God Made Light is sitting upstairs in our kid’s bookshelf right now. Its delightful, playful, and whimsical, all the while speaking truth. Matthew Paul Turner has written other books, this being his first children’s book. Its bright and fun, and so was the site to build
This took a little more time than I would have expected. There weren’t a lot of pages to build. I actually ended up building it twice. The first time I built it with “modern” page design, with a long scrolling homepage, large fonts, and lots of interaction. It turned out great, but it wasn’t right for this book, or the people who would explore the site to either buy, or find out more about the book. We landed on a fixed length page design, which is pretty uncommon these days, but exactly what they were looking for.
The Fringe Hours is a great booked focused on helping women capture moments in their days to live their dreams. Jessica Turner, author of the book and blogger at TheMomCreative.com, contributor to the (in)courage community (where she met my wife), and mom of 3. I did a previous site for her and her husband the children’s book he wrote, God Made Light.
I found a theme built for a book preview. The more I expand the kinds and purposes of the sites I am doing, the more I appreciate theme developers who build with intentionality and flexibility. Sites designed with specific purposes in mind, while still maintaining high quality code and a range of options.
First Time Mom MN is a blog for moms and includes things like reviews and giveaways of products and services for moms (cloth diapers, etc.) Its run by Elizabeth and her sister Laura, friends of my wife‘s from Twin Cities Mom’s Blog. They were FUN to work with and I love seeing excitement for a new design via email.
We used a Genesis-based theme from Studiopress (yet, again) for this build. Its called Lifestyle. Its got a great design to highlight different categories of blog content, with a homepage design that vividly displays excerpts and featured images in a smart way. This works well for FTM because there are so many different categories of content that people may want to dive in to. We used some current trends in design intentionally like using lots of white space, flat image design, and apparently the mustard yellow color is all the rage right now. Loved this site, and I figured out some smoother CSS editing this time that I should have been doing forever ago. Always learning.
Twin Cities Frugal Mom is a great blog focusing on “spending less and living well in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.” This was a quick, fun build for a blogger who was long ready for a fresh design. Are you a Minnesotan and looking for a good deal, check her site out. She’s got deals, events, coupons, and tips for frugal living that are really usable.
We used a Genesis-based theme from Studiopress (again) for this build. Its called Lifestyle. Its got a great design to highlight different categories of blog content, with a homepage design that vividly displays excepts and featured images in a smart way. She had an artist do the header, so it took a little back and forth and then some code edits to get the sizing right. I learn something new in terms of small code edits with ever new site.
St. John’s Lutheran Church is a vibrant ministry in Salisbury, North Caroline. My wife did some social media coaching for some staff from St. John’s and the local synod. While she was out in NC on her coaching contract, she called and asked if I could help them with a quick fix on their website. Sure! A few months later we had started this “design tweak” contract.
We actually didn’t change the theme that they had been using, it was another theme from Steven and the crew at churchthemes.com called Risen. This contract really turned into more coaching and auditing that fresh design, which was a fun twist. We spent time working through how to use this theme, built intentionally for churches, to its fullest. They’ve gotten to a good spot, and we’re finishing up equipping their staff to manage content well.
Grace Lutheran Church is located in the heart of Apple Valley, Minnesota. It also happens to be the church my family and I attend and have for just shy of a decade. We help lead worship there every other Wednesday evening. You should come! This site was a ton of fun to build, and these people and this place are close to my heart.
Surface to Soul is a multipurpose website for Jim Ladoux and his ministry. Jim serves as the Director for Coaching and Training for Vibrant Faith, an great ministry, of which I am associate of as well, doing web design and coaching for churches.
The site is the home of Jim’s blog, serves as a lunchpad for the monthly (or more) webinars that Jim leads, and is a giant toolbox for leaders in ministry, especially churches. It also serves as the learning community for the Training Schools that Jim facilitates. You can learn more, sign up, pay, and then stay to be part of the ongoing learning community (using Buddypress) made up of Training School groups, topical forums, and open discussion.
HiBearNation is a brand new, adorable shop on Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, AK. This tiny town is a hub for huge cruise ships and there is a cozy community of small shops. The shop owners have another shop in Orting, WA called the Wild Rose Quilt Shop, but they’ve still got part of their heart in Alaska. So, if you’re ever taking an Alaska cruise, which you of course should do, make sure to check out the shop if there is a stop in Hoonah.
This site was a pretty quick build and I used a theme called Minimum from Studiopress. Click the link in the page footer to check out Studiopress, they’re my favorite. Its a clean, simple, minimum design that uses a lot of white space to highlight the content. Imagery just gets more and more important the deeper I dive into design.
Writing Threads is an online community for writers. This started out as a small build and as we worked on what the leaders were hoping for from the site, turned into a pretty big build, including membership and registration, some restricted content, and an online social community using Buddypress. It ended up being a good skill stretching experience where I got to do a few things I’ve never done before.
One of the tricks with this site, as it got more complicated, is going to be coaching the site authors to be able to manage their own content. Thankfully, she’s an online friend of my wife’s and was great to work with!
Outdoor Ministry Outfitters is built to help outdoor ministry stay on the frontier of changing lives. They believe in experiential faith formation, authentic relationships, and vibrant organizations. They are outfitting courageous camps and their dynamic leaders to thrive as intrepid ministry, fully equipped.
This is actually a startup company made up of myself and some friends who are deeply passionate about outdoor ministry and the impact it makes. If you know a camp, conference center, or other outdoor focused ministry make sure they stop by the site and say hello!
Encouraging Working Moms is a blog run by my wife’s dear friend Amanda and a new friend of hers, Lisa. They wanted something really clean, modern yet cozy, and focused on the content of the posts. Here’s how they welcome visitors to their site:
Pull up a comfy chair and let’s get to know each other. We are Amanda and Lisa, two working moms of young kids, who love Jesus and encouraging women. (in)courage brought us together through a working mom’s community group, and we’ve never met in person. But in spite of the distance between us (Amanda in Minnesota, Lisa in California), God has given us a common vision.
We write to give Christian working moms a place to be understood and loved. This is a safe refuge for you with no judgment, guilt trips, or expectations. We aren’t here to show you that we have it all figured out, because we’re far from having it together. We’re here to share our struggles, our wins, the lessons God is teaching us through this season.
WanderFit Training is the creatively branded personal training business of Amy Ferguson. She believes that the body is not complete until one has found the right balance between mind, body, and soul. The premise of WanderFit is to wander freely to fulfill the mind, strengthen the body and be fit, and find your inner peace to fill your soul with beauty and wonder.
Crops for Campers is an initiative of Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camps to help farmers maximize gifts of crops to help campers attend Bible Camp and undergird ministry, all so that campers may know Jesus Christ and make Christ known all.
This awesome camp decided to launch a program to encourage farmers to donate grain to camp as a gift that maximizes taxes and is easy to do. We choose a theme called Agency Pro from Studiopress that has its biggest advantages in being visually clear and having a focused call to action = get started with giving grain. Their Executive Director was great to work with.
TheOrting Chamber of Commerce is the hub of business for the City of Orting, WA. They are busy professionals who needed a redesign of their site to help visitors feel welcome in Orting, and also have an easy path to finding member businesses. Here is what they say about their vision:
For centuries, Chambers of Commence have stood as pillars of leadership in our nations communities. Their purpose; to act as a form of business networking, e.g., local business owners working on the local level bringing the business community together to develop strong exchanges of business-to-business relationships strengthening the local business community, working with local governments to develop pro-business initiatives and provide mentorship to future generations of local business owners.
In keeping with the beliefs of their predecessors, the Orting Chamber of Commerce has developed a four tier approach which they call their “4 Pillars of Vision.”
Torch Community is creating meaningful networks by connecting young professionals with people, organizations and experiences that impact our community. This Twin Cities based young professional group has spent the last 5 years connecting young leaders for sake of the community. The organizations is focused on events and conversations so the site used a number of integrations and plugins to make the events process smooth.
I was on the Board of Directors for Torch Community for a few years, first as Director of Development, and then as Director of Technology. I migrated the site from Joomla! to WordPress and held trainings for a number of board members on how to use the multi-faceted suite of tools and tech to make Torch Community hum. That included WordPress, Eventbrite, MailChimp, Evernote, PicMonkey, and Dropbox. It was one of the first things I did, and it was skill stretching for me.
Girl With Blog is the personal blog of Anna Rendell. She writes with simple honesty on the joys and struggles of faith, motherhood, and the everyday. She loves Jesus, our 2 yr. old son & baby due in April, her husband (that’s me!), blogging, coffee, Minnesota, James Taylor, baking, & pretty things.
Anna wanted a site that spanned the width of the screen, looked great on computer and mobile screens alike, and brought a cute, cozy, welcoming feeling. This was a site that I did a good handful of graphic design as part of the website design. I used my favorite editing tool, a cloud-based editing software site called PicMonkey. Check it out! I have gotten to redesign her site twice now and I have so much fun! We also change her header graphic with each season so her site feels new and fresh as the seasons change.
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