Momma Bear.
wine + coffee
Pizza lover.
guac is life.


pardon the dust, it’ll be worth the wait

Design has been a passion of mine since Neopets was the cool thing... yea, that was probably back in 2002 by now?! I won’t date myself too much. I stepped away from this passion of mine as I went into high school, with occasional jumps back into it. When I became a photographer a few years back, I started to realize the difficulty in finding the perfect designer, so I decided to do my own work.

I guess you could say that’s where the spark ignited. 

Shortly after working on my own design work, I started having other vendor friends asking for help, whether it be marketing ideas, alignments, etc. They knew my OCD design alignment self wouldn’t be the one to sugarcoat their work. So... after a few hiccups, Coastal Pine Design was launched!

I guess not really “launched” launched though... that’s happening in January! Anyway...

Long story short, Coastal Pine will be launching the first full week of January, and I can't wait for you to see everything!

It might sound silly, but something as little as utilizing image alt tags can make a huge impact on your business. Not only does it help with your SEO, but people are actually far more likely to find you on google images if you’re using them. If you’re not sure what alt tags are, they’re the same as alt text, which is what helps describe what an image is.


Instruction on how to alter your alt text in wordpress


A little backstory for you: Alt tags (or alt text) was actually created for the vision impaired. It’s because of those little buggers that someone that has difficulty seeing, or blind, can know what the heck their supposed to be seeing or reading through. With that being said, the more descriptive your alt text can be, the better. Just don’t be getting spammy on me, or the rest of your readers.

Now if you’re on WordPress, you’ll have the wonderful plugin known as Yoast SEO. If you don’t have it already, well… you should get on that now. It helps you determine if you’re meeting the keywords you’re looking for. It gives you recommendations, and it’ll pick up on the fact that you have quality alt text in your post or page.

So, my homework for you today is this: 
Go through the images on your website. Do they have alt text placed in? If they don’t, fit in the right words that describe the image! Have any questions? Don’t hesitate to shoot me an email!



I know it makes me sound like a debbie downer, but I promise you’re about to get a business check up with this post! As I build up my second business, and work with other business owners in their starting phases, I’ve gained a lot of insight on who is ready to start their business, and who isn’t. So, to make things a little easier on you, I’ve made a short list of reasons why you aren’t ready to start your business just yet. For those of you that are like me, and truthfully just skim through articles, I’ll be making it easy with bolded words. Don’t worry, I gotchu! 😉

Without further ado, here are the 5 reasons:

1. You have no idea who your targeted market is.

Do you have an idea of who you’re planning to sell your product or services to? Have you narrowed down some form of demographics? This could be income, gender, interests, you name it. Who are you going to be serving to? Where are they going to be when it comes to your marketing? What events would you likely find them at? All of these questions will come in handy as you prepare for networking and marketing, as well as opening up shop if you’re a brick and mortar.

2. You don’t know what problem you’re trying to solve.

The purpose of a business is to fill some sort of need for your consumers. This can be something as simple as, “people need coffee, I’m giving them coffee”. What are you trying to solve for your potential clients? What are they needing that isn’t quite being fulfilled?

3. You don’t know whether or not your targeted market actually wants this.

You could have a brilliant idea, and think it’ll be the bee’s knees, but if your targeted market doesn’t actually have a need for it, you don’t want to waste your hard earned cash or valuable time trying to perfect this idea. Take some time to set up a poll if you’re already reaching out to your ideal market. See if what you’re baking is what they’re wanting cooked.

4. You don’t have your “why” for starting.

Your why is going to be crucial for the longevity of your business. It’s going to be the thing that carries you through the nitty gritty parts of business, and pushes you through every hard step you’re faced with. While your “why” can be for the money, try to dig a little deeper than that. Why do you want the money? What problem is the money going to solve for you? What is motivating you while you’re trying to earn money?

5. You haven’t created a business plan.

Basically everything I’ve just shared can be tied into a business plan. If you haven’t created a business plan yet, then you really should. Anyone that is looking to start something up that’s going to be more than just a hobby needs to have a business plan in place. This is essentially the outline of your entire process.

As you’re working on your answers to the business plan, try your best to not overthink things. Don’t feel like you need some crazy in depth answer for each section, just do your best to be as descriptive as possible. You’ll be able to build up these answers, and revise them, as your business matures through the years.

I’ll be sharing a pdf guide for creating a business plan that will be accessible in my freebies section, so be on the lookout for it! You can also subscribe to my mailing listing and I’ll let you know as soon as my freebie page launches.

– Melissa

You probably came across my website through some form of social media, or maybe even a friend bringing me up. As you’re skimming through my work in progress site, you’re probably wondering who the heck I am, and what the heck Coastal Pine Design is. Well, I’m Melissa, you can call me Mel if you’d like. I’ve had a passion for design since goodness knows how long, and I love helping people. I run a photography business, and decided to take this baby on when I realized that there were so many local businesses in need of a true branding.

As I’ve been sitting back and observing, I’ve noticed that so many people jumping into business don’t even know who they’re trying to target, and they have no idea how to actually build up their own brand. Well, this is where I decided to finally come in! My biggest focus with Coastal Pine is to help you figure out what your brand actually is, and the first step in that is figuring out who the heck you’re actually trying to reach.

Just a little forewarning, if you don’t know who you’re trying to market… you aren’t ready for a brand yet, and I’ll be letting you know that after we’ve gone through the PDF Questionnaire I send to all of my clients! Have no fear though, I’ll be here to help you through even that portion of your business!

branding and web designer for small businesses introduction postSo, who is Melissa?

I’m this lady right here… well, a little lower in the blog post… but you’ll see the photo shortly. I’m the mother of this adorable toddler, and I am a recent graduate from Grand Canyon University (Go Lopes!). I’m one to have a gypsy soul, and a constant yearning to travel to new locations. My current focus is on making my way to New England! I couldn’t tell you why, but something about the cold, the history of the architecture, and the views just have me sold. It’s honestly in my end goal for 2018, want to help make that a reality?!

introduction post of small business web designer and branding

What is Coastal Pine Design?

My vision for Coastal Pine is to really hone in on what you are as a small business, and how we can make you stand out amongst the crowd. I love companies that are focusing on bettering others, whether it’s through sponsored activities, improving the mindsets, or even improving the body. I want to know that I’m working with companies that are wanting to make this world a better place in some shape or form.

With that being said, I’m a web designer, brander, and marketer. What that means is that I’m here to help you figure out your brand, build a brand that truly matches the market you’re aiming for, and figuring out just the right way to reach them. My goal is to grow my business and be able to add in specified copywriters, strong developers, and social media gurus along the way, but for now I’m a one man show (woman-show… you get it!)

I’ll be sharing different tips and tricks for business owners in addition to work I’ve completed along this road, so be sure to follow me, and eventually get signed up for my newsletters so you can get updates on little ways you can improve your business!


I can’t wait to grow our friendship!