I’ve begun a monthly free website offer where I’ll complete a new website for a local business, organisation, or individual completely free of charge. It helps those reap the benefit of a website and online presence which they may not normally consider, and it helps me keep involved in real-life examples.

So last month in September I did one for a friend Tony who recently started a gardening landscaping business in the local Aldridge area – www.tonys-garden-services.co.uk. Here’s a quick rundown of the issues discussed and gone through with Tony:

1. It’s based upon an existing A5 flyer he has been handing out to people. Simple black and white colours with images of plants etc. and a general description of what he does and how to contact him.

2. A rememberable domain was picked. Amazingly ‘Tony’s Garden Services’ as a literal phrase was already taken, hence the hyphenated one had to be secured. The focus was to get the name in there for people to remember, even infact the hyphens can help break up words to accomplish this although not always the best for SEO purposes. The .co.uk at the end was important to look like a ‘proper’ website, and grammatically the Tony should have an apostrophe before the s although kept all as one word for the purpose of the domain.

3. A simple info@ email was set up to divert straight to Tony’s personal email. That way he gets all emails here, with no fath about submission forms of having to log into webmail accounts. Any reply can then be straight back from his own email account.

4. A new logo was created as the only graphic to add that special touch. Using the simple black and white trend and a glimpse at the initial flyer, helped develop this. A great example of less being more – the rest of the site was deliberately blank and simple, with tonnes of empty space at the top and around the edges, to let the images do the talking. Also another actual picture of something on the right of each page to balance the page up, and the actual text made slightly larger as only a few sentences are being used.

5. Tony helped check the text. As a website designer the ideal way is for a client to provide an already-prepared section of text to simply copy-and-paste on the website, but often we need to get the ball rolling. Simply take whatever text is there already, in this case just a few sentences on a flyer, and pad out into a few pages on info on the website. It’s actually easier then for the client to read and check this and point out what’s wrong rather than try and think what’s right when doing from scratch.

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