Customer Spotlight

EmPress Web Design and Consultation: Judith Card’s Journey of Creativity and Compassion

EmPress Web Design and Consultation: Judith Card’s Journey of Creativity and Compassion

Through the kaleidoscope of digital progress, effective web design and development have become crucial for businesses and nonprofits alike. Embracing this evolution is Judith Card, the founder of EmPress Web Design and Consultation. With a robust background as a web project manager and over two decades of experience in the industry, Card has cultivated a business that merges technical expertise with a profound commitment to values.

“EmPress Web Design specializes in consultation, design, development, and maintenance,” she said, highlighting her journey from managing web projects in a large organization to establishing her own enterprise.

Specializing in WordPress and Beyond

The cornerstone of EmPress Web Design’s success is its specialization in WordPress, a versatile and user-friendly platform.

“EmPress Web Design primarily uses WordPress, and if clients aren’t already using it, I usually try to talk them into it,” Card revealed.

That preference isn’t without reason; WordPress, combined with Elementor, a favored page builder, provides the flexibility and ease that enable Card to create dynamic, client-centric websites.

Her process begins with a thorough collection of client information and content.

“I look at their previous website if they had one, and then we do a wireframe and a design mock-up,” she explained.

Once the design is approved, Card leverages WordPress and Elementor to bring the vision to life. This methodology ensures that clients receive websites tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

Overcoming initial challenges, such as scaling her business and determining appropriate pricing, has been instrumental in Card’s journey.

“I didn’t know how much I could take on,” she admitted. Realizing the importance of delegation, she assembled a reliable team of freelance developers, along with a dedicated security expert to handle malware and site security. This collaborative approach has enabled her to focus on core aspects of her business while ensuring that technical challenges are expertly managed.

Evolution of Web Design

Reflecting on her extensive career, Card has witnessed remarkable advancements in web design. From the days of Microsoft FrontPage and static HTML sites, the industry has evolved into a realm dominated by sophisticated content management systems and intuitive page builders.

“There’s a lot that can happen and change in 20 years,” she noted, emphasizing the need to stay updated with technological trends.

One of the most significant improvements she has observed is the advent of drag-and-drop page builders. These tools have revolutionized the way websites are created, making them accessible even to those with limited coding knowledge. Although Card is proficient in HTML and CSS and has a working knowledge of PHP, she said the ease of use provided by modern tools like Elementor has streamlined the design process.

She added that the shift towards user-friendly content management systems allows clients to manage their websites independently if they choose to do so.

“Some clients do, some don’t, and that’s okay,” she acknowledged. This flexibility empowers clients while also freeing up Card and her team to focus on new projects and innovations.

More Than Mechanical: Valuing the Human Element

For Card, web design transcends mere technical execution; it’s about making meaningful connections and supporting causes that resonate with her values.

“I mostly work with nonprofits and businesses that align with my values,” she said.

One notable project is the website for Diverse Harmony, an LGBTQ youth choir. This collaboration, facilitated by Companis, an organization that connects volunteers with nonprofits, underscores her commitment to using her skills for social good.

In addition to Diverse Harmony, Card has worked with organizations like ChildStrive, which supports families in need, and a prescription drug assistance foundation in Washington State. These partnerships are a testament to her belief in the power of technology to drive positive change.

“I’m so lucky to be able to do work that I find meaningful,” she stated, emphasizing the satisfaction derived from contributing to causes that matter.

This value-driven approach does more than just enrich her professional life — it deeply influences her design philosophy. Prioritizing user experience, she ensures that her websites are intuitive and easy to navigate.

“I like to make sure that my sites are easy to navigate and clean-looking,” she explained. By focusing on usability, Card creates websites that are accessible to all users, highlighting her dedication to the human element in web design.

The Challenges and Triumphs of Going Solo

Transitioning from a secure role in a large organization to freelancing posed significant challenges for Card. Initially, she aimed to secure a job in Seattle’s tech industry but faced discouragement due to age and gender biases.

“I looked for work for about a year,” she recalled. Ultimately, she decided to leverage her existing client base and venture into business independently. 

“I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to start my own business. I’m just going to do this on my own. I already have clients. I’m going to add more. I’m going to get out there.'”

Starting a freelance business required strategic decisions, such as selecting WordPress as the primary platform despite its absence in her previous organization. The slow initial growth was mitigated by word-of-mouth referrals and the support of organizations like Companis.

“It was very helpful teaming up with Companis, an organization that could give me referrals,” she acknowledged.

Staying Up to Date with Trends and Advancements

Staying current with technological advancements is crucial in the ever-evolving field of web design. Card employs a multi-faceted approach to keep abreast of trends. She regularly reads Substack, Reddit, and articles in the New York Times, combining this with practical problem-solving for her clients.

“Most working clients have a problem, and I need to figure out what it is,” she explains.

Her inquisitive nature drives her to delve deep into issues, ensuring comprehensive solutions.

“If a client has a problem, I’m going to follow it through to the end,” she asserted, demonstrating her commitment to thoroughness. That dedication to resolving issues not only enhances her technical knowledge but also solidifies her reputation as a reliable problem-solver.

The wealth of information available online, coupled with her innate curiosity, positions Card to stay ahead of the curve. Her proactive approach to learning and adaptation ensures that EmPress Web Design remains at the forefront of industry trends, providing cutting-edge solutions to clients.

Partnering for Success: EmPress and DreamHost

At the core of Card’s business is a profound sense of creativity and a desire to connect with clients on a human level.

“The thing that drives me is creativity,” she said. That intrinsic motivation fuels her work and guides her professional and personal interactions.

One crucial piece of advice she offers to budding web designers is to ensure that each client has their own hosting account.

“I learned that I need to set everyone up with their own DreamHost account,” she shared.

That practice not only simplifies management but also empowers clients to maintain control over their digital assets. This approach has become a cornerstone of her business, ensuring that clients are never left scrambling for access to their sites in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Card chose DreamHost’s Shared Unlimited hosting plan for EmPress Web Design and Consultation because it gives her total control over her own sites.

“I have found with some other plans that they give you a choice to pay more for a more managed service, but then take away the option to perform certain functions yourself,” she explained.

With her skill set, the basic plan along with the support she receives is sufficient. However, she acknowledged that for those needing more support and guidance, DreamHost offers more robust plans. Initially, she hosted all her clients on her account, but she quickly realized that wasn’t a sustainable practice. Now, she uses the Shared Unlimited plan for her portfolio, business website, and several side projects.

The Shared Unlimited hosting plan has proven reliable even during high-traffic situations. Card recalled, “With at one time 12 sites on that one plan, I never got any warning that I ran out of space.” That reliability is crucial for managing her business operations smoothly.

Managing domains and sites through DreamHost significantly enhances her workflow efficiency.

“Being able to sign in to most of my clients’ sites via one panel really helps cut down on work,” she said. Familiarity with DreamHost’s user-friendly interface eliminates the guesswork often associated with navigating new environments, making her work more efficient.

SSL certificates from DreamHost have also been a major selling point.

“Having the SSL certificate available and included in the plan is a big plus,” she said.

This feature attracted her to DreamHost initially, as it includes services like privacy and SSL certificates in the price instead of charging extra for everything. This has improved traffic on her clients’ sites, as many had previously lacked active SSL certificates.

Support from DreamHost has been invaluable for Card.

“I can’t even count the times that I have used DreamHost support on my own and clients’ sites,” she noted. From resolving hacking and malware issues to answering general questions, DreamHost’s support team has always been patient and respectful, according to Card.

“One of your representatives personally called me on the phone one time when I had a complaint,” she recalled, highlighting the exceptional customer service that has bolstered her business operations.

She noted that such an excellent customer service approach from DreamHost positively impacts her relationship with her clients.

“Most times, there are no costs associated with contacting support and resolving the issue, and those savings I can pass on to my clients,” she explained. This not only strengthens her client relationships but also adds value to her services.

Card appreciates DreamHost’s commitment to staying current with technological advancements. 

“They are always updating the PHP when necessary, and they send me warnings for this and WordPress versions,” she said. This proactive approach helps her navigate the ever-changing landscape of web design and consultation effectively.

DreamHost’s commitment to providing superhero service resonates deeply with Card’s own business values and practices.

“When I have a partner who goes the extra mile, it helps me to go the extra mile for my clients. It becomes a win-win situation,” she said. This alignment ensures that her business thrives on a foundation of creativity, reliability, and exceptional customer support.

Future Plans and Vision

Looking ahead, Card has mulled the potential to scale her business further, whether through franchising or expanding her team. However, maintaining the integrity and values that define EmPress Web Design remains her priority.

“I don’t know if that will ever happen,” she mused about the prospect of expanding. “Or maybe hiring other people. I don’t know that I’d be able to keep the same values intact.”

For now, she’s content with the current trajectory of her business, continuing to take on new clients while exploring ways to enhance her operations.


Card’s journey with EmPress Web Design and Consultation is a testament to the power of resilience, creativity, and values-driven work. From her early days as a web project manager to becoming a successful entrepreneur, her story is one of overcoming challenges and making meaningful contributions through technology. As she continues to navigate the evolving landscape of web design, her commitment to her clients and her values remains unwavering, promising a future where creativity and compassion guide every project.