Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design is mobile friendly, but mobile friendly isn’t necessarily responsive. Now that I’ve confused you, the true goal of responsive web design is to build web pages that detect the visitor’s screen size or orientation and change the layout (respond) accordingly, so the content adjusts to the device it’s being viewed on.
For example, you’ll most likely see a mobile menu ‘nav icon’ instead of the full website navigation, text size might increase, images will wrap around into a 1 or 2-column vertical layout and reduce in percentage size to fit the device screen size…vs. mobile friendly, this just allows the original site to reduce in overall scale, and work very similarly to the original intended desktop website.
Both have their place, though in my opinion, responsive is really the only way to go…and the way I prefer to design and build websites. ‘Tungsten’ does a really good job of explaining this, check it out if I’ve confused you beyond repair.
So you’ve got your (hopefully responsive) website designed and ready to go…now it’s time to transform that beautiful design into a functioning website. This phase typically takes the longest because there are so many elements to consider about when planning the development of a website…
The first order of business, do you feel comfortable developing your own website or do you need to hire a developer? If you are planning to develop yourself, what code language is appropriate for your website and the expected functionality? And then, how are you going to write the code for your website? Is a stand-alone (static content) website sufficient or does a Content Management System (CMS) better fit your project’s needs (dynamic content)? Once these questions have been answered, the development process can truly begin.
The Platform. Once you have an idea for what you want your website to do and how you want it to work, you can choose to develop it as a stand-alone website, built in a text & code editor like Adobe’s Dreamweaver program (I love Dreamweaver), or you can develop the site in a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress (also loving WordPress), or Joomla, or Drupal, or SquareSpace…the list goes on. Of course, there are pro’s and cons for either development method, I prefer to use WordPress to develop our websites but I won’t go into all of that right now…
The Development. Ok so you’ve got your plan for development…now the real work begins. The first thing to build out is the website navigation, this is the backbone of your website, the foundation, the main method users will travel from page to page. It’s imperative that your site navigation be thoughtful as well as simple. The next step is to get your content on each of the pages, following the look and feel of the approved design comp(s) and taking into consideration the ‘User Experience’ (UX). This step may also require custom sidebars, module and plug-in setup /integration and custom form creation (just the tip of the iceberg really). Once that’s all complete, you’re almost there! Next, let’s check mobile compatibility. Yep tablets, phones, iOS and Android…all require their own set of styles and modifications…all part of creating an online environment that your Users will find engaging and informative. Now, on to the audit phase…
Current Website Audit
You’ve got a website…that’s awesome, but what if you’ve had this website for awhile? I mean, you’ve got a navigation, pages with content (text and images), forms etc…what could be wrong with it? Well, a quick site audit can tell me everything I need to know.
During the audit phase I’ll review your site’s front and back-end, checking for browser compatibility, W3C validation, mobile friendliness or responsiveness, quality of code and structure, depth of content, internal cross-linking as well as all outbound links and media downloads. The next step is to generate a sitemap file that tells me all of the pages that google has indexed so we can review your relevant content and pages and shed any excess (irrelevant content) so your site will run at it’s optimal speed. I’ll check the forms for proper functionality. Does the search button work and return accurate results?
There are many steps involved, but I enjoy it…this is the problem solving phase and it’s exciting. From here we can discuss the positives and negatives of your current site and what you want from the future of your site.
Do the three letters S-E-O sound familiar or scary? You’ve heard the phrase that they represent and you know it’s something you have to have – or maybe you thought you already had it? Let’s work together to create a plan to optimize your website and site content to maximize your SEO value. After All, what good is a well designed, responsive website if no can find it?
Of course, it seems like the rules of SEO are ever changing, but the core fundamentals are pretty consistent. There are many elements involved and I could write an entire blog on the steps I follow just to make sure your site is set up to succeed when it comes to being found online (note to self, write a blog on Understanding SEO)…But together we will utilize the tools at our disposal and develop a plan of attack on the google (and other search) bots to make sure your potential customers can find you.
Custom Website Forms
Do you need more than just a simple 3-field contact form (Name, Email, Message)? Do you need a form so complex you’re not even sure where to begin? Not a problem. Dropdown options, check boxes, dynamic actions and multiple recipients are all possible if your project requires them. We’ll work together to create the perfect solution(s) so you can capture the information that your customers want to get you!
Hackers and spammers…it will be difficult not to swear here…but I’m going to try. I really hate them and I will take every step I can to prevent them from illegally compromising your website’s integrity. You’ve poured your heart and hard earned cash into creating your website, it’s your business lifeline and #1 marketing asset…it’s how customers find your products, contact you and simply know you exist! We must take care of it – protect it, harden it, secure it. I have a few tricks up my sleeve and I will deploy as much protection as I can right out of the gate.
Of course there are things I won’t see coming, or hacks that evolve from one version to another to circumvent the measures we’ve already put into place – but as your digital partner and a strong advocate for hating hackers and spammers…we’ll evolve with them…keeping your site safe and secure is priority #1.
16+ Years Of Industry Specific Experience
I won’t bore you with all a bunch of history – so here’s a glimpse into what’s lead me to where I am now. Since I left Clemson University, I’ve worked at one print shop (Palmetto Graphics), two full service advertising and marketing firms (Erwin Penland & Jackson Marketing Group), two boutique design shops (Fuel & Jack Porter) and now a leading property management software company (PropertyBoss Solutions). I’ve held various levels of positions from pre-press designer, to production manager, director of production and now creative director. I’ve worked with multi-million dollar accounts to multi-hundred dollar accounts. I’ve learned so much from all of these teachers and I promise to continue to learn and grow professionally.
Professionally Designed Logos
A logo is your company’s identity, your brand…the first recognizable impression about your company…good or bad. It can be a simple word mark and icon or a full-on emblematic masterpiece. Using your input, we’ll work together to develop the look, the tone and the palate, from a traditional approach or simplistic, minimal and modern.
A Digital & Creative Partner
My goal is to become your digital and creative partner in business…think of me as your ghost runner, filling a void where you may not have a permanent solution. Sure, we’ll start off with logos and websites, but then what? You name it…signage, no problem; collateral materials – yep, I’ve done that too. My promise to you and all of my clients will never be to provide you with a product, take your money and then never speak to you again. Websites, especially are ever changing, updating, evolving. Content (text & images) and your site design needs to refreshed regularly to stay relevant and keep your website in the forefront of your industry. New functionality and technology is releasing daily…or maybe your business is expanding…I’ll be there.