Planting the first seed
I went to participate in an event at the Rudra Center of Denton on a Saturday evening. The event facilitator asked each of us to introduce ourselves and fill in the blank, “I touch the world with beauty by…” and then we would each fill in the blank. I was so stuck. I was at odds with my current employment prospects. I was in the middle of building this website called Kreative8Kristina. I have always seen this need provide IT services to the yoga communities and various healing practitioners.
“My name is Kristina”, I said. “And I touch the world through developing websites”. After the event concluded, I gave my contact information to a warm soul, one of the yoga instructors at the center. She called me a short time later. We had a great chat and I realized I would be able to help them update their website. They had a website that was developed 100% in flash. It wasn’t visible on iPhones since Apple made a decision not to support flash technology. I offered to do the project as a donation (“seva” or service to temples has a long tradition in the east). I agreed to tackle this project while I still maintained my full-time commitment to my employer.
I designed the mockups in Photoshop and did a separate mockup for the mobile version. I drove to Denton to review the mockups in person. We had a great chat and I got lots of downloads on their vision for the final version of the website. Specific artwork was to be featured as the background tile on the home page. They wanted to include a customized motif on each of the landing pages for the classes. Once we settled on the submenu pages, we talked about the timeline.
On the WordPress Grind
I made a recommendation to use Zoom meetings to track progress and answer any questions they had through the process. This web-based tool gives anyone access to free webinars (their free plan includes webinars up to 45 minutes long) with audio and video and screen-share tools. I scheduled our webinars every week unless we decided to forgo the webinar and do a phone call instead.
I chose a hosting plan from GreenGeeks. They have a reputation for stellar customer service. Yes, there may be cheaper hosts out there; however, if something goes horribly wrong, I need to be able to contact a real person quickly.
After a 1-click install of WordPress, I installed the Themify Ultra theme. I first heard about this theme from Hogan Chua. He has several tutorial videos on YouTube. This is by far the most robust WordPress theme I’ve used. You can build complex pages without coding and you have full control over the theme footers, headers, and the sidebar. The theme comes with built-in Google maps, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook integration. It also comes with mobile-friendly features with little to no customization!
After building the main home page with the Themify Ultra theme, we had our review. The head of the yoga center also creates artwork. Part of the design for the Rudra Center’s original website incorporated a tiled background that was created from a photo of one of the art pieces. The tiled background served as the background for the entire website. In my initial design, I wanted to move away from the tiled look as that was associated with older website designs.
To give the site a fresh look, we agreed to use the tile background on the top banner. The colors within the tile background cascade through the rest of the page in horizontal color blocks. It took a few rounds of emails to find the right files to create this tiled background, but I like the compromise. It gives a unique texture to the banner on all the pages throughout the site and unites them in a style that is more stimulating to the eyes than a solid color background.
Then, I created the landing pages for each class offered at the yoga center. Each page would have a similar layout as the home page. Each landing page would have the same layout, but with a different motif image at the top and different copy. I created the first landing page and used a handy plug-in called Duplicate Page to copy the entire page with its copy and layout. This saved me hours of my life! Even with a drag-and-drop tool like Themify Ultra, it can take up to eight hours to create six pages from scratch.
Once the sub-pages were created, the site was complete. It had the tiled background, a landing page for each class offered at the yoga center, and a contact form. The copy for each page had been proofed and reviewed. We reviewed the site during our Zoom meeting and they seemed happy with the results.
But wait! There’s more
For those familiar with web design, you know that there’s always more. Often times I find myself walking the line between pushing a project through to completion and making sure the clients are happy. In this case, since this was my first project and I had a personal relationship with the clients, I wanted to make sure they were happy with their website upgrade. Not only that, I wanted to give them the tools to grow their business.
They had a donate button on their old website. I don’t know how much visibility it had. We decided to make it a feature on the home page and give it a dedicated page. I designed this section and added it to the home page.
They also had a MailChimp account but there wasn’t a mailing list subscription form on the original version of the website. I designed this custom Mailchimp signup form and added it the Themify theme.
With that, we were complete! We launched the site in April of this year. iPhone users can now access the site and everyone can now sign up for their mailing list and donate to their cause. I was over the moon about completing my first standalone WordPress project and they were glad for the help to boost their web presence.
Thanks to the Rudra Center of Denton for being a part of this case study.
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