Web design portfolio

What type of website do I need?

With so many different types of website to choose from, it’s important that you choose a website which will meet your specific business aims and objectives.

Here I explain some of the common types of websites backed up by case studies showing how I have implemented these.

Brochureware websites

A brochureware website is the online equivalent of a printed brochure, which will typically contain a number of pages describing the products or services offered along with some background information about the company and a contact page. 

Adding a blog will help keep the website current and build up content, which is good for SEO.

Bathtub Bathrooms and Kitchens

Bathtub is an independent family business run which has been trading for over 15 years. They design, supply and install bathrooms and kitchens, and have showrooms in Chelmsford, Maldon and Rayleigh.

Their website hadn’t been updated for many years, and a website audit confirmed that there were many issues which needed fixing – particularly with regard to SEO. The site was also very difficult to navigate on mobile devices. 

Project Brief

The owners wanted to bring their website up to date, and have it optimised to generate new leads via organic Google searches.

The site would detail their services and showcase a portfolio of their work. In the absence of any requirements to sell products or book appointments via the website, a brochureware site was deemed the most suitable.

The website was redesigned from scratch, paying particular attention to:

  • updating the content
  • setting up a page for each of the three showrooms
  • making the site look great on mobile devices 
  • implementing technical SEO to ensure search engines are able to access the site and index it without any problems
  • optimising the site for local SEO
  • integration with social media channels

Implementation

The first step was to agree the structure and theme (colour scheme, fonts etc) of the website. The owners then provided me with written copy and the images that were to be displayed on the site.  After optimising the images in Photoshop, I updated the site with all of this content.

The showroom pages were then added, each containing a Google Map linking to that showroom’s profile on Google My Business. Contact forms were also added to the showroom pages, with functionality to allow customers to upload photos of the room to be renovated.

Links to the social media channels were added to the footer that’s displayed on every page of the website.

Behind the scenes, redirections were set up so that anyone trying to access a page on the old site that no longer existed was diverted to the equivalent page on the new site. This is very important for SEO.

We then agreed the meta data – the titles and descriptions that appear on the search engine results pages – and updated the site with these.

I also set the website up on Google Analytics so that the owners can monitor the traffic on their website.

An SEO audit was run when the site was launched, confirming that there were no issues with the site. I then registered the updated sitemaps with Google and Bing.

Mike has just redesigned our website www.bathtubonline.co.uk and has done a fantastic job. Nothing was too much trouble, and Mike's patience and knowledge were second to none.

Teresa Murphy, owner, Bathtub Bathrooms & Kitchens - Chelmsford, Essex

Single page websites

A new business that’s just starting out won’t necessarily have enough content to justify a brochureware site. In many such cases, a single page website would be suitable.

Here, the page will be broken down into sections to describe products and services offered, background information on the company and contact details.

A more established business may also decide to launch a single page website to sit alongside their main website to promote a specific brand, product or service.

Essex Wasps

Essex Wasps is the wasp control unit at Pest ID, a pest control firm based near Chelmsford in Essex.

Whilst there’s a page dedicated to wasp control on the main Pest ID website, the owner wanted to have a dedicated site to promote their wasp control service, particularly during the Summer months, and so a single page website made perfect sense.

Project Brief

The main requirements for the website were:

  • a single page wasp-themed website, using yellow and black as the main colours
  • mobile friendly so that visitors can call by simply tapping a button on the screen
  • SEO-friendly, to generate new organic leads from Google
  • a contact form, making it easy for potential customers to get in touch

Implementation

It was agreed to break the page down into the following sections:

  • a slideshow with large images at the top of the page
  • information on how wasps nests are removed
  • a message from the company owner
  • customer testimonials
  • a contact form

To make it as easy as possible for visitors to get in touch, a ‘Call Now’ button was added to the bottom of the page for mobile phones only, on permanent display, and simply tapping this button calls the Essex Wasps phone number without having to manually tap the number in.

After the page was completed, an SEO audit was run which reported no issues, and the site was then made live.

Main site with subsites

Some businesses are modelled in such a way that it makes sense to have a main website and a number of subsites. Taking this approach allows the activities of the overall business to be captured on the main site, whilst enabling the subsites to focus on the specifics of that part of the business.

WordPress has a multisite capability, which enables the setup of sites on a parent-child basis all within a single domain name. If you’d like to learn more about WordPress multisite, I have written a guide to multisite for business owners: Everything you need to know about WordPress multisite

The main benefits of taking a multisite approach are:

  • it’s easy to give each site the same look and feel
  • those managing the individual subsites can focus on maintaining the content without having to worry about website administration activities such as software updates  
  • the main site and subsites only require one single WordPress installation, minimising the hosting and maintenance overhead
  • using a single domain name means that there’s no brand dilution, which is important for SEO

Pest ID

Pest ID is a successful pest control firm based near Chelmsford in Essex, servicing Essex and East London. The owner Ian Bright is expanding the business, both geographically and in terms of services offered.

The launch of a franchise in Oakham, Rutland, created a problem in that the existing website was Essex-centric, and adding details of the Oakham services to the main site would be confusing to customers. The different locations would also cause problems with local SEO.

In addition, the company is expanding its bird control business, pigeon proofing solar panels and removing bird droppings for commercial customers across South East England. A dedicated site was considered critical in order to appeal to these commercial customers, but Ian’s marketing team did not want to use a different domain name, as this would both dilute the Pest ID brand and complicate SEO.

With an increasing number of commercial clients, there was also a growing need for a self-service document portal that would enable clients to access their pest control documentation online, without having to request this from the Pest ID team. This needed to be set up securely, so that each client could only see the documents relevant to their firm.

Project Brief

The project brief was as follows:

  • turn the existing Pest ID website into the main site, and create three new subsites: one each for the Oakham franchise, the bird control business and the documentation portal
  • give each subsite the same ‘look and feel’ as the main site
  • make each of the sites independent for SEO purposes
  • provide copy and set up the SEO for the bird control site
  • create a document store on Google Drive for the document portal
  • create a ‘public’ Google Drive folder to store documents which are common to all clients
  • create client folders to store client-specific documents, and configure the permissions on the portal so that clients could only access their specific folder
  • provide user and admin guides for the documentation portal

Implementation

Running multiple subsites can present SEO challenges, so time was spent working with Ian’s marketing team agreeing how the subsites would be implemented from an SEO perspective.

Ian and I then agreed what content should appear on the new subsites, and after copying the Pest ID site to a development environment I started work, making changes to WordPress to enable the creation of the subsites before setting these up.

Oakham
Some of the content for Oakham subsite was to be copied from the main Pest ID site. Doing this can cause problems for Google and other search engines, so canonical URLs were added to avoid any duplicate content issues.

Bird Control
Ian had asked me to write the copy for the ‘Pigeon Guano’ and ‘Solar Panel Proofing’ pages, so after doing lots of research (including keyword and competitor SEO analysis)  I set to work. After Ian had signed this off, I updated the site.

Next I set to work selecting suitable photos from Ian’s extensive collection and then edited these in Photoshop, before uploading them to the subsite. I also adapted the main Pest ID logo to reference ‘Bird Control’.

Document Portal 
The first step was to set up a new Google Drive account for the portal. Once this was ready, I then created the required folder hierarchy.

I had already conducted in-depth analysis to identify the most suitable plugin for Ian’s requirements, so after creating the pages and installing the plugin, the bulk of the work was configuring the plugin so that the permissions were all set up correctly.

My rapidly expanding business was beginning to outgrow the website and I wasn't sure how to fix this. Mike introduced me to multisite networks, and showed how this could support the business as it expands. I have to admit that I was a little hesitant at first, but we took the plunge and I'm so pleased that we did, because the new websites have had a massive impact on business, helping secure some important new bird control contracts.

Ian Bright, owner, Pest ID - Chelmsford, Essex

Appointment and event booking websites

Adding appointment and event booking functionality to your website is a great way to automate this process, letting your customers make bookings at their own convenience, and at the same time reducing your own admin – a win-win result.

Construction Industry Qualifications Training

Lee Reynolds has worked in the construction industry for more than 30 years, and is a qualified health and safety course instructor. Having worked for many different training organisations, he decided to set up his own training company running courses in Southend, Essex.  

Project Brief

Lee’s requirements were:

  • an easy to navigate website which would give delegates full details about the courses being run, and allowing them to book directly
  • selecting a payment gateway which would handle the credit and debit card transactions, and also integrate with QuickBooks
  • ‘coupon code’ functionality so that discounts can be given when required  
  • a mobile-friendly site where delegates would find it just as easy to book courses on their phones as on a PC
  • integrating the website with MailChimp so that course delegates are automatically added to a mailing list
  • future-proofing the course booking functionality to accommodate multiple instructors and venues as the business grows
  • optimising the site for SEO
  • creating email addresses for the CIQ domain name
  • linking the website to CIQ’s social media accounts

Implementation

The first step in this project was to carry out research on CIQ’s would-be competitors to: identify the key players; establish how their sites were structured; discover the keywords used; and check out their other SEO tactics for attracting new customers.

As the course booking software and payment gateway would be the most critical components of the website, I then spent a great deal of time analysing the options. After trialling demo versions of the most suitable course booking software, and researching the different payment gateways, we agreed to go ahead with the Modern Events Calendar software, and the Stripe payment gateway.

Next we agreed the site layout, along with the colour pallette and fonts to be used. Lee then provided all of the written copy, and asked me to create a logo for the site and to also source some appropriate stock images.

Most of the development time was spent configuring the course booking workflow, from the delegate viewing the list of available courses, through to them receiving a booking confirmation and invoice. 

I also created a MailChimp account for Lee’s business, and configured the website so that all delegates booking on the site are automatically added to the mailing list over at MailChimp.

To boost local SEO, I set up a profile for CIQ on Google My Business, and this would also be the preferred way of collecting customer reviews.

After creating email addresses for CIQ, I set up and configured a Gmail account to send and receive these emails.

When the website build was complete, we spent time thoroughly testing all of the use cases, ironing out issues as they arose until the site was working perfectly.

 The site was then optimised for SEO before being made live.

We knew a website was going to be fundamental to our new business, but we're not very technical and had no clue where to start. Talking to Mike put me at ease straight away. He asked all the right questions and explained everything without using all the jargon. He came up with some terrific ideas, and did loads of research to make sure that the website would be as good as it could be. He insisted on doing SEO, which we knew nothing about, and kept us up to date all the while with regular emails. We are chuffed to bits on how committed he is. It makes us feel like he is truly part of our team.

Lee Reynolds, owner, CIQ Training - Southend, Essex