As a web designer and developer for small businesses, I’m always excited to take on new projects that challenge my creativity and technical skills. When I was approached by Melody, the owner of the popular food blog “Chow With Melody,” I was thrilled to work on her website redesign. Melody wanted to upgrade her existing site design and also migrate it to a more flexible and cost-effective platform. In this article, I’ll take you through the journey of creating the new Chow With Melody website and some the challenges we faced along the way.
When I first met Melody, it was clear that she had a vision for her website. She knew what she wanted, but she also valued my expertise and advice. We discussed her goals, target audience, and the overall aesthetic she desired for the blog. I appreciated her open-mindedness and the opportunity to provide my insights and suggestions. This collaborative approach laid a strong foundation for our partnership.
Some Needed Upgrades
To transform Chow With Melody into a more user-friendly and visually appealing food blog, we identified several key upgrades:
1. Fresh New Design: The existing design felt outdated, so we aimed to give the website a fresh and modern look. We focused on clean typography, vibrant colors, and intuitive navigation to enhance the overall user experience.
2. New Recipe System: The previous recipe system was tightly integrated with the theme, making it inflexible and difficult to manage. We decided to implement an independent recipe system using “recipe cards.” This approach allowed for better organization, searchability, and easier updates.
3. Cost Calculator: Melody wanted to provide her readers with a cost calculator feature to estimate the expenses of each recipe. However, no existing system supported this feature by default. To overcome this, I developed a custom solution that seamlessly integrated the cost calculator into the recipe system.
Throughout the development process, we encountered a few challenges that required creative problem-solving:
1. New Back-End: The migration to a new platform and the overhaul of the recipe system necessitated a complete rework of the back-end. We carefully migrated the data from the old system, ensuring that all recipe information was preserved during the transition.
2. Revamp Tags and Categories: The previous use of tags and categories was inconsistent, often being used interchangeably. After clarifying the differences between them, we established new rules for categorization and developed a comprehensive set of categories. This improved organization and made it easier for users to find specific recipes. I also created a number of new categories that I saw as untapped keywords. This should create some new pages and internal linking that increases the overall footprint of the site which helps greatly with on-page search engine optimization structuring.
3. Recipe Plugin: Selecting the right recipe plugin was crucial for managing the growing recipe database effectively. We wanted a solution that would be future-proof, minimizing the need for extensive data reformatting in the future. After thorough research, we implemented a plugin that aligned with our requirements and provided a seamless user experience.
4. Creating Recipes: With the new changes in place, the recipe creation process became more streamlined and user-friendly. Melody could now easily input the ingredients, instructions, and additional details for each recipe, ensuring that the content was consistently presented.
5. Nutional API: The new recipe plugin is connected to a nutitional API. So for every ingregient entered, the nutritional facts are automatically calculated. Melody already understood that including these nutritional facts are important to her blog, so she used to use a separate program, input her ingredients again to generate a nutional facts report and copy that over into the blog post. Now this step is completely automated!
6. Integrating the Cost Calculator: To avoid manual input duplication, I devised a clever integration of the cost calculator into the recipe plugin. This meant that Melody didn’t have to re-enter recipe ingredients separately, streamlining the overall recipe posting process.
7. Ad Support: As an ad-supported food blog, optimizing ad placement was a significant consideration. Melody and I had several discussions to strike the right balance between user experience and maximizing ad profits. We wanted to ensure that the ads didn’t overwhelm the content and that they seamlessly integrated with the overall design.
8. Timing: We made a decision to revamp the graphics towards the end of the website development process. While this added some extra time to the project, it allowed us to give the site an even more polished and visually appealing look. Acquiring a new graphic designer at that stage was a smart move, as their expertise elevated the overall design of the website and added that extra touch of professionalism.
While the journey to revamp Chow With Melody took longer than anticipated, it was all worth it in the end. As with any project, there were roadblocks and unexpected challenges along the way. However, these obstacles allowed us to refine our ideas, improve the website, and deliver a top-notch experience for Melody’s audience.
So It Took a Bit Longer.. Annoying But Not Necessarily A Bad Thing!
As a perfectionist, I believe that quality and attention to detail should never be compromised. I wanted to ensure that every aspect of the website was meticulously crafted and aligned with Melody’s vision. The extra time invested allowed us to refine the design, implement robust functionalities, and ensure a smooth user experience.
Thank You Melody!
Throughout this journey, I had the pleasure of working with Melody, who is as sweet and passionate as her blog suggests. I highly recommend visiting her website where you can discover a treasure trove of mouth-watering recipes, cooking tips, and delightful culinary adventures. Melody also has a blog post about this website overhaul! Check out her side of this story from her blog post!
You can also find Melody on various social media platforms:
Melody’s genuine passion for food, combined with her warm personality, shines through her blog and social media presence. Be sure to follow her for delicious recipes, culinary inspiration, and a delightful journey into the world of food. Sign up for her newsletter and never miss a single recipe!
The journey of creating a new food blog for Melody was both challenging and rewarding. From upgrading the design to implementing a custom recipe system and integrating a cost calculator, we overcame various technical hurdles. The collaboration between Melody and our team led to a stunning website that not only reflects her culinary expertise but also provides an enjoyable experience for her readers.
If you’re a small business owner or blogger looking to elevate your online presence, consider the expertise of Orange County Web Design & Development. We specialize in creating tailor-made websites that meet your specific needs while combining functionality, aesthetics, and user experience seamlessly. Contact us today to discuss how we can help bring your vision to life.