Revamp for Online Country Decor Store

Giving a website a facelift is quite possibly my favorite type of web design work. As much as I love designing websites from scratch, there is something very gratifying about taking something that is a little worn and faded and injecting some much needed love into it!

That is exactly what I have done with In the Barn Treasures, an online country decor eCommerce site. I mentioned them a few weeks ago, they are my first new local client since relocating to Lancaster PA.

Here is the home page of their new site

and before we dig into what I did lets take a quick look at the before

before in the barn treasures

Clearly there is a huge visual improvement but this project was not all about producing a better looking site.  We wanted to address a number of issue

Search Engine Optimization

We started with extensive of behind the scenes work addressing search engine optimization. The site is built on Volusion but was using none of it’s built in SEO tools. After a market analysis we pulled together a list of keywords and got to work enriching the site, renaming page file names, image names, and generally working in our key words wherever appropriate. Every single product in their catalog was optimized.

Visitor Engagement

Getting a user to do what you want them to do once they reach a site is a skill. First of all you need those few vital few seconds to convince them this is a site worth looking at, so a professional enticing look and feel is a must. Then “Call to Actions” come into play. We completely reworked the content of the home page, removing a slideshow that really achieved very little in terms of usability and replacing it with distinct call to actions which directs users to the newly reworked product categories

The objective here is to give a user quick visual prompts and not make them think too much!

We also added a featured product section which is dynamically driven.

We continued improving user engagement on the category homes.The original site had tiny photographs which hardly enticed the user to click further. There was also a “landscape/portrait” mismatch.

We gave each category a simple graphic banner, a title..great for SEO and a brief introductory paragraph. Then working from the original raw product photograph we adjusted them for better exposure, resized them so all the photographs were now identical in size, gave the each a keyword rich name and uploaded everything again. The result, a much more appealing category home page with photographs that are big enough to entice further clicks.

The product pages were also enhanced with much larger photos and keyword friendly descriptions of each piece.

in the barn treasures country decor product

Internet Marketing

Once the site was in ship shape condition from a usability and SEO standpoint it was time to re-launch it to the world. It has been submitted to all the big players (and lots of little players) in the search engine world and all the products uploaded to Google Shopping

We also created a number of social media profiles including Pinterest, Facebook, Scoop.it, Fancy, and  Wanelo

Check out the site at https://www.inthebarntreasures.com and browse through their catalog of wonderful country home decor products!

New Website for Motor Appliance Corporation

We have been working with Motor Appliance Corporation for many years… mostly on the graphic design of technical products flyers and precision design of overlay stickers for their products.

The re-design of their website was a project that had been on the back-burner for some time but just last week we launched a brand new shiny site for them. Visit it at macmc.com

macmc responsice website

Web re-design projects are always really satisfying particularly when you take a look back. Here is the original site. It had served them well for many years but was looking rather dated and wasn’t working well on mobile devices

website redesign

The new website was built on the WordPress platform which will give the client much more freedom to self maintain. We offer full training on using WordPress in the form of screenshot videos in which we walk through a specific task. This approach works really well as they can be viewed and revisited as many times as as required.

The site itself is very clean, with power pops of red in keeping with the branding elements and is fully responsive.

The Power of Before and After Photographs

We are all suckers for before and after transformations no matter what the subject.

Why?

Because before and after photographs engage. They grab attention offering potential and possibility and show us what can be done

Take a look at these before and after photos

Cheap > Expensive

cheap-expensive

Amateur > Professional

Drab > Fab

before after tattoo wipe

Trash > Treasure

before-trash
after-treasure

Without one word of copy we have told a story in each set of photos – so important in the micro attention span of today’s website users. We have offered a level of engagement to someone who has an outdated website and maybe looking for a re-design, someone who has a faded tattoo and even someone looking to create a piece of art from trash. Granted it is an odd mix to have on a single page but you get the picture.

Advantages

This engagement factor can lead to

  • A better understanding of a product which in turn can improve sales conversions
  • Impart a level of expertise
  • An improved connection with your visitors
  • The increased possibility of your content being shared on social media and all the upsides associated with that – increased traffic, better organic search engine placement, more quality back links etc.
  • Repeat visits to a website – visitors experiencing good interesting content on a site are more likely to return to it in the future

No matter what type of business you are in, before and after photographs are an excellent addition to your marketing efforts.

Including Before and After Photos in Your Marketing Mix

For products or services that result in a visual change – think web design, interior design, weight loss, fashion, makeup … the before and after photos are obvious – a screenshot of a website before and after re-design, a face with and without makeup, a sofa with and without pillows.

But say your business or service offers no real visual elements. How can before and after photos help and how do you go about creating them?

Here you can create scenarios which represent a situation with and without your product or service comparing Good (with service/product) vs Bad (without).

For example your are accountant who specializes in working with small businesses- how about a photograph of a shoe box messily filled with old receipts and invoices with the business owner pulling their hair out and another photo showing a neatly organized ledger and completed tax return with the business owner with a well groomed hair-do. A little creative thought can go a long way in dreaming up good before and after scenarios.

 

 

New Website For Senior Living Community

Redesign projects are always particularly satisfying for me, giving an old dated website a new lease of live with better functionality, is very pleasing all round.

One of our St Louis clients, The Fountains of West County, approached us needing a revamp of both theirs and a sister web site.

The first of these went live this week.

senior-living-st-louis-website-mobile

We gave the site a fresh new look and took advantage in the redesign process to improve the site architecture making it easier for users to find exactly what were looking for easily. The site was built on WordPress and is mobile friendly.

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And for a peep back in time because who does love a good before and after, here is the original site.

 

re-designed-web-site

Updated Website for Chicago Therapist

As a web designer, one of my most satisfying projects are fixer uppers – sites that have usability issues, lack a professional feel or are missing out on creating that great first impression.

When David Cohen, a Chicago Addiction Therapist, contacted us, his site could definitely be classed as a fixer upper.  It lacked that professional feel, made the user work too hard to understand his services and on top of that, was performing poorly in the search engines.

Time to work some magic!

My first objective was to improve the user engagement and I did this by completely reworking the content.  On the home page I added a slide show with well defined call to actions, encouraging users to schedule an appointment. It was also really important that the home page offer a snap shot of the type of help David offers with substance addiction and copy was added to that effect.

chicago therapist website

The inner pages of the site were given a similar content and engagement make-over, including the News page…David is very active in the media and has regular mentions in the press.

chicago-therapist-website-2

And with all good make-overs or re-designs to is always interesting to take a look back to see what we started with.

chicago-therapist-old

 

If you have a website that needs improvements please don’t hesitate to contact us for a hassle free no obligation evaluation.

A Responsive Website for a Chicago Wedding Officiant

The website for a Chicago wedding officiant I gave a sneak peak to a few days ago is now live.

re designed website for chicago wedding officiant

 

This was a re-design project of an original site that had been created on Wix…an easy to use website creator but lacking in functionality and true  internet marketing (SEO) capabilities. Here is a quick snap shot of the site prior to redesign, note the mobile version looks completely different from the desktop version.

website wedding officiant chicago redeisgn

Client, Toni Maddi , was very keen to keep the ability to update the website herself but really wanted a site where she could have full control of SEO. WordPress was the natural answer and it was this platform we used to build a fully responsive website for her wedding officiant business.

We created a very clean looking template design and updated the color palette a little. Toni had lots of fabulous photographs of wedding ceremonies she had conducted and these were used liberally throughout the site. All the pages were optimized for the search engines and we built specific landing pages for the locations and areas she serves.

The template was coded to respond to whatever device was being used to view it giving the visitor a consistent experience regardless of device they were using.

Here it is on an ipad

responsive design chicago wedding minister

and again on an iphone

responsive design Chicago wedding minister
The site has been live for less than 24hrs but I have just heard from Toni that she has already received an inquiry through it!

Read more about this wedding officiant web site on our website design portfolio

Website Redesign: A Gallery of Before and Afters

There is something very satisfying about looking at before and after transformations regardless of the medium.  Think about the TV shows ” What not to Wear”,  HGTV’s  “Devine Design” and even “Hoarding-Burried Alive”  They are all about transformations – making something or someone look and feel better.

Now as a website designer I can’t make a site “feel” better but I can make the user experience more enjoyable and less fraught.

Amateurish to Professional

Site visitors will form an opinion of your site within the first 3 seconds of looking at it. It is important to make those seconds count with a professional look/feel.

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chicago_website-redesign_1

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Drab to Fab

A simple shift in color palette and a few graphic tweaks can make a site go from drab to fab. This site was transformed into a more fresh and invigorating experience, which was much more appropriate for the products it promotes.

chicago_website_redesign_3

Getting the visitor to do something

A call to action or getting a visitor to engage and do what you want them to,  in this case donate.

chicago_website_redesign_4 Content Reorganization

The bigger the site the more important it it to have a well thought out navigational system ensuring your site visitors can find what they are looking for quickly and with the minimum of effort.

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Don’t Make Me Think

If your visitors have to work too much when on your site, then you have a problem-they will be hitting that back button.   The same is true if they don’t understand what you are offering as was the case with the original Paper Shower web site.

 

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Redesigned Website for Paper Shower

We have  work with businesses all over the country on web and graphic design projects, but it is especially rewarding working with  businesses based in our local vicinity.  Our newest client, Paper Shower, is located right here in Lincolnshire IL .

Launched yesterday was a redesigned version of their web site papershower.com

paper shower body wipes web site redesign

Paper Shower offers a range of unique body wipes which combine a large wet wipe with a dry towelette and are great for active people who are looking to freshen up on the go – bikers, runners, while camping, hiking and traveling  or even on the golf course.

Why Redesign?

website redesign lincolnshire ilThere are several reasons for the need to redesign a web site and the old Paper Shower site fulfilled quite a few.

Firstly the site was making the visitors work too hard to understand the product, it was only after clicking through from the home page that the concept of the product having both a wet and dry towelette became obvious.

Secondly, almost no consideration had been made as to who the product was being marketed towards – it was too generic.

Lastly the site was not at all optimized for the search engines, the home page itself was a collection of images and as a whole had very little keyword rich copy.  Ranking in the search engines was poor and  traffic was minimal despite  great PR coverage the product has had over the last few years.

 

Our Web Re-Design Approach

Understanding the issues facing the old site helped us create a strategy for the  re-design and re-launch of the new site.

Competitive Analysis

Any SEO project needs to kick off with a through understanding of  the online competition. We took an in depth  look at other body wipe websites and our analysis  resulted in the compilation a list of favorable key phrases.

Web Content
We wanted to address several things with the web content

  • Communicate the uniqueness of the product in a simple format that did not require the user any effort
  • Engage with the target market of outdoorsy / active people
  • Add more call to actions to purchase product
  • Enrich it with target key words and phrase for SEO benefits

We started with the creation of a set of web banners that incorporated the product and an outdoor scenario or an occasion where the product would be useful. Each banner also carried the phrase Wash > Dry > Done, which was elaborated on with keyword rich copy underneath which quickly and easily explained the product.

paper shower body wipes golf
paper shower body wipes camping
paper shower body wipes travel
paper shower body wipes hiker
paper shower body wipes gym

The home page was updated to include more details of the product range and examples of who may find the product useful. We used video and client testimonials throughout the site for easily digestible communication.

For better engagement with the target audience we created a set of landing pages

and also added a blog

We are in the process of completing the internet marketing of the site but are confident that the  re design and optimization will result in increased traffic and sales.

Read more about Paper Shower in our web design portfolio.

© 2013 Chicago web designer

Web Site re-design for Chicago Suburbs Business: AED Battery Exchange

Launch today is a freshly re-designed website for AED Battery Exchange aedbatteryexchange.com. Located in the far north suburbs of Chicago, they are leading the way in re- celling batteries for Automated external defibrillators and wanted a web site which truly matched their innovative product.

Also on their want list was a professional looking site which was easy to navigate and appealing to their target audience.

We created a very clean look and feel, the home page featuring an eye catching Call to Action banner to “Find your AED battery”.
AED battery exchange

They batteries were categorized in terms on manufacturer and featured images which can be enlarged so the user can clarify the correct battery.
aed website chicago

The site is definitely a step up from their old one

aed battery website chicago