Sarah D. Karnes | Branding, Site Design, & Development

This site, out of all the sites I’ve built, has the most dramatic before and after pics – which I love.

Transformation is one of my favorite things, whether the change is an emotional, spiritual, physical…or a techy, like a website.

I’m a sucker for before and after pics and stories.

When Sarah Karnes first approached me about her website, she wanted something new, something that reflected her. When I saw her old site, I could see why. This soft-spoken, gentle  woman had a stark black and white site with absolutely zero images.

It didn’t convey anything about her lovely personality

The Before…

Her original site did not feel so nourishing, and I was excited to work with Sarah and create a site that reflected her deep desire to truly nourish and nurture her clients and their personal growth.

Here’s a sneak peak at the After…

wordpress site design for life coach

 “I love the look and feel of my new site. It’s so much more user friendly.” Sarah D. Karnes


Step #1 | Discovery

The first step in Sarah’s web re-design project was to really drill down and define her brand. Sarah is a life coach who works with women in mid-life, helping them to move forward and find themselves after a lifetime spent serving others.

We started with her taking the Fascination test which provided some key words for her personality and how she works with people. As a “Beloved,” she’s nurturing, sincere, and tender-hearted.

Sarah also filled out several questionnaires which I dug through taking notes on personality traits, emotions, and any repetition or points she had made in more than one place. We also had quite a bit of discussion to identify the feelings she wanted to convey as well as her personality which is such a key part of a personal brand.

Keywords that we identified were bright, inviting, soft yet strong, organic, and growth. By the end, I had a list of words that we both felt captured her as well as a sense of who Sarah is and how she works with her clients.

During the Discovery phase, we also spent quite a bit of time deciding on how to structure her site, what pages to include and how to move visitors through those pages. This was all based on how she works with clients and the goals for her business.

Collaboration is one of my own key words, and I love to dive deep with my clients, working together every step of the way to create a gorgeous website that is a container that can hold and reflect all of their amazingness but still remain authentic and true to them, even as their business evolves (because businesses do that!).


Step #2 | Inspiration

Once we had an idea of the direction we wanted to head, it was time to get visual!

Sarah created a Pinterest board to start giving me some ideas of what she liked, what resonated with her and aligned visually with her values. Perhaps the most challenging part of creating a brand is transforming an emotion or personality trait, like nurturing or sincere, into a visual element, whether that’s through a color, a picture, or a texture.

But at heart, I’m a “word girl,” a writer, and a creator, so I love to have a list of words posted as I work on my client’s sites. I sometimes even dream about these words and how to make them visual.

From her Pinterest board and photos that she had done, I created a handful of Inspiration boards which she sat with for a few days.

Here are her two favorites:









I used these as the foundation for the rest of the site’s design.


Step #3 | Design 

Next, we dove into her logo.

We started this project during the eclipse in the fall of 2017, and Sarah was fascinated with the how the sun’s rays shone behind the eclipse. She also loved the soft curves.

After sketching out several different sets of ideas, Sarah decided that she really liked the sun’s rays rather than the moon/eclipse feel she started with. I had originally created several pages based on #1 in the following graphic and also several that used leaves/branches to signify growth. But, the sun’s rays won in the end.

After adding color and adding a curve to her name and going through several rounds of revisions, we ended up with a final logo:

Now we were ready to move onto finalizing her brand and choosing the visual elements for her website.

After pulling from her inspiration boards, I created several brand boards which we discussed before designing the final winner.

Her colors are bright but not glaring. Sarah is an incredibly positive person, and these colors reflect that. She’s also strong which is reflected in both the colors and fonts. She pushes her clients as evidenced by the testimonials on her site.

The natural patterns and plants in the photos and patterns also convey a strong sense of peace and calm.

This part of the process is one of my favorites. I love capturing a client’s essence visually. It can definitely be a challenge, but it’s so fun to watch the process come together.

Sarah had taken some beautiful photos, almost all of which were outside. She loves being outside and she has an organic process when working with her clients, so we incorporated some organic patterns which I overlaid with the brighter colors from her color palette. We used these as icons and throughout her website for some additional texture and soft movement.

Before I ever build a site, I also create gray scale layouts for each of the main pages. These are called wireframes and the client can check the flow of each page, making sure that we’ve included all of the necessary elements on each page and that the flow through the site as a whole makes sense.

Once a client approves the site wireframe and all of the branding elements, and all the copy is written and ready to go, I develop the site on WordPress.


Step #4 | Development

Actually developing the site and making sure all of the tech pieces are working smoothly together, like the email optins, online schedulers, and all of the links, is the last piece of the puzzle, and I’m so pleased with how this website turned out.

Sarah’s Homepage – I designed a simple homepage, almost a landing page to welcome visitors into the site. Sarah is an incredibly open, sincere person, and this image captures that beautifully. As soon as I saw this picture, I knew that it would be front and center on her homepage.

wordpress site design for life coach


Sarah does most of her work 1/1 with clients as well as in one day or weekend workshops, so the Start Here button leads directly to her Workshops page. It’s super important to be intentional about how you want visitors to move through your site. It’s your site, so be in charge!

life coach website design events page screenshot


Sarah’s new site is also fully responsive.

life coach website responsive images


I love how Sarah’s site turned out. You can check out the whole thing by clicking here.

Are you ready to start your site?

Let’s Connect.

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