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Createscape Design Studio: custom website design and mobile friendly services

Turning a passion into a business

Before creating her own business, Crystal Smith started designing websites as a hobby in 2001. What started out as a passion project, quickly turned into a business idea. Crystal earned a Certificate in Web Design from Camosun College and has been designing websites professionally since 2009.

After working for a few years as a professional website designer for a Victoria-based agency, working directly with clients was what motivated her to venture into entrepreneurship.

“There’s more creative freedom involved in running a business and I wanted to work one-one-one with clients as well as contribute to my community,” says Crystal.

She founded in 2013 and began her journey with helping organizations achieve their goals through their website – whether it be by adding new features, redesigning it, or improving SEO. Crystal now serves 50 clients across Canada and the US.

Crystal focuses on what her clients need to succeed.

“Some of my competitors only provide template websites. I provide template websites when a client’s budget calls for it, but I can also do custom development. I don’t try to fit every client into the same box.  I listen to what the client needs and what their goals are, and I go from there,” says Crystal.

Securing the right domain

One of Crystal’s first goals when setting up her business was to get her domain name. A few months before she launched her business and her website, she went hunting for the perfect domain name.

“I had a shortlist of preferred domain names, but thankfully the one I liked best was available in .CA. I like the domain privacy features that come with .CA domains and I like to reassure clients that they will be working with someone local, even if we can’t meet in person.”

Her website is now a one-stop shop for her portfolio, contact info and the services she provides.

“For the first year it was slow, but it has grown a lot and now I get a lot of referral clients as well as people finding me directly through the website. I improve the SEO of my website by adding and refreshing content regularly and I occasionally use pay-per-click advertising,” says Crystal.

A full host of reasons to choose the right registrar

As Crystal comes across the world of domains and hosting a lot in her work, she always recommends a quality registrar to her clients.

“I would recommend because they are a Canadian company with excellent customer service.  In addition to domain registration, they provide basic hosting plans, managed WordPress, and email hosting.  For most people I think it’s best to register their domain and host their website with the same company, and I think Fullhost’s customer service sets them apart from any hosting company I’ve worked with before,” says Crystal.

A word of advice to entrepreneurs

Crystal’s advice is to hit the ground running and have a good idea about who you are before investing in your website. Starting with your content and your branding will put you miles ahead when it comes time to setting up your website. She often provides this advice to her clients:

“Register your domain after your business name registration, and put a simple website up with a logo and paragraph about what you do.  Submit this to Google, and it will help give your domain some traction while you work on building a full site.”

Crystal credits the teachers at Camosun College who helped her feel confident that she had the skills to start a business on her own.  While she hasn’t had any traditional business mentors, there have been a few people she looks up to, and she often learns from her clients as well.

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