Recently I had the pleasure of completing a website redesign project for landscape artist Meg O'Hara. This was such a fun website to work on because our process was extremely collaborative and Meg was very open to including several digital marketing features across her website. Also, since we were using her website to highlight her art portfolio, I loved getting the chance to showcase all of her beautiful art in a digital format!
In this blog post, I'm going to walk you through the website redesign process from start to finish, tell you about our goals for the project, and also explain the different features and services we chose to use and why.
Let's dive right in!
Project background and description
Meg O'Hara is a landscape painter based in the Canadian Rockies.
She had an old website but it hadn't been touched or updated in several years. Her portfolio included virtually every piece she had created, and as a result it lacked cohesion and wasn't focused on her current visual style.
Above all, Meg needed a new website that reflected her recent work and aesthetic. She wanted an online platform that she could use to grow her brand and visibility as an artist, and also use it as a place to show "behind the scenes" of the artistic process.
Interest in Meg's art has been growing as more of her works make it into private homes and corporate spaces through commissions and an increased social media presence. Her existing website did not serve potential clients or highlight past works that best reflected her current artistic direction.
Our project timeline was two weeks and thanks to hard work on both sides, the website redesign went off without a hitch!
Project goals and objectives
There were three primary goals for this website redesign project:
- Showcase a new brand and digital presence
- Connect the artist with potential buyers
- Have a mobile responsive website (since so much of her traffic comes from social media followers who are on their phones)
Through updated images, web content and new communication platforms (such as social media and an email newsletter), Meg O'Hara's new website needed to handle higher site traffic, help her to grow her online presence and ultimately encourage future commissions and art sales.
Right off the bat, we knew we had to move off her old website hosting platform and it should come as no surprise that we chose Squarespace (here's why)! We opted for the Hayden template and made several key customizations.
Naturally, we focused on visual content and made use of full-width images across most pages. We narrowed down images of paintings so that the artist portfolio and past work page were targeted and had Meg's ideal client in mind.
The Home page is arguably the most important page of any website, so we designed it with three clear calls-to-action (CTAs): art work (portfolio), blog and shop. When people land on Meg's website, we want them to visit those three areas of the website first and made sure to present that information as easily as possible through visual cues. See below:
We simplified the menu bar and focused on keeping the site layout simple and easy to navigate. Key pages are included in the main navigation at the top of the page, but we also made use of the secondary navigation option and included several pages in the footer of the website.
I'm a firm believer that every website needs a blog, so we also added a new blog feature as a way to share Meg's artistic process and highlight her work. Since her old site didn't have a blog, we set new content up from the start to centre around 5 categories. We added quick links to those categories as well as a search bar so that blog readers could easily find the content they were looking for within Meg's blog (see below). Let's not forget that adding a blog to Meg's site will also have extra SEO benefits and since there will be more content for search engines to index, her website will be presented to more people online!
Finally, we linked to Meg's social media accounts (Instagram and Pinterest) in the pre-footer content and added an Instagram block at the bottom of the footer as a way to add visual content and increase social media engagement (FYI i've got a video tutorial on how to do that). We also made use of the free Sumo share widget so that it would be crazy simple for people to share Meg's content across popular social media platforms. Adding Pin It buttons was another no-brainer and will help get Meg's art in front of a larger audience.
Logo & favicon : We opted against a visual logo for this website, mostly because we chose the Hayden template and didn't want to distract from the banner image. The delicate mountain favicon stayed the same from the old website.
Fonts : We used Future PT for headings, buttons, navigation, titles, etc. and Europa for page text across the site
Colours : Since we were including so many images of Meg's paintings across the site, we opted to keep the design colours very simple and cohesive. The colour palette consisted of blacks, whites, greys and golds.
Images & graphics : Most images were of Meg O'Hara's paintings but we did make use of a few stock images from Unsplash. We did not include any custom icons, and we chose to use original images or stock photography instead of social media graphic templates.
Success metrics and results
Keeping in mind the goals mentioned above, let's take a look at the results after the website redesign process.
New and modern look & feel - we customized the Squarespace site so that it reflected Meg's brand and spoke to the new direction she was taking as an artist. By changing up the aesthetic and rewriting the content of her website, the results are night/day difference from the old site.
Increased site traffic - now that Meg has a website she is proud of, she is happy to show it off and this has resulted in increased site traffic. She is also the first result in Google searches, which wasn't the case before!
Email newsletter signups - before this website redesign project, Meg did not have any email list. Now she does and it is growing every day!
Mobile responsive - all Squarespace websites are mobile responsive! This was a "must" for Meg since so much of her website traffic comes from social media followers who hop over to her website through the link in her Instagram bio.
I had so much fun working on this website redesign project because we were very clear with our goals and embraced several digital marketing features and design elements. The finished product is visual, cohesive, targeted and thoughtful, and it also does a great job of speaking directly to potential clients. I am thrilled to add this artist's website to my portfolio! Head on over to the site if you haven't already!
Tell me, what are your thoughts on the new Meg O'Hara website? Are there any features that jumped out at you? Do you have any questions about the design process or the choices we made? Any thoughts on the layout? I'd love to know so leave me a note in the comments!
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