Heads up, website and blog owners!

Whether SEO is important to you or not, Google’s newest algorithm will affect you. As of April 21st, 2015, Google is now penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly.

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This means that if your website does not resize to fit the width of your mobile device, including a phone or tablet (or your browser as you slide the width back and forth — do this on my website for an example), it might affect your website’s placement in search results.

How do you find out if your website is ready for Mobilegeddon? Designers typically charge extra for a mobile-friendly website (I have this as an add-on, too), because it’s not easy getting to the green level on Google’s Page Speed Insights.

Still not sure if you paid for a mobile friendly design or not? Google has an easy way to find out if your website is mobile friendly or not. Simply visit this link, and enter your website URL. Plug in your homepage and other pages on your website while testing, because even if your homepage is optimized, you’ll still suffer if the others aren’t.

Having a mobile-responsive website isn’t everything. It should be friendly, too. Tap targets should be spaced apart to adequately accommodate finger tips. Font sizes should be large enough to read, but not too big. Viewports must be set so that all content fits perfectly within the parameters.

Going mobile-friendly isn’t easy, but it’s now a must, unless you want to lower your search result rankings to embarrassing levels. Yikes!

Posted in Mobile, SEO 1 Comment

Inspired by the lack of South Asian fantasy, Roshani Chokshi wove her own magical tale. Fast forward to today, her debut, THE BRIDE OF DUSK AND GLASS, releases from St. Martin’s Press in Summer, 2016, and I am pretty excited to read it myself.

But for now, I’m excited to share her website with all of you. Roshani is new to the online world of websites, so we had to start from scratch—we purchased a domain, set up hosting, and installed WordPress. And while she familiarized herself with WordPress and set up content, I worked on the design.

Branding Roshani’s website was certainly a fun process. She wanted something that screamed fantasy, without veering too much into South Asian fantasy territory. She wanted green (which I paired with gold, because it has such a regal, fantasy feel), and she wanted ‘blooming light’. While the blooming light was a little difficult to get just right, once we did, it was an ‘aha’ moment for both us.

With branding in mind, I stuck to a minimal color scheme (like most of my designs), and used the same colors throughout the website. Gold was kept to a minimum, so the logo stands out. You’ll also find hints of gold throughout the layout; these little touches are what ties everything together.

Once the design was coded and installed, I completed her branding with a matching Twitter header and background. Because we all know consistency is key when it comes to branding!

Needless to say, I am very happy with the outcome, and best of all, so is Roshani! Without further ado, here’s what she has to say about her exotic website:

Hafsah lifted the perfect design straight out of the snarled and vague suggestions I offered. As a technologically inept human, Hafsah’s guidance made tackling a website effortless and fun! The moment we started working together, communication was prompt and thorough. She took my ridiculous commentary (for example–“blooming light!” “I like…shapes…” “Green!”) and created something that *sings*. I highly recommend Hafsah.

—Roshani
www.roshanichokshi.com

roshani-branding

Posted in Branding, Client Spotlight 1 Comment

Monica Tesler is the author of the middle-grade series, BOUNDERS, coming soon from Simon & Schuster. I had the pleasure of working with her on her mobile responsive, comprehensive WordPress design about a month ago, and she was a dream to work with.

Monica’s vision for her branded author website evolved as we discussed her initial ideas, and it was absolutely incredible to see the changes as our emails progressed.

Monica needed a website that appealed to younger, middle-grade readers, and young adults, as well, so the design could accommodate her future projects. This was, initially, a challenge, but once we settled on a gorgeous space background, everything tied together perfectly. It’s funny how one element can make such a big difference!

Mobile responsive, solid branding, social media consistency—Monica Tesler’s design included the whole shabang. I hope you all love it as much as I do.

Hafsah has a unique knack for balancing a professional website design process with a comfortable approach that put me at ease immediately. From our first email exchange, she handled all of our dealings promptly and comprehensively. She was able to translate my ideas—night sky! constellation! chalkboard!—into a tangible design plan, and the end result exceeded my expectations. As someone who straddles the aisle between corporate and creative, I highly recommend Hafsah and will definitely work with her again in the future.

—Monica
www.monicatesler.com

monica-tesler-branding

Posted in Branding, Client Spotlight 2 Comments

Zoraida Cordova is the author of the Vicious Deep series, the more recent New-Adult series, On The Line, and the upcoming Labyrinth Lost. I had the pleasure of working with her months ago on a smaller project, and I was thrilled when she reached out for a full rebranding of her author website.

Our first step was deciding between Blogger and WordPress, for which I heavily suggested WordPress. If an author—or anyone—is looking for a professional website and blog in one, neat package, WordPress is the way to go. It’s even great for beginners, as the expansion options are endless and cost-efficient.

Once we had settled on a platform, we moved on to design. Zoraida is a breeze to work with. One of her statements that really stood out to me was this:

I really love vintage and dark things, but I also love bright and beautiful things.

This and her other initial ideas were so parallel with mine (not to mention cohesive), I just knew we were a perfect fit. I worked on a design, shared it with her, and within a week, the project was complete.

Working with Hafsah on my author site was an author’s dream. After initial response, we set on to brainstorming. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted, so I described the things I like and the color palette that spoke to me best. Hafsah managed to turn that into a design that is very me, which was more than I could ask for. The entire process was professional, well priced, and had a quick turn around time. I can’t wait to work with her again!

—Zoraida
www.zoraidacordova.com

zoraida-branding

Posted in Branding, Client Spotlight 1 Comment

IceyDesigns has a new look! And what’s more: a dedicated blog. Finally!

It’s been long coming, but I’ve finally taken the plunge. I was hesitant for so long because I already run a full-time blog over on IceyBooks, and even that felt like too much. But this blog will be more laid-back, more me, despite it being a part of my business.

Because the truth is, I’ve become more of a designer than a reader. I love reading, and I love writing, don’t get me wrong! But I spend more of my day designing than anything else, and it’s just who I’ve become. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What can you expect from the IceyDesigns blog? More design-focused posts, from branding, tips & tricks, how-to’s, case studies, and more. You’ll see the lighter side of design, too—from visuals I’m excited to share, findings, musings, and more!

But today, just more about the new look of IceyDesigns. I admit, it’s not much different than the last, but the whole thing is a more cohesive look that I love, and I think I’ve finally found a color theme that encompasses me and my business.

Branding a business isn’t an easy feat, especially one like my own, which should appeal to a multitude of people. And if you’re a designer, you would know just how hard it is to design something for yourself. But this is something I feel strongly represents IceyDesigns, and I hope it has come to stay.

Successfully branding a business means choosing a typeface, colors, and a logo that you’re ready to keep. Maybe forever, maybe almost forever, but hopefully forever.

And I’m proud to say I’ve finally branded IceyDesigns!

Expect more visuals like this for future projects!

Expect more visuals like this for future projects!

I just love how the logo turned out. As simple as it looks, it took forever to pull together. So many different versions were scrapped before I settled on this one!

And now, let’s celebrate! To commemorate the start of the IceyDesigns blog, I’m giving one lucky reader a $100 gift card to IceyDesigns, to be deducted off of any blog/web design package (see my services page for details) OR a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, for those of who aren’t ready to take the professionally designed plunge. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below! Thanks!

Oh, and you might want to sign up for my newsletter because there are exciting things in the works, and subscribers will be the first to know ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Branding | Tagged 1 Comment