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What We're All Looking For.
Everyone wants the best and coolest web site they can afford, and this is normal, but one major conceit that seems to afflict the web site-construction community is that too many designers automatically assume everyone has a system just like theirs -- I.E. huge monitors, ultra-fast CPU's, and fat data pipes.

The truth is, most of the world is still dialing-in for their connections on relatively slow computers using 17" monitors. And research has shown that if a site doesn't load within seven seconds, the typical user will leave.

That's why I specialize in web sites that load quickly, run with only a minimum of fuss, and work great on all platforms and browsers. And, believe me, not all browsers are created equal. Bill Gates should be slapped silly for that damned Internet Explorer.

How Much Should A Web Site Cost?
If you don't know the answer to that question then you might as well just wear a blindfold and hold out your wallet because, in my experience, a web site is worth exactly what a client is willing to pay. As silly as it may sound, I've known companies that have paid $3500 for a 5-page web site that was constructed by some punk kid using an off-the-shelf template package (and it looked it) but the client didn't care because they were unsophisticated about design and had money to burn.

Who Can You trust?
Think of web design like the game of chess. It's pretty easy for anyone to pick up the basics but it takes years of practice to learn the intricacies and stay one step ahead of the competition. So look at the web sites a company claim to have constructed. Do they look good, load quick, run effortlessly? If so, and they're within your budget, pull the trigger and stay active in the design process.


What Makes Me Special?
I'm primarily a commercial illustrator but I've been designing web sites for over ten years. Initially it was to promote my artwork but I slowly began accepting new commissions until web design became a permanent part of my portfolio. After all, it's an art, too. Right?

Using the chess analogy again, I'm not exactly a Grand Master that can play 20 games at once, blindfolded, but I can think about 5-6 moves ahead so it puts me in the advanced class of web designers.

What helps is that I have 20-plus years of pure illustration behind me and over 10 years of experience using all the latest digital tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Flash. I understand design and the requirements of a good, usable graphic interface.

That's All Very Nice, But What Do You Charge?
My rate for web design is $40 an hour. This typically translates to about $100-$150 a page for an average web site although your mileage will vary because no two sites are identical. My average bill for a 6-page web site is about $750, which includes custom graphics, so your site won't look like anyone else's, plus a few secret tricks of my own invention to get Google's undivided attention.

Oddly, $40-an-hour sounds like a lot to some people but it's less than half what you pay the plumber or your auto mechanic. But, unlike having the toilet unclogged, a web site is primarily designed to make you money so everything I do is a business expense and, tantalizingly enough, a tax write-off. So go ahead ...splurge! I'm worth it. And so are you. (For comparison's sake, click here to see Office Depot's rate for web and Flash development.)

I could go on, and it seems like I already have, but if this isn't enough information just drop me an email and I'll try to answer all your internet questions.

One More Very Important Thing: Web Site Promotion
It all seems so build a web site and the world beats a path to your door, money in hand.

Ah, would that it were that simple.

Although Google's spidering capabilities are legendary it, and other search engines, aren't omniscient...they need a few clues, plus the occasional dope-slap, to help guide them to your site. Complicating this process is the fact that search engines have to be very careful they're not being scammed by unscrupulous web designers. It is a very confusing and rapidly evolving jungle out there.

That's why it's important to use a web designer like myself who knows how to construct a web site that will make Google sit up and take notice.

You see, it's important to me that your site be successful because it's your referrals that keep me in business. But building the site is only half the battle. The other half is promotion.

Promotion is the process of contacting all the major search engines and spoon-feeding them the essential information about your site. It is boring, time-intensive and a bit arcane, but it's also absolutely critical for anyone depending on internet foot-traffic to drive sales on their site. When done correctly promotion works wonders.

Don't underestimate the importance of good self-promotion. I have seen online businesses fail because the owners couldn't be bothered to take this last, vital step.

Without exaggeration, I have worked with clients that have spent as much as $500 for this type of service and received exactly zero in return. Zip, Zilch, Nada.

I, on the other hand, charge only $100 for this service. I can't promise your site will immediately shoot to Numero Uno on the result list but that's only because the 'net is filled with other sites that have been here long before you showed up, but I can offer you the benefit of doing everything possible to help your site bubble to the top.

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand - 2330 Jonesboro - Dallas, TX 75228 - 469-279-0317

All images copyright Mike Stanfill