The Simple and Smart SEO Show

SEO Simplified: Strategy and Websites w/Stephanie O'Keefe

November 08, 2023 Season 2 Episode 77
SEO Simplified: Strategy and Websites w/Stephanie O'Keefe
The Simple and Smart SEO Show
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The Simple and Smart SEO Show
SEO Simplified: Strategy and Websites w/Stephanie O'Keefe
Nov 08, 2023 Season 2 Episode 77

Want to grow your visibility through strategic websites and SEO strategy? 

You'll love today's episode with guest Stephanie O'Keefe!

Key Takeaways:

Stephanie emphasized that understanding SEO requires an understanding of your target audience and their journey.

  • It's challenging to explain SEO, especially to those unfamiliar with technology.
  • Working in SEO changes one's perspective towards online shopping.

SEO is essential for online visibility and involves understanding who you help and how you help them.

  • The way you explain SEO can shift depending on who you're talking to and where they are in their brand journey.
  • Brand messaging and content creation is a key part of  anSEO strategy.

Determine clear goals for each page on a website.

  • Start with a simplified design and then evolving by adding  pages as needed.
  • Facilitate a smooth customer journey through user experience in web design.
  • Have up-to-date and relevant content on your website.

Heat map trackers can help you audit user behavior on your website.

  • Hotjar helps you review interactions on your website.
  • Visual cues play a vital role to create trust and impart personality to the brand. 

Top tips for a great website:

  • Show your face!
  • Include your face on your website to build trust.
  • Clarify their goals and expectations while hiring a website designer.

Connect with Steph:
Self-guided website audit
Darrell’s Case Study

Leah Bryant

Send me a text!

The Growth Gear
Explore business growth and success strategies with Tim Jordan on 'The Growth Gear.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

This Is Propaganda
Challenging marketers' delusions about the cultural impact of our work. A WEBBY winner!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

Search the Simple and Smart SEO Show podcast for something you heard! It's free!

Apply to be my podcast guest! 🎙️ Don't forget to Put your pitch topic in the subject line!

Start your Shopify Store!
Get Carry (formerly Ocho): the best retirement resources for entrepreneurs!

If you make a purchase using some of my links, I make a little money.
But I only ever share products, people, & offers I trust & use myself!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Want to grow your visibility through strategic websites and SEO strategy? 

You'll love today's episode with guest Stephanie O'Keefe!

Key Takeaways:

Stephanie emphasized that understanding SEO requires an understanding of your target audience and their journey.

  • It's challenging to explain SEO, especially to those unfamiliar with technology.
  • Working in SEO changes one's perspective towards online shopping.

SEO is essential for online visibility and involves understanding who you help and how you help them.

  • The way you explain SEO can shift depending on who you're talking to and where they are in their brand journey.
  • Brand messaging and content creation is a key part of  anSEO strategy.

Determine clear goals for each page on a website.

  • Start with a simplified design and then evolving by adding  pages as needed.
  • Facilitate a smooth customer journey through user experience in web design.
  • Have up-to-date and relevant content on your website.

Heat map trackers can help you audit user behavior on your website.

  • Hotjar helps you review interactions on your website.
  • Visual cues play a vital role to create trust and impart personality to the brand. 

Top tips for a great website:

  • Show your face!
  • Include your face on your website to build trust.
  • Clarify their goals and expectations while hiring a website designer.

Connect with Steph:
Self-guided website audit
Darrell’s Case Study

Leah Bryant

Send me a text!

The Growth Gear
Explore business growth and success strategies with Tim Jordan on 'The Growth Gear.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

This Is Propaganda
Challenging marketers' delusions about the cultural impact of our work. A WEBBY winner!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

Search the Simple and Smart SEO Show podcast for something you heard! It's free!

Apply to be my podcast guest! 🎙️ Don't forget to Put your pitch topic in the subject line!

Start your Shopify Store!
Get Carry (formerly Ocho): the best retirement resources for entrepreneurs!

If you make a purchase using some of my links, I make a little money.
But I only ever share products, people, & offers I trust & use myself!

This transcript has been machine-generated and has not been fully edited for errors.


Introduction and Welcoming Guests

All right. Welcome back to the Simple and Smart SEO show. Today we have another fun guest for you. We have Stephanie O'Keefe, who I've actually worked with by way of case studies, if you're going to get into, and our mutual friend Leah Bryant.

And Crystal and Steph and I were just talking about living in North Carolina and growing a business. And oh, and they both also have teaching backgrounds. Before I get too far off on a tangent, Crystal and Steph, say hi. 


Hey, good morning. 

And this is why I prep people like when they show up, I'm like, we keep it really conversational.

Cause I'm just going to go off this way and then we'll bring you back. 

Getting to Know Stephanie O'Keefe

so Steph, tell us a little bit about you do web design. I have you are one of the first people that when someone is designing a Squarespace site or WordPress site, I'm like, Oh my gosh, go talk to Steph. 

Yeah, absolutely. So I am Steph.

I am the owner and founder of Southern Creative. So we help online service based brands grow their visibility online through, strategic websites and SEO strategy. 

And she's really good at it. I can attest to this. 

Discussing SEO and Its Importance

So one of the questions I love asking our guests is, and there's no wrong answer, but How do you describe SEO when a stranger or a client is like asking you questions?

what's your best way to explain that to them? Yeah. Oh, 

so that's a good question. so essentially SEO is 

Understanding SEO from a User's Perspective

how people are able to find you. So the words that someone can type into Google or ask Google, ask Siri, and it's what is, Pulling up in those results. So SEO is just those words that you, how, who you help, how you help them and, the services all around encompassing that.

So yeah, in a nutshell, more or less perfect. 

Yeah. You sound like me. Like I hear B, B has like her like solid tagline and I'm just in constant iteration of what is SEO? How many different words can I put together? 

Yeah, for sure. And I think it's constantly shifting and changing. It depends on who specifically you're chatting to as well, where they are in their brand journey.

Cause as you both know, like it's constantly shifting and evolving within their strategy. 


Exploring the Challenges of Explaining SEO

And then even what you're hitting on is even like the, who you're talking to, like the three of us could geek out about it. But someone who's like very unfamiliar, actually had a perfect example.

Last week I called my grandma, she turned 90 and I'm talking with her and a couple of my uncles and an aunt and they're, I'm on speakerphone with them in Indiana and they're like, so what do you do now that you're not doing massage? And I was like, Oh gosh, how do I explain this? So the first thing I came up with is, I was like, and I'm not sure how familiar they are with technology.

So I was like, how basic can I make this? 

The Importance of Website Words and Online Visibility

I was like, website words, like I write those for people and I help businesses get found online and they're like, oh, okay. So I was like, I nailed it. Yeah. 

I still feel like it's like foreign to most people though, unless like they're really in it. Yeah, exactly.

The Impact of SEO on Online Shopping

now that I've been in it as well, I look at search completely different. And one of the things like I've had a brand photo shoot recently. Which is just like transformed my life. But these girls put makeup on me and be knows I hardly ever wear makeup. And so I loved how the makeup looked. And I was like, I think I want to learn how to put on makeup. And so I'm searching and I'm telling you, there are people on Tik TOK. Who are giving these amazing tutorials and recommending certain brands of makeup. 

But I went to one of their sites because I was like, okay, this is cool. But the person on tik tok didn't list the product name. 

So I had to go to the website and try to figure it out. makeup is to me like SEO is to your grandmother. You know what I mean? 

So I'm trying to figure out like what these products are and I'm like, what an opportunity. And they didn't even have any content on their website about the makeup.

I'm like, how easy would this have been? Because I'm like, okay, best, moisturizer, highlighter for Brown skin. What color of. concealer do I get? You know what I mean? I couldn't figure it out on the website. 

So I had to leave and go back to TikTok, and now I'm like in that search phase.

Yes, exactly. 

Yes. And now everybody on TikTok is here's all the videos showing up with the makeup tutorials. 

It's nice that they were adding in that SEO keyword. 

The Role of SEO in Social Media Platforms

Into all of the social media platforms. Because I think that's going to continue to help just like the basic understanding of what SEO is, that keyword research and how it can really help you gain that visibility.

Yeah. And not to stick on Tik Tok too long. But okay, first of all, if you're on Tik Tok and you're doing tutorials. 

The Importance of Listing Products in Online Tutorials

List the products. Even if you say I have an Amazon store or whatever, I don't even know how to get to an Amazon shop from Tik TOK. 

So that's another thing I have to figure out. But just make it super easy.

Like however you link it in there, but especially if you're demoing products, list the product names, the girls that do that. I'm like, Oh, I'm going to follow her because she makes it so easy. 

And it made me think with SEO and just our own product descriptions and stuff on our websites. It's Just make it so easy. 

You know, like what's the next step? And I was like, Oh my gosh, it just made my brain go. 

The Power of SEO in Driving Sales

And the last thing I want to say about TikTok, someone bought off one of my videos last week in TikTok. 

That's so exciting. That's awesome. 

So she liked my video. I could see her full name or whatever.

She came through, abandoned cart. And then I called her, emailed her to follow up about whatever. And, we ended up talking and, I could connect those dots and Shopify did not give credit. To TikTok for that click. Oh. 

But because I saw her like my video and then come through and we had the conversation, I knew she came from TikTok.

So. Crazy. 

That's amazing. That's awesome. And yes, definitely I think there's a huge missed opportunity with people not pulling that video into a blog post. 

And listing out those products and listing out all of those questions that we are all typing and finding their videos for. And taking that next step.

. Yeah. Because if I'm a business owner, why wouldn't I want to pull that content onto my own website? like even if I'm a huge company. 

Like whatever cosmetic company it was, I'm not even going to say what it was. But if I'm a huge company, why wouldn't I want that traffic coming directly to me?

those girls would probably be like, cool, put my stuff on your website. give me a box of products or not or whatever. 

But yeah. 

Yeah. So I've actually been doing some market research this week and this is going to, this is going to tie into this. And I've been asking people, first of all, are you ask, are you most, how did I say it?

Let me just find the thing. Are you struggling more with SEO or content marketing? And it's been really neck and neck with content creation and marketing edging out a little bit more. But the thing that I'm seeing the most, and this was shocking to me. And then initially it wasn't, I was like, Oh wait, I'm doing this too.

So being consistent. With content creation. Time and energy. Not feeling like anyone cares what I have to say, integrating it into a current process. I already have perfectionism, consistency, time showed up. 

The Importance of Content Creation in SEO

I can't like 15 times, but it's really funny because if we think about creating content and I know we'll bring this back to websites and webpages and web design. But if I think about just the time that I spend on creating content for like Instagram or the podcast. it's a time commitment.

Why am I not then going and putting it on my website? Because I'm making it a bigger hurdle over there? So that's actually why I'm like relaunching the I have an email course about blogging with SEO. Because I'm like I need to do this Clearly like other people want to do. Yeah 

Yeah, it's huge and I coach that with my clients as well as starting with that macro piece So either a blog or podcast and like Really keen into your main keyword that topic is going to be about that blog post or podcast and then slowly like coming in more narrow so from that blog post having five or six like Tick tocks or reels and posts and a Pinterest and having it all funnel back to your website ultimately Because it just yeah It just makes that effort that we're already putting in and helps us to not have to recreate the wheel constantly 

 Okay, so I want to take a moment to plug my own self here because I have this strategic workshop that I have that not a lot of people know about probably because I never talked about it because, we never talk about our stuff.

 but I do. it is now on my website so people can search for it. Yay. Okay. But I wanted to talk to you like I had already wrote this down. let's talk about fundamental website strategy. 

Because I get the idea of like macro content or The big piece of content and then breaking it down for social media. But if we even came back a little bit further like with the whole like building of the website and having an actual strategy. 

To start with at the high level that then we write blog content for. And then we break that down into social media content.

Can we talk about that a little bit? Like how you create like this overarching strategy? Because I feel like almost everybody has started from the social media side and then it's trying to piece off, take all the little pieces and put it back together and put it on their website. 

But what would it look like to do it the opposite way?

Yeah, that's an awesome question. And that's where I have seen that gap too of people starting, especially in this like new age of a lot of, like influencers really starting on Tik Tok and Instagram, and then be like, Oh wait, what do they do next? what happens once they click off of Instagram. 

Which it's amazing seeing all of these entrepreneurs really getting started on this platforms, but then thinking of what happens next.

So I definitely try to find and help support brands who are starting, and still working on building that following. 

But starting with their website first. and it comes in phases. So I would say to start at that strategy of really breaking down the purpose of your website ultimately. so when a client or like a prospect lands on your website What do you ultimately want them to do?

Are they buying a product? Are they buying a course? Are they booking a discovery call with you? Is it an informational blog or is it like a service? So really ultimately like honing in on what that looks like. For that specific brand. And sometimes it's multiple things. Sometimes, they have a one on one service, they have a course, they have a podcast.

So really, we break it down into the tiers. So ultimately, if you have a podcast, ultimately, typically, they're still trying to, help funnel those prospective clients into one of those other buckets. So looking at a macro bird's eye view of what the ultimate goal is. 

And then from there, we break down the pages of, okay, so these are the pages, this, homepage, our goal is to get them to this next secondary page. depending on what ultimately their goal is. If it's say for example, a online service provider who sells one on one, coaching, on that homepage, the goal is typically to build trust that know, like, and trust. 

Really, identify through the words on the website, who it is that they serve, what offers they provide, and getting them to that next page where they can learn ultimately about that service and that coaching. 

and then having those secondary pieces like a blog or podcast episodes that are really helping to educate clients. Because oftentimes, as most people, in our world of SEO, know. 

Is how a client describes. What they are needing and what they actually are needing are very different things. And so having those blog posts really help our podcast or whatever that macro piece is and how you're educating really helps to hit on those different layers of like peeling back the onion and really getting to the root of that service or product that you offer.

I've got a 

follow up question to go back a little bit to what you were saying before with keyword research. So that trips up so many people and it's also one of the earlier, steps in the process. 

How do you guide someone through that or do you have any tips or any just like quick hitting things?

Yeah, I think it ultimately comes back to knowing who it is that you're serving. And I think oftentimes we.

Just in general, people make things more complicated than it needs to be. It just feels like we, like this is too simple. We need to complicate it, but it really, it's ultimately who it is that you're serving. How you're serving them and paying attention to those words that are coming into your inbox or your email, your DMs. How your clients are talking on discovery calls and, asking questions and Facebook groups or Instagram comments.

So like keying into those phrases that are coming up. Consistently and then pulling that into that keyword research. 

And from there, of course, taking that next step and seeing, what phrases are actually being searched consistently. So using tools like Ubersuggest or answer the public or even just Google search or Pinterest and searching and seeing what comes up and using that as a springboard. 

and I like that you mentioned paying attention to the words that come into your space because that's actually where I start with people is like, what is the social proof? What are we seeing here? Because you don't have to start from a blank page. 

Exactly. And we don't have to start from like a layer of that expert because it's not, people aren't searching all of these very technical words.

They're searching very basic questions and seeing where we can go from there. 


The Role of Brand Messaging in SEO

So another thing that I think I learned in 2023 that just changed my perspective of SEO was just that concept of a brand message. 

And we had Emma Boshart on a few weeks ago. 

I'm absolutely in love with her and everything she puts out. like I tell her almost every week. 

But, I never thought about how to infuse that brand message. 

Not only through my website, but then on through social media.

So is that something that you help your clients hone a little bit as well, or where does that fit into the website creation process for you? 

Yeah. Yeah. Great question. 

So we do offer a brand strategy package at the beginning of the process where we hit on the visual and then also the brand voice side of everything.

So that's where that brand messaging comes into play is in that brand voice package. 


Because I don't know if I told you this, B, but after we talked to Emma, she had this, the freebie that she had, in that episode, I went and downloaded it. 

And of course, questions, beget questions over here with Crystal.

So then one of my other friends sent me some chat GPT prompts and I started asking, Jasper questions related to brand messaging. 

And I ended up creating this like 80 page brand guide in a day. You want to talk about ADD, hyper focus. I was like, get out of my way. I'm doing this thing today. And it was amazing.

Like I can pull straight out of it to write a post about any product that I make. 

And I'm starting to put it on my different product pages. And after that Shopify summit, I was like, Oh my gosh. This is how you get word count on your page. 

Because one of my clients was like, look, I get it with the word count needs to be higher on product pages or whatever, but my gosh, I can't write any more about this.

You know what I mean? And I was like, Oh, this is such a simple fix. just putting a section on your product page full of your brand messaging related to that product. And I'm going back through my website. 

And it's just like falling in love with what I do all over again, because of the stories of the people and why I create what I create, all that type of stuff.

So I wanted to throw that out there because that brand strategy part is what's missing for so many of us. 

We, take action. Yeah. I get going, but then you got to think about like how it all fits together. 

Absolutely. And it's constantly like evolving. 

Yeah. And case studies might be a good thing that you could do from the product because I've had that question come up a lot too is are case studies good only for service providers or do they apply also to like product sellers?

I'm like, no, this is definitely a good thing because you can get into the, here's why I created it. Here's so and so they ordered this prop for their kid's senior year photo shoot. 

So we have to do that episode before the end of 2023. 

Like how to do case studies for a product seller for like your tips.

Yeah, that would be super cool.

 We got to schedule that in. Okay, to bring us back to Steph though. 

The Importance of Website Strategy in SEO

Having that, again, like that, know, and trust for. Especially in this day and age, people are going to Tik Tok and Instagram to like, see. 

I know that's one of the first things I do when I'm looking for a new product is I go search it and see what other people are saying.

Because like we grew up in the era of just like false marketing. And so we have grown to really trust what other people like us are saying to really get that true result. 

To see if it's is this a legit product or not? yeah. yeah, for sure. 

And I think the stat is something like, I'm sure it's higher than this by now, but the stat that I have quoted for years is that 88 percent of people trust online reviews equal to that of going and asking a friend or family member.

And this is playing out in my life. Even this morning, right before we got on here as on Voxer, because Two people have said, okay. 

So and so is opening this program. I saw your testimonial on the sales page. Give me, oh, wait, it was a really good line. What did they say? Hold on. I have to say this out loud because I was just like, talk about, word gold, where is it?

Here it is. I need a real life testimonial. 

That's what case studies are. They're like a real life air quote testimonial because people want more information. We want to go see the testimonials. We want to see the reviews. We want to see the quick hits. But we also want to dive deep and what was this experience?

Can I try before I buy the thing? I want to really understand it and picture it before I make that purchase. 


Oh my gosh. So that reminds me of another thing that just been like a paradigm shift in my mind. That whole like thing, okay. Or know, like, and trust.

I used to always think that know, like, and trust had to do with, Hey, get to know me, get to like me, get to trust me.

And there's like a Venn diagram, of this, where there's a piece of that. That's true. 

But even from what I'm hearing you guys say, what people want is they want to know what they're going to get. that's the "know", it's not necessarily I want to get to know you. It's I want to get to know the process.

I want to get to know the transformation. I want to get to know what I'm going to get out of it. That's the "know", right? 

And then the like. 

I think about like with the makeup and stuff too, do I like how that looks on her skin? do I like how that turned out for them?

that's the like. It's not, do you like me as a person? 

And I think for so long, I thought that, and I'll tell you the best example I can give of this is a heart surgeon. Because my dad has had a couple of heart people and he's not a huge fan of because he's very happy, friendly man and some heart surgeons just don't want to have a conversation.

But, when my mom had brain surgery, my dad was complaining about this to the nurse there. 

And the nurse said, Do you want a doctor, a surgeon that's competent, or do you want, a friendly surgeon? if you had to choose which, It's yeah, in a dream world you'd have both. 

But I'll take the competent one, okay?

over his bedside manner. 

Myself over here, I'm like, no, I would like both, please. And my mom got really lucky with her surgeon when she was going through all of her, breast cancer stuff. 

And, it's hard. to find both. And I come from the healthcare background and it's really hard to find both.

And when people would comment about that with the chiropractors I worked with, or like even my stuff being a massage therapist, I was like, why is this such a fantastic thing for you? this doesn't happen with other people. 

Yeah. I had one chiropractor that I loved and she was amazing. She has amazing bedside manner and did an amazing job.

And then the guy that took her place. I did not really like him or enjoy being around him. 

But he was an amazing chiropractor. So I was like, ah, just go, 

what I mean? But like the amazing ones who have that good bedside manner and like really build that relationship are the ones that you want to keep going back to.

Yeah. Like it's the same for like online brands. Like when you have a good experience, that's the ones that like you think of Oh, I have to recommend Brittany. I have, like you have to go see this person because not only do you trust, like you're going to get that quality of result, that it's a good experience as well. 

Yeah. And that's actually, I really hadn't thought about it until you guys just started talking about this, but this is my big why of like why I started doing this. I started doing the copywriting because I was noticing other people were asking me like, Hey, will you help me with this thing?

And I'm like, Oh sure. no sweat. And then I learned about SEO and I was like, I can help you get found faster and like actually play matchmaker over here, like along with Google and other search engines. And because that's the thing. We want to shout the people out that are amazing. We want to build them up and get them found and have all of our people that we care about, or even people that we don't know that we care about.

We want to funnel them to the good ones. Yeah. 

It's a weird mix, but you have to have it now as an online business owner. If you're going to grow and you're going to stay around, I think you have to have both.

Absolutely. It's like that feeling like when you, if online business, online websites, it's like bringing it back to when you walk into a boutique or a local store, like how those people feel. 

Like we as consumers know exactly like when you walk in somewhere and you're like, this is not my place.

or Oh my gosh, I just want to pull up a chair and sit and spend my entire day here. 

So like that feeling, and bringing it through the brand voice and bringing it through the content and photos. Like you said, you had brand photos. Like having those elements all coming together to create this just full experience.

But then it goes on deeper to, the emails that are being sent behind the scenes. 

And like the DMS or voice messages, like it really unravels into a full just experience. 

And that's what you, you as a web designer, you really bring that experience to life. So one question I had for you that I haven't asked yet is What's a mistake that you see being made often when it comes to web design?

And maybe even with the experience, just not bringing it to life or something. 

Yes, I think, the biggest mistake that I started to see through my experience was like, wait a minute, like these brands have beautiful websites now.

But now what, like what happens next?

and that was happening second. And I was seeing that with fellow web designers, we have these beautiful websites, but then, you What happens next? And so pausing and saying, Okay, what's like pieces are we missing at the end? And what can we really bring in towards that brand strategy process?

Because with that brand strategy, we are doing those research and keywords. What is it? 

The Role of User Experience in Web Design

This brand stands for what? services, do they want to be known for? We're still doing that keyword phase, but bringing it in full circle. 

Into what is this one page, the goal, what keyword do we want to focus on? What's that meta description of bringing it into that full process.

So I would say just taking that moment to really get to know exactly what that goal is of those pages. And then crafting the whole website around, around that. So that. That would be my biggest mistake that I see happening, often. 

Yeah, I actually redid three main pages, which I think ended up being five main pages, because I rethought my services page.

But like I did that this year because I was so tired of being Not excited to send my website to someone. And it's still just like my design. It's okay. It, I get compliments on it, but being able to hire someone like you to really elevate the brand is definitely like on my bucket list, but yeah, it.

Takes a little bit of just like making yourself, what's the phrase I've heard a lot recently, like slowing down to speed up. 

And then also like being okay with the phases, right? Yeah. I don't recommend to someone who's just started out to have, a 10 page website.

and I actually recently started just, it's called Scalable Sites. It's a one page website. Yeah. with that foundation. So we have like really dial in. Dialed in that keyword for your main page. 

We have a way for clients to contact you. And then as you get to know your client's needs and who it is that you're wanting to serve and how your services shift, then you can add on those additional pages. 

But really being okay starting in that beginning phase and then adding on additional pages.

And then, before you know it, you'll have a very robust website, but just being okay starting in those phases. 

I love that. Cause I started, that's one thing that I started doing this year is like a lot of people were contacting me for one page websites and I was like, this is amazing.

Yes, of course. Because it's just like you said, it makes sense because then you can, it can grow with you. 

Yes, absolutely. 

The problem for e commerce is that we can't have one page website. So I'm like, what would you tell, how would you adjust that approach for an e commerce seller? 

Oh, that's a great question.

So I have only worked with a handful of e commerce. I work more closely with like course creators. but still obviously selling a product. 

I would just say it's okay to be simplified, being okay with having maybe less products on that. 

In their product pages, just setting up those foundations to like that main home page, having that product page and in the cart page and really simplifying it and then growing in the content creation and adding in the blog content and being okay with having those chunked out into the phases.

I wanna make a comment here because I sold on Etsy for years before I started my Shopify store. and Etsy, you're rewarded for constantly renewing your listings. And you duplicate listings, you copy those listings, and pretty soon you just have this cluster of a website or the Etsy shop of all of these listings. 

and when I very first started my Shopify store, there was an option of, okay, you can just copy what's going on Etsy into your Shopify store.

And then, my fingers hovering over the trackpad, because it seems like it's an easy button, right? 

But then I thought to myself, do I like the way my Etsy shop is set up? No, I think about it all the time. I'm like, no, it's a cluster. 

It's just a hot mess express. I want something different.

I want something so much cleaner over on my Shopify store. 

So I did, I had to crucify my ego a little bit. He was like, I have to start with one product at a time to do it how I want to do it. 

Because otherwise I'm going to end up with the same mess on the Shopify site that I have over on Etsy.

And thankfully Etsy's got the built in search engine to where that will work. Okay. Over there.

But on my website, that's trying to just fight for traffic. We have to be a lot more intentional as B would say, so I think that's really great advice and, to throw it out there, Shopify store owners also have to have a privacy policy page.

They also have to have like terms of service and different policy pages that are requirements. Because especially if you want to, go out and sell on Facebook or TikTok or Instagram shops, those type of things, it's a requirement, to have those pages. So that can be a little bit overwhelming, to get started, but aside from that.

I totally agree with you. Yes. 

I do want to say piggybacking off of that. All of my one page websites also have those like required pieces. 

Because they are definitely even for like online service providers. Of course, if you're collecting any type of intake form having that privacy policy in terms of conditions, I use and recommend Termageddon.

I'm not sure of that for privacy policies. night. You go on and answer the questions and it auto generates, policies, and then it will update as privacy laws and things like that change. I can't speak to it from the product side, but as far as the service, provider side.

 Oh, that's cool. I have a friend of mine, Nicole Sherry Oden that I ended up getting templates from, but I've never heard of Termageddon.

Yeah. Yeah. It's I think it's a 12 a month. something like that, 120 a year to just have it running on the backside. So once you add the code on your website, it just will automatically pull, like the new year and things like that into it. 

So super cool. That's one of the reasons why I love Shopify because they have those built in policy templates. 

But! Don't forget to modify the templates, people!

Please change the year on the website.

And not just the year, but it will say insert company name here. 

The Importance of Brand Strategy in Web Design

Go ahead and insert your name.

 Don't just use as is. And it's boring to read. 

Super long, but you do need to read it so that you can make sure...

Yeah, that's a mistake I see when, brands DIY their websites is they forget to check the links in their footer and it goes to a generic, main brands.

Like Instagram page or Tik TOK or, yeah, or square space. Yeah. 

Yeah. Yeah. Like a square space, holders, the placeholders. And then it's yeah. Okay. So I have a curve ball question for you. I think I didn't, we hadn't talked about this, but, the other thing that I have loved about all that we've learned over the last couple of years is just how, all of these things work together, including user experience. And so how does UX, and just that, making sure that things are flowing, how does that fit into your process? 

Yeah, so great question. So user experience is huge. Going back to that bird's eye view. So all of our website designs start in And Really being able to say, okay, these are the main five pages.

These are the goals and from a bird's eye view, looking to see where the layout of the buttons are, where the layout of the call to actions to help them get through, the initial design setup, and then on the backside of everything, installing a heat map tracker, like a hot jar. So we can constantly like audit and say, okay, people are getting stuck on this page or this button, what potentially could change or if we bring this up higher on the page and kind of, a website is constantly changing and evolving as your brand does and as your clients needs do. 

So just constantly keeping tabs on what is or is not working to. 

experience that. Yeah. Did you have anything because 

I know I can go a little bit?

No, my Instagram name is knowledge vomit because that's just what I do. I just start vomiting questions and facts and nonsense. but Okay. 

So Hotjar, I have a beef with Hotjar and I've told them this because I get a lot of traffic because I have a blog that is like killing it, right? Or as the Gen Z's would say, it's like slaying, right?

Is that correct? It slays every day. But the problem is Hotjar tells me that I run out of. 

The Role of Content in Web Design

Whatever you call that, when it looks at your website. 

Like it hits or whatnot, and I told them, I was like, I'm not big enough to afford your 200 a month plan.

And they said, you could get our free trial and, take a look at it for a couple of weeks. And I'm like, yes, that's a great idea, but I need the time. It has to be a time of the year where I can really focus. 

Which also sucks because it may not be the traffic that I really want to look at.

But I say all that to ask you when you're looking at those hot jar heat maps, where do you focus your time? So if I have a limited amount of time where I can really assess what's working and what's not, what do I do? 

So I have found I really love the heat map page So you can have the heat map or you have the screen recording.

So the screen recordings I typically recommend watching like a handful of them. 

And then like setting it to say skip an activity and it is interesting watching so like The traditional person will scroll just directly to the bottom of your website. 

And it's most of the time, that's exactly what everyone does.

They just do the full homepage, scroll to the footer, and then they'll pop back up to something that may be, uh, or sometimes they just click. the footer things. It's interesting seeing people will go to the privacy policies and terms of conditions a lot. So it is interesting to see what people are doing.

but then I recommend going back over to the heat mapping. 

And that takes the culmination of all of those screen experiences. And it shows you where things are clicked most often on your website. 

And you can get an idea for that. And I, so I typically recommend taking a look at that more from an analytical side of the heat mapping versus sitting here watching hours of the screen recordings. 

Because it condenses all of it into that and going off of what you were saying with, How many, getting those, all of the recordings versus just like a test of the recordings.

I typically recommend just the free version of Hotjar for my clients. 

Because we can get in this like over analyst, like you, you pause, you, it takes too much time. 

You don't actually have time to like really make those changes or reflect on it. So just taking that handful that you are given and just 

to take that because typically you'll have that, that average of where people are either getting stuck or maybe not.

 or they're flowing, to take that into consideration. 

I learned about rage clicks from hot jar, and. We've all experienced it, right? 

Okay. rage clicks are when, somebody wants to click a button and then they click it and nothing happens. And so pretty soon they're like... Going super Hulk smash on their mouse.

Get it to work out. And so I thought, Oh, that's really interesting. And so I love the idea of understanding like where people are getting frustrated on my site. So that was something that I wanted to watch out for. but even as you're talking, I'm thinking these are ways to just really infuse your personality too.

Because if somebody is going to like terms of conditions page. 

I'm just like, I would love to put something at the top that's what are you doing over here? You nervous, or 

something silly, something stupid or like a 

video or something to say, Hey, don't worry. I'm a real person. You know what I mean?

There's just ways to get them back on track. 

Yeah. So I thought that was funny. And even just the whole scrolling down to the bottom of the page. 

Again, I just want to add to my website, did you get lost at the top of the page? 

The Importance of Visuals in Web Design

I don't know, something funny or clever, just to reassure people that there's a human being behind the machine.

And it's not just all data and policies and all that type of stuff. 

Yeah, for sure. For sure. And it's so hard to know in this day and age because there's so many Like copycat brands out there. There's so many unfortunately like scammers and just it is I'm so important. That's why I talked to my clients too about is having Your face on your website. So that you can build again going back to that note like a trust like you are a human and you're like A person outside of the company and the brand. And like your team and whatever that entails Yeah, 

Crystal, for anyone not watching the video, Crystal pointed at me because that's like such a soapbox thing for me.

It's put your face on there because, yeah, thinking back to where I started, I was a massage therapist. 

And I had several clients who moved or they would go on vacation and they would want to book with a new massage therapist. 

And it's really intimidating and they didn't always know what to look for and they're like, I like you help me find you over in Texas. 

Or help me find you in Hawaii when I'm visiting.

I'm like, okay. So I would do some internet research trying to find another massage therapist and it. Because especially with such therapy or any kind of like health care thing, like where you are seeing someone in person, you're agreeing to spend a decent chunk of time and a decent chunk of money with someone you want to know, do I like them and is, as, So what's vain as it might sound. Being able to see someone and see if you vibe with them, even just like the style of their photos, or are they being goofy?

Do you want someone who's goofy? Do you want someone who's more reserved? 

Okay, so clearly I can go on a soapbox. So please make sure, two things, one, your face is on your website and two, that your year is updated in your footer. Thank you for coming to my TED talk. 

and I think you're so right to because we've talked about some of my massage experiences, which I won't go into detail here, but, and I'm about to have another one here shortly, but it's you don't know who your therapist is going to be like, if you're going to a place for the first time, it's they're coming out going crystal.

And I'm like, We're still ain't here, no, I'm just kidding. But it's like, depending on the person, I've never done that. But it would be so nice to be able to like, know who you're going to be working with, or who's going to be working with you. So I think that's just another level of, that trust that just makes you feel a little bit safer.

Yeah. And that comes up for me too. So this isn't just like non massage therapists, people who are like. . This is me too. I'm looking for that because it's how I would feel. Yeah. And if I would feel it, I know someone else is gonna feel that. Absolutely. 

And it comes into so like I, before I buy any product or anything. I am like reading the about page I hear about Page is like the second most commonly visited page.

because people want to see those like B-roll photos and to see what your values are. Because just, we typically like to buy for people who share similar . Values in life. yeah. 

The Role of SEO in Web Design

 Before I went to Shopify, I had a go daddy website. and when I was in social curator, that's where B and I met and somebody wanted to be kind, give me some feedback on my website.

And they're like, you need to put your face on your website. So I was like, okay, you sound like you know what you're talking about. Good, whatever. I take people's advice all the time. I don't care. and so I just trusted her cause she was part of the community or whatnot. And it was absolutely fine. She was right.

I needed to do that. But I put a, A family picture at the top of my website, like welcome to collage and wood, and then somebody else came along a little longer and was like, yeah, you might want to move that picture down the page a little bit, or whatever. And so it's just funny how you go through these iterations.

So it's okay, where do you put these things on your web? should I have a picture of myself on my homepage? And if so, where should it be? How big should it, what should be the biggest picture? what are your thoughts on those? 

Yeah, so I think I definitely am not a brand photographer. 

But I, from like the visual side of things typically recommend having brand photos that had like you in them where it's not just like a full on headshot of your face at the top.

So like having some of those more like stock, photos, styled photos. of you. 

Working with clients or making a product or, doing your thing that you specialize in. 

And having those photos interjected into, the homepage and then in your like micro about section on your homepage. Having that more that.

Forward facing headshot of you, there. So as people are scrolling to the footer, they like scroll past and see your face smiling. and so then they bump back depending on where they are in their buying process. Yeah. 

Yeah. I think back to that website and it was like, people probably got there and they were like, is this some sort of like family photo album that I came across? instead of a e commerce store.

It definitely comes into phases. My husband has a paint company in Raleigh and on his about page, we add our family portraits and that's something that he gets commented on a lot is, oh my goodness. Like we love seeing you and your family.

Cause again, it goes back to that know, like, and trust. 

The Importance of Knowing Your Audience in Web Design

It's this is a, a local business, a family and having that personality, and that trust that comes into seeing that. 


Okay. When we're looking for somebody that's competent. okay, say you're really nice, but I need to know that you're competent as well, to make my website.

What are some questions that a person should ask when they're looking for a website designer?

 I think asking and being more focused on what your goals are as the business owner. 

So as website designers, we all have like our specific platform. 

Our specific Kind of workflow that we have found to work really well for clients that we work with. 

But as that business owner like

so I think it's really important to be completely hands off? Do you want to hire someone to work with you to help support that? Do you want to be the one behind the scenes? Doing all of the updates, adding the blog posts, like all of those and figuring out what that looks like long term. also breaking down like long term goals of, okay, this is what your business looks like now.

Where do you hope it, hope it is growing to in a year or five years? I know that can. constantly shift and change, but someone who is really looking out for you as the business owner. instead of just saying you need to be on this platform and kind of, cause there are, there's so many wonderful platforms.

There are different needs and. Phase of business and, goals that would say like this, show it what might be the best bet or Squarespace or WordPress or Shopify. And it just depends on what ultimately the brands goals are and where they see their brand continuing to go down. 

Is there a resource anywhere that says, if you are this type of website, that one of those types of websites or builders are the best for you?


so I have a few blogs around it. I'm breaking course she does 

Thank goodness. Yeah comparing 

like the different types of platforms. If X, Y and Z, this might be the best fit for you. If X, Y and Z, then this might be the best for you and helping you see from a bird's eye view again where you may fit where those goals are.

and then of course, like I am passionate about WordPress just because I've seen how flexible and fluid that is. But it's not always the best fit. And so having going back to that question of having someone who's honest with you, Hey, This might not be the best fit for you. and having that honest conversation.

This is so good. Yeah. Yeah. I think you had one, an audit situation that people can go grab. 

Yeah. So I have a few, I have a kind of over, encompassing flow and user experience audit, breaking down all of those pieces, on your website. And then I also have a SEO, more like. piece that people can get to get that, more information on specifically like the SEO words that we're all throwing out there and getting to know what initial first steps they could take to, get started.

Perfect. And then where can people find you? 

Yeah, so I hang out over on Instagram. 

The Role of Keywords in Web Design

So @SouthernCreativeCo and then, of course, on my website. we are constantly releasing blog posts and resources over there at, southerncreativeco. com. 

Amazing. And I'm going to make sure that we link, Daryl's case study as well.

So it's something I can't remember if we said this. I bounced all over. I can't remember if we said this while we were recording or before, but I wrote the words for our friend Leah's case study and then Stephanie brought it to life. And it's gorgeous. I love pointing people to that one. So I'm just going to take 

this opportunity to do that again.

Yes, absolutely. Yes. Go check it out at leahbryantco. com yeah. It adds in all of those things that we've chatted through of that you'll like and trust in really seeing that end result of what could potentially be. With working with a service provider. 


Thank you so much for joining us. 

Yes, thank you so much Crystal and Brittany for having me.

It's been a pleasure. 

Of course. All right, we will talk with you soon. 

(Cont.) SEO Simplified: Strategy and Websites w/Stephanie O'Keefe
(Cont.) SEO Simplified: Strategy and Websites w/Stephanie O'Keefe