I was acquainted with Tiffany Ryan from the days when our family lived in the Applegate Valley. I had also made a website for Barb Wallgren of Cowboy flowers (she retired from that now), which was located on the property where Tiffany had her business, Ryan’s Outpost/Outpost Farm & Garden. I hadn’t heard from her in ages, so it was a doubly welcome surprise when she called to ask if I had time in my schedule to build her ecommerce website. She had already set up tifstradingpost.com with WordPress and had hoped to build it herself with the ecommerce theme she had chosen, but found she simply did not have the time to do that and manage her business, too. I was happy to be able to offer her my service in building out the website for her.
tifstradingpost.com – Getting Started
Since the website was new, no redirects were required, so I went to work setting up the details of the WooCommerce shopping cart and installed my essential plugin suite, which includes security and SEO plugins. I suggested that, since Tif has a physical location for her new business Tif’s Trading Post, that she invest in the Local SEO extension to the free Yoast SEO plugin. When I explained that this increases her ranking in local search results, she agreed this was a good call. You can see the automatically generated output of the plugin in the sidebar of the about page screenshot below. The plugin also provides “schema” output that’s only visible to the search engines and helps them understand many of the details of a business website. Some of the information, such as location, opening hours, and phone number, will be displayed in the info box some businesses get on the right hand side of search results as well.
My new favorite security plugin in BulletProof Security Pro, and I install it on every new/redesigned website I work on. It’s complex, but effective, and replaces the multiple plugin setup I used to use.
Tiffany sent me pictures of the Trading Post, which I used to create a slider on the home page. Her thought was that the consignment shop would get most of its business locally, and that the website would extend the availability of her items beyond her local area. Brilliant! The pictures assure visitors—whether local or out of town—that there is a real business behind the website, and gives locals a look at it so they will recognize the location when driving by.
New-Commerce Theme Features and Customizations
I found the theme developer to be very helpful with a couple of issues I experienced while working with tifstradingpost.com. The theme itself is very clean, and comes with a default white and grey color scheme with red accents. I loved the ability to post a little sitewide notice at the bottom of each page, alerting shoppers that they should contact Tiffany for shipping quote if they were out of area buyers who would not be able to pick up their purchases. It’s really handy that people can mouse over a product image on the home page to see it expand, offering them the choice of clicking to visit the details page or to add it to their cart immediately.
Still, the site needed some personalization to really make it Tiffany’s. She said “If you can make it pretty, that would be great!” The pictures of the great second hand and consignment items had already made it look much nicer, and she had selected the fonts herself, but the color scheme still left much to be desired. The theme offered other color schemes, but none of them looked very “Tiffany.” So I embarked on the color customizations on my own, using the fact that she is a rather “woodsy” kind of lady and her business is located in a woodsy area to guide my decisions. I combed through all the text and link styles, changing the colors to ones that would complement the background and accent colors I had already chosen. She really liked the way it changed the look and feel of the site, but it still needed something. Back to the css styling drawing board, I rounded the corners of the product excerpt boxes and sidebar information widgets, adding drop shadows for greater depth and dimension. This wound up adding a little extra to the original estimate I have given her, but she was so happy with the way it came out that she didn’t mind at all. The bonus was that the theme developer himself gave us a lovely compliment on our customizations!