If you’re trying to grow your home based or creative business online, this post is for you!
As a freelance writer, I spend most of my time working on website projects. My clients cover a diverse range of industries, but there are common elements among them that make their small business websites successful.
Whether you are a creative freelancer, or a local small business, these ten things apply to everyone looking to attract and convert more customers online.
Sure, you might be thinking the obvious things, like a contact page, or a newsletter subscribe box.
Those are great, but you need a few more things to ramp up your success.
So this post is going to cover each of those items, and some examples from around the web from businesses who’ve done a great job implementing them.
Wooo, are you ready for this? This is going to be a game changer for you fellow bloggers out there if you’re not already making sweet ass content upgrades like a pro.
If you’ve been blogging for more than five minutes, you’ve probably heard how important having quality content upgrades are to growing your blog’s following, and your email list… which helps grow your blog’s following. You get what I’m saying. And yes, it’s so true, content upgrades are truly the best thing since sliced cheese on sliced bread.
Let’s cover a few basics first before we dive right in…
What’s a Content Upgrade & Why Should I Care?
Valid question, pal. So a “content upgrade” is something that your visitors can download (or access) in exchange for their email address. So you get their contact deets, and they get some sort of cool THING. Like this shameless example:
The key here is to make the content upgrade not only valuable to your visitor to make them want to give you their email address to get it, but also to make it relevant to the original post it’s in. So for this post, I’m offering a five point checklist you can download to ensure your content upgrade is on point and ready to conquer the world. Easy, right?
My name is Michelle, and I’m a recovering Digital Project Manager.
You see, I was a digital PM for awhile, back in the heady days of 2015, a distant blur now. And then I became a digital strategist. “Cool,” I thought. “A totally different job, how exciting!” And then weeks and months went on and I found myself thinking, “Hmm. This seems an awful lot like what I was doing before. What gives?”
Months turned into almost a year and I became more disillusioned and confused than ever.
So what is the actual difference between a digital PM and a digital strategist? It’s taken me awhile to learn.
Seriously. The best advice I received for dealing with feelings of burnout was a few days ago, and that advice was: when you are so fed up that you just don’t care anymore, actively attempt to care less. Like just really get all the giving a shit out of your system. Stop caring at a molecular level. Split the atoms of the fucks you do not give, and then split them again. Create a nuclear meltdown out of all the energy that you’re not caring with. Enough metaphors for now…
In my situation, I could never focus on what I was supposed to be doing, due to a number of factors, some of them complex and one of them just being that I am an insane, quality-obsessed, control freak bitch-ola. I was so used to responding quickly to everything that came my way — emails, Slack messages, carrier pigeons — that people expected it of me, and I felt like I owed it to them.
But then my boss told me something radical. Like some life-changing shit right here. She said, “Just… don’t.” That’s basically what she said. There were more words and it sounded better than that, but that was the gist of it.
It’s difficult to accept failure. I think that’s part of human nature — to be proud, defend ourselves, survive, and dislike failing. But sometimes we fail as human beings, and as project managers. And sometimes, spectacularly, we fail at those two things at the same time.
I’ve been a total failure over the past few months.
I started this blog, intending to keep it going with new content twice a week. Fail.
I transitioned out of project management recently, but didn’t actually transition out of it because I’m a total control freak. Fail.
Even though I didn’t transition out of it, I still failed at doing a bunch of PM stuff properly. Fail.
I couldn’t think of new content ideas to save my life. Fail.
I lost my focus, my energy, my drive, and my love of what I do (temporarily). Fail.
I ate an entire tray of four cinnamon buns and washed them down with an entire bottle of wine. Fail (or… win?).
I think the important thing to remember here is that cinnamon buns fix all failures until you step on the scale and feel like a failure in an entirely new way. Not as a project manager or a human being, but even worse, a failure of a woman for not fitting into your pants anymore.
Whatever your hustle may be — design, coding, strategy, project management, writing, something unmarketing related — you started doing it because you loved it. You continued because you loved it. You can’t imagine yourself doing anything else with your life, but yet, you hit a point where you just want to quit. What’s going on?
It’s not a lack of passion for your work. It’s not because of boredom. It’s not because you want to do something else.
When you feel that feeling of loving what you do and being convinced that you’ve never been more connected to and passionate about your work, coupled with a feeling of absolute dread about going in the next day or doing any of the tasks on your list, congrats — you’re in creative burnout.
Everyone has had a “worst project ever”. Mine has been recent and is still ongoing. I don’t mean it’s the worst because the work is bad or the client is bad, quite the opposite with this one. Our team has created amazing work and everyone really cares about this project. The client is fantastic and smart, willing to think outside the box when it comes to design and to take our input. When it finally completes, it will be a great piece of work out there in the world.
But that’s the problem, when it finally completes.
It’s easy to blame others when things don’t go as planned but project managers need to be bigger than that. If it didn’t go according to plan, it means your plan didn’t work. Why not? Where were you? Why weren’t you paying attention? Or if you were paying attention, why did you miss the clear red flags that things were going awry and your plan was not working? How come you didn’t fix it?
This post is for all my DPM peeps out there. That stands for “digital project management” in case you manage projects from under a rock. So, while I no longer work full-time in digital project management (I only dabble, as now I am a strategist/writer full-time), I’m still passionate about client relationship management and making sure our lovingly crafted digital projects go smoothly. I’ve found that now being on “the creative side” has given me even more passion for project management, as I feel like I have a better idea of what it’s like for the people I used to schedule and plan for, both internally and externally.
But we’ve all been there: the digital project that goes completely off track and looks like it’s destined for the rubbish pile or worse, public consumption as a warped, ugly version of its formerly wonderful concept. Let’s face it, it’s usually a website.
So what do you do? How do you tackle this seemingly insurmountable beast and tame it back into a (oh god here comes a cliche) beauty? By following these oh so useful tips of course.
But first, we need to identify the signs of a project going off the rails… We’ll assume it’s a website for the purposes of this example because, well, it probably is.