Matthew Sheeks started as an interview guest on a local television show that I hosted called Coffee With Will. After I discovered he was a fellow runner, we started training together and doing some work projects together here and there. Fast forward almost five years and he’s been one of the best men at my wedding, a multi-project coworker, a short-term running coach, and an amazing friend. He was also one of my first clients when I started this business three years ago, and he’s taught me pretty much everything I know (outside of video) about digital marketing and web design.
And since we’ve become so close, I got the opportunity to participate in the total redesign of his website www.mattsheeks.com last year when he was upping his game in the realms of design and SEO.
White Hat Matt has been in-business for several years doing web design, social media, SEO, and other digital marketing for clients in Eastern and Central Oregon. During this time they’ve had a website designed by Matt Sheeks to serve as a salesperson for their website. One of Matt’s philosophies is that your website should be your best salesperson, and it should be able to answer any and all questions or concerns a potential client might have about your services. And his previous website was designed for this.
But even a digital marketing agency’s site gets old and stale after awhile. And in late 2020 Matt approached me about being a part of redesigning their site to increase SEO, improve the design, and better reflect their current services and style.
The copywriting was already done – the only thing necessary was to design the site. Matt had a deadline he wanted to keep, and so instead of trying to take care of all of it internally, he decided to contract with me to design three of the services pages including:
- Oregon SEO
- Oregon Web Design
- Oregon Email Marketing
Once the proposal was approved and the contract signed, I started the design.
Problem – Multiple Designers
Whenever you mix and match designers for a site you run the risk of having conflicting design styles. For this project, Matt would design some of the pages, his wife and co-worker Jess would design more of them, and I would design the final three. The possibility for conflicting design styles was high.
Solution – Copying is the Greatest Compliment
To minimize this risk, instead of trying to do original design, I instead decided to utilize as many aspects from other pages on the site that were already designed as possible. The best way to please a client is to find out what they like and copy it. Well, not copy it – emulate is a better (and more legal!) word. And in this project, I had multiple pages that were already designed to base my own designs off of, ensuring that the design was in-congruence with the current style of the site and that Matt was pleased with the design. I also made sure to stay fully in-congruence with the White Hat Matt provided style guide.
In the end, the pages all fit in with the other pages well.
Unlike many other projects, this project was comparably straight-forward. There were few problems or hurtles to overcome, and Matt was very pleased with the design generally on the first try. There were several edits he wanted me to make which I did. He ended up making a few minor changes of his own, and the pages went fully-live. You can see them here:
What I Learned
- Like I said earlier, the best option for pleasing clients is to get samples of what they like and emulate them in-congruence with the client’s style. Pure creativity is dangerous in this business – there’s a lot of room for going off the rails of what the client wants. Generally speaking, you should try to stick close to what your client wants and then add your creative flourishes. If you do, the likelihood of the client liking the product that you make is very high.
- Sometimes to get a project done you have to delegate. Matt is a master of delegation, and he knows that if he tries to do everything himself, nothing will ever get done. And so instead, he contracts with me, his wife, and others who he trains in everything he knows. Matt is an exemplary example of the lesson that it’s the “who not the how” that makes you succeed as a business person.