The last few weeks I have been working on a new website for a A-Yo Kitchen, a York PA recipe developer and food photographer. This startup business is the brain child of Alysha Yoder, who has such talent when it comes to preparing, styling and photographing food. I was literally slobbering as each photograph got uploaded to my dropbox.
Alysha wanted a very minimalist look to her web site, where her photographs have the staring role. She had actually picked out a WordPress template before we connected and had dabbled with it on WordPress.com. However as with a lot of templates and the limitations faced when running a website though WordPress.com, she was unable to make it do exactly she wanted to achieve her vision. It needed the magic touch from a professional web designer!
The first thing I did was to get it off WordPress.com and set it up as a self hosted site. If you need multiple plugins and are after a particular functionality it is actually more cost effective to take this route.
Working from Alysha’s sketches,
I brought the site to life. It is actually really useful when a client can provide sketches as it really helps clarify exactly what they are after.
Take a look at it at ayokitchen.com, it will have you slobbering too!
Having an outdated website can harm your business and potentially drive clients away, particularly if they are using a mobile device to visit a site that is not mobile friendly. Why go to all the effort of trying to read tiny text or battling with horizontal scroll bars when maybe your competitors offer a flawless mobile experience. Search engines like Google will always give preference to sites that are mobile friendly over those that are not, so search engines rankings and equity are also affected.
Many small business owners think that making a website mobile friendly requires a complete redesign and are put off by the costs of doing so. However with a careful “under the hood” re-code the look and feel of a site can often remain intact, with the coding giving it the functionality to respond to whatever device is being used to view it.
This is exactly the approach we took to updating the website for a Whytegate Farms, a Chicago based supplier of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. They were perfectly happy with the look and feel of the site but were looking to make it mobile friendly
Here is the site before
Not mobile friendly – desktop view
Not mobile friendly – Mobile view with horizontal scroll bars
And here is the site after it was re coded so that is responds to what ever device being used to view it.
Mobile Friendly Website- Desktop and Mobile View
Mobile Friendly – Slideout menu
We had to make a few minor design tweaks but overall the look and feel of the site when viewed on a desk top or laptop is the same.
I have been working on a really interesting project over the last few weeks, the branding and marketing of a portable solar generator.
The project involved coming up with a name for their product, developing a brand image and a website.
Understanding the target audience and the unique attributes of the product were key parameters during the research of the name.
- Small portable generator
- Solar Powered
- Water resistant box
- Replaceable Batteries
- Silent power
- Rugged military style box
It was also important that a suitable domain name was available…no easy feat in this day and age where so many domain names are purchased and squat on. Product naming is fascinating and after a considerable groundwork I presented a list of possibilities to the client.
The one they selected was HELIOPACK Solar Generator. Helio originates from the Greek word for the sun – Helios, and pack has connotations of something that is portable and is outdoorsy. I think it fits the product perfectly!
The outdoorsy rugged look was also conveyed with the logo. A strong font was selected for the word HELIOPACK and a “power up” symbol incorporated with in it. The color choices reflect clean energy.
The website was kept simple and bold and there are future plans to add e-commerce. Check it out at HELIOPACKgenerator.com
Hands up if you like looking at before and after projects? Me!
Here is a mini redesign project I did for St Louis financial advisors, Mark and Jason. The site before
I added a new logo, tweaked the colors, reworked the header and used a more modern font for the copy.
The result a much cleaner and inviting site… mobile friendly too!
Yikes, I have not posted anything on this blog for ages! The reason is simple, I have been inundated with work and have not had time. It’s a good reason don’t you think? I will try and make some time to update with all the web, graphic design and internet marketing projects I have been working on soon.
I thought I’d break my blog dry spell with a short little post today and share with you a new logo I have designed for a Lancaster roofing contractor, Graystone Roofing & Siding. This project was the result of a company name change – previously Spicher Home Improvements. Business owner Brain Spicher decided to change the name of his business to reflect the core service he offers to Lancaster homeowners..namely roof replacement and siding installation.
Here the logo is on their web site which has undergone some redesign tweaks and a major SEO overhaul. A post for another day!
I market myself as “A Creative Partner for your Small Business” and if your small business website is built using Wix, I can help by making it not only look wonderful but perform seamlessly too.
The Wix platform offers a drag and drop interface and is described on their site as “easy for any person to create websites – no design skills needed”. While it certainly offers plenty of tools to make a site look pretty, you really do need an understanding of how best to present your content to engage your users and encourage them down certain paths. This is where tapping in on the experience of a professional web designer can help take your Wix website to the next level.
This was exactly what Malorie Blake,a registered dietitian based in York PA, was looking for her website Wholesome365.com
The re-working of her Wix site involved re branding with her new logo and complimentary color palette and font choices.
- Reorganized navigation for better content flow and usability and built out footer elements
- Re-worked home page for improved information and call to action. e.g. Detailing major services and lead generation via a free phone consultation
- Improved the design and added better call to action on inner pages of site e.g. Booking appointments or purchasing packages
- Ensured design elements were consistent throughout site
- Optimized pages and file names for SEO purposes
Here is the finished home page
Compared to where we started from
As you can see the site is now far more focused on the user and how they can be directed to specific areas easily without having to think. The eye is effortlessly drawn in to the Call to actions
If you need help with a Wix website I am here to help. Give me a call at 636 795 7988 or contact me via email
I have been in business a long time and have built hundreds of websites. Websites come and go, they get redesigned or disappear altogether but a site I built for Labor Advertising Network in 2005 was still in use. As you can imagine it was looking rather dated and lacked modern day functionality.
I have kept in contact with the client and last month got a call from them saying they were ready to bring their website to present day standards but were on a very tight budget. They wanted it converted to a WordPress website so they would be able to edit it themselves and also ensure the new site offered mobile friendliness to their users.
Recognizing their budget considerations, the most cost effective approach for them was to use a ready made WordPress template.
After installing and configuring WordPress on their server I selected the Twenty Seventeen template to customize. It is a very clean template, lends itself to small uncomplicated sites and is of course, beautifully mobile friendly.
The Labor Advertising Network is a network is designed to help advertisers get their story across to the Labor community. This distribution network is conveyed in three custom designed graphics which feature in the huge banner area on the home page. Each banner features a different professional and they are randomized so a different one displays each time the home page is visited.
Here is the home page in action
and the inner pages of the site were configured to display a custom header
A few lines of custom CSS added a color to the navigation bar and footer.
It’s always fun to take a look back, here is the old static site.
Their new site certainly brings them up to date.
Launched today is a brand new website for children’s author Gary Scholar.
Gary has written a series of 39 children’s books – BAP Books – Believe Anything’s Possible. They address issues many kids struggle with such a bullying, illness and overcoming fear but also issues like losing a parent, adoption and foster care. All of his book are available through Amazon.
Gary first came across our web design services when we launched a website for a St Louis Children’s author in 2006. He kept our contact details on the back burner and touched base with us in the Fall last year. By that time we had relocated to Chicago which is where he is based. We had obviously made an impression for him to reach out after all those years!
The website we created for him is very colorful and designed to appeal to both children and adults alike. We categorized his books into 8 series and built the site around them
Built on the WordPress platform the website is mobile friendly and designed to easily accommodate further books.
Gary is thrilled with the site and this is what he had to say
“Zoe, thanks so much for being so professional, knowledgeable, creative and loving as you made my website come alive in such a wonderful creative way. You are an absolute joy to work with and I’m sure down the road I will be using your expertise again.”
One of the things I love about my job is learning about different industries and products. Over the years I have become acquainted with industrial washing machines, airplane parts and body wipes to name a few products and gained an insight into the world of interior design, senior living services and wholesale food. It is all fascinating.
This learning journey continued when I began work on a project for OperationHeatJac. They approached me last year looking to develop an eCommerce web site to sell their very novel product – a personal radiator to be worn by staff in the operating room. I had no idea the OR was such a cold room. While the surgeons like to have the room freezing to help them remain comfortable while under stress and beat the heat kicked out by the lights, other staff members can really suffer.
The product they developed is worn around the torso and acts as a personal warming device.
It can be powered in three different ways, by rechargeable batteries, a plug-in transformer or air activated warmers.
We kicked off the project with the creation of a logo for the company which I shared here and went on to develop a very clean look for the web site.
We provided everything to get this site up and running from domain name registration, hosting, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) integration, web design and development and internet marketing. We even helped the client solve their photography issues by suggesting they purchase a dress form to display their products during the photo shoot.
The site is built on the WordPress platform and uses WooCommerce to provide the eCommerce functionality. Visit it at https://www.operationheatjac.com/
I am delighted to have just secured my first local client, In the Barn Treasures, since relocating to the Lancaster PA area.
They offer a wonderful collection of rustic/farmhouse/primitive home decor pieces but need a little help getting their website performing well in the search engines and engaging their users. Helping small businesses succeed in this arena is a real passion of mine and I am really looking forward to working with them.
I connected with them in rather a non traditional way.
A few times a week I take a walk up the hill behind my house and after huffing and puffing up quite an incline I am greeted by a stunningly beautiful red barn. Of course I had to photograph it and it was one of the first beautiful photographs I featured in my new blog category “The Eye of the Lancaster Web Designer“.
While doing some internet marketing for Indigo Image, I noticed on Google maps the barn was flagged with a location marker. Intrigued I clicked on it and learned about In the Barn Treasures. Visiting their website I could see it needed a little help so I contacted the owners to introduce myself and also sent them the photo I had taken of their barn. It opened the door to a meeting …
The star mounted on the barn is know as a Barnstar and decorations of this kind are considered good luck. Certainly good luck for the Lancaster Pa Web Designer!