site faq
How do I get to the main menu?

By default, the main menu is hidden, to provide a little more screen real estate for content. This is especially useful on mobile devices, where there is very little screen to begin with. You can open the main menu at any time by pressing the "menu" button in the header:

Will my website work on a phone?

Yes, very definitely. I develop websites using what is termed a "responsive design methodology," so that the site adapts itself to the device it is running on. It will look fine and function well on all the usual devices: laptop, tablet, and phone.

There is one caveat, however. The native browsers on some older smart phones did not always implement a full or standards-compliant web browser. There exists the possibility that occasionally (and rarely) a problem with the display could develop. I generally counsel clients to download Google's Chrome browser for mobile devices, and that almost always solves the problem.

How much will my website cost?

I bill at the rate of $25 per hour.

A basic informational site might contain 3 to 5-6 pages, a home (or landing) page, a page on the services you provide, an "about" page telling who you are, a testimonials page (or some related theme), a location page showing where you are located (possibly with a Google map), and a contact page where a potential client can email you. These typically take 5 to 10 billable hours to create, so your cost for the site would be in the $125 to $250 range.

More intricate sites, say one set up for ecommerce where you are selling items, processing credit cards, and tracking orders would entail more hours, maybe 10-15, resulting in a cost of $250 to $375 for the site.

On rare occasions someone requires a large or very intricate site, with lots of pages and lots of code, and these might require 20 hours or more.

Bear in mind, too, that you will incur additional charges, for domain name registration, the cost to have someone host your site, and other things. These are typically modest, but almost all are recurring month to month or year to year. A typical fee to maintain registration of your domain name is $15 per year. Hosting for the average small business site might run $5 per month.

What are the kinds of websites you do?

The short answer is, any kind of custom site. I do informational sites, ecommerce sites, database driven sites, and anything else. I have also built sites using 3rd party software packages such as WordPress and osCommerce. If you have a requirement to use a 3rd party system with which I am not familiar, I will let you know. This does not mean I cannot build you a site using such a system, only that it is likely to take longer as I learn the ins and outs of the package. And I do not bill when I'm learning, only when I am making progress towards your goal. And, by the way, I do not bill if I am spending time hunting down a bug. Again, only when I am making progress towards your goal. I seldom encounter bugs, but it does occasionally happen.

I need an ecommerce site. What software do you recommend?

If I am creating a site from scratch and am free to pick what I consider the best solution to the problem, I will use a JavaScript-based shopping cart name SnipCart. I have found it to be easy to use, lightweight in terms of resource usage, versatile, and very robust in its capabilities. Some of the older PHP-based shopping carts are exceedingly monolithic and cumbersome to use, and I recommend you pass these by.

What about after the site is built? Are you available for support?

Yes, absolutely. I am always available to assist you with upgrades, enhancements, maintenance chores, or bug fixes. I do not charge for bug fixes if it is my bug. And for simple things that take, say, 15 minutes or less there is no charge. On the other hand, if you need a new page added to the site and I am looking at several hours of work, I will bill you for that.

I prefer to enter into long term relationships with clients. It affords us both stability in a sense, as you need not worry that I will disappear into the sunset, and I can depend upon possible future income or recommendations of me by you. It's a win-win for everyone.

What is the first step in getting a new website?

Call me first. I can advise and assist you in the preliminary steps: registering a domain name, arranging for hosting for your site, obtaining an SSL certificate if needed, and so forth.

As a matter of fact, I can host your site for you myself, as I hold a resellers account with Certified Hosting Solutions, a substantial host company that's been around for about 18 years now. I have used them myself for the past 10 years or so, and found them to be competent and reliable. If you are curious, here is a link to their site: Certified Hosting Solutions

Okay, I've hired you. What happens next?

The first thing is a phone interview or a meeting to discuss 2 issues: what is the function of the site, and how should it look. Lets suppose you are after a basic informational site. What are the pages you would like the site to have? This might be something like home page, abouit page, products and services page, location page, and contact page. It is also possible to combine pages, so that there is a single page showing location and contact information. Really, anything is possible, and if you have definite ideas about it, let me know. Alternatively, you can let me propose something based on common practice.

Next, how do you want the site to look? Are you after a sleek, modern look, or a comfortable, old fashioned look, for example? What colors do you prefer? Are there any particular fonts you would like to see used? If you have prediliections, by all means let me know. But maybe you don't, and that's fine, too. You can leave it all up to me.

Based on the interview I will then prepare a mockup of the home page, basically a JPEG image showing what I envision, which I will show you for your approval. Once we've agreed upon a look then I will start development of the site.

It is important to note that, while a site may only entail 8 billable hours, it will not be done in a day. You can expect the process to take perhaps a week. If my client load is heavy and/or your site is fairly intricate it will be longer.

Another point worth noting is that the images used on your site must come from somewhere. I typically utilize one of many image vendors that sell the rights to utilize stock imagery royalty free. This is not a huge expense, $30 per site is typical, but that is another item that will appear on your bill.

What is the best way to contact you?

For the initial inquiry, I much prefer email, but phone calls are welcome as well. You can use the contact form on this site, click here to access it: CONTACT FORM

What exactly is "responsive design?"

Responsive design is a design methodology wherein a site is constructed so that it adapts to the limitations of the device on which it is being rendered. Once upon a time there were only desktop and laptop computers, all with reasonably big screens and all with screen resolutions that were similar. One could build a fixed-width site that would likely display well on any computer. A common technique of the time was to design around a standard site width of 960 pixels.

Nowadays, things are much more complicated. In addition to desktop and laptop computers there are also now tablets and phones, and to complicate things even more, tablets and phones have rotatable displays and are able to present in either portrait or landscape mode.

The old fixed-width one-size-fits-all is not a very elegant solution for this device space. An old-school site will still display on a phone, but you can't see the whole width at once, and would be constantly scrolling side-to-side to try to decipher the display. This illustration shows the problem:

Responsive design utilizes coding techniques that address these issues. So, for instance rather than one wide fixed-width main menu a responsive approach would be to construct a variable width container into which is place individual menu items that comfortably fit the available display space. Your browser will wrap to a new line when it runs out of space, ensuring that all menu items can be seen. The illustration below shows what I mean.

There are other techniques that are employed as well. Using what are termed CSS media queries, the developer can actually restyle the whole page based on the width of the display, for instance.

Responsive design is the only way to go in the current world of a plethora of device types. It provides the ability to claim that "many sizes fit all."