Customizing Your Website and Social Media For Improved Engagement

Online business involvement has come a long way since the early days of the internet. This is especially true for websites, with intimate knowledge of code now being more of an option than a necessity. However, regardless of how much easier managing components may become on a technical level, style and design are still areas that require immense consideration and planning.

Knowing this, we want to touch on a few examples of what to do to ensure you're maximizing your online business potential. Whether you're building your first-ever pages or modifying existing creations, keep these in mind and your chances of return customers will be all the better for it.

Website Design

For most businesses, your website is going to the backbone of your online offerings. Because of this, it needs to exude an appearance of professionalism and competency while maintaining a relevant style. To illustrate this, consider how different websites with different goals approach their systems.

For the first example, consider the website for the clothing store Minimum. Leaning on their name as a basis, Minimum's website is one with enormous pictures and only a few obvious links. Their brand conveys sleek elegance, so for their pages, they decided to fuse this simplicity with just a few of the most illustrative samples of their products. Their landing pages might not be the most informative, but as they so expertly set the tone, they don't need to be.

Now compare Minimum against something on the opposite side of the spectrum like the LeoVegas slots page. Bold and colorful, their page is considerably more complex, with many more moving parts. Clearly displaying games like Honey Rush and Wild Ape may be their goal, but this goal is still approached without sacrificing usability. Just like Minimum, they work towards their target while understanding what users accept want and accept.

Exactly where this line lies for you, and how it applies, can be difficult to ascertain. You can get as stylish as you want, or cut everything out but the bedrock of the experience. Ultimately, you need to consider when style oversteps and when its appearance might deteriorate an overall experience.

Social Media

Social media can be a different beast entirely, and one which is usually open to much more flexibility. When developing social media, you can generally reach out to become much more creative, and even a little obtuse, as long as the core of your business or its image remains, as Entrepreneur explains.

A typical use of social media includes listing prices, specials, and general contact information, but properly leveraged it can also adopt a more personal approach. Business anecdotes, memes appreciated by your customers, and general humorous interaction can all be key, as illustrated by Whitelabelcomedy. Again, just remember that you don't want to overstep into unprofessionalism.

As with any other part of a business venture, creating the best possible experience from your website or social media accounts is usually a matter of practice. Remember that each set-back and failure is also a chance to learn, and don't let these weigh you down any more than they have to. Experiment, borrow ideas from others and take feedback into account. Success on these fronts might not happen overnight, but dedicate yourself, and you might be surprised to see just how far and fast you can grow.

5 min read

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.