I’ve had my first play with responsive web design and CSS, which was great fun.
This new site for yoga teacher Sarah Burgess is to provide information and class schedules for her yoga practice. It was designed to be friendly, informal, and uses “in-situ” photography of Sarah doing yoga as a main focal point.
Responsive WordPress theme customisation
I designed the site and customised a theme in WordPress which was used as framework for the content and to make updates easy. I used the theme “Twenty twelve” as a base. It’s a responsive theme created by WordPress’ in-house team and is a great foundation for exploring media queries and getting into designing layouts optimised for mobile, tablet and large screens. It is interesting in that it loads the CSS in the functions.php, rather than in the header.
For the full screen background slideshow I used the excellent MaxImage by Aaron Vanderzwan. I found this to be the most reliable and platform agnostic. This meant that I had to add the slideshow code directly to the .php files rather than using a WordPress plugin, which I found either didn’t work very well or slowed the site down too much.
Easy Gourmet Catering’s new CMS site is live. I designed and developed the site, as well as creating a new logo and brand. Still some holes in the content, but it’s good to get it live to let Google start indexing.
I started what I though would be the slow process of switching the DNS with the current host (the mammothlyg expensive Netbenefit) only to find things happened super quick. Then had to migrate 8 pop email accounts and set up the necessary forwarding the client was using – which meant learning how to migrate pop email FAST! Always a good way to learn 😉
The design and build of the site took 2 months and was completed in January, however putting the content has taken much longer. Easy Gourmet had great help from my friend Michael, who is an excellent editor and travel writer. However, this kind of content is quite personal to the business and needed a lot of involvement and consultation with the client, Marie, and running a successful catering company keeps her very busy.
The most exciting part of this project is the SEO opportunity. The old site was poorly structured and not at all optimised. I did an audit of the 40 most likely customer search queries in Google for page rank (e.g. Wedding caterer”, “Catering London”, “wedding reception catering”). I found only the exact company name “Easy Gourmet Catering” returned a page 1 listing, and that was compromised by a competitor with a similar name in the second position. For all the other search terms there was no listing at all. The new CMS structure and some basic copy alone should give this site a decent presence in search results, but with Michael’s rich copy and some “white hat” optimisation tricks of mine, I think this site will start to be SEO competitive. Google generally takes between 7-14 days to re-index a change on a site; there is an unconfirmed theory that Google is slow to react because it “sandboxes” changes.
Easy Gourmet Catering is a successful business now, even without the aid of natural search listings, woth this new site it should explode! If, that is, people really choose caterers from the web, or if it’s more of a word-of-mouth reputation based business.