In this post, you’ll learn what went into creating a new website for Lara Johnson, certified life coach through the Life Coach School.
The Website Brief
Hopeful. That was the emotion that Lara Johnson wanted her ideal client to feel the moment her home screen loaded.
Even before beginning life coaching certification, Lara knew she was going to be a coach for accountants’ wives.
In her initial project questionnaire, Lara described her ideal client as women married to men with demanding accounting jobs. These wives and mothers feel like their families are spiraling out of control because of their husband’s overwhelming workload. They struggle to pursue their hopes and dreams. They they feel trapped by doing it all without the physical presence of their partner.
As an accountant’s wife herself, Lara wanted to teach these women that it’s possible to thrive, not just survive, through busy season and all its obstacles.
We set up a clarity call
Lara had spent some time tinkering with website design and felt overwhelmed with the prospect of doing it herself. We got in touch and set up a clarity call to go over her needs. I was able to show her how I make the process of creating a life coaching website totally doable, even with her busy life.
She’d already been in touch with the graphic designer I partner with, Deena Rutter, about branding. That meant Lara was set to go with her branding and we could get straight to work on the website.
We analyzed Lara’s needs
This website needed to be a place of support for accountant’s wives. It needed to feel hopeful, secure, but with a slight dose of humor and edge.
(Actually, this is my favorite blog post of Lara’s that I think illustrates that humor hilariously! I want a T-Shirt with the title on it.)
Basically, the website needed to offer an accounting wife a place to get support when she’s facing overwhelm and busy season. That meant a place for Lara to publish helpful blog posts and other high-value resources. And, if she feels ready, a place that wife can also sign up for a free coaching call with Lara to get help specific to her situation.
So, I kept all that in mind as I took the branding Deena had created for her and transformed it on the web page.
Then we planned
First, Lara and I planned every aspect of her site.
We hopped on a planning call and spent about an hour working through my website planner. It’s a Google Doc I put together for all my clients that includes business details, design inspiration, and all the functionality I know my clients need.
After identifying any gray areas in the Doc, I took the needed functionality and wrote out a sitemap for the website. A sitemap is basically all the pages that need to be on a site and every piece that needs to be on each page. That means which page all the pictures, testimonials, and other content were going to be placed on.
Reviewing the sitemap helps us identify the strategy for every page as well. It’s important that every page is aligned with a specific goal, and writing it out in this way helped us to be certain every piece of content was working toward a concrete purpose.
The last thing we did in the planning call was set up a recurring time each week to have an update on where we both were at with the project.
Then we both got to work.
Week 1: Visual Prototype
The first week, I took that written sitemap Lara and I created in the call and I made it into a visual prototype. Basically, a prototype is the website in black and white.
This makes it easy to see where things will go before I spend any time designing anything. It ain’t pretty, but it gets me on the same page with my clients real quick.
I sent Lara images of her visual prototype so she could approve where things went. I also sent a screen share video where I walked her through each prototype page.
Then we hopped on a quick call during our update time that week where she gave me her feedback. Here’s a snippet of her homepage to give you an idea:
Copywriting revisions came next
During this week, Lara was also working on writing copy for every page on her site. I had sent her copy prompts to help her get started. Then we did a bit of back and forth revising it before she settled on the final draft.
Week 2: Design Mockup
After visual prototype was the design mockup stage. I designed a couple of different versions of Lara’s homepage, taking her branding into account.
This gave me a feel for her design taste so that I could then apply that design to the rest of the website pages.
I ended up using my own headshots on the mockup because Lara was still waiting to get hers back from her photographer. I wanted her to get an idea of what it would look like with an actual face on it. Here’s a taste of a couple of the design mockup options:
During our update call, Lara agreed with my recommendation to go with mockup #2. The font was more immediately legible. The first mockup was pretty, but the font takes more effort to read. Lara and I both wanted to be sure anyone visiting her site could immediately comprehend what she was offering and opt-in to get her free offer.
Week 3: Initial Design Draft
We were officially halfway done with this new website for Lara Johnson! After I got a feel for Lara’s design taste, I designed the rest of the pages on her site.
She had amazing photos that really spoke for themselves. Here’s a taste of what it looked like with them in place:
I’ll tell you, adding in photos and copy is always my favorite part. I get to know my client so well as I read about how much they really care for THEIR ideal client.
Like with the prototype and design approval stages, once the full design draft was done we had a project update. I sent Lara screenshots, a walk-through video, and then Lara gave feedback during our scheduled update call.
Week 4 + 5: Revisions
“Revisions” is kind of a boring word. But really, it’s always a super fun time. I got to add Lara’s finalized copy and tweak things exactly the way she needed them to be.
My website projects always include two rounds of revisions for full website projects. I want my clients to create a site that’s exactly the way they need so they can market to their ideal client. Setting these two rounds in place also helps to keep us on track with our schedule. It helps eliminate any buffering or stalling website launch with design tweaks.
One revision Lara ended up making was to the copy on her free offer. Once she got her lead magnet (or freebie, or whatever you want to call it) written, it came out topically different than she had initially planned.
That’s what these revisions are for, and I got that change added in.
Week 6: Launch!
Lastly came final testing and launch. Lara had already gotten her hosting and marketing email sorted out. All I needed to do was upload it to her actual domain name at theconsolidatedlife.com, test her forms and email automation, and we were good to go.
On our last update call, Lara lamented how weird it would be to not talk every Tuesday night. Thank goodness we still have Marco Polo!
Now you know what went into creating a new website for Lara Johnson. When I think back on this whole project, I’m so proud of Lara for her hard work and commitment to doing this. She had some potentially big stumbling blocks come up along the way. But she pushed past them and kept her commitments to herself.
Watch out for Lara Johnson, my friends! This lady has got big goals for her business. I know she’s going to be an amazing example of what’s possible.
So fun! Hope that was helpful in knowing the website building process a bit better.
P.S. It was a joint effort to create this new website for Lara Johnson.
Here’s a brief overview of the steps we worked through together:
- Planning all her content and strategy
- Mapping out where all the content would go with a visual sitemap (plus revising copy!)
- Mocking up a few different design options and settling on one
- Drafting out that design for all the website pages
- Revisions, revisions, revisions!
- Testing and launch so we know everything worked
You can go here to read more about Lara’s experience on this project.
P.S.S. If you’re interested in working with me or with Deena and me together on a branding + website project, you can go here to learn more.