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How I Went From a Stay-at-Home Mom to Professional Web Designer – Nicki Lloyd

Themify Customer Story WordPress Web Designer Mara Communications Nicki Lloyd

We’re excited to announce another Customer Story of a stay-at-home mom turned professional website designer who has a truly large collection of beautifully designed sites. Read on for her tried and true plugin recommendations and become inspired hearing her upward solo journey of website designing.

About Me

I am Nicki Lloyd, and I run Mara Communications, a website design and consultancy business based in Melbourne, Australia. I am also co-director of Hub Business Solutions, which provides an online marketing and communications portal for local businesses.

Mara Communications was founded in December of 2014 as a web design company. My professional background was in print management for several large companies. After a largely corporate career, as a full-time mum, I made the decision to not return to it. Without a technology or design background, I dabbled in newsletter and website editing for a local community playgroup. This was my first taste of website design.

Mara Communications Website Design Themify Ultra Theme
Project: Mara Communications
Base Theme: Ultra

Before Themify

When I first approached designing and building a website from scratch, I gravitated towards WordPress. It seemed like a simple and effective platform that could fulfil my clients’ needs, all without them having to come face-to-face with HTML and php files. Soon after, I discovered the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and entered the glorious and at times overwhelming world of plugins and themes.

One of my very first clients was a local café where I was a regular customer. While I was still mastering WordPress, I was determined to build them a beautiful site. I found a theme (I still remember its name – and it wasn’t a Themify theme!), purchased it, then tried to work with it. And tried…and tried. After many frustrating days and restless nights, I knew I had to look for an alternative.

Taya Brooks Model Portfolio Site Themify Ultra Theme
Project: Taya Brooks
Base Theme: Ultra

Enter Themify!

I discovered Themify’s website when searching for themes. Something about it caught my eye and spoke to me – the themes on offer were simple, elegant and effective. Perfect for my client’s needs. After my last experience I was wary but decided to purchase the Elemin theme and gave it my best shot. Like everything new, there was a learning curve. And the result? I was able to create a website that my client loved – a classy, online representation of who they were and the vibe of their business.

Thus, begun my love affair with Themify. Their suite of themes became my ‘go-to’. I match my clients’ requirements with the theme I think best suits them. Furthermore, the flexibility that Themify themes offer means that I have been able to give existing sites an attractive ‘make-over’ with significant changes to its look and feel, while still using the same theme. This is particularly handy so that my clients do not need to learn a new theme and can continue making content updates themselves with the instructions I have provided them.   

Style A Home Themify Ultra Theme
Project: Style A Home
Base Theme: Ultra

My Themify Designer Tips

Having a great toolkit is one thing, learning how to best apply it is another. Over time, I’ve developed an approach to using Themify to rapidly design and format a website so that my clients can gain an early appreciation of their site and provide feedback in an agile manner.

When starting with a ‘blank canvas’ site, one of the first things I do is to jump into the Themify theme settings and set the basic parameters which will drive site behaviour and navigation. This includes search bar settings, RSS feed parameters, logo location, etc. Having all of these at my fingertips means that I can rapidly adjust fundamental look-and-feel settings which are consistent throughout the site.

  • One Organised Woman WordPress Themify Ultra Theme
    Project: One Organised Woman
    Base Theme: Ultra
  • Southern Nutrition and Dietetics WordPress Themify Ultra Theme
    Project: Southern Nutrition and Dietetics
    Base Theme: Ultra

Consistent presentation of content across a site is vital for user experience. One of the tools I love with Themify are the export/import options. This tool speeds up the development of my sites because I can take a module that I’ve spent time refining to be ‘just right’, and then import it to other pages and sites.

My favourite tool? The ‘Visibility’ option found under the controls box in Themify Builder. This configuration tool allows me to dynamically show or hide various content components – rows, boxes, etc. – depending on how the site is being viewed and on what type of device. Without this tool, getting the look-and-feel ‘just right’ when swapping between desktop, tablet and mobile responsive views is a juggling act which is part ‘art’ and part CSS wizardry.

Themify’s own suite of Builder Addons also provide a shortcut to combining graphics and images with call-to-action buttons and other navigational aids. Amongst my favourites are Image Pro, Slideshow, and Button Pro. The Pricing Table is also a neat way of outlining product and services costs, especially when combined with WooCommerce for online ordering.

Neds Vineyard WordPress Themify Ultra Theme
Project: Ned's Vineyard
Base Theme: Shoppe

Bringing It Together

Themify’s premium themes and plugins along with WordPress provide a trusted and effective platform, providing me with a wide range of templates and tools which meet my clients’ needs. It also provides a simple way for clients to take control and make content changes and additions without having to face intimidating code-based tools.

My approach for design and implementation is to ensure that the result is an attractive website which is a natural extension of my clients’ core businesses. Themify’s tools and technical smarts allows me to combine my clients’ passions with my own love for interpreting their ideas and turning these into beautiful sites.

Themify’s strength is their continuing investment and innovation in their products and services. I know that when I choose a Themify theme, there is trust, reliability and support which comes with it. Just as Themify continues to grow, I look forward to continuing to grow as a website designer; implementing new elements, experimenting with what the themes offer, and coming up with creative and stylish designs.

- Nicki Lloyd

  • Busta Move Personal Training WordPress Themify Ultra Theme
    Project: Busta Move Personal Training
    Base Theme: Ultra
  • Absolute Dentalman WordPress Themify Ultra Theme
    Project: Absolute Dentalman
    Base Theme: Agency
  • Mum's Milk WordPress Themify Ultra Theme
    Project: Mum's Milk
    Base Theme: Agency
  • Brooke Crawford Copywriting WordPress Themify Ultra Theme
    Project: Brooke Crawford Copywriting
    Base Theme: Agency

Share your Customer Story now! Have you created a few intriguing websites using Themify? Do you have an interesting story? Let us help you showcase and share your beautiful work. Please contact us.

6 Comments

  1. Ricardo
    Aug 08, 2019 @ 16:51

    Very cool! Congratulations and success!

    Reply

    • Nicki Lloyd
      Aug 08, 2019 @ 22:34

      Thanks Ricardo. Very much appreciated! :-)

      Reply

  2. ercios lo
    Aug 14, 2019 @ 12:35

    It is so good to hear such success stories. Congratulations!

    Reply

    • Nicki Lloyd
      Aug 15, 2019 @ 02:01

      Thank you for your kind words Ercios :-)

      Reply

  3. Fred
    Aug 15, 2019 @ 19:34

    Congratulations Nicki !
    Very inspiring !

    Reply

Reply

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