How to make an amazing content plan for your new website

For a lot of creatives who go through the process of building a new website, the exciting part is seeing the design come together and this bright, shiny, new website appear. The hard part is putting together the content that will fill that gorgeous website with valuable content – the kind that will convince curious readers to stick around and click around.

And yet, building a strong content plan is one of the most essential parts of your website design process. It’s much more than just the words that go on your about page. Your content plan will guide the way you decide to structure your website, the visuals you choose, and the way that you guide your visitors into taking the action that you want them to take.

It will also make it much easier for your designer to build a website that tightly integrates your content with the amazing visuals that they’re creating for you, so that you end up with a compelling and user-friendly experience for your readers.

But how should you actually create a content plan, and when in the process should you start? This post will walk you through it.

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How to start your new website project on the right foot (+ FREE template!)

What’s the very first thing you need to do when you get ready to hire a designer for a website design or re-design project?

A lot of people would say, Brainstorm potential designers or Approach web designers regarding their pricing and availability. But this is skipping one of the most important steps that will set you on your way to managing a strong web design project for your brand and business.

The first step you should be taking as you prepare to hire a designer is to build out an organized plan for the project that you can share with them before you decide to work together.

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3 tips for creating a strong, consistent brand voice

One of the more challenging elements of creating a brand that connects with your ideal audience is the development of your “brand voice” – the way of communicating with your audience that embodies the core qualities of your brand and sets you apart to your audience.

But what is a brand voice?

Think about it like this: in real life, you have a unique way of communicating with your friends, family and clients. Are you outgoing or reserved? Edgy, or more conservative? Bright and friendly, or calm and professional?

Your brand also has a voice. Your brand voice is the way in which you express yourself to your audience – and it needs to be consistent. It’s key to building a strong connection with your audience so that they know, like and trust you.

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How to edit your content with confidence

We all want to publish strong content that delights our readers and convinces them to take action. Having someone else review your drafts can be a helpful way to get a fresh perspective on your content before you publish it and identify any rough spots that could use a little polishing. But what if you don’t have the budget to hire an editor, or the time to have a friend read over your draft? If you’ve ever felt unsure about how to edit your own content, this is for you.

In this post, I go through some of the questions I ask myself when I’m reviewing content for Polish & Shine clients, friends and family, and even for myself. And if you want something quick and easy that you can refer to the next time that you’re editing your own content, I’ve got a handy, fully clickable checklist for you that you can print out and hang next to your desk.

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What is the Curse of Knowledge? (And 4 ways to reverse it)

Have you ever tried to explain something about your work to someone, only to have them look at you with a blank stare? You try again, putting it a different way… still nothing.

It’s frustrating, right? What seems so simple to you feels impossible to communicate or express clearly.

We’ve all experienced it, and it can be a real challenge to our marketing efforts and to connecting with our clients and customers.

But did you know there’s a name for it? It’s called the Curse of Knowledge. This post talks about how exactly it's causing you grief, and 4 things you can do to get rid of it. 

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5 essential elements of a well-defined brand

Often when people think about branding, they think about concepts like choosing the perfect name or designing a gorgeous logo or website. But the truth is that visuals are only part of what makes a powerful and memorable brand. Your brand is something much more intangible than that – it has to do with the way that your audience thinks and feels about you. And while your visuals are an important part of that, they aren’t the starting point.

Branding is first and foremost about strategy. It’s about establishing a vision for the way you want your business to be perceived and taking deliberate steps to implement that vision in the way that your business looks, feels and interacts with your audience.

Before you develop the visuals for your brand, you need to lay a strong foundation that clearly defines who you are as a business, what you are trying to accomplish, and what makes you unique and valuable in the way that you serve your clients. Having this foundation in place will allow you to make choices about your design and brand visuals that reinforce your strategic objectives, rather than just picking something because you think it looks nice.

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How to find the perfect photography to enhance your brand online

One of the most important ways you can ensure a compelling, recognizable online presence is by choosing visuals that complement your brand. The imagery that you choose for your blog posts, Instagram feed, product mockups and more all communicate something about you, your products, and the way that you help your audience. It’s important to make sure the feeling they create in your readers is consistent with the overall tone that you want your brand to convey.

For beginners (especially non-designers) who are trying to establish a solid online presence, using photography to communicate what your brand is about is a great option. If this feels overwhelming, or if you’re not sure where to start — don’t worry. With a little planning, you’ll have gorgeous, consistent imagery in no time.

This post breaks it down into a few easy steps, and if you want to download a worksheet that gives you room to take notes and do some brainstorming, I’ve got you covered.

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Why you need an ideal customer profile (and how to create one)

How do you write content that connects with your audience? 

That’s a tough one, right? I mean, it’s easy enough to talk about your business and what you’re working on with a friend over nachos and a glass of wine. But when you have to do it in writing, to someone on the other side of a page or a screen, it feels a lot more intimidating…. especially when you want them to get so excited that they take the plunge and hit the “Buy Now” button.

I get it. That “okay, how do I put this into words” moment happens to me too. So today I thought I’d share one of the tools that is most helpful to me when it comes to finding the words to truly connect with my dream clients and customers: the Ideal Customer Profile.

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Welcome to Cursor & Ink!

Hello there, friend. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit!

I’m so excited to introduce Cursor & Ink Communications Studio. My heart for this space is simple: to help creative women who own small but mighty businesses make their dreams happen.

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5 tricks for making your writing more engaging

There’s nothing worse than staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page with a deadline looming. If sheer force of will could magically convert us into Jane Austens and C.S. Lewises, we’d all be a lot more productive and a lot less self-conscious about the way we write. (Plus, there would be more amazing literature and fewer trashy romance novels… I think.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Whether or not writing is an actual job requirement or just something you do when you sit down to respond to an email, learning how to write well is a fundamental skill that can help you to express yourself clearly and communicate better with others. And while becoming a good writer does take time and practice, there are a few things that you can do to improve your writing immediately. 

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The 20 minute practice that will help you get more done each week

Over the last nine months or so, I’ve started doing something at the end of each week that has totally changed how much I’m able to get done over the course of the next seven days, both at work and at home. A Weekly Review doesn’t take much more than 20 or 30 minutes to do — but it gives me focus and momentum going into the next week that I just wouldn’t have otherwise. Since it’s made such a difference for me, I thought I’d share my process in the hope that it’ll give you some ideas for how you can make this idea work for you!

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