It’s been awhile since I updated the my web design and online marketing blog, but I promise you there is a good reason! I’ve been incredibly busy creating and developing online strategies for several new clients and small business in Windsor and the surrounding area!

One of my latest web designs was created for Forte Professional Services. They’re a small company serving clients in Windsor and Detroit on everything from utilizing tools such as fax all the way to web based applications.

Forte Professional Services

When they initially contacted me about their new design, one of their main focuses was having a contact form and a custom professional looking design. Their original design was built using a do-it-yourself site builder on GoDaddy that served its purpose at the time, but became outdated in recent months.

They wanted their site simple, so I suggested 5 page site using the color of their logo mixed in with a bright green to attract people to their links and contact page. If a potential client or contact fills out the contact form, they will be notified right on site that their email was sent.

I also did some basic SEO work by editing their META tags and doing a bit of research on what their clients may be searching for when using search engines to find their business online.

My experience with Forte Professional Services was a huge success! I’d like to thank Karen and everyone at Forte for their help in building a site that I, and most importantly they love!

Those of you who have liked my Facebook page or follow my Twitter account, have probably already seen the mobile web design I did for Windsor Squash and Fitness. The reason it took me so long for me to write a blog post about it, is because I wanted to get a bit of data on how it was performing.

Windsor Squash mobile As you can see, it’s a very clean design, which matches the color and link scheme of the main website. You can view the full version of the site online by visiting http://mobile.windsorsquash.ca or going to windsorsquash.ca on your iPhone, Android, Blackberry or basically any mobile device.

I added a PHP code to the top of the main Windsor Squash site, which reads which type of browser the visitor is using. If it reads a mobile web browser of any sort, it redirects the user to the mobile version of the site. The web design itself was created using an HTML DIV based design as well as plenty of clean coded CSS.

So far, the site is proving to be very worthwhile for the great people at Windsor Squash and Fitness. Since the mobile version was launched, they’ve seen an increase in mobile traffic as well as a decrease in the bounce rate on the mobile version. For those of you unfamiliar with bounce rate, “it represents the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.” Basically, it means more people are staying on the mobile version of the site now that it is optimized for mobile viewing.

I encourage all my clients to create a mobile version of their site. Many of the websites online are not optimized for mobile devices and this could easily mean loss of traffic and more importantly, loss of sales. Mobile users want quick and easy access to a website without having to “pinch”, “pull” or “zoom” in and out. If you’re interested in having a mobile version of your site designed, please get in touch.

Again, I’d like to thank Brian and everyone at Windsor Squash and Fitness for giving me the opportunity to work with them on their mobile web design. I look forward to continuing work with them on their online marketing in the future!

Those of you who are a fan of my Facebook page or have visited my portfolio, know that I recently created a web design for the tropical fish shop Captain Cichlids here in Windsor. As is the case with most of my clients, Moe was looking for an affordable web design to help promote his small business online. He didn’t want anything too fancy, just something that he could update on a regular basis with his inventory of tropical fish.

Captain Cichlids web design

Moe already had a logo designed for his business card, so I just created the website around those colors and fonts. I used a deep sea bluish-black gradient for the background, which worked very well with the brown burnt scroll color of his logo. As with all my web designs, I used a DIV based layout with minimal code and a CSS stylesheet. Since Moe wanted to keep costs down, I decided that rather than use PHP and a mySQL database on the backend, I would show him how to update the fish list himself. Moe is a fairly tech-savvy guy so, it didn’t take to long to teach him how to update the site.

In order to keep track of the traffic Captain Cichlids was getting to its website, I created a Google account and added Google Analytics to each page. I also submitted his business to the local search service Google offers called Google Places.

In our initial meeting, Moe seemed a bit skeptical about what a clean and useful web design could do for his small business. As we moved forward with the process, he seemed to become more reassured that this was the right decision. By the end of the process, he was updating his site on his own and generating traffic of roughly 15 new visit per day! It just goes to show that even if you’re hesitant to create a website, whether it be because of costs, updates or other, at the end of the day it definitely helps your business grow!

Last year in March I was contacted by the Montessori Early Years in LaSalle to design, develop and administrate their website. It was the first time they’d ever had a website designed and they weren’t sure exactly what they wanted or what’s more, what their customers wanted. I designed a simple site for them that listed their general info, admission fees and contact info. They were very happy with the result.

Early this year, I decided to have a meeting with them to discuss the renewal of their hosting as well as a few things I thought we should add to the site. After a few hours of conversation we decided to scrap the first design and go with something fresh and new. Something that was more playful and lighthearted. What I came up with can be see by clicking this link; Montessori Early Years or viewing the image below.

Montessori Early Years

As you can see I’ve done away with the black and dark brown theme of the site and gone with a more light-hearted yellow and blue. I’ve also added a Javascript to the header of the site which switches the main image each time a page is viewed. As far as the back-end goes, it’s all done with CSS and a DIV based layout. I’ve added a “members only” area using PHP which parents can log into and view important PDF’s as well as private photo albums. I’ve also added a “news” section which can be updated easily by staff at Montessori or by myself.

Suffice to say the new design went over very well at MEY. The principal couldn’t be happier with the result and said their parents loved the new photo album viewer (which I did with a simply Lightbox).

If you’re interested in having a website designed and/or developed by me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I offer some of the best affordable custom web designs in the Windsor area.

If you’ve been keeping up with my @sebas_agosta Twitter account lately, you’ve probably noticed that I’m currently creating a brand new custom web design for the Montessori Early Years. You can see the current website design I did about a year ago in my portfolio. As you can see the site already looks out-dated and is clearly not some of my best work.

The new design includes much “softer” and “inviting” colors as well as much better coding on the back end. The site is now completely built using a DIV based layout and CSS. One thing that I was really excited to change was the photo gallery section on the site. The script I used for the first design was very tedious and quite frankly a pain to update. The code I’m using for the photo galleries now is called Lightbox and more specifically Lightbox 2.

Most of you have probably seen some variation of Lightbox online when searching through photos on certain sites. Facebook now uses a form of Lightbox for it’s photo galleries as well as many other mainstream sites. Lightbox is coded using Javascript and CSS and is very simple for even the most beginner web designer to implement on their page. All the information on coding and files for Lightbox can be found on this site.

Lightbox will make your photo galleries much more elegant and simple to navigate. I’d recommend Lightbox for anyone who has thumbnail photos they want expanded when clicked. Give it a try and if you have any questions on it, feel free to comment below!

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