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Small Business Tips \ AUG 21st 2017

Tips & Tricks From Wix Ambassador, Karen Sokolow

Here at Wix, we are lucky enough to encounter all different types of users. We’ve had the pleasure of showcasing the stunning websites of our talented artists who went viral, inspiring photographers and users with insanely unique business ideas. But today we’re focusing on a special group; our Wix Ambassadors. The Wix Ambassador program currently has over 80 passionate experts from all around the world who are building their own local communities of Wix users.

In this new series, we’ll be getting to know some of our brilliant Ambassadors; find out what they’re up to, what their favorite features are, learn some of their tips and tricks and showcase some of the beautiful websites they’ve created using Wix.

First up, all the way from Brooklyn, web designer, Karen Sokolow:

Hi Karen, and welcome to the Wix Blog! We’re very excited to chat with you today. Before we dive in, can you introduce yourself and tell our readers what you do?

Hi! I’m Karen Sokolow. I’m the Founder and Creative Director of Awaken Studio, a web design agency in New York City. We focus primarily on building Wix websites for small to medium sized businesses and recently expanded to also offer both branding and copywriting for our clients.

Karen Sokolow - Wix Ambassador

How did Awaken Studio come about?

Awaken Studio was born out of my own freelance business that I had been in for about 3 years prior to rebranding. The launch of Awaken happened just around the same time that I hired my first full-time employee, with an intention of continuing to grow and expand the business.

Awaken Studio New York - Wix Ambassador

How would you describe your role as a Wix Ambassador?

My role as a Wix Ambassador is to both teach and inspire. My main goal going into any event that I’m speaking at is to empower the users to feel like they have the tools they need to create their own websites. I try to break it down into steps that they can follow and not overwhelm them with all that Wix has to offer. On the contrary, I also try to show some amazing designs that I or others have done on Wix and try to “Wow” them. I love when I get the response, “I didn’t know Wix could do that!”

If you had to choose, what are your favorite Wix features?

I like animation a lot but the trick is to use it very subtly. I like just an added touch of “wow,” just a little bit of pizazz. It doesn’t need to be words flying across the page but it adds a nice touch as you scroll down the page and the text just floats into the page. Along with that, I would say the parallax scrolling features are a favorite, but I’m careful about not using it too regularly. In the Editor, I like to split a strip into columns, then I add parallax scrolling which gives it a more animated effect.

How do you stay up to date with what’s new at Wix?

I’m on the Wix site so much I see everything straight from there. The New Wix Features Facebook group is also a great source for everything new going on. Being at the Wix Lounge helps, I get to be at the forefront at a lot of the new features and releases. Like Wix Code, I was at the party here at the Lounge and it was awesome! I’ve been testing out Code for about a month and a half already. I guess that’s a perk of being very involved.

“I see Wix websites and I see their potential and I really want to be able to inspire others to use Wix to the fullest.”

Any tips or hacks for fellow designers or small business owners?

Strips are your building blocks. You can create a site within 10 minutes and all of a sudden you have a one-page scrolling site where each strip is devoted to a specific section. From here you can always build. I would say that’s a good ‘go-to’ rule for beginners.

Next, I would say do your homework. Make sure to go in-depth with your client about what they are looking for because there’s nothing worse than creating a whole website and then finding out your client hates it and it’s in the totally wrong direction. The more you explore with your client the better, show them a bunch of inspiration sites almost like a mood board; in the same style as with branding but with websites. Ask them if they want long scrolling, big fonts or little fonts and if they prefer a dark site or a light site. They may see one site and love it, but not necessarily for their own site; that also happens all the time. I’ll show clients a site and they would say, “oh I like it, but it’s not for me.” It’s almost like investigative research. Do your investigative research and do it well.

You have created some amazing New York based restaurant websites such as Gelso and Grand, Samui and The Brunch Boys. Can you walk us through the process from initial interest from the client to the final site?

The process tends to follow the same pattern whether the client is a restaurant, real estate group, or financial firm – all of which we’ve worked with. We usually have an initial call which lasts about 15 minutes for introductions and a brief overview of what they need, and how we can help. Next, we will draft a proposal that we try to send to them within 2-3 days and from there, the next step is to sign a contract that has an approved budget and timeline. Most of our sites tend to span 6-8 weeks from initial contact to website launch; with meetings, check-ins, and emails throughout. It’s a fun process getting to know the client and learning all about their business.

For example, I met the owner of Brunch Boys at the Wix co-working lounge, I noticed his very successful Instagram account and suggested maybe he should get a website. Finally, he agreed and now he’s got over 400,000 loyal followers on Instagram… Once we launch we usually try to stay in touch with our clients whether that’s through regular site maintenance, a website edit a few times a year, or just the occasional hello!

The Brunch Boys - Wix Ambassador

Let’s talk about these websites in-depth, can you share which features/apps you used for each and why?

The apps I use depend on what kind of business we are creating a website for. If we create a restaurant’s site we almost always use Wix Restaurants – which has both a completely built out platform to load your static menu on, and an online ordering platform that allows you to not only place an order, but see visuals next to each item, add extra options per menu item, and many other great features. Same thing goes with an online store, we love Wix Stores! It’s visually stunning and allows for a variety of great options to display the products you are selling.

Some general go-to’s for us and our clients are the Wix Blog and Boom Form which we love because of its ability to go a little more custom than the regular contact form. Wix Get Subscribers is great because it seamlessly drops all the emails of everyone who subscribes into a contact list found on your website’s dashboard that you can access anytime and more importantly, you can send out newsletters to those contacts!

“My main goal going into any event that I’m speaking at is to empower the users to feel like they have the tools they need to create their own websites.”

Wix Code has just been released, is it something you can see yourself using for upcoming clients?

Yes, definitely! We actually have already started using it for our client mentioned above, The Brunch Boys. They have an index of restaurants they visit that we are now creating dynamic pages for which will streamline the process of adding new restaurants and make updating info on the current pages infinitely less painful!

The Brunch Boys - Wix Ambassador

Thanks, Karen for all those valuable tips and beautiful sites. A last word to share with our readers? You have “carte blanche!”

First I just want to thank Wix and the Wix Lounge in New York for all the support over the years, I definitely feel lucky to be part of such a great community. I also believe that Wix, as both a web design and small business platform, is going to grow to new heights over the coming years, which will create new opportunities for what we as Wix web designers will be able to offer our clients. The best is yet to come!

Feeling inspired? Create your free stunning website today!

By Taira Sabo
Wix Blog Community Manager, Wix About the Wix Blog

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