Reno Man Construction
Size: One-page WordPress website with extra portfolio pages
My professional status: independent web designer/developer
Website client: Chris Routhan
Dates: May 2023, with ongoing support afterwards
Categories: Scoping/pitching/quoting, Client liaison, Project manager, IA & UX, Website designer, Front-end developer, Writing for the web, Content-loader, Responsive web design/dev, CSS-based layout, CSS3, HTML5, WordPress, Small sites
Brief: Chris Routhan is a friend of mine - we're in the same band - and he's a self-employed builder by trade. He'd always been meaning to get a website built, so I designed and built one for him. He had looked at a few other Wellington builders' websites and knew that he wanted a very simple site - probably just a one-pager - to showcase what he does and the services he provides, and to give potential clients an easy way to get in touch with him.
He asked me to quote for a responsive WordPress website, based on an existing WordPress theme in order to save time and keep the costs down. Chris and I selected the theme together, from a shortlist I drew up based on his requirements. I changed various aspects of the design and then built, content-loaded and tested the website, selecting and optimising (almost) all the photographic imagery from Chris's own collection, and organised webhosting. I now provide Chris with ongoing support and updates as required.
Hi Ali, It looks great, thanks for your work on this - ChrisChris and Rebecca Routhan, Reno Man Construction
It looks soooo awesome Ali! Love it. Thank you! - Rebecca
- Selected a suitable WordPress theme and then, by tweaking the responsive design functionality and look & feel of the website I made it better
- With less than a week's notice, made sure that the website would be up and running in time for a trade event Chris was going to, including working out a "backwards timeline" so that he could see exactly when he needed to provide text and images so that I would get everything done in time
- Provided Chris with an easy-to manage responsive website, completely content-loaded and ready for launch, at a very reasonable price
- A couple of days after launch Chris got the first contact from a potential client wanting a quote, and within a month was working on a renovation project for a client who had first made contact through the website. Success!
My responsibilities included:
- Writing the proposal for the website fixed-price contract
- Project management and ongoing liaison with Chris Routhan
- Selecting a number of suitable WordPress themes and presenting these to Chris for his consideration in order to keep the price down and achieve all the functionality we required for the website
- Helping Chris to identify his preferred theme, Bridge by Qode Interactive
- Sorting out hosting for the site with my WordPress webhost, WPEngine
- Making various changes to the design including font selection, colour palette, background graphics and other styling updates
- Improving the responsive styling which I felt could be better at various device widths
- Designing and creating a logo for the website, based on graphics from Chris's home-made business card
- Tweaking the design to incorporate the logo and brand colours, as well as adjusting the size and style of various headings and sub-headings and improving the spacing and vertical rhythm of the page
- Selecting some of the best reviews from Chris's pages on Builders Crack and No Cowboys, and including these in the website as testimonials
- Building the website and adding the content
- Selecting different page layouts for the extra portfolio pages, where we showcased a selection of Chris's work
- Writing and/or editing the content for some of the homepage sections where the design required additional text
- Liaising with Chris to ensure that the page sections and content I was creating were appropriate
- Selecting (almost) all the photographic images for the website from Chris's own collection and cropping or combining these as appropriate
- Illustrating one service, where we just couldn't find an appropriate photo of Chris's, with a generic iStock building image that I already owned
- Creating other new graphics for the website, as required
- Coding and testing the print stylesheet
- Creating the favicon
- Extensive cross-browser and mobile device testing (screen and print) - using a combination of real devices and BrowserStack
- Editing, proof-reading and tidying up the site once the content had been added
- Carrying out the standard Google Webmaster tasks and adding Google Analytics (Universal and GA4) to the site
- Website launch, A record redirection and and post-launch testing
- Ongoing website support for Chris as required.
I enjoyed working on this website with Chris. Getting large-enough photos from him was a bit like pulling teeth, but we got there in the end, and Chris's wife Rebecca made sure he wrote the descriptions of his work that I needed for the portfolio pages. Thanks Rebecca!
I wrote most of the rest of the content myself, as it wasn't really Chris's thing, and he trusted me to do it. It really helped that I know him so well. I knew I wanted to show what a genuinely nice, approachable and trustworthy bloke Chris is, because - in addition to his wide range of building skills - I think this is what sets him apart.
I'm really pleased with the final look of the site - it suits Chris, and his real-life before and after photos add value to the story we're trying to tell. The original theme was pretty good - but I've made it better with more consistent vertical rhythm down the page and better responsive behaviour. And a print stylesheet! I think it's important to make themed WordPress websites as good as they possibly can be, rather than just going with what's been given to you. You can always make them better.
Chris decided to invest a few dollars in some Google Ads, which have certainly paid off. Within a few days of going live he was receiving requests for quotes from the contact us form on the website, and this has already led to new renovation projects for Chris. I think it shows that the website we built, and the words and pictures I used, were the right ones to "click" with his potential customers in the Greater Wellington region. Long may it continue!