The Simple and Smart SEO Show

Website Design and SEO: Best Practices w/Samantha Mabe

August 30, 2023 Samantha Mabe Season 2 Episode 67
The Simple and Smart SEO Show
Website Design and SEO: Best Practices w/Samantha Mabe
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Samantha Mabe owns a business called Lemon in the Sea, specializing in Squarespace and Kajabi website design for industry experts, health, and wellness professionals.

Connect with  Samantha:
Website
Instagram 

We discussed the importance of combining website strategy and SEO.

1. Critical steps of optimizing your website:

  • Messaging comes first. 
  • Copywriting next.
  • Invest in high quality brand photos BEFORE website design.
  • Implement basic SEO setups to ensure visibility.

2. Basic SEO may or may not be included in web designing services. 

  • Much of the SEO comes from the website content. 
  • Often this is submitted by the clients themselves or written by a copywriter.
  • The main goal of websites Samantha creates: present a professional online space.

3. Professional, personalized brand photos can enhance the quality of a website. 

  • Use brand photos when possible over generic stock photos.
  • Proper optimization of images can assist in quick loading of webpages.

4. Best practices to improve a website's functionality and visibility: 

  • Set clear site goals (Set a fundamental goal for the site). 
  •  Integrating main goal into every page's design.
  • Track conversions toward goal(s). 
  • Utilize SEO and keywords. 
  • Create an accommodating user

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Website Design and SEO: Season 2, Episode 67 of the Simple and Smart SEO Show Podcast

[00:00:00] Brittany Herzberg: Welcome back, everybody. 

We are here with a friend, Samantha Mabe.

And Crystal is here too. Yeah, she's waving. 

[00:00:07] Crystal Waddell: I'm here.

[00:00:08] Brittany Herzberg: I'm really excited because we're going to be talking about combining like website strategy and SEO. 

So that you pull in the right leads, the warm leads, and then you help them convert. 

Into whether it's like an email subscriber or a paying client or just, a fan.

So yeah, I'm really excited. Say hi, Samantha and Crystal. 

[00:00:25] Samantha Mabe: Hello. Hello. 

[00:00:27] Crystal Waddell: Hi, guys. 

[00:00:29] Brittany Herzberg: Crystal did something really amazing. 

If this video ever makes it out to YouTube, one day. 

She fixed her sign so that it's not directly behind her head. 

And I just want to call that out and give her props for it. 

[00:00:39] Crystal Waddell: Oh, thanks.

Yeah. It's all about the angles. All about the angles, y'all. 

[00:00:43] Brittany Herzberg: Okay. 

Samantha. 

Why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are. 

What you do in the world. 

Who you help, how you help them, all the things. 

[00:00:51] Samantha Mabe: All right. 

So I have a business called Lemon in the Sea where I do Squarespace and Kajabi website design for industry experts, health and wellness professionals, creative entrepreneurs. 

Pretty much small business owners who are ready to hand off their website tasks. 

To somebody who can create a custom design.

I am also a mom of a four year old. 

A wife. 

A big reader, that's what I do in all of my very limited spare time.

[00:01:22] Brittany Herzberg: I love that. And I actually, I saw you like listening to audiobooks. 

And I've become an audiobook fan, like a huge fan, where I juggle many at one time. 

And I also saw that yesterday was like National Book Lover's Day or something like that.

So I gotta know, what are you reading, or what do you love, or what book do you want to shout out? 

[00:01:39] Samantha Mabe: So I don't know that I have any favorites. 

I like to read psychological thrillers, fantasy, and like rom coms. 

Usually I listen to the thrillers because it like stresses me out to read them. 

Because I can listen to them on two and a half times speed and get through it faster.

And then everything else I will actually read on my Kindle. 

[00:02:00] Brittany Herzberg: Yeah, I've actually been doing that. 

Like fast forwarding through the scary parts. But yeah, I like reading those genres too. 

That's really cool. 

I can't remember, Crystal, do you listen to audiobooks or do you read 

physical books?

[00:02:10] Crystal Waddell: I do a mixture of both. I used to love just doing audiobooks because it was faster. 

But now, since I listen to so many podcasts. I like to listen to podcasts and actually read my books.

But it's funny that you mentioned like the thriller books. 

And like fast forwarding through the scary parts because I just had a recommendation for ....

I don't know. There's 26 books in this series. 

Oh, it's like the Women's murder club or something like that. 

Have you ever heard of that one? 

But it's anyway, like there were some really awful parts in there. 

Still with me. 

Like they're in my brain. Everyone's pop up and i'm just like, 

oh my gosh, that's so gross. 

But anyway, that would have been fantastic to listen to an audiobook. 

And just skip those parts. 

So, I haven't read another one since then because I was like, no, thank you. 

[00:02:55] Brittany Herzberg: Wow. The other thing I wanted to ask you like switching back to business gear. 

Is how did you come up with your name?

[00:03:01] Crystal Waddell: That's a fun name. 

[00:03:02] Samantha Mabe: Yeah, that's what everybody's question is. 

I originally, I went to college for architecture and decided I did not want to do that. 

I got just a regular 9 to 5 job. 

And then my husband was relocating for work from Pennsylvania to Virginia. 

And my idea was like, oh. I can do a DIY and recipe blog. 

Because they were really big at the time in 2014.

And when we moved, we were in an apartment, which does not lend itself well to DIY projects. 

And I am not a fantastic cook, so I did not want to do recipes. 

At the same time, I was not able to find a graphic design job. In our new city. 

So I started freelancing, and I was like I already registered this name. 

I have a website. 

I might as well just keep it. 

And that has just grown and changed as the business has.

[00:03:57] Brittany Herzberg: I love that. That's such a fun story behind the name. 

[00:04:01] Crystal Waddell: Why didn't you like architecture? 

My son loves Minecraft and he tells me he's going to be an architect. 

So I'm just curious what stinks about that job? 

[00:04:09] Samantha Mabe: I had wanted to be an architect for years. I had this whole plan that by 30 I was going to be like...

Certified. 

And have all this stuff. 

And I went to school for the four years. 

And then to get your license you have to go to get a master's degree and then you have to do a three year internship. 

And then you have to take seven exams. 

And I was just burnt out on school. 

And My plan was to take a year off and then go back to grad school.

And when it got to that year and I had to tell the school yes or no. 

I was just like, no I don't want to. 

I still use all the skills that I learned a ton of the design programs in school and that they're Adobe program. 

So it translates really well to what I do now. I never thought 

[00:04:54] Brittany Herzberg: about that.

That's really cool that the skills just transferred easily. Yeah. 

[00:04:59] Crystal Waddell: My son told me that he doesn't want to go to college. 

So I'm thinking this might not be the best fit for him. 

[00:05:04] Brittany Herzberg: Perhaps.

[00:05:05] Samantha Mabe: No, it's a lot of school. 

[00:05:07] Brittany Herzberg: Yeah, I didn't realize it was that much school for architecture. 

And I went to a community college, Durham Tech. 

And right down the hall from where I was taking German class, there was architecture, architectural classes happening.

And so I remember walking by. 

And I don't even know what you call it. 

But like the big giant tables where you have, like, all the sketching going on. So I was always intrigued by it.

So, my famous question.

How do you define or explain SEO to clients. 

Or like in conversation with like normal people who aren't like us where we geek out about SEO? 

[00:05:37] Samantha Mabe: Usually my clients are pretty familiar with it. 

Because they have a business. 

But what I like to tell people is it's the way that people find you. When they type in something on Google.

Because that's what my mom knows how to do. 

And so I'm like, okay. 

The thing that directs you to the person's website, that's the SEO. 

[00:05:57] Brittany Herzberg: That's perfect. That's a really great explanation. 

[00:06:00] Crystal Waddell: Okay. 

So I have to start off with a couple of contrary questions. So I don't mean to make you defensive.

But because I just said that you're probably going to be defensive.

So I apologize for that. 

But one thing that I have come across several times. Especially with Shopify store owners. 

Is that they are hiring someone to do a website for them. 

And then come to find out there's been no sEO. 

Can you give us some insight on that? 

What someone should expect from a website designer. Is it typical to get SEO from a website designer or not? 

Or, what are your thoughts on that? 

[00:06:40] Samantha Mabe: I think every designer is a little bit different. 

I include basic SEO setup. 

So I generally, my clients don't do a ton of keyword research ahead of time. So I do it for them. 

Just basics, like what is our location?

What is our target audience? 

And put in a website description. Page descriptions for what we design.

And then a ton of their SEO comes from the actual content, which I do not write. 

They submit to me from a copywriter. Or that they write themselves. 

I don't know that I've ever met a designer who doesn't do at least that. 

But I guess there probably are some that just say that's not my field.

I know that some designers, if you don't submit those page descriptions for them. 

They won't put them in. 

They want it all given to them, and they'll, then they'll do the implementation. 

But they aren't going to actually do the research and the writing. 

[00:07:36] Brittany Herzberg: That was actually going to be a question I had.

Do you find it to be helpful, like you personally, if let's say your client has worked with someone like me and Crystal. 

And we give you the sheet with all the stuff where you can just copy and paste it in as you're creating the website. Do you find that helpful? 

[00:07:51] Samantha Mabe: Yes. Yes. And I've actually asked, like, all of the copywriters that have referred people to me. 

And they're like, okay, was there anything that we needed?

And I will tell them, if you can just write An seo description for each page, then I can pop it in. 

I know that it's consistent with what you wrote. And all the research that you did. 

And that's a whole lot more helpful for me and for The clients. Than me trying to write it myself. 

[00:08:17] Brittany Herzberg: Yeah, that's such a good point. 

[00:08:19] Crystal Waddell: So, can you just summarize then, the workflow order of what it Should look like. 

If someone's I want to create a website, because I think a lot of people think, Oh, I want to create a website.

I'm gonna go to Squarespace. I'm gonna go to Kajabi. 

I'm going to go to whatever.

What are the steps? If someone wants to create a good website? 

What does that look like? 

[00:08:39] Samantha Mabe: If they want to really create like the website they're going to use for years. And they've been in business for a while.

So they know their target audience. I tell them work on messaging, first. All of that. 

Work with a copywriter. 

And if that copywriter doesn't specialize in SEO, then you need to find somebody who can do that piece of it. 

And then. Come to me as the website designer. 

And if you're going to get new brand photos, get those done first.

Website design is the last step. 

Because. It works a whole lot better if I've got all of the information that I need. And then I just implement it into a design. 

[00:09:17] Brittany Herzberg: I find it really interesting that you started with messaging. 

Because even with SEO, there's like even doing the keyword research and coming up with the strategy.

That's where I start. So it seems like, messaging. Is rather important. 

[00:09:31] Crystal Waddell: Yeah. So do you have any tips around messaging?

What you've seen kind of work? Or any best practices for people who are just starting on this journey? 

Or, thinking, okay, I've been in business for a while. And now I actually know a little bit about what I'm doing. 

Do you have any tips for them moving forward? 

[00:09:48] Samantha Mabe: I really just like to look at my client testimonials and feedback. 

To figure out where they were. 

And then why they decided to work with me. 

And what happened next. That's generally a helpful place for me to start.

Because I'm getting their words. 

And seeing what their actual problems are. 

Instead of what I've made up in my brain. 

And if you've worked with clients in the past that you want to continue working with. 

That's probably the best place to start. 

So yeah. 

That's what I think I would tell people.

[00:10:16] Brittany Herzberg: I love that. 

I, if it helps anyone listening. 

I would also add that like the three questions that I start with are: who do you help?

How do you help them? Which is like your offers, your services. 

And then what do you want to be known for? 

Because if you can keep those three in mind, as well as looking back at your social proof and seeing how people are actually describing what you do and how you help them, Gold. 

That's like the gold standard in my head.

[00:10:42] Crystal Waddell: I think it's interesting that you put website design as the final step. 

Because if we're going down the checklist here, there's, essentially five steps. 

There's messaging. Copywriting. If SEO is not included, then SEO would be the third step. 

You mentioned brand photos. 

Which I love.

And then website design.

So really quickly, can you tell us the value of brand photos? 

This isn't something that we've actually touched on before. 

And it's such a valuable part of a quality website. 

So could you speak on that for just a moment? 

[00:11:16] Samantha Mabe: Yeah. 

I really love working with people who have photos of themselves.

But more than just a headshot. 

Having pictures of where you work. 

Of you actually doing your work. 

Is a lot more of a connection with your potential clients than general stock photos. 

And there's always a place for stock photos. 

But I have been to so many websites from similar industries. 

And I see the same stock photos. 

Because they're free. And they're high quality. 

But It looks like everybody else's website.

You're like, Oh, I've seen that stock photo. I know who created that stock photo. 

I actually have it in my Google drive somewhere. 

And it's probably on my Instagram. 

So, having pictures of you and especially a lot of my clients have people meet with them in person or on a zoom call. 

They want to know what your space looks like, what it's going to feel like to meet with you.

And it gives us a lot more to work with in the design. 

When I can pop in images that are not the generic things that everybody else has been using. 

[00:12:28] Brittany Herzberg: Yeah, Crystal actually met up with me to do a few of my brand shoots, and that was really fun. 

Because we actually have a relationship. 

So it was really nice for me to have an actual friend there with me and to do stuff like that.

And I would say that my back when I had just the massage practice, people did find it really helpful to know what the massage room looked like. 

Because that, with something like that's an intimate, right? 

You're basically naked. Possibly on the table under the sheets. 

In a room with someone for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes or even two hours.

So with something like that, you definitely want to be showcasing your space. 

But with me now bouncing around and having all of these different offices out of Airbnbs. 

It's still helpful to have pictures of me on a phone. 

Or me on the laptop. 

Or me like Interacting with someone at some point. 

So yeah. 

I've heard from clients that it really does build trust pretty quickly because they can actually see Who they're gonna be working with. 

That's another thing that drives me up a wall. 

Is when people don't have their face anywhere on their website. 

I want to know who I'm working with.

And we're like, we are humans. We want to connect with other humans. 

So it's at least have one picture of yourself, even if it's just like a cell phone selfie for a little bit. 

[00:13:36] Samantha Mabe: Yes. That's what I tell clients is we need at least one headshot of you. 

It's better if you have more. 

Cause we're going to use it in a couple of places. 

And people are like, this is the same picture of you over and over again.

But. 

A lot of my clients try to put their face... It's like the Marie Forleo website.

Where like she's front and center on the site because she's like an internet celebrity. 

Most of these people don't care what you look like in your banner image. 

Unless it's like you sitting at a computer because you do website design or something.

But like you need the headshot a little bit further down on the page so people can connect. 

But don't feel like you have to have your face be the first thing people see. 

[00:14:16] Brittany Herzberg: Yeah, definitely. 

[00:14:18] Crystal Waddell: I love this idea of preparation. 

And, before websites created, we talk about image optimization and naming the photos.

Do you do that as a website developer? 

Or is this another area of keyword research. 

That when people send you photos, they should already be optimized with keyword names. 

Rather than image underscore five, six, seven, eight, nine. 

[00:14:45] Samantha Mabe: What I do. 

Because I do mine in a VIP day, so I have a little bit of a limited time.

If it's something that includes words. 

Or like important content, mock ups, that kind of stuff, then I will make sure the images are named. 

If it's just a generic stock photo that's sitting on the website as decoration, then I won't. 

But if my clients name them already, then, that's already there.

So I split that just based on order of importance and what we need to get done. 

[00:15:14] Brittany Herzberg: I do want to make note of because Crystal actually reminded me of this recently. 

It's tinypng.com. 

I'm like, launching the blog writing course pretty soon, like tomorrow. 

And, that was one piece that I made sure to mention. 

It didn't change the image quality at all. 

But it essentially made the image lighter so that when a page is loading, it loads faster.

And I know I've seen that we've both seen that pop up on SEO audits. 

And then like user experience stuff. 

I'm sure that pops up for you as well, Crystal. 

That's something that's really easy. It's free, like up to a certain point. 

So I just want to make mention of that and I'll make sure that we've got that linked below as well in case you want to go try that.

[00:15:54] Samantha Mabe: Yeah, I do run all of my clients images through that. 

And then just have basically the folder of optimized images that I use. Because it is so much faster. 

I do know that Squarespace now has a connection with Unsplash for images. 

And I'm not sure that those are optimized. 

So if you go directly through Squarespace to that gallery, I don't think that there is optimized because they do take a little bit longer to load.

So it's a good resource. 

But it would be better to go and find your own image, optimize it and then upload it. 

[00:16:28] Brittany Herzberg: That's a really good point. 

[00:16:29] Crystal Waddell: Yeah, that's another good takeaway because again, if you're using some sort of content management system like these website builders. 

You take it for granted that if they're providing you a resource.

Then it's like the best, optimized resource.

For that particular website builder. 

So it's almost ironic, that it's like, here, use this, it'll slow your website down. 

Just things to be aware of, definitely. 

And on that note with website builders. 

I deal primarily with Etsy sellers and Shopify store owners. 

And I love Shopify for e commerce.

You mentioned that you use Squarespace and Kajabi. 

Could you give us some insight into why you think those are the best website builders? 

Or if there's a third that would make, your top three, what that website would be and why? 

[00:17:16] Samantha Mabe: I primarily like Squarespace. 

I agree Shopify is the best if you've got an extensive e commerce store.

Squarespace does offer some e commerce but it does not have the robust like inventory and tracking and everything. 

But it's really easy to use. 

They've updated their their design interface so that now it's a lot more flexible. 

So we can actually make it do what we want it to do.

And I have a lot more power over the mobile design. 

So it's really easy for my clients to get in there and figure out how to make updates. 

How to write blog posts. 

And they've got a lot of stuff integrated. 

So you're never having to worry about, is this plugin updated? 

Are these things all working together correctly?

And then I use Kajabi for clients who are already on Kajabi for their courses. 

It's a very expensive platform. I don't recommend it for just a website. 

But if you're already using it for your courses and you just want to have everything in one place, it works well enough. 

It's harder to design in, just because of the way that the interface is set up. 

But it's Decent. 

And you can get a good design with the platform you're already using.

I know a lot of people really love WordPress. 

And some of the drag and drop editors in there. 

I stay away from WordPress just because my clients find it really hard to get in there and manage. 

And figure out where everything is and how do I change these things and why is it not updated? 

And so it's more of a client side decision.

For me as to why I use the other platforms. 

[00:18:58] Brittany Herzberg: I've been on the back end of Kajabi for some clients. 

And I was not a fan. And it was for multiple clients. 

I've said the same thing to people that I have found it to be really expensive for what you get. 

But that's good to know that if people are already on there, that you have the capability and the skillset to go in and like master that.

[00:19:17] Crystal Waddell: I've used Kajabi before and I liked Kajabi. 

But I had the benefit of having access to tech tutorials. 

At that point, I didn't know what a landing page was. 

And so I didn't know how to create an opt in. And then create triggers and then all of those things.

So, a website like Kajabi makes it really easy in a course situation. 

As you're trying to build an email list. 

Or give like a specific opt in for that course. 

But, at the same time, I didn't have a course for long that I wanted to sell. 

So it seemed a little silly to have all those capabilities.

 I think what it comes down to is having really good tech tutorials and understanding the capabilities of your website. 

Because there's so much that a lot of us don't even know exists. 

[00:20:02] Brittany Herzberg: Yeah, that you made me think of a question. 

Have you ever run into the instance where a client might have multiple sites?

So for example. 

Let's say that I have my BrittanyHersberg. com Squarespace site, where people come in, they learn about me, they can buy some digital products. 

But let's say I had a course, and it was hosted on Kajabi. Have you run into that scenario with clients? 

[00:20:23] Samantha Mabe: I have. 

And I have some clients who have a lot of times they will be therapists. And then they'll start a coaching business. 

So they want a separate site because there's a lot of different legal stuff involved in those two fields.

So we will create two sites. 

And then, depending on if they want them to be connected or not. 

We'll just link them up either through the menu. 

If you wanted to send people to your course from your Brittany Herzberg site, we would just link to it. 

Or they build the sales page. 

I have a client who built the sales page on Squarespace. 

And then just sends people to Kajabi for the checkout and course access.

[00:21:05] Brittany Herzberg: Gotcha. 

That's good to know. 

I just wanted to ask that. I figured. 

But sometimes. 

People listening don't know what's possible. 

And I don't even know what's possible.

[00:21:12] Crystal Waddell: What would you say are the main goals of the websites that you create?

[00:21:17] Samantha Mabe: Generally, I am helping my clients to -they're mostly referral based as I think most of a lot of our businesses are. 

So they are getting people onto the site from referrals. Or from SEO. 

And then communicating what they do in a way that keeps people around.

And keeps people wanting to learn. 

And then actually taking a next step. 

Whether that's signing up for an email list or scheduling a consultation call.

I tell people like have that one goal for your website that you're directing people to. 

And so, really what they want is a professional looking online space. 

That's going to make it easy for their potential clients to figure out. 

That they are the right person for whatever they need. 

And then actually reach out. Or sign up for their email list or take action. 

Instead of it getting lost and confused and not knowing what to do next.

[00:22:14] Crystal Waddell: Do you offer your clients certain metrics or key conversions like KPIs to measure to see is my website actually working? 

Or doing what I wanted it to do? 

Is there anything that people could take for themselves from that? 

[00:22:29] Samantha Mabe: I tell them, once they've set that number one goal for their site. 

That's what we're going to design all the calls to action around.

You just have to keep an eye on whether it's working. If people are converting. 

And then if not. 

After 30 days or 60 days. 

Take some time, change some things around. 

And see if it makes a difference. And that's what I tell them. 

Most of the time they've got analytics set up. 

They can go in and look at that.

But there's so much data in there.

They don't know what to look at. 

And I'm like, if you know what you want people to do. 

See if they're actually doing it. 

And then. If not, we can go in and we can make changes. 

I also tell people, if your goal is to get email signups on your website. 

You need to make sure enough people are actually coming to your website.

So, back your way into that. 

And make sure that you're putting the marketing in. 

That people are seeing your posts. 

Or your whatever it is. And actually getting to the website. 

Because if it's if they never get to the website, the design isn't going to matter. 

What are you doing before that to make sure they're continuing on that journey?

[00:23:37] Brittany Herzberg: How do you recommend people end up getting people to their site? Obviously, we're going to say SEO. 

Is a way to drive people to your site. 

What are some other ways that you see and see done well? Or see maybe not performing like people hope they do? 

[00:23:51] Samantha Mabe: Yeah, SEO is always going to be a really important one.

I have seen mixed results from social media. 

It really depends on your audience. 

And how much time and effort you're putting into it. 

And I think a lot of people who are putting a lot of effort into social media are having those conversations on that platform. 

Instead of them coming to the site.

One that I see that doesn't work quite as well is. 

At least for people I have seen. 

Is if you have people already on your email newsletter and you're sending links back to your site. 

Unless it's a blog post or a podcast episode they're really interested in, they're probably not coming back to your website.

I think that's a place where it might make sense. 

If you want them to listen, send them the exact link for their podcast player. 

Because they're already on your email list. They're in your sphere. 

So you just have to think about how many steps do I want them to have to take? 

And is it important that they come back to my site?

[00:24:51] Crystal Waddell: So you mentioned, Goals of the website. 

One of them being to build an email list. 

What are some common goals that your clients have had for their websites? 

[00:25:00] Samantha Mabe: Email list is one of the top ones. 

The other one is to get on some kind of sales call. 

So, some of my clients call that a consultation call. 

Or we call it a sales call.

Filling out an application, if you've got a higher ticket service can be a big one. 

Or for people who sell courses or low ticket products. 

That would be the other call to action they want. 

Is to actually just go check out. And buy the thing. 

[00:25:25] Brittany Herzberg: Do you ever recommend, because this is something that I talk about with my clients. 

Yes, there's an overarching goal to the website itself.

But I also have them give each page.

A goal. So a blog post might be specifically to get them to download X freebie and then get on your email list. 

Or there might be a different blog where we want them to like you were talking about book a call. 

Do you ever encourage people to do that? Or do you find that people do that? 

[00:25:51] Samantha Mabe: Generally, I tell people pick that number one goal. 

Because that's going to be what you're using on your services or sales page.

That's what you're going to be using on your contact page because you want them to reach out about it. 

When it comes to the homepage. 

I like to have a choose your own adventure section. 

Where I give them a couple of options. 

For yes, fill out my application or buy my thing. 

But also, if you're not ready for that.

There's an email list that you can sign up for. 

There's a blog that you can read. 

That's lower commitment for people who have just come into your orbit. And want to learn more about you first. 

And then for things like blog posts. 

Or your about page, even, you have to think about what makes sense. 

So if they've read your about page. 

Does it make sense to say, okay, now sign up for this 30 minute sales call? 

Or does it make sense to send them to learn more about your services first? 

So I think it's really about mapping that journey to get them to that ultimate goal. 

[00:26:52] Brittany Herzberg: It feels like it's pulling out a lot of your user experience elements that you've talked about, Crystal. 

[00:26:56] Crystal Waddell: Yeah. There's so many elements of the business that have to be set up. 

Because like you said, you could have the best website in the world. 

But if you don't have any SEO or any way for people to get there. 

It's like, what good is a website if no one sees it? 

Or, you could have people coming to your website, but if you don't have it optimized for a goal. 

Like click here. Or you know, whatever it is You want people to do. 

Book a call. Download this thing. Or whatever. 

But you don't have a way for them to do that. 

Your website's not going to be able to execute there either. 

Or if you're selling something. 

But you don't have a way for them to purchase and check out. 

That also is a problem.

I don't want to overwhelm people. 

But I feel like in your business, you have to be aware of all of the pieces of the puzzle. 

And then just put one in at a time. 

One thing I think is so valuable, you told us earlier. 

About that order of events of how to set up your website. 

Which is also how to build your business online. 

Is that when you do those fundamental things like keyword research. 

It's going to make the rest of the puzzle a lot easier to put together.

It's almost like keyword research is the edge. 

Because once you get those side pieces in.

Then you can start filling in the middle. You got to have that edge. 

You got to have that starting point. 

You got to have a reference point for your website. 

And I feel like keyword research serves as that. That reference point. 

[00:28:24] Samantha Mabe: Yeah. And it can tell you so much about what kind of products or services do you want to create? 

And even more than just what words do you use on your website? 

It can help you really build the type of business that's going to serve the people that you want. 

Because they're already searching for those things.

[00:28:42] Crystal Waddell: Speaking of user experience.

When you create a website, are you creating like a wireframe? 

Are you creating in any sort of like mapping structure? 

To show people like how their website is going to be laid out?

Do you provide a visual layout of the website you're going to create? 

[00:29:00] Samantha Mabe: So what I have found works best for me and for my clients.

Is we start out with a strategy guide that's got all of their like brand colors and the pretty stuff. 

But then includes a site map of which pages we're going to work on.

Usually, I am doing a four page website in a day. 

So I tell them, the best pages you can have are your home page. Your about page. Your services page, and your contact page. 

But if we need to change that up, we can do that. 

Sometimes they want to build out something. 

So I will build a template page for them.

And then my next step is to create a mock up. 

So it's not a wireframe. 

But it's the actual, this is what it's going to look like with the images. 

With the Content. 

Because my clients are not going to be able to look at a wireframe. 

It's like when you tell people to look at a floor plan of a house and figure out how much space there is.

I can do that because that is like the way that my brain works. 

But most people are going to go, okay. 

That means nothing to me. 

So I give them the actual this is what the finished design is going to look like. 

Give me any feedback. 

And if it looks good, then we're going to jump into the platform and actually build it.

[00:30:11] Brittany Herzberg: That actually makes me think of when I go through and I create the SEO packets. 

So I do the keyword research and then I create the strategy. 

But the thing that I was missing for a little while until a client actually asked me for it, they were like, okay, where do I go and plug this in? And I was like, Oh, perfect.

I can record that for you. This is where you actually go. 

And something I remind people. 

And this very well is that every website back end is just at least a little bit different. 

So I can show you what it looks like on Squarespace. 

You and I could hop on a call and actually look at the back end of your site.

I did that with someone who has a Wix website. 

And so we went in and we learned together. 

Or I plugged in some stuff for someone on a Showit site. 

So it's a little bit of we talk about choose your own adventure. It's what's your platform and let's figure out where this goes. 

But yeah, I find that's really Helpful. 

And that was a place that I was missing the mark for a little bit. 

With just like showing people This is the thing.

This is where it's going. This is how we're gonna get, you know from A to B. 

[00:31:05] Samantha Mabe: Yeah. 

And even on the same platform. 

Squarespace just redid their menu and where everything is located. 

And I went in to do a client website and I was like, I can't find any of these things. 

So It's helpful to go and look at their own tutorials. 

Because generally, those are the most up to date. 

If you Know that it exists somewhere, and you just can't figure out where it is right now. 

[00:31:28] Brittany Herzberg: Yeah and I even went in and did that with a 301 redirect the other day. 

Because I was like, I've avoided this I need to Actually figure. 

It was so simple. 

I was avoiding it. 

But on that YouTube video. 

I think it was maybe two two and a half years old and the menu has changed.

I have a 7. 0 template of a website, which is older, if anyone is listening and they have Squarespace. 

The 7. 1 menu is the one that I realized changed. Mine didn't change, but from this YouTube video, when it was recorded to now, it was a little bit different. 

So I'm like, okay, it's called this. Let me like strategically click on different buttons and figure out where it is.

And I did.

And it wasn't that challenging, but yeah, the, that's what I do. 

If I can't find a video within like the Squarespace tutorial is I'll go just type it in on YouTube. 

And you'll see a video and often it is through Squarespace and they have their own little channel. 

[00:32:16] Crystal Waddell: Okay, so another thing I wanted to follow up with you on. 

You talked about having one big idea for the website. 

Like one main purpose.

So I'm curious. 

Do you use that keyword or that main thing throughout those four pages. 

And Part two of the question is you mentioned weaving in local SEO. 

And so I was wondering how you did that if that was part of the main keyword Strategy. 

Or, just how those two things work together. 

[00:32:45] Samantha Mabe: So, if they are trying to point people to a service that they have, I definitely want to weave that into the SEO strategy throughout. 

Because we want people to know what they do. 

And ultimately, sign up for their service. Get on their client calendar.

So that will go throughout the website. 

I think if they're wanting people to get on their email list. 

It's less about " sign up for my email list."

And more about what is the motivating factor? 

So what is your freebie? What is your opt in your email series? 

And so we talk about that in multiple places. 

And we just strategically put it where people are going to look for it.

And use calls to action in places that make a lot of sense for that. 

And then for the local SEO. 

A lot of the businesses I work with see local clients. 

And so we want to make sure that we're including their location. 

That the clients would actually be searching for. 

Sometimes we'll include it on the headline on the even on the home page.

If it's people who are searching for a chiropractor or a massage therapist. 

It matters where you are located. 

And then we also include it in the footer. 

And on the contact page and in the SEO descriptions. 

To make sure that when people are searching for "I want a massage therapist in this area" that you're going to show up. 

And it's going to be really clear when they come to your website. 

That yes, you are actually in the area that I want to go to. 

And not an hour and a half drive away. 

Because you were just trying to hit the right keywords. 

[00:34:18] Brittany Herzberg: Or in a different state. Which is interestingly still happening.

I've had three people reach out to me, even though the page is down about booking a massage. 

And I have to be like, I'm so sorry. 

But here's a link for this other website. 

So you mentioned placing things in strategic locations throughout the website. 

So I wonder. 

Could you maybe share like 1 to 3 things that like the thing that's coming to mind for me is like a button. Where should we have buttons? 

Do you have any like tips for the listeners?

[00:34:46] Samantha Mabe: Yes. 

So you always need a button in the above the fold section. 

I also say if you've got a long form sales page, you want a button every like two to three scrolls. 

So that people do not have to go and search for it. 

And then always add a call to action right above your footer.

So those are my tips for that. 

I think if you've got a newsletter sign up, you should have a sign up for that in your footer of your website. 

Because if people have gotten down that far, they are clearly interested in something. 

And we want to give them a way to continue to stay in our world. 

And then the other thing.

That I somebody had mentioned recently. 

I think is a really good idea is FAQs. 

Have them on your services page, obviously, where people have questions. 

But it's also really helpful to have them on your contact page. 

[00:35:37] Brittany Herzberg: I loved that idea and that's such an easy and smart way to give yourself some more copy. 

Some more words on those pages. 

Especially the contact page that tends to be a little bit thin. 

And Crystal and I have seen that on SEO audits. 

Where it's you don't have enough words on your page.

[00:35:54] Crystal Waddell: Okay, you mentioned that term above the fold. Can you define that for us? 

Just in case anybody's Fold? 

What's getting folded? What are we talking about here? 

[00:36:02] Samantha Mabe: Yes. So above the fold is an old term from newsletters where you would have like that headline, right?

Of when it's sitting in the little thing or it gets delivered. 

It's the first thing. 

So on a website, it's going to be the first section of your website. 

That shows up before they actually have to scroll down. 

[00:36:20] Crystal Waddell: So what about like the common errors? 

What are some of the most common errors that you see people making? 

Or like on websites that are coming to you for maybe a refresh?

What kind of issues do you typically run into? 

[00:36:31] Samantha Mabe: One of the main ones that I see is they just have too many links. 

And it's really confusing. 

So their menu has 10 links. 

And they all have drop downs. 

And nobody knows where they're supposed to go. Or what they're supposed to learn about.

Another one that I see that's more of a copy issue, but also affects the design. 

Is the about page is all about them and their credentials and their story. 

Instead of about the actual client. 

And how they can work together. 

And then one that drives me nuts for accessibility and legibility is light gray text in really small fonts seems to be very popular right now.

And I'm like. It looks pretty. 

But nobody can read your website. 

[00:37:13] Brittany Herzberg: No, let alone someone who's visually impaired. That ain't working for anybody. 

[00:37:17] Crystal Waddell: So, when you're talking about menus, is there like a best practice for, how many menu items you have? 

And then, how many sub menus you have linking from that drop down? 

[00:37:30] Samantha Mabe: Generally, I like to have four to maybe six links in the main menu. 

I only like to have drop downs if it actually makes sense. 

I have it on my website because I have a services link in my menu. 

And I've got three different services. 

So that drops down and they can very clearly see the names of each of them.

There they can see what they would want to click on. 

If you have a store, it gets a little bit more complicated, obviously. 

Because you want to link to all your products. 

But we don't want like drop downs for every menu item. 

We don't want like drop downs that then go into other drop downs and like make those like whole nested situations.

We want to make it really easy for people to figure out where to go. 

And the less items you have in your menu, the easier that can be. 

Because they can very clearly see the journey that they should go on. 

[00:38:24] Crystal Waddell: I'm laughing to myself because in my mind, I'm thinking of like a box within a box within a box. Of dolls. 

It's like, where is it?

I can't find it. I just have to keep. I'm so sorry for opening up all these boxes. 

[00:38:37] Brittany Herzberg: It's am I there yet? 

I had one question about like timing. 

So if someone is, because some of us, my hand is raised. 

Set unrealistic expectations for ourself of how long some things should take. 

I just want to blow through it and get it done perfectly the first time. And, in two seconds.

Working with someone like you, a web designer, to create a website. 

And then let's say that they are working with a copywriter. 

And they are getting the branding photos. 

And they're, quote unquote, doing it right, doing it up nicely. 

How long have you seen that process?

[00:39:09] Samantha Mabe: I think you could do it in probably six months. 

You could do it a little bit faster if all of your service providers offer VIP days and are willing to like work together. 

The biggest thing that takes a lot of time and planning are the photo shoots. 

Because generally you have to find a location, you have to find a photographer.

So that tends to hold up websites more than the other stuff does. 

Because you're actually having to go somewhere. 

It's not somebody working for you on the internet and just like handing something off. 

I tell my clients to plan for at least two weeks if they are not working with a copywriter before we could even think about starting their website. 

So that they have time to get all of the stuff together for me.

[00:39:53] Brittany Herzberg: I like that. That seems very realistic to me and what I've seen. 

[00:39:57] Crystal Waddell: So my big thing is like content and SEO. 

I learned from Semrush a couple of years ago.

They have this really great SEO led content course there. 

So if anybody's interested.

That's a really great resource. 

And a great place to start. 

Because what I found is that even beyond SEO. 

Content will help you rank faster. 

And in particularly blogs and blogging.

And so that's why I use Jasper and surfer and all of those programs to write that content around the keywords that we've defined. 

So I noticed that in your initial package, those four pages. 

It doesn't include a blog. Do you ever have someone like want to do a blog?

Is that easy? Is that hard? 

Can they bring over previous, written content? 

What recommendations would you have for somebody who wants to include blogging? 

[00:40:49] Samantha Mabe: Yeah. 

I recommend having a blog for sure. 

I do. 

If somebody wants to have one, I will set it up as just like a template for them.

So, the main blog page is there. 

It makes sense with the rest of the design. 

There are some platforms that you can transfer your blog posts to and from. 

And some of them you cannot. 

You cannot transfer from Wix to Squarespace. 

Which I discovered after I told someone we could. 

And then my mom was my VA for two weeks and did them for me.

So, just know those don't transfer over. 

The WordPress ones do, I think. 

But I do recommend everybody have a blog. 

I tell them to start with at least three posts if they don't have anything else. 

And then just figure out a schedule that works for them. 

And it's also really nice for the design, if I know they're going to have a blog. 

That we can put it on the homepage. 

And send people to it. Because that is a very common way to keep people coming back. 

And keep them clicking around on your website. 

And really help with some of those other minor SEO factors. 

The bounce rate. The time on the page. Those types of things.

[00:41:58] Crystal Waddell: Okay. I just have two questions left. 

Thank you so much for being here. On the hot seat. 

Another important element of SEO is internal linking and external linking. 

So does that play a role into what you do as a website designer? 

[00:42:14] Samantha Mabe: We do a lot of the internal linking. 

Because we're obviously moving people through the journey. 

The buttons are going to take them to the next page of the site.

I tell people if you have an application. 

Or a scheduler, embed it on your website. 

So they don't have to leave. 

And that just adds more links. 

The external linking I don't particularly do. 

Because that it comes in more if you have a blog and you're linking to other places. 

So generally that's up to my clients when they're writing their content.

[00:42:44] Crystal Waddell: Okay. 

And then the last question. 

When you create a new website. 

How do you make sure that the search engines can find it? 

[00:42:52] Samantha Mabe: So once we get it all launched, and it is live, and it is tested. 

And everything is up to date. I will get them set up with Google Search Console and submit their sitemap there.

And then just make sure that all of the weird issues that it always seems like it starts out with are not real big issues that we need to solve.

And then I just take some time at about 30 days when my support ends to just do some Googling and make sure they are starting to rank for some of those keywords.

[00:43:22] Brittany Herzberg: I like that. That's a nice service. 

This has been incredibly informative and I feel like I even have some more tasks to do. 

Every time we talk to somebody, I'm like, I have a couple more things to do. 

Where can people link up with you and find out more about you.

[00:43:37] Samantha Mabe: Yeah, my website is LemonInTheSea. com. 

My Instagram, which is the platform I'm on most, is LemonInTheSea. It's not a very common name, so it's really easy to find me everywhere because that is my username everywhere I am. 

But most of the conversations I'm having are on Instagram. 

[00:43:55] Brittany Herzberg: Perfect. 

[00:43:56] Crystal Waddell: Okay. I lied. I do have one more question. 

So how do people know that they're ready to work with you?

 If they're listening to this right now, how do they know that they need your help? Or that you guys would be a good fit together? 

[00:44:10] Samantha Mabe: Okay. So I like to tell people they need to have been in business for a while. 

So they know all of that messaging. 

And that kind of stuff. 

As a basic starting package. 

Because I'm not going to do the copywriting.

I don't do the branding. 

Like you need to know what all of that is to start. 

And then, most of my clients come to me because they've DIY-ed or they installed a template. 

And now they're like, this just does not feel like my business anymore. 

It's not bringing in the types of clients that I want. 

And so, they really want to upgrade their website and make it more professional, make it feel more like their brand.

[00:44:46] Crystal Waddell: Awesome. 

[00:44:48] Brittany Herzberg: That was a good question. 

[00:44:49] Crystal Waddell: Oh, thank you. 

[00:44:50] Brittany Herzberg: I know I like it because it's I love listening to podcasts selfishly where it's would this be a good fit? 

Is this am I at a stage where I can work with this person? 

So brilliant question, Crystal. 

[00:45:00] Crystal Waddell: Yeah. 

I've learned if you ask enough questions, there's going to be like one good one in there somewhere.

[00:45:04] Brittany Herzberg: Oh, stop it. Probably a 99% success rate. I don't even know what the 0. 1 is. 

[00:45:11] Crystal Waddell: Yeah, It was really nice to meet you, Samantha. Thank you for being here. 

And thank you for answering all those questions. 

[00:45:16] Brittany Herzberg: I'm so glad you could be here. All right, we will catch you guys next time. I never say goodbye because when the ending comes on, it's like my voice saying thanks for being here today, whatever. So 

that's smart. 

[00:45:30] Crystal Waddell: Yeah. It's thanks for being here. 

Thanks for being here. Thanks for being here. 

[00:45:34] Brittany Herzberg: I guess you could technically cut that off when you edit it. If you wanted to.


(Cont.) Website Design and SEO: Best Practices w/Samantha Mabe
(Cont.) Website Design and SEO: Best Practices w/Samantha Mabe