Document last modified: September 11, 2015
If you are a small business owner seeking a vibrant and dynamic website to showcase & sell your products and services, I can help you. Using the latest site innovations and code, I can create for you a unique, eye-catching and fast-loading website that will appeal to your customers.
I focus on one client project at a time, dedicating my full attention to meeting the needs of your business. My turn-around time is two weeks or less from conception to final end-product for custom designs, and less than a week if you utilize my Responder framework.
We begin the process with your project proposal which is based upon your specific needs. After you have decided on the direction you would like to proceed, I will provide you a working mock-up of the design for you to test and review.
All customized designs will have original & modified code and unique content and graphics created by me. If you are satisified with where we are heading, I will continue building your site, emailing you constant updates so you can review the progress of our project.
All sites created by me are guaranteed to stay current for the next several years, as I am utilizing the most up-to-date HTML5 compliant code, Bootstrap and CSS3 frameworks. All sites are responsive in design, meaning they are readily viewable on all devices (smartphones, tablets. etc) and easy to navigate on the smallest of screens.
Your website will be hosted on an individual, stand-alone hosting account that you have complete control over and can access any time you wish. You can edit and add content at your leisure or, for a separate fee, I can write and provide original content for your site.
Feel free to contact RJ Wattenhofer and share your ideas. You are under no obligation until the actual design process begins and I am more than happy to take the time to discuss your project in detail.
HTML5 is the latest in website markup language and an extremely important feature to have when designing any responsive site, especially for a small business: An ever-increasing number of people are relying on smaller devices as their primary means of web browsing.
Whether you are seeking a custom-built website, have found a third-party template you would like to use but don't know how, have been struggling developing your Wordpress site, or are simply not familiar with any aspect of beginning a new website, I can help you.
I am located in Phoenix, Arizona; however, I work remotely so I can assist clients located anywhere on the globe. I charge a flat-fee (discussed in advance) for all projects, with a price range of $190.00-$1,399.00 depending on the work involved.
As I am sure you have come to realize, there are many options available in regard to layout, navigation, structure and framework in which to present the world your new website. The task of sifting through massive amounts of information can be daunting & intimidating (and sometimes contradictory) and may produce unnecessary anxiety as you pull out your hair trying to make the best decision for your small business.
Focus first on usability (both for your target audience and you as the admin for future website updates) and then focus on aesthetics. Do you need to understand precisely how every bit of code works in your website? No, you don't - no more than someone purchasing a new vehicle needs to know about every aspect of the engine. You need a shiny new SUV to promote your business and can drive away confident that the mechanic will take care of what's under the hood.
Desktop computers and laptops are here to stay; however, more and more people are utilizing mobile devices to access information. Staying ahead of the curve is crucial to the small business entrepreneur, and one way to do that is keep on the forefront of advancing Internet technology.
Let's start with an example of a responsive website: View this site (rjwattenhofer.com) operating on a variety of mobile devices:
Notice how the columns stack nicely one atop the other (all information on the page is viewable) and that the horizontal header menu disappears, now replaced with a mobile-friendly floating image menu. This website is almost entirely pure CSS3 (with some jQuery on a few pages) and is extremely user-friendly.
A website host is a company that stores your website files on their servers, making it available to the public. Although there are many hosting providers to choose from, I work predominantly with GoDaddy.com. There is 99.9% uptime on your website and they have great customer service, with a hold-time of less than ten minutes when calling their customer care center.
You can buy both your domain name through them and your hosting account (I can take care of that on my end during the design process). Once your account is created and you have purchased a hosting package, you will be granted full access to your website and have at the ready many additional products you can use to enhance & promote your business.
One of the main avenues for website design is my custom built Responder framework. This framework was designed by me specifically for the small business entrepreneur and has many dynamic features to boost your online presence and is fully-customizable. I offer long-term customer support for this design and take great pride in having created an efficient and durable product.
Another option is Twitter Bootstrap. This innovative framework was created primarily to bring consistency to internal tools. Bootstrap took the lead, pushing aside smaller libraries that, although good, were inconsistent in the realm of interface development.
Bootstrap is made up of a wide collection of tools for creating applications and sites. It contains HTML5 and CSS-based interface components (the mainstay of serious website design) and is destined to be the true leader in future site development. Twitter Bootstrap is compatible on all devices and browsers and fully customizable to your needs.
One area I specialize in is customizing ready-made themes* to your specifications, creating unique websites tailored to business needs. Utilizing custom graphics, colors & content and reshaping the code (CSS, HTML, PHP) results in a dynamic, fresh and original new small business website for 1/3 the price of a complete custom job. Most website themes are fully HTML5 compliant and responsive to various sized screens such as tablets, smartphones, etc.
* I do not sell stand-alone templates as-is. My fee is based soley on labor and unique design work.
HTML5 is the latest standard and all of my website designs are based upon this code. Do you need to understand HTML5 to maintain your website? Absolutely not. Here are brief explanations of choices available to you so that you can easily update and add images & content to your new website:
Use a website editor
There are a wide variety of website editors available from which to choose, beginning with higher-end options such as Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 and moving on from there to many free downloadable website editors and even browser-based editors.
I recommend Mozilla's SeaMonkey WYSIWYG HTML webpage composer, an excellent browser-based editor that I can help you install as part of the project package. You simply compose your code in the user interface text window and then upload the HTML website page file via FTP to the correct site directory. All of the required code is created for you on the spot, enabling you to focus entirely on content creation and design.
The editor you choose should offer a user-friendly interface so that you can easily view and update your content without any hassles.
The concept is very easy to understand: You download your website files to your editing software, edit the pages, test them in a safe environment and then (when satisified) upload the files back onto the server where they are immediately live.
Edit in Wordpress
Wordpress is an expansive open source self-hosted blogging tool used on tens of millions of personal and business websites across the globe. Thousands of developers freely contribute their time and efforts to keep Wordpress state-of-the-art. Since its inception in 2003, it has evolved into a fully functioning content management system and offers thousands of useful widgets, plugins and themes.
Except for the initial design work (which I would handle) there is no back-end programming required: You can login directly from your website's homepage and access a dynamic admin/user interface where all updates can be made. One excellent feature is that you can add additional users with a variety of administrative rights, enabling them to post content and update the site.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of advancing the visibility of your website through organic search results. You can hire an SEO specialists to make your website more accessible; however, it is not necessary. SEO is mainly common sense: Create rich, interesting content for your website, sprinkle in some choice keywords and promote your site through social media or other means. There really is no "secret formula" that only the technorati have at there disposal.
The most recent changes to search engine algorithms are the introduction and recognition of universal, cross-platform schemas compiled by Schema.org, and Facebook Open Graph, which expands Facebook's social graph through the Open Graph Protocol in order for websites to be included in an individual's 'likes' across the web. I highly suggest you familiarize yourself with these practices, as they will make a postive and sizeable difference on your web presence. As you now realize, you have the tools at your disposal to get the word out and make your site a must-see for your customers.
You can find out more on how to use Schemas by reading my tutorial.
The main points to take away from this information are that, to begin your website project, you need a domain name (yourbusiness.com), a hosting package and a front-end developer to assist you. I can take care of all aspects of this process for a low flat-fee. I would be more than happy to help you on any aspect of your current or future website.