Today I have to refine the design of how I’ll present the images and information in the portfolio section of my site, my new site, the one I’m working to get up soon.
Right now I have someone who is doing the actual html coding. I’m creating mock-ups of the pages in Paint Shop Pro-5. I add a layer with notes and comments about how I want the page to look and where the links should go.
Something like this. I send Nate, my computer wiz, the file and associated image files and creates the page in html.
To work out how I want the site to be organized I am using FreeMind, a mind mapping app. to map out the links, write notes about content and to keep a focus on my goals for the site.
You can learn more about FreeMind at SourceForge.
One of the things I’m trying very hard to do for this site is to focus on specific goals for the site. First of all this site is a site for my business and should contribute to adding to my bottom line. I polled past customers about what they would like to have seen on my current website when they visited it and got some eye opening answers. One that stood out was that it wasn’t immediately clear what I do. Another comment was that they were not sure where I was located and since they wanted to do business locally that was very important to them. Those were great comments and I am doing what I can to address them on my new site.
It is very tempting to try and create a really slick, very cool, very hip site. My focus on this site however is to be as clear as possible to potential clients how I can benefit them. My prime benefit to 90% of my clients is that I can design and make for them something that they have not been able to find anywhere else. There is a lot more that I offer and once someone has done business with me they often soon realize that. They begin to get a sense of some of the wealth of non-tangible value that I can offer, part of what I hope to communicate on my new site is exactly that. More on that later.
Now I have to work out a clear way of presenting work I have done in the past in such a way that someone will get the message that I can do their project as well. I also want to show some designs that I will be selling on a made-to-order basis that will not only be practical pieces but also give much of intangible value custom work can give. I also want to put up some rough designs and sketches that may spark an interest in someone. Maybe someone is looking for something but they can’t quite articulate exactly what it is. If they see some of my rougher ideas they may interpret that image in a way that allows them to form a clear idea of just what they had been looking for. OK, that’s a little inarticulate on my part but this is something I hope to be writing more about.