Web Design, An Ongoing Process
Many sites are created and then linger, un-updated and unloved. But websites need to be refreshed, have new content added and kept up to date.
And for me and my sites, I’m constantly fiddling with things to make them better. I wasn’t really happy with the current design and it was really just a placeholder until I was able to put together something better.
So this post is a summary of all the changes I’m planning on making.
As you can see from the homepage, I’m moving away from the red background around a centered design and starting to add some wider elements. The top area is really the only finished part of the site I am happy with at this point. Everything else will change.
My work page and the couple of samples on the homepage really need the most attention. I’m going to try and put together some case studies in the next couple of months showing some new designs and explaining a little bit of the design process.
On the homepage I’m going to keep the images circular but I’ll add some interaction to them, and link them of course to actual case studies, instead of just my work page.
New ProBono Project(s)
I’ve really wanted for the last couple of years to do some volunteer work. I’ve got a bad back so I can’t really do any manual labor stuff but I can make websites. So I’ve been looking around for a good nonprofit who needs a site built.
I’m talking now with Hops in Humboldt about working on their website which will be fun and it really needs a refresh, but I’d also like to find one or two more to do this year. So if you know of a worthy cause in need of a new website or some other marketing services … let me know.
Web Design Services
I’m also going to put a lot of time into designing custom pages for the services I provide. I’m pretty sure I’m the only, or at least one of the few people in the area doing responsive design and a lot of other modern web design techniques. Maybe customers don’t really care, but I’d like to better show how much I really know about web design. I live and breath this stuff and I don’t think that gets across. I’d also like to highlight the benefits. I don’t think a lot of local businesses realize the potential of internet marketing.
The difference between someone who took a web class and can mess around in Dreamweaver and where I’m at right now with my skills is like comparing a little league baseball player to a professional. Not to toot my own horn, but I’d like to better show and better explain why my work is so much better than most of what people are getting here locally.
The homepage also has a Google Map showing Arcata. I’ve been playing around with the Google Map API a little bit and am experimenting with using it to display both street view images and maps of the area. It really is some cool technology and instead of just showing a photo of Eureka, I can show a street view image, or a satellite view, or map of the city.
Just another thing to fiddle with.
Doing More Work Locally
I’m trying to promote myself and my design services in the local area, so I’ll probably be building more pages and content to improve my local search rankings. Although it seems like local people aren’t really searching for web designers. Maybe a handful of searches each month, and it could just be me and the other designers checking our ranks … but we’ll see how it goes.
It’s been tough sledding so far. I’m getting my site into the top ten results for a few local search terms but not getting many bites yet. I’ll keep plugging away at it and try to push my site up into the #1 spot for a few of them. Whether that will help or not is still unknown, but at least I’m moving forward and search engine optimization has been a long-time hobby for me. Time to put those skills to the test.
You also may or may not have noticed some Google ads promoting my business. Currently, they’re just linking to my homepage which is sort of a no-no. I may put together either a custom landing page, or link them to my spiffy new web design services page when that is completed.
So basically, I’m redesigning the homepage, services pages, and creating new case studies to highlight my work. Along with doing some online promotion via Google ads and local search optimization to find more clients. And I’ll continue to write at this blog and add a few more free internet marketing courses.
Here is a list of some of the search terms I picked out and where this site ranks. As you can see from the far right corner some of these terms are getting none or very little traffic. And of the traffic I get from search I don’t get any contacts… so it appears local search isn’t going to help much.