Empowered Dollar Homepage Introduction
The Empowered Dollar with Stephanie Halligan
Stephanie’s biggest challenge was wanting to shift her website from being mostly blog-focused to being more product-focused.
Stephanie had built up a solid readership with her financial blog over the years. But now, she wanted to shift focus from not only writing about financial freedom, but to drawing and selling the comics that accompany her posts. She set up an external online storefront using a third party vendor that prints and fulfills her orders, but needed a way to link her blog posts to the merchandise URLs. Her current site setup and theme was not equipped to handle her needs. Plus, she needed a custom built site that fit her process.
After establishing the goals for her site: 1) getting visitors to buy her artwork, 2) sign up for her email list and, 3) engage through her blog posts and comics, we dove into her site architecture, re-organized her taxonomies (categories and tags), and page layouts (wireframes). With years of blogging on the site, we didn’t want to get rid of old posts that didn’t have comics available to purchase (they were still really good posts!) but needed to organize them so that the most relevant ones would be viewed first. This is where having a plan for categories and tags is extremely helpful. Now, with the help of the new or renamed taxonomies, I was able to create custom archive pages that pull in posts from a specific category or tag. For example, she now can point to a page that populates itself dynamically with posts that would be the most helpful for viewers looking to pay down debt. But the most important page that makes use of the new taxonomies is her Gallery page. This page pulls in any post with a specific Tag given only when the Featured Image comic is available to purchase. Using Custom Fields, all Stephanie has to do when publishing a new blog post is provide the URL where viewers can purchase the print, set the Featured Image and Tag the Post accordingly and the Gallery Page is automatically populated and updated! How easy is that?!
Her homepage also got a ton of attention. Wanting to move away from the typical blogger style homepage, I designed a homepage very similar to a one-page scrolling website that has sections of information as you scroll down. Referring back to our site goals, we determined which sections were shown in what order, so that for instance, the Featured Comic section was in a higher priority position than the About Me section.
As far as the visual brand of the site, Stephanie set the tone through her illustration style and color palette. So, it would not make sense to recreate a very mechanized looking logo for her site. She draws for a living, so why not take advantage of her talents! To start, I went back and selected the colors and elements she used in her illustrations and turned up the volume a bit so the site seemed fresh, new and vibrant like Stephanie’s own personality (and like her comics). Then working closely together, I mapped out areas where we could incorporate her illustrations into the design and created simple sketches as art direction. Stephanie then drew those illustrations for me to use in the design and presto! Magic. And at the end of the process, she had a Style Guide to refer to that mapped out all the colors and fonts for both the web and print so she could use them in her illustrations or any other collateral she wanted to create. Digital or printed.