New website design is up and running

October 2008

I’ve been working on this new design for roughly 5 months now, in between University and client work (usually when I’m on the train with no internet access). After 3 different versions I’ve finally launched the site. The new site has been developed using Wordpress and hopefully the new design brings a new freshness to the site.

Like with any other client/project, I started off by asking myself what I wanted to achieve with a new website, who am I targeting, why do users come to my website etc.? I didn’t just pretty up the design for the sake of it, there was a process and strategy behind the project.

Here’s a quick overview of how I set out with some requirements analysis:

What do I like about my current site?

  • Well crafted, nice design
  • Ranks well for key search terms e.g. "Web Design Northern Ireland"
  • Showcases my work well
  • Easy to use, clear
  • Blog has roughly 40 rss subscribers and I get roughly 60 unique hits/day

Considering I’ve been pretty lazy with updates/blogging those stats aren’t bad, but could be a lot better.

What do I not like about my current website?

  • I don't blog enough
  • CMS is a bit basic (built it myself)
  • There isn't enough happening for repeat visits
  • Would prefer larger portfolio shots
  • RSS subscribers and daily hits could be better

Generally, the site’s pretty static - there should be more happening.

What do I want from this new website?

  • A place where I can showcase my work to potential clients and continue to get enquiries
  • To communicate and socialise with the online community, specifically within the web design & Irish online industry scene
  • Achieve more RSS subscribers & website hits
  • People to read my blog and get something out of it
  • To be able to update the site with as little effort as possible - more efficient

The new website isn’t just about showing off my work, it’s about interacting with other creatives, voicing my opinion, sharing knowledge and making the effort to write.

So what have I done (or will I do) to achieve this?

  1. Blog more Make the time to write at least 1 decent blog post per week. Target topics I'm good at and interested in like web design, web apps etc. but also take an interest in what's happening locally in NI.
  2. Sideblog I've introduced a sideblog 'Elsewhere' that will list any interesting links I come across and hopefully as well as promoting their site, it will help to encourage repeat visits to mine.
  3. Socialise I want to get to know more creatives out there and tools like Twitter are a great start to getting to know people (I've found that a lot of initial Twitter greetings have turned into real life greetings). Regularly twittering and commenting more on other blogs is a simple but effective way of networking online. I've introduced Twitter and Flickr feeds to help encourage this.
  4. Mini projects I plan on working on a lot more mini projects. The Big Word Project went really well so it would be great to continue with a few more smaller projects as I work on client work and bigger/better projects.
  5. Wordpress Wordpress is a great blogging tool and used in the right way it can be a great CMS too, which is what I've used for my new site. This makes things a whole lot handier to manage and there are a tonne of useful plugins available to help achieve certain tasks a lot quicker.

This is an overview of how I’ve came up with what you see today and hopefully I have or will achieve everything I set out to. I’d appreciate any feedback (and definitely appreciate any errors pointed out :).

I better get working on that next blog post :-?

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