Random Ramblings – Individual Design http://www.individual-design.co.uk A personalised approach to web design, seo and branding Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:47:39 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Headless Howler – A Pet Peeve of Mine http://www.individual-design.co.uk/headless-howler-a-pet-peeve-of-mine/ http://www.individual-design.co.uk/headless-howler-a-pet-peeve-of-mine/#respond Wed, 27 Jan 2016 16:55:57 +0000 http://www.individual-design.co.uk/?p=2783 I need to say this! I need to vent my frustrations at seeing SOOO many headless models on wedding websites – it literally annoys the life out of me. At a new client meeting yesterday with, you guessed it – another bridal boutique, they showed me through a few of their favourite wedding websites, their […]

The post Headless Howler – A Pet Peeve of Mine appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>

I need to say this! I need to vent my frustrations at seeing SOOO many headless models on wedding websites – it literally annoys the life out of me. At a new client meeting yesterday with, you guessed it – another bridal boutique, they showed me through a few of their favourite wedding websites, their own existing site, and of course a few other none industry sites they liked the look and feel of. I have to say, practically every wedding industry website had the heads cut off the models – some even had headless models on the homepage slider!

It just screams LAZY, to me.

I know it’s a pain editing 100’s of images, I know you have to sometimes tweak css and coding again and again, to get it JUST right, but it needs to be done. The websites can look amazing, and then right in the middle of the page where you would expect to find a beautiful image of the dress you find a teeny, tiny square of what looks like a wedding dress but it could just be a white blob. Click it – oh yes it is a lovely dress and amazingly, I can see that the model does in fact have a head – Brilliant!

What is the issue with resizing the gallery thumbnails people???

I suppose I shouldn’t really get so wound up over it, after all my eye for detail and levels of perfectionism are one of the reasons lots of people choose to work with me, but seriously – do you think this actually looks good?

lazy-web-designing

 

or this?

not-lazy-web-design

It isn’t rocket science, but it is pretty bloody annoying. I know potential brides aren’t there to look at the models heads but they are there to see what the business has to offer; are they professional, conscientious and willing to show their clients care and attention. So I believe their website should reflect that – in every aspect.

Rant over! I don’t know why I get so worked up over it, I mean all the better for me I suppose but still – please stop chopping peoples heads off!!!

 

The post Headless Howler – A Pet Peeve of Mine appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>
http://www.individual-design.co.uk/headless-howler-a-pet-peeve-of-mine/feed/ 0
New Year, New Me! http://www.individual-design.co.uk/new-year-new-me/ http://www.individual-design.co.uk/new-year-new-me/#respond Thu, 07 Jan 2016 13:42:50 +0000 http://www.individual-design.co.uk/?p=2736 Happy New Year to you all, I hope you had an amazing Christmas break and are ready to take on 2016 LIKE A BOSS. I know I am! 2015 was a brilliant year for iD; the business grew with clients and referrals, I built some of my best websites, one of which was even a finalist […]

The post New Year, New Me! appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>

Happy New Year to you all, I hope you had an amazing Christmas break and are ready to take on 2016 LIKE A BOSS. I know I am! 2015 was a brilliant year for iD; the business grew with clients and referrals, I built some of my best websites, one of which was even a finalist in the best wedding retailer website competition. iD was that busy we pretty much had a permanent waiting list for new projects – it was amazing, but exhausting. By the time Christmas rolled around I was ready to break, or at least have a break!

busy-overload

Yup – that was pretty much what I looked like!

After a magical two weeks of love, laughter, food and family, I am now back at my desk looking forward to 2016 and what lies ahead. I currently have some amazing projects on the go which I am extremely excited about, but all the while throughout 2015 I have been disappointed with my lack of attention on my own business. You can read about it here and here.

There is a running theme – I want to concentrate on my own business but I get so wrapped up in ensuring my clients site’s are performing well with regular updates, I neglect my own.

Business Focus

So for 2016, I am turning over a new leaf. I WILL update my blog, I WILL get out and meet new people in the industry and local business community and all in all, I WILL invest the time and energy into my lovely little web design agency. So that is my sort of New Year’s Resolution. To treat my own business as if it is my clients business! I have already started too (shock horror!) I have set out a clear blogging strategy, outlining core subject areas, topics and timescales.

blogging schedule

See! Please do excuse my scruffy handwriting.

I have even drafted three posts today – get me!! Fingers crossed I can keep it up. If you want me to share my full blogging schedule and ideas of how to plan your own, drop me an email or comment below, I would be more than happy to.

What about you? Have you set yourself new business goals for 2016? Are you working on any exciting developments or are you also struggling to focus on what’s right in front of you?

The post New Year, New Me! appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>
http://www.individual-design.co.uk/new-year-new-me/feed/ 0
The Good, The Bad, The Balance http://www.individual-design.co.uk/the-good-bad-balance/ http://www.individual-design.co.uk/the-good-bad-balance/#respond Sun, 01 Nov 2015 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.individual-design.co.uk/?p=2713 Are we in November already? I seriously don’t know where the time goes! I have been busy beavering away designing new websites, drawing up business card artwork and setting branding guidelines, I haven’t actually had time to sit back and take stock of what has been going on in the iD bubble. Or to acknowledge the passage […]

The post The Good, The Bad, The Balance appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>
Are we in November already? I seriously don’t know where the time goes! I have been busy beavering away designing new websites, drawing up business card artwork and setting branding guidelines, I haven’t actually had time to sit back and take stock of what has been going on in the iD bubble. Or to acknowledge the passage of time, it seems!

time-flies-by-when-building-websites

It feels like time is literally flying away from me.

Talking with my husband the other night, it occurred to me just where the wind seems to be blowing this little business of mine. We were discussing my current projects; where I was at with them and projects waiting to be started. The list was jam packed full of bridal websites!

I am currently working on projects in all areas of the bridal market – from boutiques, to event styling companies, eCommerce stores –  It is crackers! Of course, there are some non-wedding projects in there too but when I think about it, currently about 80% of my new design workload relates to wedding websites and i wasn’t really sure how I felt about it.

Is it a good or bad thing?

GOOD!

I love the fact that people are recommending me or new clients are seeing my work on another site within the industry and enquiring about their own website design. It is an amazing feeling to know that not only my client loves their site but others are seeing the value that working with me can add to their own online presence.

BAD!

I don’t want to be pigeonholed. I can do more than wedding website design!

4091638845_914e18a2a6

Help! I don’t want to get stuck here… Do I?

In fact, I pride myself on the fact that I can design for any industry or business type. My message is: web design and branding to suit your business. Not an entire industry! My core values all evolve around designing sites and branding unique to each client, allowing them to express their own iD. So I really don’t want to become know as “Jo, she designs wedding websites”

GOOD!

On the other hand, it could be pretty cool to be the go-to designer for the bridal industry. It would be a little bit like being famous, right? No, your right, nothing like being famous. I have neck and eye ache from staring at a computer all day, not strutting about on a stage. Still, that little bit of recognition is great for my confidence and gives me the drive to keep advancing, challenging and developing new ideas.

BAD!

It might put some businesses off. If they perceive that all of the websites I design are pretty and girlie, they might not even get in touch with me to see what I can do for them.

FINDING MY BALANCE.

I like to work with people who I feel I can get along with. If we don’t hit it off on our initial phone call or meeting, if I don’t get the direction you want to head in, or think that we could be a good partnership, I will say – sorry this project’s not for me. This benefits us both, I don’t have a headache and sleepless nights worrying if I’m doing the right thing for someone else’s business and you get a different designer who DOES know what you are looking for, and can deliver what you want. I know I am incredibly lucky to be at a stage where I can choose my clients, and I appreciate that that could all change in a very short space of time, but for now, this is working for me and my clients.

anything

To work with someone or a business I genuinely feel a connection to makes life so much easier for the both of us. It generally allows me greater creative freedom as my clients trust me, and we have a good working relationship based on an understanding of each other and the business needs.

So there’s my balance point. It isn’t about the industry sector, it is about my relationship with the client. That is the key to designing a great website or logo which becomes a useful asset to their business. If they are all bridal boutiques or mechcanics, it really doesn’t matter to me, as long as the client does.

The post The Good, The Bad, The Balance appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>
http://www.individual-design.co.uk/the-good-bad-balance/feed/ 0
Taking You Back – My Very First Client http://www.individual-design.co.uk/taking-you-back-my-very-first-client/ http://www.individual-design.co.uk/taking-you-back-my-very-first-client/#respond Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:02:47 +0000 http://www.individual-design.co.uk/?p=2597 If you have perused the site before and happened upon the About page, you would have seen a brief insight as to how I got stated in the wonderful world of website design. It all started with one very brave lady who handed over her website for me to tidy up and apply some SEO magic to.

The post Taking You Back – My Very First Client appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>

If you have perused the site before and happened upon the About page, you would have seen a brief insight as to how I got stated in the wonderful world of website design. It all started with one very brave lady who handed over her website for me to tidy up and apply some SEO magic to. It was a slightly confusing situation for me, as Virginia had a website which she had built herself and acted as a sort of gateway into an eCommerce store – where she sold her beautiful vintage wears. This didn’t really work for me on many levels.

First – The confusion! When I visit a website I want to see and access the products from there immediately.

Second – The time. It took what seemed like forever for the first site to load up the second website.

Third – The Cost. It was costing  a lot of money each month to use the “easy and versatile” (not the words I would use to describe it) eCommerce hosting. Money that wasn’t being recouped because the website wasn’t attracting enough visitors and making enough sales.

Virginia didn’t want to change the overall feel of the site, just an updated, easier version, with more pictures on the homepage, inbuilt eCommerce and generally spruced up a little. After some tweaking and lots of SEO applied to every page, Virginia’s website moved swiftly up the Google rankings. In fact, while I was still working on the site it sky rocketed from about page 26 to page 3 for “Vintage Dresses” (one of her largest keywords) in a matter of weeks – I was actually really rather shocked, I did know what I was talking about after all!

I think I actually felt like Taylor Swift winning a Grammy!

I think I actually felt like Taylor Swift winning a Grammy!

We added eras pages to help visitors find key pieces quickly and to help improve SEO. By the time I handed the site back it was at the top of Google for many of its search terms and went from 15 visitors a day to around 150! 

I added the cute shopping basket and quick jump links to popular shop pages
Era buttons were added along with custom social media icons to keep it within the colourscheme
Era buttons were added along with custom social media icons to keep it within the colourscheme

 

That was a fair few years ago now, and as it happens Gingermeg’s Vintage is still a beloved client of mine.

Last year Virginia decided to update her website to a Wordpress website. I had mentioned the super easy uploads and eCommerce features to her and she decide to take the plunge. Four weeks later I delivered a shiny new website which was extremely easy to use (once you get the hang of it), easier to navigate and still FREE!

The website now is a full width website with a cleaner background to make it easier for the visitor to focus on the products.
The website now is a full width website with a cleaner background to make it easier for the visitor to focus on the products.
Products are displayed much easier and the search function is vastly improved. Visitors can also refine their searches.
Products are displayed much easier and the search function is vastly improved. Visitors can also refine their searches.

 

Gingermegs Vintage is now a super easy eCommerce shop to navigate and find fabulous vintage treasures, Virginia is now also updating her website regularly, including writing blog posts (which I have been nagging her to do for years) and i *think* she finds it easy enough.

Of course, there are occasions where it can go a little wrong – all very normal when people are managing their own websites when they have no real interest in such things. But hopefully, she along with all my other customers know, I am always here for them if that happens. 

I wanted to write this post for two reasons, to give potential new clients a bit of background on the business. But most importantly, to thank Virginia for being brave and handing over her website to a complete novice who *thought* she knew what she was doing. Without her and Gingermegs Vintage, I honestly don’t know if I would be sitting here now. Doing what I love and designing websites for other small businesses who simply don’t have the time, knowledge or energy to do it themselves. Without her I could be back working for someone else (yuk) and having missed what has become a huge part of my life. 

first client

 

Thank you Virginia, for putting your faith in me and continuing to trust me still.

Much love

Jo

The post Taking You Back – My Very First Client appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>
http://www.individual-design.co.uk/taking-you-back-my-very-first-client/feed/ 0
Well, Hello There! http://www.individual-design.co.uk/well-hello-there/ http://www.individual-design.co.uk/well-hello-there/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:49:16 +0000 http://www.individual-design.co.uk/?p=2510 Welcome to iD, a brand new website, name and brand identity for Silver Screen Design. I have been designing websites and building brands for some years now, and in all honesty I have never practised what I preached. SSD was something I dreamed up, which had no reflection on what I do or what I […]

The post Well, Hello There! appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>

Welcome to iD, a brand new website, name and brand identity for Silver Screen Design.

I have been designing websites and building brands for some years now, and in all honesty I have never practised what I preached. SSD was something I dreamed up, which had no reflection on what I do or what I stand for. I never blogged, updated my site or did any of things I repeatedly tell my clients they need to do.

Yup, Big mistake I know!

Yup, Big mistake I know!

 

At the beginning of this year,  I decided to change that.

I wanted to be as proud of my own website as I was of all of my clients sites. I wanted to start investing time in my own blog, to use my own voice and area of expertise to help other small business owners.

About a month ago I decided to do a complete redesign of SSD. I really did like the retro styling and thought the cinematic theme was a pretty sound concept. So I set to work to tidy it up, make it cleaner, easier to navigate and most of all look better on mobile devices.

But I just couldn’t get it to flow. I sat for hours trying to force the ideas, images and text to work. But, I just kept getting a mental block – it didn’t feel right.

I wasn’t being true to my iD. Silver Screen Design although a clever idea had no relevance to my message and business ethos.

As always, it hit me in the middle of the night (more on that another time) – I needed to change my name, to something that represented me and how I work, and the focus I put on each INDIVIDUAL client.

Individual Design was born.

The freedom it gave me to start working on my website which is true to myself and my business, enabled my creativity to flow naturally and easily. I changed everything, colour schemes, logos and layouts. The only thing to remain the same is my strap line – a personalised approach to web design, seo and branding. Because that was the only bit of me which was truly represented in the old website.

OLD-V-NEW

 

I love the new site!

It is everything I wanted it to be. Clean, simple, stripped back and easy to navigate. It looks as good on an iPhone as it does on a desktop. More importantly, it displays my work beautifully and has a place for me to keep updating and sharing my thoughts -here on the blog.

I really hope you like the new website, and keep popping back. I will be sharing my designing process, detailing projects, and offering helpful advice to other small businesses, regarding their sites, marketing and anything else I feel might be useful to someone, somewhere. And possibly just babbling on about anything I have an opinion on – if you know me you will know it is something I do a lot of!

Feel free to have a wander around, take a peek at the portfolio and services I offer – and let me know what you think. Do you like the new site? Is there anything that I need to add that you would find useful? Is it too simple?

Please let me know in the comments below and of course, if you want to see a regular feature on the blog just say.

I can’t wait to start sharing more stuff on my lovely new site! Watch this space.

Jo

 

With A Little Help From…

 Featured Teacup Hello Image – Oscar and Rose Photography

The post Well, Hello There! appeared first on Individual Design.

]]>
http://www.individual-design.co.uk/well-hello-there/feed/ 0