Portland Web Design for Mid-Sized Businesses & Non-Profits
There's a 99.99999% chance you're not in the cookie cutter business. Why should your website come from one?
Website designers are a dime a dozen. In fact, even some of my peers would argue that your marketing dollars are better spent in other areas online rather than on the design of your website. In some cases I would agree.
But in most cases, a designer that can translate your business goals into an aesthetically-pleasing, easy-to-navigate, search-engine-friendly presence online can be worth a lot more to your bottom line than the costs you might save on a free or cheap website template.
If your site...
#1 Looks like it was designed by a high-school kid back in 1997, or
#2 Incorporates a large amount of graphics and Flash, but doesn't show up for any keywords your customers might be typing into the search engines,
...then you’ve come to the right place.
I know how far web site design has come in the last 15 years -- I WAS that high school kid designing sites way back in 1997. With the advent of more flexible coding techniques such as CSS, PHP, and AJAX, web site designers today have more freedom than ever. Your site should take advantage of this new creative freedom.
Web Design Clients I Work With
I want to be honest with prospects: these days, I’m very selective about my web design clients. They mainly fall into two camps—although if you'd really like to work with me & your company or organization doesn't really fit either of these, feel free to send me an email anyway.
Camp #1: Medium-sized businesses who need both a new website and at least some search engine optimization. Yes, my rates are higher than most designers, but with a handful of exceptions, none of them has the SEO acumen that I do. If you’re just looking for a website without any SEO, you might be able to find someone just as good for a little less than I would charge, and I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. The typical budget for a web design project that I would take on for a for-profit company is between $8,000 - $16,000.
Here are the types of businesses I’m particularly interested in working with (and a few examples of businesses in each of these sectors):
Service-based businesses—especially businesses which serve a local or regional market
Lifestyle brands or content producers
A limited number of product companies
Camp #2: Non-profits. I try to work with a handful of non-profit entities each year, no matter what their budget. Lots of them need help with creating a website that they can maintain without having to email me about it, taking donations online, or integrating their website with their Facebook page. I typically recommend the lowest-cost strategy to accomplish all of these (or other goals) and provide my services at a significantly discounted rate.
However, if you don’t think you can afford my services but still need some help with your web presence, feel free to send me an email & I’m happy to try and point you in the right direction.
Website Design + Online Marketing Strategy
If you want to know in excruciating detail what's involved in a typical project that I take on, check out this page. Otherwise, here's everything in a nutshell:
+ Design Mock-ups - After getting a sense of the kinds of website designs you're partial to, I'll create a series of 3-4 mockups of a homepage and a typical subpage. We'll discuss and refine them prior to beginning the coding stage.
David redesigned a tired, outdated school district site into a well organized, easily navigated, and easily maintained web site. He was fantastic in making the changeover.
--Dan Garvin, Piedmont USD
+ Full Coding of Website - Once we get the design and structure of your website figured out, I'll code a prototype for you to review, and then build on that prototype to code the rest of your website.
+ Blog Integration - In nearly every industry, a blog is a great way to open up a line of communication with your customers, announce new product or service offerings, and a way to engage your broader industry. I design and develop blogs using Wordpress, an easy-to-use, open-source platform, and fit them seamlessly into the rest of your website.
+ Content Management - Depending on the size of your site and how frequently you expect to update it, a content management system (CMS) may be an essential component of your website. I typically customize Wordpress (see above) as a CMS for my clients in a way that maximizes search engine friendliness.
+ Flash Animation - While I advise most businesses against building websites entirely in Flash (due to its inherent search engine UN-friendliness), in some cases Flash can be a useful attention-grabber or demonstration tool. I use Flash to create some pretty professional-looking effects for selected uses.
Initial Search Engine Optimization
+ All of my website designs come with search engine friendliness baked into every line of code, so if you ever decide that it's something you want to pursue, you'll have a good foundation. But for some clients, SEO is a must--right from the get-go. I perform keyword research, optimize your site's architecture and internal linking strategies, target your title tags and meta description tags, build a baseline level of incoming links, and make recommendations for strategies you can pursue to continue an upward trajectory in the search results.
Ongoing Search Engine Optimization
+ I perform ongoing SEO for clients on an a la carte basis. Typically, they tell me a budget, and I recommend the best places to spend that money. I partner with a number of professional linkbuilding companies and analytics firms to maximize your return on investment.
Local Search Engine Optimization
+ I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I'm happy to let my peers toot it for me :). I'm one of a handful of Local SEO experts in the country, and I'm the only one based in Oregon. Local search engine optimization is a completely different animal from traditional SEO, although many of the same factors are in play.
I'll submit your website to the key Local search engines and verify your data with important providers.
I'll acquire important Locally-focused links for your website, and optimize your address and phone number coding strategy. Click here to learn more about Local SEO and its importance for clients with geo-relevant businesses ».
Pay-Per-Click Campaign Setup
+ Pay-per-click (PPC), otherwise known as "paid search," can be a highly successful for smaller companies, particularly if they're looking for an immediate boost in website traffic, and if they bid on the right keywords. The problem is, very few marketing firms offer pay-per-click management services that are affordable for small businesses.
I know a heckuva lot more about design and SEO than I do about pay-per-click, but my knowledge of paid search strategies is still pretty deep. I typically set up paid search campaigns for clients with monthly budgets of between $100 and $2,000. If you're interested in spending more than $2,000/mo., you're probably going to get a better return on that investment with a company that specializes in purely paid search marketing. When that's the case, I readily refer clients to exceptional companies with whom I've worked in the past.
My Website Design + Marketing Philosophy
Like most web site designers, I'd like to think that my work essentially speaks for itself. But just in case it doesn't, here are a few words about my design style and marketing philosophy:
Simplicity is best.
When it comes to web site design, this is a fundamental conviction of mine. Simple pages are easier to navigate and faster to load (ensuring maximum retention of your online visitors), and HTML-based coding is the preferred language of the search engines.
Stand out, don't showboat.
Of course I recognize the importance of creativity in web site design--every business needs to set itself apart from its competitors. But so many designers today take their creativity two steps too far, developing entirely Flash-driven sites with gobs of unnecessary bells, whistles, and various animations. Not only is this expensive for clients, but it is a turn-off to many customers. A clean, attractive web site is far more effective than a "Flash-y" one.
The Yellow Pages are on life support, and are about to be disconnected.
Unless your business caters to an elderly or downscale demographic, the Yellow Pages are far from your most effective form of advertising. A huge percentage of the population has 24-hour Internet access, and as the Net continues to pervade the public consciousness, more and more people will turn to it when they look for local businesses and services. Now is the time to expand and target your web presence.
Ad agencies are a rip-off for small and medium-sized businesses.
I should know, I used to work at one. While the number of account, creative, and production staff is entirely necessary to keep advertising on track for Fortune 500 companies, someone has to pay for all that overhead. Hourly design rates take this into account, and many agencies have been slow to recognize the importance of Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization in website design and internet advertising, if they've recognized it at all.
There's room for everyone on the Internet.
So many small businesses seem to think that they can't afford a good Internet presence, or that their bigger, stronger competitors hold too many advantages when it comes to Internet advertising. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the web sites of large companies typically have tremendous link popularity, and higher PageRank, it's rare that each one of the hundreds or thousands of pages on those sites will be keyword optimized or statically served. Meaning your business has a perfect window of opportunity to jump in there for your product or service.