About Me

Ex Air Force, college educated, graphics artist/photographer/advertising and military electronics hardware career after service, turned software developer, evolved into website development, in a 30+ year career. I have been developing websites professionally since 1996, after four prior years of personal Internet tinkering with the rudimentary form of HTML in those days. My web interest accelerated while working as a fault-tolerant systems programmer in California, where many companies had websites long before the rest of the country did. It was clear the web was going to be everywhere. I wanted to get in on the ground level. As a result, I now have more experience than the majority of web developers. I've learned a lot about web development since those early days. The web development methods have evolved and been refined over the years, preparing for a better future for all.

My Work

One important aspect is that there are standards published by the Web Consortium (W3C.org), yet so few web developers know about them or can code properly. Only about 1% of web developers validate their work. That means there is a 99% chance that you will choose a web developer that will not develop your website to the standards. I produce a 100% validated website using the W3C.org validation service (the group that issues the web standards). The web developers that validate their work get to display this symbol on a page that has passed validation:

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

You should be able to click on the symbol to verify that the page validates.

It turns out that some websites will put this symbol on a page to make you think it is validated, even when it does not. It is possible that the page validated, then some updates were made that broke the code, and is in the process of being fixed, but that depends on how long the symbol remains without the page being fixed again. It is the responsibility of the developer to check the page periodically to insure against that happening. If the symbol remains on the page for longer than a few days, be suspicious of the developer.

The appearance of a website is important, but it must also work correctly. There aren't any searhcengines that are ranking your website off of the appearance. They read through the code. People rank web develoeprs and their websites by appearance, but searchengines rank website by code. Which method will you use?

Are standards important? My simple comparison is what would our lives be like if there were no plumbing, wiring, or building code standards, ... or enforcement? There are web standards but no enforcement. Since the web is worldwide, who could enfore the standards? No one; it is up to the developer. Only the truly dedicated, top of the heap developers will back their work up with proof of validation (as I do).

Wouldn't it be great that for every person you hire to do something, you could go to a website and see if they messed up on their last few jobs? You can't, except for one career field, ... web developers. You would think with the world being able to see if we did a good job or not that the percentage of validated websites would be much higher. The fact is that the world isn't watching because most of the world knows far less about web validation than the web developers do.

On the other hand, you may think that if 99% of websites fail to validate, than what does it really matter if your website does? First off, you can be in the 1% that does pass, and that definitely can help you compared to your competition.

The value is there, I assure you. Think of it this way, what if you had two books to read, one written flawlessly and the other with spelling errors, punctuation errors, written poorly, even failing to make sense in many cases. Which one will you complete reading? If the searchengines have problems indexing your website due to errors, how can you get a decent ranking? I run across people all the time that tell me they had a website but it didn't really do very much for them. After taking a look and checking to see how well their website adhered to the standards, it is no wonder it did poorly.

Regardless of how well a website adheres to the standards, it still has to work for the desired audience. This falls into the advertising area, including appearance, and proper ad copy to sell a product. My experience in producing advertising materials, brochures, graphic arts, manuals, photography services, and other advertising needs from the 70s on have made my websites user-friendly with great aesthetic qualities. What methods and features used on a website should be based on the intended audience. Small print, or features that require downloading a web browser plug-in before the content can be viewed or utilized turn off elderly users. Younger audiences don't think twice about a website needing the Flash plug-in because they already have it installed. Regardless, I make my websites such that text can be sized by the user, and all users can access the website regardless of computer used, browser used, or any accessibility issues they may require. Special features are implemented to ensure physical accessibility limitations do not block users, and the same for visual accessibility users. My help pages describe these important aspects of my websites.

My 17 years of computer consulting for enterprise level corporations gave me great training in handling large jobs in a professional manner. I use a contract to ensure I produce the website in a reasonable time or I lose money. My start time is dependent on being supplied the necessary content of course. The client provides content, and I provide the glue (intellectual property) to make everything work, and be presented in an effective manner. I use a two-way non-disclosure agreement to ensure both parties that their individual contributions are used only for the purpose of the website to be developed and maintained. I use a license agreement that allows my intellectual property to be used for the purpose of making the website work and to be accessible to the public/users. For domain name services, I require an agreement contract before I register or make any changes. By keeping everything legal by contracts, there are no surprises.

The websites I produce are copyrighted to protect the client's content, and my intellectual property. As a software developer, I do not want others stealing my software, and likewise, I do not want to steal from others. My websites must use original material and images/photographs. In other words, I will not help you to break the law where copyright issues are concerned. Instead, I will show you how to be 100% legal. I do not use any plagiarized or stolen/borrowed images from other websites. It is easy enough to get our own originals. Photographs must come from a known source. We give credit to the photographer and need a model release for photographs that contain recognized personal items or individuals not at a newsworthy event. The forms for this purpose are made available as part of the public website. That way if someone wants to have you publish a photo they took, we provide the release forms online so everything is made legal from the start, and with simplicity. It is easy to get proper permission to use images, photography, and text, when it is absolutely needed to come from a specific source. In most cases, we can make our own photographs of anything that we need. I can do wonders with a bad photograph by using the right software tools. There are cases where the professional photographer can make a difference with proper lighting, etc. If there is a need for any special photo images, there are legal resources, such as royalty free photography CDs to explore before hiring a photographer.

I use modern methods of development, meaning modular design, tableless layout, Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) formatting and layout, producing consistent, easy navigation, user-friendly websites.

Website Expenses

There are five important expenses to having a website.

  1. Domain name Services (registration, name servers, domain parking, renewal tracking, domain security, domain control panel tasks)
  2. Web Services (hosting, loading, synchronization of source files with production files, host control panel tasks, e-mail account administration services, external link checking services (should an external website change making a link to that external site now fail), website online/uptime monitoring, etc.)
  3. Web Development
  4. Web Maintenance (changes needed after deployment)
  5. Advertising and Promotion of the website/business

Advertising/Promotion

A lot of people think that having a website means instant world exposure, producing more clients than they can handle. It doesn't work that way. Having a website without advertising it is like having a storefront with zero width. Before you get significant exposure via the searchengines, if you don't tell anyone about your website, no one will even know it exists. It takes a while for the searchengines to index your website, and then it takes a while to get a respectable ranking so that others can find it in the search results.

A website is a great place to point people to for "more information" than you can possibly provide on a business card, in a brochure, on the phone, or in a short personal conversational encounter. These days, people are reluctant to do business with companies that do not have a website. One of the most important things a website offers is a confirmation that your business exists, where it is located, hours of operation, phone numbers and other methods of contact. Next is the ability to provide as much information as you desire in order to sell your product or service.

Searchengine Rankings

Searchengines come into play only after a website has been properly indexed and someone performs a search that ends up with the results containing links to your website. Searchengines have no idea what your website is about, merely what words it contains, the frequency of those words compared to normal text on any given page, the number of pages in your website that contain the searched on words, the overall size of the website, and a multitude of other factors. Where your website comes up in the search results is based on what the user searches on, and how your website indexed statistics compare to other websites.

My job is to ensure that your website is correctly coded such that the searchengines can properly index the website, and give it a fair ranking. It is not easy to get a website ranked properly. I have managed to get websites from many pages down brought to the first page, simply by doing the right thing (by following the searchengine guidelines and not try to pull the wool over their eyes). Your website ranking will improve over time through increased usage of the website due to more visitors clicking on your link in the search results and going to your website, an implication that your website is what fits the bill when the specific words were searched on.

You are competing with many similar websites and yours is the new kid on the block. It will not start out at the top. It generally takes many months before a search on the most important keywords gets yours listed on the first page.

Searchengine Scams

There are no cheat methods, or tricks to get you a better ranking than you deserve. I've encountered people that have fallen for some quirky solicitations, such as, "We've got a guy that can hook us in right at the top by paying a friend of his." No he can't. No searchengine company is willing to risk their reputation to give any website a ranking it does not deserve. A fair approximation of rankings can be determined through examination of the website text and comparison to other websites. If a website is ranked way off base, it stands out like a sore thumb and its rankings could quickly be shown as foul play.

The owners of websites are often plagued with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) solicitations. Anyone that tells you they can get your website in the actual top 10 search results, is not telling the truth. If it were possible, what would they do for the 11th similar website? Since there are multitudes of companies that claim they can produce such results, they would be overlapping each other almost instantly.

Many times, they claim that they don't need to alter your website. They claim that they will create a "landing page" that will lead people to your website. What is a "landing page?" They register a domain name similar to yours, create a one page website that advertises your product or services, and it has a link to your website. The concept is that by having a "landing page" that ranks high in the search engine results will get you customers you would not have otherwise.

Just think about that for a moment. They are going to create a separate but small website that effectively competes with your website for the same rankings. That would be no different than if your competition were to create the same website, except remember this one links to your website. Of course you have no control over the website because you don't own it or the domain name that points to it, plus you have to pay them to create the website that will compete with yours, and if you ever stop paying them, any ranking they built up will be lost, and likely sold to your competitors, if they are naive enough to fall for it. On top of it all is the ridicious price they charge for this service. These companies stay in business because there are naive people out there that fall for this.

They can't cause any significant improvement in your website's rankings without first altering your website content. If they create a website that beats your rankings, which is their intent, and if you do not pay the fee, the possibility is that they could use the website for your competition. You would be far better off if you paid someone to work on your own website. Should you pay those people to work on your own website? Do you trust someone that is starting out to offer you a scam if you are naive enought to begin with. Please do not.

If you check their examples, they have tons of errors. Their rankings are not sustainable, and you would be paying a lot of money to make things worse.

Let me take a look at your website and see what needs improvement. My job is to make sure your website contains the best content at the correct frequency for the words that you want to be found when searched on, plus be 100% error-free validated. That is the one thing that will improve your rankings.

Searchengine Advertising

You can advertise on searchengine websites and be listed as an advertised sponsor at the top of the results listing (before the actual search results). These are not the same as getting to the top of the actual search results. Whether your website is displayed is based on what words you have selected that will cause your site to be listed. You basically bid a dollar amount on keywords. This advertising method can be very effective but it does not affect your website rankings simply because your website is advertised there. Your increased traffic can improve your ranking however. Because you will end up with more website visitors, your ranking will improve over time. Whether you decide to advertise online is your choice. The amount you pay depends on what your competition is bidding at the time.

Additional Website Usage

Your website is where you present your information to the public but I show you that your website can also be used to contain materials that are not part of the public version. You could have a special PowerPoint presentation already loaded to the web. You send a link to the person needing access. Essentially, the website becomes a repository of important files anyone might need, you, business associates, or potential customers. It could be documents you may need while on the road, such as business card designs, letterhead, brochures, non-public forms, spreadsheets, PowerPoint Presentations, or anything else that you might carry along with you. The worst time to realize you need a file stored on your home or office computer is while you are 1500 miles away. The same as you might carry a laptop on a business trip, except as an archive copy. Should your laptop be left behind or lost, you still have access to the resources you need. From any computer attached to the Internet, log in to the private section to access the materials. Voila, back in service!

There are many web applications that can be added to your website such as business software that you may need access to from different locations. The world is changing and the possibilities are endless.

My Prices.

  • Development
    • My website development prices are $1,000 down, and $1,000 when completed. The website may consist of up to 20 pages. Signing of the contract or down payment initiates start of work and agreement to develop the website (commitment to full payment). Upon review, the client has 10 days to make any necessary changes to the website content (all explained and covered by contract). In addition to the initial 20 pages, I throw in 11 important pages, such as About, Contact, Request for Information, Feedback, Site Map, Help pages, legal pages, and resource forms. I state that I throw in 11 pages but the number is growing. Depending on the type of website, there may be as many as 25 or more extra "common" pages thrown in. For example, there are 13 new pages that inform how to set up an e-mail client for the domain name. There will probably be others that will evolve with this series.
  • Web Services
    • Web Services (hosting, loading, synchronization of source files with production files, host control panel tasks, e-mail account administration services, external link checking services (should an external website change making a link to that external site now fail), website online/uptime monitoring, etc.) are priced based on specifics for the website such as static website, database driven, etc.. Web Services are prepaid in yearly amounts. Future additions (if any) may require additional web space.
  • On-going Maintenance
    • Following a public release of the website, the website goes into a maintenance mode. All development and maintenance work is performed on an offline source copy so as not to interfere with a production working "stable" version. After all changes are made, a full testing takes place before the files are loaded and synchronized with the development version. Charges are separated out by codes based on the type of work performed, testing, additions, changes, deletions, moves, theme or appearance changes, etc. A fee is charged based on time required, plus a complexity factor.
    • Changes can be on a pay as you go basis, or if there are going to be constant changes, I offer yearly maintenance contracts at a reduced hourly rate. Non-maintenance rates are based on time and complexity of the work, based on an $85/hour rate. Tasks range from 10 minutes on up. Pre-paid yearly maintenance contracts are available for up to 5 hours each month, charged at a rate of $50 per hour, with more work than the contract covers billed at the standard rates. Maintenance contracts may be paid in semi-annual and annual intervals, and monthly, intervals after the first year. Requested maintenance changes are completed within 48 hours (or two business days; work performed during business hours) but often being less than 12 hours, depending on amount of changes and time of arrival to me. Depending on what I am working on at the time of receiving requested changes, some work may be performed, even completed within the first hour. Special requests or needed "speedy" changes can be arranged for on an individual basis at any time, including nights and weekends at specific rates for these times.

I publish all of my charges on my gcsrss.com website so there are no surprises. My prices are very competitive with other professional level web developers. For almost any charge, there are numerous others that charge a lot more.

My goal is to produce quality professional websites at a reasonable rate that allow both the client and myself to be proud of the work. The work I produce for you will be used to show my future potential clients.

Also Read

Intro Introduction to Web Development Services
Why Why you need a web page.
Stats This should scare you (at least back then it did).
Prices Packages, Prices, Options
Extras Extras Prices (with Descriptions)
Additional Services FTP, Link Maintenance, Webmaster, Proofread, Backup, Restore
Domain Name Registering    |    Web Hosting    |    e-mail Hosting    |    Websites Explained
Web Development Terms & Conditions    |    Web Development Guarantee    |    Web Development Disclaimer
US Copyright Office    |    Copyright Basics    |    10 Copyright Myths

Web Development Services taken on a First-Come-First-Served basis!

 


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