For about a few weeks, I have been talking to a holistic doctor’s office in Fresno to redesign and build their website. Based on the html style and lack of bootstrap reference, I would guess that this site was created in the early 2000s.
It was so much fun to poke around a site that was this outdated. I knew that she wasn’t “tech savvy,” so the first thing I did was send her a list of questions to get a better sense of what she wanted her site to be able to do:
- Describe your target audience.
- What are your corporate core values and how do you express them to your visitors?
- Do you have specific company colors that need to be used?
- Do you have any other materials that the site needs to match with in some way (brochures, press materials, etc.)?
- Who or how will you be managing website upkeep?
- Do you have a budget you are trying to meet?
- Does your current web host meet all your new website’s needs (space, bandwidth, databases, etc.)?
- What types of actions do you want your visitors to take on your website?
- Will your visitors require any special needs (i.e., screen reader ready, larger fonts)?
- Visual Options:
- What Are Two or Three Sites in Your Niche That You Like:
- What Are Two or Three Sites Outside Your Niche That You Like:
She was able to answer most of the questions, but stressed that she would like to be able to edit the website without having to go through a person. She shared that she felt bad every time she asked her friend to update her current website- even more so now that her friend has gotten busier. So she wanted to have a website that was modern and updated, but also something that she could manage herself. I love that she wanted to get more control of her website and learn about managing websites. But at the same time, she is over 200 miles away and she is also partially deaf, so talking over the phone or video chat wasn’t an option.
So I spent a lot of time look up different services that can meet her business’s needs and would be easy to edit. I couldn’t relay on video tutorials nor software that needed more advance knowledge of programming or web development. I needed something that would be intuitive, visual and clean. My partner, James Cha, suggested Squarespace.
I looked into it and it seemed that it had all the functionality and optimization that she requested but as well as a super friend interface for the person is maintaining the site. I sent her my thoughts of using Squarespace as well as a contract — if you are thinking about free lancing, I highly recommend getting a contract for your jobs. This will give you and your client clear and outlined expectations as well as deadlines. Having a contract also protects you from any assumptions and liabilities from your client.
Once we got all that figured out, I went to work, updating this poor site.
As part of the contract, I had outline basic wireframes (Wireframe.cc is free) and a clause that requested all the forms, photos, logos, documents within a week and any text changes for the content in two weeks. So I started on structure of the site. The websites that she had sent me that she liked had the large photo as the header with the navigation on the top. She had several pages on her navigation and I consolidated them – that way its not as busy and its more organized.
My client had a very particular color scheme – dark purple, light purple and green – but did not have the HEX codes for the colors. In order to keep the colors consistent with her logo, I used HTML Color Code to upload her logo and select the colors that I wanted the HEX codes for. Super easy!
Now to actually get her logo was tricky. My client had sent me the logo in a word doc instead of an image file. It was tricky trying to figure out the best way to get an image without losing its integrity – as well as being cost effective. I do not have photoshop so I had to figure out another way. I was able to copy it from word and go into Mac’s Preview and press Command N, so I made a new image with that logo. It worked and the image looked great. I tested it on the website to make sure that it didn’t get pixelated and it looked fantastic on the website. Now I had to remove the background and make it transparent. I used Online Image Editor to remove remove the white space.
I went through all the links she originally had and several were 404s (were broken links), so I sent her an email that those links were no longer working. A nice thing about updating your website is that you have fresh eyes looking at it and inspecting it all.
Part of Squarespace’s services, I am able to easily update her SEO (Search Engine Description), giving her website the verbiage that optimizes search engines to find her site. This was another large reason why I chose Squarespace, it will keep her architecture and html up-to-date, so her site stays relative longer.
There was a few days of back and forthness on making tweaks and changes, but we were able to get it done before our original deadline, in time for some advertisement that she had scheduled for mid March.
A fun feature I was able to add, is that on mobile devices, on the bottom of the homepage, a button of a Google Map Icon shows, making it easy for mobile users to click on and get directions to her office.
All that was left was to get her domain. Her current provider wanted to wait to make the full migration because of her emails and data storage needs to be decoupled. In the meantime we pointed her DNS to the new site.
Since the reason of using Squarespace was for my client to be able to maintain the website on her own; I offered in our original contract that I can be available to do a in-person training for only the cost of transportation. Now in hindsight, I should I have charged my hourly charge instead since it took about 5 hours to go from San Fransisco to Fresno on public transit. I went down Saturday morning and came back up the following day. It was tiresome. But overall, I am happy that I did because the joy on her face to be able to learn how to manage her site was priceless. We talked about how the internet works and really dived into the metrics.
Prior, my client did not have any data on the traffic of her website and she wasn’t sure if people were even going to her website. Now that she has this one, she is able to see the traffic (we went live on March 11th). She can also see several different data points:
- Mobile users versus Computer users
- Popularity of each page by user visit
- Where the users are being refereed to her
All of these data points can be broken down to hourly, daily and monthly views. Now she can make inform decisions about her website.
Overall, this was a great experience. I learned a lot about SaaS-based content management system (CMS) and creating something for someone else. I also learned a lot more about holistic medicine. Thank you so much to Holistic & Integrative Family Medicine Practice!
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