Posts tagged Website Design
An Update from the Bartons

To say that the last 6 months have been busy for us would be an understatement.

Sometime last year we just seemed to hit our perfect flow and our business has continued to grow and evolve ever since then. We are so grateful to be in a place where we are able to serve our long term clients while welcoming a steady stream of new clients and projects. This wouldn’t be possible without careful collaboration and help from our team, so a huge thank you to Jenn and Arianne for all that they do.

A surprise win

We were pleasantly surprised and extremely honoured when we found out that we were nominated for a Kawartha Lakes This Week Readers Select Award, an award that our local community newspaper coordinates to highlight the best businesses in a variety of categories. There are a couple of other local agencies with really talented designers and marketers that we admire and it made us proud to be recognized alongside them in only our second full year of business.

After other businesses started announcing their wins, we thought we hadn’t placed this year but to our great pleasure we were contacted only a few days later to be notified that we were selected as the Readers Favourite, earning the Diamond tier with the help of our supporters.

Thank you so much for supporting our business and allowing us to do what we love each and every day.

 
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The most exciting news

If you haven’t yet heard, the most exciting news of all is that our co-founder and creative specialist, Robyn, is expecting the arrival of her first baby, a daughter, in only a couple weeks time.

We are both filled with so much joy and excitement - Robyn as a new mom, and me as an excited auntie!

Robyn will be taking a maternity leave from March 25th to June 25th to enjoy those precious first months with her daughter. Her and her husband, Andrew, are so excited to welcome a baby into their family and Robyn has welcomed you to follow along with their journey as new parents on Instagram @r_boom.

That being said, whether you are a current or potential client, you are very important to us! Don’t hesitate to reach out with your usual requests or inquiries - from graphic design to marketing. As mentioned above, our team has expanded and we are able to provide the same level of care that you are used to.

Thanks so much for your understanding and support during this special time.

Onwards and Upwards

That being said, some of our personal business goals in the last year (launching an online store, creating our first digital course, etc.) have been pushed forward to accommodate the steady flow of client work and while we know that’s just part of business, we are re-committing ourselves to these goals so that we can continue to grow and evolve our business to help as many business owners as we can. If you haven’t yet subscribed to our mailing list, be sure to so that we can keep you updated on any exciting news!

One of our most simple goals was to release regular blogs on a variety of helpful topics and we will be re-prioritizing this starting immediately. You can expect 1-2 new blogs per month on a variety of topics from our best design and marketing case studies to actionable business, marketing, and design tips.

If you ever have an idea or question that you’d like us to cover in a new blog, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Whether your brand is a corporation, non-profit, small business, or yourself, Barton Creative Co. is here and happy to help you reach your goals and we sincerely look forward to working with you.

Until next time,

Megan + Robyn

New Website: Kawartha Lakes Country Living Show

Barton Creative Co. is proud to be partnering with the Kawartha Lakes Country Living Show for the second year in a row.

This wonderful local event showcases a variety of vendors, artists and artisans for the country home, farm and cottage owner. 

We provide ongoing traditional and digital marketing during the show, and where last year we had the opportunity to design a new logo and brand, this year we were so excited to learn that we would be able to carry that branding over into a new Squarespace website (our favourite!)

The new KLCLS website features:

  • Their beautiful Spring palette and branding

  • Lots of engaging CTA to RSVP for their Facebook Event

  • New interactive Vendors List

  • New streamlined Menu

  • New Artists Gallery

  • New sections encouraging Sponsor + Vendor Signup

  • An email subscription section

Here's a quick video walkthrough (6 1/2 minutes) 

Video Script:

"Hi everyone, I'm Megan Barton, the web + digital strategist at Barton Creative Co. In this video, I'm going to walk you through the newly redesigned Kawartha Lakes Country Living Show website in 10 mins or less.

The KLCLS is a great community show in Fenelon Falls. It's coming up really soon, from April 27th to 29th at the Fenelon Falls Community Centre.

Their main focus is on featuring vendors, artists, and artisans — as well as community organizations — for local country home, farm and cottage owners. There's really something for everyone.

They have a new title sponsor this year, in Enbridge, and will be putting on both a free pancake breakfast, hosted by Enbridge, as well as a partnership with local business, The Barn and Bunkie for their great Hello Spring Sale.

They even have an onsite restaurant this year, provided by On The Locks. There's a lot going for it, and I encourage you to check it out if you live in the Kawartha Lakes.

Diving into the Web Walkthrough...the page you can see now is their new homepage. We added this great announcement bar, and everything is branded to their logo. You can see all of the event details.

The announcement bar can be "x'd" out, and the buttons you see featured lead to this super fun landing page which pulls in ever-changing pictures representing the show — pictures of featured artists work, pictures representing the Kawartha Lakes, and others, what the show is offering.

By clicking RSVP, they can brought to the Facebook event to register their attendance.

Let's go back to the homepage now.

Scrolling down, we set up these great tile icons for calls to action. We have one for confirming attendance, one for meeting the featured artists, one for show highlights, another for getting to the show, one of the most important for the vendors list, and finally, a note from the team.

Underneath that section is this interactive Instagram feed which pulls in the 12 most recent images from the Kawartha Country Living Show Instagram page. This is a great location for them to feature more of the featured artists work, any announcements, engaging activities like giveaways, partner events, and so forth.

The website ends on two main sections which are the featured 2018 sponsors, as well as how to become a VIP Insider for their email list.

By clicking on this, attendees can enter their first name and email address and sign up for either insider news for attendees, or VIP vendor updates as well. The great thing about this kind of feature is that it will grow year after year with just small web updates each year for things like vendors and sponsors. The email list will just keep on growing. 

What we've done is set them up with a streamlined menu with About, Plan Your Weekend, Exhibiting, Artists and Sponsors.

Starting at the front, we have About and that lands on the Overview page. They can get information about what the show is, what it's offering and what the main focuses are. Obviously presented by the Show, and the Fenelon Falls District Chamber of Commerce.

We've put in some feedback from last year, we have a section focused on the three main focuses of the show: product and service providers, community organizations, and food and drink. We also have other show highlights including the Barn and Bunkie Hello Spring Sale and the previously mentioned complimentary Pancake breakfast provided by the title sponsor, Enbridge.

On the next About page, we featured a brand new engaging feature - the vendor's list. Not only is there this great list of vendors and artists presented as such, but people can actually click on these and get more information on what's being offered.

So maybe they don't know that Daniel Marlatt, one of the artists, will be displaying fine art and mixed media whereas this logo over here is for the Fenelon Falls Brewing Co which will be offering handcrafted premium beer.

In addition to this, we also added in a search function so that people can check, instead of searching through the whole list, to see if one of their favourite vendors will be there.

They can also use this category section to sort based on what each vendor does. So we've got service providers, exteriors and property, home and interior, featured artists and so on. Really, something for everyone.

Under Plan Your Weekend, attendees can get more information on the show hours each day, where it's located, and we have this handy map for them to see where exactly in town the community centre is.

Under Travel, we added more engaging features here as well. With this link, under Car, which will take them to Google Maps with the location already set. Whether they are on mobile, or checking from desktop, they can enter their current location and get detailed directions to the show.

For accommodations, if people are coming from out of town, or want to stay in town for a few days to attend more of the show, they can use this link here to see available accommodations in town.

Under Exhibiting, we have this great page about what the show is, whether a vendor will fit in at the show, and why they'd want to exhibit at the show.

If they decide to move forward, they can check out the Vendor Registration page with this amazing quote from one of the vendors from last year, as well as the downloads for the welcome letter, registration form, and terms and conditions for vendors.

One of my favourite pages to set up was this Artist Gallery. And so by clicking on any of these tiles, we can learn more about the artist or brand on display. For example, Granite Creations features many artists, and so we can click on their profile to learn more about what they do - they're all Canadian, etc. and we've got these great galleries that can be clicked to view the full-size examples of their work.

We also have painters, fine art artists, photographers, pottery and weaving, and woodworking. Lots of great options to check out!

And so the final page, one of the most important, is for the sponsors. Thanking them and giving a little overview of what they do, not just in terms of business, but also for their local communities. And we have a smaller section just explaining how other businesses can become sponsors too.

All in all, we did a great job of branding this website to the event, making it really engaging, and offering a lot of value to future attendees.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about our web design packages you can reach out to us at our website, bartoncreative.co or by sending us an email at hello@bartoncreative.co - Thanks!"

7 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs Squarespace

We've worked with many website platforms, hosting services, and domain providers over the years, from WordPress and Wix to SiteGround and GoDaddy. Waaaay back in the day, we even tried our hand at self-hosted pages. But it's not the early 2000's anymore, and there are way better options to work with.

Previously, the platform we had the most experience with was Wordpress and our favourite domain and hosting provider was none other than SiteGround. And while WordPress certainly has its strengths, we weren't exactly fans of some of its downsides, and neither were some of our clients:

  • Its user interface is clunky, outdated, and not always straightforward to navigate.

  • It requires frequent check-ins to make sure plugins are up to date.

  • Most concerningly, it is a frequent target for malicious hacking attempts.

You might think as a small business that your website won't be targeted, but alas, that is not the case, and while there are some great security options out there, the best of them are paid.

If you are going to pay more for add-on services, why not upgrade to a better platform that offers more value including built in security?

That platform is Squarespace.

Here are 7 reasons why your small business or personal brand would benefit from Squarespace:

1 — It's very well designed

Yes, WordPress has more templates. But we think Squarespace's are better. By offering a limited amount of starting templates, Squarespace is able to guarantee something that most other platforms can't — consistent high quality design and functionality.

Every single template they offer features a modern design that is versatile and easily customized, ensuring that your website is fully unique to your business and brand. They even offer a variety of starting points for different niches — whether you're an artist, blogger, service provider, brick and mortar, musician, or something else entirely, there will always be options that work for you. 

Most importantly, your website is not only going to look professional, but function professionally too. If you are just starting out, or are are worried about moving over a lot of content, Squarespace offers the means to streamline everything together beautifully, both through its own options and with customized code.

And hey, let's say you are setting up your own website on Squarespace and you just aren't a fan of how your template is working out. You can easily change your template at any time and your content will be saved — you'll simply have to update your branding in the new template's design settings, which is so much quicker and cheaper than with other platforms.

Not only do the settings use the same menu as before, but all of these themes are accessible to you with the monthly hosting fee that you pay. Squarespace also offers free trial periods (which we include in our web design timeline) so that you can be sure that the platform works as well for you as it does for us. 

2 — It's ridiculously easy to use

Not everyone is a technology wizard, and we totally get that. This is why we so strongly recommend Squarespace to everyone no matter their technical skill set. Squarespace makes it extremely easy for users to navigate the backend by featuring an intuitive menu structure, drag and drop functionality, easy-to-insert widgets, and straightforward page layouts.

Whether you need to publish a blog post, update your event calendar, add a new page, tweak some copy or imagery, or edit some settings, there's virtually no learning curve. And unlike Wordpress, the interface menu isn't going to change depending on what widgets you're using, because they've all been accounted for in the first place.

If you're looking to move forward with one of our web design packages, you'll be happy to know that we do include custom video tutorials that walk you through how to complete the most common updates on your website, and we are happy to offer more as needed.

For those that prefer to set up their own websites, we will also be releasing a walkthrough of our own website's backend, as well as some beginner's design tutorials, so that you can learn from those too.

3 — It includes built in mobile responsiveness

Gone are the days when its okay for a website to be solely designed for desktop use, and its surprising just how many websites still exist in this form. In fact, most websites nowadays are being viewed from mobile, with many having 50-80% of their traffic coming from smartphones. 

It simply won't do to have a website that is cut off, misaligned, or with features that don't work on mobile devices. Which is why we are excited to share that every single Squarespace template is fully responsive, whether you are viewing from desktop, tablet, or mobile.

For the most part, you don't have to do much as Squarespace does most of the heavy lifting for you. They also offer a selection of mobile design settings depending on your chosen template, and even allow you to test your website in desktop, tablet and mobile form so that you can ensure that everything is displaying optimally for your web audience before you go live.

4 — It's effortless to integrate with 

Let's start with the most simple and popular integration — social media. While every platform is capable of integrating with social media, we especially love how easy Squarespace makes it for you to integrate with, and even stream your content between, your favourite social platforms. 

It also takes this a step further by integrating seamlessly with a variety of common digital services including:

  • G suite for business management and a professional email

  • Xero for financial tracking and analytics

  • ShipStation for shipping your e-commerce products with ease

  • MailChimp for basic email marketing

  • Acuity for online booking (this is one of our favourites)

  • 500px, Flickr and Instagram for displaying your photography

  • Google Maps to embed an interactive Google Map with a location pin

  • OpenTable or ChowNow for restaurant booking or food ordering

  • YouTube, Vimeo, Animoto, and Wistia for sharing videos

And those are just some of the most popular, there are many others.

If you are working with a service that isn't officially integrated, you'll be pleased to know that most other services can be easily integrated using a code block and (optionally) Zapier to complete automations.

If you think about it, having the ability to easily integrate these services with your website can potentially save you hours of time each week and significantly increase your profits too. It all comes down to your systems and strategy. 

5 — It's fees are straightforward and inclusive

Unlike with many other platforms, Squarespace can function as both your host and domain provider. The fee for hosting can be paid either monthly or annually and if paid annually, often includes a free year for your domain.

As Squarespace Circle Members, we can also offer you 20% off your first year of hosting if paid annually, which, combined with Squarespace's discount, often equals out to 40% in savings. If you have a domain with a different provider, this can either be transferred to Squarespace or kept with your provider and connected.

Really though, it's not about how expensive this service is, it's about how much value it brings your business.

Let's break this down a little further. Squarespace currently offers 4 different plans with different features which are divided under two main categories, Websites and Online Stores. The four different plans are as follows (please note that pricing is in USD and doesn't include our discount):

Personal - $12/mo if billed annually, or $16 month to month

This plan is perfect for those looking for a beautiful and simple website. It includes unlimited pages, galleries and blogs with up to 2 contributors which can have different permission settings. It also includes basic website metrics, SSL security and 24/7 customer support. 

Business - $18/mo if billed annually, or $26 month to month

This plan is what we use and most frequently recommend to our partners. It includes all of the above, plus unlimited contributors, advanced website metrics, professional email from Google (G Suite account) for 1 year, $100 Google AdWords credit, promotional pop-ups, and fully integrated e-commerce with the ability to sell unlimited products (physical, digital or services) and accept donations with a 3% transaction fee. Finally, it also features complete customization with CSS and Javascript, premium blocks and integrations (like Acuity) and an announcement bar. 

Basic - $26/mo if billed annually, or $30 month to month

This plan is perfect for the e-commerce entrepreneur. It includes all of the above plus no transaction fees, powerful e-commerce metrics, label printing via ShipStation, integrated accounting via Xero, checkout on domain, and customer accounts.

Advanced - $40/mo if billed annually, or $46 month to month

This plan is perfect for a bustling e-commerce business. It includes all of the above plus abandoned cart recovery, real time carrier shipping, automatic discounts, gift cards, and orders API so that you can integrate with any of your other service providers (order fulfilment, etc.)

6 — It's security and support are invaluable

As I've mentioned before, I've worked with WordPress websites that had hacking attempts against them daily. Some had security teams at the ready, and even with their efforts, their website would be drastically slowed and in some cases were completely inaccessible.

In other cases, limited or no security was in place and the hackers were able to wreak havoc on the website, stealing bandwidth, slowing down pages, and spamming the website with ads. 

This doesn't happen with Squarespace.

A variety of security measures are included in your hosting fee. In addition, all of the platform updates are performed automatically and on Squarespace's end — you don't have to lift a finger.

Squarespace has 99.9% uptime and 24/7 support staff that are amazing. They are extremely friendly and really take pride in their work. All of their support staff are located at their headquarters in New York, Portland and Dublin and they offer twitter, email and live chat support.

In addition to that, they also offer articles, videos, and community forums for any other extra help you might be looking for. I've used all of these services myself and am extremely happy with them as you can tell!

7 — It can literally make you money

Now this point was kind of included in point 5, but I thought I would elaborate a little here.

Your website should be working for you. It shouldn't just be looking pretty.

Squarespace's websites can do heavy lifting for your business, and you can really think of your website as your newest employee. When you think of how much time your website can save you, and make you, it really makes their fees all the more valuable.

It's also easy to scale up your account as your earnings increase, which is why we love the integrated e-commerce features that Squarespace provides to its users. It is so quick to integrate your website with Stripe and PayPal, making it easy for you to list and sell both products and services directly from your website, whether they be physical or digital in nature.

And even if you are a bit old fashioned and wary about trying this feature out, consider this — many people today value convenience above all.

I'm not saying that's always right, but that is usually the case. So if someone looks at your website, and your competitors, and one of your competitors make its easier to purchase, book, or otherwise access what they need, there is a good chance that your competitor will get that business over you.

If you're the better choice, make sure your website reflects that. E-commerce functionality is just one puzzle piece that can go a long way to make you stand out. 

Related Resources:

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace Features

Have any questions about Squarespace and whether its right for your business? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Website Relaunch: Morgan Bress Photography

I still remember the day that Morgan Bress reached out to us for more info on a possible website rebrand — I was so excited! We absolutely love partnering with photographers because they bring such high-quality and high-impact emotional imagery to work with.

Morgan, a highly-respected photographer out of Lindsay, Ontario, was no different — her photography is stunning.

Even more excitedly, Morgan was interested in a website that could work for her and her business. I was able to offer some options for how we could use Automation to free up more of her time for the part of her business she loves the most:

Photography!

Morgan came to us with a beautiful brand.

While we would have been happy to provide our Brand services, Morgan's was already perfectly suited to her style and business and provided lots of options for us to work with. Her branding offered a feminine palette, two main fonts, and lots of great logo variations.

All the pieces we needed to implement her brand effectively onto her new website.

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Her old website, while very cute, didn't flow with Morgan's branding and didn't necessarily align well with her needs.

From a web branding perspective, the design of her website was actually competing for attention with her photography rather than complementing it.

I knew that we could design a more effective website that better highlighted and showed off her amazing work.

And that's just what we did.


On January 20th, 2018, her new website went live.

It features:

  • A stunning homepage gallery

  • Dynamic sizing for viewing from tablets and mobile

  • An actionable footer that highlights her 3 most important pages with stunning picture icons, her recent adventures (new blog posts), and her 9 most recent Instagram posts — allowing us to display more of her beautiful photography in group of threes.

  • Improved menu efficiency

  • Engaging Testimonials page

  • Interactive Investment page

  • Updated Instagram-style portfolios

  • A Gorgeous Blog with Pinterest-style feature images

  • & a NEW Get Started page with scheduling and accounting automation


Here's a quick video walkthrough

(4 min 49 sec)

Video Script:

"Hi, I'm Megan from Barton Creative Co., a co-founder and digital strategist specializing in web design, automation and digital marketing. Welcome to our first Video Web Walkthrough which promises to highlight one of our amazing websites in 10 minutes or less. This one aims to show off the recently redesigned website for Morgan Bress Photography.

Morgan, a well respected photographer out of Lindsay, Ontario, was amazing to work with — she's very friendly, easy going, and quite obviously provides a very high quality of photography for us to work with.

Jumping into some of the updates and features of her new web, from top to bottom:

ONE — a newly streamlined menu with a focus on her most important and actionable pages. We've all got lost in confusing website menus before, and so by limiting the number of initial links, we can provide a better user experience and drive her audience to the right pages.

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TWO — and likely the first thing that caught your eye (I know it caught mine) is Morgans dynamic gallery which returns the focus to her photography and skill set, no matter whether you're viewing from laptop, tablet or mobile.

THREE — a redesigned website footer, meaning that no matter what page her audience views, they will always see the following: three beautiful photo icons to her most important pages, a Recent Adventures section highlighting the 3 newest blog posts, and last but not least, a feed of her 9 most recent Instagram photos, always keeping the focus on Morgan's work.

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FOUR — heading over to the Meet Morgan page, you'll notice that we were able to incorporate her script font as one of her main headers. This allowed us to better maintain her brand while adding a feminine, refined touch to her pages

FIVE — an updated Testimonials page offers an engaging slider which connects each of her testimonials to three of her favourite photographs featuring that family. Even though her testimonials are amazing on their own, it's easy to see how her photography pulls it all together.

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SIX — her updated Investment page has been upgraded to be more actionable and transparent. Her web visitors can now download her wedding collections brochure, get more info on her sessions and how they work, and you'll also notice a new Book Now button which I'll dive into shortly. 

SEVEN — an updated Portfolio page offers a custom coded hover effect, and clicking on any of these will reveal her stunning new Instagram-style portfolios.

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EIGHT — Morgan's Blog features Pinterest-style feature images for a more dynamic effect. Pinterest is one of the best sources of blog traffic, so by using this style of image, it makes it even easier for Morgan to drive more traffic to her website. Opening a blog post reveals dynamic stacked galleries, each of which beautifully tells the story of that day.

NINE — finally, my favourite page and feature, the Get Started page. Along with web design, offering Automation is one of my favourite parts of what I do. I want to help business owners free up more of their time for what they love most, and by using automation we can help free up hours of time each week. This provides an amazing opportunity for an improved work life balance, or depending on your goals, to scale up your business and further increase profits.

TEN — clicking on Book Now reveals the new scheduling software, which, in the back end, has been automated with new accounting software as well. You can see how booking a session has now been automated based on the schedule that Morgan offers. We were able to add in up-sells, the ability for her clients to choose their own location, and even automated welcome and reminder emails depending on session type. 

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IN SUMMARY to date, this has to be my favourite website that we've worked on, it allowed us to really show off what we can do, which is create a visually stunning website that is not only efficient and user friendly, but that also literally works for Morgan and her business. Feel free to leave and questions or comments below. See you next time!"

I'd love to know — what was your favourite feature that you saw today?