New England Academy Redesign and Redevelopment ProjectMy second project of 2015 has finally launched.  The New England Academy located in Beverly, Massachusetts launched their newly re-designed, responsive website on WordPress.

New England Academy is a private, special education school devoted to providing students the academic challenge and clinical support they need to succeed in school.  NEA serves students in grades 7 through 12 with identified social and/or emotional disabilities.

I teamed up once again with Taylor Lee Design Official Website for the new project.  Taylor created the design for the customer while I did the development on the WordPress platform.  I took Taylor’s layered PSDs and created a custom, responsive theme in WP.  I added some additional custom meta boxes within the WordPress admin so NEA staff could easily add content whenever they want.  Custom meta boxes include the featured images shown in the navigation as well as the block quote and image shown on the bottom of the NEA Academic sub-pages.

One of the coolest things I included in this project was the inclusion of the WOW.js.  Taylor wanted to include some fading animations on the site that show up as you scroll.  The WOW.js made this very easy.  You can see the effects of this script on multiple sub-pages of the website.

To wrap up the project I moved over the WP files and MySQL database to their Yahoo! small business web hosting account.  Finished it all up by getting the website Google verified.

If you need a web site re-design, re-platforming or just simple updates, let me know.  I’d be glad to help.  Thanks!

Rent-RetailReady.com Launches New Website

Posted on April 8th, 2015

Rent-RetailReady.comThe first project of MAjor Design’s second year of business has finally launched.  I recently completed a website for a local Home Improvement/Restoration company based in York, PA.  They do it ALL.  They fix up totally destroyed homes and commercial properties so the owner of the property can sell or rent it out.  They also do major and minor home improvements from plumbing issues to roof fixes all the way up to flooring and dry rot repair.  These guys are the guys to call when something is broken.

I know the project manager at Rent-Retail Ready, LLC back from high school.  Being friends on Facebook, he reached out to me when they wanted a new website.  They had a domain but didn’t have access to it anymore.  So I went out and searched for some available domains they could use.  They finally settled on Rent-RetailReady.com.  After that was decided, I setup a hosted WordPress environment and started creating a custom theme.  I used Bootstrap to handle the responsive aspect of the site.  Once the theme was set,  I added their logo and some content and within two weeks, the website was up and running.

This was one of the quicker projects I completed.  If you are looking for a new website or need help maintaining your current website, let me know.

Year in Review (2014)

Posted on December 31st, 2014

MAjor Designs - Year in Review (2014)So in January of 2014 I decided to tackle the dream of starting my own web design/development business.  After weighing out all the pros and cons I pulled the trigger, brought a re-seller hosting package, created a name (thanks to my wife) and MAjor Designs was up and running.  My first year running the business was great.  I was not overload with work but had just enough to keep me busy and move the business forward.  Here are some of the projects I did up in 2014.

JoniBlyDesign.com – This is the official website of graphic designer Joni Blymire based in Gettysburg, PA.  She was my first hosting client.  When she learned I was setting up shop she immediately wanted to move her website and email over to my new hosting setup.  I helped her transfer her website and email from her previous host over to the MAjor Designs’ server.  Joni and I have worked on a variety of other projects both before and during 2014 and will probably work on many more projects in the future.

NOMAOffice.com – The New Oxford Municipal Authority in New Oxford, PA was my first web development job when I started MAjor Designs.  The website’s design was created by Joni Blymire.  Once NOMA Office approved the design, Joni sent me a PDF of the design.  I used that to create a custom WordPress theme for NOMA and created some custom post-types so NOMA staff could add Meeting Minutes, Newsletters, Annual Water Reports and have a way to maintain their staff directory online.  Once it was all developed I created a document so they can update the site themselves and launched it on the new MAjor Designs’ server.

NYSSA-PGA.org – Throughout the year I worked with Joni Blymire to create HTML e-mails for the The New York State Society of Anesthesiologists.  Joni designs the emails and once approved, she sends it over to me to create an email ready HTML file.  I send a test to NYSSA to get approved and once approved, I sent them the .html file which they send through their mass mailing program of choice.  You can see some examples I have done here, here and here.  In 2014 I created a total of 17 HTML emails for NYSSA.

LetsPretend123.com – This project came to me through Matt Haas.  Matt put up a craigslist ad seeking help for a different project.  While that project was starting out, Let’s Pretend contacted Matt about redesigning their site.  They were originally on Joomla! but wanted something more under friendly to update.  Matt and I upgraded them to WordPress and I slapped on the Avada Theme.  Let’s Pretend said they wanted something with “Lots of color and really POPPED”.  They were happy with the end result.

Gallon.com – I have worked with Anne and Dale Gallon for years at Wide Open Communications.  She was quite bummed when I left to seek a new employment opportunity.  However when she heard I started up MAjor Designs, she was ecstatic.  Another company re-designed and re-developed her website on the Magento platform.  Anne hired me to re-do ALL of the framed and unframed graphics for the site.  This came out to over 900 newly created images.  Once Junction Creative Solutions finished the site, we moved it over to my hosting servers, applied a dedicated IP and SSL certificate and the updated Gallon.com was up and running.

TheLongWayPodcast.com – This was my first podcast website I had ever created.  Friends Josh Tauzin and Jeremy Mentzell were looking for a way to setup their podcast.  I oversaw their conversation on Facebook and made a deal with them.  Deal was I’d create, setup and host the site for free if they’d advertise my business on their podcast.  They agreed and I had the site up in a few weeks.  The site is setup on the WordPress platform with a custom theme created by me using Bootstrap as the framework.  I implemented the Blubrry Podcast WordPress plug-in to handle the podcast aspect of the site.  Finally showed Josh and Jeremy how to add new episodes and they launched in July of 2014.  In those few months they posted 13 episodes.

e-RatePA.org – This was the original project that Matt Haas and I were supposed to work on.  After some delays here and there, it finally was completed.  SilverPennyStudios.com did up the design and I implemented their design into a WordPress site.  Matt handled moving the site from the dev environment to the live environment.

BakedInDewey.com – Matt Haas contacted me once again for a very small project.  The owner of Baked Coffee Bar in Delaware wanted a new home page for their Bigcommerce website.  I whipped up a few mock-ups and once one was picked, I applied the HTML and CSS on the home page template and it was a wrap.  The project was done within a weekend.

WACBellaire.com – This was the last website I launched in 2014.  I worked with Taylor Lee on the project.  Taylor did the design and I turn his design into a custom, responsive WordPress theme.  I created some custom post-types so the staff as WAC could update the website themselves.  I provided some documentation on how to maintain the site and it was up and running in no time.

CarbaughFormless.com – This was another client I worked with while at Wide Open Communications.  They have another website called CarbaughConcrete.com (which I designed and developed).  They are opening a new business and needed some illustration work done.  They provided some photos of the equipment they wanted converted into line drawings.  I used Adobe Illustrator to create the graphics and provided them the original files.  They plan to launch their new website in 2015.

To wrap it all up, I developed/re-launched three websites for a client which I can’t talk about due to a non-disclosure agreement.  I also worked with this client on a few minor projects as well.

So it was a productive first year for MAjor Designs.  Launched several websites, setup a PO Box, setup web hosting servers and made some great business connections.  Hoping to hear from everyone in 2015!  Have a great year!

2014 Facebook/Holiday Giveaway

Posted on December 15th, 2014

$25 Amazon.com Gift CardIt’s been a great first year for MAjor Designs.  I had a steady flow of work, got some great clients and my brand’s popularity is slowly growing.  So with me getting so much, I thought I would give back!

I told myself when I reached over 100 likes on the MAjor Designs Facebook page that I would give away a gift card.  Well…that milestone happened last week.  Good timing too as now the card will be shipped out before Christmas.  You still have time to enter as well!

Rules are simple.  Like MAjor Designs on Facebook and then fill out this form here.  As I want to get this card sent out this week, all entries must be submitted by 11:59pm on Tuesday, 12/16/2014 (I know – not much time – sorry).  I will announce the winner on Wednesday, 12/17/20014 and contact the winner via the email address they entered the contest with.

I’m hoping to make this an annual tradition as long as business keeps up.  Hopefully I can get to the point where I can give out multiple gift cards (all depends on how well the business does)

I just want to thank everyone for all the support.  From my family to my friends and all the way down to my clients.  I’m hoping 2015 turns out to be an even better year for MAjor Designs.  Thanks again and have a great holiday!

Some Illustration Work for Carbaugh Formless

Posted on December 8th, 2014

Carbaugh Formless, Glen Rock, PA Power Curber 5700-B IllustrationI was ecstatic when General Manager Jonathan Carbaugh from CarbaughConcrete.com contacted me saying they are working on a new project.  Jon sought me out after working together on CarbaughConcrete.com’s website while I was still at Wide Open Communications.  Their newest project is called Carbaugh Formless.  They purchased a new piece of equipment and wanted some line illustrations of it done up for t-shirt and other screen printing purposes.  Excited to work with Jon again, I didn’t hesitate and immediately accepted the job.

So I blew the dust off of my technical illustrator cap and got to it.  For past illustration work I used Corel Designer but this time around I thought I’d give it a go in Adobe Illustrator.  I ended up creating two different angles of the illustration.  Jon and his team decided to go with one angle over the other and asked for some color variations.  I supplied them with a black & white version, a black, white & red version and finally a full color version.  I sent them high quality JPG files as well as the original AI files for their printers to use.

They were quite happy with the end product and I hope to see what the shirts look like after they are printed.

This project was an excellent change of pace for me.  It took me out the web development area and placed me back into some good ole graphic designing.  Good to know I can still churn out some decent illustration work.

If you are looking to have some illustrations drawn up, some logos designed or a website created, let me know.  I’m always looking for that next project.

WACBellaire.com Gets a New Design on WordPress

Posted on December 5th, 2014

Westheimer Animal Clinic Bellaire Website Before and After Web Designs

I helped launch the new website for Westheimer Animal Clinic located in Bellaire, Texas.

I worked with Taylor Lee who did the new website’s design.  He sent me a layered Adobe Fireworks file which I used to create a custom, responsive WordPress theme based on the Bootstrap framework.

Along with creating the mobile-friendly theme, I also created multiple custom post types so the staff at WAC can easily maintain their website.  To extend their Event page, I included the Events Manager WordPress plug-in so they can easily add events like fundraisers or other events to their website.  I also hooked up other plug-ins like JetPack, All-in-One SEO and the Revolution Slider for their home page.

Once the client gave the okay, I moved the website from the development environment over to their live web host and got the website Google and Bing verified through their Webmaster programs.

If you are looking to redesign your website or looking to extend its functionality, shoot me an email.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

Baked Coffee Bar Custom Home Page

Posted on November 16th, 2014

It’s been awhile since I posted some new work. Luckily Matt Haas reached out with a new, small project.  He needed a custom home page developed for a client of his that has their website hosted on the Bigcommerce platform.  Not having experience with BigCommerce, I was excited to tackle this challenge.

BakedInDewey.com Home Page Design

The work involved wasn’t that intense.  Matt just needed me to create a single page which would become the BakedInDewey.com home page.  After creating a few mock-ups, the page you see on BakedInDewey.com is the one he went with.  So I added some HTML to a new template page that Matt created and added some CSS to the stylehseet and the page was up and running.  I incorporated their MailChimp newsletter sign-up, included some social media icons and links then called it a day. I did incorporate the Bootstrap framework for mobile devices but the site has a dedicated mobile theme so the bootstrap really doesn’t get utilized.

From mock-ups to approvals to going live, the whole project look less then a week.  You can check out the page I created on BakedInDewey.com and even order some great looking baked goods right from their website.

MD Helps Re-develop e-RatePA.org

Posted on August 2nd, 2014

I have helped Matt Haas and Jason Resh from Silver Penny Studio with the development of e-RatePA.org’s new hosted WordPress website.

e-RatePA.org Website Before and After Screenshots

This is the original project Matt posted about when he was seeking a freelance developer on craigslist.  While this was in development, he and I started working on and completed the redesign and development of LetsPretend123.com.

For e-RatePA.org, Matt needed me to implement the (righteous and slick) design created by Jason on to a hosted WordPress platform BUT do it within the already installed Chameleon theme from ElegantThemes.com.  Luckily, the theme had an admin panel with the option to add code to the <head> of the website and a place to add custom CSS.  I was able to match Jason’s design to about 95% of his original vision.

After the design was implemented, there were a few more adjustments.  The next step was moving the website from the development environment to the production environment.  We used the awesome Velvet Blues WordPress plug-in to crawl through and replaced all of the dev URLs with the live URLs.  I had to manually update some URLs within the theme’s admin panel but that was easy.  e-RatePA.org’s system admin then moved all the files, updated the DNS records and the site was up and running.  There may be a few tweaks and adjustments here and there but other than minor issues, the site is up.

That’s another project down here at MAjor Designs.  If you have a web project, web idea or just want to talk about web stuff, shoot me an email and we’ll get the ball rollin’.

Design and Development of The Long Way Podcast Official WebsiteI have just launched a new website for the podcasting duo over at TheLongWayPodcast.com.

Podcasters Josh Tauzin and Jeremy Mentzell were on Facebook wondering how they could publish their podcast.  I jumped in on the conversation saying “you can put it on WordPress, use a plug-in to create a feed and be up and running pretty quickly” which they responded with, “…huh?”.  So we made an agreement that I would design, develop and host their website and podcast episodes in exchange for some ad time on their episodes.  They agreed and we started rockin and rollin.

Josh reached out to his friend Katelynn Foltz to create their logo.  Once that was completed, I began the design process.  Josh and Jeremy stated they wanted something open and clean and perhaps using a blue color scheme.  Going off their input I created a design based on the Bootstrap framework to make custom, responsive theme on the WordPress platform.

Once the design was set, I installed the Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin which is FANTASTIC.  This plug-in is super easy to use and creates feeds which you can submit to iTunes as well as other RSS feed readers.  Once that was configured, I explained to Josh and Jeremy how to add new episodes using the WordPress back-end.

One final piece I implemented was the ability to import tweets from Josh and Jeremy’s twitter accounts.  To do this, I implemented the Twitter Tools plug-in along with the Social plug-in.  Josh and Jeremy synced their accounts in the WordPress admin and it started importing their tweets including their latest tweets.

The entire process took 2 to 3 weeks from design, development to launch.  Jeremy and Josh were both very eager to get the site up and running.  They were both very appreciative of the work I had done that they ended up making a 5 minute promo for me on their first episode.  I highly recommended checking them out and subscribing to their podcast either on iTunes OR through their RSS feed in your preferred podcast app.

If you’re looking to have a web site designed, developed or just need help with your current site, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.  I’m always glad to help and looking for a new project.

Gallon.com Gets a New Host and New Design

Posted on June 23rd, 2014

The official website of Civil War Artist Dale Gallon has been re-designed, re-developed and re-launched at MAjor Designs.

Gallon’s gallery and website manger Anne (also Dale’s wife) has contacted me multiple times after I left Wide Open Communications asking to help re-do their website.  At that time I had just left Wide Open and didn’t have time to dedicate to any web projects (plus didn’t want to make waves with my previous employer).  Almost a year after I left, Anne contacted me saying she was going with Junction Creative Solutions to re-design and re-develop her website.  They re-developed the website on the Magento platform and did a fantastic job.  A few months after starting the development process, Anne contacted me once again.  This time I had begun doing business as MAjor Designs.  Since Junction Creative was doing the website design and development, Anne needed someone to update the images of Dale’s beautiful painted pieces instead of importing the low quality images from the previous site.  Anne and I arranged a time so I could go out and take photographs of Dale’s artwork.  After that, I Photoshopped up some frame templates and re-did every Giclee, Mini Giclee, Limited Edition Print and Mini Print that she sells on the website.  Check out the one comparison below…

I ended up creating over 900 new images as various prints come with various framing options.  Images were created with a minimum width of 1600px to allow image zooming on the website.  You can view them all at Gallon.com. Some of the original site images were transferred over to save time and launch the website. These will be updated over time.

To wrap it all up, I helped with updating the Magneto admin with Anne’s payment processor information and also updated the nameservers on the domain to point to the new MAjor Designs’ server.  I setup the SSL certificate and static IP so her site can perform secure transactions and applied SPAM filtering for her email.

This was MAjor Designs’ first BIG project and I appreciate Anne trusting me enough with her site and images as well as helping me start my business growth.

Looking forward to the next project. If you have a website that needs updated or looking to start a new web project, please let me know.