I've worked with few people as quick witted and funny as Jeff. During our first conversation it was obvious we were going to need my wife Jen to project manage the whole thing or we would spend all our time cracking jokes instead of getting any actual work done. Luckily once we got rolling this site turned into an incredibly attention-grabbing blend of professional and personal. I love how it turned out.
Coaching With Jeff is all about getting people focused on the future they want to have some day. This could mean pulling yourself out of a rut, developing positive habits, or learning to navigate situations with emotional intelligence. Jeff is a fantastic human being and I couldn't be any more for his mission.
I appreciate when clients come prepared with a vision of what they want their site to be, especially when they can offer a couple other sites as inspiration to draw from and Jeff did just that. However, Jeff's initial concept was incredibly minimal: a quick landing page that would act as a digital business card, some way for people to get in touch with him. But we quickly realized there was far more depth to his model that deserved to be addressed.
Jeff's vision of coaching as an adventure played into his imagery of climbing, hiking, and exploring. His STUCK acronym needed to be presented in an attention grabbing way so people could know what to expect in working with him. Also if he's really growing people, testimonials of life change would really add to his credibility. Once we talked through these points the site started to take shape.
Jeff also showed interest in a blog, which is one of the top ways to drive traffic to your site. While we loved the chosen template for most of his pages, the blog page wasn't what we were looking for. The way it handled images made the layout confusing so it required a bit of custom code to get right.
We finally ended up modifying a tip I read in a blog and used a standard blog for generating posts, but use a Blog Summary Block for extra customization options when presenting it. Boom. I love learning stuff like this that not only help the client, but also builds my tool belt for the future.
I also can't stress enough if you're using a blog how pertinent it is to encourage people to subscribe. This helps you build a list of people interested in your content that you can reach out to whenever you need to make a marketing push or are releasing new content. It also provides another avenue to gain analytics on your viewer base.
This is incredibly helpful for blogs and stores in particular, but more than anything it will let you know if what you're creating is being effective. While most of Jeff's pages are standard (About, Contact, etc,) his blog posts could potentially be tweaked based on analytics to hit his target demographic.
The rest of the site really built itself. We made sure to maintain a professional voice while keeping it light and personal. The color scheme stayed bright, the animations make it feel interactive, and the imagery drives home Jeff's vision. Also at the end of the project I handed off the site to Jeff and he's been able to make minor changes and blog posts on his own - win!
WHAT I LEARNED
With this site, I've started implementing my plan on organizing custom code in a maintainable way as well as creating a handoff document for the client as a cheat-sheet they can use to do content updates themselves. I've also become very comfortable making changes to the chosen template in efficient ways that will be sustainable in the long run.
Learning what to look for in a template is crucial. When you first look at Squarespace's array of templates it's easy to get caught up in the colors, fonts, and imagery, but I've been training myself to see how the template treats blog posts, header media, navigation items, etc. There's so much you can modify through the style panel, not to mention custom code, but there are some things that it's just easier to manage by picking the correct template.
For someone who tries to be more of a developer than a designer I've started becoming more comfortable with selecting colors, fonts, and imagery for sites. I still will recommend going with a legit designer for things like a logo, or branding but when it comes to theming a site, coachingwithjeff.com really gave me confidence.