I’ve finally got the new web site up and most of the kinks worked out. I’ve still got to get the “client pages” completed but that can wait a little while, at least until I have a client interested in keeping tabs on their project through my site. Here’s a post I did about that page.
I designed the site by first assessing what my goals were in having a web site. Initially, my first three sites were focused on simply putting up on the web a limited portfolio of my work so that people that had already heard about me in some way could easily see what sort of work I do. This time around my goals are a little more.
I want this site to attract new customers, tell people exactly what it is I offer and answer the question why they should chose me to make furniture for them.
I started by surveying past clients and asking them what they would have liked to have seen on my earlier site. Most of them said they found the site by accident and were not exactly sure what it was that I did when they first saw the site. They had a felt need to find someone who would make a piece of furniture for them and even though that is exactly what I do my earlier site did not clearly communicate that. I decided that I would try and communicate to anyone seeing my home page that it was a very easy and simple process to have me design and make their furniture and that I would take personal care to make sure that they received exactly what they were looking for. Their need was met, they found me.
The rest of the site would be dedicated to showing that I had the experience and skills to accomplish the work they wanted done, that they would be very happy with the results and that they could trust me. The portfolio shows the breadth of my experience and the depth of my skills. It wasn’t easy to do because I really do not find it easy to “sell” myself (really!) but, since I think the best way to tell people about the experience of having me build furniture for them is to include testimonials from past clients, I added a page of testimonials. You may notice that the final home page differs from the image above by the added link to a testimonials page.
To build trust I decided to tell my story which is what this blog is all about, so I added a link to this blog. I also added a pretty basic faq page so that some of the initial questions can be answered for people upfront. On the portfolio page I’ve included sections for some of the art I’ve done as well as pieces in my current designs collection. These pieces are priced to sell on a made to order basis and I hope will generate some sales but if nothing else will give an idea of what my charges are like.
As I mentioned in an earlier post about the new site I did the design work for the site by mocking up pages using Paint Shop Pro and I had someone else, Nate Kroll, do the actual coding. We worked together with Nate telling me what could be done and what couldn’t and me getting back him with new ideas to work around initial problems. Nate needs to insert a credit for his work on the site and I keep reminding him to do so. He’ll get to it sooner or later, but I’d like to pass on any new jobs for web site building I can to him. I’ll be adding much more to the portfolio as time allows as I have images of many more projects and I’ll be digitizing my slide collection as well. Before I add too many new items though we have a slight technical glitch I’d like to resolve. The slider bar on the left side of the portfolio page resets when you click on related items thumbs and once the list gets much longer that may be disconcerting for people. I will add new art work though in the mean time.