My approach to web design


Examples1

Above client sites: Visage Salon; Pamela Donleavy, Jungian Analyst; Julie Nelson, Actor

I have been creating websites for small businesses that are highly personalized and serve as a focal point for all the other marketing – a place that potential clients can visit 24/7 to get as complete a story as possible about what is being offered – stuff that can’t be communicated within the limited confines of a business card, for instance.
 
I’ve also been strongly encouraging clients to integrate a WordPress blog into that website so that the website becomes the static and visually consistent portal into which most users first experience the site and the blog provides the dynamic and ever changing content that makes the site more search engine friendly and allows site owners to add and change content.

Examples2

Above client sites: Dr. Ellen Mitnowsky, Chiropractor; Barbara Ween, Jazz Vocalist; Erica Lorentz, Jungian Analyst

This combined approach has been working well. The website side of the site offers more design potential, well suited to the task of creating a visually rich experience. This richness then allows me to work with my clients to create a virtual storefront best suited to their needs, where visitors can really get to know what is being offered.

The blog side, built using WordPress templates, is more limited in terms of design since it is so structured in advance, but there is enough flexibility to make the blog look like it belongs with the rest of the site. The more I work with these blogs, the better I can integrate them seamlessly with the website.

The main feature of the blog is the opportunity to create and archive new content through the blog post feature. Recent posts are viewed on the main page of the blog with the latest post appearing first followed by previous posts which ultimately are moved into an indexed archive.

Examples3

Above client sites: Lisa Oxboel, Life Coach; Iris Karas, Educational Consultant, Ken Lieberman, Attorney at Law

At the same time stationary pages can be created that function pretty much like other webpages. I try to reserve these pages for content that the client can regularly update themselves such as events schedule, testimonials, workshop offerings, etc. These pages can be linked to from the main site as well as from within the blog. That way the main website rarely needs updating.

The trend in web design is toward flexibility, a concept which I truly appreciate. The idea is to have the content adapt to whatever container it finds itself in, PC, tablet, mobile phone, etc. However, I prefer a more consistent approach in which the design remains the same regardless of the device it is being viewed on. I work closely with clients to develop a particular look and I think it is important to have that preserved. I also prefer that some basic content should be static though that too flies in the face of how most site development is approached these days.

Examples4

Above client sites: Community Yoga, Yoga Studio, Award 1, Awards and  engraving studio, Wendy Chabot M.D., Health and Wellness Coaching

Sites that adapt and change are considered dynamic. Though I can appreciate that, I think there is something to be said for consistency at least as far as basic information is concerned. I remember recently visiting a site and then again a week later. The colors and images had  changed so much that I wasn’t sure I was visiting the same site. I found it disorienting.

Combining the more static website with the more dynamic blog provides the best of both worlds. It’s not for everyone, but I think it works well, particularly for small businesses looking for something that is custom designed to reflect the owner’s vision.

A single page main site combined with a blog that the owner can control is the most economic way to go, though I am also willing to work with clients to build a website using just WordPress or other template driven site design options such as Squarespace or Site Builder. These all offer free, do-it-youself website design, but some users find it too difficult technically to work through while others are not that happy with the results. For a monthly fee, these companies offer access to tools that make more customized design choices possible. Even though the site building can be a challenge, using these sites once they’re built, is pretty basic. 

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