Radio Station

I created a radio station for a DJ who will be featuring his own playlists, radio show and podcasts.

Click on the image to visit the site

Record Label

I created a site for Azure Music, a Chicago based record label that will be featuring blues, rock, R&B, funk, and hip-hop artists. In the years to come, the site can be scaled to accommodate a growing roster of artistic talent. I used primal colors, like red, black, white and blue to highlight the artists and the music. The site is responsive, SEO optimized and links to the recording artists’ store as well as to Amazon, where their CDs are sold.

Please click on the image to reach the live site.

Music Magazine

A Digital Music Magazine

I created Blues Today, a digital music magazine with reviews, news, video and soundstage performances. Blues Today was created to promote Chicago based musicians with roots in the blues but will feature rock, R&B, funk, soul, hip-hop and more. I not only created multiple pages to showcase the musicians and bands, but wrote the content, did interviews and reviews. As usual, I created the on-page search engine optimization.

Please click on the image to visit Blues Today

Non-Profit Blues Site

Chicago Blues Society

A non-for -profit site that raises money for music education in inner city schools and for the healthcare of all Chicago based musicians.

The founder of the non-profit also wanted to feature iconic Chicago Blues musicians in addition to the foundation’s pages. I created a historical timeline, a favorites playlist, local blues clubs recommendations, as well as a biography section featuring local Blues legends and a recommended documentaries page.

The website has a blog and a store and will be growing and evolving in the years to come. 

The owner specified black and white photogrphy and the Chicago flag colors, which I worked in as bands of blue on the htitle headings on each page.

Please click on the image to see the live site. 

Blues Band

Chicago Blues All-Stars

Chicago Blues All-Stars is an American blues band based in Chicago that incorporates elements of funk, soul, R&B and hip hop. Chicago Blues All-Stars is made up of musicians that have been together as friends and musicians for four decades. The band includes numerous inductees in the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame and has been a headliner for shows such as Buddy Guy’s Legends featured on PBS and at music venues Kingston Mines and House Of BluesChicago Blues All-Stars has received radio play on over 200 stations in 22 countries. 

The challenge was to make something fresh, beautiful and functional to showcase the band’s members, music and music videos as they rev up to start playing live again. Click on the image to be directed to the site. 

Heavy Metal Musician

Heavy Metal Musician

A stunning star deserves an equally stunning website. Heavy Metal singer Lana Blac asked for an all black website, because of course, black is her color. The challenge was to offset Lana’s amazing videos and images and entice her audiences to sign up to her mailing list. The full website is coming soon but, in the meantime, watch Lana’s video My Victim, My Love and subscribe! Click on the image below to be directed to Lana’s website.

Blues Musician

Blues Musician

A newly completed website for Chicago Slim. Chicago Slim, aka Dr. Daniel Ivankovich,  is a Bluesman/DJ/Producer with a magnetic personality and imposing persona. With a 7-foot shadow that looms large on the Chicago skyline, this music veteran is destined to become a legend, if he isn’t one already. 

Slim wanted a website for himself as a musician, as well as a website for his band, Chicago Blues All-Stars. The challenge was to create a site that is unique, reflects Slim’s personality and showcases his music and guitar collection. I used red, an unusual choice for backgrounds, punctuated by bronze and grey to set off images and make them pop. All content was SEO optimized. 

Click on the image to visit Chicago Slim’s site. 

Build n Brand Websites

We teach you the fundamentals of branding and building websites

Whether you decide to build your own website or hire a developer, you should be aware of principles of branding and branded design.

We think if we just build it, they will come. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need to know how appeal to the consumer, make them love our service or product and identify with our brand. Otherwise, we could lose valuable time and money.

We start by teaching you to identify your targeted markets. We then show you how to:

  • Build a profile of your ideal customer
  • Research the demographic background of your ideal customers or clients
  • Choose the brand colors, images, fonts, and brand voice that is specifically geared toward your target audiences
  • We teach you how to build pages that convert and what to put on each page of your website
  • We finally teach all the technical details of building websites in plain English – specifically for non-techies. You will never have to touch a line of code to get fantastic results
  • We teach best practices, from how to blog properly to getting your website to load fast 
  • We will be adding new features regularly that will teach you design, SEO, marketing and more!

Naprapath

I created this site for a naprapath, who also specialized in energy medicine. 

I dislike the look of factory medicine where large chunks of blue predominate and the whole effort is impersonal.

This particular doctor is very hands on in her practice and I wanted the site to reflect her personalized approach to healing. 

Please click on the image to see the site.

Tips for creating a great website for your CBD product

Create a great CBD website

Which platform will you use to create your CBD website?

Creating your online store will be one of your top priorities. Choosing a platform will be a decision you will need to make early on.  Shopify or WordPress are considered to be the top content management systems for creating online stores.

However, when it comes to CBD products, this decision can in part be made by default. You can use Shopify only if you are selling a hemp derived product. Hemp is legal in the USA, and therefore, hemp derived products with low THC can be legally sold across all fifty states. 

Shopify states that:

‘Shopify only permits the sale of CBD products lawfully derived from “hemp” as defined in the 2018 Farm Bill and that meet the definition of “hemp” as a finished product. Merchants are not permitted to sell products containing CBD derived from marijuana. All sales of hemp and/or hemp-derived CBD products on Shopify must comply with all laws and regulations that apply in the jurisdiction where the merchant operates, as well as those in the jurisdiction of the merchant’s customers. Merchants should consult with an attorney before selling a product on Shopify.’

To read in full

 

Using Shopify for your hemp derived CBD product

The pluses and minuses of Shopify

Pluses:

  • Shopify was created for e-commerce
  • Shopify is easy to set up and easy to use
  • You basically choose a template and then upload your images and write your text
  • You don’t need to know how to code
  • The templates are responsive-meaning they look good across all devices

Minuses:

  • Shopify apps – these are akin to plug-ins on WordPress and will need to be installed for your store to run optimally. You will need to pay for them, though some are initially free. 
  • The templates are pretty basic, even though you can customize them. 
  • You don’t own your site. Shopify owns it. That means Shopify can remove portions of your content or your entire website
  • SEO capability -This is the stuff that gets you found and it is not as developed as WordPress
  • It can get quite pricey, raging from Lite at $9 per month to Plus at $2000 per month

Remember -You still might want to hire an expert to put it together if you are not visually adept. You will certainly want a professional to write your product descriptions.  Keywords and long tailed keywords need to be researched thoroughly and incorporated into your content. Furthermore, there are certain words that appeal particularly to various demographics and trigger emotions which lead to conversions. Think of the way Realtors use words, like Home and not house, to get a feeling for this.

You will definitely need a professional photographer to shoot images of your product and of models using that product. At the very least,  you will need someone with a design background to pick the most evocative stock images that will appeal to your target audiences. 

Using WordPress to sell your CBD product

The Pluses and Minuses of using WordPress to sell your CBD product

  • Your product can be derived from the marijuana plant, given you own a medical or recreational dispensary
  • You own your website
  • It’s incredibly flexible and customizable. It can be built out have a unique look and function 
  • Its SEO capabilities are killer
  • A third of all websites on the Internet are powered by WordPress and Google favors it over any other content management system
  • Many plugins are free
  • It’s open source and won’t disappear as a platform, whereas companies like Wix, Shopify and Squarespace can. 
  • It has foreign language capabilities

Minuses

  • You’ll have to pay for a hosting plan, domain registration and a premium theme (there are free themes as well). Most reputable hosts include a security certificate
  • There’s a learning curve. However, contrary to popular belief you can use plugins and page builders ( in lieu of coding) which have enormous functionality and fabulous features
  • You’ll have to make sure the pages are responsive and look and function well across all devices since 50% of all searches start on smart phones
  • You will need to use a plugin like WooCommerce to make your store functional . 

Remember, you don’t need a costly bespoke website. There are thousands of WordPress themes that are amazing and can be built to look super unique. You do need to put your money into content and SEO. As search engines get smarter, your SEO isn’t limited to some technical stuff on the developer end or a bunch of stuffed keywords. It is derived from the actual writing and images that appear on your pages and solve the end user’s problem.

My advice, hire a pro.

Design

Compare the fresh, clean look of the following with outdated, busy, brand skincare websites:

  • Skin Dope – bright, fresh, infused with a sunny palette of fresh yellows. oranges and greens. This site was built on Shopify. Notice how big the product images are. Nothing is crammed on to the site. All the images are perfectly integrated into the overall page design and the text on the Home page is minimal, while the font is super clean and easy to read. Each product image opens to its own page and contains a description of the product. This is great for SEO and much more user friendly than placing all relevant information on the home page.
  • Lord Jones was also built on Shopify.
  • The CBD Skincare Company was built on WordPress with Woocommerce. Again super clean with large product images that open to their own page.
  • Vertlyis built on WordPress. Green and clean.

You will be marketing your product to a certain segment of the population. To understand the needs of your demographic, please read our previous article on branding and marketing your product.

What you will need to focus on

Regardless of the platform you choose for your CBD product, you will need to have the following in order to be competitive: 

  • Photographs of your product
  • Live action shots of models using your product
  • Content writing, especially product descriptions
  • Longtail keywords that make you competitive
  • Emotionally loaded keywords that appeal to your target audience

My CBD Website

Website checklist

 To satisfy your customers and search engines your e-commerce website will need to have / comply with the following criteria:

  • User friendly and easy to navigate
  • Responsive
  • Multiple payment options
  • Scalability
  • Newsletter sign up
  • Social media links
  • Product images
  • FAQ section/ shipping information/ return policy/ tracking information
  • Product reviews
  • Site map
  • Search features
  • Contact information
  • Product pages and related products 
  • Shopping cart and checkout
  • Blog

As well as all of the back end tools you will need to track information and run the site properly.

Your website is the foundation of your brand

If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you must invest in a website. It is the foundation of your brand and has to function as your online store.

Your off page activities, meaning everything you do to network and promote your product, is meant to drive traffic to your website to make conversions. 

Put your money into creating great content and a user friendly design.

Summary

To get a great e-commerce website:

  • If you don’t know anything about e-commerce, website design, product branding, marketing, or content creation, hire an expert who can help you
  • Choose the best platform for your purposes
  • Get your products photographed professionally
  • Find a content writer who will know how to describe your products for maximum appeal and SEO 
  • Make sure your website meets the above described criteria
  • Clean, contemporary, minimalist, bright, friendly and suggestive of health and well-being is the way to go. Busy, hot pink, purple, black and white, crammed with products, offers, discounts, information and with competing fonts is yesterday’s design. 

We create websites for Cannabis businesses. We'd love to help you with your project. Call or contact us using the form below.