Shameless Promotion: Chickadee Hill

From time to time I like to talk about the clients I'm working with. It not only allows me to highlight some deserving small businesses, but also shows how adapting to a customer's needs is crucial for building the website that works for them.

For this installment, I'm going to take a look at Chickadee Hill.


Chickadee Hill is an art studio that specializes in hand carved wooden birds. The husband-wife team of Bob and Terri Hansen has worked in Northeast Ohio for over 30 years. And in all that time, they had never considered a website.

But Master Carver Bob Hansen kept getting people who wanted to see his website. After every demonstration and art show, he had a flood of people clamoring for his website information.

Bob didn't want to create an e-commerce site, because most of his customers were asking for commissions. But he knew people were interested in seeing a gallery of his other work. He had no interest in becoming a web developer, so he wanted a website layout that could be updated irregularly. And he wanted it all for a fair price.

During our first session, I laid the options out for Bob and Terri. They went for the simplest format possible, and chose one of the most basic templates I had ever come across.

I knew the template was going to be especially tricky to work with, considering the website was supposed to to feature a lot of pictures.

So, I tailored the overall site design to be concise as possible. I wrote the majority of the copy for the website, and edited an FAQ section full of Bob's answers. A local, award-winning photographer donated her time, and took multiple pictures of the studio and the works in progress.

I also created a basic calendar for upcoming shows. People could find Chickadee Hill, even if it's owners were busy.

And I made sure the entire layout was optimized to fit computers, tablets, and smartphones.

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Most of all, I walked Bob and Terri through what I was doing. I provide one-on-ones with all my website customers. While I'm more than happy to schedule a paid troubleshooting session with my clients, I design each small business site so that it is easy for the owners to use and access.  My intention to create a web presence that not only looks good, but that each customer can run the day-to-day functions of the website themselves.

Working with Chickadee Hill, I answered questions, made small tweaks to the template to their specifications, and showed them how the software worked. When they had questions, I answered them. When they were confused about how things worked with each other, I explained. Then showed them.

Bob grew more and more confident over the course of our one-on-one meetings. In our third to last meeting, he told me he was interested in using the site to interact with his customers.

After discussing the infrequent schedule of updates he had in mind, I realized that a social media presence would be a step back. And out of their budget. So I revamped the blog page on the site, and showed Bob how to use it.

I have a few more sessions scheduled with Chickadee Hill, so the website isn't complete just yet. But the work we've done so far is inspiring some wonderful changes.

Bob and Terri have been recommending the website at their shows, and commissions have been coming in through email and the comments sections. Bob is creating blog posts, as his schedule permits.

It's not going to be a huge change to the business. But it was never supposed to be. And now Chickadee Hill can go to their next show with a little extra confidence.

Check out Chickadee Hill by going to http://www.chickadee-hill.com/