My design philosophy - or why use us?

Folks ask me all the time – what makes a GOOD website?  And how are yours different from others?

Well – to begin with almost all sites are done with WordPress these days. And I have access to a GREAT collection of templates and No royalty photos and images for inclusion in my sites. I do NOT use images that can cause legal issues! (Many customers have had a cheap site done then received a nasty email telling them GETTY IMAGES WANTS $1500! because one of their images had been used!)

Well, I have been doing websites for 30 years and have done over 700 of them – anywhere from $100 to $150k!! And I know what makes them work! I also have my own servers so I can HOST your site as well!

Now, after selecting a good template, we come to the heart of the matter. 

If its just a glorified business card – we are just about done now.  But if its a site that you wish to bring you business – well, according to marketing studies I’ve read, you have 45 seconds to impress a new visitor to your site – or they will click BACK and leave!

So we need to IMPRESS. Need to plan that home page.

If you are a destination site – a restaurant or an antique mall – well you need to be a FUN DESTINATION – and the MAIN thing we want to show is people having FUN at your location.  People eating, drinking, shopping all enjoying themselves!  Eating YOUR food or perusing YOUR wares. 

Empty sites with NO people are the biggest error many businesses make when they get a website. The place has to LOOK inviting and a place your visitors would WANT to visit!
The home page should have a slider (or rotating backgrounds) of great images telling the viewer about YOU. And if its a slider we want 10 seconds on each slide, 3 slides total (to be less than the 45 seconds I mention above)

The importance of FONTS is something many miss.  NO WEBSITE in my opinion should use SERIF fonts (Newspaper type fonts where you have extra bits at the top of T characters, extra bits on each character look cute on  a paper page – BUT LOOK BAD on small screens and phones. What you are reading NOW is a sans serif font. And what is your customer viewing your site on?  Yep. a phone!  The ONLY site I make an exception for is the New York Times.  They INVENTED Times New roman so I’ll let them use it. Check out the two examples below (on a phone they will be above one another).  The FIRST box is Helvetica (sans serif) the second is Times New Roman.

Helvetica – a good Sans serf font. Check this font’s readability! even at a smaller font size its FAR easier on the eyes!
CAPS LETTERS at 10px font size

Times New roman – a serif font.  what does it look like in comparison?
CAPS LETTERS at 10px font size

Helvetica – a good Sans serf font. Check this font’s readability! even at a smaller font size its FAR easier on the eyes!
CAPS LETTERS at 7px.  see how much easier to read than the serif at the right?

Times New roman – a serif font.  what does it look like in comparison?

A VERY important question for the website. Make sure the viewers understand things that set YOU apart. A Jeweler I did a site for wanted to say ‘We repair jewelry’.  What does that mean?  Not much.  I asked ‘What’s the MOST expensive piece that has ever been brought to you for repair – and he tells me a customer in Georgetown brought them a $250,000 sapphire broach for repair!  Now I said THAT goes on the website! You dont need the customers name (heaven forbid!) but ‘A customer in Georgetown entrusted us with his $250,000 sapphire broach’ Tells a GREAT story – and someone reading it will know YOU can be thrusted with the wife’s $2000 ring!

Your website needs to answer the CUSTOMER questions – as if they were asking YOU!  And its just as important to tell the viewer what you DONT do as what you DO!  If you are a remodeling business and you do Virginia only – PUT it on the website so someone from Maryland does not waste your time saying ‘Fred told me you do great work’ and then finally ‘when can you come to Pennsylvania?’  Well the website can save you all that time.  “Check out our website call back with any qestions’ can avoid much wasted time.  If you dont take jobs less than $5000 put that on the website! If you DONT do emerency weekend/night work, put it on the website!

Ill tell you a story from one of my first websites – over 30 YEARS ago!! A computer customer had a great Horse-and-Tack shop. A business owned by the same family for 4 generations! I’m working on his computer and I said ‘You need a website!’  ‘The Internet does not work’ he says.  Why do you say that?  ‘Well we paid a firm $25000 for a website, and we have had NO visitors!!’ ‘Well, says I let me have a look’ and it as awful.  Antiseptic.  White.  No people. Reminded me of a hospital.  NO ONE wants to be reminded of a hospital!  I told him in my professional opinion the site ACTIVE repelled customers.  You were more likely to visit if you NEVER visited the website!  ‘But says I I’ll do you a site for a TENTH that price, and YOU pay me when you tell me it works!  ‘Done he says’
Now I say we need to get HIM on the website.  NO he says I’m not going on – YES YOU ARE I say YOUR family is the story of this place.  FOUR Generations! He was a 3 piece suite type, but I got him out of the jacket, white sleeves rolled up, and bailing some hay out back.  I got the stories and bios and pics of ALL his top people including the Large Animal Veternarian he had ON STAFF – which was both very rare for a business and NOT on the website!
Next time I visited he started reaching for the checkbook immediately.

It’s amazing he said.  ‘People are walking in there addressing my people by their first names, and they have NEVER set foot in the place!’

Now THAT’S a good website!



Here are some websites we have done for customers -
either all original or updating existing sites!