Welcome To Our New Home
In the words of awesome 80′s electronic band, OMD, how bizarre, how bizarre.
Here I am with a shiny new website at A Daring Adventure that I happen to think is awesome (and I hope you do too!) and my first post isn’t even written by me.
WTF is that all about?
Well it’s about this.
As I mentioned in my last post on success, Chris my designer has stepped up to the plate and done an amazing job with my new design.
As such I thought it fitting that he had the opportunity to talk to you guys and explain the reasons for the changes.
Then you should probably hire him too. But only if you need a website, because his singing sucks, and also only after he has finished redesigning Coach The Life Coach too!
Over to you Chris, and a HUGE thank you for all your hard work and patience!
“If you’re not upsetting someone, you’re not changing the status quo.” – Seth Godin
I’ve been given the opportunity to write the very first blog post to go live with Tim’s completely re-designed site, which I have now spent months working on up to this point.
And as I sit here typing these first words out, I am keenly aware that there will be hundreds, and likely even thousands over time, of people who dislike this new design and are upset to see the old one go.
This happens for two reasons. First off, the most obvious one is that people don’t like change.
As Tim points out so eloquently on the ‘Making Changes’ section of this new website, “Probably the greatest irony of life is that the one thing which is a constant is the one thing we often resist the most.”
The second is that we are all different. As Dita Von Teese once said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”
Pretty uplifting stuff, eh? And here you thought you might get another, “How we increased conversions by .38297% by changing the color of a button” blog post from the web guy.
So what’s the point of me saying all this? And what is the point of changing anything at all if you’re just going to piss off a bunch of people? Why don’t we all just settle and never stir anything up?
Because that’s not how life works.
It’s not how web design works, either.
Change is constant, and for the many who don’t like change or simply dislike this new design due to personal taste, there will be many more who love the progression of the site.
On top of that, even more that perhaps disliked the site before will now connect with the feel and message of the new design to where they want to stick around and come back.
Web design and self development
Beyond what I described above, I see a strong correlation between other areas of web design and self development.
Great design work is not just about how pretty a website is, or making sure there are buttons everywhere so that visitors are bombarded to share a blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, VKontakte, Reddit, Digg, FriendFeed, Myspace (just kidding),LinkedIn, and Newsvine.
Great design begins with self-expression and being honest, much like living a fulfilling life does too.
Just as I have to put myself out there with my design work, Tim has to put himself out there through the photos and stories for his business to stand out from the crowd and rise above the rest.
If you’re trying to change or achieve anything in your life, you will have to put yourself out there as well. If you are just trying to lead a happier life, or especially if you are trying to go into business for yourself, you can’t try to be everything to everyone.
Rather, you have to be very clear and honest about who you are and what your core values are, true about what you do in your own work and dealings with others, and also you must surround yourself with your type of people who support the real you.
That’s what Tim’s business is about, both in what he does with clients as well as how he presents himself publicly on this site, and that was the driving force to change the site to be more in tune with who he is as a person and a Life Coach.
So how does a website design correlate with being authentic?
Authenticity is what makes you stand out and allows someone to know if they are in the right place or not when they get to your webpage, just as being authentic when talking to people day-to-day allows you to connect with the right type of people you want in your life.
I believe that really great web design stems from showing the person or business candidly and conveying exactly who they are. I think that parallel extends to being successful when actually running the business, and your own life, as well.
When was the last time you really felt a great connection to someone who used a photo of themselves from a professional photo shoot in a studio, looking like they sell real estate with their huge smile that they had been holding to that point for 45 minutes?
Do you really think you connect well with that? Or, do you maybe instead connect better with someone who is genuinely smiling with supreme happiness playing with their dogs in their backyard?
Maybe you might connect with seeing that person holding their wife in a photo taken on a cruise they were on together?
Hell, how about a photo where, only a moment before, that person was using their phone sitting on a park bench, just before looking up and smiling as they see their wife taking a photo?
Those examples describe the three photos I used to design the “About” page you see on this site now.
This ideology of candidness and honesty permeates not only through this site’s design, but through how I live and I’m sure Tim would recommend this strategy as well for great living.
Success in just about every area of life is built upon the foundation of knowing who you really are, what you believe in, and what you stand for, and then going forward to show it off to the world.
You have to be you, and you have to be happy to be you. From there you will attract the right people and the right outcomes in your life.
There will always be people who dislike peaches in the same way as there will always be people who will pick up the Yellow Pages to find the cheapest, quickest, nearest etc..
That’s no reason to stay stagnant, avoid change, or settle in your life, because there are going to be way more people that love peaches.
I mean seriously, those little bastards (peaches that is – not yellow pages!) )are freaking delicious sliced up on some french toast with real maple syrup, some fresh whipped cream, and a little powdered sugar.
Let’s talk about being effective with the new A Daring Adventure
There are a few other areas that web design can tie into strategies for life, and while pretty aesthetics that convey an authentic message are one half of good design, I’d be remiss as a web designer if I didn’t talk about the other side which I find to be far more important: effectiveness.
To give a quick background on myself, I’ve spent about 15 years designing websites now, with a broad focus on internet marketing in the last 10 of those years, and then a serious amount of specialization in conversion the past 3 years or so.
The biggest problem I see when I look at websites nowadays is that designers and site owners don’t realize that people almost never care enough to spend time figuring out what to do or how the site benefits them.
Being effective and having your website work is the ultimate purpose of the website; it is NOT about the website being pretty in your opinion as the website owner or designer. As important as it is that the website looks good, it matters way more than the website fulfills a purpose.
Allow me to give you an example on the difference between being effective or ineffective when designing websites. I see this issue a lot with other life coaches’ sites and just people in general who run businesses on the internet.
On the homepage, I could have put down the following:
“Welcome to my website! My name is Tim Brownson, and I’m a Life Coach who specializes in getting people unstuck. At that point, I don’t know it yet, but you’ve already stopped reading because I’ve made this about me instead of you, my web visitor! It’s like it hadn’t even dawned on me that my business is about you instead of me, yet here I am leading off with a nice big wall of text talking about myself and expecting you to hang on every word I write!
Somewhere down below, I might get around to telling you what the benefit is for having stuck around this website up until this point. And after that I’m going to tell you to look at a completely different section on this webpage for the little entry box for you to hand over your name and email so that you can subscribe to my newsletter! That way you can get things just like this run-on paragraph in your email instead of only on this site! Awesome, isn’t it?! So go sign up now!!!”
Now I know that sounds pretty compelling and is seemingly effective, but instead I decided to convey this type of message instead:
“START GETTING UNSTUCK. YOU WON’T GET YOUR TIME WASTED BY WOO-WOO BULLSHIT. I’M JUST GOING TO PROVIDE YOU WITH AWESOME WAYS TO START LIVING BETTER, BECAUSE THIS IS ABOUT YOU.
AND NOW I’M GOING TO MAKE IT REALLY EASY FOR YOU TO GET THIS BENEFIT, BECAUSE THE ONLY THING STANDING OUT IS A NICE BIG ORANGE BUTTON THAT LET’S YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT ACTION I WANT YOU TO TAKE RIGHT NOW. HELL YEAH! DAMN STRAIGHT YOU’RE IN!”
Removing choices, directing people with easy to follow instructions, and making it about them is what makes a website effective.
Effectiveness and Willpower
Let’s bring this back around to self development. When you want to form a habit or make a change, what is the dumbest thing you can do? Rely on willpower.
To be effective in your own life, you have to similarly remove your reliance on willpower by removing choice.
A little over a year ago, I purchased an electric toothbrush. I tried using it once and hated it because it was different and I wound up slobbering a mixture of spit and toothpaste all over myself.
So despite me knowing the advantage of using such a toothbrush because 12 out of 10 dentists recommend them, my nice expensive electric toothbrush just sat there while my regular toothbrush was used, thrown away and replaced with another regular toothbrush, and then used more for most of the past year.
Clearly will-power wasn’t going to work here, so after lamenting to my wonderful fiancé how I paid for this expensive thing I never use, she had the bright idea to put all the regular toothbrushes in the cabinet under the sink.
Within three days, I started to actually enjoy the electric toothbrush more as my teeth felt cleaner and I never had to guess if I was brushing long enough.
What my fiancé did was make the electric toothbrush the only option. It became the only big, orange button in front of me, so I was directed to pushing it every time I arrived in my bathroom.
Increasing effectiveness is born from making life more simpler and removing choice.
If you want to increase customers, the answer is to make life more simple for them and remove choices and things they have to think about or decide on. If you want to start eating more healthy, the answer is to remove junk food where you don’t even have to make a choice because now you have carrot sticks and some tasty onion dip instead.
Good enough isn’t good enough…
One of the sayings that pops in my head when I design websites is,“Good enough isn’t good enough.”
This always happens when I run into that moment where I have a choice to make: I can leave something as it is to where the end result would simply be “good,” or I can put the extra effort in so that the job is done right.
One thing I decided to do was to embed all of Tim’s videos into a giant section of the website, which then had all the videos categorized, as opposed to just putting up a link to his YouTube page.
If you look at that Videos section on Tim’s site, the bottom of each page has a navigation menu to get around to the different categories of videos. The navigation menu changes as you go from page to page.
This isn’t something done automatically by the site, and if I hadn’t pointed this out to you now, you probably would never even notice the detail.
That also happens to be another hallmark of great design: it gets out of the way to where you don’t notice when it is good, because you always notice when it is bad.
Now a programmer would come along with an elegant solution to check which page the user is on, and display all the buttons except the one that leads to the current page. I’m not a programmer and that would likely have taken longer than simply making five different menus.
If I hadn’t sat there and manually made every one of those menus to be different, you would notice it because on all the pages besides the main one, you wouldn’t have a button to get back to the main page of the Videos section.
Instead of having a convenient back button, you would be stuck having a button that takes you to the exact same page you are on every time. That would be stupid.
I’m not suggesting creating these menus was difficult or utterly time-consuming, but try multiplying that by the thousands of design details and choices I have to make to finish a site of this size with this much complexity. Suddenly the extra time spent on these kinds of things snowballs into hours.
It has to be done though, because this is what separates you if you want to stand out. You can’t half-ass the things you truly care about in life.
…but great is better than perfect.
There’s still a line though. I can always add or do more to a site, or take away and simplify as well.
It is more important though to realize when it is time to stop tweaking, accept that you did a great job, and not be fearful of releasing just because your work is not absolutely, 100% perfect.
Mistakes will always happen. More will always be able to be added. There will always be a part after you ship or release your product where you realize you could have done something a little differently, or just a little bit better.
That’s the advantage of having time to look back with hindsight after you ship a product, and it doesn’t mean you didn’t give your all at the time.
As long as you didn’t settle for “good enough,” you won’t have any regrets and you will be able to relax, take a deep breath, and be proud of the work you delivered.
That is an extremely satisfying feeling that I highly recommend aiming to achieve in all areas of life.
Thanks for taking the time to read my giant blog post. If you’ve made it this far, kudos!
I truly hope that most of you really love the work we’ve put into this new site, and I’d love to hear any suggestions, criticisms, feedback, or more in the comments! And if you’re looking for a web designer, feel free to drop me a line through the contact form on www.falaris.com.