This week is a bit of a mix for me whilst I am settling in, so in the meantime I thought I would take half an hour to talk about my very first website – Hakalodge.com.
This site was commissioned as a very simple, clear cut project with a relatively low budget – and so WordPress was the perfect platform to build upon. I had not used WP a great deal beforehand, but as far as a CMS goes, it was very easy to pick up. WordPress also works incredibly well with SEO and many companies/individuals choose it for these reasons.
The site required some originality, so I wanted to avoid choosing a template that someone else had already written. I did briefly consider the site Elegant Themes because it has some comparatively decent-looking templates that you can buy, but they were still too constraining – particularly so when you already have a particular brand in mind. So, I wanted complete flexibility to create my own template… alas, I had little skills or experience in that area.
For these reasons, I decided upon Platform Pro, which is what has been used for my own current site. Platform Pro is an incredibly easy ‘drag and drop’ theme framework which gives you enough freedom to create a website with your own personal input. I think many users of the framework unfortunately fall into the trap of making their site looking too much like the original example provided by Pagelines, and I can even see this with HakaLodge.com. Hence I have tried to steer away from this in my structure of my own site, ellenpickett.com.
Haka Lodge is a brand new backpacker hostel, and so there were no previous websites or marketing written – I loved this. What I did have was the branding of its parent company Haka Tours. From this I took the colouring, but made it more subtle – going with the rich green but putting it alongside a cream and shades of grey. This subtlety is actually intended to reflect both the marketing of the lodge as a “flashpackers” and the interior decor of the building itself.
Due to budget restraints I have stuck with free fonts – namely ‘Lobster’ for headings and ‘Lato’ for content. The logo was designed by a separate company after the website was completed. It is not in my own tastes but matches the branding of Haka Tours.
There are a couple of issues that Platform Pro has spat out, particularly with browser capability – Internet Explorer seems to hate both the image carousel and the “call out” sections… but then again, IE has a reputation in being the problem child. I won’t lie, I hate it as much as the next designer.
There are 10 plugins for the site, including WordPress SEO, Google XML sitemaps, Contact Form 7 and various others needed to work alongside Platform Pro. The site has now been passed on, and so I cannot accept responsibility for any further changes, but I feel happy with what I managed to achieve in what was a first proper site for me.