“This is an example of the cobbler’s kids having no shoes,” said Lynne D’Autrechy, president of /buzzquake. “We were so busy building websites for other people that we neglected our own for a while.”
“It got to a point where we had to focus on our site. We needed a way to demonstrate to prospects the features and capabilities that we were trying to sell them. It’s hard to convey the value of responsive design, for instance, if your site isn’t responsive,” said Frank Hazzard, /buzzquake’s creative lead.
“Now the kids are shoed!” said D’Autrechy.
The company’s new website, which was launched last week, demonstrates a number of best practices in programming, content management, design and search engine optimization, according to D’Autrechy.
“The legacy site that we replaced was a custom build in 100 percent Flash,” explained D’Autrechy. “It was eye-catching and unique, but not very SEO friendly and nearly impossible for anyone but a programmer to maintain.”
The new site is built on a WordPress platform. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows laypeople to update text and images without any programming knowledge, according to Hazzard.
“Plus, search engines’ spiders love WordPress. They seem to find and index content quicker when it’s posted on a CMS,” said Hazzard.
“In addition, we installed SEO plug-ins that help us identify popular keywords that we in turn write into our content,” said D’Autrechy. “We have done pretty well in organic searches in just a short time.”
D’Autrechy was the driving force behind the design. “I wanted to convey what we do in a fun and visually interesting way. I used the PageLines framework which gave me tons of flexibility in terms of look and functionality. I wasn’t limited by a theme designer’s creativity.”
The design started with /buzzquake’s new logo and grew from there. “It was also driven by our content and the services we offer, especially on the homepage,” said D’Autrechy.
“A strong logo conveys things about an organization. I like to dissect a logo to understand as much as I can about a customer’s culture, target markets and self-perception before I start designing. I think we got the logo right and the website was just an extension of it,” said D’Autrechy.
“Our website subscribes to the current prevailing thinking about content,” said Hazzard. “We are aggregating content that we believe will be of value to our customers and limiting creative efforts to developing content that doesn’t already exist. This makes for a more efficient use of our time.”
“Search before you write!” added D’Autrechy. “Like most people, we can’t afford to spend a lot of time writing content. Anyone who has blogged can tell you that it requires a significant commitment that generally pays very little. We prefer to spend our time working for our customers.”
“At the same time, we want our website to serve as a source of new information on what’s happening in the web design and marketing fields,” said Hazzard.
“We keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry and import the most relevant information,” said D’Autrechy.
“You don’t get to choose which device your customers use to view your website, they do,” said Karen McGrane, principal of Bond Art + Science.
Many designers agree. The proliferation of small-screen computers, phones and tablets has spawned a lot of discussion in the web industry. Because no single design will render well on all screen sizes, responsive designs, which adapt to the devices being used to view them, are quickly gaining popularity.
“We went with a responsive design because our site needed to be an example of what we recommended,” said Hazzard. “Now we can encourage people to change the size of their browser window while they are viewing our website to get a live demonstration of how a responsive design works.”