homepage screenshot of the website overhaul for The Spoke & Note

Your Website is Like a Houseplant

Or how to keep your website from withering away

Update: In 2020 we revised this website again and switched to a SquareUp website (Weebly).

Recently I’ve completed a couple of redesigned websites for local businesses in Windsor. It got me thinking about how easy it is for business owners to forget to keep your website up to date. In other words: Your website is only as good as your updates.

Pretend your website is a houseplant: You don’t buy it and think, Whew – done!… Then forget to water it. Or maybe you do – in which case, you might want to invest in some succulents. Or a rock garden. Websites need that fresh intake just as much as your houseplant does.

And to be sure, it’s easy – especially for entrepreneurs – to feel overwhelmed with all the hats you have to wear. Too frequently, an updated or redesigned website is probably the last thing on the priority list. That doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t think it’s important, but there’s just SO MUCH to do before you get to it! And then, regardless of the CMS your site uses, you have to add in the learning curve of how to use it. WordPress is an easy platform to use, and there are a lot of resources online to help you learn it. However, like anything else: it is a new skill set if you’ve never used it before. Without practice, it can fade quickly and then updating your site just becomes yet another chore.

But that’s where outsourcing can save the day and revive your plant – and your website. My web design services range from full-service turnkey products to buckets of hours that you apply to your own project. There’s even a low monthly update option that can take care of most of your “watering” needs. Check out some offerings here.

Case Study

The website for The Spoke & Note is the perfect example of how your business can evolve past your website to the point where the website is no longer serving you well. Your website must be kept up to date, just as your business does.

The Spoke & Note – music and bikes in Windsor

In 2018, Tony & Ashley Wood opened a brand new shop in Windsor, focusing on offering services and products for bike and music enthusiasts. At first, I provided them with a very basic, one-page WordPress website. That website was easy on the budget, and intended primarily as a way to effectively get them online and into various search engines.

But after their first year of operations, The Spoke & Note had evolved far beyond the needs initially served by their first, simple website design. As their web hosting was coming due for renewal, we decided it was definitely time for an overhaul.

The website

I set up this website for The Spoke & Note last year after they opened. So it was a real treat to come up with a totally redesigned website when their hosting was coming due for renewal. Their business has evolved and expanded significantly, and their first design was not serving them well anymore. Their website had a lot of room to improve!

Now their new website is bright, with lots of white space and easy-to-read text. The recognizable penny farthing rider logo is prominently featured. We retained imagery used in the first design to maintain consistency between the original website and the redesigned website. The biggest difference is a LOT more content, to help drive the SEO of the website. To really top off their functionality improvement, we added an e-commerce catalogue. Now folks will find their website more easily and also see the range of products and services they offer.

WordPress and WooCommerce

Using e-commerce with WordPress via WooCommerce is a great choice as there are so many ways you can customize your online shop. The basic WooCommerce plugin itself offers a straightforward number of customizations, but it assumes that you want to allow people to purchase and pay for their products online. In this case, we chose to disable the online shopping feature for now. Utilizing a YITH catalogue plugin, we can list the items in the store as a catalogue only. That means visitors to the online store can benefit from seeing select items the store carries, including pricing, but they can’t add them to an online cart. The Spoke & Note will add that functionality down the road, when they’re ready. We chose to showcase only a select categories of items to give visitors a sense of what they might be able to find if they come by.

redesigned website: The new Design

*Note in 2020 we redesigned website again and switched away from WordPress.

As part of this redesigned website project, I incorporated a new-to-me WordPress page builder that I’d been wanting to try for some time. Beaver Builder is one of the highest-rated website builders that has a strong focus on accessibility. Beaver Builder allows the site owner to customize their site after it’s completed. That means you don’t lose the branding and visual focus already created.

Added bonus! If the client redesigns their website again and no longer uses Beaver Builder, all that hard work and content won’t be lost or scrambled. – which is often the case with other page builders.

Features

  • Responsive & Mobile-friendly
  • Fast, clean design
  • WooCommerce functionality
  • Instagram feeds and other social media integration
  • SEO optimization built-in with schema markup and compression

Go check it out! And while you’re at it, be sure to like and follow their page on facebook to keep up with their events.