Design, as a word, conjures up thoughts of color, graphics and layout. But good Web design is about more than look and feel, it's about creating an environment in which site visitors can easily find the information, products and services they seek—so that you can achieve the goals you've set for your site.
With over 15 years of Web development experience, I'll work with you to help you focus on your primary goals, understand and identify your target audience and develop content, navigation and marketing strategies in order to build a site, and promote an online presence, that serves the needs of both you and your customers.
When I worked at Case Western Reserve University I wore many hats. In many cases, when building new sites, I also researched and wrote much of the copy myself. While most of my current clients work with their own writers, if you need content development, I can help. I can also review your existing copy to make sure it is suited to your marketing goals and supports search engine optimization.
If you're not a full-time marketer, developing a Web site, in keeping with your overall goals, can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. My Planning Your Web Site Tutorial can help you get into the marketing mind-set to start the planning process. As I build or redesign your site, I'll continue to work with you to plan your strategy and ensure that your site meets both your goals and those of your target audience.
Many marketers and small business owners like to use e-mail to keep in touch with their customers. Services such as MailChimp provide easy-to-use templates, but if your needs require something more specific, I can create a custom designed file that you can send through any mailing system that accepts HTML. E-mail programs vary in their ability to both read and send HTML messages—which limits our options when compared to the Web—but with the use of inline CSS styles and table formatting I can develop messages that are readable across a variety of platforms.
Search Engine Optimization is simply a collection of practices that can help make your site more findable by those who seek the services or information you offer. While some SEO practitioners focus on link-building strategies such as directory submission and article marketing, I focus primarily on the things we can do on-site. In applying SEO to your site I work with you to ensure that the content serves the needs of your target audience, uses the keywords they might search for, includes the most relevant meta elements and is presented using valid semantic HTML mark-up. On-site SEO in combination with traditional and social media marketing strategies can help your audience find your site both now and in the future. To learn more about how SEO works visit my SEO Tips page.
If your site needs regular updates but you don't have the time or staff to make them, I can work with you to update your pages and set up a maintenance schedule suited to your site requirements.
Social media can be used for a variety of purposes ranging from collaboration and educational outreach to sales and customer service. My social media services range from 1:1 consultations where I may teach you specific social media skills, to the development of social media marketing plans and staff training. While social media gets a lot of attention these days, and everyone is anxious to get on Facebook and Twitter, social media isn't about the services and tools but about listening to, and connecting with, your audience. When developing social media strategies I like to start by establishing a measurable goal, defining your target audience and then determining the best way to connect with that audience—on their terms— in the spaces they already inhabit. Learn more about my social media services.
When developing sites I start by focusing on your goals. Together I'd like us to develop content driven sites in which the message isn't overwhelmed by the design. In other words, you won't see me building Flash-based sites with lots of animation and distraction—though I may use Flash within a site if it will help convey a particular message. My visual design style tends towards simplicity. I use color and graphics to present a mood or style, but I just want that to set the tone, while I design the layout and user-interface to make the site easy to navigate.
I also want to build sites that are accessible and compatible across a variety of platforms. By developing sites in standards compliant semantic HTML, I can create sites that will continue to work as browsers are updated, degrade gracefully on older browsers and support accessibility and search engine optimization. Read through my HTML and CSS Tutorials to learn more about HTML and why proper coding is so important.
I typically suggest that clients host their own sites, either on their servers or through a reliable hosting provider, but if you prefer not to manage your own hosting, I can host your site on my account space. The provider I use is Dreamhost and I've found them to be quite reliable over the years that I have used them. They are also one of WordPress.org's recommended vendors for self-hosted WordPress installations. Disclaimer: If you sign up for Dreamhost using my link, I will get a referral fee. But I'd recommend them even if you used a different link. There are hundreds (probably thousands) of providers to choose from, but Dreamhost has served my needs.
Web marketing can mean anything from advertising on Google to promoting your blog on Twitter. I tend to focus more on social media marketing than on online advertising, but each marketing goal is unique. Whether you are trying to increase sales leads or promote an event I can work with you to develop strategies geared to your specific goals.
WordPress is known as a blogging platform, but over the years it has evolved into a robust content management system that can be used for many types (and sizes) of Web sites. While I wouldn't try to build something like Amazon in WordPress, I have found that it can adapt to many needs. Whether you would like to add a blog to your site (and match the current look, as I did with my Web Development Blog), or build an entirely new site, I can design and create a custom WordPress theme and install and build the site so that you can easily maintain it from then on. If you have an existing WordPress site and just want to modify the design or features, I can help with that as well.
In the past I have also worked with Movable Type, so if you prefer that platform I'd be happy to assist with that too.