The Single Page Website for Small Projects and Creative Individuals

Starting April 1st, 2017, Schildbach Design is offering a $500 one page website.* The design is based on and limited to the design and development seen on my Home Page. But, of course you can make it your own with your own personal colors, fonts, imagery. You will notice that their are several vertical and horizontal panels to this home page. You are allowed up to 10 panels (vertical and/or horizontal). It can be built in the WordPress framework so that you can update it yourself. And, I will give a 1 hour tutorial on how to update it yourself. This would be a great start to selling a project or a simple portfolio for a visual artist, designer, photographer, musician, or other creative. Just contact us through our contact form and mention “The Single Page Website”. Let’s work together on your single page website!

If I could give any recommendation, no matter how much you think it doesn’t matter for your particular business, if you don’t have one by now, you need a website! Sure, I understand, some people really don’t want a website, and that is fine. But, for those of my colleagues who have small businesses or are individuals with creative projects, these are some of the following untruths I have heard:

“I don’t need a website because I get all of my work by word of mouth.”

Even if you get all of your work by word of mouth, you still need to show people your work or your credentials. Even when you have a loyal client they may want to see what you are working on outside of their project, and this will deepen your relationship with that client.

“Having a Facebook page is all I need.”

Don’t underestimate the value of branding or your business identity, people want to associate you with a particular look or feel. And, when you primarily use Facebook, you look like, well…Facebook. The same goes for LinkedIn, Instagram or any other social media.

“Funnels and landing pages are replacing websites.”

My response to this is an ethical one: If all you care about is making money and nothing else, then yes, funnels and landing pages, pound for pound, are more effective. But, for those of use who have a passion for our work, and value the substance behind our businesses, funnels and landing pages are the pushers on the street, while websites welcome customers in to your door.

“I can’t afford a website, or don’t have the time to build a website on my own.”

You don’t have to start out with a 100 page website. In fact with how little time people have to read these days, a small business or project should not have more than 10 pages, excluding the pages on their blog. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the prospects of the work and cost of a new website, try a single page website.

Thank you to Alvaro Trigo for developing fullpage.js, the core behind my single page websites and scrolling home pages. Without your generosity, I would not have been able to offer this service at such an affordable rate.

(Excludes hosting and domain costs)

 

Search Engine Optimization: SEO with Holmes, Poirot and Marlowe

Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important aspects of a business’ online marketing. Search Engine Optimization could be a full time job, and is for some people, but what I prefer to do is offer it to a select few clients while I maintain my focus on being a web designer. Here are just some of the particular SEO tactics I use, to bring more business to you:

  • WORKING TOGETHER. A big part of improving SEO is we work together on specific tasks. I can’t get results without the client working with me. This means modifying page content, being willing to writing blog entries, and trying social media advertising.
  • ONLINE TOOLS. I use Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and if you have a WordPress site—Yoast. My biggest advantage over using these free tools on your own is I use a paid service from Moz.com that reveals the ways we can improve the SEO on your website and how to maximize the results of the most important keywords for your business.
  • WOMAN POWER. My assistant Leslie Timmons helps analyze the statistics with me, so that we can brain storm the most appropriate approaches for your particular business.
  • MORE THAN SEO. To strengthen the results of your SEO, I consult and work with you to create a multi-layered approach of email newsletters, social media, online advertising, and other tactics outside of, but linked to your website.
  • PERFORMANCE BASED COST. Except for a non-refundable deposit, most of the cost is based on reaching particular goals we agree upon. You only pay for the goals that are reached. This is very different from advertising in a magazine, where you pay the full amount weather you drive up business or not. For example, if there are 6 specified goals and only 4 are reached, after the deposit, you pay two thirds of the cost.

I’m a designer first and foremost, creating well-designed websites and business identities for my clients. If you want someone who specializes in SEO only, I can recommend an expert to you. But, for most small businesses, institutions, non-profits, and creative projects, one of these three packages will provide the results you seek. The three SEO packages I offer use similar tactics to bring more people to your site, but are each different in how thorough I am with the work, the duration the work lasts, and of course, the cost.

Before commencing my work, I provide a contract with the stated goals and keyword phrases I recommend. Your feedback is integral in modifying the contract until we both agree that these are realistic goals I can accomplish and my goals will bring you more business.

 

Philip-Marlowe-engrave-color-2Philip Marlowe SEO

Deposit: $400
Number of general goals: 6 (valued at $50 each)
Number of keyword goals: 6 (valued at $50 each)
Minimum Package Cost: $400
Maximum Package Cost: $1,000
Appropriate for: Non-Profits, Individuals, Creative Projects, Small Businesses

Named after the fictional private detective Philip Marlowe, from Raymond Chandler’s “Big Sleep”, Philip Marlowe SEO is your budget short term SEO where I spend approximately 20-25 hours over the course of two months analyzing, optimizing your site’s code, modifying content, and marketing. After 2 months, we look at the state of your site’s ranking, search results and presence to see how it has improved. Following are examples of goals I suggest for the success of your business:

  • An increase in the average Organic search results
  • Total Weekly Visits increases at an agreed percentage
  • Domain Authority Increases at an agreed percentage
  • You pick 6 keywords that are important to your business and I will maximize the code so that your site moves up the search results to an agreed upon page rank
  • Possibly adding of one or two “wild card” keywords that we discover along the way will help your visibility online
  • Social media advertising
  • Getting your website in the Google Local 3-Pack
  • Increase landing pages from organic searches at an agreed percentage

Specific percentages and amounts are determined and entered in the contract specifying the bullet points above, to fit with your particular goals and your industry’s level of competition. My contract is a collaborative process where the client and I come to an agreement that the goals are fair, attainable and will bring you success. This package has 2 weeks of initial measurements, then 6 weeks of my SEO work. The project is 8 weeks in total. A $400 non-refundable deposit is due at the start of the SEO project. The total payment at the end of the project depends on the goals reached. After the deposit, the cost ranges from no cost to $600, and never totals more than $1,000 with the deposit. At 2 months, after finishing my work, and determining how many goals were reached, the remaining balance is due in relationship to the goals reached.

 

Poirot SEOHercule Poirot SEO

Deposit: $700
Paid Advertising: $200
Number of general goals: 9 (valued at $75 each)
Number of keyword goals: 9 (valued at $75 each)
Minimum Package Cost: $900
Maximum Package Cost: $2,250
Appropriate for: Non-profits, Small Businesses & Institutions

Named after the fictional private detective Hercule Poirot, appearing in many of Agatha Cristie’s novels, Hercule Poirot SEO is an ongoing analysis of your website over the course of 16 weeks, optimizing your site’s code and content, and applying some external marketing tactics. 4 weeks of measurement, writing new content, planning and strategy  precede these 16 weeks of SEO work. The total project length is 20 weeks. You need to be willing to work with me to change the content of your website, and add a blog or additional pages. We may need to create a marketing campaign outside of your website, doing work externally with email newsletters, social media or advertising to improve your SEO. Some off these added marketing tools have monthly costs that are not a part of my cost. The goals are higher, and improvements take longer, in 20 weeks, we look to see if our goals have been reached. What determines the success of the work is based on these principles:

  • An increase in the average Organic search results
  • Total Weekly Visits increases at an agreed percentage
  • Domain Authority Increases at an agreed percentage
  • You pick 12 keywords that are important to your business and I will maximize the code so that your site moves up the search results to an agreed upon page rank
  • Possible adding of two or four “wild card” keywords that we discover along the way will help your visibility online
  • Increase landing pages from organic searches at an agreed percentage
  • Two additional goals to be determined by the client

A 1/3 non-refundable deposit of $900 is due at the start of the project. The range of cost after the initial deposit is from no cost to $1,350. The maximum you can pay for this package, including the deposit is $2,100. The balance of the total cost is due 2 weeks after the 16 weeks of work is complete. The total amount owed is in relationship to the goals reached. These goals are clearly stated in Schildbach Design’s SEO contract that is worked on collaboratively with the client so that both the Schildbach Design and the client see the goals as fair and satisfactory improvement. After the job is complete, Schildbach Design provides the client with a final report that states the successes and failures, and suggestions in to the future as to how the client can continue to improve their SEO.

 

Holmes SEOSherlock Holmes SEO

Deposit: $1,200
Paid Advertising: $400
Number of general goals: 12 (valued at $100 each)
Number of keyword goals: 12 (valued at $100 each)
Minimum Package Cost: $1,600
Maximum Package Cost: $4,000
Appropriate for: Medium sized Businesses & Institutions

By popular vote, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is still arguably considered the best fictional detective of all time. Sherlock Holmes SEO is a 6 month long-term extensive analysis of your site’s SEO optimizing your site’s code and content, and applying some external tactics. You need to be willing to work with me to change the content of your website, and do some work externally with email newsletters, social media or advertising to improve your SEO. The goals are the best I can do (Remember, you only pay for the results accomplished), and improvements take much longer. In 6 months, we look to see if our goals have been reached. What determines the success of the work is based on these principles:

  • An increase in the average Organic search results
  • Total Weekly Visits increases at an agreed percentage
  • Domain Authority Increases at an agreed percentage
  • You pick 12 keywords that are important to your business and I will maximize the code so that your site moves up the search results to an agreed upon page rank
  • Possible adding of two or four “wild card” keywords that we discover along the way will help your visibility online
  • Increase landing pages from organic searches at an agreed percentage
  • Four additional goals to be determined by the client

A 1/3 non-refundable deposit of $1,600 is due at the start of the project. The range of cost after the initial deposit is from no cost to $2,400. The maximum you can pay for this package, including the deposit is $4,000. The balance of the total cost is due 2 weeks after the 16 weeks of work is complete. The total amount owed is in relationship to the goals reached. These goals are clearly stated in Schildbach Design’s SEO contract that is worked on collaboratively with the client so that both the Schildbach Design and the client see the goals as fair and satisfactory improvement. After the job is complete, Schildbach Design provides the client with a final report that states the successes and failures, and suggestions in to the future as to how the client can continue to improve their SEO.

Top 10 Website Maintenance and Troubleshooting Needs

Over the course of my 8 year career as a web designer, my client’s needs have changed. Although, website maintenance is still a large need for new and repeat clients alike. Now, as we wrap up the 2015 year, below are the top 10 tasks I’m asked to do and can do for my clients. Hopefully, this top 10 list will inspire you contact a web designer that can make improvements on your existing site. See the website maintenance plan packages that Schildbach Design offers.

1. Website Maintenance to your Content

While entering your own content, sometimes formatting issues arise. All of your your paragraph text becomes title text for example. Or, the content your are typing in the dashboard does not appear as you envisioned in the site. Sometimes you need a web designer to fix these inconsistencies and explain to you how to avoid these problems in the future.

2. Content Management

You can enter your own content yourself, but we are all busy and often have more than we can possibly do. If the content on your site is outdated, have someone else do it for you. Often web designers will have the writing skills to write content for you, Schildbach Design does, but if you need a specialist in your field, pay someone who can write the content for you and have the writer or web designer enter the content. Along with content management comes upgrading and plugins or the core of your WordPress site (if you have a WP site).

3. Design Tweaks to an Existing Design

Adding content to your website may be going fine in the beginning, but then you decide to put an image in a different place and the design falls apart. New design elements can either break your website’s design or not be easy to add without making design changes. My specialty is CSS coding which handles the design of your site. If you have modifications that need to be made to an existing template, I can change the style sheet or html so that it allows for a newly introduced element.

4. WordPress Troubleshooting

Upgrades to the core and plugins and WordPress go smoothly for the most part. Much smoother than the original CMS I used to work in. But, still sometimes a plugin might conflict with some custom elements to your site, or the WP core. Rather than making matters worse, you may want to call a web designer who knows WordPress to go through the site and pinpoint the locations that the conflicts are present.

5. Extending Your Site

Maybe there is not a problem with your site, instead you just want to add something to it. After having a brochure site for some time, many of my clients just want to add a blog, some new pages, a contact form or some 3rd party features—such as linking to PayPal.

6. Image Manipulation

If you have an image heavy site, but don’t have the image editing software that a designer has, you may want to contact a designer to improve on the raw state of the images you are using. Sure, you can do basic editing with your photo application on your computer, or online services. But, often we don’t have the time to work on what we are not good at. Almost all designers have Photoshop and they can improve the basic appearance of your photos by lightening dark photos, cropping and sizing. More complex tasks are at a designers fingertips like using filters that can do such things as change the mood of the photo. I am first an foremost a designer with call the current Adobe CC applications for advanced image manipulation.

7. Website Migration

Maybe you have an old html site or outdated CMS and don’t know what to do next. Ask 10 web designers and you may get 5 different answers. Schildbach Design offers consulting on “what to do next” or “I don’t know where to begin”. We can go over your broken site and decide whether it is worth fixing and staying with the old platform, or migrating to a new one.

When it is clear that the present platform is not working for you, it is time to move to another content management system. In 2010 or earlier, the common migration was from an html site to a content management system. Now, most sites are already built in a content management system, and you simply need to move from the inferior system to the most appropriate CMS for your needs. The number one choice is often WordPress. But, drag and drop website editors like Squarespace are grabbing a lot of independent sole proprietors and small businesses. Migrations are quite clumsy, tedious and time consuming. So, be prepared for the work to be costly, averaging around $2,000, only half the cost of building a new website.

8. 3rd Party Elements, Plugins or Features

Even though it is not literally website maintenance, our websites often are associated with 3rd party services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Mailchimp, or PayPal. Sometimes these third party elements disconnect and stop “talking” to our site due to upgrades or changes to the coding. Or, maybe you just need to add one of these elements and are not sure of the best way to do so. Web Designers will link and design these third party services in to your site.

9. I Can’t Get in to My Website or Hosting Account

Still, one of the the most common problems I get calls on is “I can’t get in to my site’s content management system, my hosting account or some other password protected account”. Fortunately, there are solutions. The simple solution is often calling or emailing the web host. But, if it is the content management system you can’t get in to, and you have already tried “Forgot my password”,  accessing the database to your site is the more complex solution. And, that is where Schildbach Design or another web designer can help. My most common CMS I work on is WordPress, but this can be done with any CMS. I will access the database, find out the email that “Forgot my password” is accessing, or change the password to my password, then return to “Forgot my password” to complete the task. All of this is done with permission from the client of course.

10. Website Security

Most all sites I build have no problems with security. And, without buying any additional software, your website is safe. But, occasionally, a hacker breaks in to your site when you have a CMS. The result is more of an annoyance than it is actual damage to your site. They might add files that store something they are hiding, or add a script that adds links to your site to improve on SEO for their other sites. I work with small business and you are most often not a target. Fortunately, when it does happen, I get multiple warnings from Google Webmaster Tools and your hosting plan. I then go in and weed out the files and scripts. Thank you spammers and hackers for wasting other people’s time, when all you get back is bad karma.

 

Reach People With An Email Newsletter

Wondering how to get people to your website? There are many ways, and your tactics should depend on your business or project. If you have interesting information to share, something to teach, or worthwhile offers, an email newsletter is a great way to to reach out to potential clients and attract them to your website.

My recommendation using MailChimp for marketing with email newsletters. For emails lists under 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month, THERE IS NO COST. I seriously don’t know how they do it. Their product is better than most other email newsletter services who charge for any size mailing list, and charge for any number of newsletters.

Don’t be pushy. People get enough junk mail. Have a sign up list on your website and build a mailing list from the people you meet, and the people you are connected to. It is actually illegal (to what degree, depends on the country you live in) to “cold call” or buy lists and send large quantities to random people. And, that is not Schildbach Design’s approach either. Keep your lists small and make each person matter. It is also required that you have an “unsubscribe” button and a business address. I really like the “unsubscribe” feature, because then you know only people who really want your newsletter are getting it. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had this feature for physical snail mail junk mail?

MailChimp and other email newsletter services are easy to set up and have design templates for your “campaigns” so you don’t need a designer or web developer. But, if you are particular about your visual branding, the templates are not going to look like your website or the rest of your business identity. If you need to make an email newsletter design that matches your business identity or are simply too busy to send your own e-newsletters, Schildbach Design can cover these services for you.

Schildbach Design Services

MailChimp, Constant Contact, Vertical Response (or other account) Set Up
$200 Non-Profit, Creative Project/$300 Business, Institution

Email Newsletter Custom Design
$300 Non-Profit, Creative Project/$450 Business, Institution

Monthly Campaign
$100 Non-Profit, Creative Project/$150 Business, Institution

Using WordPress As A Web Designer, Web Developer & Content Manager

There are so many ways to use WordPress, I don’t know where to begin. WordPress, as you may know, began as a blogging tool. But, for more reasons than I can explain, WordPress took off to become the primary Content Management System of our time. Almost any review you read rates it as the number one cms. For all of these reasons, I have primarily become a WordPress web designer.

When you are deciding on how to build your site, I will not say WordPress is the only solution. I have to admit that I started out working in a lesser known CMS called Concrete5 which appears in reviews as a great alternative to WordPress. Although less known and a smaller project, C5 has some things WordPress does not. It has a front end visual editor, which WordPress does not have. And, dropping in chunks code for the developer is more intuitive than WordPress. At first, this is what attracted me to Concrete5. But, like anything in life, the more you learn the less you know, and the more you get to learn about the endless opportunities for WordPress, the more you realize you can do so much more with it than any other CMS.

It is important to distinguish the different perspectives and uses people are going to have on WordPress. For example, you are going to have both clients without much technical knowledge and high end developers using WordPress. And, here is what makes WP so amazing, is it works for both of those people, and most everyone in between. Because I don’t want to write a book, basically there are two primary ways to use WordPress (I know I said many ways, but like I said, I don’t want to write a book). But for both kinds of users, most everything you use in WordPress is free.

1. The small business owner or person with a project who does not mind taking things in to their own hands and is on a budget

This is the person who can make with they need with what they are given. You search for a theme (visual design) and then you download it. You search for plugins and download a plugin every time you want a new features (slideshow, contact form, etc..). This process is great for non-coders, and people who just want to get an online presence up and aren’t too particular about the details. For these people, there are other options other than WP, such as Square Space, Wix, Weebly, etc… Even though they cost money, they are fantastic for brochure websites and simple shopping carts. In the end, you are going to spend a lot less money using these services than you are hiring a web designer, so use them if you are on a budget and willing to spend a little time figuring out the framework. WordPress takes a little more time to figure out, but the advantages are how expansive the system can be, if you are ambitious enough to learn it. Although WP has a very clean UX, these other options I mention, have fancier frameworks that are for the most part easier to learn.

So, if WordPress is harder to use than these commercial products that aren’t too expensive, why is WordPress so big and used by so many people?

There are too many reasons to list. WordPress is also a global community, and it is not only nice to connect with others, it is important for our happiness to connect with others. And, why not connect with others while you are building a website? It is amazing to me how generous people are online, not only with WordPress information, but all online information. You can ask almost any question in your search engine about WP and get an answer. You are not alone. Also, the themes and plugins have extended WP to do almost anything. If you can’t find a way with WP to accomplish your idea, you might want to reconsider your idea, and just how good it is.

2. The client and web developer who have custom projects and particular needs that don’t fit in to commercial products, or are too difficult for the web developer to do without a little help from WordPress.

This is where Schildbach Design predominantly works. I don’t want to spent my time downloading themes and plugins for someone. You can do that. I have learned the coding behind WordPress extensively, and am a designer. You are not going to find many people who can both code and design without hiring an expensive design firm. This is a great combination for accomplishing all kinds of projects, business identities, and online marketing for my clients. And, a reminder that I am connected with other great developers and creatives who can help me when the project is too large for me to do on my own. Here are just some items I have built custom for my clients:

  • Slideshows
  • Portfolios
  • Designs you don’t see anywhere else
  • Customizing content display with tabs, accordions, and popups
  • Displaying large quantities of data
  • Customizing search results
  • Events calendars
  • Membership websites
  • Parallax Design
  • Responsive Design
  • Inserting instructions in the dashboard for my clients
  • Shopping Carts

Being A WordPress Web Designer

To be honest with you, I would not be able to build these items without some help from WordPress. Another advantage is the client can update most items I build. WordPress has an amazing core that can get you started, then at the same time you are both building complex projects and making it editable for the client. Once you get to know WP well as a web developer, then modifying and customizing and building new items is the next level. I would recommend any web developer to learn the core of this CMS and then build with it. And, I would recommend any client with a project that has unique components to get a developer who codes in WordPress to make your ideas come to life. If you are a potential client, the important thing is to make sure the web developer knows the coding behind WordPress, not just raw coding languages (PHP, Javascript, etc…), and make sure the web designer who knows WordPress can code in PHP, jQuery, Javascript, etc… (they don’t even need to know it very well). Otherwise you are hiring someone who may not be able to get too much farther beyond the above mentioned way to use WordPress #1.

Being A Bluehost Affiliate



Schildbach Design is a Bluehost affiliate. If you are not happy with your present web host, or are in need of web hosting, I recommend Bluehost. I have a dedicated IP with Bluehost and have been very happy with the quality and service Bluehost provides. Signing up is a win/win situation for the both of us, you get a great web host and I’m paid $100 by Bluehost every time someone signs up through my website by clicking on the large promotional link above. Regardless of the payment, I would still recommend Bluehost for any small business, creative project or non-profit. Bluehost even seems to handle medium to large businesses well, I just don’t work with medium to large businesses. CLICK ON THE BIG BLUE BUTTON ABOVE.