One of the funnest and most personal projects I’ve worked is So There’s That, a lifestyle blog with professional photographer and my financee Charla Avery. For some reason I’ve picked up in the chatter out there that lifestyle blogs, if they must be used at all, are like a “starter” or something that every designer and developer must go through until graduating onto bigger things.
Not true at all. One of my favorite lifestyle blogs, The Fresh Exchange, has managed to leverage all of the authors’ passion and interest into really cool content and recently they’ve leveraged it further into a branding firm with a healthy stable of clients.
While STT was one of my first projects – and I learned plenty with it – it is by no means a “starter kit” or a necessary thing that you need to do and then check off that box before picking up larger client work.
Any designer or developer that has a passing interest in branding should look very closely at lifestyle blogging. You don’t need to do a lifestyle blog if you reeeaaallly don’t want to, however it’s a good habit to pull up some other blogs out there, look at their code, and see what you like and don’t like.
But, STT. I am going to take a few upcoming posts to talk about how we developed STT, how we decided on branding, message and identity. We’ll also get into the weeds on the site’s architecture, including my development environment, how and why I set up a child theme, and how and why I coded random little tidbits like a “Related Posts” section even though there are so many good plugins out there for just the trick.
Mostly, though, I like to think about our role as bridging the gap between what we do and what our clients want. What do clients want? Value, product, reliability, reputation, feedback, counsel, maybe a little therapy. They want to save time. They want to know that they investment is well spent. What to designers and developers want? We/they want to design and develop, right? Heck, an ocean-view apartment balcony in Southern Spain would be nice too. But what will I be doing on that balcony? Coding. And my clients know I’m a phone call away.
My real estate job is no different. Real estate agents and government agencies do not speak the same language and do not see eye to eye. Who is the translator, why, we are, of course! But that story is for another day.