I had a fun project last summer creating a new website for a friend of mine, Christine Bliven, and her business LilyBee. Christine is a babywearing consultant and baby sign language instructor in Zurich, Switzerland. She had also recently opened an Etsy store selling personalized baby onesies and cards.

Christine had a basic static website already, but it wasn’t inspiring confidence, and wasn’t meeting her needs either. She wasn’t able to make small edits by herself. She didn’t have a blog or a mailing list set up, which she knew would be good for business, and she needed a more streamlined way for people to sign up and pay for her classes. As the world sank into lockdown and I delved into the world of web development, I kept thinking I had something great to offer to help her business grow.

Mockup-LilyBee-home

Project requirements

  • Mobile-responsive and SEO-optimized website in new design: Colors and fonts open, but keep logo and primary accent color purple
  • Events and class listings, registration and online payment system
  • Blog with social media integration and automatic mailing list
  • Multilingual
  • Integration with Etsy shop or full e-commerce functionality

Branding

Taking the main color from LilyBee’s previous site (#6c2085), I developed a bright, colorful palette with pink, yellow and teal to bring in some childlike fun and friendliness and appeal to the LilyBee’s audience of young mothers. LilyBee’s logo needed to be redone in these colors as well.

GeneratePress

For this project I chose to work with GeneratePress (Pro), a very lightweight, yet flexible and powerful theme for WordPress.

We were nearing completion (or so I thought) of the site when it was decided to install WooCommerce on the site rather than linking directly to the LilyBee Etsy shop. At that point, you better believe I was glad to be using a theme with good WooCommerce compatibility!

I particularly like the Elements feature of GeneratePress Pro, which makes it very easy to add hooks and modify headers and layouts for any given page or page type. For instance, I was able to add social sharing icons and an author box on posts, add an announcement bar on the front page, and modify the product page layout without the need for additional plugins.

The content is built with Gutenberg blocks, offering better performance over page builders. Site speed is very important to me in every step of the building process (but you probably already guessed that, since I use GeneratePress).

Event management and other plugins

There is no shortage of event plugins for WordPress to choose from. In the end we decided to go with the free version of Events Manager since it was the most flexible (developer-friendly) free option that met our needs. However, styling the event pages turned out to be such a tedious affair that for my next project I think it would be worth the investment of a premium plugin such as WP Event Manager. I was proud of some of the first php code I wrote in order to solve a unique challenge (for which, in the end, I found a better solution anyway!). We were also able to implement a system whereby the user would only be prompted to send payment for the course they’d registered for once a minimum number of people had signed up and Christine could confirm that the class would indeed take place. The user would then automatically be sent an email with a link that sends them direct to checkout.

For the multilingual setup we used the free version of TranslatePress, which was surprisingly easy to use.

To setup an email list, I presented Christine with various options and she was thrilled with MailPoet. It was my first time using MailPoet and I was also quite pleased with its ease of use and features. Now LilyBee’s blog posts and new products are automatically sent to subscribers every week, without any extra work!

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