It is not quite ready to go live, but here is a quick sneak peak at the new web site we have been working on for a Chicago wedding officiant.
I am just waiting for a little more content then we will be able to pull the trigger and get this website on the road.
I received a call today from our client¬† Paper Shower, thrilled to bits, that their website is currently ranking on the much sort after “first page” of Google, for one of the main key phrases we had targeted.¬† Proof is in the ranking and by achieving the elusive “Page One” placement this SEO/SEM project is a 100% success.
Getting there is a complicated process but one of the things that can really help is to write regular blog posts and if you apply some basic SEO¬† (search engine optimization) to those posts you can improve the likelihood that those posts will rank well, even more.
5 SEO Tips for WordPress Blog Posts
- Download and activate a SEO plugin – one of the best is All in One SEO Pack
- Before writing your blog post decide what key words or key phrase you would like to target, a bit of research can go a long way here (Try a simple Google search or go deeper with Google Adsense analysis tools)
- Incorporate your key words or phrases. The trick here is to avoid obvious key word stuffing as you will fail to engage your readers… nobody wants to read a post that is bloated with apparent “junk” A well crafted blog post is a balance of content that will appealing to the reader and¬† to the search engine. Good places to use your keywords/phrases include
- Post Title
- The Permalink
- Main body copy of blog post
- Fields in SEO Plugin
Keywords incorporated into Title and Permalink
- If your blog post includes images, name them so they include elements of your key phrases and also reflect this keyword rich naming in the alt tag.
- Finally, use categories to organize your posts and give the categories key word rich slugs. The example below shows how my category Chicago web designer has a url of¬† http://www.indigoimage.com/wpblog/category/chicago-web-designer/
We are currently working with Janet Summerfelt, an independent Reliv Distributor here in Chicago, in the freshen up of her WordPress website.
In our kickoff meeting she came well prepared, having not only found a stock image she wanted to incorporate in a new header but also ideas for a color palette. While some clients need our complete creative input, others like Janet have a firm idea of exactly how they want their site to look and only require us to execute their ideas. We are happy to work either way.
With a few image changes and CSS tweaks we were able to give her WordPress web site a much cleaner fresher look¬† much more in keeping with the nutritional supplements she promotes
This is the original look of the site. It is amazing what a few color and image updates can do.
Visit Janet at janetsummerfelt.com
How much does a website cost?¬† If you are visiting this page looking for a definitive answer then I am going to disappoint because pricing a website can be a complicated process but it is a question on every potential client’s mind. The cost of a web site is a little bit like the cost of¬† a house, the¬† bigger and more complex the heftier the price tag.¬† So lets break things down a bit to give you an insight as to where the costs lie and walk through some client scenarios.
Lets first consider the type of company quoting your project. A design agency with a portfolio full of fortune 500 companies and a trendy studio in a skyscraper in down town Chicago is going to charge more …well.. because they have to to cover their costs. If you are large company with mega$$ they may be a good fit. An offshore, say,¬† Indian based web design company, may give you an unbelievably cheap quote but how comfortable are you doing business that way?
A good approach to selecting a company to quote your project is to take a good look at their portfolio and services and if their offerings match what you are after, they are worth a call. Also don’t be afraid to check out any testimonials.
Any decent web design company will lead you through a discovery process (ours is free) to understand what it is you want to accomplish with your web presence. Come prepared to talk about your marketing objectives, the type of functionality you’d like on your site ( e.g shopping cart, content management, video integration, social media, blogging capabilities etc.), who your customers are, who you competition is and what makes you unique. The more information you can provide at this stage the better, as the information¬† will be used to create a comprehensive proposal which will outline the best plan of action to achieve your goals and a realistic price.
Whatever the goals of the project, the cost to create it can generally be broken down into the following categories
- A captivating design to engage you site visitors
- Home page and inner pages of the site
- email template design
- Imagery selection
- Navigation design
- Definition of branding assets e.g color palette, typefaces
- Working from a predefined brand style guide
- Converting your design to a form which can be understood by web browsers
- Integrating all content
- Building and integrating functionality e.g¬† shopping carts, databases
- Integrating with a Content Management System (CMS) e.g WordPress
- Integrating 3rd party application e.g newsletter management, Google analytics
- Mobile version of site
- Browser compatibility testing
- Domain registration/configuration
- Hosting setup
- Email setup
- Upload to server
- SSL certificate
- uploading data ( e.g for e commerce)
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Submission to basic search engines
- More extensive search engine, directory, portal submission e.g Targeting Local directories
- Social media profiles e.g Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest
- Email campaigns
- Paid Advertising Campaigns e.g Google Adwords
- RSS subscription
Now not every project is going to require all aspects of these categories so lets take a look at a few client scenarios
Client A: Online Brochure Website
A small interior design business requires a simple online brochure type website to market their services. They would like to set up a Facebook page, an email management tool so they can send out a newsletter and a Pinterst account to pin photographs of their design work. They serve a local area and would like to rank well for anyone carrying out a local search for an interior designer- they are not interested in paid advertising although this may change depending upon the site traffic. They already have an offline brand image but require a domain name. The site will be between 10 and 12 pages in total.
Design: 12 hrs
Programing: 18 hrs
Launch: 4 hrs
Marketing: 10 hrs
Total: 44 hrs = $4,400
Client B: Content Management Website
A company offering summer camps wants a web site they can manage themselves. The would like to upload photographs of camp events and allow parents to register their children – they already have an online application to allow this through a 3rd party but this need to be integrated seamlessly into the site. They would also like to be able to write a blog. They have a Facebook profile already set up but this to be linked to the site.¬† Most of their customers are by word of mouth but they would like a basic SEO and search engine submission.¬† They have a comprehensive offline style guide and already have a domain name. The site will be approximately 25 pages.
Design: 24 hrs
Programming: 50 hrs
Launch: 8 hrs
Total: 87 hrs = $8,700
Client C: E commerce Website
A small business want to launch an online store to sell their products. They also want the ability for their clients to sign up for an e-newsletter which will offer monthly promotions. They need assistance in selecting a provider for these email blasts and a custom template designed for the newsletter.They already have a merchant account set up and are interested in paid advertising to generate traffic. They have a logo and all copy for the website ready.
Design: 35 hrs
Programming: 70 hrs
Launch: 20 hrs
Marketing: 20 hrs
Total: 145 hrs = $14,500
As you can see the price range for a website can vary dramatically depending on what you want it do do and want to achieve.¬† If you would like us to quote on your next website give “The Chicago web Designer” a call at 847 607 8679, we may be a Chicago web design company but we don’t have a trendy studio in the city and don’t charge ridiculous prices!
in Chicago Web Designer, Facebook, Free!, Internet Marketing, Miscellaneous, Pinterest, SEO, Social Media, Social Networking, Testimonials, Wordpress
As 2012 rolls to a close I like to take a look back at some of the projects I‚Äôve worked on over the year. It’s been a¬† real mixed bag¬† but I must have enjoyed myself as the year has flown by.¬† I have created websites, logos, brochures,¬† illustrations for a book, power point graphics, car magnets, lawn signs, business cards, mobile websites, e commerce sites, an icon for one of the largest banks in America and even the cover for a book.¬† My clients have been located both here in Chicago and a little further further afield… St Louis,¬† Louisville,¬† Wentzville and further away still … Belgium. There are no geographical boundaries for the Chicago Web Designer – your creative partner.
So here is a little showcase of my 2012 web and graphic work
January:¬† Powerpoint graphics for a large national bank
February:¬† Web concept project for a St Louis bank
March: WordPress conversion project for Ruth Hasser
April: Identity design for Select Food Sales
May: Community Website for the Humble Catholic
June: New website and branding elements for Restore North Shore
July: Refresh of Lincolnshire Academy of Dance
August: Rework of The Rockwood
September:¬† e commerce site-¬† Zagros Robotics
October: Illustrations and cover design for book: Mr Bison’s Journal
November: Responsive web site design for Mr Bison
December: Identity deign for InDeBom
I am looking forward to another bag of design challenges in 2013!
in Chicago Branding, Chicago Graphic Design, Chicago Logo Designer, Chicago Web Designer, Illustration, Logo Work, Web Design Projects, Wordpress
But what does that mean…what is a responsive web site?
Simply put, it is a site that will give the¬† visitor an optimal viewing experience regardless of what device they are using to access it- desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. And as I am all about graphics let me show you in pictures exactly what I mean.
Here is the site on a 24″ desk top monitor
Here it is on an iPad – both portrait and landscape orientation
and here it is on an i Phone
The way the site is coded means it automatically “responds”¬† to what ever device it it viewed from. Here are some of the things that happen
- Automatic¬† adjustment the overall width of the site
- Re sizes all the images – see how the entire width of the header graphic and call to action banner are visible whatever the device
- Adjusts the placements of page elements – on the phone the elements that were displayed horizontally ( the block of text and video) are now displayed vertically
- Optimization of the navigational tool. If viewed on a phone a clunky navigational bar would detract from the site content. Instead the user is presented with a menu button, which, if selected, will display a drop down menu.
You don’t have to view the site on all of these different devices to see this responsive nature in action, simply visit the site and re-size your browser window…getting smaller and smaller as you do.. see how the site changes?
in Chicago Web Designer, Indigo Image Tips, Random Thoughts, Responsive Web Design, Videos, Web Design Projects, Wordpress
A good website is a “living” marketing tool that can evolve to accommodate different approaches to engage with it’s users.¬† Our long standing client, The Rockwood, a St Louis retirement community, understands this and recently asked us to revisit their site and make suggestions on how it could be improved.
The site has now been overhauled¬† so it performs better in the search engines and offers interactions with it’s users through social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.¬† We also built them a custom WordPress blog which was seamlessly integrated into the site.
© Chicago Web Designer
in Blogging, Facebook, St Louis Web Designer, STL Marketing, Web Design Projects, Wordpress
Launched today is a new website for Restore North Shore, a Chicago home remodeling company.
We designed and built a custom WordPress template which incorporated not only a blog but pages for project galleries, client testimonials etc.
If you are in the Chicago area and are looking to update your kitchen, bathroom or even an entire house check out the project galleries
¬© 2012 Chicago Web Designer
in Chicago Web Designer, Web Design Projects, Wordpress
Launched today is a new website for The Humble Catholic
We took the look and feel of the site designed by the client ( learn the story behind the design here) and created a custom WordPress Template. The site has been developed as a portal for the local Chicago Catholic community, allowing them to submit stories, Prayer requests and Affirmations.
¬© 2012 Chicago Web Designer
Launched today are two new wordpress powered website for celebrant Ruth Hasser.
Ruth has two sides to her business, weddings and funerals, or life tributes. As you can imagine the target audience for each is very different.
A first generation site, designed and developed in¬† 2009 for her wedding business,¬† served her well and really helped grow her client base as a lead generation tool.
‚ÄúLast year at this time, pre-website, I had one wedding scheduled for 2009. By the end of the year I had done 25. Right now, I already have 17 weddings scheduled, and I have been receiving an average of one lead per day since the beginning of January- outstanding!‚ÄĚ
But like all tools they need to be refined to offer maximum effectiveness, so this second generation site offers social media integration allowing her clients to connect with her via Facebook and YouTube and we took the opportunity to move the site to the more robust blogging platform WordPress.¬† This has the added advantage that Ruth now has full editorial control of the content of the the site. Ruth was happy with the look and feel of the first generation site so we kept the design the same but did increase the width to accommodate the most common¬† screen resolution.
A website dedicated to the funeral side of her business is a new endeavor. We kept the brand image the same as the wedding site but used different imagery and a more muted color palette.
Switching from Blogger to WordPress can be a little daunting for a client and there is definitely a learning curve. As well as training we also provided Ruth with a set of screen cast videos which outline how to do the most common updates such as publishing a new blog post and uploading photographs.
¬© 2012 Chicago Web Designer
in Blogging, Social Media, Testimonials, Web Design Projects, Wordpress