Website Migrations Complete & we’re back in business.
Well Hello there!
We hope you’re all well, we’ve been in the office working our way through a wealth of website migrations since our announcement in March earlier this year about our now previous service provider announcing the end of life of their services. Read more about that here.
August 30th we celebrated as we not only finished up all of those migrations and have just completed the migration of our own website over to WordPress as well.
There’s still a few niggles with our own site but we’re working on that inbetween building up a few new ventures.
Natalie Crowe Designs Business Support Group – Find Us On Facebook
This FREE support group has been created by Natalie Crowe Designs to enable members to ask questions and get support in regards to their businesses.
Natalie Crowe Designs is a website design and business mentoring business based in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales Australia. We work with businesses all over the world to build strong online presence and grow their businesses.
The group is a “Closed” group -which means the group can be found on Facebook however the contents of the group conversations is limited to members only. Members are FREE to join and participate.
The aim of the group is to bring together an online community that not only empowers it’s members but acts as a powerful tool and supportive environment.
In addition to member contributions we’ll also be offering our own insight, knowledge and resources, motivational content, tips and tricks that will be supportive of those in our community.
We look forward to hearing from you and sharing as we grow the group. If you know someone who is looking to get a website or needs help with their websites. Please feel free to share this group.
Lochinvar Pet Motel Hunter Valley – New website & Video
Natalie Crowe Designs Pet Boarding Pick – Best Pet Motel Hunter Valley
After the Adobe Announcement which we wrote about a few months ago in an earlier post (Learn more about that here) , Natalie Crowe Designs has been working closely with a 30 odd Hunter Valley businesses to convert their websites from the old Adobe Business Catalyst websites to a new and improved WordPress website. One of those many clients includes our very own Lochinvar Pet Motel.
Lochinvar Pet Motel New Video:
- Finding the right place to board your precious pet is easy when you choose the Lochinvar Pet Motel. Located just 52 kilometres northwest of Newcastle.
- We board dogs of all sizes, cats and kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds.
- Our kennels are of the highest standard and have been designed to ensure your dog is safe and well cared for.
- Our large dog kennel block accommodation has private kennels with heated flooring and ceiling fans and roomy individual runs, which your dog has access to all day long, so they can have lots of exercise and fun as they play with their newfound friends.
- For dogs that need extra space large glass runs are available.
- All dogs are fed a light breakfast and meal in the evening as they would be at home.
- Meals are prepared in our Pet Motel kitchen and served on disposable plates for hygiene purposes. Water bowls are cleaned and refilled daily with fresh water.
- Medication and special foods provided by you can be administered.
- All our guests receive individual attention and handling during their play times to reassure them they are special and loved.
- Cats enjoy floor to ceiling spaces and can be housed in single or double Suites if required and are fed high quality food.
- The staff at the Lochinvar Pet Motel have years of experience in pet care and are dedicated to the welfare of your precious friend.
- Call now to make your booking. 0249307612
FOREWORD: Business Catalyst IS being discontinued and is scheduled for deletion as of 26th of March 2020. Whilst this DOESN’T affect the majority of our clients, there are a small number of clients in our database who will be impacted and we’ll be working with each of those businesses to complete their migration. Below you’ll find a run down of what we know and your options should you as a business owner be faced with Migrating Business Catalyst to WordPress
Over the last 3-4 years, Natalie Crowe Designs had already moved the majority of our client base over to WordPress or other platforms with the needs for more customised functionality and with our love for WordPress, the development freedom and in general the robust and diverse system, meant that we were able to deliver more for our amazing client base.
Here’s what we know about Business Catalyst “End of Life”
In the early hours of this morning 27/3/2018; Australian Eastern Standard time, Natalie Crowe Designs, like the Hundreds of Thousands of other Business Catalyst users and Business Catalyst partners, received word that Adobe has decided to discontinue Business Catalyst and would be phasing out the solution without offering an real alternative – other then to encourage it’s users find means of migrating to other systems.
This news has sent ripples through the BC community and caused much outrage at Adobe abandoning their partners, their clients and the many businesses that are solely Business Catalyst focused.
Whilst we too feel this process is unjust, as there had been other alternative options for Adobe, “We” as a community have been graced with a “generous” two year window between March 26th 2018 – March 26th 2020 before they will delete all site data related to their systems including any remaining websites / systems who haven’t migrated out of the system.
Below a screenshot of the email:
Much like many of the Partners who allocated thousands of dollars to come on board as a Lifetime Partner, who bought into this system as it was practical and meant users had everything they needs within one interface, with the general consensus that partners are feeling as if they have been left high and dry in this circumstance.
Moving forward, we will be working closely with our current client database as well as implementing measures to migrate / rebuild our own website and future proof our own business, and then reaching out to the BC community to offer services to migrate business catalyst to wordpress.
I will post more on this process later and would encourage everyone to take time to consider their options and work out the best plan of action for their business.
2018 is flying by! We’ve made some massive changes to our business of late in terms of the website packages we’re now offering and we’ve just implemented a new blogging strategy to make our primary website blog – “NCD Corkboard” more enjoyable for readers as well as still offering a heap of information and resources to continue to support business owners. Explore more about this below.
March Already?! Let’s Change things up a bit!
Hey wonderful people!
I can’t believe it’s March already, I know I’ve probably said this a few times in previous posts but I feel like time has flown at a rapid rate.. There are so many things I want to birth forth in 2018 through this amazing little web designer and mentoring business I’ve built over the last 10 years..
Thus far in March, I’ve spent a great deal of time, focusing on identifying my own direction for this year, with my eye on the big things I want to achieve:
- Growth in my business,
- Clarity in my offering,
- Ability to serve more business owners
- and in general be of service.
- To increase my annual revenue ahead of the financial year,
- To fund the lifestyle and renovation budget for my family and for my personal life.
- To growth my knowledge and experience as a business owner.
Whilst working IN my business for my website design and mentoring client, this time spent working ON my business is equally as valuable. Giving me that clarity and insight to move forward in my business. It’s almost as if I’ve spent most of the past 3 months just getting into the flow of business again after new year, and finding our feet for 2018.
So? Why I am changing the way I share content on my Web Design Business Blog?
Over the last few years we’ve written 100s of blog posts whether that be in regards to:
- Website or Business tips and tricks,
- the amazing clients we’ve worked with,
- the various events or work we’ve completed
- and happenings within our business and community since we started blogging in 2011…
However not all of this information is going to be ideal for every user and it’s not always going to be super helpful to have a heap of blog posts that are around solving website problems, or specifically just on WordPress or Search Engine Optimisation etc as the first thing you see when you read my blog.
This goes for all clients, but particularly for new clients – or clients who aren’t quite at that point where this type of content is relevant for them.
It goes without saying, the search engines love the volume of information I share, nevertheless, I’m NOT writing for the search engines… I am writing for YOU… My beautiful business following.
I want you to be able to check in every month and see content you can relate to… I want you to be able to delve deeper into my resources but also not be weighed down by the volume at any one topic as I do tend to craft multiple posts around topics I recognise as more challenging for my clients…
*super hero voice over*
NEVER FEAR!! A SOLUTION IS HERE….!
Instead, as of the time of this blog post, I’ve created a new section of our website which will help provide all of this knowledge and resources I’ve wanted to share with all of you in a way that is not going to clog up the main Natalie Crowe Designs Business Blog. This will result in more enjoyable viewing and give users more freedom to explore our website and enjoy our main blog sharing.
So for the remainder of 2018, I’ll be posting at the end of each month a summary of the month that was, the insights I’ve learned and more… This will come to you via the NCD-Corkbard also known as my regular blog page.
Under the FAQs tab however, you’ll find a second blog, which will contain articles on how to do various tasks, Tips and tricks and more.
I’ll answer commonly asked questions and share insight on functionality, as well as on topics like Search Engine Optimisation, Content writing, Managing your business and marketing your business as well as technical tutorials and any other resources I create that could help others.
This will eventually create a library of information to help you and other business owners make the most of their resources and grow and support their businesses.
I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.
If you’ve got any topics or questions you’d like asked feel free to ask them via our contact us page.
Thanks in advance Everyone.
Over the last 3 months we’ve been evaluating the type of products and services we’ve delivered most over the last 18 months, with the intent to tailor some new “off the shelf” packages for our clients. After reviewing the most frequently purchased services, we came up with 4 main website types + 2 new packages that fit our target market.
6 New Website Packages | Tailored Website Pricing:
- I’ve recently reviewed all of our most common packages or services clients have purchased in the last 18 months and converted those services into cost effective website packages.
- These new packages include 4 “off-the-shelf” packages and 2 “DIY” packages
- We still offer custom quoting for any client who contains us, however these give prospects and idea in terms of their services.
- Our 4 “Off-The-Shelf” packages include:
- Our 2 “DIY” Website packages; DIY GROWTH & DIY PREMIUM+ , do not include website hosting or domain, or custom designed content. We simply lay the foundations for you.
- Included in the service is the setup of the primary functionality of either the GROWTH (Website + Blog) and PREMIUM+ (Website + Blog and Store) packages.
- The peace of mind knowing your website is properly installed and configured version of WordPress, with the primary functionality, plugins and more configured and ready to go for you to design and add your content as desired, is one of the main benefits of these two DIY packages.
To learn more about these new packages visit our newly created page:
Website Prices | Natalie Crowe Designs
– Website Design & Business Mentoring Hunter Valley
Your website is one of the primary tools your prospects use to connect with you.
So you want to ensure that it is running at it’s best.
We all go over our content to make sure the text is well written and engaging, however we often don’t consider the SPEED and how long it takes for a user to actually load your page. Speed is super important in this instant gratification world.
With Google being the most popular search engine, we tend to primarily look to google as a basis of testing.
And Google offers a range of neat tools to help you test your website. One of these tools Google Page Speed Insights allows you to key in your website address and it will come back with either Low, Medium or High ranking for Page Speed Optimisation along with a list of improvements needed in order to meet Googles requirements.
We encourage our clients and prospects to run their website through this test in order to know where to improve.
To do this:
1) Visit : https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
2) Type in your website address
3) Review your results.
If your website isn’t in the Green chances are your website is in need of improvements.
If you’d like to discuss these improvements feel free to contact us
Wix is a great starting platform for any business. However WordPress offers a better a long term solution for business owners wanting to grow and improve their presence online.
In order to migrate from WIX to new WordPress setup you’re going to need to do some ground work to prepare yourself. There isn’t an actual conversion tool that does this migration for you cost effectively. Most often it’s like going to be a case of recreating the foundations in WordPress and whole lot of copy and pasting.
Setting Up Your Development Platform:
Whilst you’re rebuilding your site you’re going to want to have a domain name or website address to build your website with. Domain names are cheap in the grand scheme of things, you can pick up a basic domain for under $25 a year. Once your site is developed and you’re ready to go live, you can move your actual business website address over to the new platform. – I emphasise here you’re not going to lose it . We just need to get the process started so you can start building and the most efficient way to do that is to just purchase another domain name.
Second to your development domain name, we’re going to need to setup website hosting. Your website hosting is a purchased online storage space for the files and resources related to your new website. With your WIX website the hosting was included in the free or purchased account you had there.
So now the decision maker:
- What domain name will you choose?
- What hosting package will you choose?
- Which domain and hosting provider will you choose?
Many of our clients have SITEGROUND.com accounts setup. Siteground is a domain and hosting service you can buy products through. For this walk through I am going to use my links for specific siteground products however you’re free to choose whichever platforms you feel comfortable using.
Choosing a domain and hosting package:
1) Register a Domain
Go to https://www.siteground.com/go/ncddomains and type in the domain name you’d like to purchase for the development. You’ll see a heap of different options and prices so pick and choose which one will be the best for you and then click “add to cart”.
2) Next we’ll choose a hosting package.
If you click on the direct link is here: https://www.siteground.com/go/ncdhosting it’ll load recommended WordPress hosting packages. You can then click Add to Cart on the relevant package you’d like to purchase.
3) Lastly for this component, we’ll process the cart and configure your account.
Follow the prompts to complete your purchase. You’ll likely get an email in regards to your new account and how to login to your control panel to manage your new SITEGROUND account.
4) Login & Install WordPress
Login to your new hosting environment. If you’re using SITEGROUND there is a free installer for wordpress, however if you’ve used another hosting platform you’ll need to locate the installer inside your hosting control panel. Once you’ve found the installer. Install WordPress on the ROOT level directly so just on “/” not in a folder. We don’t want to make our links any longer. You can pick whatever theme you want – if it gives you the option to choose a theme here, as we can always change the theme later on.
5) Configure WordPress:
Once installed – You can configure the overall wordpress installation.
Some important Tips:
Go to SETTINGS > Permalinks and set to use “Post Names” and click SAVE
Go to SETTINGS > Reading and tick the ” Discourage search engines from indexing this site” so that your development site doesn’t come up on the search engines straight away. We’ll untick this when we go live.
6) Next you’ll choose and configure a theme.
Go to APPEARANCE > Themes and explore the range of “free” themes from the theme options, or you can purchase / install other things from external locations. You can configure the theme as you like.
7) Add your page structure-
Initially these will just be the place holders you’ll populate the content later.
Go to Pages> Add New Page and add the name of the page and leave it empty pages. Click Publish.
Go to the “Add New” button now located at the top of the page or go back to the side menu and click Add New under pages and repeat the process for each of your page.
7.1) Tell wordpress which is the homepage and which is your blog page.
Go to SETTINGS > Reading and select “the homepage displays as STATIC” set the Homepage to you new homepage and the posts page to your blog page.
8) Create the primary menu – now you’ve created the basic pages we’ll construct a menu.
Go to Appearances > Menus and create your primary menu
Tick the page names on the left and add them to your menu.
Tick the “Primary Menu” box often found on the bottom righthand side. of the screen – to tel the theme to use this menu as the primary menu.
9) Install / Activate / Configure Relevant Plugins:
Go to Plugins and you’ll want to go through and install any relevant plugins you’ll need for your website. In most cases there will be very similar plugins needed. We’ve included some samples you may consider installing if relevant these include:
♦ Woocommerce – Online Store plugin,
♦ Updraft to enable to you to make backups off the site.
♦ Yoast plugin for optimisation .
♦ WP Maintenance Mode – Creates Maintenance Mode page so the public can’t see your development.
Depending on the plugins you’ve chosen to install there is often some sort of configuration for each of the plugins required. Configure these the best you can and then we move onto migrating the content.
10) Copying your content:
Work your way through each page copying and pasting the content from your old site to the new site.
To do this go to Pages > Open the page you’re working on. You’ll need to copy over the content from WIX.
Photo TIP :
I’d suggest going through and saving copies of your images to directly from your WIX site and re-uploading them to your new site. To add photos to your page you’ll need to go to the “Add Media” button and upload files .
If you have blog posts, you’ll need to complete this process for those posts on separate blog posts.
There are plenty of other things you could do with your website configuration but this should give you a solid foundation moving forward.
Transferring your domain name from Wix:
The WIX website actually has step by step instructions here on how to transfer your domain name from their services. However the basic steps include:
- Login to the WIX website.
- Go to the “My Domains” page.
Note: If you have more than one domain in your account, select the relevant domain.
- Click the Advanced tab.
- Click Transfer away from Wix.
- Click Send Code.
This will trigger an EPP code which you’ll use to transfer your domain name over to another domain provider.
Best of luck and we’ll post further instructions and step by step resources moving forward.
Goooooooooood Morning Everyone hope you’re having an amazing Wednesday! 🙂
We’ve been super busy working with some amazing clients since the new year and wanted to introduce you to one of the projects we’ve been working on.
Introducing Busy Lizzie Personal Assistant a UK based virtual assistant based in Lancashire.
We worked with Lizzie to rebuild her old website to a new much more modern and practical website. The website is a WordPress site complete with blog, contact form and an easy to use page builder element so make managing the site a breeze.
We’ve optimized the load speed of the site so it’s favorable to the search engines and targeted relevant search terms that would see her progressively work her way to the top of the search engines for her chose key search phrases.
Couple this with the ability to continue to grow her content and optimize her own blog posts based on the guidance of key plugins like Yoast, and Lizzie is well on her way!
Why not try searching for Lizzie today?
For best results open your browser in private or incognito mode. What this does is gives you a fresh search experience and doesn’t take into consideration any other search criteria or previous pages you’ve visited into account. You actually use this method to check your own status on the search engines.
With your browser in private (ie, mozilla firefox & safari) or incognito mode (chrome) – type in www.google.com and search for “Virtual PA Lancashire” you’ll see Lizzie’s site is slowly working it’s way up the organic rankings.
Whilst Lizzie’s site is not quite in the number one position with consistent content and engagement with her site. This will improve over time.
It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Lizzie and we’ll be working together on a few additional projects moving forward.
You can find out more about Lizzie by visiting her:
- Website: Busy Lizzie PA Lancashire
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/busylizziepersonalassistant/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/PABusyLizzie
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-smith-28285220/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/busylizziepa/
- Phone: 07889552462
Strive For Autism Hunter Valley website launch!
I am pleased to announce the launch of striveforautism.org.au and look forward to supporting this local community group in 2018 to provide much needed support and resources for our Hunter Valley Autism Community.
In March 2017, we were contacted by Maxine Baird from Bairds Real Estate in regards to a possible collaboration in terms of the development for a new website for the Hunter Valley Autism Support Group – Strive For Autism.
The Strive for Autism support group was formed in 2007 by a group of dedicated parents and friends of individuals who have an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Originally formed to provide parents in the Cessnock area with a support group where they could come together to support each other by sharing stories and advice, it has developed over the years, becoming involved in many activities to raise community awareness and increase support for families and individuals with ASD.
New Strive For Autism – Hunter Valley website:
Strive for Autism had an existing website for the organisation which offered a great foundation however given the growth in participation and overall achievements of the organisation, it was clear that a brand new website complete with:
- an online Members Area,
- Dedicated resources directory,
- The ability to share their achievements,
- The ability provide the public with relevant information and updates in the form of a news / blog
- Provide a point of connection, contact and a go to for ASD resources for our community.
After discussing the organisations requirements, I detailed all of the possibilities I could come up with, based on a series of notes provided, these notes outlined roughly that the site would have a minimum of 30 pages, need to be connected with the social media platforms, be easy to manage and update.
Example Sitemap Draft:
Strive For Autism Quarterly Meetings – Koe-Nara Cessnock.
I was welcomed to the organisations quarterly meeting at the Koe-Nara building at Cessnock Public School Grounds, and given the opportunity to talk about our plans moving forward.
Whilst I anticipated the development cost coming in around the $3000 mark, by the time we were done, the development was closer to $5000.
With knowledge that this was for an amazing cause, that Strive For Autism is a Not-For Profit organisation helping our kids and our families, and the overall energy and the desire to support and nurture our local Autism Community – I wanted to contribute and really get behind this amazing local initiative; the volunteers involved and of course the members with family or friends with or impacted Autism Spectrum Disorders.
50% Donation to a worth cause.
After crunching numbers and looking at our remaining donations pool, I decided to jump on board, and offered Strive a 50% donation of the development price in order to ease the financial burden on the organisation… Leaving more funding available to give back to our kids.
The $2450 saving in my mind was the best means of contribution I could made as a starting point for this.
Autism Website Development:
Since then, Maxine and her team have worked tirelessly with more than 200 emails back and fourth to get the website to where it stands today.
The website will continue to be developed and built on to. With the addition of many more resources to the directory and plenty more content on the agenda.
This amazing project whilst it has taken nearly 8 months to come to fruition. It has been a pleasure working with Maxine and the amazing staff at Bairds Real Estate, over the months leading up to launch date, which we decided 10th Anniversary Dinner.
Strive For Autism 10th Anniversary Dinner:
Held on the 14th of November at Cessnock Golf Club, we had the pleasure of meeting many of our local members of Strive, their families and friends, who came along to celebrate 10 year anniversary for Strive for Autism. The amazing Keynote Speaker Trudy Sharp received a standing ovation for her incredible presentation of her life and the life they made for themselves – going against the odds, believing in her son and his abilities and trusting that where there is a will there is away.
Below pictured Trudy Sharp, Appointed Strive Ambassador Anna and Maxine Baird Strive President.
Over the last few years, I’ve worked with 100s of clients to establish and grow their businesses – both online and offline, some of my amazing clients are local within Cessnock & the Hunter Valley, others I meet with via Skype and work remotely to offer support and a wide range of skill set from:
- Website Design,
- Technical Support
- to my experience as a solo-entrepreneur –
- mama of 1
- and self employed business owner for almost a decade.
My next Blog Post feature client is one of those amazing clients I work with remotely, who is not only an amazing client but after spending volumes of time together over the years – I am proud to call my client and friend.
Lisa Ratford – The owner of AndrieDesigns.com formerly TwoPrettyPoppets.com – an indie pattern designer specialising detailed sewing patterns for professional results, contacted me in regards to getting some business mentoring and website support some time ago.
We’d worked together on “tweaking” elements of her website and growing her online presence, eventually moving Lisa over to our hosting platforms and redesigning her website to suit her ongoing demand and new face of her business.
When I spoke with Lisa about the possibility of her being willing to prepare a testimonial for me, she was more than obliging and call me a sucker for happy ending but her words brought me to tears.
Lisa and I have been through so much over the years with troublesome/ dud development, technical challenges and who can forget the “Double” Move – shifting from one hosting company – and being the only account on the system to have issues, to then completely pick up that site development not a month later and move the site again – as a means of allowing Lisa’s website to function at it’s best.
Anyway without further delays – here’s what Lisa from AndrieDesigns.com had to say out Natalie Crowe Designs – Website Design and Business Mentoring Hunter Valley :
“When Nat first asked if I’d be able to write a testimonial for her revamped website, I didn’t give it a second thought. After the complete and utter chaos my poor website has been through over the past few months, it was the least I could do to say thank you!
Right from day one back in 2016, Nat has been fantastic and an absolute pleasure to work with. Her attention to detail and complete dedication to each and every little niggle I throw at her continues to amaze and impress me.
So, it was only natural that when the time came to move my website off its existing host server and onto a new one, I knew Nat was THE person for the job. Throughout the process, we encountered several hiccups (over and above the ‘typical’ hiccups associated with a move) which caused extra stress, frustration, and at times the need to vent via several inappropriate expletives which need not be repeated. Throughout the whole ordeal Nat maintained complete professionalism, worked on the issues over countless hours and a couple of sleepless nights, and reassured and updated me as she went on where things were at.
To say the move was a success wouldn’t be completely accurate, and unfortunately we then had to turn around and move the site AGAIN just 6 weeks later. Despite the heavy feeling in our hearts, we both dug deep and just got on with it. Again, Nat was wonderful at both the work she did in moving my site AND her reassurance and constant contact. Thankfully this time it was a resounding success and I know my site would be no where near as amazing as it is without her help and support.
If there was ever a 100% top notch developer and business mentor then Nat would have to be it. I am beyond thrilled with the work she has completed for me thus far and look forward to a long and prosperous partnership as my businesses continue to grow. Thank you for everything lovely lady!”
– Lisa Ratford