Every once in a while it’s nice to connect and share with others what we’ve been working on. Today I’d like to walk you through a recent website design project, giving you a snippet of my process in a behind the scenes sort of way.
Since most of my recent work has been overflow for a local gentleman who has built his own ‘agency’ with me and another freelancer, I’m not really permitted to share the visuals of my completed projects. I can, however, share some of the processes of creating them.
Website Project Complete!
My most recent project was for a super nice lady quilt store owner a few towns over who has been in business for a while now. I was able to be on a phone call with agency owner (who we will call Mr. D) and the owner of the shop. Even though she had already shared her ideas with Mr. D, she and I talked a little about what she was looking for. Then he shared a little of their previous discussion about the goals she had for her website, you know, other than ‘looking pretty.’
It was nice to get a glimpse of the owner’s personality because based on what Mr. D said, her business reflects her personality, so her website should, too.
Researching the Competition
As usual, I did a little research, exploring other quilt shop websites both in this area and across the US. Turns out a lot of sites were actually built on a very obvious template that was not altered at all except for each store’s logo and copy. I wanted to make this website stand out because this store has a personality of its own and shouldn’t be minimized to a look-a-like template.
I use templates when I build websites, but no two sites end up looking the same. That doesn’t do a business justice. Every business is unique and deserves customization at the very least with different fonts, colors, images, let alone tweaks in the layout to meet the goals that particular business is trying to achieve by having a website.
While doing research I get ideas and start sketching layout ideas I get for a custom website. Even when I customize a template I can modify certain portions of it to get a unique layout for the client.
Understanding the website goal
I took stock of the colors and fonts used in her previous website since she wanted an updated look and didn’t mind if I played with these details. Her main focus was to share the classes she holds for her customers to draw in more attendees (her CTA was a calendar to highlight the class title with a link to a description and signup.)
Establishing her ‘brand’
This site didn’t need a full brand, rather a little brand refresh. As I said earlier the owner was using the same copy, which showed her own personality, so that was great to base this refresh on.
Since she didn’t have a formal logo (simply had a graphic paired with text) I updated the font, altered the graphic color and it’s relationship to the text (set it on an angle and stacked the store name so it looked more cohesive) and centered it over her centered navigation. Her social media icons and shopping cart information (visitors can register for classes at her store) are in the top-most section of her site for quick reference.
Telling the story
I laid the homepage of her website out to lead the reader on a journey. Beginning with some quilter eye-candy, the viewer is treated to a large slider with rotating images of the store, completely filled with gorgeous materials to choose for their next project. From there they read about the store and the basic services it offers.
Then the reader is led to the call to action, the calendar describing the various classes they can sign up for. All of this is sprinkled with images of the fabrics they can choose from and of people working on projects in a class.
The idea is to entice the reader to dream about what they can create, love the supportive and nurturing nature of the store and its owner, and be drawn to taking a class to learn how to make these beautiful creations herself. A journey from simply being curious to sign up to learn.
Happy, educated client
I’m thrilled the client loves her new website! Mr. D has made a visit to the store to teach the client the basics so she can easily keep her website updated with ongoing and new classes with the calendar feature, as well as new images for her homepage slider.
I realized working on this project just how much I enjoy taking the lead for women-owned businesses. It’s my passion to help ladies who help other ladies and this project fit my passion to a T!
If you are thinking about creating your own website, think through the journey you want to take your reader on. Plan it out! And then get in contact with me if you need someone else to help you make the website that will reach others with your passion!