my students that all the time. So I’m like,
I like this.
Yeah, just this little client Resources page with a bunch of tutorials. Yeah.
Yeah. Which is great. You know, and so that’s kind of an idea too, is you know, what are some potential things that like that, that would be hidden pages. You’re not going to Have them on your Sitemap necessarily. They’re not going to be in the main menu. So thinking about that, and then also the the legal pages that you’re probably going to need as well. Yeah. But one tip that I have to make it less overwhelming for people, if you’re building your own site, or even I do this with clients, if they maybe don’t have the budget or the time to get everything right, is we put together like an MVP sitemap, like a most minimum viable product. I think that’s how you say, like sitemap, so it’s kind of like what pages you absolutely need to launch? What can we do together to like, get it out there rather than because you might do your initial brain dump of all the pages, and there’s 20 pages, and you’re like, This is too much to put together? Yeah, for the clients budget, or if you’re building it for yourself, for instance, like going through the course you want to get your website up in eight weeks, maybe building 20 pages is like a big ask. So just going, Okay, I just need home about portfolio contact, and then I’ll be good to go.
What a great tip. Yeah, that’s awesome. And I, that is a huge benefit when it comes to getting a project done on time, because I’ve had situations in the past where we might have the site like done and ready to go. But then the clients hung up on two blog posts that they’re writing, I’m like, Look, we can launch it, and then we then you can worry about that, or you could tweak it later like some of that does not matter right now, or I’ve mentioned this in a couple courses, and more recently in my SEO course, because this is something that you can use as additional ongoing SEO work. And that is to create additional pages and like a phase two.
Yeah, absolutely. I think like a lot of designers were perfectionist as well. And I know if I ever waited for my websites, like fit personal websites that I’ve built for myself, if I waited for them to be perfect, I wouldn’t have a website. They’re always a work in progress. And they’re always it’s like, you know, near enough, it’s something is better than nothing, you know, just getting it out there. And you can always tweak and again, that’s the benefit of the web, because you can just get it out there. And then you can completely restyle it add more delete, like all that stuff. Compared to making a final decision on a big, you know, brochure that you’re going to design for yourself or something.
Yeah, you know, a good website launched is better than a perfect website that’s in the works for three years. So I kinda have I call it the damn good rule. It’s like, you know, what, if it’s damn good, launch it, like, it’s not gonna be perfect. But that’s the thing that every designer struggles with, it’s like, oh, it’s just not perfect. But by golly, if it’s good enough to get it up there and then go from there. Yes, chances are clients aren’t going to notice that the teeny little minute things that designers are painstakingly going over, you know, hours and hours over. So, yeah, that’s great.
Yeah. And also, I guess the benefit is to that, you know, it’s great to have it out there, like you said, for SEO, you know, if you’ve, if you’ve got something out there, it can start getting indexed, it takes a lot of time for Google, to start seeing pages and ranking them. So if you wait a whole year for it to be perfect, then you’re a year behind. If you’d sort of earlier with just five pages, at least you’ve got something out there getting index
Even three months, I mean, even three months of like, if you waited, you know, if you drag your feet and just nitpick over something over three months, that’s three months, you could have got better Google rankings, or at least started the foundation to then start getting better Google rankings. And yeah, I had a, I had a big video ographers friend who went through, I think three designers and like completely different styles of his website and ended up just never launching it took like a year and a half. And he just didn’t launch it because he just couldn’t get it right. I’m like, dude, just launch something. Yeah, but yeah, it’s huge.
And you know, that really, now that we’re kind of talking about that the design that kind of leads us to point number three, which talking about design and style. I mean, what’s cool about design in general, and I think one area where designers have a leg up on developers who maybe really struggle with an eye for design is that there are a lot of just basic design principles that do transfer pretty well. Color Theory, color management, typography Hi Archi all these things are just basic general principles that I know for me personally, I was able to apply from from print to web. But how do you like how do you talk to students about that? Because it is different. There are differences, even though there’s a lot of things that transfer things are different online, and they are just in pure graphic design. So yeah, well, what would you say to that would help people bringing, you know, their, their design chops from print to Web?
Yeah, absolutely. Um, well, I just remember it too, though, can I just circle back to the goals and just quickly say we missed the good one, just because I’d said that there were three. And then I realized that he said, too, so. So just quickly, the third one with where that it’s probably like, probably a little bit different is thinking of the editors of the site. So who’s actually going to edit the website. So often, this will be your client, and thinking about what they’re going to need to change on the site. So and that’s an important thing to consider at the beginning with the goals because, you know, if it’s a real estate website, and they’re going to need to be updating new property listings and stuff like that, then you’re going to want to make that really easy for them, you’re not going to want that to be like, coded or you know, lots of inline HTML going on that they have to avoid or stuff like that. So I think that’s, that’s an important thing to consider early on, as well.
Great. Well, I’m so glad you mentioned that, because I would have listened back to this. And I would have been like, get back to them at three again.
That’s all I need to say on that. But I just wanted to mention it. That’s Oh,
That’s great. Yeah. And then, you know, when we’re talking about design, yeah, what like, because that is a struggle. You know, I think it catches designers off guard when they start designing for web, and it’s like, oh, wow, there’s a lot more to think about, quite frankly, when it comes to web, I feel like so yeah. How do you empower your students to go from print design or graphic design to Web? As far as the design goes?
Yeah, um, so I guess that’s one thing. Like, with me, I don’t really teach people how to design. It’s more translating those graphic design, print design skills to web and what the fundamental differences are. So obviously, you have to consider the different colors, RGB versus CMYK. And stuff like that. Image resolutions is obviously a huge thing as well, which a lot of designers make that mistake and upload five, make image just you probably say that a lot. But I think, you know, some, I think the hardest thing for print based designers and going to web is the responsiveness. And it’s it is a hard thing, because you’re not just designing for one size, you’re designing for an infinite amount of sizes and browsers. And so you kind of have to a lot of the time turn down your designs, because they’re just not going to unless you want to put in a whole bunch of media queries and making it all different everywhere, you’re going to just want to simplify it. So it all sort of scales down quite well. So I think that’s the the hardest thing to get your head around to begin with. But I think once you start what using tools like dB, you can kind of see how things are going to translate and you just sort of get used to it, I guess.
Yeah. And one thing I’ve learned with that is same thing, I really struggled with that. And then I made my life much more difficult by having these really advanced desktop designs that were overlapping once I got really good with CSS and was doing a lot of different stuff. And then yeah, it was like on tablet, it was just a mess. And on mobile, it was maybe you know, with Divi and other page builders, they align nicely, but then your pages like 200 scrolls, if you have a lot of elements, what I’ve learned to do is to really, really put my designs in a place to where they’ll work just about the same on desktop and tablet, maybe a couple differences here, there. And then mobile. Same thing. I’ll try to arrange things either specifically for mobile, or I’ll turn certain elements off which most builders do like Divi, you can have nine testimonials in a section on desktop, but then maybe three on mobile that way, there’s less scrolling, little things like that, that have really helped. I know for me, but yeah, I totally agree. That’s the that’s the tricky part. For sure. Going Yeah, to Web.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And being a designer and wanting it to be all superduper fancy and beautiful. And realizing maybe like which is awesome, but I think yeah, sometimes less is more. It’s just gonna save you less headaches down the track and less things ending up on the page where you don’t necessarily want them to be.
Yeah, I know. One thing I’ve tried to do is like if I really do want to get excuse me fairly complex with one like in hero image at the top of a website or something, I may do that on one section, but then the rest of the page I’ll take it Just to make my life easier, instead of going ham on every section, which, you know, you can, in some ways have the budgets there or depending on the design, but like an auto mechanic site does not need to be terribly wild with design, go back to the goals, people are good.
I think one really important thing to remember too is from a design perspective, I’ll probably talk about this in the summit. But people scan websites, they don’t read it exactly like they would a brochure unless it’s a blog post or some piece of content that is meant to be read in detail, or tutorial, main pages, home pages, service pages, they are scanned. So you really need to set your design up to be scanned quickly. Bullet points, numbered icon, stuff like that, you can still do a good amount of content, but just make it pleasing to the eye. I know those are the some things that have helped me with that are different than print where you can be a little, you know, you could design differently for print if it’s like a brochure
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that’s one of the things too, with websites, rather than just like, and it comes a lot down to copywriting as well. But sometimes you might just get from the copywriter, you might just get a whole big page of text, and you’re gonna then break it up. It’s similar with layout design, no, I guess, two, you’ve got to break it up in a way that’s visually, you know, appealing, and easily scannable, the main points are highlighted things like that, rather than just dumping it on the page.
But you know, one thing I do see a lot on websites we is having like text, sort of spanning the whole width of the page in a way and it just looking like a big sort of dump of text. And I do like to like one tip I actually learned at uni many years ago, is to have something like a max of about 13 to 15 words per line, when you’re sort of say whether that means you sort of make that the gutter for the text, you know, like the space may be 700 pixels wide, rather than the full, you know, 1000 or whatever you set your Yeah, width to or making the font bigger, or whatever it might be, just makes it sort of easier to scan or even like columns, you know, with Divi and Elementor. and stuff, you can easily do columns of text, you know, something that just makes it easier on the island, you know, some websites you go to, and you’ve got to track the whole width of the page with all the text.
That’s a great design tip. That’s not one that I’ve really thought about. So would you say 13 to 15, on average is probably a good rule of thumb.
I think they say I think like eight to 13 is ideal. But you know, sometimes I’m like, oh, you know, push it to 15 or something? Yeah, it is a bit hard when you’ve got massive monitor screens and you’re, you know, only going to have this much text. Yeah, you know, having an image on the side or something like that you can always lay down.
Yeah, I don’t know what like blog posts, a lot of times you’ll have a sidebar, so it’ll be a ballad, it’ll probably realign to be about that width anyway, but you’re right. Like, I’ve dealt with that on my sites where I have like a full width section, but then the words is probably like 30 words wide. And you’re exactly right. That is awful. It’s like a textbook from like, elementary school or something. Like high school or something where you’re like, oh, yeah, you know, it’s just awful to read. So that’s a great point. Yeah, limit the limit the amount you’re reading on one line. I think it’s a great, great design pack.
Yeah, yeah. It’s, it’s something I learned, like I said uni like 10 years ago, but it’s really, I find it really handy. And I do notice that you’re probably now that I’ve mentioned it. Everyone listening to podcasts every time you see this now you’re gonna see that yeah, hard to read.
Yeah, we’re probably didn’t even realize why it was so hard to read. And I’m sure a lot of us had, like, I’m sure I have some pages on my site where I’m like, oh, man, I’ve got 40 words stretching out there.
Everyone’s gonna be like, quick.
I mean, for people who read, like, that’s the kind of how we’re programmed to read. His books are probably about that length long, like maybe 15 words long, and then it goes down to the next line. So that’s a great, that’s a great point. And okay, so we talked about some fun stuff, but we got to talk about some fun stuff. And that’s the foundations number four, the thing that every graphic and print designer dreads, domains, email hosting. How do you help your students through this kind of thing? Because it’s it? I mean, each one of these topics could be their own courses. So how do you how do you break it down in its simplest form for people who are just like, I don’t even really know what to you know what to do? Or what’s involved with all this?
Yeah, yeah, that’s the scary stuff. And this is the stuff that really prevents a lot of designers getting into web I think like the the second they start hearing hosting SSL, installing WordPress, that does not kill me now like not gonna do that. And what I think There was there wasn’t really, there wasn’t many courses out there that really taught the whole process. You know, there’s a lot of courses specifically, you know, a lot of free tutorials just on Divi, or you know, just on little things, but like putting it all together actually going and realizing what you need. You know, I think that was just a huge barrier for I know, a lot of my design friends because I had a lot of graphic designers, web designers coming to me and getting me to build their websites. And I was like, you guys can do this, like, you know.
So um, the, the way I do it is really good. Just like go through the process of firstly, choosing a domain name, you know, how do you choose the best domain name? I actually confession I I’m pretty sure Josh hall.ca Got me kake.com Because I saw your Josh hold coat and I was like, I need a domain that’s short and sweet. Because my last name and you can spell paddison a million different ways. And I just didn’t want people getting it wrong.
I would have never found your website trying to spell.
Exactly. So and also, as a designer, I couldn’t get a logo and a Patterson working as good as I could MK
Just sounds cool. Like if the syllables Denta like 123 just work like I kind of wish my name. I wish mine had the same syllables as yours did because like Josh Hall CO is just missing something but my name was like dot.co or you know, dot dot Blancco.
Okay. Oh, yeah, yeah, but, uh, but yeah, no,
That’s a great point. Yeah, I’m honored that my website inspired. Yes, that’s funny. Because I went back and forth as far as what I wanted to do. And I was like, You know what, it’s my personal brand. I’m gonna keep it personal. I was gonna do like the Divi web design dude, or Divi? Dude, all this stuff is like, you know what, it’s gonna keep a jostled echo. And then I can change it later if I ever want to. But it’s awesome to have a personal brand like that.
I think so too. And you don’t really get sick of it, I find as well because it’s your name, like, you know, it’s like you do and you might in a few years go, Oh, why did I do that? You know, like, any kind of branding name like I even find that with my client services business. I’m like, Why did I call it all out? No one can spell a pronoun. You know what,
like, yeah, that’s a great point to think about when you’re talking about a domain name is you don’t want to limit yourself. I mean, like, I use nothing but Divi, but a lot of my students use Elementor and some of these other builders, so if I was just a Divi, designer, a lot of those people probably wouldn’t be with me because they’re like, Well, I don’t use Divi, but the majority of my content, a lot of it can work with other builders as well like my web design process course. It’s not Divi specific, my SEO course is not Divi specific. The design course is not Divi, specific, I use Divi in the courses to, you know, to walk people through the design, but it can be done on different platforms. So yeah, something to think about that before. bottlenecking yourself.
Yeah, yeah. Definitely.
Some people do it in their area, they’ll do like, I live in Columbus, Ohio. So if it was like Columbus web design, well, what if we move one day? And then it’s like, crap, I’m not even in Columbus anymore. I’ve seen that happen before where people have to, like completely change their domain, because it’s an area.
Hmm, yeah, definitely. And I think that was a benefit back in the day and used to say lots of people don’t because it was like SEO benefits and stuff. And I’m not an SEO expert. So correct me if I’m wrong, Josh. But I don’t think that that helped as much weight as it used to be.
No, it does. It absolutely. Does. I have clients all the time. They’re like, Hey, I just purchased Columbus, actually, somebody just recently was like, Hey, I purchased Columbus home inspector. And I want to take my site to that domain. I’m like, oh, hold up, hold up. We have all the domain authority built up on your, your brand name, like you can’t do that. And they’re like, Well, what did I just post? You know, can I just have this redirect to my site? So it’ll show up first on Google? I’m like, It’s not the way it works. There’s like, there’s really no value that name so yeah, I mean, it. You know, if you’re for sure gonna do a service, that’s just an area, like for good. You could do that. But it’s still I think it’s still better to have your your name, your business name, and then your keyword, the area and the title and stuff around it.
But I didn’t mean thing. I didn’t mean to derail us, but that’s the domain. Yeah. Figuring out a good domain hosting, and really email. I mean, those are the three main aspects, right? Is that kind of what you tell your students?
Yeah. So it’s, it’s choosing your domain name, first and foremost. So like, we’re saying short and sweet, easy to spell unambiguous, those kinds of things, working out the right domain extension as well, because a lot of people are like, should I use.com.co Or like, you know, for instance, in Australia, we have.com.au There’s a you know, there’s different So, when do I use that when do I use.com like so figuring out when that’s appropriate, as well. So what domain you’re going to want to register there. So there’s a whole bunch of sort of tips and I have blog posts on my website. And you know, if you just Google, you know, tips for, like learning, you know that, how, what to think of in a domain name or something like that you’ll find a whole bunch of stuff. So there’s, you know, just making it really easy, I guess, you know, short and sweet and easy to spell the biggest thing because the last thing you want to have to do is spell it to everyone that you say it to.
What I find in my other business. So, yeah, definitely don’t do that. And then, um, and then there’s the hosting. So I think one thing that you probably come across a lot, too is lots of people go, Oh, I’m just going to get the cheapest hosting, why would I spend really like a lot of money on these hosting, when I can get it for $1 Over there. And it’s not till something bad happens that people realize why you pay for decent hosting. And decent hosting doesn’t have to be expensive. Like I really liked SiteGround. And I saw Yeah, they’re like this. For the service they provide I feel like this so cheap. So you know, they’re there yet? I think there’s sort of no reason not to go with a good host. And yeah, so and then fee, you know, and learning about hosting, I guess that’s like teaching people what that is, is sort of, you know, part of the course. And you’re then going to have to explain to your clients, because clients are often like, Why do I have to pay for this every year?
Right? Yeah, and say, Yeah, print designers. I know, when I got into it, I was like, I have no idea about anything. Like I didn’t even think I didn’t even really realize that the the website files were stored somewhere to show up online. Like I just didn’t have any idea about that, because I was so stuck in my print mindset. But yeah, SiteGround is great. And then I have a whole see a whole course on cPanel, which is why that’s so important. Like, to your point earlier, you were saying there’s not really too many resources on that. I totally agree. Like, that’s why I built that course, I’m like, there’s no like you could find all the information out. But it’s buried in blog articles on all these different sites.
And like, I just created a simple 12 lesson course that walks you through domains, email, hosting SSL, all that boring stuff, I try to make it as fun as possible. It’s scary stuff. Because you can, as I’m sure you’ve seen in your students have seen, you can just completely blow up a website and you can disconnect email or lose email. I’ve done that a couple times in the past where I changed the record. And I didn’t know that my clients email is hooked to it and their email disappeared. So there’s terrible things that can happen, which is why you need to know about that. But luckily, it’s not rocket science, you can get know the basics, and you’re gonna be alright, from there. And then you’ll look like an expert, and you’ll look like a total badass with your clients. So I think that’s huge.
It definitely and that’s I really, I love that you have that course. And I’ve referred a couple of people to that on occasion, because you just first me hopefully
I got you back. Yeah, you. You froze for a second there too. No, but I got you back now. So I think we’re gonna
Is my audio come through fine. Yeah. Okay, cool. Yeah, your face just
Hopefully it wasn’t a flattering, it’s usually frozen.
Oh, that’s it. I get on Facebook Lives. It’s just always like the worst image that it picks on a face.
Oh, I’m sure being in Australia, too. I know your guys’s internet is not known for this stuff. It is
It’s terrible. Especially with all this COVID stuff now and everyone being at home everyone using the internet. It’s just horrendous.
Yeah, so the hosting stuff, but I mean, that’s, you know, that’s, like I said, I have my course on that. There’s also a lot of great resources. SiteGround is what we both recommend, which is great. And then the other aspect is email. Yeah, I know sounds like you recommend G Suite which is what I use as well. Yeah, can’t can’t recommend that enough. Because you get if you if you host your email on your hosting, there’s some problems with that you’ll you’ll find pretty quickly.
Absolutely. And I’ve learnt those problems the hard way over the years for myself and for my clients and I just and I find especially if you’re just starting out you’re just registering a domain you’re just buying a hosting setting up your email with G Suite or even like I use G Suite personally I like it but even just any separate email hosting whether that’s office 365 or some hosting companies have separate email only hosting as well. So just having your email separately from the get go saves a lot of headache down the track with the transfer but also all the and I just had this issue with a client like you know your website gets hacked and your emails then impacted
Yes, sir server
And you your email start ending up in spam and you know, it can just cause huge issues and it runs into your obviously like you bandwidth. I don’t know if I’m saying the right word. I’m like you have it.
Yeah. Yeah, you’re totally right. It takes up the the storage in the space in your server. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. So all those things that it’s just you know, like pay the extra 60 bucks a year of cost for G Suite and just do it like it’s so much handier. And I find even I used to use like when you use just IMAP or POP email or something like that, I used to find if I would try to access it on my phone and I was using different internet connections like when I’m on holidays or something like that then I couldn’t send emails I could only receive or something I used to have those issues all the time when I was just using my sort of like email that was attached to my hosting website hosting account you move to something like G Suite and all those issues just disappeared so
Yeah, absolutely couldn’t agree more I’m on board with all that and next now that we passed then fun stuff now we can talk about some some things that are a little more fun, much more fun actually. And that’s the actual tools like what do we want to build these websites with? I’m sure I’m looking through this and I you know, we we use the exact same tools WordPress, Divi, Manage WP for managing all of our sites for doing updates. Now, do you use just Divi exclusively or do you use Elementor in any other builders as well?
Personally, I just use Divi in my like course I like you similar to you. I don’t make people Joshua’s Divi that if they want to use Elementor, or Beaver Builder or something like that, that’s fine. But yeah, personally, I’ve played around with both of those, but I’ve just stuck with Divi. That’s what I love and I’m familiar with. So
Yeah, I just saw like part part of me was kind of like smugly smirking when a lot of people with my Divi web designers group are still in the group, but they’ve gone to Elementor or whatever. And they come in on comments, and they’ll be like, yeah, Divi sucks. I moved to Elementor. And things went great. And then I just saw last week that there was like a breach of like 90,000 sites or something like that, that got hacked through Elementor. So pardon me, it was like, well, everything is good here. But yeah, I mean, it really is it’s that’s, that’s a big, it’s a big thing. Once you get into web, it’s because your tools are what you’re going to build everything on. Similarly, if you’re doing print design, you’re using Illustrator, InDesign or Photoshop, like you really need to learn how to be proficient with those. Yeah, I mean, apart from those big three WordPress, Divi and then manage WP or any other recommended plugins, is there anything else you recommend to your students as far as the tools go?
Um no, I think that’s pretty much it. Like obviously, there’s certain plugins that I would use for different things. But yeah, the the bulk of it is WordPress, Divi or a page builder of choice. And, you know, a theme potentially to go with it. If you’re using Elementor then you’re going to need an attached like a theme attached to it, obviously. Um, but yeah, and then yeah, manage WP, which is just a lifesaver.
It is awesome, isn’t it? I can’t make out cheap it is. I know.
It’s crazy. And it’s been like free for the last couple of months with Oh, this guy. Oh, that’s right.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Cuz we, I think we’re managing between my maintenance plan. And then all my sites and my course sites and stuff. I think we have 90 some sites on there. And I do backups and updates. And it’s like 130 bucks a month or something crazy. It’s, it’s wild. It’s a terrible business model. But I’m glad.
I know. I know. And I think it’s like it’s so fantastic to and I know you have a call center doing web site care plans, like my website care plans, pre managed WP with like it take me probably a good 40 minutes to do and now I can if granted nothing goes wrong. I can knock out a website monthly maintenance in like 10 minutes like, oh, sorry, easy.
I neglected doing one for one because I just didn’t have a nine for business or recurring income. And then also I just I didn’t know there was a tool like that. And I was like, Man, I do not want to have to log into 30 different websites one at a time to do updates. That sounds awful. And then I saw a man’s web for the first time and I was like holy crap this is it’s a whole new ballgame now I mean, there’s other ones too there’s a shoe what’s the other yeah updraft and there’s another popular one WP yeah that one there’s one more there’s I forget but yeah there’s there’s quite a few like that that are similar but yeah, I personally love man’s WP even though it got by got purchased by GoDaddy, they’ve still been awesome for me. So definitely,
Yeah I found in they’ve been on a slow decline. I’m hoping they’ll pick up again. But um, yeah, there have been mostly awesome and I find using them with some Background they work quite like almost perfectly. It’s only when I go with some other random hosts for some reason if a client’s with a different host, then I tend to run into some issues with like, you know, cloning and things like that.
Yeah, yeah. Which is why I have my free tutorial on manually migrating your WordPress website for anyone who needs to watch that to get a good.
I need. I need to watch that.
Yeah, that will that will help. It’ll help you for sure. Because there’s really only a few components that you need to know. So that’ll be helpful for you. Hopefully.
No, I’m Googling that after these
chat Oh, awesome. Yep. Yeah, just search, manually transfer webs or manually migrate website WordPress, and you’ll probably find me. So I kind of merged five and six together because six is where you talk about what you call the secret weapon, which is Divi. So I guess I’ll rephrase the question. When students are asking you about what a theme is, and then why they should use Divi. What do you tell them? Because as you and I know, there’s a lot more benefits than just the theme itself. There’s the community, there’s Elegant Themes itself. There’s so many things around Divi. Yeah, what do you tell people? When I asked you about that?
Well, I think um, yeah, so like as a tool. I think honestly, Elementor is a great tool as well. But one of the huge benefits of Divi I find firstly is the community is Facebook groups like your Divi web designers group, and you know a bunch of the Divi specific groups out there. In Australia, we have one called Aussie Divi community. And I find that really helpful.
Yeah, I just joined that a couple of weeks ago, actually, even though I’m not in there. I know, right? I told you, the owner reached out and she was like, Hey, do you want to join like, well, not in Australia? I said, don’t think about it. But I didn’t want to didn’t want to break the rules or anything.
Yeah, I have some students, and they’re like, I want to join that group. And I should see if they can join because they’re like Chicago and places like that. And they can’t join
So yeah, the community I find is awesome. The amount of like, the plugins and, you know, free tutorials and stuff like that, it’s just I love that there’s just so much out there that you can do with it, you can sort of find something for anything. OLS. And then, you know, there’s other factors like that, you just have to install the theme, and the page builders in the theme, you know, with Elementor, you do have to think about a theme. And then you’ve got the plugin, and it’s sort of just like this extra kind of things you have to think about. And also a benefit with running your like a web design agency is that you can get the lifetime deal as well, which is, you know, pretty epic that you could just build it on unlimited websites. And you know, I realized I was committed to Divi. I was like, I’m just buying lifetime and you never have to pay for it again.
Another terrible business model LEDs come on. I just can’t believe it’s freaking what is it? 277 bucks for the lifetime. It was yesterday. It’s 270 or something like that for lifetime. It’s just crazy. Yeah, I would pay 1000s for Divi it’s that important to my business. So
I know I want them to release something else and they just pay for it even if I need it just to give you some more money. Hey, I’m stealing off
My really is crazy. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s yeah, that’s a great point there, their community and everything apart from just the builder itself and the features which are amazing, and they’re continuing to get great. I mean, look, no Pete, no theme is perfect. There are bugs occasionally. And there ever is any issues with Divi, I find that they do updates very quickly to remedy. The problem with that is when you get into adding other plugins, and other things that may conflict with it. That’s like it’s a little tricky there. But Divi itself is is very solid and very well thought out and thorough. So
I mean, both of our businesses, we’ve relied on it for what, five, six years. It sounds like I got in 2014. So
Yeah, I don’t know when exactly I got into it, but it was Yeah. It was it would have been Divi one point something I think like, and yeah, I wasn’t Yeah, it was. It’s been. It’s been a great tool and just seeing how it’s evolved to I think that’s one huge benefit. I find with Elegant Themes and Divi is that they’re so proactive in creating new features. They like constantly creating new features. They have this sort of finger on the pulse of what needs to be done. They’re releasing awesome content and blog posts and tutorials and like, you know, just the third documentation to I find is, you know, like their step by step tutorial videos that they have for every module that they Have is fantastic. Like even when I recommend, you know, the different page builders to students, beaver builder in particular, they just don’t have very good tutorials especially, you know, like Elementor. They’ve pretty good now and they do have quite a lot. But I find if you’re just starting out in web, you want those I know I love video tutorials and step by step kind of guides like that. So I find you know, the whole documentation section of Divi and other blog posts that you know you and other people write on the Elegant Themes.
I was just gonna say yeah, and then yeah, the contributors and then also, you know, people like myself and Divi space and Divi life and Divi lover and everyone who are doing their own type of tutorials in the round Divi it’s invaluable, because then you get to see other ways to use Divi which fruit through different the lens of different people, which is pretty cool.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, heaps of ideas from that. And yeah, I think that’s just, it’s invaluable to me, let alone if you were just starting out and trying to learn these things. So yeah, that’s definitely a huge benefit of Divi.
That’s great. And so tip number seven, building the actual website. This could be several episodes in Excel. So I’m sure we’ll just glance over some of the top stuff. But I think it will kind of cook through the last few here. But the the build, like, it’s probably so hot when somebody is going from graphic design to web, I feel like the biggest thing is to just prioritize the most important things. And I imagine that’s your approach on this too. At this point, like, yeah, how do you go about that with the actual build of the website? Do you help people just figure out what’s most important as far as like, image resolution and the basics of Divi with font choices and stuff like that? Or what does that look like?
Yes, so, um, what I like to do, you know, previously, like in sort of the earlier part modules were sort of gone through and figured out font choices and talked about Google fonts, and, you know, benefit, noise and stuff like that. And by the time we sort of get to the build, potentially, as designers, they might have already designed their homepage or something in Photoshop, or illustrator, or XD or whatever program they want. Um, I’ve done my I’m sort of, like, sometimes I’ll design first, sometimes I’ll just build straight in the browser, it really depends. But I find a lot of designers think you’d feel more comfortable just designing something first, or at least putting together a wireframe, like, absolutely do a wireframe before you start diving into Divi.
Because otherwise, you’re just not going to know what you want to do. And yeah, the build really is starting out with the homepage. And just, if you’re just starting out, sometimes I think using one of these pre made layouts is like an excellent place to start. Because you can go okay, this is going to roughly fit and you can learn, you can learn about learning the builder and how it all works and how duplicating works and dragging things around and how they’ve set up the different things like you might see a really cool design for hero image. It’s like how does that work? So
The layout, you can see all they’ve done two columns, and they’ve put this kind of module here. And so I definitely think that’s, that’s a great idea to do to begin with, if you’re trying to get used to the builder.
Yeah, that’s a great point. I was curious on your process personally as to whether you do advanced wireframing, or, like a really advanced design in like Photoshop before taking it into Divi, because that’s the big question. Everyone’s always curious, do you do some sort of wireframe design before bringing it into the website. And I do agree, I think it’s really important to have at least a structure in place in your mind. My wireframes look like my two year old daughter sketched them out, they’re like, very bad, just I just want to list out like the sections of kind of where everything’s gonna be. And then I tend to go right into Divi.
Now, I’ve been designing websites for so long that that’s the way my mind works. But in the beginning, I think it is really valuable for graphic designers and print designers to lay it out in Illustrator or Photoshop. And then then they can kind of replace you know, they can, they can take it to web from there. So I do think that’s very valuable. I will say, however, from a client perspective, I don’t know your experience on this. But I’ve found that wireframes clients just don’t get it, they can’t, they can’t see a wireframe and understand what the site’s gonna look like. I always preview our designs as a live website, even if it’s just one page. That way people can see the flow, they can see the animations and the subtle if we do like a parallax background, they can be like, Oh, wow, that’s really cool. There’s stuff like that that I’ve found to be invaluable as opposed to like a flat mock up personally. Yeah, but either way. The bill it can work a variety different ways, which is pretty cool.
Yeah, absolutely. And I’m, I’m, I’m similar to you, and I just really depending on the client, I’ll do it different ways. And so like, you know, like, for instance, in the course, like if they just if they, my students are designing and building a website for themselves. So really, it’s up to their preference, what’s going to work better for their brain. And potentially, because they’re designers, they probably bet and they’re probably used to designing websites just not building them, then they feel comfortable, okay, using Illustrator or something, building, designing a website, and then trying to replicate that, which I think is a good process to begin with, until you’re used to the tools like we are.
But for clients, for instance, like I’m like you, I, if I just need to knock out a wireframe, I just need to get okay, I’ve got all the content, I’ve got the goals, I just need to scribble it down on a page and know where things will go. And mine like I share any of my work and talk and it’s like, you know, you can have a beautiful wireframe that is all this is my wireframe. And it’s like it’s just, it’s literally just make sense to anyone but me, I do not send that to my client, just for my brain. And if I feel like the client needs a wireframe, like I need to just double check something, then I’ll make sure I do something a bit neater. And one thing I found too with Divi I love how they’ve got all the what is it placeholder content now so you can put together a wireframe like super easy in Divi, just like rather than screw and you need something a bit like fancier than just to scribble on a piece of paper. So
Yeah, the modules Yeah, you could just do image module Text Module blurb module image module. And that’s the wireframe there. That’s all pre pre built with just a placeholder. Yeah,
yeah. So I’ve done that for some clients. And, you know, because I’ve looked at so many different like wireframe mind map tools on the internet. And it’s just I find them just quite complicated. They weren’t quite what I needed. And so when Divi brought out with the whole placeholder content was like off, this is like, so easy. You can just like whip up a wireframe in a couple of minutes and send that to a client. So yeah,
yeah, that’s great. And and that leads us to the last couple of points, which is you labeled the fit out, which is a term that I’m not really familiar with in Ohio, but is would that be like, you know, the getting into the weeds, like doing all the actual content, library items, global sections, stuff like that? Yeah.
Oh, that’s a good point. I didn’t know that might be an Ozzy term, but the fit out means like, fitting out the house with like, all they’re doing all the interiors and stuff like that.
Build and now you’ve got to like, fit it out. Yeah, it
It might be it might be a home term, or some sort of decorative term. I I honestly don’t know, if you could look at my office and tell that I’m not an interior decorator. So I have no idea that’s a term that’s just just a you or if it’s in that space, but uh, yeah, I kind of figured it was like, okay, building out the whole thing at this point.
Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, I’m glad you brought that up that I might have to look at that. Because maybe it’s confusing. All my non Australian people are people. But yeah, they’re filled out. So once you’ve sort of built the homepage, so my process is build the homepage, usually send that to a client. With the end the great thing, like you said, when it’s Divi, it’s like a live mock up. So there’s no guessing they’re not looking at a JPEG and like trying to figure out how big everything needs to be and how things are going to work. It’s all there for them. And then, excuse me, and then with the fit out. By the time I’d like them build the homepage, I’ll make that all responsive. So once that’s approved, then I go through make it responsive. So that’s another thing of my processes like don’t play around with like making it look good on mobile and stuff to begin with. Because you waste so much time doing that. Like that section. Yeah.
Yes, the big problem. I always let my clients know from the get go do not look at this on the phone yet. We’re gonna do desktop first, and then we’ll do mobile, because inevitably, someone will be like, yeah, it looks weird on my phone. I’m like, what? We haven’t even touched it.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Sorry. I think that’s, that’s a good tip, because I’ve wasted so much time doing that. And so then once the homepage is approved, then I will make it all responsive, thoroughly test, just the homepage. And then, because that’s when you probably want to start saving your library items like things you’re going to repeat on other pages, whether that’s like a Call to Action section, or testimonial slider or whatever. And you’re gonna want to save them and make sure that they’re all right from the beginning before you start duplicating them throughout the site. And then you have to edit the responsiveness everywhere.
Absolutely. Yeah, the beauty about Divi and CSS for that matter is you can do things that are global across all pages. That way you don’t have to go to 20 different pages. I remember when I first got started with Dreamweaver, I created a template And then anytime I wanted to do a change, I had to go into every page and make that change at all. What a nightmare. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s huge, the actual build out.
And then finally, Step nine. And obviously, like my web design process course is a 50 step process, although it goes through a lot of things, these kinds of things in depth. But I like that this is like a clear cut nine step kind of process for designing a site. And wrapping up is what you call the tune up, which is security. We talked about man’s WP. I, I think big point about all this is also making sure like unnecessary images are cleared out, things are optimized. You talked about optimization for web, a lot of designers need to know the difference between a big image that you are, it’s fine to put on a poster or something. But you can’t put that on the website. So yeah. Do you have any other tips for people? You know, kind of capping off their website designs?
Yeah, so there’s a whole, like, there’s just a whole bunch of things you just want to tidy up. And I do have, I have a free pre flight checklist on my website as well. That it’s part of this course. But it’s all on there. So if anyone wants it, and really, it goes through just all that tidying up. So like you said, deleting any unused images, deleting any unused plugins, maybe that you didn’t use adding like a caching plugin, adding setting up Google Analytics and hooking all that up. What else have I got on there, adding alt text to all your images as well. So I like to sort of wait to do the alt text at the end. Because like you said, you’ll go through and delete a bunch of images. So it’s like you would have just wasted all that time adding alt text. So I like to delete all the images I don’t need. And then I’ll go through and add all the alt text
Great points. Yeah. And I’ll link this in the show notes. But for anyone curious, they go to your website, they can just click on free stuff. And there you go. I see it on there. I’m actually I have a free stuff page. But I need to make it more prominent on my site. But yeah, no, that’s awesome. Yeah, I mean, really, that’s great. And that’s like a great path that designers in particular can follow to make this less daunting, because, again, I understand when you’re going from web to or print to web, it’s a whole different ballgame.
But these these steps of I’ll just recap them real quick, the goals number one, figure out your goals. Number two, the goods actually, you know, getting everything together to actually create the site the style number three, number four, the foundations, which is real fun stuff, domains, email hosting, and all that. But then the tools Divi WordPress, or actually I guess, tools would be or Divi would be number six, the secret weapon, but the tools with WordPress and basic plugins, the build number seven, eight, the fit out which I actually know what it means now. So that’s, and finally the tune up. Those are nine great steps for, you know, planning and building out a website. But then most importantly, perhaps as a bonus, which is the party now I know what that’s all about. And I completely agree. Like, I think what’s really important for all designers is to celebrate the project being completed. I guess I was gonna ask you what that looks like. But yeah, I need any thoughts on the party? And after you get done with the build?
Yes, I will, I guess one of the biggest things is getting it like so it is celebrating it, getting it out there sharing it with people. Definitely doing that. But also, it’s the whole, you know, sharing it with the world and you want you know, don’t just want your friends and stuff to find it. You want it to start getting found on Google potentially, and stuff like that. So thinking about how you can really get your website out there may be setting up your Google My Business page, things like that, looking at your website that way, all that kind of stuff. So that because it the people you know, and you probably get this from clients a lot people just expect once a website’s launch that it’s just going to be number one on google and you know, they’re going and it definitely doesn’t work that way. And then obviously, you can put a lot of money into SEO, but there are a lot of free things you can do as well, that can really help so
Yeah, absolutely. Yep. That’s it’s really hard to explain that to clients and designers for that matter. Like a lot of times website designers, new website designers are like why aren’t Why isn’t my site raking? And it’s like, Well, did you optimize it for SEO? Or? I mean, that’s why I have my SEO course to talk about that in detail. But yeah, it’s like, you’re not gonna have overnight Google rankings. It’s something that’s gonna take time and takes a lot of consistency and diligence and intentionality with building good content, stuff like that. So yeah, totally agree.
Absolutely. And yeah, just kind of something that’s like a it’s almost a conversation are something that you need to mention. I even have it in my proposal, you know, like other considerations with websites like so that they they’re aware from the get go that, yeah, I’m going to build them a website. It’s going to be SEO friendly. You know, it’s gonna have all these things like, you know, built on WordPress and all this stuff that’s gonna help with SEO. But I’m not an SEO expert, if that’s really important to them, that’s something that they’ll have to consider, as well. Yeah. maintenance as well.
Yeah, those are my three services, web design, maintenance, and then SEO as we optimize the sites for SEO when we design them. But we generally don’t do more than basic keyword research and optimization. And then we have ongoing SEO options moving forward, or creating more pages and all that kind of stuff. So that’s worked out pretty well. And then for the designers who are good at copywriting that just side note that there’s a huge opportunity to do ongoing work with SEO stuff for building more pages and doing copywriting and things like that.
Yeah, that’s cool. I didn’t know you offered SEO as well. That’s cool. Yeah,
Yeah, I’ve kind of taken a break on it. I did white label SEO, where I partnered with a guy who did advanced SEO stuff. But now I just kind of do it as it’s not secretive. But it’s more lucrative. It’s like, if a client really wants to get better SEO rankings for certain things we’ll do like page builds with a retainer of ours and stuff like that for more ongoing kind of work, some recurring stuff, so Oh, cool. All kinds of cool options. And that’s one great things for web for web designers to when you’re going from print to where it’s project to project, you could potentially have one really good month and a lot of terrible months, the same thing can happen in web design. But with web design, there’s a lot more potential for recurring revenue, different income streams, and it’s just awesome. There’s the sky’s the limit. And the fact that things are changing. It’s kind of daunting, but it also opens up a lot of opportunities, which is really cool.
Absolutely, yeah, cuz web maintenance wasn’t something I even even occurred to me like five years ago really like it. Yeah. And now it’s something that’s so essential. Especially in in the world of WordPress, we’re on. So yeah, I think that it definitely is daunting for a lot of people. But it’s also one of those things where yeah, they recurring revenue is just unparalleled. You can’t really get that in print unless you have ongoing, you know, contracts with Yeah,
Yeah, yeah, good point, that is a huge benefit. Now, I will say one thing I do want to say, too, I meant to mention this earlier, but I am not opposed to having print work alongside of web design work. I’m not sure what your take on that is. But I found that doing print work opened the door for a lot of other services, I would do a business card for a business. They’re like, oh, shoot, you do websites, too. Let’s do that. I have since cut out my print work just because I’m not at that place anymore. With our business or anything, but it did for the first handful of years, it was a really good path and avenue for me. I’m not sure what your take on that is. But I would certainly like somebody who’s good at print design, and they could do great branding and logo, I would absolutely do that along with web design. Because then you can become kind of a one stop shop for a lot of that.
Absolutely no, it was it was hugely beneficial for me to begin with to because so many clients would come to me just wanting their logo done. Like there might be a startup and they just want to get their logo on a business card or something like that. And they’re not there maybe weren’t ready for a website right away. But then that would come to me six months later, I need a website. So a lot of the time it was it was a foot in the door with those clients. And even also offering that as well. Lots of clients on the flip side would come to me for a website, and they don’t even have a logo yet, you know, so kind of it’s like, well, we kind of need to sort that out. And rather than having to outsource that being able to do that myself, I could sort of put together a package for them that was going to include everything.
Yeah. And that’s great. Because you could control it, you can make more money by doing that. And then you don’t have to wait three months for a logo to be designed or whatever. And then yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a great way to go. That’s it’s a really big Lee I think people who are going from print design to web design have a lot of benefits that are they may not know about. So I know you and I both have experience those. That’s awesome. Well, hey, I wanted to wrap up with a kind of a final thought from Yeah, but before we do, I’d love to just kind of plug your Summit. Not only because I’ll be a part of it, but I think it’s really going to be cool for a lot of people. It sounds like I’m big on doing these kinds of things. I plan to do one later this year myself some sort of Summit. So keep you posted on that. But yeah, what isn’t? When is that? What’s that look like? And what can people expect if they’re interested in checking that out?
Yeah, cool. Sorry. It’s called the design of boss lady digital Summit. But we still have Male Speakers.
I was just gonna say
Absolutely. And I really I want to get more men speaking and I hopefully I have we have some that are on the maybe list at the moment. So fingers crossed. And
I have a robust network of dude web designers that are I’d happily refer your way for it.
Awesome. Yeah, I will, I’ll have to double check the list today, see where we’re coming up. But um, yeah, so it’s a summit for designers of sort of any kind. So graphic design, print design, web design. And there’s going to be a lot of international expert speakers like Josh on talking on topics from web design, to running a design business. We have copywriters, SEO experts, all that kind of people from a whole bunch of different backgrounds talking on a whole bunch of different topics, and it’s completely free. So it’s gonna be over three days in the beginning, early July. I think from about July 8, eighth to 12th. I’m don’t quote me on that.
But you can go to DBL summit.com. And get all of the details about it, see all the upcoming speakers that we have locked in, and there’ll be more announced soon, and you can get on the waitlist, and yet, it’s all 100% Free, there’ll be talks on a whole bunch of different topics. And there’ll also be a q&a with all the speakers as well. So you’ll be able to ask questions during the talks and get Yeah, be able to ask all these experts from all around the world, which I’m actually really nervous about talking to, and I was even nervous about emailing you about it, I’m just like, Oh, it’s so weird, like contacting all these people that I look up to, so it’s gonna be really awesome.
That’s awesome. And that’s a great way to go. You’re already you know, leveling up your brand in so many ways and becoming an authority. So I think it’s, I can’t wait to see what it’s gonna do for you and your business and how much you’re gonna learn. That’s gonna be awesome. That’s, that’s one thing I’ve learned with the podcast is, I’ve learned so much and got so many different perspectives, which is invaluable, which you should definitely have a podcast. I’ll tell you right now. We’ll talk afterwards, but definitely have a podcast.
It’s on my list. It was on my list this year. And then I’m like, oh, no, I think it’s a 2021 thing. But I need to find out the podcast course that you did, because you’ve done an epic job of your podcast.
Oh, thank you. I’ll give you that. Yeah, I’ll give you the downlow. Yeah, it’s I I’m a huge proponent now, just because what it’s done for my business, so. So I’ll fill you in on that. And then yeah, if you, if you can shoot me the link for the summit? I’ll make sure to put that in the show notes for people who listen to this before then. Yeah, really looking forward to that. And and yeah, let’s just wrap up, would you have any sort of like final thought, if there’s a web designer or a print designer? Who’s like thinking about web, but maybe he has, maybe they’re on the fence? Maybe they’re a little nervous? Do you just have like one thought that you would say, that could help kind of push them over the edge and just really get them fired? Up to do it?
Yeah, I think, um, I think so much of what holds people back is just like the unknown and being scared of all this technical stuff like it does, it can really scare you, and I totally get it. But just know that it’s actually not that hard. Once you have the steps. And, you know, courses like Josh’s and mine, and you know, what’s out there, they, they’ll show you the steps that you can do this. And it doesn’t have to be that scary. And I’m sure you’ve had it jawfish students in your course. And I’ve had ones in mine, where they all of a sudden, they’re just like, oh, I have so much confidence now. Like, you’ve just made it so easy. And now I know how to do that. And even if they forget it, they could still go back and refer to the steps and do it again. And it’s, um, it’s not that hard. And I think another thing too, is that a lot of developers might say that this should be left to developers, like building websites should be left to developers and developers 100% have their place. I have a couple of techie web developers I work with and they’re awesome. But just to build out a basic website and harness the power of Divi being a designer, you have so it’s such a valuable skill set to be able to be an awesome web designer Website Builder using
Yeah, you can. Yeah, absolutely. You don’t need to to do your standard brochure, type sites. Yeah,
Absolutely. And even like for me, I We’ll build, even if I build bigger ecommerce sites and stuff like that, and I don’t want to have to touch that techy stuff, then I’ll just build out what I can. And I just made sure I factor into my quote, I’m going to have to pay my developer a few 100 bucks at the end of the job to do all that techy stuff for me, because I don’t want to take on the responsibility of trying to figure out all that stuff. So
Absolutely. Yeah, well, and this has been awesome. I’ve really enjoyed talking with you super excited for your path and where you’re at where you’ve come from, to, like I said, I mean, I, we’ve been friends on Facebook for a little while, but I did not realize really what you have going on. I kind of just thought you’re a designer in Australia. So to see their brand and what you have going is awesome. I’m really excited to see how that takes off for you. Really excited for the summit. And then I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the the only time I’ll have you on the podcast. I’m sure we’ll have some good talks in the future, too. That sounds good.
Oh, that’d be awesome. Thank you so much for having me. It was great.
So maybe the next one will be with a time change. That way. You don’t have to get up at you know, 5am or whatever you’re up today. So
Yeah, I’ll make you get up that early and I can deal.
Deal deal. I’ll get up early for the next one. That’s what we’ll do. All right. I’m gonna talk soon. Thanks again.
Okay, thank you. Bye.
Episode presented by:
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Thanks for this excellent interview! Helpful organizational information and very useful web dev tips.
*Please don’t judge my website. It was my second one, but too busy with client sites to work on the redo. 😉
Great problem to have!!! In the same boat 🙂