Editor's note: This article was written for version 2.0 of January Creative's website. You're now reading this on version 3.0 of January Creative's website.
As you are reading this article, you are doing so on the new January Creative website. A website that I have poured many hours, days, weeks, months, and yes, even years into. When I started designing a new website for January Creative, I got started way back in March 2013. I finally launched the site you see today two years later in July 2015.
There are numerous reasons as to why it took two years for me to get a new website up and running for my consultancy. First, my clients’ work always took priority. I’m there for my clients and they are hiring me to help them, not to push their work aside to work on my own stuff. That often left me working on my own work often on nights and weekends.
Also, at that time, I was going through the process of buying a house and moving. The initial attempt to purchase a house fell through at the last minute in the summer of 2013 (through no fault of our own). Come winter of 2014, we were able to finally purchase the house, make repairs and paint over the summer, and move in late summer 2014. I’ve been unpacking boxes ever since.
Finally, I struggled a great deal with the overall design I wanted for the site. If you didn’t know this already, some designers have a hard time designing for themselves. I, indeed, fall in the category of designers who can’t design for themselves. I struggled with the design and ended up changing the design multiple times before becoming happy with the design you see today.
Being a business owner and a web designer and developer, creating my own website is not only a joy but can be tough as well. I’m not only the designer, but I’m also the client. Clients often hire me because they would like a new website and need some outside feedback. When I work with a client, I can help steer them in the right direction and give them outside advice and tips. That wasn’t so much the case for me, as I was playing all the roles in this web project.
My old website above (January Creative 1.0, if you will) was the very first under the January Creative name. It showcased my work, had a notebook that I published articles, and talked a little bit about me. However, as it aged and my business grew, I knew it wasn’t quite working out anymore and it needed a major update.
As a business owner, I wanted the new site to accomplish certain goals, such as developing a hub of information to help educate my clients, show off the work I’ve done for my clients in a more meaningful way by describing what was done and what the results were, and allowed visitors to see the site no matter what device they were using. I had so many goals and plans for the site, that it was hard to get all of those in line and come up with a design that also worked well with those goals.
While my clients often bounce ideas off of me and turn to me for advice, I didn’t really have one single person I could turn to to do the same. I had to rely a lot on my gut instinct, experience, and decision making with a committee of me, myself, and I. This isn’t to say I didn’t seek out advice from others.
There are many of whom I requested take a look at what I was doing and give me honest feedback and advice. There a handful of trusted fellow self-employed designers and developers who helped me along the way (several of which are probably more happy to see my new site live than I am because it means I won’t be bugging them as much anymore!).
Not only was I wrangling the design part of the entire process, but I was also trying to work on business objectives and changes inside my business. The more you go through running your business, the more you realize some things have to change in order for you to keep up and stay competitive. I was going through refining my processes and working on several aspects of my business while I was working on a new website.
This also often resulted in a lot of revisions to my designs and a few times of just pitching it out the window and starting anew. With every new attempt came better insights as to what I needed to accomplish, and with every revision, things started to become more and more clear and refined.
In the end, after the entire process is complete, I’m happy with the site you see today. Version 2 of January Creative’s website will allow me to work more on growing my business while providing educational articles and advice pieces for clients and potential clients. It allows for my work to be showcased better for my potential clients to read about in a nicely designed layout.
I’m pleased with version 2 of January Creative’s website and I hope you are as well. I have many more things planned for January Creative as I work to grow and help more clients reach their goals through the use of professional and effective visual identity design.
I also want to take the time to thank the many people that I turned to for help and advice over the last couple of years about my site. For a roll call, a huge thank you goes out to Brent Galloway, Matt Brown, Jack McDade, Patrick Rice, Fred LeBlanc and several others who offered advice and helped me fix things I broke.
In the coming weeks, I’m going to outline more about the two-plus year process it took me to launch my new site, along with some tips and words of advice you can use when you undergo your next website redo. I’ll talk about why I needed a new website to begin with, show you some of the scrapped designs, discuss why I dropped a popular content management platform, and give you a look at some of the business decisions made that influenced the design and functionality of the site.
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