Archives for June 2011

Everything is moving so fast!

Back in the mid 90’s

When I first started designing websites back in around 1997, the internet arena looked very different from what it is today. The primary objective was to design a website so that it had fast loading speed. We were just starting to hear about Search Engines, and there was a long list of them to submit a site to: Excite, Lycos, Looksmart, Altavista, and Webcrawler to name a few. One of the techniques at the time was to create a landing or gateway page for each search engine. I loved trying to figure out the best way to trick a search engine into ranking my page above others. Needless to say, this activity no longer occupies my time.

Starting a company

In 2005, I co-founded a website design company with a good friend of mine, Jan Matthews. This was when I lived out west near the town of Turner Valley, Alberta. The company, Skyline Design, is an excellent website design company today and even though we now run our own companies, it is great to be able to bounce ideas back and forth with each other. Jan and I were both involved in every area of website development, from start to finish. I would meet with the client, come up with mockups, develop the design into a website, program the site using HTML, javascript, and CSS, and after the launch of the website, maintain the site for the client.

Running a business and doing the work

Launching New Dimension Design in 2007, I loved every aspect of my job – from getting out and meeting with the clients, to figuring out how to make the code work behind the scenes. As time quickly passed, things started moving so fast. I got more clients, more websites, learned new technologies, kept up with the changing methods of online marketing. Every now and then I even opened a graphic design book and got back to the principles of good design.

Building a team

Now that I was running a successful business, I started wondering why I wasn’t having as much fun as I used to. I was starting to feel like a hamster running in a wheel… moving faster and faster, but really not going anywhere and always feeling like I was behind. While sharing these thoughts with friend and fellow business-owner Murray Groen, he suggested that I hire a business coach. Hiring Laura Watson of  Venture Coaching has been one of the best business decisions I’ve made. As a result of my weekly phone sessions with Laura, I have been working on building a team made up of highly skilled and talented individuals who specialize in specific areas, such as website programming, testing, online marketing, and logo/branding design. These people have similar business values to me, and are better at their specific skills than I am.

New technology, old fashioned service

In the last year, New Dimension Design has been growing and changing. But my resolve is strong to never lose sight of the goal, to serve my customers and to see them achieve their goals and dreams. Now that I have a team to help with certain tasks, I am more available to build long-term relationships with you, my clients – and to ensure that your website and graphic design needs are met. I welcome your thoughts and comments – let’s enjoy the ride together!

What is WordPress?

WordpressThe core software of WordPress is built by hundreds of community volunteers so it has already been tried, tested, and de-bugged on all common browsers. These volunteers are continually working on WordPress to make it work even better, as well as designing thousands of plugins and themes to make your site turn into whatever you want it to be.

Not only is it free, but it is very easy to use even for the novice computer user. It is the best solution we have found for most small to medium size business owners and their staff to be able to change their own content, add photos, add pages, and write blog posts.

Your Website & SEO

Ottawa Orthotic LabOttawa Orthotic Lab approached us to update their older, stagnant website to a new, modern site that would reflect their business as it is now. Very important to them was that the site be SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly. We designed the site to have SEO tools that can be used by either New Dimension Design or by the client on their own computer. Each page is given its own title, description and meta key words so that each page can be ranked by Google individually. One common mistake is that websites are designed and programmed without much thought given to SEO. The site is designed with the same titles, descriptions, and meta key words on every page, or even with no titles, descriptions, or meta tags at all!

You are investing both time and money into your website, so we believe that effort should be put into how your website is ranked on Google so that the right people see your website. Although we include basic SEO in our website designs, we also encourage additional SEO packages and will custom design an SEO package for you. If you want training on how to improve your search engine rankings yourself using free tools such as Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and Google Places – we will provide one-on-one training in these areas. Contact us for more information!

Here’s what Matthew Grasmeyer (owner of Ottawa Orthotic Lab) has to say about our services:

“I had my web site done twice before and never really felt I was pleased, therefore I was not looking forward to changing it. Again I interviewed several companies and felt like a number, then I met Heather at NDDesign, I had seen some of her previous designs and liked what I saw but I had gone down that road before so I was cautious. I chose NDDesign and am so happy I did, it was easy working with Heather, it went so smooth and I love the web site.”

Design & Maintenance

Industry Website DesignPenner & Lewis Rock Technologies builds and supplies specialized equipment in Canada and world wide. The partners in this company are extremely busy, therefore New Dimension Design takes care of their regular website maintenance. Most days we are able to make updates within a few hours.

One of New Dimension’s values is excellent customer service. We know that our clients are busy and we make it possible for them to hand over website maintenance tasks without having to worry once it is handed over.

Here’s what Jack (Budd) Lewis of Penner & Lewis Rock Technologies has to say about our services:

“I spent three full 1/2 days studying the various web sites of Ottawa-based graphic designers, and interviewed ND Design’s Heather Morin as one of three I had selected. I liked the work she had done for other clients. We met and discussed ‘the look’ I wanted and general content which I had prepared. She listened and came back to me with a professional proposal in a timely manner. It was a very efficient process from thereon, and it turned out that I was always pleased with what she prepared/proposed. She always gave me 2 or 3 options to choose from. I am most pleased with what she created for us. Feel free to contact me me any time at for further comments.”

Clients Love WordPress

Construction Website DesignLocal business Ottawa Precision Eavestroughing approached us just before the launch of their new company. After finding out some information about their company goals and their want list for a new website, WordPress was the obvious solution.

At the top of their list was the ability to showcase photos and locations of their work. They wanted to be able to do this themselves, without having to wait for a website designer to do it for them. We created 7 photo galleries – and without any prior knowledge of HTML or website development, the client is able to easily upload photos, keep them organized, and maintain the galleries. Even with this number of galleries, we were able to keep the website budget economical for them.

New Dimension Design provides an introductory WordPress training session to its clients, which enables them to update their own content, add their own photos, write blog posts, and add pages. As of June 23rd, we also have a new WordPress Video Tutorial plugin available for our clients. While updating their site, if the client has a question about any WordPress function, they can simply click on a quick video tutorial to learn simple step-by-step instructions.

Charitable Organizations

Not-for-profit Website DesignWordPress is perfect for charitable organizations like Ottawa Innercity Ministries because the organization can manage their own website maintenance in house. New Dimension’s primary objective was to create a more interactive website that would reflect their organization and help them to engage their supporters.

Ken MacLaren, the director of OIM, started utilizing the blog portion of their site by writing weekly posts. Many of these posts are true stories about the street friends that this organization helps. These posts give supporters and potential supporters a glimpse of what is going on inside the organization, and makes them feel more involved. With Google, content is still king, and blogging is a great way to keep your website alive with fresh, applicable content. It is great to see a client like OIM taking advantage of their blog. If you would like to find out more about the amazing work this organization does, follow their blog.

Another feature OIM wanted on their site was the ability to upload videos. Videos are a very effective way of communicating with your audience and again, you don’t need a website developer to be able to make a video, upload it to your YouTube or Vimeo account, and embed the video code into your website.


Key Message

Marketing WebsiteAs the Principal of Marketing What’s New, Glenn Schmelzle acts as virtual marketing executive for many Ottawa-area technology companies. Because of his specialized expertise, he is constantly educating his clients and others about marketing specifically for technology products, which is different than marketing for other products. Glenn uses his WordPress site to do just that. He engages the user by blogging on a regular basis, as well as communicating daily through Twitter and LinkedIn.

When the user lands on the home page of Marketing What’s New, they see the company’s key message instantly. From there they can easily click on Glenn’s latest blog post, follow Glenn with the clearly displayed social media links, or click on a more specialized action button.

WordPress for Portfolios

Portfolio WebsiteLola Design is a fabulous graphic design company located in Ottawa that specializes in logos and branding. Top on their wish list was to have a website with blogging capability, as well as links to their social media and a portfolio page to showcase their work. Loreto Cheyne, owner of Lola Design, came up with the eye catching layout of the site, and New Dimension Design did the website development. Loreto is another client who is doing a great job of writing interesting blog posts on a regular basis.

There are some sleek portfolio plugins available for WordPress, enabling the client to upload and post portfolio items on their own. Check Lola Design’s Portfolio page to see an example.