A soundless video of this project.

User-Friendly Website Design

Service Business Website

User-Friendly Website Design
Stephenville + Corner Brook, Newfoundland + Labrador
Visit This Website

This is my own business website, I’m going to break it down for you so you can see what went into making this site.

The Business Case

I make websites, therefore I need my own website. Duh.

The Fix

A website made to communicate clearly to potential clients. It is primarily made up of examples of my work presented as Website Design pages that are easy to add each time I finish a new project because I built a content management system to do it.

Webflow Development

I have a long list of reasons for why I chose Webflow to build on - and one of the biggest advantages is the content management system (CMS). With Webflow I can build fully custom content management systems for my clients. So, what the hell is that and why should you care?

A content management system allows a website owner to grow their website by adding dynamically generated pages themselves. Common examples of this are blogs or e-commerce. Lots of people blog, most don’t know how to write code because you don't need to.

With Webflow, the types of dynamically generated pages goes way beyond your standard blog posts. A few examples:

  • Event Pages (for a theatre, nightclub, conference centre)
  • Shows (touring musicians, comedians, Cirque du Soleil)
  • Listings for real estate or local businesses directory
  • Project Pages (interior design, construction, inventions)
  • Recipes (for a chef’s site or “how-tos” for the food products you sell)
  • Retail Partnerships (where customers can buy from a manufacturer or producer)
  • News or magazine stories

Webflow makes it surprisingly easy to build a completely custom CMS.

For my own CMS, I wanted to showcase each of my website projects on my own website. I started by coming up with a paper prototype of what I wanted a project page to look like and what types of content I wanted to include. Next, I built my CMS and entered content into it so I could design a page around real content. That last bit - designing the page - is the hard part. The page has to work on different screen sizes and the layout has to look good even when the content varies, for example, photos of various shapes. 

Now, when I want to publish a new Website Design page, I just drop the content into the CMS and hit publish. A new page is immediately created with the correct layout. Most of the pages on my website are dynamically-generated Website Design pages. 

If you can use email, social media or MS Word, then you can grow your site with a content management system.

User Experience (UX)

I’ve based my website’s User Experience on the idea that buying a website is usually stressful. It’s a significant expense for any person or organisation and the process is often jargon-filled and opaque - leaving  buyers not fully understanding what it is they’re paying for and what they should be getting for that money.

I started my UX research online, looking for all of the questions that would-be website buyers want answers to. I have woven the answers throughout my site, using multiple types of content (text, video, illustration, etc) and clear information structure.

Accessibility is an important part of UX. The contrast ratio is always a minimum AA for colour-blindness, the only video with sounds includes closed captions, the HTML is semantic and the images have alt text. I added a little custom code to increase the spacing between the letters and the words - something which improves the readability for those with dyslexia (and everyone else).

My site still needs some usability testing, which will be a semi-regular occurrence as I grow it and improve it over time.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

I have a number of different keyword phrases I’m aiming to rank for with search engines. The level of competition for them varies quite a lot. 

DuckDuckGo Search Engine Rankings

My site started showing up in DDG earlier than google. Within just a few days I ranked high for the easiest phrases, and was already outranking long-established design agencies for one of the tougher keyword phrases.

Google Search Engine Rankings

This is taking longer, which was more in line with what I expected. It can take months for SEO efforts to take effect with Google Search. I’m showing up for some of the easier keyword phrases, but further down. Obviously, something I will have to keep an eye on over these first few months of my website’s life.

Keywords in site content are a part of SEO, but there’s a lot more to it. There are the back-links (links back to my website from other websites) which have to be built over time - too fast and google will penalise the site. Technical SEO is woven through the website as I build it. Technical SEO includes many different things, including tagging HTML elements for visually-impaired screen-readers and avoiding excessive layout shifts between screen sizes, that could be a drag on website stability. Plus, there are all the technical SEO settings Webflow has built-in - like minifying (compressing) code files and easy title and description tags. Google has recently updated their search algorithm to increase the importance of technical SEO in search rankings.

I have additional tactics for getting traffic to my website, but SEO is an important part of any digital strategy.

Copywriting

Tech and marketing are full of jargon, which isn’t really helpful for website buyers despite not be entirely avoidable. We could all use a little more clarity in our lives - especially when it comes to our business decisions.

I write clearly and casually - and there’s usually a bit of humour. Some businesses like a formal tone in their marketing communications, there’s no hard and fast rule about this, it all comes down to what the website owner feels is appealing to their website visitors.

I structure writing for easy scanning and header hierarchy is consistent and nested for screen-readers (for visually impaired). My content includes keywords and phrases that are consistent with the SEO tags that show up in search engine results.

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