Walking the walk

Walking the walk

Redesigning the CMC website

I advise clients to ensure their communications activity reflects their identity as a business. But when it comes to my own marketing collateral, I could be accused of a 'do as I say, not as I do’ approach. There's good reason for this of course - client work comes first and I'm fortunate to be kept busy most of the time. But with CMC reaching the grand old age of seven, and the changes that have taken place in recent years, I've decided to walk the walk - beginning with a website redesign.

Strategy

My starting point was clarifying the purpose of my website. Most of my business comes from client referrals, so I was more interested in creating an electronic brochure, than a site focused on driving new sales opportunities. As such I wanted the CMC site to reflect the style of our business and convey messages that were consistent with our approach. But I needed a design that would bring the narrative together.

That led on to the research. As well as considering what I did and didn’t like about my existing site, I invested time looking through a variety of other sites to see what resonated. Although one page scrolling sites are popular, I concluded a single page approach wasn’t right for me, but I wanted to bring in some of the flexibility and fluidity that a scrolling site offers.

Design

Working with design associate, Lucy Kirkman, we considered a range of options before developing a style which brings together some of my favourite characteristics from other sites in a design that reflects CMC. Lucy's expert ability to interpret my objectives has resulted in a look and feel we are both proud of.

In terms of consultation, I sought input from a small group of trusted advisers. This was particularly helpful in tweaking the structure of the site to make it easier for people to navigate, as well as seeking reassurance that the content and design were working well overall.

With the broad design and content agreed, it was then down to finessing the detail and settling on a header image that would draw people in, before commissioning web developer, Alex Mercer, to begin the build.

Build

Rather than simply tranforming the designs into a working website, Alex focused on developing the back end of the site so that it would be flexible and easy for me to update without altering the overall look and feel we’d worked hard to achieve. This required patience all round as the visible output was the icing on the cake – the hard work was all the coding we couldn’t see.

However, as someone who uses a variety of CMS systems to update client websites, I’m grateful for the extra effort. Using Processwire as a base, Alex has developed templates and formats that are unquestionably the easiest I have used. The proofing and tweaking process has been straightforward as a result.

Learning

Going through this process myself has reaffirmed much of the advice I give to clients:

  • be clear about your purpose
  • do your research and provide a clear brief
  • appoint trusted specialists and work in partnership with them to get the best result
  • futureproof your hard work with a flexible design and build that can adapt as your business changes.

For help reviewing your marketing materials, please contact me

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