Friday 03 Aug 2007
Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
First, my thanks to jeweler, Kelly Dear, for granting her permission to use her business Two Cat Studio in this study of how small businesses benefit from a professional redesign of their websites.
This is a talented jeweler. In her Flowery Branch, Georgia studio, Dear handcrafts jewelry from sterling silver and real gemstones. When Dear first approached us, I spent some time looking at her portfolio of work, and I was struck by the singular elegance of it…the gorgeous, rich earth tones in many of her pieces really stood out to me. Her homemade Big Step website simply wasn’t doing justice to the classiness of the Dear’s pieces.
My intention here isn’t to knock Big Step, or any of the other big template website providers, but after spending years redesigning websites that were originally built via a generic template system, I’ve learned a few things:
1) It can be really stressful and frustrating for small business owners to try to fit becoming a web designer into their already-busy schedules.
2) Templates really never provide the customization options you get from working with raw code, as professional designers do.
3) The majority of templates are not Search Engine Friendly…a big problem.
4) Templates look like templates. This is the difference between the small business owner squeezing his or her needs into a pre-designed box, or having a site built around their specific, unique needs.
This client’s goals for the redesign of her web site
- a more professional presentation of her work
- a site that would be easy for her users to use
- the ability to sell single items via Paypal’s buy now system
My goals for this client’s site
- a visual design that sends a message of high quality and class at first glance
- a visual design that tones with the client’s jewelry rather than distracting from it
- the shopping function desired by the client and good usability for the user
- improved copywriting that implements good, basic keyword practices
- careful attention paid to basic on-page SEO elements
- the addition of a customized blog to enable this client to add to the useful content of her site
Take a moment to compare our before and after web site redesign photos. You can click on the after photo to see the actual site, if you’d like. All of the function the client requested is in place, and I feel we’ve met our goals of creating a website that says, “this is a professional business offering a very high quality product.”
The gleaming neutral tones of the design pick up the gleam in the jewelry pieces but don’t distract the eye from them.
The emotional message is one of peaceful shopping and elegant style. I believe that Kelly Dear’s clients will be pleasantly surprised by the affordable pricing of her handcrafted jewelry…the rich look of the design might make you think you’d have to pay a lot more to purchase one of her lovely pieces. Users can feel confident that they are dealing with a reputable business and the visual design does much to convey this.
This client’s reaction to the design
“I’m so pleased with it! You guys did a great job for me. Thank you so much!”
Kelly Dear expressed her real satisfaction with her new web site over the phone as well as email, letting us know we’d gotten it right! She was particularly thrilled with the web copy we had written describing her business and her jewelry. The professional redesign has resulted in a website that Dear can feel proud of and eagerly begin marketing in her industry.
Plans for the Future
In addition to the implementation of a blog that this client can use to begin writing about her company and her industry, we will shortly be incorporating a newsletter signup on this site – great for marketing! Dear was so pleased with our professional copy writing skills that she plans to have us further beef up her product pages with further interesting facts and anecdotes about her jewelry. This should do much to increase the value of her pages to human visitors and her chances of ranking well for long-tail keyword searches in the eyes of the bots.
It’s no shame to start out with a homemade site. Many businesses do this, and the homemade or template site can do much to get a new business owner on his or her own feet on the Internet. Yet, if the business is failing to rank well, to impress customers with its value proposition, or, if the business becomes able to move their operation up to the next level, a professional redesign by an experienced web designer can be a smart and effective next move for any small business.
If you’ve reached the point of realizing that your small business is not presenting your company in the truly professional way you need it to in order to thrive and compete, drop us a note for a quote on the redesign of your existing website!