The re-launch of rebelcook.com comes as something of a milestone. Rebel is a Commercial and Industrial Real Estate specialist and well known in Palm Beach County as the leader of the Economic Forum of Palm Beach County.
I’ve updated the Economic Forum website twice over the past couple of years, adding event scheduling and RSVP functionality and most recently converting it into a WordPress site. Over that same time period, I’ve produced a couple of draft redesigns of rebelcook.com, but never quite convinced Rebel to sign off on one of them. Classic case of her not knowing quite what she wants until she sees it. She paid me for my work, but stuck with her old website, even though to my eyes it was quite outdated. As I became more active with the Economic Forum, she would introduce me to people as her webmaster and then brag about being my “most difficult customer.”
Part of the problem was that we had mostly worked on these designs long distance. I had tried collaborating with her over GoToMeeting web conferences, and we got the latest economicforumpbc.com redesign done that way. But coming to an agreement on rebelcook.com was tougher, maybe because the original design had been produced by her son. We seemed to keep getting closer to agreement without ever quite arriving at it.
Finally, it got to the point where I had implemented a feature she really wanted, integration with the LoopNet directory of real estate listings, on the unreleased test site but not on the live site. The breakthrough came when I convinced her that the best way to cut to the chase was to schedule a time when I could come to her office, make changes to the site on the spot, get immediate feedback, and make more changes until it was done. We did that on Friday, and by the weekend the new site was live.
I’ll have to remember that it may pay to get more work done face-to-face with a client, rather than long distance.
Some of the design elements such as the logo and “graph paper” background are holdovers from the original, created for the firm by her son. But this version runs on the WordPress publishing platform, making it easier to add new listings (published as blog postings), as well as press clippings from her frequent quotes on the state of the real estate markets in the local newspapers.
Most of the firm’s listings are actually published through the LoopNet service, but those listings are framed so they appear within the same navigation scheme as the rest of the site. We’re running two or three featured listings on the home page, plus the residential listings Rebel’s firm manages, since LoopNet doesn’t handle the residential stuff.
Next likely upgrade: the addition of a MailChimp email list, similar to the one we recently introduced for the Economic Forum.