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Inspired by this website? Here’s how to study a website and get inspiration for your own.

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Have you ever found yourself swooning over a website and wondering how you could sprinkle some of that magic into your own? Well, you’re in the right place!

I’m Dana James Mwangi, and I eat, sleep, and breathe branding and web design – especially websites built with WordPress.

In this blog post, I will share the journey behind my own site (the one you’re on right now), DanaJamesMwangi.com, and offer insights on how you can draw inspiration for your online presence.

First, let’s chat about the “You can’t DIY everything” mantra…”

I agree with that sentiment 100%.

As a matter of fact, I always teach in my branding talks and workshops that as your business grows, you will have to decide between being the CEO and the admin. It’s tough to do both (imagine taking a speaking engagement while a client calls you about a project emergency and no one can fix it but you!)

As business owners grow, they must become more “hands-off” in some regions of their business to see growth. And I couldn’t agree more.

However…

One thing in my business that I HAVE to put my hands all over is my website, but not for fear of delegating tasks. Actually, my reasoning is quite the opposite.

Designing my own website helps me “let go” of old ways of doing things and embrace new ways to show up online.

What interior designer hasn’t knocked down a wall or two in their own house? What hair colorist hasn’t tried their latest highlighting technique on their own strands?

First and foremost, entrepreneurs are scientists. That’s my philosophy. Our job as business owners is not to “create perfect landings” with our products, services, or our content. Our job is to move with thoughtfulness and intention as we figure out the best ways to serve our customers (and get paid while doing so).

In today’s digital space, if you want to have a brand with visibility, you must share your process, your thoughts, and more, as you develop them, not after you develop them.

While I design websites for people through my business, Cheers Creative, my personal website is the “laboratory” where I test my own medicine…website messaging and design strategies… on myself first.

Basically, If I was a hairstylist, this is what my own hair would look like as I emerge from the back of the salon and escort you to my shampoo bowl:

My thinking is, if my “hair” (website) looks like this, then I have a better chance at getting business owners to be a little more daring with their own online presence.

And sometimes, being “daring” online is simply choosing to look and talk like yourself.

Designing my personal website has always had a calming effect on my mind, like painting a portrait would for a watercolor artist. I genuinely do enjoy it. But that’s not the only reason I built my website.

If you come across this website and admire how it looks or how the content reads, I want to help you study it.

There is no shame in studying someone’s website and taking inspiration or direct cues from it. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite books for creators is Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist.

An image of the book Steal like an artist from author Austin Kleon.

First of all, why am I asking you to study my website?

Well, after a decade and a half in the branding and web design sphere, I’ve evolved from just loving design to being passionate about teaching the strategies behind it.

Second…

I’ve noticed a bit of gatekeeping in the web design industry, which isn’t what my platform is about. Since web design has become accessible to everyone, we all stand to benefit from learning more about web principles, making the online space better for everyone.

I’ve designed DanaJamesMwangi.com to be an educational journey…not just in the practical branding and web tips I give on this blog, but also in how the website itself is built and in how I present who I am on the pages.

This website is designed to help you grasp my design decisions and show you how to apply similar principles to your site while staying true to your unique goals and style.

When looking at anyone’s website, including mine, these are the questions to ask yourself as you study:

  • “I am loving this website’s tone of voice. What tone of voice will work for my own website?”
  • “I like this website’s color palette. What would be a good, unexpected color palette for a website in my industry?”
  • “I like this website’s footer. How can I build a footer designed specifically to meet my business goals, like increasing sales or email signups?”
  • “This website uses large photos as background images. Is this the best thing to do for my website? Should I show images in smaller, circular, or square frames? Or do a combination of both?”
  • “How can I show my web designer this website as inspiration but still allow them to execute their vision?”

Now, web designers…

As your industry comrade, know that I have your back in every post I write! If you’re getting inspired by my site for your next project, ponder these questions:

  • “I love the design of this personal website, but I am building a website for a corporation or organization. How can I make a company website feel intimate like this one?”
  • “I like how this website uses large images, but I currently don’t have big photos to play with for my project. What other visuals can bring my design to life?”
  • “I like this website, but my website client is in a medical, technical, or educational field. Can I pull off this soft, warm look on the website for an organization that is not in a creative industry?”

Go ahead. Pin my website to your Pinterest board.

In the event that you do publish a website that is inspired by mine in some way, I’d love to see it!

Tag me at @DanaJamesMwangi. Seeing my work spark ideas in yours is the ultimate compliment!

Do you have a question or want to share a thought?

Reach out in the comments section below!

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About the Author + Subscribe

Hey there,
new friend! 👋🏾

I’m Dana James Mwangi, your go-to brand strategist, award-winning entrepreneur, and public speaker.

Plus, after 15 years in the graphic and web design game (Hey WordPress, You da’ MVP!), and coaching over 2,000 entrepreneurs on how to brand themselves with boldness, I teach about branding from a holistic perspective. 

The confidence to brand boldly, the art of brand storytelling, and how to translate all of that over to your website is what you’ll find here on my blog.

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