In this episode, Jim Doyon speaks with Hannah Carver, owner of Carver Creative, about the importance of having a strong online presence for your business. Hannah has worked with some big names in the industry, and she knows what it takes to build a website that works hard for your business.
Today, Hannah shares her expertise on how to plan and build a website that represents your brand and delivers results. From choosing the right web builder to launching your site and using tools to streamline and delegate tasks, she covers everything you need to know to make your website your hardest working asset.
Tune in to learn about the importance of branding in website design, tips for choosing the right web builder, and tools to help you save time and delegate tasks. If you're looking to take your business to the next level online, this episode is a must-listen!
Learn more about Hannah Carver at:
Learn more about Remote Start Podcast at: https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/
Jim: Remote Start Nation, what's the hardest working asset that you have currently for your business? Today we're gonna be speaking with one entrepreneur who's going to discuss selling online and how your company website should be that hardest working thing. I'm Jim Doyon, your host, and I wanna welcome you to another episode of Remote Start.
On today's episode, we're going to be talking with Hannah Carver. She's the owner of Carver Creative. Hannah has worked with the likes of the Atlantic Hawks, Tito's Handmade Vodka, Moxi hotels, and a bunch of other big name companies. But today she's gonna be here on the Remote Start Podcast discussing with us the importance of a good website, things to consider when choosing a web builder, planning for your websites, build the launch, and some tools that we can use in conjunction with our website to streamline, save time, delegate, and outsource. In addition, I'm really excited to talk with Hannah about the importance of branding when it comes to building your site. So without further ado, I'd like to welcome Hannah to the show. Hannah, how are you?
Hannah: I'm great, thanks for having me, Jim.
Jim: Absolutely, I'm really excited to have you on board. Thank you for spending the time with us. Let's get this started. Tell us something about you, we wouldn't know if we just met you.
Hannah: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I love cooking, it is like one of my secret passions, I love having friends over for dinner, I love making like long elaborate meals for my family, it's just, it's relaxing to me and you get to be creative.
Jim: That's awesome, what's your favorite thing to cook?
Hannah: This is a tough one. Probably a really good pasta.
Jim: Nice, yeah.
Hannah: Big pasta family.
Jim: Now, do you have, you're very busy and in building your creative agency, do you have time to cook or is it something that, like, how does that fall into your schedule?
Hannah: Yeah, okay. So this was actually something that was difficult for me, ‘cause it used to be I would cook every night, I loved it, and as things have started to grow and as I've gotten busier, it's just, it's really difficult, it takes a lot of time, you know, going to the grocery store, planning out the recipe, physically cooking, cleaning up all of that. So I started to delegate it, we've gotten, you know, personal and chefs, meal delivery services, my boyfriend started cooking a couple nights a week, my little brother lives in our basement and so he has his night that he's supposed to cook. He tries to make us things like tater tot casserole, I'm like, here's a cookbook on salads. So it's good, it's been hard, but it's also really nice if I've had a really crazy day, I'm like, okay, I know this is handled, and then when I do get to do it, it's really nice and really special, so, yeah.
Jim: That's fantastic. I share that passion with you. I absolutely love to cook. It's one, it's something I try to do, most of the time at our household. Then, it's something I've always tried to get my kids into to help and even if it's just little things. But I absolutely love spending time cooking and try to, try to give myself that time and the day to do that. So I'm definitely on board with you there, thank you for sharing that with us. So let's get into, more about you, more about Carver Creative. Let's start with how did Carver Creative get started?
Hannah: Yeah, yeah. So, I have a marketing degree. I graduated college and I was like, I'm gonna do marketing, I'm so excited, I thought about doing consulting, but I didn't feel like I was ready. So I stepped into a full-time role with a larger company doing some in-house marketing. I hated it, going to an office every day in like a business park was soul crushing for me. So I left and thankfully an agency here in Atlanta bill ca marketing the owner Bill gave me a chance, and he brought me on as a contractor. So that allowed me to work for him on some really cool projects and then also freelance on the side. Um, so I did that. I consulted through some other agencies, and then when Covid hit a lot of the projects I was working on, they weren’t Covid proof, so like for example, with the Hawks, the NBA season canceled hotels, nobody's staying in them. So, I had been doing some digital work and I started getting inundated with requests from, you know, people in my network who were like, I'm, everything's online, I need a website, I need my social media, I need all of these things, and so I just kind of dove in and, that's where it started. I didn't officially brand my business until probably about a year ago, and I can talk more about that later, but yeah, I had a short stint working for a B2B digital marketing startup here in Atlanta that's owned by a friend, but mostly just been consulting for the last couple of years, and that's where.
Jim: That's great. So you're, working, you're a contractor, you're learning different ins and outs of the business. What was it that made you really start to hone in and with your brand and your niche being websites?
Hannah: Yeah. So it's really interesting, I love systems, I love systems and I like for things to look nice. So, I found that, you know, with your website, it has a couple functions, but first off, it's how people are gonna perceive you and your business, it's how they're gonna gather information, but then, you know, secondly, it should be working for you as a tool, and you should have a bunch of systems plugged in to be able to like, facilitate leads, make sales, that type of thing, and so it was kind of like a marrying of me liking the design aspect, but also liking the functionality and the systems that go into a website, and that's kind of what drew me to it. I just found myself doing it more and more.
Jim: That's awesome, and yeah, there's absolutely systems and, you know, a lot of people throw up a website and they say, Hey, I wanna, you know, I'm gonna put this website out there and well, guess what? No one's gonna know about it, no one's gonna go to it unless you're promoting, and even worse, and you and I talked about this a little bit before the episode, but even worse, if you put up a website and it's not professional, it's not on brand, it doesn't get across your message, whoever just came to what's gone, they're not sticking around. They're going to your co competition. So with that, said, let's talk from the very start about, you know, planning for your website build and even on top of that Remote Start Nation. If you have a website right now and you might be getting a good conversion on it, you might think it looks good. I want you to really listen to what Hannah has to say today. There's, she's into systems, she's into design, she's been successful in her brand, like, listen to what Hannah provides us today and let's put it into action and if your site is missing any of those things, let's think about what we need to do to make it better. So with that said, you know, Hannah, what do you need to think about when you're looking to either launch your site or even revamping what you currently.
Hannah: Yeah, okay, yeah. So I have a short list and I'm pretty sure we're gonna share it with everyone after this but you know, the very first thing that you wanna do as you're getting started, and this is gonna sound really silly, is like, make sure you have an established business, and a business plan. A lot of people come to me and they're like, oh, I want a website, and they still are working out what they're gonna, you know, call their business, I get emails from them about taxes, and I'm like, I'm not an accountant. I know a good one, but whoa. So, you know, take it seriously, have your plan. I'm not saying you have to have like a 40 page business plan, right or anything like that, you know, get your LLC and all of that, the next thing would be you really think about what your product or service offering is gonna be and what that customer journey looks like, so how do you plan on selling your product or your service? If you're a product-based business owner, are you gonna use a subscription model? What does that look like? If you're a service-based business, are you gonna charge, one-off fees or are you gonna charge, you know, monthly retainers? What does that look like for your customer? If they're checking out through your website, how do you want them to go through the site and that that's something, you know, you can work with myself or another professional on but having a general idea, it informs, you know, the technical, you know, capabilities your site builder's gonna need cause not all of them can do everything, and some stuff requires some custom coating if it's really crazy, the next thing would be, you know, make sure that you have a domain name for your brand, if you know it, if you're like, I wanna start a business, but I'm not doing it until next year, if you know the name, go buy that domain name, it's a great call, hold on to it, it's equity. It's like an asset at this point, I know some people who've bought domain names for $12 and they sell them for 20 grand ‘cause someone else so desperately wants it and they have some funding.
Jim: So, and not to mention, let me hold you there for a second, not to mention it's so important before I know it, it's like, it must be our society but before you get established, you just wanna go tell the world about what you're doing and socials made it so easy to your point. If you, even before you have your website built, before you have your, you know, you might not even have your LLC yet, any of that, if you have an idea and you have an, you understand what your identity for your brand is going to be, let's say the name, by the website because if you start putting it on social and you start blasting it out there and you don't have the website, the domain picked out, then I, and I've seen it where all of a sudden that domain is gone and there are people out there unfortunately that will see what you're doing. Buy up the domain and then when you want to go buy it, they do what you just said and they want to sell it back to you at a lot higher price than that $12. So, yeah, just something to think about, but sorry to cut you off there keep going.
Hannah: No, no, that's a great point ‘cause like things that I've seen too is someone builds this huge brand, you know, on social media or in person and then, there's already an existing business, that owns that domain name and so when they try to establish a website presence, it's almost impossible because Google's been picking up on that preexisting site, and you've gotta think of, you know, what if we put info on the end or how do we change this up so we can have a branded domain, but the traffic is lost?
Jim: Yeah, that's such a good point. So we've touched on like, the very first thing should be to make sure you have a brand identity, right? Like before you gonna build your website, like, let's make sure you have a brand identity in place, Remote Start Nation, if you're just joining us and you are not sure on brand identity. There's a lot of episodes previously that talk about brand identity, it like very specifically. So go back and listen to those, so you've got your brand identity. Go and understand the experience your customer is going to have going through your site. Where are they going from Step A to step B, whether that's E-commerce and or it's a business to business model. Let's not build a glorified brochure, let's make a path for the client to go from step A to step B, am I right on that?
Hannah: Yeah, no, absolutely, yeah. And then the next thing I would say is content, you know, Photos of yourself, photos of your product, styled photos that match your brand, we can talk about that more later, you know, copy, do you have a copywriter? Do you know what story you wanna tell? And also, you know, making sure that your copy matches your brand is a big deal too, outside of content for the site, I would say, you know, the last two things you're gonna need are time, it's a big time investment, you're either doing it yourself, which is gonna take a good bit of time, or you're working with someone and you've gotta make sure that you're available for them so you can guide them to, you know, really represent you and your brand. And then finances, you can, you can spend, a couple hundred dollars on a website if you really want to, and you can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a website. So making sure that your vision aligns with where you're at and what you're ready to commit to in terms of your time and your finances is really important too.
Jim: Those are great points, and to hit on what you said earlier, Remote Start Nation, Hannah has a checklist that she's gonna be providing for us that will be in the show notes that you can go on and download. That'll actually have like different steps that you can check off on before launching. So, Hannah, thank you for that. I think that's awesome. So as far as getting ready to build the website, we need to have all those things in place that we just went over. Now, what do you suggest based on the different types of, you know, service or product that the client has, what do you think they should consider when choosing the different types of web builders that are out there?
Hannah: Yeah, okay. So this is like a hot topic, we have so many options for web builders now, you know, originally, WordPress was like the big web builder, everyone loves WordPress, a lot of sites are built on WordPress. Once you reach a certain size, you know, typically you're working with a developer to custom build something, but when it comes to someone who is just getting started, I don't think that WordPress is a really great choice, you know, it's a little clunky, there's some security issues, you've gotta use plugins for just about everything, the list goes on and on, my biggest thing though is it's not something that your everyday business owner can use, and I found, you know, when working with people, I have clients who, you know, they make a couple hundred dollars worth of sales each month, it's like a hobby, and then I have clients who are processing you, 15 million plus through their store, they love using a web builder that's more approachable, that they can log into regularly. They can check out their analytics, they can add and remove products or services, they can message with customers, they can bring their team into the platform, and they're using it regularly, you know, whether it's on their iPhone app or on their desktop, so that they feel like it's a really, you know, important tool within their business.
Jim: Those are really good points, it acts as almost, it's an extension of your business, it's something that your team can use, and again, it's not a glorified brochure, it's an actual tool where you can communicate with your customer, walk them through their journey. So what are some of the favorite, you know, web builders that you would recommend?
Hannah: Yeah, So when it comes to product-based business, I love Shopify, big Shopify girly. So Shopify does, you know, they offer e-commerce and they offer point of sale. So if you have a brick and mortar store, you can set it up for both, they also have plans that scale based on the size of your company, and if you're, you know, one of those enterprise size companies, you can do some really crazy stuff, especially with growth marketing once you get the site up. So I love Shopify for product-based business owners, the analytics are pre-built, the product pages are pre-built, they just, they make it really easy and turnkey and user-friendly, and you can really glean a lot of information, something else that's great is, I think it's their advanced plan now, which isn't super, super costly, you can implement Shopify flows, and so essentially it's kind of like a Zapier or an automations tool where you can automate a lot of the stuff that's going on in your business, so collecting reviews, sending out emails, all kinds of things.
Jim: That's excellent. I'm a huge fan of Shopify. We've built a lot of sites on Shopify and it's always, if you're selling a product, it is always the number one builder that I would recommend, and, you know, to your point, you can, it's not a one size and that's it, it can fit or I'm sorry, it is kind of like one size fits all where you can use it regardless of the size of your business and you can use the different platforms, that they offer the different price models. But you can get started on Shopify at pretty low cost.
Hannah: I'm pretty sure they have a plan right now that's like an intro where you just can sell on social media, and I wanna say it's free or like, It's gotta be under $25. But yeah, you can scale with it, which is really awesome, so that's my top choice for product-based businesses. And then when it comes to service-based businesses, my number one choice is gonna be Wix, and I feel like I'm gonna get a lot of heat for this, I hear from people all the time, are I see you?
Jim: You're gonna get heap from me. No, I'm just, I know, I want to hear your point, I want to hear why Wix?. So I've worked in Wix since:
Hannah: Oh, you sold me, you sold me all. No, I, you know, I always felt it kind of clunky in a sense of where like, I feel like the page load times from a user experience standpoint, are they lag? And so that was like my biggest thing for, you know, why not to have Wix, and I like from, you know, my favorite in this is would be WordPress. And I'll say from the start, the thing I don't like about WordPress, it's not as easy as a wick to use in the backend. It takes some getting used to, it's not like a Shopify or a Wix where it's, it's, you go in and you can kind of, go through it and understand the system a lot smoother than you can on WordPress, but I feel as you scale and as you grow, like WordPress is going to grow with you and I love that, all the different apps that you can use that work exactly for your business. And the fact that WordPress is so big, a lot of other companies and apps, third party apps, they wanna work with WordPress, they want to get in, as a partner with WordPress. So they're creating tools that you might use for part of your business that sync and automatically push to a different CRM that might be more robust, like a HubSpot or something like that. So those are the tools. I get what you're saying. I honestly, I think it's a good, it's come, way since I first started, looking at Wix, but I think either one, there's a case for, you know, each different company, but yeah, what's your thought on WordPress As far as what I just said? You kind of agree or you see an opposite on it.
Hannah: So, you know, we've both, you know, admitted, Wix, they've come a long way, something that they're actively working on is attracting enterprise, you know, size clients, I know they recently landed Kroger, the grocery chain store here, I think we're just thirties in the south.
Jim: Oh no, they're everywhere.
Hannah: Okay, oh, good. I hope they all have, bars in them, that's something we have here. So my grandpa likes that, but yeah, they're definitely releasing more, features to, you know, try to bring in those enterprise size clients and that is the, the biggest hiccup that they hear from like a lot of partners myself included, where I'm like, okay, we were in here and now we're trying to scale and we're hitting, this limitation? yeah, I think WordPress is great if you are in a position to outsource your website management and your website development entirely like relinquish control to like an e-commerce team or relinquish control to an agency, I think that's great because they can handle it and they're experts and they understand it, if you're still, you know, at a point where you need to be in there or if your team who's not too super, like tech savvy needs to be in there, that's where it gets overwhelming.
Jim: Yeah, that's a good point. So let's talk about how crucial branding and having a strong brand is and how that relates to a successful website.
Hannah: Yeah. People come to me a lot wanting a website and they don't have any sort of branding, and so the first thing I ask them is, okay, what color is the website gonna be? And then they kind of think, and they're like, oh, that's a really good question. I'm like, yeah, what are we doing here? So it's really important because, you know, not only is it informing how your site is gonna look visually, you know, what colors are we using? What fonts are we using? I had meeting earlier this week with someone who sight I'm redoing and we were talking through it and I was, you know, showing her, I'm like, on this page you have six different fonts, like that can be really distracting to some people. So, and creating consistency, so visually that's one piece of it but then, in terms of like your brand voice and how you want to present to your customers that's a piece that people oftentimes don't even think about, a lot of people like, okay, I have a logo, I have a color palette, I have, you know, the fonts, what else do I need? And I'm like, you wanna sound, you want your copy to sound consistent, like you want a little personality around yourself and how you interact, like appropriate example would be, I have some clients where we've customized their cookie banner, you know, when you go on the side and you accept your decline to be like cheeky and fun, if they are a cheeky and fun brand, same thing on a contact page, customizing the language there to match your brand voice if you have, you know, a catchphrase or something like that. So it's really crucial and it also makes the entire web build go a lot faster and save you a lot of money if you have a solid brand, ‘cause we're not working through, you know, what's going where and what this should look like.
Jim: Yeah, and to further that point, Remote Start Nation. Don't just think about the website, right? Like where are people coming in? And where are they going to that website, and so if you're social, you know, to Hannah's point, if your social is your voice, and it's funny and it's fun and people are like, oh, this is great, I'm gonna go check out the website, and they get to the website and it's six different fonts and it doesn't fit your personality and it's completely different. People are like, what is this? I'm gonna go back and then click forward again and make sure I clicked on the right thing, like, is this actually the brand I'm looking for?
Hannah: Yeah, you're getting catfished.
Jim: So, yeah, I'm with you on that for sure. The more you can have your brand together and whether that's, you've done it on your own, you've gotten to a point where you think you've got it and you know, seek out some help, make sure it's on point, like Hannah said, it's gonna save you money on building your website, the more you have your brand in line, and honestly, it's gonna help with customers and make sure there's not that confusion. What are some tools that you would recommend that someone can use in conjunction with their website that'll help them streamline save time delegate, outsource, all the good stuff that we like to look at today to help grow a company. What are some different tools out there that you would recommend or even some things just to look at, to say like, Hey, this is what you should be thinking about in all of these areas?
Hannah: Yeah, yeah. So I'm sure everyone has seen, all over the internet that Artificial Intelligence is huge, people are scared for their jobs, I think, but copy AI is a great tool for generating content for your psych, there are a ton of them, you don't have to use just that one, but that's one that I use, and I know they have a free plan, but you can kind of go in there and start with a framework of like, you know what, I kind of wanted to say this, but I just need it to be a little more polished, and you can pick the tone of voice too, which is really fun or you can pick like a person that you want it to sound like a celebrity, so I really recommend that ‘cause it also helps you, from an SEO standpoint, identify some keywords, on the topic of SEO, I think that everyone should be, you know, kind of tuning into what's going on their site. You can use Screaming Frog to crawl your site for free and it'll identify issues that you might have and an explanation as to like, okay, there's this issue, but like, what is it and how do I fix it? And then the other one that I'm just like really loving for product-based business owners, and we were talking about this before we started the call, is Suna. You, they're all over social media, I've gotten tons of targeted ads from them, but essentially it's, they do like product photography, so you can mail them your product. So if you have a small collection or if you're doing like seasonal updates, you mail it in, you guys hop on a virtual call, talk through what the shoot's gonna look like, and they'll put together a shoot for you edit everything, send it over, and it's really, really, really affordable. So, and they do great work.
Jim: Cool. Thank you, those are three great takeaways. Remote Start Nation check them out. Hannah, unfortunately our time's gonna come to an end here shortly. So before we go, I've got one more question for you, but before we go through that, where can the Remote Start Nation find you?
Hannah: Yeah. You guys can find me at, you know, my website, Carver creative.co or on Instagram, and it's the same, it's just carver creative.co.
Jim: Excellent. What is the one biggest takeaway that you can leave the Remote Start Nation with today that we either hit on or maybe we didn't hit on it, that you wanna make sure that they think about?
Hannah: Yeah. I would say my biggest thing, and this is something that I've had to do myself, is find a trusted team of people, whether they are employees or contractors, vendors, mentors, a group of people that you really trust and use them, don't hold on to everything yourself, like delegate as much as you can, trust those people, and I think you'll get a lot.
Jim: I love that. Well, Hannah, thank you so much for all the value you shared with us today, I appreciate it, it's been incredible.
Hannah: Yeah, thank you. This was awesome.
Jim: Absolutely. I look forward to having you back one day and definitely keeping in touch with you. Remote start Nation, thank you for joining Hannah and I today on this journey. Remember, leave a comment, subscribe and share this episode with your community who you think could learn something that you heard. Until next time, go start something, start today and go build a lifestyle you desire by taking action.