Your Website

What you need to know, in plain English, about taking your dream online and how to start your own website.

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Your Mindset

Start silencing that inner critic by banishing self-doubts and limiting beliefs. You’ve got this!

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Your Brand

Logos, Design, and figuring out who you are – for new entrepreneurs, creatives, and non-designers.

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Your Focus

Being productive isn’t just doing more, but doing the right things. Let’s get more done while enjoying the journey.

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Recent Articles:

How Building Better Habits can Change Your Life

Building Better Habits in the New Year

If you’re like me, you’re all about building better habits in your life.  Our habits have the power to shape our futures and determine our success or failure in life. All that is well and good, but how do you actually go about building better habits in your life? Here are a few tips to help you in […]

Tips for Writing an Effective About Page

How to Write an About Page for your Website

As most bloggers and website owners know, the About page is the most frequently visited page on any website, besides your home page. Learning how to write an about page is crucial. Website owners must give extra special attention to your about pages, to help your visitors get to know you better and see how […]

How to use Google Calendar to manage a busy family

Using Google Calendar to Manage a Family

Google Calendar. I think our entire family structure would descend into chaos without it. Okay, maybe not. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. However, the orderliness of our family life now that I have five adult kids who all live at home is heavily reliant on Google calendar. Let’s talk for a bit about how […]

Linking Evernote Notes together

How Linking Evernote Notes Helps You Get More Done

The ability to link my Evernote together, and to create links within my Evernote notes is a function I use often to enhance my productivity and functionality. I’ve written earlier about how I use my Evernote setup to organize my notes and notebooks by priority and not topics. This has been huge for helping me […]

Using Evernote to deal with the tedious details

Using Evernote to Keep Track of the Tedious but Necessary Details

I’ve written before how I order my Evernote notebooks and notebook stacks to enhance my productivity and stay on task. Well, another use for Evernote is to keep track of those tedious but necessary details of life. Case in Point: Dealing with the Hospital. In April 2015, many of you know that two of my kids […]

What is Google Keep and How will it help you get and stay organized?

What is Google Keep and Why Do I Love it?

Google Keep is Google’s note-taking app, introduced in March 2013. It’s similar to apps like Evernote and One Note. Each of these kinds of apps has their own strengths and weaknesses, of course. I like to use a mixture of them in ways that work best. In this post, I’ll be writing about how I […]

Acting vs Reacting: What is the Difference and How Does it Affect My Life?

Acting vs Reacting

One of the best skills you can ever develop as a human being is the fine art of acting vs reacting. This is one of those things you learn more and more as you get older. That is if you’re willing to listen to life’s lessons sent your way. A professor in college used to urge […]

Using Google Keep, Calendar, and Drive to Organize Recipes, Menus, and Shopping Lists

Using Google Keep & Drive to Organize Recipes, Menus, and Shopping Lists

I’ve found that using Google Keep, synced with Google Drive and Calendar, allows me to easily sort and organize my recipes, menu planning, and shopping lists. Let me tell you how. The Basics of Google Keep and Google Drive Recipe Archiving I already use Pinterest to pin recipes I want to try. I think most […]

dealing with Financial Emergencies and debt free living

Financial Emergencies and Living a Debt-Free Life

A recent report I read revealed a shocking statistic about financial emergencies. It reported 47% of Middle-Class Americans couldn’t cover a $400 emergency on their own.  They would need to borrow the money via credit cards, family loans, or other means. An odd rush of emotions came through as I read Neil Gabler’s excellent article in the […]

Developing Better Habits for Home Business Success

Developing Better Habits for Home Business Success

What is the key to home business and work from home success? While there is no one thing that will guarantee success, I believe forming better habits will tip the odds more in your favor. A few friends and I were talking about the topic of working from home. We all seemed to agree that […]

Living by Faith and a Plan

Living by Faith and a Plan

Is living by faith and setting goals at odds with one another? These are topics I’ve wrestled with in the past. Maybe you have too. The Two Sides of Living By Faith or By a Plan Is it too rigid for us to set goals and write out missions statements when we, as Christians, are to […]

What is moodboarding?

What is Moodboarding?

In the old analog days before digital took over (THANK GOD), we used to mood board literally. It went on a literal board. If you’ve watched much HGTV, you still see analog mood boards at work. The Designer pulls out a large board, puts it on an easel, and on the board, we have images […]

How to Get More Done with Less Stress Using Evernote

How to Get More Done with Less Stress Using Evernote

Evernote is one of my favorite cross-platform note-taking apps, but it is so much more than that. Truly, Evernote is the key to not only keeping my life organized but helping me get more done with less stress. Let me show you how you can get more done using Evernote too. Read on. The Evernote […]

Categories vs tags: What are they and how should you use them on your website?

Categories vs Tags: What are They and How Should You Use Them?

When planning out your website, you’ll need to think about organizing your content. You may even wonder about categories vs tags. WordPress and other platforms use categories and tags to help organize content. Categories and Tags can be confusing and be intimidating for many new website owners. I can help you understand what categories and tags actually are. And […]

Why your website needs a start here page

How a Start Here Page Helps Your Readers

Adding a start here page to my website was one of the big changes I made to my website as I rebranded it last year. The start here helped my readers (especially first-time visitors) orient themselves with what I had available on my website and blog, and see how it would help them. Why You […]

If Wordpress is free, why am I paying you?

If WordPress is a Free Program, Why am I Paying You?

Confused about the expenses associated with having a WordPress website? You’re not alone. One question I received twice now is something along these lines: If WordPress (or Zen Cart, OS Commerce, Joomla, Squarespace, Drupal…) is a free program, why am I paying you? Let’s talk about it. What’s Included in the FREE Part? The part […]

Thoughts on minimizing the expense of working

Thoughts on Minimizing the Expense of Working

When you work away from home (or even if you work from home and are super busy), sometimes expenses can creep in that eat up whatever cash you’re earning, pulling that money away from what it’s meant to be spent on. I’m talking food, commuting, childcare, “stress-spending”, “treating yourself” and so forth.  Being a passionate […]

In any Design Project, Content Comes first. If you don't create content first, how will you know how to design for it?

Why Content Comes First

One of the big changes I’ve made in how I do websites and other design projects for clients is to request all of the content for the project up front. Let’s talk about why. Designers Design Content The most obvious one is the very definition of web design. When designing for the web, or designing […]

Worry is a misuse of imagination

Struggling with Focus? Here’s Help

We all probably realize we need better focus in our lives to take care of what we feel we need to do or should be doing. The real issue for most of us is how to maintain that focus. Here are a few tips I’ve learned in my life. Some Mental Downtime is Good for […]

Creating Achievable Long Term Goals

Creating Achievable Long Term Goals

You may have heard it said that if you are aiming at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Although life isn’t as perfect and linear as we’d prefer it to be, having goals in mind can help you stay on track, making progress towards the end you have chosen. This sure beats meandering through life […]

Spring Cleaning Your Digital Workspace

Spring Cleaning Your Digital World

Do you struggle with finding your files on your computer? Let’s talk a bit today about how to set up some folders to improve your workflow and help you find items easier. Think of it as a little spring cleaning in your digital world. The Default Folders No matter what operating system you’re using, most have a […]

What is Mind Mapping and How does it help the creative process?

What is Mind Mapping and How Does it Help Me Write?

From time to time I get asked how I organize my thoughts before writing or while brainstorming. The answer is mind mapping. Let’s learn a little bit about what is mind mapping and how to use it. Mind Mapping for Better Brainstorming When I first started writing, I just wrote and wrote and wrote. Yet, […]

6 Tips for Selecting a Domain Name

6 Tips for Selecting a Domain Name

One of the first things you’ll need to purchase before setting up your own website is a domain name. What is a domain name? A domain name is the address of your website. For example, the domain name for this address is ThoughtsandDesigns.com. The most common domains, or TLDs (Top Level Domains) end with .com, […]

Online Resources for Continuing Education

Online Resources for Continuing Education

Oh, the 21st century is a great time to be alive. Continuing Education has never been easier, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Modern technology offers us some really amazing tools and resources for continuing education or just brushing up on some skills with online courses. In this post, I’d like to share a […]

How and Why to write a personal mission statement

How and Why to Write Your Own Personal Mission Statement

Crafting my own personal mission statement has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. My personal mission statement has saved me much time, money, and frustration in my life. I think many of us when we hear the phrase “mission statement” don’t think of ourselves. You think of a large organization or business. Yet, […]

Bullet Journaling

What is Bullet Journaling and Why You Need a Bullet Journal too

You might have heard about bullet journals and bullet journaling and wondered, “What is bullet journaling anyway?” Bullet journaling is a planner system that can be pretty much anything you need it to be. That’s the beauty of bullet journals and bullet journaling. You use your creativity to make the system entirely your own. I […]

Developing Your Creative Process as an Artist or Creative Professional

Developing Your Creative Process

On social media a few weeks ago, a friend asked about my creative process. She asked, My daughter wants to be an artist. Can you write about how you create art? Are there steps you follow? My creative process usually varies with the kind of project I’m working on.  Usually, if I’m doing something for a client, […]

How to Keep Your Goals and Dreams in Mind

How to Keep Your Goals and Dreams in Mind

Setting goals is one thing; actually achieving them is quite another. How many of us write out our goals and New Year’s resolutions at the start of each new year, only to not even remember what most of those are by the end of the new year? Keeping those goals and New Year’s resolutions before […]

Thoughts on Annual goals and New Years' Resolutions

Thoughts on Setting Annual Goals and New Years’ Resolutions

I am a goal orientated person. Now, this is not because I consider myself to be very organized or particularly productive. In fact, I think it’s more of the opposite. I know that, if I don’t keep goals in front of me, I usually get nothing done. I’ve posted in the past about having long […]

My Process for Building Your Website

So, you want a website?   I’ve already written in other parts of my blog about how to find the purpose of your website improve your existing website and market your website. (you can read those posts by clicking on the links above). But what steps do I take to build your website after you […]

The content conversation and intervention

The Content Conversation and Intervention

When talking about not using websites as glorified classified ads, yellow pages, or flyers, I’ve mentioned before that one of the benefits of today’s interactive websites is easy non-techie editing so you can have a conversation with your clients. I’ve beat this particular drum for years when advising my web design clients on how to […]

8 Tips to get started marketing your website

8 Tips on Getting Started Marketing Your Website

The topic of marketing your website is, in and of itself, a broad topic. I almost hesitate to talk about marketing your website, except that I get asked about it so often. Usually the topic comes up around the time I give someone the bad news that a website isn’t marketing, but rather a website needs […]

Saying No and the Stop Doing List

Saying No and the Stop Doing List

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we all have the same 24 hours in a day. When it comes to trying to achieve our goals, it’s not enough for us to decide to start doing certain things (such as working out more, eating better, creating an emergency fund, etc.). We also have […]

12 Tips to Improve Your Website

12 Tips to Improve Your Website

A website is not something you just build, then leave sitting there, unattended, for the rest of it’s existence. In fact, in order to improve your website, and build our business, it’s important to continually strive to make improvements to your user’s experience at your website. This website of mine, Thoughts and Designs, has been […]

Where do you draw the line?

Reader Q: Where to Draw the Line

A reader asked me, Your post on “saying no” hit home for me. I don’t handle saying no well. I say yes and then regret it. I feel like a jerk if I say no too many times to people or events. Then I burn out quickly if I have too much going on. I’ve […]

What Are Keywords and why are they important

What are Keywords and Why are they Important?

In creating content for your website, or research website marketing techniques, you may have come across the term “keywords”. In terms of websites, what exactly are keywords? The best way to describe it is this: if you were looking for the information you have on your website, but you didn’t know about your company, you […]

Busy is not the same as productive

Busy is not the same as Productive

I post quite a few articles on getting things done. I’m always making goals, to-do lists, and trying to press forwards. However, when it comes to goals, schedules, to-do lists, and productivity in general, there are a few common misconceptions and complaints I’ve heard. Misconception #1: Productivity Means Less Time for People and Relationships This […]

In Praise of Down Time

In Praise of Down Time: Don’t Feel Guilty for Resting

In recent years, I’ve been learning more than I ever thought possible about exercise: the proper way to do it, the value of it, and so forth. I’ve been amazed at how some of what I’ve learned specifically about exercise also applies generally in all of life. Take for example the concept of rest and […]

Filtering Opportunities and Using Time Wisely

Filtering Out Opportunities, and Using Time Wisely

Frequently, I get asked to do things, help with activities, given offers for employment or volunteering, and otherwise opportunities to invest my time and money in a good cause. That’s when it’s most difficult to make decisions: when you know the cause is a good one. If you had an unlimited amount of time and […]

4 Tips for Parenting with the End in Mind

4 Tips for Parenting with the End in Mind

What do I mean by parenting with the end in mind? By Parenting with the End in Mind, I mean to decide where you want to end up, at the end if this parenting journey, and come up with a plan, step by step for how to get there. This is basically the same as […]

How to focus on what is really important to you

8 Steps to Focusing on What is Really Important to You

As the saying goes, the good really is the enemy of the best. One of the most frustrating parts of life, for me, is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be enough time in each day to do what I want to do or feel like I need to do. No one has the […]

Tips for making new years resolutions you'll actually keep

Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions that You’ll Actually Keep

The problem with New Year’s Resolutions, you may have found, is that they often result in failure a short time after you created them. I don’t know about you, but I’m great at writing out a list of ambitious goals and New Year’s resolutions, only to have them end in disappointment and failure. As I […]

Prayer and SEtting Goals

Prayer and Setting Goals

When it comes to setting any kind of goals, I always take the time to pray about those first, seeking out God’s wisdom in setting my goals. God promises to give us all wisdom if we ask Him for it, so ask away! (see James 1:5). When it comes to praying about your goals, there […]

Weekly Goals and Daily To Do Lists

The Art of Setting Weekly Goals and Daily To-Do Lists

Over the years, learning what works for me and what doesn’t, I’ve drastically pared down my system to consist mostly of a sheet or two of goals to achieve annually, and then smaller goals and to-do lists that I craft from week to week. This works well in conjunction with my calendar for appointments and […]

How to get your own shopping cart website

How to Get Your Own Shopping Cart Website

There are lots of different kinds of websites out there. Most of them provide free content in some way. Others can be used to directly sell to your customers and clients. Most of the time, we refer to these kinds of websites as shopping cart websites ecommerce websites storefront websites Regardless of the exact name, […]

The Work from Home Time Money Tradeoff

The Home Business Time-Money Tradeoff

Most women decide to become a WAHM because they want to spend time with their children while they’re growing up, but yet they still need some income to make ends meet. The problem is, as anyone who has ever started a business knows, newborn businesses tend to need as much attention as newborn babies, depending […]

Figuring out the purpose of your website

Figuring Out the Purpose of Your Website

In ten years of designing websites for different clients, I’ve come to realize that the biggest decider in the success or failure of a web based business (or using a website for a traditional business), is found in a potential client’s answer to the simple question, “What do you expect this website to do for […]

Revising Goals and Mission Statements

Revising Your Goals & Personal Mission Statement

Life changes, and so do our priorities. Although at our core, I think we tend to value the same thing overall, I know that how I enacted that has changed over the years. For example, as I’ve grown and matured in the Lord, and as I’ve grown and matured in other areas (being a wife, […]