Here is the beginning of what I hope to be a great series of posts. This series will chronicle—in as much detail as I can provide without driving myself or you crazy—the process of reinventing my brand and transforming this website in form and function.

The goals are:

  • Rebrand
  • Define purpose, guiding principles, and desired outcomes with this website
  • Update functionality of this website to achieve goals
  • Create a new visual design, informed by the 'new brand,' on this website
  • Learn new things about WordPress and Thesis and share that with you
  • Answer questions along the way, and maybe ask some of you too

Creating a good website that meets clearly defined goals is challenging. Redesigning a website is even more challenging. The issue is further compounded when it's your own website. The shift from designing/developing for a client (objective) to doing the same for yourself (subjective) is formidable.

When I shared the idea of making changes to this website with my friend Jon Brown, he said, "it looks good now." That might be the case to the objective eye, but this website is not meeting all my goals (we'll get into more of that later).

Driving Force

Challenges and changes both external and internal are the driving force behind this project. Challenges, externally based on current economics and changes, internally based on how I now work and what I tools I use to get the job done. First, you would have to be living under a rock, or another planet to not be aware of the global economic situation and its impact on the US economy (where I live). Second, in the last year I have started working with the Thesis Theme framework for WordPress.

How did I get to this point?

As of this post I have been working with computers of some form for about 26 years, designing professionally for about 18 years, and developing for the Internet for 13 years. So I'll admit I've been around for a bit. My first personal website I created was in 1996 with Abobe PageMill.

Image of Berchman in the office

Berchman in studio

I've worked for a variety of private companies both large and small during my career. However, I have always wanted to work for myself. I started working for myself 4 years ago by creating my own company, HamiltonBerchman Design Group, Inc. At the time my idea was to open certain doors by positioning myself as a corporation. It is me at the front and a team of freelancers on an "as needed" basis depending on the scale and scope of a project.

But with the passing of time I have experienced a change. The emergence of the social media space with a critical mass has been the primary change. As I began participating in the social media space both as a corporation and an individual, I noticed that the 'corporation' was faceless. It has no real soul, or personality, and has not gained traction as I envisioned no matter how much of myself I poured in. Simultaneously my personal profiles on a variety of social media website were proving to be much more successful because of the personal interaction with other people. Over the last couple of months this idea has been brewing and I know things will not change until I make it so.

Having Presence

I've always known that business is about relationships. However, what I am now seeing is that my presence on the Internet is just that—my presence—and not that of a corporation. This shift is one of the reasons I am rethinking my personal brand and website. When i initially setup this website I gave very little thought to its purpose—it was 1996, essentially the stone age of the Internet. The tools, theories, and best-practices behind developing websites have advanced greatly since then. That coupled with my goal to transform this website, and my desire to share what I know and how I do it are motivating me.

How will this proceed?

Today is Day 0.

Every day that I have something to say about design or development progress I will post. However, I will not be posting every day.

I will be following this rough development outline:

  1. Develop and design my personal brand,
  2. Define the purpose of this website
  3. Define the guiding principles of this website
  4. Define the desired outcomes of this website
  5. Brainstorm function to meet goals
  6. Develop form to enhance function and reinforce the brand
  7. Implement
  8. Launch

Pretty simple really.

So here we go. The captain has turned on the seat belt sign. Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts.

As always I welcome your comments and ideas below.