If you’re a creative person with a small business, who needs a website, design and marketing, but doesn’t want to dick around with it…

Hi! Maybe we can work together.

Projects

Scott, a master luthier, was moving an established business (26 years) from NY to Vermont. He needed a total site redo, and he wanted it to feel organic to his new location and embracing of the drastic change in his life's direction. And he needed to attract local customers while increasing his out-of-state customer base.

In addition to being a master luthier, Scott is an excellent photographer who is constantly shooting everything. His site was designed such that he can feature his photographs throughout it, so his website can reflect his life while maintaining strong branding and a professional appearance. He can upload and edit photographs and sound files as well as change all the text on his site easily, which means he's more likely to update and expand his site to meet his marketing goals.

Scott had a lot of assets, such as videos and blog posts, scattered across Facebook, YouTube and other sites. We migrated all his videos to a YouTube channel which connects to his new site, so he can easily have video content on his pages. We moved all his blog posts as well and interlinked them so that when he has to create a new page it automatically has relevant blogs and video content on it — more content on a page is better for search engine ranking. All pages are optimized for specific keywords and phrases, and we monitor how his pages are doing, tweaking things and suggesting new pages, which Scott likes to build himself.

We also set up a newsletter system for Scott, so he can write blog posts quickly and send them out, and grow a mailing list of people who are interested in his services. Again, the key with Scott, who would rather be building guitars but is very hands-on and savvy about his business, is to make working on his website and marketing as easy as possible and as fun as possible, so he'll be more likely to do the work he knows he needs to do.

Korliss is an opera singer, and she needed a website because she has a lot going on. But because she has a lot going on, keeping her site updated was problematic. She wanted something that had a traditional look but had a modern sense about it.

Korliss loves typefaces (we do, too), so we worked together to get a combination that she liked and that got across traditional and modern at the same time. She's a striking performer, and we featured photos of her throughout the site, and gave things just a touch of animation, enough to create interested but not distraction

Korliss sends us updates as she needs them, and we make the needed changes or adjustments within one business day. We also did press kit, resume and headshot layouts so her professional materials are consistent while not looking overly fussy.

Syosset Beverage wanted a site that didn't look like any other beverage website... while also looking like a beverage website. They also wanted to be able to easily update everything on it, as well as generate pdf's of sale items, etc. Most importantly, they wanted to dominate Google for beer and ale products on Long Island.

Syosset Beverage is built upon a proprietary backend we made especially for their needs. It allows the staff to easily update specials, growlers, pricing, etc. Everything they enter or update goes into a database, so the site grows constantly, which is good for search engines. The site has a very non-beer color scheme (most beer sites are, well, brownish) and there is fun stuff to click and play with. But at the same time, the navigation is easy so a visitor can find what they need quickly.

We spent a lot of time developing a keyword strategy, and then we built the site around that strategy. Pages are heavily optimized, and the optimization flows through the structure of the site: The brand pages are individually optimized, the individual products under each brand are optimized, pages on styles of different beers are optimized, and all of their services, such as kegs, growlers, etc. — literally every page of the site has been optimized. Consequently, Syosset Beverage ranks ahead of its competitors about 90% of the time on beer related search terms, and is completely dominant (#1) on Google for the real money making search terms. This has been a long term project for all involved, but that is SEO. It isn't usually a quick fix, and it can take a while to rise in the rankings, but it's an inexpensive initial investment that almost always pays off.

This company was in need of a major site upgrade. However, the multinational and globally spread-out staff made the chief executive wary of involving a lot of stakeholders in the process for fear of having the project drag on for a year — a new site had to be up in two months.

It isn't often that a project brief is something like, “Modernize it. Improve the SEO. Get it done,” but after a few conversations with key people in different departments of the company, we came up with list of goals and got started.

The short timeframe (2 months) meant concentrating on getting the needed functionality in place and then refining things such that the needs of the various staff members of the company interfacing with the website were better met. It is important that there's confidence in the results of a project.

The initial stage of the project was completed in 11 weeks. We executed all design, wrote about 90% of the text on the site, migrated 1800 items from their old site's database, and heavily customized the backend handling of products and product categories to meet their business model and SEO requirements. On launch there was initial shock from the staff — the site had been the same since 2006, so literally everything about it was different. An additional month was spent fixing minor issues and fine tuning some functioning to meet the quirks of the business. The company has found that having us handle maintenance and updates of products frees up their staff for more important tasks. Web traffic to the site is up by 20%.

About

Practica Magica is a boutique creative consultancy. Our niche is working with small businesses run by artists, writers, performers — people who can loosely be described as “creatives,” but we also have clients in manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and retail because it is about the people we work with more so than a particular product, service or sector.

Business goals are first and foremost

The point of a website, branding, or marketing, is to hit achievable goals, and everything designed or made should flow out of that fact. If you want a website it's important to have a good idea as to what the point of the website is. What is it suppose to do for you? How can you quantify what it does so you know if it's successful? What are visitors suppose to do when they visit your site? What is the goal of an email campaign? The answers to these questions, which in some cases require a lot of time, provide the roadmap for all subsequent design and marketing. Your goals, either personal or business, are always the starting point.

Your particular application might be achieved using open source products like Word Press, or it might require a more powerful backend like Expression Engine, or perhaps a scratch built solution. Technology is seldom an issue. Equally important to your project's success is monitoring and maintenance from security, performance and search engine performance perspectives. We provide all of that.

If you have questions on design, search engine optimization, analytics, marketing, blogging, and general creativity we're always available for a chat. We also can provide top-notch writing and photography services should that be your need.

A website or a marketing campaign is only viable if the client is able to maintain it, so we build for easy use, provide support, make custom training videos, etc. If a client doesn't have the time to maintain their site or marketing effort then we maintain it for them — the show must go on!

What's in a name?

We would be called “Practical Magic” if that name hadn't already been taken, but Practica Magica, Practical Magic — either name expresses our philosophy, which is that design and marketing has a fundamental acheivable purpose first and foremost, and that the finished project should have an element of delight to it. Hence Practica Magica. Really, we just added A's.

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