New Website Journey – Part Three.
Building The New Website.
This is the third and last part of our series about our New Website Journey. If you have not read the first two parts to this series, check them out:
As you know from our earlier posts, we selected and bought the new theme, then installed it. Now we had to customize in it in “Demo” mode before we can click the “Publish” button to take it “Live”.
Once we publish, the product pages, original collections, check out, etc will all transfer over. And the forms, info pages, and added Apps will hopefully transfer too. But the “feel” and functionality will be different. Some of it will be obvious, like our Homepage, some will not.
I’ll share with you some of the decisions I had to make to customize the Theme and make it fit Spoiled Dog Designs. For instance, on the Homepage, at the very top is a black band that you probably don’t even think about much. It’s called the Announcement Bar. I was able to put the Social Media icons there, the pulldown menu for other currencies, and most importantly, the announcement of Free Shipping For Orders Over $75. This way it’s right there for you to see.
Next was the Header. How big do I want the logo? Do I want it on the left, center, right? How big do I want the words “Cart”, “Account”. These may seem strange to have to define but it effects the “Look” of my Brand. I could have left everything in the “Default Setting”, but I chose to set it up exactly how I wanted it. I know that I get frustrated on a site if I can’t find the cart or my account easily. So I made them “bold” so you could find them quickly.
The Homepage took the most work. I had to decide what Collection I wanted to feature, what single product I wanted to feature and what collections I wanted to showcase in each section of the page.
Since Harnesses are our most popular items, I made them the featured collection. When you hover on a picture, another picture shows….that thrills me….but I thrill easily when it comes to my new theme. And look at all those little circles showing the colors…Thrilling!
I chose our classic Boy’s Glen Plaid Vest. I chose that because, first, Spoiled Dog Designs was founded when I started making clothes for Angelo, my first Chihuahua and my Muse. Secondly, customers came in all the time saying “Oh, I wish I had a girl. There are such cute things for girls.” At which point I would tell them about Angelo and show them some of our boy’s designs. And they got very excited. So, in this section, I wanted to highlight an outfit that showed that boys can look as great as girls at Spoiled Dog Designs.
Section by Section I chose the collections that would go here and there. I kept thinking about how you would want to shop this new site and how could I make it easier for you. And sometimes it meant creating new collections like “Cats”, “Small Dogs”, “Large Dogs” so you could shop by size and not just type of item.
Next it was time to start taking pictures that showed our items in action on a dog. That’s when I enlisted Team Spoiled Dog Designs – The Four Chi’s. So, if you see a lot of Chihuahuas on the site, don’t think we just sew for Chi’s, it’s what I have, 4 Chihuahuas, and they are willing to “work for food”.
Remember our tagline is “Function To Fashion For Dogs 2 to 200 Pounds”. We love sewing for large dogs, it’s a much bigger “canvas”. We can be a lot more creative and what we do shows up better. But again, the 4 Chi’s don’t charge much to model. Just treats and dinner.
I started with the posed pictures like this one below. This is Bella over to left side so I could put words and a button on the right side…. That’s something I never had to think of before. You’ll see how it looks when we do the website launch.
But I also needed ones with more than one dog and dogs in action. Clearly, I could not take those shots by myself. That called for a Chihuahua wrangler and a photographer. So, my cousin, Tom Fogliani, who had been a fashion photographer for 20 years, offered to help. If you read any big fashion magazine in the decades he was doing this, you saw his photos. I felt very fortunate.
I filled my pockets with treats, put our designs on the dogs and let Tom work his wonder. He got shots that I would never have thought of and never been able to get. The dogs were relaxed and happy moving around, running after me, and getting treats. They mostly didn’t even know they were being photographed except when Sophia walked up and sniffed the lens.
I had more great shots than I dreamed of so you’ll see them on the website, on product pages, collections pages, and I’ll be using them for social media posts in the future.
So, the Homepage and other pages are outlined and defined, the pictures are assigned to their new home, and now the last steps. Proofreading everything over and over. Testing links, buttons, etc. over and over. Checking it on different browsers – who knew there were so many browsers. Checking it on Desktops, tablets, phones.
But some things can’t be checked or created until we publish. The biggest is that I can’t create the Collection menus until it’s live. Also, I can’t check our Contact Us page to see if the fields published, check all the other forms, check that the Rewards Program is working so you get your points. It’s a long list.
So, in the middle of the night, when hopefully you’re sleeping, I’ll press the button below and go live. It looks non-threatening- a rectangle with the a word in it but that’s misleading. This button should be red with flashing lights.
After I publish, as long as nothing blows up, I’ll work through my “New Website Launch List” and try to fix any things that are not working right. I have a Zoom Meeting with Ryan Stull from Orange County and Inland Empire Small Business Development Center that day so if there are problems I can’t fix, Ryan will be there to help me. Like a safety net under me that I am very grateful for. https://ociesmallbusiness.org/coachella-valley/
And then we’ll be “Live”! That’s when I’ll announce it on social media, email and from roof tops all over town….then go take a nap.
I’m excited! And a little nervous. So, on August 25th, I hope you’ll visit our new website. And, after reading these blog posts, and knowing what went into this process, I hope you’ll be as excited as I am. Most of all I hope you like it and find it easy and fun to shop our new site.
Don’t forget, everything on the site is 15% off 8/25 to 8/31. This is the first time we’ve had the entire site on sale so it’s a big deal. Use code NEWSITE at check out.
Those of you who log in to shop will get reward points so be sure to do that. Repeat customers will find gifts in their orders. It will be a great celebration!
And if, while you’re shopping, you see a typo or mistake, or if something doesn’t work like it should, please let me know. I welcome and need your help.
Thank you for going on this new website journey with me. I hope you enjoyed it.
And stay tuned. I’ll be blogging on a regular basis now. Mostly sharing tips and how to’s but also sharing the journey of Spoiled Dog Designs.