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The Evolution of my Web Design Experience

I’ve not written many posts about my personal experiences in the field of web design and development, so I thought I’d start getting a little more personal.

I’ve been helping local businesses in the Cayman Islands, the UK and the US promote their local presence through online web media and designing beautiful experiences for them since 2010.

I started off designing websites back in 1999. Back then, you couldn’t just install WordPress and a theme to get started. Content Management Systems weren’t really a thing. I had notepad and Internet Explorer. I had to code my websites in HTML and design graphics for them in MS Paint. And I loved doing it.


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My First Website - The Airedale Terrier Training Foundation (Surrey, UK) - circa 1999

 

CODE Websites was founded in the UK not long after this and was set up as a business. I had one client, an Antiques Book Dealer and I updated his website for a the princely sum of £50. Regretfully, being only 15 years old, I was a little distracted from my entrepreneurial adventure at that time and CODE Websites didn't take on another client until 2013.

 

bannera
 

CODE's first logo was drawn by me as part of a Corporate Identity DT project at school. I was studying isometric drawing as part of the project. I scanned it in and then created an animated gif CTA to post of the ATTF website. I was definitely on the right track!!

The name CODE was supposed to be split out with the CO standing for "Complete" and the DE standing for "Design". I've since abandoned this as it's too complex and requires lengthy explanation. But I've kept the name as it means a lot to me.

In 2010 I was living in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and picked up my Web Design and Development hobby again. I caught up on the latest web tech and improvements and started working with PHP, CSS and HTML. The first CMS I got familiar with was Joomla! And not long after that I found WordPress.

I started designing sites for friends and local charities and was working for an IT company that offered Web Design and Development services in the Cayman Islands. I gained experience managing web projects and delivering a range of services such as design, development, support, maintenance and hosting.

In 2013 I founded CODE Websites and started providing Website Design services in the Cayman Islands. I met some great local business people and entrepreneurs who were looking to revamp their existing websites or start a new website from scratch. A lot of these clients remain loyal clients of mine to this day.

My focus has always been on providing an honest, ethical business practice that inspires loyalty and on developing a personal connection with my clients. It’s really important to me to create a lasting relationship where the client feels heard and supported. I was really frustrated by clients having experiences with other companies that were just looking to complete and project and move on. This often left clients in need of further support and guidance on what to do next, or not receiving a level of service they felt they had bought into.

 

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A few examples of the projects I've worked on 

Web design for me as a service has developed beyond delivering purely to the clients original requirements and has evolved into designing an experience for my client’s end users. Along the way I have come back time and time again to the following principles;

  • Ensuring my client’s requirements are fully understood and a measure of success is defined
  • Considering the end-user’s requirements from an experiential perspective
  • Designing not just a website but an experience that translates not just through the design but also through the development and functionality of the website
  • Focusing on providing ROI to my clients through using their website as a sales funnel and combining a content, social media and SEO strategy that supports their business goals.

My vision for CODE now is to move beyond simply designing a website or developing some bespoke functionality. I have delivered a vast range of services to my clients such as ecommerce website builds, graphic design, branding, social media and email marketing campaigns, SEO; both organic and paid strategies, hosting, support and maintenance. I provide ongoing services to clients on a monthly basis and as CODE develops I am able to offer additional services such as Speed Site Audits and GDPR compliance solutions.

I’m extremely grateful for the clients I’ve had along the way and I’ve learned a great deal from my experiences. I’m excited now to offer an integrated range of solutions encompassing all of the aforementioned that allow me to design an experience. Using a combination of UX / UI Design practices, Graphic Design, Web Development and Online Business Strategy Consulting, CODE can now offer a bespoke solution tailored to each client’s requirements that can support their online business goals long-term.

 

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www.greenturtle.ky - an ecommerce website project from 2018

CODE can be considered as a remotely outsourced team that can handle individual aspects of a project or as a Web Solutions Architect Provider. I enjoy remaining the point of contact for my clients, overseeing the distribution of project workloads to trusted freelancers who I’ve spent many years working with and successfully putting smiles on client’s faces.

I’ve had to learn lessons the hard way but in doing so I get to pass on my hard earned experience to you. I’ve learned that going the extra mile and ensuring that your experience is a positive one and that CODE delivers on all objectives is more important than my bottom line. In this way, I ensure positive feedback, valuable referrals and testimonials and most importantly to me, job satisfaction.

I love what I do and what I love the most is when my clients tell me how happy they are with the results of what CODE has delivered.

For the past 2 years, CODE has provided remote support from the UK to the Cayman Islands with great success. Without being physically located in Grand Cayman, I have been able to support my existing client base as well as bring on new clients. Word of mouth referrals for Web Design in the Cayman Islands is everything and I continue to receive referral business purely based on happy clients dating back to when I started out.

CODE is now branching out into offering remotely outsourced web projects to the US and the UK. I return to the Cayman Islands once or twice a year to visit with my clients and offer a physical presence, but I have not seen a drop off in business due to my relocation to the UK in 2016. I have actually been able to grow the business remotely.

Remote outsourcing of IT and Web related services is an ever-expanding industry and it allows me to work from any location. Whilst this has some great benefits to me personally, my clients also benefit. Being able to work from home and travel allows me to keep business overheads to a minimum. Working with trusted freelancers allows me to work within different time zones and over weekends. I am then able to pass on these savings to my clients allowing me to work within a broad range of client budgets.

 

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www.integrity.ky - a responsive web design project I completed earlier this year

CODE continues to offer a range of Web Design services for small to large businesses. I can set your business up with a website using a template design using a user-friendly CMS that allows you to manage and edit the content simply and intuitively yourself. CODE specialises in WordPress design and development which means we can design a bespoke WordPress theme and extend the native functionality of WordPress to suit your requirements - which I will personally design a solution for that suits your business goals, exceeds your expectations and delivers on your user requirements.

As a designer, I design an experience for my clients and your website users. That’s where my passion lies. I’m grateful to have realised my passion and to be able to do this everyday.

If you’re an existing client, I’m grateful to you and hope we continue to work and grow together. If you’ve not worked with me yet, I hope you’ll consider contacting me to discuss any requirements you might have and how I can help design an experience that will increase your online revenue or increase the value you are offering your customers through their online experience.

Thank you for reading this post and I hope you’ll take a moment to connect with me and CODE Websites in some way, such as leaving a comment, following us on social media or even sharing this post with friends and colleagues. If you do, it means a lot to me as a self-employed entrepreneur.

CODE Websites is a 100% Caymanian owned entity in the Cayman Islands and is also a registered entity in the UK.

9th November 2018
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