Website Critique: Jenna Redfield Designs
Guys, we just launched a website audit service and I’m so excited to share one of our first experiences with you!
The customer, Jenna of Jenna Redfield Designs, was so blown away with the report and mockups we sent her!!! Of course our review and suggestions were meant to be helpful, but what we didn’t expect was the total shift Jenna experienced around her website. Our report sparked immediate action from her, and seriously, like 5 hours after reviewing it she had not only given her entire website a facelift, but a total transformation that will help convert more site visitors into customers. We were so impressed with her action and enthusiasm, and her site changes are going to have a huge impact on her user experience and business growth!
Jenna has so kindly agreed to let us showcase her audit and tell you about her experience, so let’s dive in.
Here’s some quick background info for you:
- Jenna is a creative entrepreneur who runs a stock photo shop + offers custom brand photography and professional video editing services
- She’s been in business for herself since 2014 but recently went full time with her current offerings + services
- Her target customers are female entrepreneurs and small business owners
- The major goal of this audit was to present strategy, layout and design suggestions for Jenna to implement, that would help her increase click-throughs to her custom stock photo shop and service pages
Before I go into the audit suggestions for Jenna, I wanted to cover what was working for her site first.
An established aesthetic
The overwhelmingly positive thing about Jenna’s site in the before was how strong and clear her point of view was. There was absolutely no question about what type of customer she catered her business to (creative businesses with a classic, feminine aesthetic).
The vibe your website puts out sends a strong message to the type of customer you want to attract. Make sure the feel of your website automatically makes your people feel at home and like they’ve found the right place.
Strong photography (duh!)
Well this was kind of a given since on-brand photography is how Jenna makes a living, but it was important to note because I see so many people who get the photography portion of their website wrong.
Poor visuals that don’t make a connection to your brand can totally derail good design. Luckily for Jenna, her thoughtful styling and use of props perfectly accentuate her business’s aesthetic.
Since people process visuals much more efficiently than they do text, on-brand photography can quickly let visitors know if they belong on your site or not. When people feel like they belong, they start to build trust with you. When they trust you, they buy from you. Easy peasy.
Here were my top 3 tips for Jenna to increase her site’s wow factor and convert more site visitors into customers, followers + fans.
01. Simplify the site design by following a system of prescribed design elements.
Decide on a few key elements that you can repeat throughout your site design, and make sure they’re working for your brand and not against it. This does not mean you need to develop a complicated design system.
- In Jenna’s case we simplified her font lineup by eliminating all but one of her script fonts and opted for a primary serif font to elevate the classic, feminine feel she was going for. We mixed in a sans serif throughout to help her site feel more modern.
- Jenna’s ultra-feminine color palette was competing with her photography, so we suggested incorporating more black and white into her graphic styling, and to only use a bit of color in her headlines to help them stand out.
The result was a font and color system that let Jenna’s photography steal the show. We took elements that were originally distracting for visitors and turned them into tools that worked for her brand instead of against it.
02. Prioritize your products and services, explain the value you provide and show really awesome examples of your work.
I noticed a great opportunity to switch up the layout and order of things on Jenna’s home page. This is my favorite section because the strategy from these suggestions will be the most game changing for Jenna’s site conversions!
- At first glance it wasn’t entirely clear who Jenna’s target customer was, so I restyled her top home page graphic to include a clear message about the services she offered and the type of customer she loves to work with.
- I also wanted to see more examples of her work and for her services to be a priority on her home page. Instead of relying on big chunks of text, I opted to use her gorgeous styled photography to lure people into her stock shop and service pages. You need to give your site visitors clear next steps, so I also included clear and direct calls to action on the service graphics.
- Jenna originally had her headshot and bio at the top of her home page, but you really want to establish your offerings and the value you provide before anything else. So right after her services I highlighted her free resources and helpful blog posts, and then presented a photo and short bio.
Now Jenna’s home page is rearranged in a way to help her sell more of her offerings. When visitors land on her home page it’s clear what she does and who she serves. Even if a visitor isn’t ready to buy from Jenna immediately, they can at least keep clicking around to her resources and blog posts, which will help Jenna establish value and continue fostering trust with her site visitors.
03. Simplify navigation.
You don’t want visitors to have to dig for the most important information on your site, and your navigation is the most straight-forward way to tell people what they should do.
- I’ll admit that I was totally overwhelmed when I first visited Jenna’s site! Her logo was very busy and there were 9 links in her main navigation. It wasn’t very clear what my next steps should be because there were too many options. Luckily this was the easiest issue to fix :) In my mockup I streamlined Jenna's navigation down to 6 options, which is the max I recommend for you, too.
- It was great that Jenna already had separate pages for her services*, but we needed to organize them a bit more. In her strategy report I recommended utilizing a dropdown menu listed as "work with me" that would then let visitors choose between visiting her stock shop, custom photo service page or video editing page.
- To save important space in the navigation, I always recommend taking “home” out. Users intuitively know that clicking a logo will take them to a site’s home page, so having it in the navigation can be redundant and unnecessary.
- Most people underutilize their footer, which is unfortunate because there's a lot of opportunity down there to call out the important parts of your site. Since Jenna’s main site goal was to book more services and sell more product photos, I made sure to list those out in the footer. She’s also incredibly active on social media so it was important to leave links for those channels, too.
- One of my favorite tips to add personality to any website is to incorporate a branded graphic in the footer! In the restyle, I used Jenna’s tassel illustration from her logo to add a little personality to this section. This was such a simple change but it has a big impact because we effectively turned a busy and distracting design element into a charming little detail for an otherwise straightforward footer section.
*Separating your services into their own pages can a) help your SEO game, b) help your site visitors make more sense of your offerings and c) encourage more page clicks if you include strong calls to action.
Now Jenna is giving visitors a clear path to her stock shop and services. Just as important, she's asking her visitors to make less decisions during their site visit.
As I mentioned, I was totally impressed with the action Jenna took after receiving her report, and was so happy that she found the suggestions to be valuable and easy to implement. Here were some of her comments about the experience:
“Wow, I have to say this was so good. That mockup was honestly fantastic and I wouldn't change a thing from it. The ideas in your report were easy to understand and seemed totally doable. This inspired me to work on all of my pages!! Thank you so much!”
These three strategy suggestions (and ideas for how Jenna could step up her design) were personalized to what Jenna’s site needed, but we understand that each website is different. We’d love to get our eyes on your site so you can get the personalized and custom feedback you need.
You can totally experience your own website transformation, friend. This is a super budget-friendly option that offers a lot of bang for your buck!!