See more in my portfolio entry here:
Hannah West Design Now Secure!
Hannah West Design is now secured with a brand new SSL certificate! On January 14, we migrated www.hannahwestdesign.com to a new hosting service. This is NameCheap hosting, which we want to try out on behalf of our starving artist clients to find out if hosting service compares well to other hosts who don’t have the same affordable pricing.
In addition, Google is now promoting sites that are protected with SSL encryption and demoting those without it by placing an “Unsecured Site” flag (similar to the “This site might be hacked” flag we sometimes see) next to any website which does not have SSL. This is part of a widespread movement to encrypt the web (Learn more at Let’sEncrypt.org). With that in mind, we decided to make the switch to SSL encryption at the same time. As a result, our updated address is https://www.hannahwestdesign.com. We’re proud of that beautiful green padlock displaying in the address bar now!
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. A correctly installed SSL certificate encrypts all information transmitted to and from your website. This protects your private information when visiting the site, from which pages you visit to sharing to submitting contact forms to purchasing online. Websites with contact forms, login pages, online shops, etc. can all benefit from the added security provided by this encryption. Visitors will feel more secure interacting with your site, which is a huge bonus. Importantly, each certificate comes with a guarantee, so if a malicious entity subjects you to liability for damage to a visitor, you will receive a settlement form the certificate issuer. This amount varies with the level of certificate used, but starts at $10,000.
There was a time when conventional wisdom said that applying SSL to an entire website would make its pages load more slowly. However, recent advice from numerous experts in the field now assures us that the opposite is now true. And we are seeing our website load with a bit more spring in its step today…the ultimate proof.
The process of implementing SSL can be simple and painless, but it can also be rather harrowing. For me it was somewhere in between those extremes. I have been through this before on client sites as well. While some need extra attention for various reasons, most of the time it’s complete—including all the content tweaks needed for that lovely green padlock to display—in 2–4 hours.
To increase your standing with the search engines, additional tasks are necessary. Once the SSL is in place, we need to make adjustments in Google Webmaster Tools so they can direct traffic to the secure version of your site. We also need to adjust your Google Analytics account so traffic stats will continue to be collected accurately.
Pricing and Other Requirements
Many things related to SSL certificates have changed in the last couple of years. For one thing, they used to be very expensive. While prices for certificates to protect sites that don’t involve e-commerce have become quite affordable, there are now free certificates available from Let’s Encrypt. The catch is that not all hosts have a quick and easy way to install them and the process of doing it manually can take a good deal of time. Furthermore, some hosts—like Ipower—refuse to allow third-party certificates to be installed on their servers. While we could have used Cloudflare on our site, we opted for a Comodo Positive SSL certificate, which NameCheap offers for only $1.99 the first year. Renewals are a very reasonable $9.00/year with discounts for advance purchase up to three years. That’s a big discount from the same certificate on Ipower ($31.99) and Bluehost’s for $4.17/month. What’s the catch? You have to have your website hosted with NameCheap too. Also very inexpensive, so definitely worth considering.
Previously you had to have a dedicated IP address (the numerical equivalent of your web address) for an SSL certificate. This meant you had to have private hosting (expensive) or pay a monthly fee of $4.99-6.99 PER MONTH to have a dedicated IP added to your otherwise reasonably-priced shared hosting. Because unique IP addresses have become more and more rare, this prerequisite has been lifted by many certificate issuers and hosts. Instead, they tie the certificate identity to the domain instead of the server IP. All this has made SSL encryption more affordable to the average website owner. The benefits are greater now too.
Benefits of SSL Encryption
Some hosts provide free SSL certificates, but most do not. These free certificates may have downsides you’d rather not deal with. We found that Bluehost’s free SSL, issued by Comodo, only covers the root domain (https://your-domain.com) and NOT the www version. Big problem for sites installed with www.your-domain.com addresses. We can avoid this with the use of Cloudflare. Though it’s a completely different setup, their free certificate will cover both the bare domain and the www version. Entry-level SSL certificates have become much more affordable than they once were, too.
I’m ready to begin helping others to make this important change as well. I’ve learned the ins and outs of what is possible and what is not on several hosts. I can inform you of your options and advise you on which is the best choice for the money.
If you’re not sure you even want to deal with this undertaking or not, please consider the benefits:
- Receive payments through your ecommerce website – Most payment gateways now require SSL, even PayPal
- Give your visitors greater confidence in the security of their transactions, interactions with your site, and personal information
- Limit liability for identity theft
- Boost page load times
- Greater protection from hackers
- Prevent unknown people snooping on activity to and from your website
- Boost your SEO
- Participate in the movement to encrypt the entire web
Are you ready to apply SSL to your own website and enjoy these benefits? Please contact me!
If you need a new website or another online service, please visit some of the sites I have designed using the links to my clients below. Many of them are also represented on my Portfolio page, where you can read my comments about the project. While I’m always happy to start from scratch when building new sites, any one of the sites below could be reproduced and updated with your own content to save on costs.
Oh, it’s SO embarrassing! As they say, the cobbler’s kids go barefoot…and the we designer’s website is chronically in need of updating! Contrary to what you see below, I did continue building new website in 2019, and have even gotten one completed already in February 2020. I’ve updated the links below to include the best projects from 2019-20 to date on 2/18/2020.
New websites are underway now and there are more waiting in the wings. I’ll try to be better about updating this post wo there will always be links to my best and most recently completed sites for you to see.
** E-Commerce examples
*** Custom websites I’m exceptionally proud to have designed and/or customized.
Web Design Clients:
Websites for Small Business
- ** ***DriFlower™ The Original HangHarvesting™ System – NEW! 2020 new website.
Custom e-commerce website, https://DriFlower.com! The site went live on Saturday, August 1 after starting work on June 3. Many grateful thanks to DriFlower founder and CEO Jay Larkins for the opportunity! Kudos to Marketing Director Jon Griffin for a productive working partnership on the site design and content. #DriFlower makes #hangharvesting equipment that reduces harvest time and cost while preserving precious flower from harvest to trim. Revolutionizing the cannabis and hemp industries with game-changing harvest equipment! Thanks for the referral, David!
- *** The Indigo Grill – NEW! 2020 new website. Tara and her daughter Beth opened this great restaurant in Ruch, heart of the Applegate Valley, just one month before calling me to create a new website for them. Then things got so busy they had trouble getting information and materials to me…and then the coronavirus pandemic happened. This gave them more time to work with me and the site progressed rapidly from there, complete with coronavirus updates and new takeout menus. it’s no surprise that these talented women rocketed to success! Their food and service is exceptional and they are both lovely people and attentive hostesses. Thanks for the referral, Lauren!
- ** *** Hot Diggity Dog Wear – NEW! 2020 new website. Nadine recently moved to our area and wanted to reinvent herself after 40 years of professional patternmaking. Her adorable fleece dog coats and hoodies(!!) have made her an overnight sensation in town, and her dog bandanas and scarves keep beloved pups cozy when it’s not cold enough to cover up with a coat. This site features a full e-commerce online shop with a Facebook mirror shop, customer action shot gallery, and more features are coming soon. I designed the logo and the website from scratch. Adorable website and products, and a joy to work on. Thanks for the referral, Paul!
- *** Affordable Catering Orange County– NEW! 2020 website conversion to WordPress and Redesign. Al is a caterer and SEO marketing expert in Orange County, CA. I created a great website for his NYC Cafe & Catering business a few years ago and he sold the business in 2018. His catering website needed to be converted to WordPress in order to make it mobile-friendly. Then the scope of the project changed to include redesigning many segments of it as well. In the end, a tasty site that definitely encourages San Juan Capistrano locals and visitors to call him for their catered events and corporate lunches! Thanks for the referral, Christina!
- *** Giclée Yoshimatsu – NEW! 2019 new website. A dear friend of another client of mine, the proprietor of Giclée Yoshimatsu decided it was time for a website to complement his flourishing fine art printing business. I’m grateful that he chose me to do the work, as it’s a lovely, minimalist site with certain traits that set it apart from the rest. Yoshimatsu offers fine art printing both in Arkansas where he’s based and throughout the West. He also does his own fine art photography, which you can see on the site. He has connections to places where West Coast artists can show in the Southwest, making him a doubly valuable ally. Artist Genie Talbott, mentioned below in the Websites for Artists section, has used him for her fine art prints for years. Artist Brenda Mills Brannan, mentioned below in the Websites for Artists section, liked the layout of his new website so much that we used it for her new website, too. Thanks for the referral, Genie!
- *** Tachi Skin Care – NEW! 2019 HTML to WordPress conversion and hosting migration for an aesthetician who started her practice in southern Oregon but needed a fresh online presentation after moving to Portland. We preserved the design of her existing website while converting it to the WordPress platform, adding new content and features, and hooking her up with a blog and Mailchimp newlsetters. Thanks for the referral, John!
- ***Spa Jacksonville – 2018 HTML to WordPress conversion and hosting migration for a long-established and beloved local business. We largely preserved the minimalist, clean and spare design while adding new content and features, including bios for each of the professionals on staff. Look for a new ecommerce feature (Square) with Spa’s custom skincare products AND for the therapists of Spa to begin blogging soon! Thanks for the referral, Mary!
- ** ***American Memorycraft – 2018 New website for American MemoryCraft in Grants Pass. Owner Eli Beard (also known locally as the owner of Rogue Art Glass) employs 12 master glass blowers to create the company’s gorgeous cremation urns. Photographs of their work made creating a beautiful website a delight, and Eli’s desire to include plenty of interesting historical information and more made it a well-rounded site as far as content, too. The WooCommerce catalog that becomes a full-featured online shop when a member (limited to his wholesale national distributors, which include Forest Lawn and more industry-wide stars) logs in was a complex undertaking, but it’s working beautifully and has prepared me to do more sites along these lines.
- *** Talent Club Live – 2018 New website for the Talent Club, a beloved and historic dive bar in Talent, Oregon. The new owners of this classic venue wanted to put their emphasis on live music. In addition to local bands and comedy performers, they book loads of bands traveling up and down the I-5 corridor, so it’s become a real mainstay as a local venue showcasing top-shelf live music. Though a one-page site with modest content, the design is unique and includes an event calendar I update regularly with the concerts and comedy performances performing there the following month. NOTE: We are adding several significant updates starting in February 2020, so watch for new content on the website! Thanks for the referral, Lauren!
- *** Home For Sale Site – 2018 New website for an individual putting her Three Pines Ranch custom log home up for sale. An experienced home renovator and reseller, she wasn’t satisfied with the online presentation her realtor had established. We worked hard on this one and in the end we dispensed with the photo gallery, using the video with pictures of the home to provide this essential element. This site could easily be converted for the sale of any home, and adding a slideshow of images of the home would be a simple addition. THIS SITE IS NO LONGER ONLINE. PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE LAYOUT AND DESIGN FOR YOUR OWN REAL ESTATE FOR SALE WEBSITE.
- Ryan’s Outpost – 2017 New website, SEO, maintenance and content updates for the iconic Applegate Valley business.
- ** *** Carpe Diem Papers – 2017 Redesigned website and massive overhaul for an Ashland, OR greeting card designer with newly added ecommerce capabilities and Mailchimp integration; maintenance and content updates.
- The Finishing Touch – 2017 New one-page website for a very talented furniture restoration professional in Grants Pass, Oregon.
- *** Mountain Sun Botanicals – 2016 Southern Oregon medical marijuana grower site conversion from html to WordPress, preserving home page design and redesigning subpages, setting up custom Google Suite busine emails, SSL.
- *** Meta Physical Therapy & Pilates – 2016 New website, ongoing maintenance. I just love the new website created for H. Kate Huckert, DPT, in 2016. Her fondness for the Oriental aesthetic is expressed beautifully in this layout and design. I have the same soft spot, for Asian design so this was particularly rewarding for me personally.
- *** Ruch Hardware – 2016 New website, SEO, maintenance and content updates. This site has personality plus, like its owner, and is quite the community hub in the Ruch/Applegate Valley area. Tiffany updates her blog regularly, so it’s a great community resource. Thanks for the referral, Tiffany!
- Iris Colored Dreams – 2016 New website, SEO, maintenance for Silhouette, an Ashland woman practicing in the blind psychic tradition. In 2020 we added an e-commerce feature so people could subscribe to read her “Tales That Told Themselves” as she releases them. Some of these Tales are in prose form while others are videos. All are fascinating and add a wonderful new dimension to her website.
- Ashland Archival Printing – 2015 Website Redesign, SEO, maintenance for a Talent, Oregon fine art giclee printing company. Thanks for the referral, Pegi!
- C St Bistro – 2015 Website redesign with WordPress conversion, SEO, maintenance for a local casual gourmet restaurant.
- *** Markwood Heavenly Strings & Cases 2014 Site redesign/conversion to WordPress and content updates for a Talent, OR woman who creates custom harp strings and more. A nicely streamlined site with great graphics to text balance.
- ** *** Dodero Studio Ceramics – For the past few years I have mostly worked with John Dodero on search engine optimization for his Raku pottery e-commerce (WooCommerce) website. However, eventually this emphasis on SEO demanded that we merge his HTML site with his blog in 2014 and converted from an outdated theme to a modern one that is mobile-friendly while preserving the site’s original design in 2015–early 2016. We continue to work together to add new content, new products, and keep the search engine optimization…optimized.
- Shosha Yoga – 2011 New website.
- Maggie’s Place – One of my first clients (2010), Maggie’s site is an original html design.
Community, Non Profit & Association Websites
- Aircraft Design Guide – 2020 New website. My client, Don Chapin, who gave me the redesign/WordPress conversion jobs for buddha-consciousness.org, light-path-resources.org, and militarytruth.org, was a military man and an aerospace engineer earlier in his life. There was a particular project he had been closely involved with over the course of many years. This involved researching materials and and creating design recommendations for more effective windshields for military aircraft that would withstand the impact of hitting a bird at jet speeds. When trying to find the extensive research he and his colleague had written up during that time in online military libraries he couldn’t find one thing. It turned out that the lone copy he had of the aircraft windshield design guide they had written was the only one in existence! So he handed me the 2000 page book and asked me to first scan the entire book into a searchable pdf file (a monumental task in itself!) and then create a simple website to share the book with interested parties who might be searching for such a resource. It’s not complex or extensive, but a pride and joy website nonetheless. How often does one get called in to help preserve information gained at great cost that would otherwise be lost forever? I’m honored to have been entrusted with this task. Thank you, Don!
- *** Lithia Artisans Market – 2018 New website for the Lithia Artisans Market (LAMA), in Ashland, Oregon. The volunteers who manage the group’s online presence had been using a free site at WordPress.com for years and decided it was finally time to go for their own self-hosted website. Having access to numerous resources, including their own designer and photographer, made building this site a joy, and the final result sent us all over the moon. We may be adding more features and content to it in the future…if the coronavirus lets this popular outdoor market come back in 2021, that is.
- *** The Buddha Consciousness – 2017 Website migration to new host and redesign for the first of three sites owned by an online free church, Light Path Resources. Ongoing maintenance and content updates.
- *** Light Path Resources – 2017 Website migration to new host and redesign for the second of three sites owned by an online free church, Light Path Resources. Ongoing maintenance and very frequent content updates.
- *** Military Truth – 2017 Website migration to new host and redesign for a nonprofit seeking to educate people considering enlisting in the Armed Forces so they know what they’re getting into. Ongoing maintenance and very frequent content updates.
- *** Jennifer Faith – 2014 Design, SEO and maintenance for a site that supports victims of domestic violence and abuse. Best for a blogger with great featured images, as the Home page depends on excerpts for the design.
- Art Presence Art Center – 2012 New website for a local nonprofit art gallery. Our ongoing work includes maintenance, social media support and content updates. I also write a monthly article for Art Presence which is published in the Jacksonville Review.
- *** Southern Oregon Artists Resource – Launched 1/1/2010, currently being redesigned behind the scenes and will ultimately merge with the blog. This is an example of a successful, large and very complex project which I created from scratch. I’m eager to get the new site completed and launched!
- Southern Oregon Artists Resource Companion Blog, Art Matters – Launched 3/2010, currently being redesigned behind the scenes and will be merged with the directory site above. Watch for the completion of this enormous project!
- *** Marie’s Baskets – NEW! 2019 New website. Marie contacted me to convert her old website to WordPress and freshen the content. It wound up being a bigger job than we anticipated, and the new baskets we added to the site are stunners! The site is lovely, uncluttered and clean, and the wares are well worth visiting to see!
- *** Glenn J Hill, Author – NEW! 2019 New website. I had worked on Glenn’s harp website and his wife’s harp string website for several years when he wrote a book, got it published, and asked me to build a website for it. This was a super fun website to create and it came out really lovely. You might like his book, too, the first in a series of three with more to come soon. Check it out!
- *** Sculptor Jay Warren – NEW! 2019 New website. Jay’s Warren Sculpture website had gotten quite dated and he no longer had time to update the content himself, so he approached me to redesign it, moving to the WordPress platform. Jay is no joke – his magnificent life size bronze statues and monuments have been commissioned by top players across the country. His work is amazing, and his website is now a wonderful setting in which to showcase it. You really must visit to see his bronzes!
- *** Brenda Mills Brannan – NEW! 2019 New website. Brenda had just moved to the area and her website had been down for over a year as she and her husband built their new home. I was delighted that she contacted me when she was ready to get back online with a new website! Her art is so beautiful and she chose a design format for her site that’s a departure from the usual. Please check it out and see for yourself!
- *** Indigenous Spirit – NEW! 2019 New website. Blindish artist Silhouette created some amazing art as she was losing her eyesight to Graves disease. Check out the amazing videos she made and posted online just for people to enjoy. Thanks for the second website assignment, Silhouette!
- *** Wing Tips HA! 2018 New website. Artist Leslie Dwyer started this site but quickly found herself out of time, so I took it from the bare bones start she had accomplished to completion. Her goal for this website was to establish the value of her Wing Tips — humorous and uniquely rendered single-frame advice “comics” — prior to presenting the idea to publishers so she can print a gift book containing them. Once I had the site completed, Leslie scheduled a years’ worth of Wing Tips to publish one or two every week. She is quickly gaining a devoted following, myself included, which I truly hope ends up in a successful publishing deal for her. Once you’ve seen this one, check out her Design4Peace.com website, with loads of terrific social justice poster designs! Leslie is amazing.
- ** Beste Art – 2017 Redesign – I had already worked on artist Patrick Beste’s website for some time, providing ongoing content updates, SEO and SSL installation. In 2017 he decided that he wanted it completely redesigned and an online shop (WooCommerce) for his artwork added. His abstract artwork made designing the site really fun.
- *** Ray Pague – 2017 New artist website. You must see Ray’s beautiful work and unique style of painting! He and his wife contacted me to create his new website as soon as they moved here from North Carolina, where he is well known for his art. Another artist website of which I’m especially proud.
- Kirsten Meriwether Art – 2017 New artist website. Kirsten and her sister had gotten her new site started, but Kirsten ran out of time to finish the work herself, so she called me. We got her artwork up in categorized portfolio galleries in no time!
- Carla J Griffin – 2016 New Website, maintenance and content updates
- Tina Hutton – – 2016 WordPress Conversion, redesign and SEO
- *** Catherine Anderson, AWS -2015 Massive overhaul including redesign, SEO and security measures. A work still in progress, and one I’m especially proud of. Be sure to visit and see her award winning watercolors!
- ** *** Linda Abblett Watercolors – 2015 HTML to WordPress conversion with redesign and added e-commerce (WooCommerce), maintenance and content updates, SSL added 2017. Another beautiful custom site I’m proud to have been chosen to create.
- *** Butterfly’s Web – 2015 New Website, logo update, maintenance and content updates for a very talented fiber artist who spins natural fibers in to yarn and dyes them with a range of synthetic and natural dyes, some made from plants that grow on her farm! Colorful, beautiful site with an active blog.
- *** Michael Carpenter, OPA – 2015 New website, maintenance. A very handsome website for an exceptionally talented and experienced artist.
- *** Pat Moore Photography 2015 New website, maintenance, SEO services for a fabulous photographer. We plan the addition of ecommerce and SEO to this site in 2018.
- ** *** Kim Novak – 2014 New website with e-commerce (PayPal), maintenance and content updates, SSL added 2017. A conservative site which showcases this beloved actress’ incredibly creative pastel and oil paintings, accompanied by her original poetry. We have worked closely together over the years and the new paintings and poetry we have added just keep making it better and better as time goes on.
- *** Pegi Smith – 2014 Migration to new host, massive website redesign and SEO, ongoing maintenance and content updates, added SSL in 2016. A complex and extensive artist website of which I’m especially proud. Pegi’s dreamy paintings are amazing to work with and make the site especially stunning visually.
- Lori Garfield, Animal Artist – 2014 New website, maintenance and content updates
- Judy Buswell Watercolors – 2014 HTML to WordPress conversion with redesign, maintenance and content updates. Judy’s watercolors have been popular for decades, and the greeting cards and other products her licensed works decorate are best-sellers still.
- *** Mountain Glen Harps – 2014 New website, SEO, maintenance.
- Eve Margo Withrow – 2014 New Website, maintenance and content updates
- Elaine Frenett Watercolors – 2014 New Website, maintenance and content updates
- ** Wendy Gell Jewelry & Art – 2014 Massive website redesign plus e-commerce (WooCommerce) and ongoing maintenance
- Billye Woodford – 2013 New Website, based on the customized site I created for the late Boni de Laire earlier that year.
- Joan Pechanec – 2013 New Website, maintenance and annual content updates. Joan needed a budget solution for her site and I worked with her to display the maximum number of paintings (40) possible while keeping costs at a minimum. The new site landed Joan her first solo show at the Orlando Art Center the same year it was launched! After painting for nearly a year to have enough work to fill the space, she sold nearly all of the works on display. A super rewarding outcome, for sure.
- Catie Faryl – 2012 New Website. SSL added 2016.
- Silvia Rothschild Trujillo – 2011 New Artist Website; 2015 WordPress Conversion and redesign.
- RioQuerencia Fine Art Images – 2010 New custom HTML website for a wonderful fine art photographer.
SSL Installation, SEO, Maintenance, and Hosting Migration Client Links
- Angela Meer – Author and Writing Coach – I migrated Angela’s very complex website to a new host and extended her existing SSL certificate to cover the entire website in 2016
- Romancing the West I’ve been maintaining this website for singer/songwriter and producer of Romancing the West® since 2012 with both content updates and site maintenance. During that time I’ve restored it from a hack attack, migrated their website to new hosting, installed their SSL certificate and posted dozens and dozens of tour dates, as well as a few client-directed experiments. I also formatted/edited a children’s book for them in 2017 and design/update the new concert posters for their biannual tours.
- Stefan Baumann, Plein Air Artist This was a massive search engine optimization (SEO) project that required reorganizing the entire site’s content and pointing two no longer used, but very important, domains to his new site. Working with his assistant Kris Baxter, I also designed and formatted a catalog for a large art show of Stefan’s work in southern California.
- Talbott Studios – A wonderful artist who specializes in animals (particularly horses and equine art). Genie also designs gorgeous wine labels and more. I began with search engine optimization and content updates for her, and have been working with her site for several years. We will redesign and convert it to WordPress soon.
More exciting projects are in the works and others are lined up. It will be so fun to complete them and share the links here. If you are currently in need of a website, contact me today to get your project underway!
I’m very grateful to have been invited by the Southern Oregon Association of Artists (SOSA) to give a presentation at their February 2015 members meeting on Monday, February 23 at 7pm! I’m posting this presentation document, “Help Your Website Help You,” so those who attend can download it to their computers for reference.
The FCC will take its most important vote on internet on February 26. If you don’t want to be relegated to an internet slow lane while mega corporations get a fast lane reserved just for them and those who will pay extra for it, take action now!
It’s important to keep your copyright notice updated from year to year to protect your intellectual property and your reputation, and it’s that time of year. If you don’t know how to change the copyright notice on your website or just don’t have time to figure it out, please contact me at email@example.com or call 541.899.2012 to request this change. It’s quick and easy, so it’s inexpensive too. Happy New Year!!
I’m so excited to be starting new websites today!
The first is a revamp of a website that sells harp strings, converting it to the WordPress platform and making a beautiful, modern presentation that will make them shine at the convention they’re going to later this month! Short deadline…
The second is an artist website. We’ll be updating content as well as converting it to WordPress and redesigning the site to show off the artist’s work more effectively. First we’ll update her current home page, and when she returns from a 10 day trip we’ll get going on the conversion to the new platform and adding fresh content.
There are others winding down that I will be able to announce soon, and others in the queue. If you were thinking of contacting me about a new or revamped website, don’t worry. I can handle several projects at once, as there is usually quite a bit of “work then wait” that happens when developing a website.
Thanks to everyone for entrusting me with the hub of their online presence!
Well, there has been a lot happening at Hannah West Design this year, despite the fact that I haven’t been posting about it…I simply haven’t had time to keep my blog updated! But this volunteer project deserves to be first in line in my game of catch-up ball.
I met “Mother of Hope” Adah Mbah of Cameroon through WorldPulse.com, an incredibly warm and supportive global community of women founded by Jensine Larsen of Portland, Oregon. What a brainchild Jensine gave birth to! Many of these women are beautiful writers, activists working on behalf of women’s rights, ending gender-based violence, environmental causes and more. The site itself concentrates on digital empowerment for women and girls around the world, helping them to find their voice and broadcast it over the internet by providing digital empowerment resources, a venue for support and overwhelming encouragement, and opportunities of many types to women. Though I had been a member since 2010, I recently became active there to help my daughter Jennifer Faith to promote the book she wrote about her journey out of an abusive marriage and encourage women to visit her blog, jenniferfaith.org, for hope, encouragement, and the strength to begin their own journeys to freedom from violence and abuse.
Adah, the founder of Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM), found me through Jennifer, and seeing that I had computer literacy skills she immediately appealed to me for help in obtaining and delivering internet-enabled devices like cell phones, tablets and laptops for the 30 single mothers and girls entering their first year of University in Cameroon who will be attending her digital empowerment workshop next month. Our original thought was that there ought to be many used devices like these sitting dormant in desk drawers throughout the US. The idea of implementing a reduce-reuse-recycle approach to providing for these young African women really appealed to me and we went to work identifying others who could help us obtain donated devices. Unfortunately the rub came when trying to figure out how to actually get these devices to her, as Adah said the delivery system in Cameroon is very unreliable. Well, we couldn’t ask people to hand over their devices if we weren’t sure if they would get to Adah safely and in time, so a few days ago we decided to raise funds instead so she can purchase them in Cameroon in time for the workshop. You can help! A donation of only $10 will make a difference in Adah’s modest budget, which will cover the purchase of internet-enabled devices for the girls, transportation from their village to the internet cafe in a nearby city where the workshop will be held, and space rental fees. She is also offering modest but intriguing gifts for larger donations. If you’d like to help, you can jump straight to Adah’s Indiegogo campaign here: Virtual Learning tools for Young Women in Cameroon. Please share with anyone you think might also want to help these Cameroonian girls and young women!
This is what Adah & I wrote for her first appeal for device donations, published at WorldPulse.com:
Access to affordable and relevant health services and accurate, comprehensive health information are fundamental human rights. Yet gender-based discrimination, lack of access to education, poverty, and violence against women and girls can all prevent these rights from being realized. Single mums and girls face a lot of challenges when it comes to sexual reproductive health rights and safe motherhood.They lack accurate information about HIV transmission, the ability to choose whether and when to get pregnant, response to violence against women, and services for sexually transmitted infections and reproductive tract illnesses—all because they lack computer skills.
Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM), in her fight to educate single mums and girls, is organizing a three day digital empowerment workshop from the 28th-30th July 2014 to raise awareness on single mums and girl’s sexual reproductive health rights and basic computer skills. They will be given the chance to learn leadership skills, build self-confidence and better understand new marketable skills when using visual training tools.The programme is aimed at challenging prevalent gender stereotypes in communities, particularly those that reduce the aspirations of girls in rural communities, where traditions are firmest and patriarchal systems still remain very strong. For single mums and girls to fully participate in their communities and enjoy their rights, they need a life free from gender-based discrimination—a life with the opportunity to be educated, to work, to be healthy and to participate in all aspects of public life; however, millions women and girls are frequently beaten, raped, mutilated, killed, and subjected to gender-based violence which limits their opportunities.
Our ongoing campaign is working to connect rural and underprivileged single mums and girls to the world via the internet. Also some educated women are computer illiterate and can’t properly handle leadership positions. Computer literacy will open doors to share information and build networks with like-minded ventures. Most rural single mums and girls who are engaged in farming and petite trading will acquire computer skills which will enable them to market their products. They will be able meet with other women and mentors online, who will direct them in their activities and businesses. They will find online forums where they can showcase and gain global exposure for their work.
To enable these positive improvements in our communities, MOHCAMs training workshop will empower 30 single mums and girls from Mubang Ntsen Nkwen village and equip them with basic skills in information communication technology (computing), and also to educate them about women’s reproductive health to help them rise to meet the challenges they face daily. This workshop will take place in Foncha-street Nkwen-Bamenda from the 28th–30th of July 2014 at the Ets.ALMA Cybercafé opposite Providence Clinic.
We intend to extend this training to women and girls entering their freshman year in university. Due to the limited internet access, high school students entering universities in Cameroon are not familiar with the internet’s power to help them research and enhance their studies. Those who go online simply use it to send or read emails and chat. These women and girls lack the basic skills to access the vast learning materials available on-line that can help them break the cycle of poverty and abuse so they can find their voice, improve their own situations, and effect positive change in their communities.
When Cameroon’s women and girls succeed, Cameroon succeeds!
Women and girls in Cameroon make up more than half of the population. They are the breadwinners and the backbone of our economy, yet they face harsh treatment due to outdated customs and traditions which hinder them. They are still regarded as their husband’s property, with limited rights in most communities. This workshop will enable them to become local community reporters who can share information and advocate for women’s rights and positive change for everyone.
Equipped with basic computer skills, like-minded people can come together to improve their skills and share their experiences. This will increase productivity and encourage innovation in their businesses and workplace. Togetherness and love will be fostered in young minds, who will then be positioned for the mentoring and training which will enable them to create and contribute to a better economic system in Cameroon.
Computers are tools needed by all women and girls for a rapid change! You Can Help!
There are plenty of steps we can take to strengthen our future, but first we need to take action. We shall be grateful if you would donate your used Internet-capable phones, computers or electronic gadgets to help women learn and participate effectively in our computer literacy workshop. We also need assistance in getting these devices safely to us in time for the workshop and would appreciate any suggestions or offers of help to bring donated devices to Cameroon so that we can make them available to the workshop participants.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +23733051311
Thank you for your support!
Computing is our Business!!!
Mother of Hope Cameroon website
I sincerely hope this strategy for empowering the women and girls of Mubang Ntsen Nkwen village in Cameroon is reaching into your heart as it has mine. You simply would not believe how much hope some basic computer skills can bring to these aspiring but oppressed women! I appeal to you to take a moment to visit the Mother of Hope Cameroon Indiegogo campaign page and make a donation. Just $10 makes a difference (and your name will be added to the list of donors in all their promotional materials), $25 helps even more and gets you a bumper sticker about ending gender-based violence, $50 buys a digital device for one of the girls or pays for her transportation to the workshop, and those who donate $100-250 will receive a gift of handcrafted items made by the women of Bamenda, 250g of organic Cameroonian coffee produced without forced labor by the North West Cooperative Association (NWCA), or a 500g jar of native Cameroonian honey produced by the Bamendakwe Rural Women’s Development Organization (BARUWDO). Your donation must be received by July 17, 2014 in order to give Adah time to make the purchases and other financial arrangement she needs in time for the July 28-30 workshop.
For those to whom this kind of information is important, Adah Mbah is also a committed believer in Jesus and is counting on him to bring the help these young women need to change their lives for the better and bring hope to the future of Cameroon. “God will not fail me!” she says over and over, and your response to the tug in your heart that her words cause will make you God’s accomplice in doing something substantive to help 30 single mothers, young women and girls to overcome the very real challenges they face in Cameroon. Thank you so much for your donation in any amount before July 17, and for sharing with others who have the heart and a little cash to help! You can also show your support for the work Adah and her team are doing by liking the Mother of Hope page on Facebook.
Mother of Hope Cameroon’s Mission Statement:
MOHCAM is a non-profit organization of victims of gender based violence that provides security to the scared and unsure girls and women in communities in Cameroon. It’s aimed at fighting against the abuses faced daily by women and girls who become victims of gender based violence in communities. We ensure victims’ rights protection through advocacy and also aim at building future women’s rights leaders from victims. This in turns help to build a culture of empathy, justice, and peace from supported victim of violence. We also propagate a culture of peace building in homes and communities.
MOHCAM is based on implementing skills through local trainings on income generating activities for the empowerment and change towards acts of violence to secure girls and women victims of gender based violence. We work in partnership with schools and communities.
To establish a shelter home for victims of violence and to advocate for the implementation of family protection bill that can addresses domestic violence with prompt police response. And to establish a National Domestic Hotline for victims of gender based violence in communities.
MOHCAM is committed to ensure that all victims are able to regain and maintain a life of dignity and self-worthiness which will:
• Transform lives
• Motivate people to take action
• Promote social justice & human rights for girls and women
We value and believe:
• In an environment which enhances self-esteem and respect for all.
• That each individual is unique and of value.
• That we all have a responsibility to build a healthy community.
• In a holistic approach in working with individuals and community.
• In constant attention, sensitivity and flexibility throughout the ongoing process of relationship building.
• In ethical practices.
• In volunteerism.
• In innovation and creativity.
Lastly, if anyone reading this knows someone who will be traveling to Cameroon or a neighboring country between now and July 15 and would be willing to be a courier of digital devices, please contact me at email@example.com or Adah at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work out a plan to obtain and transfer devices for them to deliver.
I wanted to let people know about my Web Design Client Updates and additional news for January 2014. I’ve been busy and it looks like I’ll be getting busier as word continues to spread about my web design skills and work ethic.
New Web Design Client, Artist Joan Pechanec
First, it’s lovely to announce the completion of a new artist website for Joan Pechanec of Mt Shasta, California. The website is built on the WordPress platform, using the Emphaino theme with lots of custom modifications so the resulting site design would suit her aesthetics. She had a budget and a target completion date in mind, and we finished under budget and on time. She has art works in two categories on her site – assemblage/collage pieces and more recent oil paintings. As she and her husband, author Charlie Price, were on their way out of town for a 3 month writer’s residency at Fairhope on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, it was perfect that they were both able to come up and meet me in person before they left. Working with Joan by remote (a good bit of it while they were on the road to their destination) went smoothly and I’m delighted that both she and her husband are pleased with the results!
Joan wanted visitors to her website to be able to see all the works on her home page, so we chose a theme that’s designed with the masonry technique (like Pinterest), yet with a dark background that really makes the saturated colors in her paintings pop. The masonry style image blocks on the home page are each linked to a post with more details about the painting. Since she will be away for a while, we decided to post the paintings with just the most essential details for now. It was a joy working with Joan’s art! We’ll add text and artist’s comments when she returns home, along with the new paintings she is creating while on the Gulf Coast. I hope you will visit joanpechanec.com and have a look!
Website Update for Artist Christina Madden
Artist Christina Madden has been painting away since I last wrote, and these two pieces are among my favorites of the new works we have recently updated her website with. The two seem to bookend the range of her style; both are landscapes, but one is a bright and colorful mixed media painting in a more abstract style, the other an oil painting in an impressionist style, with colors a bit more subdued than we usually see from her hand. Christina is working hard to create a style that’s all her own, and it appears to me that she’s succeeding. She’s very excited because she will be going to ArtExpo in New York City this year! It’s been wonderful to watch her style grow and change since we began working together, and I know she will be successful at this prestigious New York show.
Bill Stanton’s Art Exhibit at the GoodBean Cafe
I’m sure I must have mentioned that among the things I do to have some regular in-person facetime with artists and their work is curating and managing the art exhibits at the GoodBean Cafe in my hometown of Jacksonville, Oregon. December was a group show with the theme of “Angels,” which drew great enthusiasm from the shop’s clientele, so much so that the owner decided she wants to do the same theme every December from now on! This month we’re featuring artist Bill Stanton, whose landscapes painted in deep impasto oils are in high demand in the area. Bill isn’t entirely reclusive, but he doesn’t do a lot of shows or promotion…it’s mostly locals who are in the know who support his work…so we’re fortunate to have him. We would love it if you could come in and see them for yourself – we just renovated the back wall to make more room for the art, and his large (some huge) paintings look terrific in the space! If you’re not in the area, take a look at this post about the show to learn more.
Web Design Projects in Development and Coming Soon
That’s all I have completed and ready for you to view right now…though I’m working on a bunch of other projects that will be ready soon:
Helping Stefan Baumann complete his artist website
- Stefan started on his own, but became too busy to finish the project himself. In addition to a grueling art instruction schedul which involves a lot of travel, he’s painting like crazy to prepare for a big southern California show in September. Want to watch as Baumann’s website develops? Visit www.stefanbaumann.com
New concert posters, video editing and website updates for Christina Duane’s Romancing the West 2014 tour.
- Learn more about the amazing Romancing the West docu-concert here: romancingthewest.org
Redesigning the website for Community Works
- Community Works is the parent organization for the highly respected Dunn House in Medford, Oregon, which helps women, youth and families impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence. I am delighted to be working with Development Director Misha Levee Hernandez on this project. (Need help yourself? Visit their current website here. )
Updating artist Pegi Smith‘s existing website with new paintings.
- As with Christina Madden, I did not design Pegi’s site, but her previous webmistress is stepping aside from website work and Pegi brought her maintenance work to me just yesterday! I can’t wait to work with her beautiful paintings! pegismith.com
In addition, I’m beside myself with glee that I’ve gotten two new web design projects to begin soon. One is an artist website. Just yesterday I went to visit this artist’s studio and nearly wept at the beautiful work I saw there! We should be getting underway soon. The other is a WordPress based wine club website. I will hear for sure on that one Friday, and we should be getting started around the 27th if it’s confirmed tomorrow that it’s a go.
I hope you’ll check back again to see my very erratic updates on how things are going with these web design and site maintenance projects, and more!