An Agency's Guide to Creating Compelling Websites for Clients | Paul Boag | Skillshare

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An Agency's Guide to Creating Compelling Websites for Clients

teacher avatar Paul Boag, UX consultant, coach, speaker and author

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (1h 17m)
    • 1. How to Approach Designing a Site For Conversion

    • 2. Identify Your Client's Value

    • 3. The Power of Objection Handling for Conversion

    • 4. Using the Power of Social Proof

    • 5. Create an Intuitive Information Architecture

    • 6. Plan Critical Pages Around Content Blocks and Calls to Action

    • 7. Wireframe Critical Pages

    • 8. The Role of Visual Aesthetic and Branding

    • 9. Guide the User's Attention

    • 10. Build, Launch and Iterate

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About This Class

Every client wants people to do something on their website. That might be to buy a product, donate, sign up for a newsletter, make contact, or any number of other actions.

In this course, Conversion Specialist Paul Boag will teach you how to create compelling, high converting websites that lead to happier clients.

The techniques in this course will help you win clients with a robust process that delivers results and ensures smoother projects and more repeat work. Client's who can see their website delivering returns are more than happy to keep spending, which is good for your business.

The course includes a step-by-step guide to planning, designing, and building compelling websites, including detailed advice on creating content with your clients. All that squeezed into a concentrated hour-long package.

Meet Your Teacher

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Paul Boag

UX consultant, coach, speaker and author


Paul Boag is a leader in digital strategy and user experience design. He has been working with organisations such as The European Commission, PUMA and Doctors Without Borders for over 25 years. Through consultancy and training, he helps organisations make better use of digital technologies. He helps them meet the needs of today’s connected consumers.

Paul is also a well-respected figure in the digital sector. Author of six books including Click!, Digital Adaptation and User Experience Revolution. He also writes for industry publications including Smashing Magazine, Sitepoint and Net Magazine.

Finally, Paul speaks at conferences around the world and publishes premium course on his own website. Alongside speaking, he also hosts the award-winnin... See full profile

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1. How to Approach Designing a Site For Conversion: Hello and welcome to this course designed to help your agency create a compelling and high converting website for every single one of your clients. I've created this course in collaboration with Cloud ways, a hosting platform designed to help agencies manage their clients websites. And without them, this course wouldn't exist and it certainly wouldn't be free. In fact, it was their idea to do this course on this particular subject. And when they suggested it, I completely agree because let's be honest. Every client that I've ever worked with, and I'm sure the same is for you as wanted, to encourage users to do something on their website. And as agencies, it falls to us to help them achieve those aims. Whether that is encouraging users to sign up to a newsletter or place an order on the client's website for that product or service, whatever you get the idea. In this course, I'm going to take you through the process, the ICT developed over the last 27 years of working with clients. It's a process I used in my agencies. I worked with e-commerce brands like piu mouth all the way through to fundraising charities like unicef. But don't worry, this isn't just a process suited to larger organizations. I've also helped many small agencies and freelancers as well, applying these techniques to their clients websites too. So whatever the size of the sites that you work on, the techniques are sharing this course will definitely help. However, this isn't a course that's going to teach you all the latest project management techniques or some new development process. This is a course that's focused on the components that ensure any website you create is, is compelling and high converting as possible. So it's an approach that recognizes that creating a compelling website is a combination of things like Use the research, digital marketing, and interface design. And we're going to explore all those areas and more over this course. We're going to look at the design of your clients websites in a holistic sense, considering everything. And how are we going to position that offering through the copy, all the way through to how we're going to guide users around each page of the site. And that's because you can't look at either design or copy in isolation. If you want to create a high converting website. If you are a design focused agency, doesn't normally write copy, then you're going to need to start thinking about copy. Even if a copywriter or the client improves on what you've done later. Fortunately, in this course, I'm going to show you how to do exactly these things. In fact, by the end of the course, you're going to have a formula you can work through with every single client website and be confident that it's going to provide the right results at the end. So let's jump him with the absolute foundations of creating any compelling website, which is the benefits and features you're trying to communicate. 2. Identify Your Client's Value: Hello and welcome back. In the introduction to this course, I promised I would share with you the process that I've been using to create compelling websites. So my clients, both as an independent consultant and somebody who ran an agency for over 13 years. The biggest mistake that I use to make was to jump right into the detail of the design and often the copy as well, without first establishing the fundamentals of what the client actually offers and who they're offering it to and why those people should care anyway, if you're not completely clear about those factors, that no amount of witty copy or impressive design will encourage people to act. Good design and engaging copy can at the most, grab the user's attention and present your offering in the best light possible. However, if the offering is flawed or misunderstood, It's like putting lipstick on a pig as the saying goes. So I tend to start by looking at the features of my clients. Offerings would aid said that the product is, for example, if the client wants people to subscribe to a newsletter, I need to know what that newsletter will cover. If it's to purchase a product from the website, then I need to understand exactly what that product does and how it works. Now ideally, that means trying out the product or the offering myself. But where that's not possible, I tend to speak to people who've already used the product or been involved in its creation in some way. How much time I spend doing that will depend on the available budget. In some cases, this involves simply talking to the client about their offering. However, when budgets allow, I might carry out some interviews with existing customers or run a survey. It really depends on what the client is paying for. Next, I turned my attention to the audience. Who is the client trying to convince to take action. I want to know as much about those people as I possibly can in the time that is available to me. However, is the absolute minimum. It's important to understand any potential pain points that the offering might help them overcome or a goal that they're looking to achieve. Beyond that, I'm interested in anything that will give me insights into the cognitive design approach or copyrighting style that will resonate with them the most. That can be anything from their online habits to the newsletters. I read all the clothes that they buy land. She finds social media a really useful source of insights in this regard. What to the audience I'm trying to reach, share? What are they talking about online? What kind of people or brands do they follow? All of these things give you insights into the design direction or the copy writing style. Now, once I build up a picture of my audience, I then can match the features of the client's offering with how that is going to actually help the people that I'm trying to reach. The only DEA is to make the offering as appealing to the client's audience as possible by showing how it's going to help them achieve their goals or overcome whatever challenge they face. By way of example, let's imagine the client was trying to promote a fitness tracker whose features included thing, you know, things like calorie counters, exercise tracker, meditation function, something like that. Now, depending on who the audiences, this could be presented in a range of different ways with a range of different benefits. For example, you could aim it at the elderly and focus on how using this app to get fit will make you healthy enough to play with your grandchildren without getting tired. Or you could target so stressed executives and talk about the benefits of exercise, healthy eating, a mindfulness in allowing you to be less stressed and more happy. Or you could target teenagers and emphasize how a good diet and exercise or make you more attractive to potential partners. All of these approaches are perfectly valid, yet put different emphasis on different features of the offering. Most importantly, it draws attention to different benefits that the offering can provide. Benefits that are specific and appropriate to the audience you're trying to reach. Of course, it may be that the client wishes to appeal to multiple audiences. If, in which case, you as an agency need to be careful, there's a danger that if they attempt to appeal to everybody, then you're going to end up appealing to nobody. And you're going to be the one that gets the blame on you. The audiences are as diverse as the examples that I gave above, then the only real solution would be to create multiple landing pages or campaign sites aimed at those different audiences. However, in most situations sings on that extreme, it's more likely the client will want to have variations. And for pretty similar audience really, such as different kinds of team members or management or whatever else. But basically the same in these cases. Impossible for a single site to easily accommodate multiple benefits that appeal to those different variations of your audience. Only once you understand the benefits, the features, and the audience can you really start to shape your copy and you'll design and the direction that you're going to go with the site. For example, the imagery you use if you're focusing on reducing the stress of that busy executive is going to be radically different. Internet too appealing to that team that wants to be better looking equally, the tone of voice in your copy is going to be different if you're writing for an elderly audience compared to the team market. However, knowing your audience isn't just about shaping the tone of voice of your copy and the benefits that you focus on is actually another really important aspect to understanding your users and what motivates them. And that is the objections that they raise. Objections, does your audience raise that prevents them from taking the client alpha up on their offer. Why don't they buy? So objection. Handling is hugely important and that's why it's going to be the topic of our next lesson. But until then, thanks for watching. 3. The Power of Objection Handling for Conversion: Hello and welcome to this third lesson in your course on creating high converting websites for your clients. In the last lesson, we talked about knowing your clients offerings and their audience, and then meshing those two together to create a set of benefits that you can offer to your audience. However, just because you've got a compelling set of benefits, that doesn't necessarily mean that your users will respond to your clients offering no matter how well designed your website might be or how carefully crafted the copies. You see. Whenever we think about taking any action on a website, even action, we want to take a little pause service that's afraid of the consequences which makes us hesitant to act. And that little part of this is our primal brain, the oldest and most animal-like part of our psyche. It's the part of our makeup that Cactus safe on the savannas of Africa in prehistoric times, it's always on the lookout for danger and wary of anything new that might threaten it. Unfortunately, that part of us continues to be reacting to proceed dangers today, even though we live in a very safe world, and it ends up reacting to the most trivial of situations. We're still looking for dangers. He even when we're doing something as simple as signing up for a newsletter. Just think about that for a minute. When you sign up for a newsletter, there's a whole load of impressions that quickly flashed through your mind. Are they going to spam me with a deluge of unwanted emails and they go into make it hard for me to unsubscribe. Are they going to email me things I just don't care about or they're going to sell my email address to somebody else. What if they get hacked and I have my e-mail address exposed to the world. These are all objections that do flashing people's minds whenever you ask them to do something, as simple as sign up for a newsletter. If you want to insure people act on your website, then it's imperative that we addressed those objections whenever we design a website for a client. So let's look at how to do that. Before we can address any objections. Uses have we first need to know what they are? And there are three simple ways we can find that out. A good starting point is to speak to any customer facing staff and your client's organization. These are the people who deal with customer questions and objections daily and alone most certainly have a list of really good ones to get you started. However, if budgets allow, it's always also good to get objections directly from users. And to do that, you can run a very simple popup survey that appears on your client's website as users going to leave the website. So it's an exit intent survey. The survey should only be shown to users who have decided not to take action. And the survey will basically ask a single question if you decide not to, and you can insert whatever the call to action is here, it would be incredibly useful to know why, right? We can show them then a list of potential reasons and the ability for people to add their own if one of the predefined reasons doesn't fit them. Running this kind of survey not only gives you an idea of the objections that uses have, it's also going to give you an idea of which of those objections are most common. And that helps you to prioritize how you address them on the new website. This kind of overlay survey can be easily created using a tool such as Paul jaw or use a leap, who are both excellent tools, however, personally I favored use a leap as it's got this really great text analysis system built into it that makes it easy to identify any themes that come back when people answer those questions. It's important to note that I suggest only showing this survey on exit and only to those who have not taken action. That's because we don't want to distract people who are still considering taking action or irritate those who have already done so. Ultimately, your client might decide that they just don't want to annoy users and they don't want the risk of surveying people on the existing website. And if that's the case, then you could turn to the final method, which is to survey existing customers, normally through email. Now, if you go down this route, you obviously can't simply asked people what stopped them acting as they obviously have acted if they're an existing customer. However, you can ask them what nearly stopped them from acting. In most cases, these will be the same objections that prevent other people from actually going ahead and taking action. Of course, once you've gathered all of these objections, you then need to think about how to tackle them. And there are a couple of approaches available to you. First, there will be some objections that are completely unfounded. For example, people might be worried that the website is not secure and payment details might be leaked or something like that. So some simple wording alongside a call to action can normally deal with that kind of unfounded objection, then there are what I call legitimate concerns. So ideally in this kind of case, you would seek to remove those objections. So for example, if somebody's worried that returning a purchase is going to be really difficult, you could make it super simple by covering postage both ways. However, of course, that's going to involve getting your client to be willing to change how they operate. And that's not always an easy battle to win. So the alternative is to look for ways to make the offering so compelling and that it justifies the challenges associated with it. So for example, if your client is selling inexpensive course, they're not going to want to make it cheaper just to keep people happy. So the price is always going to be a factor. So in that kind of situation, you would emphasize the fact that if people pay for the course, then they'll get the money back through getting a higher-paid job, for example. Whatever approach you will need to identify objections and have a counter argument. And you will need to address these objections alongside any cues to action on your client's websites. The objections that we gather alongside the features, the benefits, and the insights into our audience actually puts us in a really good place to start designing and writing. However, before we jump in, there is one other thing that we need to look at and gather before we can create this site. And that is social proof. Social proof will take any website you've designed to the next level. So in the next lesson we're going to look at social proof, why it's so important, having to gather it, and how to ensure that it's as powerful as possible in persuading people to act. But until then, thanks for watching. 4. Using the Power of Social Proof: Hello and welcome to this fourth lesson in our course on creating compelling websites fuel clients. In this lesson, we turn our attention to probably be the most well-known tool in high converting websites, which is social proof. We're going to see in that way. And let's be honest, we've probably all been influenced by social proof in one form or another. At some point, whether it's reading reviews on Amazon or heck, even the list of high-profile companies are named dropped in the introduction to this course. Social proof makes us feel better. It reassures us, after all it big names like pure metal or wood unicef is hard pull that he must know what he's talking about. Well, in truth, it's not whether or not the social proof is accurate. The real reason that we like social proof, the real reason influences us is because we're inherently lazy. It's easier to rely on the judgment of others than it is to think through the pros and cons of an offering all selves. Because social proof is such a powerful tool in our arsenal when encouraging people to act, it's really important that we think through how we're going to use it before we begin the design process. In particular, we need to consider what kind of social proof we want to use. We need to use the right tool for the job. Social proof comes in many forms, including things like reviews and ratings, testimonials, both video and written. Simply naming high-profile customers like I did in my introduction, celebrity endorsements, the party accreditation. Then there are things like industry awards and positive press coverage. Now, to a large extent, social proof you use will be dependent on what your client can provide you. For example, if they haven't won any awards, then they can't give you those awards and you can't use that approach. However, if you've got options, then it's important to pick the right kind of social proof. Your particular circumstance, for example, when working with a B2B kind, is often better to rely on a list of high-profile companies that ratings and reviews. Because ratings and reviews a more appropriate to B to C when selling relatively low value products and services. For higher priced customer products, then things like testimonials or celebrity endorsements went well. My general advice is that if you aren't sure which to use, then use a variety. But then once the site is launched in coverage, your clients to stop AB testing different combinations of social proof to see what works best in their circumstances. Whatever approach you choose to adult. One thing that you will need to be mindful of is the need to combat uses growing season cynicism towards social proof. It's important not to underestimate our uses. Doing so is lead so many designers and marketers in trouble with things like patents, as they assume uses are unaware that they are being manipulated. Only uses fully aware of why we use social proof on our websites. But there are also exceptionally good at sniffing out fake examples. In fact, increasingly, I find that uses a working from the assumption that any social proof they see on a website is false. And so we need to work extra hard to demonstrate. Social proof we're using our clients websites is genuine. Now, there are several well-named know ways of doing this. First, you can use a third party service to validate your reviews, something like trust pilot for example. Second, reviews from known sources can be used things like major publications or celebrities. The kind of sources that wouldn't sit by if you use their names without their permission. Third, you can rely on having a large number of reviews from verified purchases, which is of course, the approach to Amazon uses. However, all of these approaches, rather limited by the fact that it depends what the client is go and what they can offer you and how you can access that kind of stuff so it may or may not be appropriate. Fortunately, there are less well-known techniques you can also adopt. For example, one of my personal favorites. What would my clients to encourage existing customers to share reviews on social media channels like Twitter. The advantage of this approach is that you can then link back to the source of the review demonstrating that there is a real person behind it. The same approach can be used when quoting from an all to Cologne press coverage. Yeah, you need to link back to the original source of the article or the press coverage to show that it's genuine. Even if you can't link to the specific review, you can still link to the publication's website or to somebody's personal profile if it was from an individual when posting reviews, that can't be linked to do everything in your power to demonstrate that there's a real person behind the quote. For example, ask people to provide a video testimonial instead of just a written one. Don't worry if the quality is not very good is to be honest, that just simply makes the testimonial feel more genuine. We can't do that. Include a real picture of the person who's giving the quote, it's easiest to spot the difference between a genuine photograph of a real person from stock photography. And so that will add validity to the quote that you're including. Ultimately, you have to work with what you can get from the client and what the client can get from the customers. However, you will certainly want to get at least some aspect of social proof into your website. If you want to make it as compelling as possible, just how much you've secure and the quality of it will have a big impact on the degree to which you can rely on it and make use of it. Once you've gathered as much social proof as you possibly can, we're ready to start writing it and designing our website. And that process begins with the creation of content. And exactly how we go about approaching that is the topic of the next lesson. But until then, thanks for watching. 5. Create an Intuitive Information Architecture: Hello and welcome back to this course on creating high converting websites for your clients. By now you should have a fairly firm idea of the kind of content your website will need to include if it's going to persuade uses, tract content like uses, goals and pain points that you'll need to repeat back to people in the content. Questions and objections that uses my half, the benefits the client can provide to the customer and the features that allow the client to deliver those benefits. Then of course, there's social proof that reassures uses that acting is a good idea. To be honest, any content beyond that list should be included with extreme caution. Any piece of content, it doesn't encourage users to take action on the site, is potentially just a distraction that is going to reduce the site's conversion, right? So work hard to prevent the client from adding all migrating robot redundant out of date or trivial content. In fact, it's rarely was used to migrate any large amounts of content to a redesigned website. Well, though taking some parts might be appropriate, large-scale migration is a bad idea. Instead, take your list of content types and build relevant content around them. And that may mean you can reuse content, but you shouldn't stop from the basis. You're going to migrate everything. Once you've identified all the content types, the next step is to start working how, how you wish to organize them so that users can easily find what they're looking for. Now it's important to stress to the client that that's not simply about organizing the content logically. And that's because YOU or your client organize things is going to be radically different from the end-user. What seems logical to you wont to them. Both of you a too close to the project and the subject matter to think like your average user. If any, it's really important that you do think like your average user because if you fail to match the user's mental model in how you structure information on your website, then they might not be able to find critical content that is going to influence their decision making process. So preventing them from acting if they can't find answers to their questions or objections, if they can't see the benefits, they're not going to act to create a site structure that matches the way uses sink, you need to carry out a three-step process. Step number one is do an open court saw. Step number two is to do a closed council and step number 3 is to do some tree testing. So we'll begin with our open card sort. In case you haven't come across card sorting before. It's a way of organizing content in such a way that it makes sense to your target audience. And that's achieved by asking users to organize a set of carbs into groupings that make sense to them. Each card contains a single piece of content such as a question and objection of benefit feature, et cetera. Once the user is organized those cards into groups, they then asked to name each group something that makes sense to them. Those groups become the basis of the sections for your website and the labels that they use basically become the labels on those sections. So ideally, according to the Nielsen Norman Group that specializes in this kind of thing, you should aim to test about 15 participants as a minimum. If you test with less than that, you're in danger that one individual is going to skew your results. You may also want to limit the number of cards you test with two, approximately 30 or 40, at least while you're doing the open card sort. And that's because more than that, you're going to overwhelm participants and they're just going to give up. No doubt you're going to have more than 30 or 40 pieces of content that you want to talk about on the site. But don't worry for now, just focus on the content is most important to users and to encouraging conversion. And we'll address the rest later when we talk about closed called Soul. Although card sorting can be done in person with post-it notes and index cards. It's often more convenient just to run these sessions online using an application like UX metrics. They sat allowance users to complete a card sorting online with no involvement from you whatsoever. And that makes it easier to organize as well as enabling you to read more sessions and perhaps you otherwise would. They're also offering a generous free account, which is great to create a card sort simply open an account and UX metrics and select Open card sorting and then enter your 30 or 40 pieces of content. Once you're done, publish the test and you expect tricks will provide a URL that you can share with your participants. If you aim to, if your aim is to attract new customers for your client, you're going to need to avoid sending the all called sought to existing customers. Is there likely already familiar with the client's company. Also don't allow the client to use internal stakeholders to complete a called salting session, as they're just not going to be representative of how most people think. Personally, I subscribed to a service called ethno, which allows you to recruit 500 participants a month for a set fee. I find it more than pays for itself in the time it takes me to try and recruit people, which is always a pain in the OS to do. Once your participants have completed the card sort, then it's time to sit down and analyze the results. Particular attention to the groups that participants of created several times. In other words, multiple people have created the same groups. Re-occurring groups are assigned that the label matches people's mental model and probably should be included on the site. You will also encounter groups that all similar but not exactly the same. So for example, some participants may use the label about while others use the term about us, just merge these groups together. So using the available data you should be able to weed out rarely used groups and merger others until you've got the basis for your information architecture. Now as you're creating your draft information architecture, think in terms of content hierarchy. Each level on your website needs to show more detail than the level above. And this accommodates two distinct approaches to your content. Some people just want the highlights, they won't adjust. And so they're already going to look at the top couple of levels of the site. So those levels need to give an overview of everything. Are there. Other users are going to want more detail and so they're going to drop down to lower pages where they're going to find more detailed answers to very specific questions. If you're working with a lot more content that could be covered with 30 or 40 cards in the initial open called Soul. Then you might want to run a second test which is a close call TSL, now a cloze card. So ask participants to organize calls into predefined groups. Now these are the groups you've already identified in your previous step. And because participants are working with predefined groups, instead of having to think and create those groups themselves, you can ask them to organize considerably more cards. Then you get the first time round. By running a closed called Soul, you can check if the sections you've created your top-level sections. I'm going to work for all of your content and not just those top 30 cards. The final stage of card sorting is to check that people can find content within the new information architecture you've created. And to do that, you run a tree test. And that involves creating a representation of your site hierarchy as a navigable list, and assign a series of tasks for users to complete by navigating through that list, through that tree. Limit yourself to three or four tasks. I'm focused on tasks on finding critical content that encourages uses tract. For example, imagine that you wanted to buy a Sony camera. Where would you find that? Avoid using words that are already in the site structure is that's going to bias your results and kind of give people a clue where to look. I'm once again, you can run this whole process through UX metrics for any easier management and analysis. Once you've finished running your tree test, you want to look at the results, um, pay particular attention to the percentage of people who completed the task and whether they did so using the most direct route. So in UX metrics, that's called directness. Also note the length of time it took them to complete the tasks, the faster they did it, the most successful your information architecture. If users can make mistakes, then look at where things are going wrong and the men site structure accordingly normally that involves changing misleading labels that send people off in the wrong direction. But if you're say, a high success rate and participants achieve the objective and a reasonably fast time, then you can be confident you've created an effective information architecture. Now, if I'm being honest with you, I'm conscious that I've only just scratched the surface of how to make your content falling double in the best way possible. However, if you think in terms of a hierarchy of content and you use card sorting to work out your site structure that you can have a pretty solid foundation. And in truth, the information architecture is not as important to conversion your client sites as those few critical pages that need to be carefully designed. And these are pages like your homepage or landing page, that kind of thing, product details page. So with that in mind in the next lesson, we're going to explore how to plan those critical pages and make them as compelling as possible, starting with the concept of content blocks and Kusto action. But until then, thanks for watching. 6. Plan Critical Pages Around Content Blocks and Calls to Action: Hello and welcome back to this course on creating high converting websites for your clients. In the last lesson, I argue that the user's decision to act often foods to just a few critical pages such as a homepage or a landing page. In this lesson, we're going to start looking at those critical pages. I think exactly what needs to go on them. In particular, we're going to be focusing on calls to action and content. And we're going to stop with those calls to action. Hopefully you already have a good idea of what you want your website to do and what it needs to achieve to make your clients happy. However, if you don't nouns the time to start finding out as you do so you could find yourself confronted with the problem of clients who want their site to achieve fall too much with multiple calls to action. This approach rarely succeeds. In reality, you probably can only cope with a couple of calls to action. The first is your primary call to action. That's the main thing you want people to do. So, for example, when selling software as a service, that would be to sign up. The second is, well, your secondary call to action. That's the action that you want people to take if they're not quite ready to buy yet. So a classic example of this would be to sign up for a newsletter as that allows site owners to remain in contact with users until they're willing to make a purchase. If you've got more than that, then there's a real danger that you could end up overwhelming users and they're going to suffer from choice paralysis and just fail to act at all. Now the only exception to this is larger websites is made up of many different offerings. In such situations, you may want to present different calls to action in different parts of the site. However, no single page should ever have more than two or so-called distraction. When clients pushed for more than that, when they weren't more than two call-to-action and you're unable to resist for whatever reason, at least encouraged them to prioritize those. So that you can design the page to place higher emphasis on more important cause of action if they resist even this and that has happened to me before, I recommend prioritizing yourself based on the business benefits and user needs. Once you've established your calls to action for those critical pages on your website, you can then start planning content around them. Now at this point, you might be thinking that copy writing is not your thing. You traditionally rely on your clients to deliver content, and that is absolutely fair enough. However, the copy has to start somewhere. And unless you hire a dedicated copywriter, that person might as well be somebody at your agency who will actually work out in your benefit in the long term. Because let's be honest, most clients are not expert copywriters and probably no less than you about how users consume content online. Now, let me be clear. The aim is not to create perfect copy. Instead, we simply want to identify some key messages that need to be communicated. That copy can always be further refined later either by a professional copywriter or by the client. We also not intending to produce content for every single page of the site. Basically completely unrealistic isn't there? And more than likely the client won't pay for it, even if you were willing to let them. Instead, we're going to focus on drafting content for the pages that are critical for conversion. Start by identifying a list of landing pages, critical offering pages, and things like the homepage that need specific attention. These are normally the pages that plays a particularly high prominence on getting users to take action. Then you want to work through each of these one at a time to encourage users to complete cuz direction on these critical pages, we need to outline the benefits that are offering can provide and how we're going to deliver those benefits through the features that the offering includes. We then want to reinforce that message with some social proof and ensure that any objections dealt with along the way. What's more, we need to do all of this, knowing that if we're lucky, a user is only going to read about a quarter of the content on the page. The way we're going to achieve this minor miracle is by breaking our benefits and features down into content blocks. And each content block is going to be made up of a heading, a short description, as well as an optional image. And possibly a link to more information. By breaking off features and benefits down in this way, we ensure that the content is more scannable. We also use these. 7. Wireframe Critical Pages: Hello, Welcome back to this course on creating high converting websites for your clients. In the last lesson, we focused on a few critical pages, didn't way that we're most likely to influence conversion. These are the pages we need to shape the messaging of rather than leaving it to the client to decide what the content should be. Now that we've drafted contempt for those pages, the next step is to start wireframing them to ensure that we can guide the user to the point where they're ready to take action. To do that, we need to accommodate where somebody is in their journey and answer the questions that they have at that particular point. It's not unusual for people to visit a critical conversion point on a site multiple times before they decide to take action. Each time they do, they've got slightly different questions and priorities. For example, on somebody's first visit to a client's homepage, then likely to be asking the following questions in approximately this order. What's this site about? How can it help me? How does it deliver on that help, and how do I get help? By contrast, are returning visitor will already have answered a lot of those questions and really want to skip to the getting help part after addressing on VC any objections that they may have. Fortunately, none of this needs to be as complicated as it first appears. In essence, we can design the experience primarily for first-time visitors and make a few basic tweets to accommodate returning visitors who just want to act. So let's take that knowledge about users thought process and turn that into wireframes for one of those initial landing pages on the client's website. Okay, so the first thing we need to make clear on any landing page is exactly what we are offering or what the client is offering. In this situation, we've got about eight seconds to do that or uses are pretty likely to abandon the page. That we means we need a compelling strap line. The start line has to explain what our client is offering in a clear and concise way while also promoting the biggest benefit that the client office. For example, you remember that fitness tracker app we've been talking about. The strap line for that might be something like more than a fitness app, a whole new you. And that makes it clear that it's a fitness app, but it also focuses on the benefit that it provides by creating a whole new you. Now whatever strap line you set Lomb for your clients landing page, it needs to be the first thing that people see when the page loads. Make it big and make it high on the page. Following that strap line, we need to introduce the primary call to action. Now for first-time visitors, this is probably premature. Asking them to act this soon on the page because they won't have enough information to make a decision. However, we don't want to make returning users search for the call to action. So that's fine. We just end up repeating the call to action further down the page for first-time visitors. Hopefully the strap line would be enough to grab the user's attention. And now we need to demonstrate the breadth of ways that the client's offering can help them. And this is where our benefits come in, following the strap line and that initial call to action, we need to show a series of content blocks. Remember those from the last lesson, showing the clients most compelling benefits depending on how many benefits you have written him when he content blocks you've written about the benefits, you may be able to show them all. However, if you've produced loads of benefits, you might want to reduce it to the most compelling ones to avoid overwhelming the user following the benefits, you might want to insert some social proof for repeat call to action depending on how much uses of scroll by this point. After that, it's time to start unpacking the features of the client's offering. This is where you explain how you're going to deliver the benefits that you've mentioned higher on the page. And he's also an opportunity to address some of the questions or objections that uses my half. Following these features, it's time to finish the page with some social proof. Another call to action. And that's basically the layout for almost every landing page, whoever designed on every website. However, before you pat yourself on the back, it's worth doing a couple of quick tests to make sure your wireframe is headed in the right direction. Now the client might not be paying for you to test the wireframes, but it really isn't something you should skip. Not only will testing lead to a higher converting site is also going to reduce the number of revisions that you end up having to do because you're going to have evidence to show the client supporting your design approach. Trust me, when I say that the time it takes to do a little bit at testing is worth it in the time it saves you with endless debates with your client. Fortunately, the two tests that I want to propose only take a few minutes for setup. And they can be run as a survey and will often provide you with results in less than an hour. I recommend running these really on any homepage or landing page that you're creating. But the same tests can also be used to test any other page you want to. The two types I would recommend known as the first click and 5 second test. And these can be run using a tool like maize or usability help both of which offer free accounts. Once you've created an account, go ahead and create a survey that is basically can go to consist of three questions. First, the survey will show the user your wireframe for approximately five seconds before it's hidden. This simulates those crucial first few seconds when somebody hits a page that you are currently testing, when the boys frame has been hidden from users after those five seconds, your survey can then ask, he's describing the right word, what the page is about. The answer that you receive from that will give you a strong indication of whether you've clearly communicated the offering and what the page is about. Next, the survey will ask users to list all of the elements they saw on the screen. If the answers include critical content on the page, you can be confident that the layer is about right? Finally, the survey will display the wireframe again and ask users where they would click to complete the call to action on that particular page. If they click in the right place on the wireframe image, then you know that they've spotted the call to action. Now, optionally, you could ask them to also rate how compelling the offering was in their opinion so well. And if you get a low rating, you can ask them what it was that put them off. A simple survey like this only takes a few minutes to create and you can send the link for the survey to existing customers or social media followers or anybody else really failing that both maze and usability, how will actually help you recruit participants as well for a small fee. After you get the survey results back, you may need to make some changes based on what you've learned. So make sure that you set aside a little bit of time to do that. Once you've a set of solid wireframes completed, it's time to start exploring the aesthetics of the final landing page. And that's going to be the topic of our next lesson. But until then, thanks for watching. 8. The Role of Visual Aesthetic and Branding: Hello and welcome to lesson number 8 in our course on creating compelling websites for clients. In the last lesson, we brought together all the preparation work we've carried out to create some wireframes for those critical pages on our client's website. Those wireframes established the page flow and the messaging for what are the most high-end converting website pages. In this lesson, we're going to take a step back from that level of detail and look at the aesthetic styling of the client site and specifically what we want users to feel when they see them. And that's because our decision to act is not just based on the information we receive. It's also in shaped by the impressions that site gives us. A website may say all of the right things, but if it feels untrustworthy or the, in some way it's not meant for us, then we're going to fail to act. To get the aesthetics right for your site, you need to establish two things, who you're trying to appeal to and what feeling you want to leave them with. Answering the first question should be easy because we decided on who our audiences earlier in this course. However, more than ever, you will need to keep that in the front of your mind, especially when it comes to things like selecting imagery. The imagery you choose for your design sets the user's expectations into, in regards to what the site is offering and who is offering it for. If the website is full of images of business executives, sets a certain expectation about who the audience should be. The starkest example of this was when I ran a usability test on a major UK university. This university was seeking to attract more international students from Asia. And when I ask these prospective students if they felt that the university was for them based on the university homepage, the overwhelming answer was no. The answer was hardly surprising when the image that dominated the homepage was a group of middle aged white men wearing academic robes. He didn't reflect the audience they were trying to reach. That said, despite the dangers of using images of people is still something you should seek to do. Showing others using your clients offering helps people to picture themselves doing the same. It could also help to make a link between the offering that the client has and the benefits that they're offering provides. For example, if we show happy active people using all fitness tracker, then we create an association between the product and the lifestyle or audience wants to experience. Just ensure that when you show people, these people are representative of those you're trying to reach. At the very least, make the people in the images and achievable aspiration. In other words, don't show young, attractive and excessively fit people using your fitness tracker if the aim is to reach middle age mumps, instead, what you want to do is show the best version of a fit, happy, middle aged man. However, imagery isn't just about creating associations with your audience. They also exist to elicit a particular repression of the client's offering. Before you begin any kind of styling or visual design on your client's website, sit down with them and agree the impressions that they want to elicit. For example, maybe they want the design, make the users feel that they as a brand, a trustworthy, reliable or positive. Once you've established and agreed this with the client, you can use design styling to achieve it. Styling could include your choice of imagery, typography, layout, and color. And together these things shaped the user's perception of the site and by extension, how they view the client. For example, almost all fast food franchises use a combination of yellow and red because red triggers associations with hunger, while a combination of red and yellow are associated with speed. Equally, your choice of font can leave users with very different impressions. For example, a serif comes across as stable, established, and formal. While a slab serif appears to be strong, powerful, and masculine. And of course imagery is particularly powerful in this regard, a well-chosen image could dramatically create a different kind of reaction in different audiences. Even the styling of imagery can make a difference with illustrations often coming across as more playful and approachable than state stock photography. Working out what's right for your site ultimately comes down to experimentation. And this is a really important thing to remember, both for you and for your clients, which is that design styling is subjective and heavily dependent on audience. So it's always a good idea to test your styling with your clients, prospective customers. And once again, carrying out this kind of testing, though it may take a little bit of time. It will not only help ensure that you're heading in the right direction, it's also going to make life a lot easier with your clients because it provides evidence that you will design direction is correct and that's going to make sign off easy. If, for example, you've agreed on a set of words with your client that they want to convey, test the site. And it turns out that it does convey those questions. It provide proves to the client that the design is appealing to users. And so the client is much more likely to sign it off, even if they personally don't like it. And that is going to save you a lot of time in endless revisions in iterations. So to test your design styling, you simply need to show your design to your target audience and ask them the following question. On a scale of one to five, where one is strongly disagree and five is strongly agree. Tell us how much you agree with the statement. This design is friendly, for example, simply replace friendly with whatever impression you wish to leave. Alternatively, if you've explored multiple stylistic approaches through something like mood boarding, just try asking users to select the mood board that they most associate with the impression you want to elicit. In fact, I actually would encourage you to explore styling through mood boarding rather than jumping straight into styling, the final design comp. There's three reasons for adopting this approach that make it really worth considering. First, mood boards are quick to produce and so disposable and that means you don't become overly attached to them and you can test and quickly iterate towards an approach actually works. Second, testing multiple mood boards will give you a definitive direction, the MOOC or that one, the test, rather than an arbitrary score, one-to-five, that could leave you with no idea of how to proceed. And finally, moodboards focus on style separate from layout. And that means when it comes to the final website, you've already made decisions about style that's out of the way and you can focus on where the user attention goes when they look at the final design. And it's this subject of attention that we're going to be exploring in the next lesson. But until then, thanks for watching. 9. Guide the User's Attention: Hello and welcome back to this course on creating compelling websites for your clients. By this point, we've got all the components that we need to ensure success from persuasive messaging to a logical flow all the way through to the right, aesthetics and imagery. All that's left to do is assemble that all together into a final design direction. However, despite the fact that we have put so much hard work into this point, the final step could also be the most dangerous as it can undermine the effectiveness of what we've already achieved. You see, this problem occurs because we have to apply our styling to the wireframes. And that can easily draw our attention to the wrong things if we have a poor choice of color, imagery or some other stylistic element. Fortunately, with a little bit of careful consideration, you could not only avoid those pitfalls, you can actually use your stylistic elements to focus the user's attention on critical messaging and calls to action and shaming. This can be done with a three-step process. Step number one, applying the styling to your wireframes. Step number two, test the attempt where the attention goes and step number 3 Revise as required. So let's dive in with that first step. If you've already tested your wireframes, as we've discussed in previous lessons, start by applying the styling that you have to your wireframes while maintaining the same formatting. In particular, you want to ensure you don't radically depart from the layout of the wireframes and show that the elements remain approximately in the same position on the page in order to ensure that you don't undo the design that you have already proven works through your testing. Now, the positioning is the only thing that you want to carry over from the wireframes. Pay attention to the size of elements related to one another. For example, changing the size of a heading or a call to action proportional to other screen elements may shift the user's attention from what you found when you tested the wireframes. So it's trying to stick as closely as possible to what you did in the wireframe. Finally, pay attention to the spacing around elements that you had in the wireframes when you write your high-fidelity mockups, empty space around, something like, for example, a call-to-action will influence the likelihood of the eye settling on that call to action. Therefore, spacing may have contributed to the success of your wireframes is should be considered a part of the final design. Once you've completed your high fidelity draft of your design, we can then test it one last time to see if there is anything we could approve. Now, one option is to simply repeat the first click and 5 second test that we ran on the wireframe and see what results we get. However, if time and budget a tight, an alternative would be to use a tool like attention insights. Attention Insights is one of a new generation of apps that use machine learning and thousands of hours of eye tracking studies to predict where a person is likely to look when viewing your design. Although not quite as accurate as a real eye tracking study, they say it's about 90 to 94% accurate. It's a much faster and more affordable way of getting a sense of where people are looking on a page. I tend to think of it as something like a spellchecker for a designer. It doesn't always get it right, but it's a quick and easy way to check the visual hierarchy of a design and ensure people are looking in the right place. Now, attention insights allowing you five free tests a month, which is enough to get you started with testing. Some of those critical pages we talked about. You simply upload a screenshot of those various pages and point O, point the APA, a URL, if you prefer. Seconds later, you'll get heatmap back. This shows every screen element that has captured user attention. Presuming that the heatmap you get back indicates that user attention, he going to critical messaging and calls to action, then you know, you're in a good place. However, if things are not performing as well as you'd hoped, you may need to revise the design slightly. Fortunately, redirecting user attention is not as hard as you might think, especially when the design is built on a high-performing wireframe. And you've already done a lot of the work. Start by looking at the imagery on the page. Imagery has a huge impact where people will look when they're looking at a design. They instantly pull your attention to an image. They're very demanding. They want to be looked at in a sense. And so you can use images to redirect people's attention and to any screen element you won't take, for example, a photo of a person as social animals. We pay particular attention to faces. And so when we see a photograph of a person is always going to grab our attention. Now if that person is looking or pointing in a particular direction, then we will instinctively seek to identify what they're looking at that can be used to draw the user's attention to any element we want on the screen. However, photos of people and not the only way of drawing attention to imagery, arrows, lines, and other stylistic or objects can indicate direction and be used to guide where people look. Now beyond imagery, you can also use color to draw attention, although don't rely too heavily on that as approximately 4.5% of the population are colorblind. By limiting the color palette that you use on a page, you can then use a contrasting color to draw attention to a particular screen element you wish to highlight. The final technique often used to draw attention is to remove distractions because the user is only going to spend a few seconds assessing a website. And a small distraction could lead to the missing a critical piece of messaging or some call to action. As a result, I recommend giving the design, especially if the critical pages a one final review before you go into the build phase. In that final review is you look at each critical page, look at each screen element on those pages in turn, and ask yourself whether the elements can be removed. We're doing so undermined the call to action? Or is it just a distraction that you could do without? Even if you conclude the element is required, you may still want to consider reducing its prominence to ensure it doesn't distract from people that might be hiding it under an accordion or a tab. Alternatively, you might want to physically reduce it in size or de-emphasize it in some other way. So he keeps people focused on the most important things. Once you've finished designing your website, It's tempting to consider your work largely done in terms of encouraging users to act. However, nothing could be further from the truth. How you build your site, where you host there, and how you iterate upon it. Post-launch will have an enormous impact on how well the final website performs. And that is the topic of our next lesson. But until then, thanks for watching. 10. Build, Launch and Iterate: Hello and welcome to this last lesson in your course on creating compelling websites, fuel clients. And the vast majority of this course we have focused on the role of design and content in ensuring that your website is as compelling as possible. However, they're not the only influencing factors. You also need to think about things like how you build your website, where it's hosted, and what happens post-launch, and that's what we want to look at in this last lesson. Let's begin look at looking at Wall-E, the way you build your client's website matters so much. As I've said so far in this course, I've emphasized the importance of the designer and the copywriter working together because design and copy or both so influential in conversion. However, the design and develop a relationship is actually equally as important. Unfortunately, all too often, designers or agencies, or simply passing off design to the developer would literally in the way of interaction. And that has a direct impact on conversion. That's because the performance of a website would have greatly impact how many people find it and decide to act on it. For a star, a site that load slowly will be penalized by Google, meaning that less people, well even reach the site and we know how passionate clients get about their rankings on Google. But once people do hit the site, That's where slow load time really begins to damage your conversion rate. A 1 second delay could lead to a 7% drop in sales and 11 percent fewer page views. Not only that, but 79% of users who are dissatisfied with the performance of a website and less likely to return to it again. In short, when you design and build a website, you need to keep performance in the front of your mind. Ideally, you need to aim for a website to load in under two seconds. Now, to achieve this, we need to think very carefully about the number of images that we use and also the fullness that we decide to add to our design and avoid too much interactivity that relies on things like JavaScript. All of that can slow down aside, you have to ultimately balance performance with creating a compelling website. And I would encourage you to really listen to your developers perspective as you're making decisions. And always, always, always discuss your design with the developer before showing it to the client. Because once the client signed off on the design, the developers opinion is too late. Avoid being too precious about your design direction when your developer makes a suggestion, really listened to them. The performance is only influenced by how a site is built. Hosting is also a critical factor two, because performance has such a big impact on conversion is important to ensure that your hosting company can serve your clients websites as fast as possible. To be frank, that's why cloud wisest sponsored this course. They know that agencies who care about conversion care about site's speed, and so they care about hosting. Now I don't want to get too bogged down in the technicalities of what makes it, what makes one hosting provider faster than another. However, there are three things that you'll want to consider. First, pay attention. Computing resources that you're hosting house. Has it sufficient bandwidth and power to serve your clients websites quickly, especially when there are peaks in traffic. A kind of related consideration to that is whether there is the capability in your hosting environment to scale as traffic grows or surges. Second, what kind of drawing leaves does your hosting company use to hold your website and to serve your website using solid state drives because those will be much faster and more reliable than standard hard drives. Finally, where's your website being hosted from? Is it being served from a single data center somewhere? Or does your hosting provider have a content delivery network on piggyback, on a massive infrastructure like Amazon Web Services. Ideally you want the latter because then your files are being served all around the world. So there's not two bigger geographical distance between the people receiving the files and where those files are coming from. And that obviously will affect performance. Now, there's a lot more I could say about hosting, but the most important lesson is not to cut corners on hosting if conversion matters to your clients because it will come back to bite you, you'll be the one blamed when the site is slow. Of course, that's not always your call. If your client decides that they want to save money on hosting, that what can you do about it? Well, one thing you can do is to at least be clear with them about the consequences of that, that it will limit their findability on Google, that it will impact their conversion rate. Explaining things to clients in that way is not just true with hosting. It also applies to post-launch optimization as well because many clients still see their website is online brochures that you launch them forget. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you work on a design, it's never gonna be perfect. And so I can always be improved. And you never really know how to go about improving it until you see real users interacting with it in a real world environment. Now, convincing your client of that is not always easy, but it is extremely important. Not only will it help ensure a greater return on investment for them, it's also going to generate ongoing business for your agency. So what does post-launch optimization look like? Well, it really consists of three steps. And each step is to diagnose potential problem areas with the website, to come up with and test possible solutions, to launch those solutions and then iterate. Move on to the next problem. Let's begin by looking at how you can monitor your website once it's launched. So to optimize your client's website, you are going to need to identify elements of the experience that are underperforming. And to achieve that, you need to be able to see how users are behaving on a page. And that's where a tool like clarity comes in. Now, this is a free app from Microsoft that provides three distinct tools within its suite that will help you diagnose areas for improvement. Oh, you need to do is to one small piece of JavaScript on your side, just like Google Analytics. And, and you can immediately start gathering insights into user behavior once installed, start by looking at the Insights tool that clarity provides. This will identify potential problem areas. For example, it will show you things like dead links. When somebody tries to click on a link, there isn't a link and it's not clickable. And then there's range clicks when somebody repeatedly clicks out frustration. There's also quick backs when somebody views a page at almost instantly abandons it. And finally, there's excesses scrolling when somebody scrolls up and down a page without really looking at the content. Pay attention to pages on your site that you're working on that has a high percentage in any one of these categories. Those are pages that obviously need to be improved in some way. Once you've identified problem pages, then you can use clarity second tool, which is heat maps to identify where things are going wrong on that particular page. And heat map shows aggregated data of user behavior across the page. For example, we show you where users have clicked or what they're scrolling behavior is on the page. Keep an eye out for problems such as users failing to scroll far enough or skipping over critical content. So pay attention to what people are clicking on and they actually clicking on the right things. Now when you notice unusual behavior, either from your heatmaps or insights. And that's when you can drill down in clarity using the third tool, which are individual session videos. Pay attention to exactly what users are doing and see if you can work out the problem that they're encountering. Hopefully in this way, you'll be able to identify some pages for improvement and come up with some ideas about how you might go about fixing them. If you're still struggling, consider running some usability testing to gain further insights. Once you've got some ideas for improvement, pick the one with the most potential and test its effectiveness. Now the most common way of testing improvements to a website is through A B testing. A b testing allows you to trial improvements by showing your changes to a small percentage of users to see the impact it has on conversion. By only showing a small number of users, you limit the risk. The change performs worse than the previous version you've, you have on line. Ab testing also offers the opportunity to test variations of a possible solution. You don't just need one, you can come up with many. So for example, let's say you've got an underperforming headline. You're not limited to trialing one alternative headline. You could test multiple different headlines and see which performs the best. Setting up AB testing couldn't be easier. After all, it's built into Google Analytics with Google's Optimize tool. They even provide you with an easy to use editor to make changes to text and other page elements. Google Optimize, makes it simple to edit titles, copy, call to action, anything like that on the page and analyze it. Performance over time, however, is not without its limitations. First, AB testing is less good if you're making a major change to a page. For example, if you want to change the layer with the overall color scheme, then you can end up building entirely new versions of the page without really knowing whether they're going to be better or not. And of course, that could be expensive and time-consuming than the client might more than not want to spend money on that. In those cases, you're better off mocking up something in Figma Sketch or whatever you use and then do running some of the tests that we've done earlier in this course. The other shortcoming of A B testing is that you need statistically significant levels of traffic to get accurate results. And that means if you've got a low traffic websites, AB testing may take a very long time before it declares a winner. That said you can always make a judgment call based on trends that you're observing. It doesn't need to wait until Google Optimize declares a winner. However you choose to do it, it's important to test any potential improvements you come up with before you go live. Otherwise, there's a good chance you could roll out a change that decreases rather than increases conversion. Not to mention the fact that you spent a lot of the clients money on producing it. But once you roll out one successful improvement, it doesn't mean your job is done. The opportunities here are endless. Once you fix one problem area on your client's site, it's time to go back to clarity and find another. In fact, the job of iterating and improving his sight is never done. Improvements can always be made. That potentially improves the conversion rate over time. And of course, that's a great thing for you because it involves ongoing work with that client. And it's great for the client because they continue to see a return on investment. And in fact, in my experience, the, the, once a client starts seeing a return on investment, then they're quite happy to spend more money with you because every time they spend more money with you, they get no money back. And so you get in this really great cycle where you can be working with a client for years and years, implementing improvements to the site in an iterative manner. Manner. The lesson to take away here is that just because your client site is gone low, doesn't mean that your job is done If the client is interested in improving conversion. Now, although I've shared a solid process for creating a compelling website in this course, there's no magic formula to get it perfect every time. The best way really is to optimize your conversion through this kind of experimentation and post-launch iteration. That said, if you follow the advice that I've shared in this course and the process that I've shared over the last 10 lessons, he can't be confident that you're going to be delivering the most effective site possible. If I could leave you with a single takeaway from this course, it would be that to create a compelling website for your clients, you need to think about design development and messaging together. The three are so intertwined in making the case for action that it's impossible to do an effective job. Otherwise, you have to get your entire team working closely together. If you can establish a good working relationship between your developers, your design as a new copyright is, even if the copywriters decline, then you're going to see the effectiveness of the websites you produce skyrocket. So that's it. If you've any questions about this course, feel free to drop me an email anytime to buy Guo a pool APA Otherwise, for now, I will say goodbye and thank you very much for watching.