Often, as a web site builder we get asked to develop a site for a family member or a good friend.

This can sometimes be a difficult thing to refuse and in some cases it is best to as the demands put upon us by clients, to put it bluntly is well, frustrating. Friends and family can be even worse. Now, don’t get me wrong – we love building websites, but it takes time, effort and a good deal of thinking.

As developers we are asked to design, build, perform search engine optimisation, source imagery, do some image editing and write the copy which has to be appealing to a wide range of users and of course it all has to happen now, this minute, ‘I can’t wait any longer and I really must have this website up and running and at the top of Google immediately.’

Happily, this wasn’t the case with Hollie – I must put in a disclaimer here -Hollie is my niece. Now, I have many nieces and nephews (at the last count around 70 including great ones) so, by the law of averages I could expect a good few requests for websites from relations- especially as my family seems to have ‘entrepreneur’  tattooed in their blood!

So, Hollie messaged me through Facebook – I need you to build my website – I will pay you!

How on earth could I have refused such a request?

We then decided to get together over the phone (Hollie lives in London and I don’t) and decide how to layout the site, what type of copy, the type of images and of course, the tone of voice.

I built a demo site, showed it to Hollie and a couple of weeks later, we got together on the phone again and went through the site line by line, image by image. Hollie chose a font she liked for the header, supplied a great logo (designed by her Sister in Law) and off we went.

A little over 5 hours later, the domain was registered, hosting and email set up and the site was built, all  imagery was in there, some great text, along with a couple of testimonials, relevant questions on a bespoke form to help Hollie get a good idea of what a potential client would want and we found ourselves launching the site that very night.

In my view, this was one of the best projects I have been involved in.

By having in depth conversations with Hollie, I got to know her dreams and ambitions. I got to know how dedicated she was to her vision and I also got to know exactly what she wanted. Hollie was well prepared. She had gone the extra mile and was well prepped and ready to spend as much time as was necessary to get the job done.

As a developer, Hollie was the perfect client, she knew what she wanted, was willing to compromise on technical aspects, willing to take advice and she was enthusiastic about having  a professional, well laid out website  that shows her potential clients what they need to know, quickly and easily. I also had fun, it was great to connect on such a deep level with a family member who I see often, but not as often as we all would like.

Now, onto the ‘hidden’ aspects of building a website like:

  • Site speed optimisation by adding Gzip Compression
  • Image Compression
  • HTML Header expiry
  • Submitting site maps to the search engines
  • Setting up Google Webmasters
  • Setting up Analytics
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • and a whole host of other ‘unseen’ aspects that go hand in hand with building a website

Hollie has now moved from London and set up shop in Totnes and guess what? Personal Trainer Totnes and South Hams is already on the first page of Google – Go Hollie! .

You can visit Hollies Personal Training Website here