A Website Realignment: Day 0

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 Berchman.com
  • 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, Berchman.com
  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.

Do you need help with your website?

If you are a web designer or web developer needing help, or a 'do-it-yourselfer' looking for a professional Internet presence I can help. If you need help with a specific WordPress issue or a complete website, I offer consultation, complete web design, and web development services. Get in touch and we can talk about your needs and start the process.

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Do you need a WordPress consultant? Someone with experience?

I specialize in making WordPress work for people.

If you need help with a specific WordPress issue, I offer consultation, complete web design, and web development services.

Get in touch and we can talk about your needs and start the process.

  • @berchman It will be interesting to follow your journey. I am especially interested to learn more about WordPress and the Thesis theme. I have been blogging since 2002, using Blogger.com. I have registered EgoSoleTrader.com and installed Revolution (now called Studiopress) magazine theme at the moment. I want work with a user friendly blogger tool and have a clean and simple layout.

  • Pingback: A Website Redesign: Day 0 — berchman.com | Hack In The Box()

  • nokiatips

    Nice, project, I just found your webpage via the Thesis Forum and I myself I'm going through the same thing you're embarking on but I don't have 26+ years of experience, its more like hmm a few sporadic months at best and the help of the forum.

    Currently, I have to pretty cool website, one is called Nokia Mobile Talk.com which runs on Woothemes and http://www.nokia-tips.com which runs on Thesis. My goal is to redesign NokiaMobileTalk.com into Thesis with a similar design as what I presently have but I had not thought about it as methodically as you have, which certainly inspire me for sure.

    My main site Nokia Mobile Talk is one of the most recognized blogs that deal with Nokia and Symbian and I got my start by interviewing a bunch of Who's Who of the Nokia community and then I ventured into some news, although that's not my strong point as there are other blogs that really take that to the next level but so far I've enjoyed a little success with 515 RSS subsribers and about 50k page views per month, mind you I started blogging seriously maybe in April. But here is my problem, all fellow Nokia Bloggers say that my page views should be way more and that's were I think Thesis will be help me big time because of its great SEO.

    On the other hand I've started Nokia-Tips.com and in about a week I've established myself as one of the main site for, you guessed it, Tips on Nokia smartphone, currently my design is pretty simple compared to yours and many other Thesis gurus but I'm hoping to create, with help off course, something amazing and truly spectacular to really drive it in, you know what I mean, I feel Thesis is the right framework for such a goal.

    So hopefully through your site and your project I'll be able to do something that will blow up into something huge. I look forward to your next post.

    You mentioned above you offer consultation, what type in regards to my project. Thanks in advance.

  • Rudolf

    Bert,

    Great initiative!

    I am particularly interested in your thoughts on balancing and differentiating the branding efforts between your blog and your business website. And of course any Thesis tips too!

  • Rudolf

    Bert,

    Great initiative!

    I am particularly interested in your thoughts on balancing and differentiating the branding efforts between your blog and your business website. And of course any Thesis tips too!

  • Rudolf

    Bert,

    Great initiative!

    I am particularly interested in your thoughts on balancing and differentiating the branding efforts between your blog and your business website. And of course any Thesis tips too!

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