What's Wrong With Using Templates?

First things first, I realize that it seems hypocritical for me to say this when I design sites in Squarespace, which is a template-based system. I’m not referring to websites here, at all.

Templates for websites are entirely different because a website template means the coded structure is already done for you, but (typically) you still edit it. A LOT. You change the fonts or color scheme, put in your own content & images, etc. and truly make it your own, hopefully to the point it no longer obviously resembles the initial template style. You can choose where to put your content & end up making something that may or may not resemble the original you started with and THAT’s why it’s different.

Also, web developers are not always designers & designers are not always web developers; having the two separate sets of skills are vital in creating a good site, but it's not necessary to have both skill sets in the same person. A developer sets up the template, then a designer can come in & use that structure to design a site for someone using what the developer created. It's a great system!

So what's really wrong with using a logo or business card template, for example? I totally get why people do it. They're usually free, or very cheap and people who use them typically don't have a designer on staff or they assume they can’t afford one to set up these things. A lot of these templates even look really good, depending on where you get the template from, of course.

So, if they're free, cheap, easy to use, and are built into whatever company you're ordering the product from (like VistaPrint), then why shouldn't you be using them?

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How to Pair Different Fonts

Using one font throughout a document can be visually monotonous, right?

But how do you know which ones go together and which ones don't?

Do you see gorgeous font combinations other people have done, but when you make an attempt yourself, it never looks right?

Today I'm going to give you a few tips on how to pair different fonts and what not to do! Whether it's in your Powerpoint, your resume or images for social media, you can choose like a pro too.

The 'how' is simple if you understand the the basic rules of thumb used.

+ download the FREE Guide to help you Choose & Pair Fonts Like A Pro!

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7 Tips For New Designers

Are you a new designer entering the workforce or starting your own freelance business? 

Maybe you’re a new designer and you've already landed your first design job (Congrats!!).

If so, here are 7 tips I've learned through my own experiences over the years while in college, working in the professional world as a student, freelancer and landing my own design job as an in-house designer.

Make sure you grab your FREE Ai Key Command Cheatsheet too! 😉

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9 Tips For Giving Designers Better Feedback

I think when people hear the word "designer" they sometimes think of one (or several) of these descriptors: nerd, techie, IT person, hard to communicate with, quiet, introvert, not personable, weird, unorthodox, etc.

While some of those things may be true, the main purpose of today's blog is to provide tips on how to communicate effectively with your designer, despite the personality differences that may exist.

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7 Apps to Boost Your Business Productivity

If you’re new to the entrepreneurial world, then you might be kiiiiinda sorta flyin’ by the seat of your pants. Yeah?

You never went to business or marketing or even design school, so you’re probably a little overwhelmed with your business.

I totally get it. When I first started, I had about 10 years of print design experience and some light freelancing experience under my belt, plus my college design education, which in no way prepared me to run a business of any magnitude. Back then freelancing just meant we agreed (verbally or written in an email) on a price, I did the work and they sent me a check. No written invoice, no contract. YIKES.

Don’t be that person! Let’s get you started with a few apps I wish I’d been using right out of the gate.

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How to create a social media landing page on your Squarespace site

Are you guilty of using Linktree for your IG bio link??

🙋🏼‍♀️ Me too. I totally hopped on that bandwagon & still have a blog post on Linktree setup to prove it.

If ya wanna know why I switched & how to setup a new landing page on your Squarespace site, keep reading!

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2 simple tips for organizing fonts like a Pro

Designers end up having sooooo many fonts. It really gets ridiculous!

If you have 500-1000+ fonts and you’re scrolling through them constantly searching for certain styles or that one you JUST CAN’T REMEMBER the name of… then you need my help!

It’ll take some time to get this system started, but if you do this now it will save you so much of it later on as you continue to collect them.

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17 of my favorite Chrome extensions!

I’m a Mac user and will likely be one for the foreseeable future. Their interface makes more sense to my creative brain; the clean lines & simplicity just mesh better with me all around. Plus I “grew up” with it being the standard machine used for the design industry, which is also what my formal education is based on.

That being said, I have the choice of using Safari, Firefox, Opera or Chrome, and I’m sure there are some others I don’t know exist, but I choose to use Chrome because of all the available extensions! Let’s dive into that list now!

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What's the difference between Branding, a Logo and a Design?

Most people (outside of the design industry) don’t know there is a difference between these 3 terms and that’s 100% understandable. If that’s you, it’s unlikely you’ve ever had to ponder the meaning behind any of those things. You likely use them in terms of what brands you like, such as Starbucks or Old Navy.

In terms of services rendered however, Branding, Logo and Design have very different meanings for those of us doing the creative work and I’ll explain it in regular ‘ol words so you don’t get hung up on industry jargon or terminology that confuses you further.

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Why Squarespace?

It’s a hard thing to decide on, right? Especially if you’re not in this design/website world & don’t know the terminology or what any of it actually means.

Maybe Squarespace is a platform that you’ve never even heard of.

Maybe you have heard of it but know it’s a website thing and just blew it off because you don’t know anything about websites & assumed those ads aren’t meant for people like you.

Maybe you’ve talked to designers before about about building a website & they’re using terminology you don’t know or understand. Do you find yourself nodding along, but thinking something like ‘I don’t know what any of this really means; how does this apply to me?’

Or ‘What is hosting & a domain?’

Or ‘What do you mean I’ll be able to edit my own website when you’re done with the design stuff? That sounds scary & overwhelming!’

In the beginning of a website project I always list the wonderful reasons why I use Squarespace for my own website & for my clients as well, especially to the folks who aren’t up to date & don’t know what a “Square Space” is. 😉

The key here is, I try to explain all of this in layman’s terms of how it applies to YOU and what the value is for YOU or YOUR BUSINESS.

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16 Podcasts Every Female Entrepreneur Should Be Listening To

I admit it. I've never been a podcast listener, until recently.

To the point that podcasts weren't even on my radar; like they didn't exist at all. When I'd hear something like, "subscribe to my podcast," I'd roll my eyes and think 'pshhh, like I need something else to keep up with.'

Turns out I was wrong. I started listening to one, and I loved it so much that I went looking for more to add to my library, and I loved those too, so I went looking for even more. Now I have 20 different podcasts in my library, and I listen to all of them fairly regularly, some more often than others. 

My husband even got into it around the time I did via the British History Podcast & became a member for the extra episodes.

There's nothing to "keep up with" as it turns out, these podcasts are a little like books; you can pick them up and stop whenever you want. They're always available whenever you have free time to listen.

Today I'm listing my favorite business podcasts that every female entrepreneur (or small business owner) should be listening to + 8 new ones I’ve found since my original posting!

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Squarespace SEO Best Practices: Blogging

I totally get it. Most people don’t want to blog, don’t know how to “write” posts or don’t have a friggin’ clue what to write about.

Well, I’m afraid if you want to have any kind of online presence, you need to get over it. #sorrynotsorry

Keep reading, because I’m about to tell you everything I know about why blogging helps with your website SEO, from my own personal experience.

(HINT: blogging is a “thing” for a reason, and more than just so everyone has a place on the internet to voice their innermost thoughts. 😉)

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Squarespace SEO: Optimizing Images

Are you frustrated with uploading large images to your website (but didn’t know there was another way)?
‘I’m pulling out my hair over here!’ 🤬

Don’t know what to name your image files?
‘Is IMG_0321-edit1.jpg is wrong?’ 😨

Think it doesn’t matter what you name your files, or how large they are?
‘Yes, no one can see the file name anyway!’ 😏
(You’re wrong about that, BTdubbs.)

Optimizing images for Squarespace SEO purposes (and the web in general) isn’t actually hard or time consuming, so this’ll be quick, with lots of screenshots!

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Squarespace SEO Best Practices: Using Keywords

Have you’ve been wondering whether Squarespace is SEO friendly? I'm sharing best practices for how & where to use keywords for your Squarespace website's SEO. 

Search Engine Optimization is an incredibly expansive topic, so I'm breaking this up into more bite-sized pieces! 

Stay tuned, because I'm also covering these topics in later posts & additional content:

  • A tutorial for optimizing images for websites

    • (smaller file sizes = faster load times)

  • Which types of pages have big SEO opportunities

  • Why Blogging is great for SEO

  • Social Media & SEO (focusing on Pinterest)

  • Helpful Tools & Resources

Truth? I'm not an SEO expert and don't claim to be one. That being said, when I first started my website back in 2015 (first of all I had no idea what SEO was or that I needed it in order to have a successful website), I couldn't afford to hire an SEO expert, so I learned everything I could about how to do it myself.

My efforts are paying off; Google has ranked me on the top of page 1 for several of my keywords. Now I'm sharing what I've learned with you!

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5 Habits That Will Improve Your Productivity

Entrepreneurs wear so many different hats, it can be utterly exhausting; even if the work itself is still rewarding. Okay, that was the bad news.

The good news is that today I'm sharing 5 habits that will help you work more efficiently and be more productive with your time. 

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Website Launch: Love My Doula

Lynda McMurtray came to me because she wanted a simple website for her budding Doula business. She's been a RN for more than 10 years, and she is very excited about this new season in her life. I was absolutely thrilled to help her create an online hub!

She already had a logo design and didn’t need many pages on her site, so we settled for the Squarespace Lite package & got started.

What resulted is a classy, family-friendly, beachy design for her Florida-based Doula business. Let's dive in now, shall we??

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How to Schedule Squarespace Blog Posts

Life pulls us in all directions, doesn't it? It can be so unpredictable, especially for business owners & entrepreneurs. Anything we can do to make our business more predictable, for the people who invest their time in us, makes the experience more positive, right?

But I know blogging can be a time suck; I totally get it. Especially when you're first starting out.

To solve that problem, you can batch like-tasks (blogging & posting to social media, for example) & schedule ahead, so that throughout the days/weeks ahead, you don't have to think about it on the day-to-day. Who's got time to post live, anyway???

You've got enough on your plate already; don't add even more unnecessary stress to your day!

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Contract Templates for Freelancers & Small Business Owners

One of the scariest things about going out on your own is NOT having a contract.

I know this because I'm in an industry that should be using one and I'll be the first to admit that operating without one in my early days, was frying my nerves!

Depending on what you do or what your business does, you may not need one though. If you're selling products, for example, you shouldn't need a service contract with terms & conditions regarding what will and won't be done during the project.

If you're a service-based business, you should definitely have one! But where can you get one? Who can you trust?

(Psst. I've got an answer!)

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