How to add a holiday graphic to your homepage slideshow

How to freshen up your homepage in 10 minutes

Oh hey, it’s December 9th already, and if you’re at all like me, you’re wondering where the hell the time went. Due to a successful soft launch of my website starter kit (now launching in February 2015), I have spent the last three months with my head in my computer, hand in a bowl of popcorn, and personal style in a perpetual state of “sweatsuit-chic.”  That’s right – it’s been busy. And when it’s busy (as I’m sure you know,) it’s difficult to take the time to update your own website.

We get so overwhelmed with lists of items that need be updated, that the whole update process becomes this big, scary, dark cloud that looms over us like the spaceship in Independence Day. And instead of organizing the list into realistic action-items that we could complete in say, four or five hours on a Monday morning, we ditch the whole update-project all together, and just say SCREW IT.

I have news for you: it doesn’t have to be like this. In an effort to help you out in this crazy time of year, I’ve outlined one super easy update you can do on your own, right now, that will add significant value to your WordPress website.

Ready? Let’s go.

If you’re trying to run an end-of-year/holiday promotion for your services or products, you probably want to announce that promotion front and center on your homepage, right?  Here is an easy way to add a new slide or image to your homepage that will fit seamlessly with the slideshow or welcome image that is currently there:

1. Find out what your dimensions need to be:

In the left-hand sidebar of your WordPress site, go to “Media” and scroll through the images until you find an image that is in your current slideshow. To the right of the image, you’ll see the dimensions listed. Write those down, you’ll need them.

how to freshen up your homepage in 10 minutes

2. Create a clear and compelling graphic:

To create the graphic for your slideshow, choose a background image and write out your copy. You’ll want a clear and compelling line of copy that will draw the attention of your website visitors, followed by an informational line of copy that explains what exactly you’re offering, and a call-to-action button that tells them exactly what they need to do to get your offer. Use your brand’s fonts and colors to position the copy on top of the background image, and make sure the graphic fits the same dimensions that you wrote down earlier.

Note: I personally recommend using Adobe Illustrator to create web graphics, but I understand that not everyone has access to that. For a really simple design program alternative, I suggest using Canva.

3. Add your new graphic to your slideshow:

This part will differ slightly with each site, but I’ll guide you through how I personally like to navigate sites that I’m unfamiliar with.

In most WordPress sites, slideshows are either built directly onto the homepage (sites with drag and drop visual editors – mainly in newer themes), or they are contained in a plugin that you should be able to see in the left hand sidebar of your dashboard.

How to freshen up your homepage in under 10 minutes
Once you figure out which one your site has, you can go into that widget (on the page) or plugin (in the sidebar) and add, delete, or add, edit or delete the slides currently in there. That is where you “add” your new graphic!

4. Save, Update, and open an Incognito Window to check it out:

How does it look? (fun fact: opening an Incognito Window allows you to browse the web in private and view your website with a fresh perspective – no cookies from past browsing and a cleared cache. All-in-all, it gives you the perspective of your website that someone, who say – is not sitting on it all day, might have.)


Need help with a last minute WordPress site update this holiday season? Reach out to me at or send me a message through here as soon as possible, so we can get you on the calendar!

clean and simple website design for entrepreneurs

Business owners: The holiday shopping season is upon us

Last week my mom and I headed out of Austin for one of our favorite mother-daughter rituals: an afternoon of iced coffees and quirky Texas country store browsing. After being in the first store for approximately two minutes, Jane (as I lovingly call her) picked up three items, looked at me and said, “it’s never too early to start Christmas shopping.” She followed up with a sassy smirk, and then went back to her browsing.

August is by no means an out-of-ordinary time to start shopping for the holidays, but the real truth is that this woman actually started shopping for Christmas 2014 in January of 1996. She’s a serial holiday planner, and in all of the ways I feel “ahead of the game” in marketing, branding, and business, this woman is the kind of consumer who is always reminding me that I need to pick up the pace.

So business owners, I say with great seriousness, “the holiday shopping season is upon us.” While the Jane Belyea’s of the holiday shopping world have been planning this year’s gift giving for decades, FEAR NOT. Roughly 30% of holiday shoppers are just starting to think about holiday shopping this month. The meat of the holiday shopping season is approximately 21 days, the time between Black Friday and exactly two weeks before Christmas, when most people stop ordering online.  As under-prepared as most store owners feel, there is still enough time to get your act together. But you need to start now. The website needs to be up (or cleaned up), the holiday promotions hung with care, and…well, you get the picture.

Here are some statistics you need to know about the 2014 holiday shopping season:

  • From this moment, there are 81 days until Black Friday, 82 days until Small Business Saturday, 84 days until Cyber Monday, and approximately 96 days until online shoppers will stop ordering their holiday gifts completely.
  • In 2013, consumers spent an average of $132.71 in November and $122.46 in December. Forrester research projects a compound annual growth rate of nearly 10% through 2018 bringing those numbers up even more.

If each one of your prospective customers is projected to spend roughly $150 per month in November and December, than can you really afford to not have your online store up and running in time for the holidays?

I know you’ll make the right decision. (WINK)


Feeling inspired to get a website for your business? Find out if you’re ready with my pre-website checklist. Join my email list here to get started.



clean and simple web design for entrepreneurs

How to create a clean and simple website that sells

This was originally published as a guest post for the Flourish Thrive Academy blog, an online business school for jewelry designers.

Over the past several years, our society has slowly but surely been replacing consumer culture with a welcomed minimalist movement. As consumers in this new movement, we want our personal style to reflect careful and thoughtful purchasing decisions. We see the value in how makers present themselves online. We like to know exactly where our money is going and how our purchases are being made. “Minimal” in this sense means “essential”. It is reflected not only in our wardrobes but in the visual designs through which we buy and sell. Let’s talk about how this minimalist approach can be applied to one of the most important aspects of your business: ­your online storefront.

When it comes to building an online jewelry store, making simple design choices is critical. Simplicity not only serves as an aesthetically­​ pleasing way for you to present your company and brand, but it will actually facilitate your shoppers’ buying process by helping them zero in on your designs and leading them through a carefully curated sales path.

So what are these simple design choices exactly?

Color Scheme

When selling jewelry, it is important to keep your visuals simple so the jewelry can speak for itself. Use black and white throughout your site, and one bright accent color for a call­-t​o-a​ction. If you’re not a fan of black and white, try variations of the classics. For PJ O’Connor Jewelry Design’s website, we used a charcoal and a slight off-­​white to maintain the same, simple aesthetic but offer a softer perspective.

clean and simple web design for entrepreneurs

Font Selection

Your website really only needs one or two (max) fonts. Some fonts come with multiple style options, which will allow you to use the same font in different styles throughout your site. You’ll notice the effectiveness of this approach with, a website I designed for an accelerator program for USA-made products. We used two fonts throughout the entire homepage of the site, cleverly playing with size and style to make sections and words stand apart from one another. This general cohesiveness and simplicity throughout copy will contribute to the minimalist design aesthetic you’re going for. Work with a designer to play with line height, letter spacing and font size. They might seem like miniscule matters, but overall, will help the legibility of the page and quality of the design.

clean and simple web design for entrepreneurs


Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with your pieces. Whether it means purchasing a good camera or working with a photographer, take hi-res shots of your jewelry so that you can display clean and clear close-ups of your pieces as full­​ width images throughout your site. This is how your customer needs to see your jewelry and how your web designer wants to receive your images.

Also, remember to remain consistent with your images. If you’re shooting your pieces with a white background, shoot them all with a white background. Cohesiveness brings cleanliness and professionalism to your brand’s aesthetic.

clean and simple web design for entrepreneurs

People shop online for convenience. We no longer subject ourselves to the crowds, the parking and the overwhelming experience of the American shopping mall. Remember the nightmare of uptight salespeople, obnoxious displays and waiting in line? You do, and you have the opportunity to create the opposite effect with your website.

Remember the early days of e­-commerce with the cluttered designs, low­ quality photography and pages upon pages of SEO copy? Again, you have the opportunity to create the opposite effect with your website. Remember why people will buy your pieces online: It will be easy and it will be simple. They will focus on your craftsmanship and the story behind their purchase. The internet is a virtual goldmine (pun intended) for jewelry sales, so let your creations be the star of the show. Embrace simplicity. Less is more, and more sales for you.

Feeling inspired to build a clean and simple website for your business? Join my email list here to get more ideas and inspiration for your next big website project!

Photo Credit: Aleksi Tappura