Today we interview Helena the Founder & Creative Director of Handsome Ground Studio. Handsome Ground Studio is a design consultancy based in Canberra who are passionate about helping genuinely good humans stand out. Helena shares some great insights on how to work with a website designer and photographer to build a website that best represents your brand and personality.
Interview with Helena from design studio Handsome Ground Studio
Tell us about what you do.
We build strong personal connections with all of our clients, connecting with their overall vision for their business. By working closely in a one-to-one partnership with each of our clients we are able to design really unique solutions for their branding & custom website projects.
What is your point of difference?
We predominantly work with small businesses in the healthcare space, so surgeons, allied healthcare professionals, skincare specialists & dermatologists, as well as coaches,
psychologists and counsellors. By predominantly working with clients who are healthcare providers, we have been able to specialise our skills; build a deep understanding of what
our clients require to attract their ideal patients, stand out from their competition, and run their practices well.
What are your top 3 tips on getting a website build right?
Okay, so the three things you want your website to do well is to work, connect and elevate.
First and foremost, you want your website to work. This might sound really simplistic, however when you literally have only 3 seconds to connect with your visitor, you need to make sure your site loads in time to capture their attention, works perfectly across all screen sizes and it is optimised for SEO so that you and your services can actually be found in search engines. You also want your website to fulfil strategic goals, whether that is to convert new visitors into patients, educate existing clients or to sell products or services online, so you also want to design a website that worksfor you in this sense too.
Secondly, you want your site to connect with your ideal audience and you’ll do this through targeted content. The content you include on your site needs to connect immediately with your ideal audience, telling them exactly what your site is about and who it is for. People will always go where the conversation speaks their language, so the more you can tailor your content to your unique audience, the better!
Thirdly, you need to elevate your brand by increasing your perceived value & authority.
You may not think of yourself as a ‘brand’, but if you’re building a website to showcase your professional skills in any way, you most certainly are a brand. You need to think of yourself as a brand as you go about designing and building out your website and online presence. And your brand is not only represented through design elements like your logo, but also through the images you use, the words you write & the experience people have of you and your services (online and in person).
Why hire a website designer?
It is not enough to have any old website any more.
Designing and developing a custom website takes a lot of time & research, critical problem solving and design thinking, not to mention creativity and technical skills, among many other things. So many of our clients come to us frustrated and tired having tried to design and build their own website, but they havejust not been able to design it the way they wanted.
By hiring a professional designer,you will benefit from working with someone who knows the most successful, efficient ways to design and build a strategic website that will present you and your services with greater credibility, ultimately setting you up as the expert in your field.
A great designer will be knowledgeable about strategic concepts like calls to action, how to organise your site’s content for the best user experience, and how to set up the site to meet your strategic business goals. They will know the best way to convey a consistent, compelling message that represents your brand and services professionally. They will design a site that has clear & easy navigation, that loads fast and efficiently,works well across all the major browsers and has been optimised for Search Engines so your website is easily found by people who need your services.
Why is it important to have professional photographs on your website/brand collateral?
One of the best ways to create an emotional connection with your ideal client is through great photography. To build a genuine connection & personal relationship with your visitors, you need to offer them real, true to life, un-staged images that tell your story, not a generic story.
I always suggest clients use a professional photographer to take some candid headshots for inclusion on their website. It is always better when potential patients can connect with the face behind the name before booking in an appointment.
How do you work with a photographer? How important is this relationship?
Part of my role, when building a custom website is to make sure that all the design elements are going to fit together really well across the site to maintain a congruent brand experience. So I work closely with a photographer when choosing the backdrop and clothing colour scheme for the photoshoot, so we can plan for the best outcome for our client. The last thing you want is to have photographs taken with a dark or busy background, when the website and branding were intended to be light and minimal.
Before the photo shoot I make sure I send the photographer the custom brand style guide and colour scheme so they have a good idea of the brand and what will work best for the site. I also communicate with the photographer about what sort of images will work best on the website. For example, if the site will include large banner style images across the site, then I will make sure that the photographer shoots some wide landscape photographs of my clients, which will respond well when the website is viewed on different screen sizes.
How was your experience working with Lizzy C?
The process of working with Lizzy C was seamless. After sending through the brand style guide for my client, and discussing the types of images we were hoping for, she worked with my client to produce a suite of portraits that communicated exactly the look and feel we had been working towards. The portraits express the client’s professionalism and expertise while also communicating his inherent kindness and humility, which was the perfect mix for such a compassionate surgeon! I will continue to highly recommend Lizzy C’s portrait sessions to all my Melbourne based clients.