Launched: Simple Elegance

This week I launched a new client site: Simple Elegance. Simple Elegance is a wedding decoration company in Denton, TX that serves the whole DFW area. I’m getting married (in less than a month!) and so my bride met with Simple Elegance and found out that they needed a website. Needless to say, work began a few weeks later.

Simple Elegance Home Page

Design & Home Page

In designing the site I wanted to achieve two things: simplicity and elegance. 😉

The site needed to be conducive to an audience I’m only vaguely familiar with, yet constantly surrounded by: young women in dire need for wedding decorations. I ended up giving the site a very rustic, yet smooth feel. The dark colors are a stark contrast to the traditional white wedding sites (though I will be implementing a style switcher to go between the dark scheme and a lighter one). I feel as though the browns make the site feel a little smaller, but in a good way. The perception is that the site is well maintained, updated, local, non-corporate, and easily accessible to customers.

Simple Elegance Photo

Photos

Pictures are huge in a business that is selling services based solely upon how good they look. We used in-window popups to show off the larger images, and allow visitors to browse through the many pictures. We’re taking advantage of the WordPress built-in gallery feature to make photo browsing and management easy.

Search Engine Optimization

As with all of the sites I build, I take great care into how I build a site so that it out performs competitors in search engines. This section is for those already familiar with SEO.

Simple Elegance Heading

Headers

On the home page I used the text “Wedding Decorations in Dallas, TX” as the H1 tag. While the business is located in Denton, TX, their service is as wide as the DFW area and Dallas is a more trafficked keyword than Denton is, so it made sense to draw from the bigger pool, rather than limit ourselves to Denton.

The H2 tag is “Wedding and Event Décor Specialists” so that we can emphasize even more specifically what the site is about, including a broader range of services.

Tags

For our purpose, what traditionally are called “tags” we’ll call “styles”. I wanted brides to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for. Not only did we categorize rentals into a categories like candles, candelabras, and cake toppers, but implemented a tagging feature that will tag about 700 adjectives automatically. If you look at the screen shot below you can see a demonstration of which words could be tagged. This is pretty useful for users looking for a decorations of a very specific style and for search engines because it allows optimization of hundreds of long tail searches.

Simple Elegance Styles

Conclusion

The live site doesn’t reflect everything mentioned in this post as some of the content has yet to be entered. However, I think you’ll find the site to be beautifully simple and very well optimized for search engines.

Visit Simple Elegance.

Simple Elegance

Simple EleganceSimple Elegance is a wedding decoration company in Denton, TX that serves the Dallas/Ft Worth area. This site is unique because Simple Elegance was actually the wedding decorator for my wedding. So while I was in the thick of wedding planning with my finacé (and now wife) I had all kinds of great ideas about how to make Simple Elegance’s site stand apart from the rest of the wedding decorators of the world. The best features of the site are automatic and by far the best one of those is the automatic categorization of rental items.

When a girl (or guy…just not in my case) is planning the decorations of her wedding she often has a theme in mind of how her wedding should look. How better to describe that theme than with an array of adjectives? When Simple Elegance enters their rental items into their site they describe each item at which time I take over and interlink that item with other items using the same adjectives. This makes the process of finding items a girl wants far easier than leaving the description broad and open ended.

Website: No longer online

Platform: WordPress

Launched: The Well at DBC Church Website

This week we launched The Well website, a media and resource rich (or at least it will be!) website for my church, Denton Bible Church. The Well is the evening service at DBC. We accomplished several things with the site that prove the flexibility of WordPress.

Link: The Well of Denton Bible Church

Home Page

The home pages consists of a featured section that scrolls through however many featured posts you want.

We’ve also got 3 “ads” that display next to the featured posts. The point of the “ads” is that they are much more static parts of the site that need constant attention, so we’re using the “ad” terminology, but in reality they’re just important posts.

Below the featured posts is a photo stream from an internal WordPress gallery, and below that are two columns of recent sermons and recent resources (books, blogs, songs, etc.).

To its right is a list of upcoming events that are being picked up from a Google calendar.

A lot of things are going on on the home page, and mostly in part to using the loop to call specific categories.

Pages

Many of the pages have unique sidebars, achieved by adding unique IDs to the widget code and allowing site administrators to add and remove widgets of their choice for specific pages. Some of the pages take advantage of unique templates as well.

Because there are many administrators of the site, those writing their own content have their own author pages to display biographical information as well as a list of their content.

There pages dedicated to photos, audio and video. The photo management was all achieved using the NexGen Gallery WordPress plugin – I strongly suggest using this for your photos!

Coming Soon…

I’ll be recycling this theme, adding to it, cleaning it up, changing the design, and optimizing it even further for release as a premium theme. Stay tuned!

The Well of DBC

The Well of DBCThe Well is the evening service at DBC. The intention in building this site was to provide a platform for a media rich website. The Well records and podcasts sermons weekly and needed to organize these, make them even more accessible, and align them with other media resources like video and photos.

Some things to note about the features included in this website are the “featured post scroll” on the home page, a calendar of events managed by Google Calendar but displayed in a custom design, and the galleries for all the types of media.

Website: No longer online

Platform: WordPress

The Well is the evening service of Denton Bible Church. Established in 2008, this service was birthed to further the mission of our church in “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4), namely among a new generation of families, singles, and collegians in our community.

Coming Soon: Premium WordPress Theme For Churches

Update: Checkout ChurchRoot for my WordPress themes for churches.

I’ll be releasing a Premium theme (yeah, capital P) in the next few weeks, maybe a month or so even. It will be specifically tailored to the needs or desires of church websites. Although, the very same features it will include could easily be used for any type of organization. The basis to the theme will be that the emphasis is taken off of the blogging and put on dynamic content such as events, sermons, audio, and different categories of traditional blog posts.

I’ll be doing this because I’m building a site for Denton Bible Church that will be used for one of our services. I’ve turned this into a pretty unique theme theme that I’m pretty proud of. About a year ago I built the CollegeLife, the college ministry of Denton Bible Church, site and this new theme will take what I learned from that and build upon it greatly.

Several years ago I created about 10 different HTML/CSS templates (non-WordPress though). I submitted them to 2 or 3 sites and to my surprise they’ve been downloaded probably over 100,000 times now…and they weren’t even that good!

I’ve come a long way now and I can produce much higher quality sites. So be on the lookout for the new theme!

Web Design in Denton, TX

I live in Denton, TX (Corinth, TX to be exact, but who knows where that is?!). Denton is just 45 minutes north of Dallas and Fort Worth. Things in Denton have historically been quiet, rural, or at most, minimally suburban to the bigger 2 triangle counterparts, D and FW.

Before I get to the web designing…Things are changing here. Denton is rounding out this triangle (Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton) quite nicely, or perhaps some think the rounding out is less awesome. I like the coming changes, however. Denton is becoming less of a leech to the other cities and gathering quite a crowd to place into its many newly built and yet to be built homes. The largest shopping attraction is being built as I write and is certain to bring tourism to Denton. Several corporations are moving into town, bringing more jobs, more opportunities, and more options.

For me, I’m excited about the chance that more web design work may be available here. Dallas has a great reputation for advertising, marketing, and creative services like web design. I’d rather not move to Dallas for work though. In the coming years, I’ll probably be able to stay right here and offer the traditional Dallas services right here from Denton.

Of course, I work on the Internet, a world-wide platform, but I like working with people in my community. It’s also easier and more efficient to meet with people sometimes. I always hope that my work is solving a problem, making something more efficient, or serving people in some such manner. Being able to watch that up close is more special to me, so I’ll try to keep it that way.

I may be pretty busy right now, but I’ll have more time soon to take on additional projects, and hope to serve Denton, TX more directly. Email me if you’re looking for a new web site.

Do You Always Feel Like You Want to Start A New Project?

I do.

Nearly everyday I have a new idea of something I’d like to build. Most of these are quasi-doable, while others stem from frustration and are pretty much impossible. Some ideas are:

  • local social music sites (ahem, hearDenton…still on the the very last back burner)
  • software that tracks drivers’ bad driving and penalizing them for it (maybe sending their stats to their insurance companies – also, not a project for me…I’m a web guy)
  • a site to compile LOTS of information on good worship songs (I started this and accidentally deleted…oh well)
  • a more stream-lined CMS solution built on WordPress
  • build a premium WordPress theme
  • turn the Shuttle design into a real theme

The list could go on. The point, though, is that I always have this feeling of wanting to accomplish another project. Of course I’m prevented by time mostly. If only I didn’t have to work full-time. One day…

So do you feel like this?