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Rachel's Edit

Marketing Website
We worked with Rachel Olpinski, a freelance makeup artist and beauty blogger in upstate NY, to design and build a powerful new marketing website for her online business
The Challenge

This was a particularly unique and exciting project for us. We typically work with startups and established businesses, so it was a refreshing experience to work directly with a freelance makeup artist and beauty blogger!

From a visual standpoint, Rachel’s existing website was pretty solid. It was created with a popular WordPress theme, but it had a handful of limitations.

The images were difficult to manage and the website didn’t always crop or resize them as desired. That meant Rachel either had to deal with the results or learn a complex tool such as Photoshop, neither of which were realistic options for her.

The blogs text editor made adding images difficult and it was a hassle for Rachel to achieve the layouts she wanted for her articles. The page templates were also limiting, providing few options for how her services and contact form could be displayed.

In order for Rachel to take her blog and freelance business to the next level, she needed a more powerful and flexible website that was tailored to her specific needs and allowed her beautiful images to shine.

Custom Visual Design

Our first step was working with Rachel to establish a beautiful new design backed by a powerful content strategy. She not only wanted a more organized and customizable blog, but also a shop where she could curate her favorite makeup and skincare products.

Rachel’s images are stunning, so the presentation and design was our top priority. We wanted to give her a design that felt fun, creative, and feminine, but also classy, timeless, and professional. We also wanted to bring some of Rachel’s own personal style into the mix while drawing inspiration from other blogs she admires.

This was a radically different design style than what we’re used to, but the look and feel we were able to achieve is a testament that professional designers don’t need industry experience to meet the needs of a project. This was our first time designing a website in the beauty industry, but the results were excellent because we partnered with our client to draw inspiration from her expertise!

Custom Blog Post Builder

Any blogger knows that when you’re writing a post, you’re doing it in a single giant text box with a handful of formatting controls. Adding multiple images within that post is a cumbersome experience and the resulting layout is often uninspiring.

To make sure Rachel could create unique and inspiring page layouts for every article, we created a custom blog post builder tool. We also created 5 custom modules she can easily add and reorder for each blog post:

  • Richtext Section
  • Single Image (one image, automatically scaled to fit)
  • Image Pair (two images side by side with matching height)
  • Image Triplets (three images side by side with matching height)
  • Full Width Image (one image, extra wide)
(Custom WordPress Blog Post Builder)

Allowing blog posts to be built this way gave us a tremendous amount of control in the design to make everything look and work exactly as Rachel wanted, while making it easier to use. If she ever needs a new module (such as a video embed), we can easily add it for her to use.

If two or more adjacent image sections are added, we automatically reduce the spacing between those sections so they look like a beautiful grid of images, rather than content blocks. That means Rachel never has to worry about the layout. Instead, she can just focus on creating beautiful content!

When you look at one of Rachel’s articles, it becomes clear why she needed this advanced functionality. The results are stunning and present the images in a beautiful, exciting, and inspiring way.

(The resulting blog post page layout)
Curated Shop Content

When discussing the content strategy with Rachel, we quickly learned that she needed a place to curate her favorite makeup and skincare products that she references in many of her blog articles. However, she also wanted a way to collect her favorite home and lifestyle products as well.

To achieve this, we created a shop page with a custom post type and taxonomy to let her organize her shop content the same way she would organize blog posts. The grid of shoppable items is then beautifully displayed and easy to navigate.

Advanced Photo Editing Controls

One of our primary goals on this project was to make the website easy to use for Rachel. She previously spent hours cropping and editing photos and had limited experience with professional photo editing software.

We wanted her new website to do as much of this tedious work as possible so she could focus on adding content to her website, not editing it in Photoshop. Her shop is filled with curated photos from around the internet, which are sometimes poorly cropped or have different background colors.

To make the photos look consistent, we gave her the ability to convert a photo with a white background to a photo with a gray background by simply checking a box. She can also reduce the size of a photo the same way. We leveraged the power of the CSS multiply and scale filters to make that happen.

We also gave Rachel the ability to include any items from her shop in a blog post or exclude an item from the shop that should only appear in a blog post.

Affiliate Marketing

Her photos were getting recognized by popular brands, Instagram pages, and beauty magazines. There’s a huge opportunity for affiliate marketing in the beauty industry and we wanted to make sure Rachel’s website was set up to accommodate that. Now if a brand wants to promote a product on her website, she has all the flexibility she needs to make that happen.

Showcasing Personality

As a professional blogger, it’s important to identify with your audience and help them identify with you. That’s why on the bottom of every page, we included a custom introduction section and live Instagram feed that helped bring Rachel’s personality to the forefront.

One of her goals is to grow her Instagram following and we knew this would be a great way to make that happen.

(Global Website Footer)
Mobile Optimization

Since the majority of Rachel’s audience is going to be viewing her new website on a mobile device, it was important that the viewing experience on smartphones was exceptionally well-crafted. We paid close attention to the typography and reading experience, the global and in-page navigation, and the size of each button.

We made sure that every aspect of Rachel’s website was thoughtfully optimized for a mobile viewing experience to increase engagement, visit duration, and returning users.

(Mobile Showcase)
Project Launch

This was a particularly unique and exciting project for me as Rachel is my wife! It was such a privilege to design and build this website together with her, my client, in the same room of our home. It’s not every day you get to work side by side with your client!

We put her website live at a private “staging” URL so she could review the mobile version on her phone, finalize all the content, and point out any kinks before the new website went live.

With a stunning new website and a powerful content management system, Rachel is prepared to take her freelance makeup and beauty blogging business to the next level!