Site Launch – Kavanagh Ensemble

Writing this I’m on the train heading north from Wexford to Dublin after having spent a couple of very relaxing days with my cousin Eoin, his wife Beth and their new baby boy.

Aside from having a great break to help slow down after a hectic Christmas schedule we also decided to redesign Beth’s business website Kavanagh Ensemble. A tall order given we had only a single day to do it!

Beth is a classically trained violin and viola player with experience playing in some of the top classical orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Now based in Wexford, she has launched an ensemble service for hire, perfect for weddings, corporate functions and recording sessions.

The only thing letting her down was her website. Officially I don’t do website development anymore, I’m concentrating on and consulting for tech startups, but every now and again I’ll help someone out and set them up with a freebie. So, armed with a cup of tea and the last remaining tin of Christmas biscuits I went about building a new website for Beth and her exciting new business.

Time was limited so I decided to keep things simple. No point reinventing the wheel. I installed the latest copy of WordPress onto Beth’s hosting account and then together we went about choosing an existing theme that suited her needs.

After many searches on Google for things like “WordPress themes for musicians” we found a great theme called SimplePress by Elegant Themes.

Access to the theme cost $39. A small cost considering we received a fully ready to go WordPress theme in the exact style that Beth wanted, saving me days of coding. It also included a collection of shortcodes which act like widgets that can help structure the layout of each page.

Now that the theme was purchased and installed, we went about configuring it and adding content. Beth had had a number of photoshoots done in the past and already had plenty of content, so adding it all in was simply a cut and paste job.

Beth also had a large number of sample tracks in mp3 format which she wanted to make available so site visitors could listen to previous performances. Instead of spending time building an audio player I setup a free SoundCloud account. From there we uploaded all of the tracks. Once up on SoundCloud we were able to embed the tracks easily into the site using the WordPress SoundCloud plugin (although you don’t actually need this to embed the tracks – it just makes it easier).

And finally Beth wanted to display her full repertoire on the site. This is a long list of all the compositions that the Kavanagh Ensemble can play. Everything from pop to classical. Duos, trios and quartets. To list the repertoire easily I took advantage of another great WordPress plugin called WP-Table Reloaded. Here we were able to import the lists directly from Excel saving hours of time. The table plugin allowed the data to be sorted anyway the visitor wanted, searched, and automatically paginated the data.

And that was about it. Total time worked on the site was about 12 hours. Broken down as follows:

  • WordPress install: 1 hour
  • Theme search: 2 hours
  • Theme install and configuration: 2 hours
  • Photo prep and page creation: 3 hours
  • Soundcloud Setup: 2 hours
  • WP Table import and setup: 1 hour
  • Final few checks incl. G. analytics: 1 hour

And here’s the end result:

Just goes to show you can create a really great looking site in a single day using existing tools without having to write any code at all.


3 Comments added. Add comment?

  1. Peter Smith says:

    That’s great Iarfhlaith, this most definitively how I will do sites for my less fussy customers in the future.

    Jan 5, 2012
  2. Iarfhlaith says:

    Do! Avoiding any actual code development really speeds up the whole process. Highly recommended in time when you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

    Jan 5, 2012
  3. monica says:

    Some nice keyword placement and linking Iarfhlaith.
    Perhaps I would spend more time fixing their mp3s.

    Jan 29, 2012

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