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Nicole Hanusek
Smack Happy Design
Your Website Isn't An Historical Record Of Your Business
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We’re the WordPress experts. Our custom websites are always delivered with these three pillars intertwined: design; functionality; and security. We create our designs from scratch which allows us to deliver something unique and tailored specifically for you. We customize the design in WordPress with full functionality and ease of use, making sure you can edit the site and you have full control. When we launch your website, we maintain it with the utmost security in mind, making sure you stay open for business.

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We work collaboratively and remove the overwhelm from an otherwise complicated experience. We keep the project moving forward with weekly check-ins and accountability on both ends.

In 1998, Nicole Hanusek began her career with a web consulting company back in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. During this time, she learned everything about designing websites, coding HTML and PHP, managing projects, and the importance of usability and user experience. She has used this knowledge, combined it with her love of helping people and lots of creativity with a BFA in Illustration, to form Smack Happy Design, one of the Top 20 Web Design Firms in San Francisco for six years running. She has also served as a GoDaddy Pro Council advisor since 2014.

In this episode

Nicole Hanusek of Smack Happy Design points out that an out of date website can result in the growth of your business stalling out because you’re not getting the right leads. Many business owners think their website is a create it and forget it. She observes that your website reflected your business when it was created but over time your business has likely changed but your website hasn’t. So now your website is attracting the people who used to be a good fit for you but are no longer.

Nicole points out that most people, when redoing their websites, modify the current site when what you actually want to do is start over from scratch. Based on who your target is, figure out how to present it on your website. Help them find exactly what they're looking for and let them know they're in the right place. Nicole lays out a 4-step implementation process for how to get your website to reflect your current business and where you’re going in the future rather than keeping it as an historical record of your past. Listen to the end for Nicole’s gift to our audience.

Your Website Isn't An Historical Record Of Your BusinessNicole Hanusek
00:00 / 26:54

A glimpse of what you'll hear

03:32 One reason your sales could be stagnant is your website is out of date.

04:01 How out of date websites hurt your business.

06:54 Start from scratch when it’s time to redo your website.

09:30 The importance and benefits of having an up to date website.

14:55 4-step tactical plan to redo and relaunch your website.

19:28 Learn about Nicole. Email Nicole at

Episode Transcript
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)

00:00:04:13 - 00:00:22:18


Welcome to the Best Kept Secret video cast and podcast from Centricity. If you are a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business.

Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co-founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.

00:00:42:22 - 00:01:11:00

Jay Kingley

I'm Jay Kingley, Co-Founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to our show, where our guests share their provocative perspective on what their target market is missing out on. I am happy to welcome to the show Nicole Hanusek, President of Smack Happy Design. Smack Happy Design's custom WordPress websites are customized and created from scratch to embody the best of design, functionality and security.

Nicole is based in San Francisco, California. Welcome to the show, Nicole.

00:01:16:07 - 00:01:18:06

Nicole Hanusek

Hi. Thank you so much for having me.

00:01:18:15 - 00:01:43:16

Jay Kingley

I think back when I started my company and I've actually started a number of companies over the years and I've had the privilege of working with lots of others who've either start or relaunched their business. And when we do that, we have a bit of a checklist. We have to incorporate the company. We have to get bank accounts.

We have to secure our URLs. We have to come up with a name, etc., etc.. And one of the things that is on that checklist is we need a website. And I think if you surveyed most business owners, they would tell you that creating that website is something they need before they officially launch in the market. So it's a tick the box, and then they're in the marketplace.

And I know two things that will almost always in fact, I might say they're always these going to be true, and that is that the person running the business and their team is going to learn a lot and they are going to get better over time. They're going to tweak and modify their offering. They may change their messaging in how they market.

They may even change their look and feel. They may even pivot to a different target market. And over time, they're going to add new services and products and drop old ones. And at the same time that is going on, the marketplace isn't stagnant either. What customers want, what they're looking for, changes over time. So we have this constant evolution on both the supply and the demand side.

But what really strikes me as odd is that website, which is a major way we communicate our market position, our messaging to our target market. Well, that was a checkbox. Did it once. And I don't tend to think about it again until it's probably too late. So Nicole is someone who has tremendous expertize around marketing and the use of websites in marketing.

What's going on here?

00:03:43:09 - 00:03:59:08

Nicole Hanusek

Well, I think what a lot of business owners don't realize at this stage in their business is that their sales might have become stagnant because the website isn't getting the right leads anymore the way that it used to end.

00:03:59:11 - 00:04:11:22

Jay Kingley

Why is the website struggling? I mean, what's going on that one day things were working fine, then all of a sudden it just gradually falls out of whack?

00:04:12:04 - 00:04:37:17

Nicole Hanusek

Well, the website was created years ago. Like you said. It was, you know, a box that they checked. And at the time, the website worked really well for the business. But over time, as we change and our businesses change and we grow, the site doesn't really reflect the business that way anymore. The difference between where you are now and where you were then, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger over time as you change and grow.

So now the website could be attracting the wrong people or the people you know, that used to be a good fit for you are still being attracted to that website. Or maybe the right people. They come along, but the site isn't really reflecting what they're looking for, so they move on to the next option, not realizing that you were right for them.

So this means that you possibly aren't making enough sales or converting the leads you're getting because the site doesn't reflect who you are anymore.

00:05:07:16 - 00:05:30:06

Jay Kingley

So what I'm hearing you say is that this is a gradual thing. Not like sometimes you hear that Google has updated their search algorithm and one day your website's crashing and and you're ranking high driving tons of traffic and then literally get up the next day and you're not even on the first ten pages because of their algorithm updates.

And so you see that you're going to that's going to like slap you in the face. But it sounds like what you're talking about is something that happens very gradually over time. And if that's true, what timeframes are we talking about? Are we talking days, weeks, months, years? What's your experience telling you?

00:05:47:20 - 00:06:06:07

Nicole Hanusek

It's usually years. You know, it could be as little as three years, up to ten. We've seen some pretty, pretty old, outdated websites out there. So it really depends on how fast you're moving and growing and how the website was built for you to begin with.

00:06:06:15 - 00:06:36:12

Jay Kingley

What I'm hearing you say is that it could be and probably is a variety of things where there's divergence between where you were and where you are. For example, it could be your content, it could be your messaging, it could be you're still talking about products and services that you no longer offer or you've materially changed. And it's not necessarily reflecting all the things that you are doing.

It could be that it looks like the website was created ten years ago, which is going to impact the brand, impact whether people think you're leading edge or you are a dinosaur. I mean, it just seems like there could be so many things that one has to check off. So what should a business owner do to be sure that their website is reflecting what it is that their business is today?

00:07:08:11 - 00:07:25:21

Nicole Hanusek

Well, most people, when redoing their websites, they want to work with what they already have and just make changes to it. And that's the wrong way to look at it. What you actually want to do is start over from scratch. You want to look at who your target market is today because it's different from where you were years ago.

Who are they? What are they looking for? Why do they ultimately hire you specifically based on who your target market is? You want to figure out how to present it on your website and help them find exactly what they're looking for and let them know they're in the right place. Ideally, you want to create a story that takes them through who you are and what you offer.

Because stories are very memorable.

00:07:54:10 - 00:08:28:12

Jay Kingley

Humans were, I think, designed, if I can use that term, to use stories as the most effective way to communicate. QUESTION Nicole, given that this deviation occurs gradually over time, how often should a business owner put on their to do list? We need to take a step back and redo the website from scratch to reflect where our business is today.

00:08:28:16 - 00:08:32:10

Nicole Hanusek

I think you should probably revisit it every 3 to 5 years.

00:08:32:16 - 00:08:58:04

Jay Kingley

And when we do this and I loved your advice that don't make incremental improvements because it will still tether you to the past. Instead, you've really got a white sheet of paper, redo the entire thing, make sure that not just your content but your design, your functionality, your responsiveness. I mean, it wasn't so long ago that people didn't care that much about mobile.

Now, mobile is everything. Who knows? Maybe in the future it's going to be a R or VR that we're going to have to be designing our websites to work with. But how big of an effort is it to do this?

00:09:12:12 - 00:09:32:03

Nicole Hanusek

I mean, it can be quite an endeavor. Depends on the size of your business, depends on your offering. And it depends on what kind of investment you want to make. All of these things will go into the amount of effort it will take to create something new and fresh and revitalizing for your business.

00:09:32:11 - 00:09:53:13

Jay Kingley

How would you comment on in today's world the importance of having an up to date website? What about people who say, You know what, forget my website. I've got a great LinkedIn company page. I've got a super Facebook page for the business, so I really don't need to worry anymore about a website.

00:09:53:22 - 00:10:10:06

Nicole Hanusek

I think a website tends to give a certain amount of legitimacy to a business or an individual. It's almost like your storefront in a way. In the digital world, if you don't have one, does your business even really exist?

00:10:10:12 - 00:10:41:16

Jay Kingley

And I think the other thing that's important here is what I'll say is due diligence. I know there are a lot of times I will read an article that talks about a different business, be it a service or a product, and I might look at what other people have to say. But before I'm going to move forward, I am always going to go to the website and see if what is reflected on the website is consistent with all these other threads and bits of pieces that I've picked up from all these other sources.

So it's almost like that your website is that nucleus for your business and you can build all sorts of things around it. But at the end of the day, you have to go back to that center and make sure that everything is springing from the center and that you're not getting these disconnects. As other people put out their points of view on what you're about and even you put out through other types of social media and other platforms that you're representing, I think, you know, so talk for a second about the importance of consistency of your brand, of your messaging, of your positioning as you're now trying to maintain more and more sites.

If you will, pages where people will come in contact with you.

00:11:33:05 - 00:11:52:21

Nicole Hanusek

I think that all goes back to brand awareness and making sure that you do have that consistency, whether it's visually or within your messaging. It really does need to all come together and connect to help foster that brand and reinforce what you want to convey.

00:11:53:03 - 00:12:21:16

Jay Kingley

I think at a conceptual level, this makes a whole lot of sense. I think it's insightful to say you need to start fresh and not play the incremental game, but you're doing this on a, say, a three year plus or minus timeframe so that the effort is worth it. But you must have some examples of companies that that maybe went through this process.

Talk a bit about the impact of their business of doing a relaunch of a website.

00:12:29:18 - 00:12:55:01

Nicole Hanusek

We have a client who had created their website roughly ten years ago, and they were in the entertainment industry. It was a killer website when they launched it, but a lot had changed over those ten years, and so they wanted to start over from scratch with a new website and a completely new target audience. So out with the old, in with the new, we rebuilt it.

We focused on the new audience without any reference to the past. And within three months of launching their site, they doubled the revenue that they had previously made. With this specific target. So the way your website looks and feels really matters, because 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company's credibility based on their website design. And in addition to that, roughly 94% of first impressions are design related, and they're formed within point zero 5 seconds.

We are really quick to make judgments when we see things. So your site clearly needs to reflect who you are. Now, today.

00:13:41:08 - 00:14:10:01

Jay Kingley

It sounds like the our ally of doing this is clearly in the no brainer category. So let's move away from some of the numbers and talk about the impact on that business owner, trying to understand why they're there sales, why their website is declining in effectiveness over time versus now this feeling of regeneration.

00:14:10:08 - 00:14:37:00

Nicole Hanusek

Oftentimes, our clients, after we've launched their new website, they feel relief, they feel validation because they made the right choice about their business. You know, all along is they're going you're making changes and tweaks. And when the website launches and does a really good job, they feel it because it's scary to make these changes. And when you have a website that works and supports that change, it's incredibly reassuring.

Additionally, our clients also feel proud of their new websites. They like to boast about it, and we've seen some really excited, excited clients after launching, and this ends up boosting their confidence throughout their business, too.

00:14:50:19 - 00:15:23:03

Jay Kingley

One of the things that I have learned is that a significant predictor of business success is the confidence that the CEO and the executives in the business have about what it is that they're doing. Confidence was super, super important in this feeds directly into it. So you've talked at a strategic level about the importance of starting from scratch when you're doing the redo relaunch of your website.

Give us a little bit more of the tactical to do's that a company needs to follow in order to accomplish this.

00:15:32:01 - 00:15:54:15

Nicole Hanusek

Well, you need to start with buyer persona that represents today's new target decision maker. There are a couple of different words for a buyer persona. Some people can say Avatar, but it's defining your target market. You want to figure out your top five clients and set up a survey that you can send out, preferably give them a call.

This will help you paint a picture of who you're really selling to now. Then you want to develop a new website with the visuals and graphics that truly speak to who you are. Create an emotional connection with your audience. We start with a site map and then we do a wireframe. This is basically an outline of what will be on the page without any design, and then we'll do a full design of the homepage.

So once you have all of that completed, you can then get on to get it onto the website along with your contents. You want to fill out your site map with all of the messaging and images, etc., and after the site is put together, you want to test it across various devices and browsers to make sure everyone can access the information properly.

When you're satisfied with those results, you launch a new website.

00:16:45:17 - 00:17:13:04

Jay Kingley

Nicole I think you have really opened my eyes and I think the eyes of our audience is to not just the need to do this, but how you do this. I think so many of us are attuned to what I'll call the acute trigger, you know, the change and a Google search algorithm that takes my website from killing it to being killed literally in a day or two.

00:17:13:04 - 00:17:43:07

Jay Kingley

And then that's a trigger for me to make changes to the website. But you're hitting something that I think is equally, if not more important, and which is understanding that if you're successful, that means you're developing and you're learning and you're growing your continuous, slowly adapting to meet the needs of the marketplace. So where you were three years ago is not at all where you're going to be today.

So I like the idea of putting on your calendar long range calendar. A Every three years, we should take a step back and at least go through the exercise of what would it look like if we were going to redo the entire website? But I think it's a little bit more than that. I would also argue that any time you make a fundamental change in your strategic direction, and that could be we're adding a significant new service or product, we are eliminating something that we used to do that used to be a big deal.

We are changing our decision maker or we are changing our target market. We are changing our market position. Any of those major strategic changes or initiatives has to trigger a now we need to redo our website from scratch so that we are communicating in a compelling and an effective manner. Where our company is today and where we intend to go in the future as opposed to this be an historic novel of where we were in the past.

So thank you for this. Now we are going to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to learn a bit about Nicole.

00:19:06:06 - 00:19:29:00


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00:20:04:14 - 00:20:19:17

Jay Kingley

Welcome back. We're talking in a call, Hannah Sack of smack, happy design. Let's find out a bit more about you. I want to start with understanding the pain points that you solve for the clients of Smack Happy Design.

00:20:19:22 - 00:20:45:18

Nicole Hanusek

We help clients get out of a selling rut with a brand new website that really speaks to who they are and what they offer. The value that they bring to clients. They usually end up feeling revitalized and recharged. Some of our clients end up raising their rates. They get more leads, they close more sales, and sometimes they make back their investment within the first three months after launching.

00:20:45:22 - 00:21:07:00

Jay Kingley

There are a lot of web design firms out there, many of them, in fact, we could say by definition, half of them are below average. The benefits that you talk about are material, but you're only going to get those benefits by working with the best. What makes smack happy design the best at what they do?

00:21:07:05 - 00:21:36:12

Nicole Hanusek

We are really good at bringing out a company's personality and culture and bringing that on to the website and ultimately into your marketing. We go deep on questions and processes, which leads to our very high quality results. We're extremely responsive, usually replying within about 1.5 hours, and this is based on our support sets, and we hire and partner with people who really care.

00:21:36:18 - 00:22:01:12

Jay Kingley

I encourage everybody to check Nicole out on LinkedIn. By the way, go to the Smart Copy Design website and and check out how the company is putting itself out into the marketplace. Who can give you a chance to see some of the work that Nicole has and her team have done? But I want to ask you to call a slightly different question.

I'd like to know what happened in your life that would most explain why you do what you do today.

00:22:09:02 - 00:22:32:21

Nicole Hanusek

I think I'm going to take you way back when I was growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. I lived with my mom, my aunt and my grandfather. And he was an alcoholic. So he wasn't physically abusive, but he was emotionally abusive. And that was very hard to live with. One of the things that I did to escape the situation was draw.

I started drawing at a really young age and I continued to do so all through high school. At some point in there, I decided I wanted art to be my career path because it was one of the few things that I had control over and I could just hang out in these little worlds that I created on my own and I would feel safe.

And this led me to go to art school in Cleveland, where I majored in illustration. And while I was there, I ended up getting a job at a Web consulting company. And this is so long ago that this was before the Web was the huge thing it is now. When I was at the interview, the owner of the company was asking me why I wanted the job, and I honestly had no idea what the job even was really at the time.

But he hired me anyways. First day on the job he handed me a book and said, here, learn HTML. Okay, so here we are 24 years later and I've got my own web consulting company.

00:23:36:17 - 00:23:59:07

Jay Kingley

Nicole, I know this isn't something we talked about, but I would like you to share with our audience. How did you come up with the name Smack Happy Design? I've told Nicole privately. It has got to be in my top three names I've ever heard. For a company I got, I have to ask you to share that.

00:23:59:09 - 00:24:22:12

Nicole Hanusek

So when I was still at my last full time job, I was on the brink of taking that leap to go freelance full time, and I was trying to come up with a name. It needs to be memorable, easy to spell the domain had to be available. So I was thinking on it for about a month, trying to come up with something.

And one of my coworkers, who would often annoy me was annoying me once again. And I thought to myself, Oh, I want to go smack happy on him. And there you have it.

00:24:36:15 - 00:25:05:13

Jay Kingley

I love your tagline. Don't be happy. Be smack happy. Completely memorable. Hats off. You definitely win the prize there. Nicole, you've talked about something really, really critical. You've given us a great perspective of how to think about what you need to do to make sure your website reflects where your business is and where it's going, not necessarily where it has been.

I'm sure we've got people in our audience that would love to reach out, connect with you, continue this discussion. What's the best way for folks to get in contact with you?

00:25:15:12 - 00:25:28:06

Nicole Hanusek

So our Web site is smack happy dot com where you will be able to start the conversation by requesting a quote. You can find us there at smack have become or you could email me at. Nicole at smack have become.

00:25:28:11 - 00:25:57:07

Jay Kingley

And we will put a website email address or LinkedIn profile in the show notes is an insert into the video. Make it easy for you to reach out to Nicole. Nicole, bravo. Thank you very much. I know, you know, in my little earpiece, my producer saying, Jay, this was amazing. This was great. Don't screw it up. Just end the show.

And I'm telling my producer, that's not how I roll. I as the primary advocate for my audience, look at the amazing guests like you, Nicole, that we have that share their strategic insights, share what it is that our audience needs to do to stay best in class for their businesses. And I'm saying do more. Give us more. I'm going to put you a little bit on the spot here, and I want you to up the ante.

Can you offer our listeners a bit of a sweetener to give them that little bit of extra incentive to reach out and engage with you?

00:26:42:07 - 00:26:54:00

Nicole Hanusek

How about if someone decides to work with us and they mentioned that they found us here we will host and maintain their website for one full year for free.

00:26:54:07 - 00:27:23:11

Jay Kingley

Wow, folks, you have got to take advantage of that. That is worth a considerable amount. Not just in savings, but being able to have a quality outfit that's going to take the concerns about how your website is not just hosted but maintained. So that that's one or maybe two things that you no longer have to worry about. Thank you, Nicole.

So, so generous just when you're talking to Nicole mentioned you heard her and the best kept secret show and she will give you that offer. Thank you for being a terrific guest. Nicole. To my audience, let's continue to crush it until next time.

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