Web Site – Solutions Directed Coaching – Design Process

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Project Description

This is a website for a business coach that helps financial advisors and attorneys.  What Solutions Directed Coaching does is help individuals grow their business and improve their personal life.  The website was created to introduce the services that are available to the client.  The owner of the company is Thomas Fuchs.  Site visitors can learn more about the ways Thomas can help them grow there business through various coaching programs.

Design Process

In the beginning I spoke with Thomas regarding the primary goal of the site.  I also requested that he provide some sample sites that he liked.  We also looked at web sites from others in the industry to see what they were doing.  After looking at the sites and the competition, I set out to create the graphic layout.  Also for this project I decided to build it using WordPress.  By doing this I allowed the client to create the primary content.

Graphic Design

As this is a newly formed business there weren’t any  graphic assets to work with.  Therefore I needed to start from scratch.   Using the ideas and concepts collected in the initial phase of the project I designed a layout.  During the process the idea of being global kept coming up.  As you can see the main heading is a map of the world to indicate the global aspect of the company.

As I mentioned before there were no assets to work with so I also designed a logo for the company.

Because the site was built using WordPress, I knew that certain areas of the site would require certain design features. Even so, it seems like 80% of  WordPress site use a horizontal menu.  The layout that the client liked had a vertical sidebar navigation menu.

All of the site layout was done in Photoshop with some elements built in Illustrator. Several variations of the design were created and the best solution was selected.

Building the Site

Once the design was approved, it was time to built  the site.   WordPress was installed and now I needed to modify it to match the design.  For the Theme I started with Thematic.  This gave me a starting point and I built it from there.  During this project I learned that it is best policy to leave the main theme alone as much a possible and modify it using what is called Child themes.  Child themes basically modify the main theme.  In some ways it is like using layers in Photoshop.

One thing that make this a distinct WordPress site is it has a vertical navigation in the side bar.  I happen to like side menus because they can expand as more or less items are placed in the navigation.  The menu was styled using CSS.  Also I used the new 3.0 menu function.  This made it easy to add only those pages that we wanted in the navigation.  Here was the final navigation at the time of publication.

  • Home Page
  • About the Coach
  • Coaching for Financial Advisors
  • Coaching for Attorneys
  • Program Options
  • Guarantee
  • Contact
  • Blog

One great feature of WordPress it the ability to add functionality through plugins.  There is a great community of contributors and you can find almost anything you want.  Here are some of the plugins used

  • All in One SEO Pack – Make page optimization easier.
  • Audio player – Allows easy installation of MP3 audios
  • Blogger Importer – Previously Thomas had a Blogger account.  This plugin made it extremely easy to import all of those posts into WordPress.
  • Contact Form 7 – This plugin allow for custom forms
  • Easy Sign Up – Use for lead generation
  • Google Analyticator – Add Google Analytics  code and allows for custom attributes to be added
  • Google XML Sitemaps – Helps the site get indexed in Google, Bing and Yahoo
  • Smart Youtube – Really easy way to embed videos into posts or pages
  • Subpage Listing – Needed this to keep track of subpages, especially because I used to WordPress menu
  • Enhanced Paypal Shortcodes – Allow the addition of Paypal buttons

I decided the build the site in WordPress because I knew it could be build quickly and economically.

You can visit this site at Solutions Directed Coaching to learn more about this organization.

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