The Web Studio


I have been designing websites for over twenty years. There have been ups. There have been downs. A decent ride overall. Nothing to complain about. A lot to be grateful for. I work for many interesting people, businesses and organizations which I sometimes refer to as “clients.” I no longer feel the need – nor have the desire – to worry about my competition (or my prices, or tempering my opinions) when talking about the web with people. That  outlook and confidence came with years and experience. It does not mean I am the go-to-guy for everything. Far from it. It does mean that there are certain things I can do with relative confidence. I enjoy sharing what I know. I particularly enjoy learning new things. The people I continue to do work for are the reason I even mention any of this. It is odd and freaky when your clients tell you to charge more because they believe you are worth it! I take that as a serious compliment, and would be a fool to not acknowledge it.


From my point of view, the idea is always to include the best value I can for what you need and what you can afford. It resounds of the old Trade Union slogan, "A fair day's work for a fair days pay.” I figured out (awhile ago) that it is far more productive (for you, as the client, and myself, as the designer/consultant) to simply hammer out a budget (ahead of time) and build the project/website with the resources we have in hand. We can deal with the rest when that time comes and it is more appropriate and feasible a time to do so. Before you call or email, decide what you want/have as a website budget and think about what you expect from that investment. It makes it easier for both of us. I do my best to prepare and inform clients about what is involved in creating and maintaining their websites ahead of time on this website. That is the main reason I rewrote my own website. If you have the time, read through it... all of it!



Getting Started


Everything needs to start somewhere.

“What you need” will not always equate to “what you can afford, or what you are willing to pay for.”


There are many good reasons to move forward with what you can afford – regardless of what that budget amount is, whether it is with me, someone else, or on your own. Parts of what most people aspire to for their website (search engine ranking, high visitor numbers, increased conversions/sales, returns on their investment, etc.) are not usually attainable with a “once and done website.” I say that to acknowledge a reality, and to put this simple fact-of-life in the forefront. If anyone tells you differently, chances are they lying, delusional, or simple hoping they will get your project regardless of the outcome. The worst decision (in my opinion) is “to do nothing.” [“Yes, going with delusional is better than doing nothing!] Maybe we can not/will not achieve all your website goals immediately, but we can implement a plan (both practical and financial) on how to accomplish those goals... and grow accordingly. It is the more realistic and smart way to go! It is better to be moving in the right direction than to sit still. You can not improve something that does not exist.



Goals and Planning


I do a few things relatively well. I do a few things a little better than some others. A few years ago it would take me hours to accomplish what anyone (include you!) can now accomplish with a “drop and drag” on a DIY website builder. Technology has –  and is – changing almost everything. I embrace that. I welcome it as a web designer. But, the real work involved in building a website is really not about html, coding and scripts. How your website “looks,” is primarily about “eye-candy.” I am not knocking branding, company image, product/sevice identity or anything like that. But, it has only a marginal influence on how successful your website will be in the real world. I can not stress how very important the concept and implementation of good “website strategy and content” truly is. That strategy begins with understanding what your potential website viewers, potential and existing customers, and/or colleagues and associates are looking for (and need) in the website we are going to build. Remember, people use “search engines.” They are looking for something. It is important to have the information they are looking for on your website. Building a website that “tells people what you want them to know” is not necessarily in either your or their best interests. Again, “they are searching for you”, your website content needs to begin from that vantage point and understanding. It is not the other way around.

A decent website always involves quality content and intent. That involves both technical and practical concerns. There are guidelines and “best practices” that make websites more readily accessible to search engines. That is where most of my worth is grounded. If you have any concerns about the ranking, functionality, worth and longevity of your website, be assured, it involves more than a few “really nice pictures, graphics and some keywords.” Some may insist this premise is flawed, or narrow-minded, or “not what I read on the web.” Others may say that is not how you should look at “the big picture.” I do not have the time to take on that particular debate – there is too much adventure on the horizon to argue such things. Literally thousands of new websites appear each and every day on the web. And, thousands vanish, or – worse – simply get no traffic or notice at all. It is a competitive arena. How important all of it becomes is a question only you can answer. You tell me what you want to accomplish. I suggest what we can do to accomplish your goals. And, we come up with a plan. After that, the work begins – however simple or complex we decide it should be.


Basic Web Design Fees


Because you will ask!


My design fees start around $350 for a four-page website. This includes just about everything you need to start, or to rebuild, a simple and practical information website. As a ballpark figure, you can normally add about $50-75 per page as you grow into a larger website (if you choose to do so). If you prefer to have a “naked website” (no search engine optimization, social media, local listing assistance, or... etc.) the cost is less.


Please keep in mind, the websites I normally build include features that probably are not a part of the pricing you will probably find with others. I don't like to dwell on these things. I am not being critical of what others offer. I am simply explaining what I have to offer. If you have a website and need Yelp, Manta, Adwords, or whatever else is out there to keep it alive... you really do not have a self-supporting website. Once you begin to depend on the “add-ons” to give your website viability, it is time to rethink what you are doing and how you are attaining your goals.


Many are looking for is an inexpensive “once and done website,” I understand that. Many people believe that is all they need. And, in some cases, it is really all that needs to be done. However, aiming for Page One on the search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) with a marginal (“naked”) website is akin to your chances of winning the Lotto. It is possible. It is not very probable. You may not win the Grand Prize, but there is a chance of nominal payback nonetheless. Websites that consistently rank well in the search engines tend to have some genuine investment of time and money in them. Can a smaller, less expensive websites accomplish larger goals? Yep, but they are the exception. I wouldn't bet the mortgage payment on it, but I won't spend a lot of time trying to persuade you not to give it a try.


Two options, similar end product

(well, sort of...)


What I excel at is building websites that have the inherent potential to grow visitors and ranking “organically.” I have found the most practical way of doing this is to get clients to sign into a maintenance/growth program. It can start for as little as $50 per month (and range up to $200-300 per month for larger websites). It is well worth every penny invested. If you are interested in what is involved and would like to know more about what is involved in such a program, simply contact the web studio.


If  you are simply looking for a basic 1-3 page informational site without  the extras, please inquire as well. While a “naked website” may not achieve a significant or lasting presence on the web, I do enjoy creating them and do so with the same spirit and zeal as I do for larger and longer-term projects. And, of course, the costs for naked websites are ridiculously affordable. You can always opt to expand your investment later.

“... building a successful website is really not about html, coding and scripts; it is about creating a resource, designing a point of interest and making information (about your product, service or organization) readily available.”