Latest Web Design Project: So Italian!

2 Dec

For the past few days I have been working with a new client – my good friend Laura Downey, who has begun teaching Italian in Rome. I plan to write a separate post about Laura’s business venture as it’s super-duper exciting, but she is still in the final stages of finalizing her offerings, so more to come on that.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on her website. Here’s what the landing page is going to look like:

Laura wanted a website that was simple but elegant and appealed to her client base, which she had identified as predominantly female, fairly new to language learning and mostly attracted to learning Italian to enjoy everything Italian…food, fashion, etc. She also wanted her students to have the option of booking classes online, and accessing a video and chat room for classes from her website.

Laura wanted a website built quickly, and since this is a new venture where she’s testing the water, she didn’t want to invest too much time or money in development. I was able to develop a website and copy for about 90% less than a traditional web designer and copy writer would charge, and Laura will have virtually no on-going costs from this approach. Here’s how we saved:

  • Using a free editor and web hosting from Wix: I built the website using the Wix editor. Wix offers several free templates but building from scratch usually produces much better results. Over the last six months I’ve built many sites with great results, but it takes time to learn how to fully utilize the editor. The basic Wix plan is completely free, meaning you can build and publish your website completely free of charge. Premium plans allow you to purchase your own domain and remove the Wix ads, but these are not very intrusive anyway.
  • Creating a student portal using free embeddable widgets: Laura’s students can book classes online and access a VOIP video and chat portal from her site, and I added these free of charge. I came up with this mini student portal:

I wrote the copy for the about page with the goal of emphasizing how Laura gets her students excited about learning Italian, and that her lessons are different to language learning that only focuses on the language itself. The premise of SoItalian! is that language and culture go hand in hand, and should be learned together. Combining web design and copywriting in one project makes it easier for me to produce copy that’s on target quickly, as I already have a good understanding of the business goals:

I went with a simple contact form so that people interested in scheduling a class can contact her for a quote:

We’re about to begin working on a demo to add to the site, so that students can see Laura’s teaching in action!


7 Responses to “Latest Web Design Project: So Italian!”

  1. AmyS December 3, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    Please share Laura’s site when you get it up and running. I’m assuming that it’s not an authenticated site. Cheers!

    • literatiwriting December 3, 2011 at 8:48 am #

      Yup, I’ll link to the URL as soon as it’s complete and Laura is ready to share!

  2. AmyS December 3, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    How are you acquiring photos on your sites? Licensing, farming it out, or snapping them yourself?? Do tell.

    • AmyS December 3, 2011 at 2:23 am #

      Correction: photos for your sites. Not “on”.

      • literatiwriting December 3, 2011 at 8:48 am #

        I have an account with dreamstime and getty, and I also use!

      • literatiwriting December 3, 2011 at 8:50 am #

        For sharing the screenshots from the URL, I’ve been using Fireshot – a firefox plugin.


  1. Teaching ‘La Passione, Il Flirt, e Lo Shopping’ in Rome « Literati Writing - December 6, 2011

    […] Laura Downey launched her new website for  SoItalian! yesterday, and she’s already got students scheduled! Laura is a good friend […]

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