Latest project: Re-designing the Rusty’s Remuda website
“I love my website now. It’s the website I wanted and didn’t think I could have.”
Mary, the creator of the Rusty’s Remuda Children’s Book series told me this on the phone as we finished her project.
I never get tired of hearing those words, because it means so much to the person saying them.
One of my recent projects was to rebuild a site for Mary. She is a children’s author who had worked with various website designers over the years. She was disappointed three different times.
Each time, she expected that this time, she would finally get the website she was looking for, that reflected her stories and supported her business. Each time, she got something else.
Finally, she called me. And the Rusty’s Remuda website rebuild project began.
At first, we fixed her store – just a simple change. She sells her books on her website, and the store was missing a crucial step that would allow people to actually buy books. One little piece complete.
Next, we looked at the design, the content, the graphics, and the feel of the site. While it “wasn’t bad” – there was so much we could do to make the website truly reflect her wonderful, unique books.
Our goal was to make coming to her website feel like stepping into the pages of her books.
We wanted her site to fit her business and help her customers. They should be able to buy her books – easily.
They should be able to find all the information they want about the author, the illustrator (her daughter), the characters, and the books.
All the changes
We changed the logo.
Next, we re-designed the site to help visitors know immediately what Rusty’s Remuda is about.
We added new photos of Mary and her daughter, taken by talented local photographer.
Her daughter illustrates her books with beautiful watercolor illustrations. We used as many of these illustrations as we could reasonably fit on the site, in digitized form. The illustrations bring Rusty’s Remuda’s world to life on the pages of Mary’s books, and they do the same for the website.
We added the awards that two of the books have received, both the Reader’s Choice award and the National Book Festival list selection.
We added Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi’s review, with a photo of him reading one of the books.
And we added a special hand-written thank-you note from one of Rusty’s fans. These words and others like them from the children whose lives are touched by these stories are Mary’s motivation.
To help fans keep in touch, we added a newsletter subscription. Mary can send emails to the subscribers to let them know when there are new books or other important events.
And a news page with videos of Rusty and other news posts for fans to keep up with Rusty’s Remuda’s latest.
We edited all the content, renamed the navigation links, added items to the store, and changed the colors.
With each change, the website looked more like a Rusty’s Remuda book.
With each new feature, the website became more of a resource for Rusty’s fans.
We finally changed the website domain from RustytheRanchHorse.com to RustysRemuda.com, in honor of Rusty, who is no longer with us.
We did it!
And at the end, one of those fans sent this message to Mary:
“Your Facebook took me right to your beautiful, easy to use website. I love it! It was so easy to order and look through the books. Super impressive!!! And btw… you and your daughter look so gorgeous on the front page picture!!! It really is so awesome. I got a confirmation email that was simple, easy, and just plain adorable with Rusty. It is all so cute. Super excited to get our order! And it only took a minute to find what I wanted and put in my info. My address auto-filled and normally that would not be the case.”
And that’s the whole point of all the work —
and the hours spent making 16 different logos variations, only to make the final choice in two minutes —
that Rusty’s Remuda children’s books are for children, for families, and they leave a lasting legacy in those small minds.
So the website is not a just a marketing tool, an e-commerce store, or a few facts about Rusty.
It’s a way for Rusty’s family – Mary, the creator of the books, Roslan, her daughter and the illustrator, and all the readers and Rusty fans – to stay connected with Rusty and his friends – Rusty’s Remuda.
Check out Rusty’s Remuda – it is live at rustysremuda.com!
You can also see this website and my other work in my Portfolio.