Twelve years ago, Carla Algie moved from Featherston, New Zealand to Brisbane, Australia and worked managing pubs and restaurants. Four years ago, she launched her own business, CC Website Design. How did she get from serving customers in Australia to designing websites for clients from all over the world?
The idea of starting your own business can be daunting–the what if's, the self-doubt, not quite knowing how or where to start. Carla’s journey to her own website design business started pretty small. She was doing admin and backend work for the restaurants she was working for, creating social media posts and other graphics. When she decided to strike out on her own, she used her experience creating social media posts as her first service. Requests grew from there.
“My first few jobs were designing social media graphics and then one of those clients wanted a website,” she explained. “And I pretty much got really into it from there and now websites are my main focus. I still provide my clients with all their visuals as well.”
And that’s where Smartmockups comes in.
“I couldn't tell you how I found Smartmockups but it was one of those little magical moments,” she said. “You could lose hours trying to learn overpriced design programs like I first did to create mockups for my portfolio, or you can use Smartmockups and have high-quality professional mockups in just a few clicks and really affordable pricing.”
Carla uses Smartmockups for showcasing logo designs, business cards, social media creatives, website designs, and book covers, to name just a few.
“I cannot imagine how much time Smartmockups has saved me over the years,” she said.
Two additional mockup uses for Carla are in her portfolio to showcase her past work as well as for clients, to give them real-life examples of how their website could look. Because of this, one of her favorite Smartmockups features are the video mockups.
“The ability to use a gif and download it as a video (in a technology mockup) is so useful. On my website and profile, potential clients can see the website scrolling which makes it not quite so boring compared to a standstill image,” she said. “I also use Smartmockups to enhance the way a PDF thumbnail is displayed on clients’ websites."
The mockup quality and variety is something else Carla appreciates.
“I also have a number of clients from various industries that use Smartmockups to display their branded packaging, apparel, CDs, artwork, photography, digital downloads, email marketing freebies, posters and more,” she said. “The fact that it is so user friendly means you don't have to be tech savvy to take advantage of its features and the affordable pricing means there's no reason not to love it!”
Carla is a Wix website designer. Being a Wix partner means she gets referrals from all over the world which has really helped her business grow.
“I found a clear increase in my workload after I started displaying my portfolio items as gifs, thanks to Smartmockups,” she said. “They allowed people to see much more of my work without leaving my (Wix) profile page. Definitely one of my favorite features!”
She says Wix is great for businesses with subscriptions, who take recurring payments, who need custom product pages and for creating a good online checkout process. Because of her global clientele, there’s no one niche her clients fall into.
“I don’t focus on any one area of website design in particular, but certainly the amount of custom e-commerce websites, dropshipping, and print on demand projects I have taken on over the last two years has really increased,” she said adding she has also seen a growth in wellness and educational companies looking to her for web design assistance.
“The most enjoyable part of owning my own business is being able to connect with so many amazing people (remotely), learn about their lifestyle, country, the vision they have for their own business, and being able to bring their vision to life through website design," she added.
Carla believes there are a couple key factors when building either a strong e-commerce site or website.
“If you can capture people's attention right then and there, they're more likely to scroll down and look more into your products,” she said. “Smartmockups enables small business owners and more to display their products online in a consistent, high standard and that helps provide website visitors with trust and interest overall.”
She recommends consistency, using the same font throughout and ensuring all the photos are the same style and same size. Also provide a smooth checkout process; an e-commerce site should not confuse customers but be simple and clear.
It also helps to be memorable–people will remember a good-looking website over a bland one.
“Make sure your site looks good on mobile (devices),” she said. “A lot of people when they try to design their own websites don’t realize there’s a lot you need to do on the mobile side of things in addition to the work you already did to make it look good for the desktop.”
“My goal for this year is to continue developing my coding knowledge, so I can keep expanding my services, knowledge and keep doing what I enjoy most,'' she said.
Carla’s commitment to communication, love of website design and passion for learning will keep CC Website Design going from strength to strength. And we’re proud to help her and her clients create and share stunning visual experiences.
“Growing up in a very small town in New Zealand, I still find it hard to believe I am able to work for myself and support myself financially at what still feels like an early stage in my life,” she said. “Smartmockups helped build my confidence to start my own business by allowing me to quickly, easily, and professionally display my work to potential clients.”