Meet The Maker - Diane Serra, Website Designer and Content Writer
If you don’t know who Diane Serra is, you will by the end of this blog. Let’s just say she’s the woman behind our beautiful new website and a content creating genius! We first met Diane a few years ago and have stayed in touch ever since. She is a multi-disciplined creative professional with a passion for Web Design and Content Writing. She was able to help us create a beautiful new website that showcased our story perfectly. If you’re looking for a new website design or perhaps just need some help with content for your blog or social media platforms – Diane is your gal!
Are you local to San Diego? Tell us a little more about you…
I was born and raised in the Napa Valley. The majority of my family is still there (I have a huge Guamanian family), yet my parents and most of my siblings are here in San Diego.
My parents moved to San Diego when their jobs were transferred to MiraMar. I was a senior in high school at that time and I refused to move. So I convinced my mom to emancipate me at 17 so that I could stay in Napa and finish high school with my friends. So during my senior year, I was working full time, paying rent on a house and trying to graduate high school. What the hell was I thinking? I eventually moved down to San Diego when I was 19 (ages ago!).
How did you begin your career as an entrepreneur?
I had been working at prAna for many years and wanted a more creative job. I had a desk job so there was a lot of downtime to lose myself reading blogs about creative professionals. I wanted to be one of them. I really liked working at prAna and so I tried to just find a position on any creative team there. But I had no idea where to begin. Yet since I was working in eCommerce, I figured I would open up my own eCommerce store to start a portfolio to hopefully get a better position once I showed them that I could create, launch and grow a brand. So that’s when I started my leather bag line Diane Serra Handmade. This brand eventually led me to interior design and many other disciplines. I learned it all.
Long story short, I never did get a better job at prAna but I did learn that I love designing, namely digitally. Over time, I eventually settled on web design and eCommerce design because I just love it so much and it allows me to be remote. The journey has been long but it was worth every avenue of exploration.
Did you go to school for Website Design and Content Writing?
Yes, I am a certified Full Stack Front End Developer. Which basically means I know how to code websites and such. Content writing I never studied. I have been blogging since 2009 and have always found clients that like my work and hire me for my style of writing. I still aim to blog each day but lately, it’s been damn near impossible, lol!
It seems like you offer a lot of different services. What do people come to you for the most?
My clients are small businesses that generally need a variety of digital services for example, web design and content writing. This is because I started to find clients that maybe had a website but had no idea how to get people to their website. So it felt absolutely necessary that I offer both. As of late, I have also taken on clients that need a project manager to manage and complete larger designer projects than I usually take on myself. So I also offer Project Management as a service.
Your website design services are pretty self-explanatory (and AMAZING), do you mind touching on what type of content writing you create?
I am still a big fan of blogging and I read a recent study that said the businesses that are still cultivating a blog have higher conversion rates. Blogs are still a wonderful place to tell stories that will engage an audience or educate, inspire, etc. They are also very powerful for SEO because all those words on a company’s website will draw more readers. So in general, I still advocate for blogging as a content writer. For my social media clients, I aim to work with storytelling as a way to create an authentic, engaged online community.
What strategies can you offer for those struggling with their business or engagement to their website and social media platforms?
I’ll split up my advice into two sections:
Social Media -
For every social media client I’ve had, they’ve always been so worried and so concerned about the number of followers. It’s really hard to help people release the need for a large following. I always suggest to post regularly and authentically. Share your story, share your feelings, and most importantly- respond to comments. Social media is a long-ass game. It takes forever and not every business needs to be on every platform.
Getting people to your website -
I highly suggest a web-audit especially if you designed your website yourself. There may be usability issues that prevent your readers from getting the information they need to convert to a purchase or engage with your brand in general. It’s important to have a critical eye review the site and the analytics to understand where people are getting stuck and dropping off your site. It takes a bit of digging but the numbers don’t lie. I love doing website-audits!
Oh- one more bit of advice...
If you hate blogging, then don’t write. Don’t make yourself suffer. Hire a content writer. Just save yourself the turmoil of trying to think up blog posts and waste hours trying to craft one line of words. I’ve had clients come to me because they really want a blog but hate to write. So that’s where I come in.
What is SEO? Can you explain a little more about why this is so important to have for your business?
SEO is super cool. It requires patience and constant nurturing but it’s really worth it. In a nutshell, SEO is the strategy behind the words that bring people to your website. There is actually a lot that goes into in terms of finding keywords, using linkbacks, metatags, etc but it’s worth the investment if you want people to find your website on search engines. Having a website is just the start, getting people there is where SEO and other types of marketing are essential.
What platform do you like to work on the most?
I love this question! The platform I like to work on the most is the platform my clients need. I really advocate for my clients and small businesses in-general meaning, if your business doesn’t need a custom coded website, then we will use a template website (Squarespace, Wordpress, etc). I always meet my clients where they are and where they hope to be within the next few years.
I am comfortable designing websites on many platforms because it is my job to be flexible and knowledgeable so that I can design on whatever platform is best for each client.
For example, I’ve had many clients that have had their websites made on a platform that they cannot manage, update nor grow on. So they come to me frustrated and likely mad because they also often paid too much for a site they can’t even manage. My job is to get to know each client, how much they want to manage their site after the fact (or if they want me to do it) and then educate them on the platform we are going to use and why.
I also give personal tutorials for each client to show them how to manage their site once I’ve built it. The platform used can significantly improve how my clients feel about how their business is presented online. This is the goal.
How do you stay motivated and inspired in your business?
I really love serving people and so my clients mean a lot to me. Each project teaches me a list of new things I want to improve on to become a better designer. I am also very inspired by watching the creative folks around me keep pounding the pavement to grow their businesses.
How can people get in touch with you?
My website: www.dianeserra.com
Email at the moment is best: firstname.lastname@example.org
And actually - private message on Instagram is pretty easy way to contact me: @dianeserra
Coffee or Tea: COFFEE (all day long).
And I don’t discriminate. I was raised on Folgers coffee so sometimes when I get nostalgic, you’ll find me at my parent's house happily drinking Folgers.
Mac or PC: MAC
Texting or Talking: BOTH
Text at first because I don’t like talking on the phone while I’m with my daughter. I prefer to let the texts pile up and respond to them when she’s not around.
Minimalist or Maximist: MINIMALIST (trying to be a maximist).
I lived on a sailboat for a while (another story for another day) and so I’ve been conditioned to have a very small collection of clothes. But sometimes I would really like to feel comfortable growing a large wardrobe.
Solid or Pattern: SOLID (with clothes).
But pattern with interior textiles
Form or Function: Grrrr…..this is a hard one! It really depends on how I’m feeling. I would say FUNCTION.
Love, The Sisters (and Diane)