As a creative entrepreneur, when you feel stuck in a rut or bored with your business, what's the FIRST thing you immediately want to do to get excited about your biz again?
I think it’s only natural that we want to update “our look” as our business evolves, just like it’s only natural that we want to evolve our sense of style as we get older.
(As someone who REALLY had a rough time during the low-rise jeans craze in middle and high school, I’m grateful for this fact.)
Yes, ushering your brand into the present is a good thing.
However, there are times when I see entrepreneurs or bloggers or business owners completely overhauling the look of their brand or website every six months to a year, and I think that could be a big mistake.
Brands build over time.
TIME is a crucial part of the magic. Seeing brand elements used consistently over time is when they start to have staying power in the minds of your audience.
The more time that goes by, the more your audience feels like they know you. They’re comfortable with you. They get you.
If you switch things up too much on them, while it may serve you well in the short-term by giving you a boost in attention to your business, beyond that buzz is just a community that has to get to know you all over again.
So, all that said, here are my quick rules for knowing WHEN a brand or website re-design is a good move.
(And keep in mind, I’m talking about a pretty major overhaul, not just adding a new section to your blog sidebar or switching out your body font.)
1. Update your website if the primary objective of your website has changed.
If you don't have a primary objective for your website... you should!
It helps to know what you're trying to accomplish because that will inform the layout and design for your site.
For example, about eight months in to Made Vibrant, I wanted to get serious about taking on more client work, and so the primary objective for my site was to create more inbound design leads. That's it.
I made that the focus on the home page and called out my services throughout various parts of the site, not to mention the fact that I consolidated my three separate Wordpress sites into one Squarespace site so that all of my blog traffic would flow directly to my design services.
Eight months after that, my primary objective changed again. Made Vibrant evolved from a client service business into a products & resources business.
That's a pretty big shift in both audience and message, so I had to update my site to reflect that new objective.
But, two website re-designs in less than two years can feel like a lot for the exact reasons I mentioned above. That's why I deliberately left parts of my brand in tact during those transitions.
The logo, the keystone pattern, and the overall vibrant tone of the brand remained consistent, keeping things familiar and comfortable. That helped usher my community through the process of those various website re-designs/brand updates.
2. Update your brand if you feel it no longer accurately reflects the personality of you or your business.
I am not just an advocate for unique branding; I'm an advocate for authentic branding.
I believe your website and brand is your opportunity to communicate who you are and what you're about to your audience. It's your chance to attract the right kind of people, people that see you and your business for who they really are. That's why it's so important that the design reflects your true sense of self.
Let's say you're a photographer who has been shooting weddings for the past five years and your brand has been all romance and fairytales, but now you feel like maybe if you look at another dang piece of white cake you might just SCREAM... well then, yeah, in that case it's time to move on from romance and fairytales. That's not your vibe anymore, it isn't coming from a sincere place, and so that's your cue that it's the right time for an update.
3. Update your brand/site if you feel your current look and feel is affecting your confidence.
The first two reasons have more to do with how branding can help you when it comes to other people (your audience/community, etc.)
But what I don’t think gets talked about nearly enough is the other, less obvious reason for having a quality brand: that it makes you feel good.
Now, I don’t mean to make it overly simple. It’s just that in business, confidence is so important.
Being able to tell someone what you do, what you believe in, and who you want to help with conviction is the key to getting someone on board with your mission. And if you don’t have a brand or a website that you’re proud of, you may not feel so compelled to share your business with the world.
If you feel like your current website or brand is preventing you from projecting confidence in your mission or business, then by all means throw every other rule out the window and invest the time to change it.
BONUS RULE: Being bored with your branding is not a good enough reason to change it.
If you're changing your branding or website, either you're a) a designer, in which case you're investing a lot of time and energy or b) you're hiring someone, in which case you're investing time, energy AND money.
You owe it to yourself and your business to make sure those investments are worth it.
Feel like your vibe doesn't suit your tastes or reflect your true self anymore? By all means, change something.
Want to update your typography or add some fun graphic elements that reflect a new skill (eh hem, hand-lettering…), okay awesome! Go right ahead!
BUT, please, please do not just overhaul the thing because you’re bored.
Spend that time and energy on reaching your business goals and give your brand the time it needs to start working for you.
Think about which of the above three rules applies to you and your creative business.
Is it time to rethink the objective of your website or update your brand? Do you feel confident in your branding and what it's communicating to your audience?
Do a little audit and ask yourself why you do or don't feel the need to give things a facelift right now.
And, of course, if you ARE feeling justified in the need for a brand refresh and need a resource to walk you through it, consider joining us in the course.
Here's your TL,DR quick reference guide.
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