The 3 Tech Tools You Need to Create a Website for Your Home Staging Business
This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on how to improve your home staging business website to attract better clients and showcase your work. Special thanks to our talented friend, Cami Farey, New York based web designer extraordinaire, for contributing.
Here is Part 1: 5 Reasons Why Your Home Staging Website is Tired and Not Booking Clients and Part 2: 4 Tested Questions to Create a Website that Books More Home Staging Jobs, if you had missed it.
By the way, this is our favorite out of the series! Cami was so good at laying out all the technical steps you need to get started with your home staging business website 🙌
I recently asked “what’s holding you back when it comes to your website?” and the answer came back loud and clear:
You sent me emails saying…
“I’ve been wanting to set up my website for 2 years, but I’m not techie…”
“I don’t have a website yet because I’m extremely uncomfortable with the tech side of things.”
Here’s my perspective: if you can send an email, you’re tech-savvy enough to launch a website.
You don’t need any coding skills, design experience, expensive tools, or special resources!
Today, I’m breaking down step-by-step the exact tech you need to create a gorgeous website that grows your home staging business.
Let me start off by saying that I haven’t always been a “techy” kind of person. In fact, I’m completely self-taught as a web designer.
I’ve pulled more all-nighters than I’d like to admit setting up tech tools and troubleshooting systems gone wrong.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t.
Right now, if you’re just getting started with your site, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. You’re not sure about which platform to use, which template is best, how to pick a domain name…the list goes on!
I’ve been there, and I’m here to help.
After lots of trial-and-error, I’ve found tools that make launching your website dead simple. I’m going to show you those today.
First, I want you to forget everything you think you “need” to launch your website.
You don’t need hosting, or the perfect theme, or access to thousands of plugins. You don’t need a website platform that’s infinitely customizable. You don’t need a chatbot, scheduling tool, or shopping cart. While there’s a place for each of those things, you don’t actually need any of them to launch your first site. There’s a simpler way.
The biggest mistake I made when launching my first website was building a site that was too bulky and complicated.
It had 10+ pages and all the bells and whistles that I thought I was “supposed” to have. I bought hosting, a domain name, a premium WordPress theme, plugins, a fancy software to run my email pop-up boxes, and more. Each tool was created by a different company and I spent weeks figuring out how to put all the pieces together.
Then, I wrote pages of web copy, created detailed packages for imaginary clients, and built out automated workflows for tasks I’d never done before.
(Argh!! I made so many rookie mistakes!)
The problem was, every time something shifted in my business, I had to rethink my entire website and systems. And things changed constantly during that first year.
If I could do it all over again, I’d launch with the simplest website possible. I’d use one or two high-quality tech tools, create a few pages, then go live. I’d stop agonizing over every little tech detail and spend time getting the word out about my business and booking clients instead.
Three crucial things to consider when choosing your website platform and tech tools:
Is this tool easy to use?
You need to be comfortable updating and editing your own site. If not, you’ll always be at the mercy of a developer to make changes for you, which is expensive and risky. What happens if that developer changes jobs? Or stops responding to emails? As the owner of your business, it’s essential that you have full control of your website. Simple, user-friendly tools will make that possible.
Will this tool be able to scale?
Your tools should be easy to use, but also robust enough to scale. Sure, you could start a website using a DIY platform like Blogger, but what happens when your business expands? How quickly will you outgrow that platform? I want you to be set up for growth from day 1 and not have to deal with the hassle of switching tech. You might be a beginner now, but you’re building an empire, baby!
How will I get help when I need it?
At some point your tech is going to break and you’ll need help figuring it out. Make sure your tech tools have great customer support. This could be through email, live chat, a knowledge base, a Facebook group, or all of the above. Whatever it is, test it out before you buy! And if you really want to know what’s going on, check out the Facebook group. You’ll be able to see what people are complaining about and how the company responds. It can be very illuminating!
To create a gorgeous website that grows your home staging business, you only need these three things:
A place to build your website
A domain name and professional email address
A way to stay in touch with your website visitors after they leave your site
Seriously, that’s it!
Let’s get into the exact steps and tech tools I use to make this happen.
Step 1: pick a website platform. I use Squarespace.
To get started with your website, the first thing you need is somewhere to build it.
My site is on Squarespace and I love it! It’s the perfect mixture of simple and user-friendly while still being really robust and full of advanced features.
You can DIY a professional-looking Squarespace site without any design or coding skills in an afternoon. You can also use it to run the website for your multi-million dollar business. (I personally know one 7-figure business owner doing exactly that).
My favorite thing about Squarespace is that right out of the box everything just works.
It sounds basic, but I can’t tell you how much time, energy, and money Squarespace has saved me because it “just works.” Unlike other platforms, I don’t have to worry about plugin conflicts, tech maintenance, or my site getting hacked, which is a huge relief.
Squarespace is also very affordable, with plans starting at $12 per month. It’s an absolute bargain for all the value you get.
When you’re ready to upgrade from a free trial, use the code CAMILLEFAREY10 for 10% off.
Step 2: buy a domain name and professional email address
Before you launch your site, you need to buy a domain name like yourname.com. This is how people will find your site online.
Think of your domain name as your digital address — it’s a non-negotiable part of launching your online home. My domain name is camillefarey.com. I also own camifarey.com, which is a common alternate spelling, and simplesiteblueprint.com for my online course.
If you already have a domain name, great!
You can connect your existing domain to your Squarespace website in just a few steps. If you run into any issues, the best way to get support is to contact the company where you bought your domain name. They can help you get everything connected.
Note: it sometimes takes 24-48 hours for a domain name to get connected to a new website, so make sure you give yourself some buffer time.
If you don’t have a domain name yet, you can buy one through Squarespace.
(*Cindy’s note: but compare and check renewal costs first. A lot of services offer cheap or almost-free domain for the first year, but they get you on the renewal costs.)
Buying your domain through Squarespace makes launching your site really simple. Since everything is managed by the same company, you can get up and running with just a couple of clicks!
Psst.. need help deciding what your domain should be? Here’s how to pick the right domain name.
Pros of buying a domain through Squarespace:
Cheaper to start off with (you can get 1 year free)
Easy to connect to your site
No upsells or hidden fees
Fewer logins to keep track of and manage
Cons of buying a domain through Squarespace:
Often more expensive in the long term than other domain providers
Not all domains are available
Another way I like to buy domain names is through Google Domains.
This is usually a little cheaper than buying your domain through Squarespace. Google also has more creative domain extension options, like .yoga or .life. These come in handy if the .com for your business isn’t available.
Pros of buying a domain through Google:
Often cheaper in the long-term than buying a domain through Squarespace
May have more options for domain names than Squarespace
No upsells or hidden fees
Cons of buying a domain through Google:
More software and systems to keep track of
It’ll take a few extra steps to connect your domain to Squarespace
You should plan to spend $12-20 per year on your domain name.
If you buy your domain through Squarespace, it’ll start at $20 per year. If you buy your domain through Google, it’ll start around $12 per year. Specialty domains or popular names often cost more. Beware of bargain-basement domain providers — there are usually a bunch of hidden fees and upsells involved!
Along with your domain name, you need a professional email like firstname.lastname@example.org.
While it’s technically possible to launch your website without a professional email address, I don’t recommend it. Having a professional email is a sign that you take your business seriously.
Imagine if your doctor’s email address was email@example.com. It’d feel unprofessional, right? You’d feel more comfortable as her patient if her email address was firstname.lastname@example.org. The same goes for you and your business.
As well as looking more professional, a dedicated business email address will help you stay organized and keep your business and personal life separate as your company grows.
If you don’t have a business email, you can buy one through Squarespace for $6/month.
Squarespace has a partnership with G-Suite, which is run by Google. This means that your email will be reliable, have plenty of storage, and have the same easy-to-use interface as regular Gmail accounts. You’ll also get access to Google Docs and Google Drive for file storage.
You can also buy your email address directly from G-Suite.
Since my first website was on WordPress, this is what I did. Today, I run my email and domain names through Google and my website through Squarespace. It’s not too complicated, but if I was starting over, I’d buy everything through Squarespace and keep it as simple as possible.
Step 3: set up an email list to stay in touch with your website visitors after they leave. I use ConvertKit.
To make the most out of your website, you need a way to stay in touch with visitors. The best way to do that is by setting up an email list and collecting names from day 1!
When I started my business, I didn’t think I needed a list. I didn’t know what I would write about or if people would even want to read my emails. But everyone told me I needed one, so I signed up for MailChimp, added a newsletter form to my site, and thought “here goes nothing!”
Today, my simple, plain-text emails have helped me generate tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. Email is how I connect with my audience, build relationships, and find out what people are struggling with. Then I share valuable free and paid resources to help. An email list is a huge asset!
When I first started my business, I used MailChimp.
To be honest, I never liked MailChimp much. I found it clunky and difficult to use and I was always hacking together workarounds for the features I wanted. The main reason I signed up for it was because it was free. It was an ok tool to get started, but I’m glad I decided to switch systems while my email list was still fairly simple.
These days, I use ConvertKit for email marketing.
Since making the switch from MailChimp to ConvertKit, my list has grown by leaps and bounds. Check out the graph below from my ConvertKit analytics dashboard!
A few reasons I love Convertkit:
Clean, simple interface that’s easy to use
It’s quick for me to write and send emails
I can easily tag and segment subscribers
I can give people the option to opt-out of promotional emails without unsubscribing from my entire list. ConvertKit makes it easy for my subscribers to tell me what they want and don’t.
Since switching to ConvertKit, sending emails has become easier and more enjoyable. I’ve been more consistent as a result. Now, I check my email stats nearly every day! I’m mildly obsessed.
ConvertKit plans start at $29 per month and I’m so happy I made the investment.
Before making the commitment, I started out with a free trial of ConvertKit. Then I upgraded to a monthly plan. Once I knew I loved it and wanted to go all-in, I upgraded to an annual plan. I often manage my software in stages like this to make sure I’m really picking the right tool.
So, there you go! The three simple tech tools you need to create a website for your home staging business.
To recap, here are the three tools you need:
If you’re feeling overwhelmed because you don’t know how to use these tools yet, don’t stress! You’re not alone. Things always seem hard when they’re unfamiliar.
Tech is a learnable skill, just like cooking. It’s totally possible to learn how to make delicious food, but much easier if you have a recipe to follow along with. With the right guidance, it starts to feel easy.
That’s why I included lots of step-by-step tutorials inside my course Simple Site Blueprint. If you’re a beginner, I’ll help you get up and running quickly. If you’ve already got a site, I’ll help you slay your tech gremlins for good! Either way, I’ve got your back.
To learn more about Simple Site Blueprint and how to create a gorgeous website that sells your home staging services, be sure to sign up for the free workshop with me and Cindy below!
Today’s guest post is written by one of our good friends and an incredible web designer, Cami Farey.
Cami Farey is a web designer and course creator on a mission to help “real deal” entrepreneurs like you swap out their outdated or barely-there websites for a digital presence that reaps dazzling rewards (and results).
Over the years, she’s had the honor of changing the game for award-winning photographers, authors, speakers, coaches, consultants, and so many more.
Want to add your brilliance to that list? Connect with her at camillefarey.com.