‘Tis the season to be merry, and to shop, and to visit all your friends and family, and to stress, and to send a holiday card to everyone you know. We can’t help you with all of that but we discovered a stunning Yola built website that offers a brilliant collection of holiday greetings. Liz Malwitz is a designer and illustrator and she needed an easy to use website builder to get her business online and to showcase her vibrant artwork.
Liz details her journey to design and create her business website below. We were wowed by her research and preparation process and flattered that she chose Yola as her partner. We hope you are as inspired by what she was able to create with her single-page design as we are.
As a longtime print designer, I knew nothing about HTML code in order to build and maintain my business website. Hiring a web designer to translate my layout and self-hosting seemed expensive, cumbersome and unnecessary.
Wasn’t there a better way to build a website? “Drag and drop” seemed to be the answer and the journey to choose the right host began over a year ago.
I bought several books featuring attractive yet functional website layouts and invested a lot of hours reading, surfing and learning—filling a sketchbook with thumbnails and notes. Through limited trial offers, I tinkered with experimental site designs on lots of other hosts, comparing the benefits and frustrations of each one. Eventually, paralysis-by-analysis set in—I needed to stop browsing and start building. By process of elimination, Yola was the right choice for me because it empowered creative flexibility through an unpretentious interface.
Earlier this year, I’d read that the trend for artists’ websites was toward single-page design where basic, bulk information is accessible without ever leaving the home page. The boundary of a single page fostered compact
efficiency and challenged me to design the entire layout “above the fold”. And the site needed to be interactive and convey what my company was about without having an “about” page.
Construction of the layout began with a screenshot of the Clean Slate template imported into Photoshop. This served as the foundation for building the overall design—going back and forth between Yola’s sitebuilder and my Photoshop file to make sure the layout fit and functioned correctly. The final background is a single .png image and the banner is a separate .png file. Most of the text is part of the background art, while the remaining text was set with the text widget because I needed to include an external link. I used the HTML widget to import the slideshow generated at Kizoa.com, adjusting the width and height proportionately to fit the space. Instead of using individual art images, space-saving collages were easily created with free Picasa software to fit the portfolio sidebar (imported with the Flickr gallery widget); while buttons (imported as pictures) take the visitor to external shops and other sites.
I love the ability to easily change the backgrounds, banners and column layouts of individual pages within the same site. The HTML widget to copy-and-paste code from third-party vendors is also a great feature. The straightforward blog manager and real-time updates are a breath of fresh air. And the Yola customer service reps are professional, dependable, friendly…and very patient.
It was a long journey—but I’m at home on Yola.—Liz Malwitz
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