How to bring a WordPress website into 2020

Many years ago I was approached by Steve Shaw of Bishopsgate Copywriting. He wanted a simple website to help him promote his copywriting business and where he could share his articles on all aspects of copywriting. I put together a website that he was very pleased with, and away he went.

Ten years later and Steve got in touch again. He’d been busy working on a long-term contract but now wanted to resurrect his freelance copywriting business and wanted to make a few changes to his website. Could I help him out?

Of course I could!

Over the ten years since I built Steve’s website, web design has moved on and while his current site was serviceable and the content was still relevant, it just looked – well, a bit old-fashioned really. I suggested that I give the site a complete refresh to make it look more modern, and he agreed.

The first step was to update the WordPress installation. I knew the theme I’d used was not compatible with the latest version of WordPress, which uses “block editing” tools rather than the old “visual editor” system, so I first needed to switch to one of the default WP themes. Then I updated the PHP (the scripting language WordPress uses) – the site was running version 5.6, but the latest WordPress requires 7.0 to operate. Finally, I was able to update the WordPress installation itself, and also update all the plugins the site uses.

Then I looked around for a theme that would work well for Steve’s business. I’m a big fan of the themes created by Rara Themes, as they are very professional and modern, and offer enough flexibility to make your site unique. I chose a theme and then spent some time setting up the home page to give the site a fresh new feel.

A few tweaks later and the site was finished. Steve’s feedback?

Wow! Thanks so much. It looks completely different. I love it! Definitely looks more “2020”. 

Steve Shaw, Bishopsgate Copy

Below you can see the homepage for the old “2010” website, and the new 2020 version. I hope you can see the difference!

If you have an old WordPress website that you would like to have refreshed, find out more about my low cost WordPress websites service, or get in touch!

Three Reasons to Write a Book About Your Business

It’s now easier than ever to write and self-publish a book. You only need to take a look at the Amazon Kindle store to see that people are churning out novels in every genre – romance, sci-fi, erotica and crime, especially – at an astounding rate. But what’s really taken off is books in the business category. Seems like savvy business owners are realising that writing a book is a great way to promote their business, and that it’s not nearly as difficult as they thought to do, either. Not convinced? In this blog post I’m going to give you five reasons to write a book about your business – hopefully by the end you’ll be raring to go!

1. Prove you know your stuff

So how do you go about proving you are the accountant/ architect/ acupuncturist (insert your business here!) that everyone should use? You could take out advertising, you could go to networking meetings, or you could demonstrate your expertise by publishing your knowledge in book format. Worried that people will use what they learn from the book rather than come to you for your services? Worry not. However much we read about accountancy/ architecture/ acupuncture etc., it’s not going to make us an expert; we are still going to need to employ a specialist for those year end accounts, building design or migraine treatment. By sharing your knowledge so freely, you prove you know your stuff and that will give people the confidence to approach you when they need what you’re offering.

2. Establish your credentials as THE expert in your field

For some reason, writing a book about your business has the added benefit of establishing you as an expert. You’re not just any old bookkeeper/ barber/ beauty therapist, you’re the bookkeeper/ barber/ beauty therapist who wrote a book – and that elevates you way above everyone else in your industry. Because if you wrote a book about it, surely you must be REALLY good at what you do! And that will bring people to your door. What’s more, you can use your book as an advertising opportunity – give away your knowledge for free, but make sure you include your contact details so people can get in touch when they realise you’re the expert, not them. You could even direct them to a landing page specially designed for readers of the book.

3. Use your book as a marketing tool

When you write a book about your business, you suddenly have a fantastic marketing tool available for you to use, and there are so many ways you can use it. You can make it available for sale on your website, perhaps as part of a sales funnel (you could offer the book for free, or for postage only, and then send details of another offer with the book); organise author events where you read extracts from your book, meet your “fans” and sell signed copies; post a copy of your book to prospective clients; you could even use it as a business card and give it away at networking meetings!

So now you know some of the reasons why you should write a book about your business, what are you waiting for? Writing a book isn’t as daunting as you may think – look out for a future blog post where I’ll give you some tips about creating content. It doesn’t have to be especially long either – while some people write their magnum opus, other books are as short as 10,000 or even 5,000 words. In other words, you can put the content of a book together in a very short space of time.

If you’re interested in finding out more, why not book me for a free half hour chat where we can talk about the next steps. I’d love to help you promote your business!

Custom Journals as a Tool for Your Business

Most of us use a diary to track our appointments and engagements. Some of us keep journals to remember interesting events. But sometimes there are things you want to record for which you need something more bespoke. And that’s where custom journals can be useful.

My second business, ADHD Kids, provides support and learning for parents of children with ADHD, and I often hear parents say it would be useful to have a special place where they could keep track of their child’s condition, either for their own use or to present to a doctor. So I have published an ADHD & ASD Parenting Journal to help parents with this particular challenge. The journal is around 200 pages and includes space to record a child’s sleep, diet, medication and behaviour every day for three months. It’s more effective than a simple diary or notebook because each section means you remember to note down the information that’s really important, and it provides an accurate record that you can reflect back on and use to spot patterns and trends.

You can view the ADHD Parenting Journal and “look inside” here.

Why might you want to create your own custom journal?

Custom journals can be really useful in many different areas of life. For example:

  • Fitness and weight loss: diet, exercise and body measurements
  • Health: medication, symptoms, side effects, vital statistics
  • Business: social media / blogging strategy; networking meetings; sales and marketing activities
  • Hobbies: book and film reviews; recipes; fishing catches
  • Travel: planning, itinerary, booking details, memories
  • Coaching: gratitude, goals and achievements, life planning

Custom journals as a business tool

Whatever business you’re in, there’s an opportunity for you to use custom journals to enhance your offering or win new clients. For example, you could give away a PDF journal as a lead magnet, sell printed journals on your website or through Amazon, or even create your own bespoke journal to use with clients.

How to create a custom journal

Creating a journal is not complex but it is time consuming. There are four key stages:

  1. Decide on a format
  2. Identify the content
  3. Lay out the journal
  4. Get it printed!

Decide on a format

First you need to decide how regularly you will use the journal and how big the actual journal should be – both in trim size and page number. For example, a weight loss journal will require you to have a page or two for every day, so you probably don’t want it to cover more than three months, and you want it to be a nice manageable size, perhaps A5, so you can carry it round with you. However, a journal to keep details of people you meet at your weekly business networking meetings might be more effective if it kept a full year’s worth of information, and a marketing strategy journal might be more useful at a larger A4 size.

Identify the content

What is the purpose of your journal? Make a list of everything you’d like to record on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and put it in an order that works. Then think about any additional content you might need – monthly goals or space for a review? Motivational quotes? A page for contacts or resources? Guidance on how to use the journal? Once you have a detailed idea of the content, you can begin to design it.

Lay out the journal

It’s likely your journal will use quite a simple design, but you need to choose the right program to do the layout. Microsoft Word is tricky as it’s not easy to copy and past multiple pages. Publisher is a good basic option, or you could use more complex design / DTP software such as InDesign. Whatever you use, you need to be able to produce a print-ready PDF of the interior and cover.

Get it printed

There are several ways you could print your journal.

  • Save it as an editable PDF and fill it in on screen
  • Print it on your home / office printer, and keep the pages in a folder
  • Take it to a local printer who will do a single or short print run of a bound book
  • Upload it to a print on demand service such as Amazon’s KDP Print – the advantage is you can then make your journal available for sale, because if you find it useful, other people are bound to!

Alternatively, you could get someone else to do all the work for you! I will design your journal and upload it to Amazon for you. Drop me a line to find out more and get a quote!

So what could you use a custom journal for in your business? I’d love to hear your thoughts – do leave me a comment!