Jordan Smith, the owner of Smith Lawn and Landscape in Mankato, came to me with the idea of a total re-design for his website towards the end of January. He was looking for something clean, simple and professional, and his current website just wasn’t doing it for him. Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far, along with a few things I’ve learned during this project.
I first looked through a few options for frameworks to build on, and ended up choosing QuickStep. It offered everything we were looking for, including huge images, a sleek interface, a built-in gallery, and the ability to create a single-page layout. I pushed for the single-page layout. Looking at the analytics for almost any website taught me that most visitors are lost as soon as they have to click a link to visit a different page on a website. They could be missing out on important information, including how to contact the business! I believe that putting all relevant information on one long scrollable page is one step towards solving that issue.
The design process was jumpstarted by the fact that Smith Lawn and Landscape already had a great logo. The only thing I changed was the font in order to give it more of an organic and modern feel. From there I went on to pick a color palette and a selection of fonts to work from. You can see them above. Going through these few steps of preparation made the rest of the design and building process so much easier.
Designing this website was only half of the story, however. There were a few requested features that were not built into QuickStep, and I had to spend a great deal of time finding plug-ins and tweaking the code to make them possible. The most difficult one was a slideshow that spans the full width of the page. I was happy to see it all come together flawlessly, while still preserving the responsiveness of the website. For the full affect, drag your browser smaller or view it on your phone.
Once the fortress was done, it was time to start building the outposts. It disappoints me when brands don’t take the graphics they put on their social media pages as seriously as their website. If you’re using Facebook to connect and market with new customers, then it better look as clean and professional as your website, if not more so. I used the dimensions I listed out in a previous blog post and created graphics designed specifically for each platform.
The main goal during all of this was to push Smith Lawn and Landscape to the top of Google Search and get more exposure for this great company. I’m happy to say that this re-design alone pushed the company to #4 in search, and I’m confident that it will only be moving up from there. I recommended that they update their blog at least once a week. This will teach Google’s algorithm that this is a website contains newer, more relevant and more valuable information.
In conclusion, I am very excited to announce the release of the new website design for Smith Lawn and Landscape!