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Caveat: This is my best.

Comments: WebMaster


Web Site Design and Development

Appropriate technology

I noticed that many horse people tend to keep the browser that works for them until long after others have moved to newer gadgets. The best horse web sites cater to those of us that still use dial-up modems and older computers and browsers.

For my web site, DraftResource.com, I chose to focus on the older (HTML 3.2/4.0 and IE 4.0/Netscape 4.0) browsers using dial-up modems. I wanted a classic design that does not use frames to organize the information. Flashier pages tend to take longer to load, and cost more to develop. There are places the expense of flashy graphics pays off -- but sometimes it is an expensive distraction that irritates visitors to my site.

What I can do for you

I design and maintain web sites. I can host your site (DraftResource.net) and manage your domain name as well. I prefer goDaddy registry for superior service, and $8.95 a year registration fees (2004) plus the $0.50 ICANN fee. What I would like to do for you:
  • Your site should include all the information you would put in a yellow pages ad, for the same reasons. Your site should provide people with information about you, your services or products, and how to contact you.
  • Graphics can emphasize a point, but the words are what makes the point. I will be relying on you for review of everything I do, and for most of the descripton of what you do.
  • Inc. magazine estimates the average business call costs the small business owner $9-12 each call. If we can answer a couple of commonly asked questions with information on your site each month, you would save enough to justify the cost of maintaining the site. Things like events, contact information, product or service description and availability, etc.

Small Business. That last point about providing information for low cost is important for small businesses. Reducing the cost of keeping customers should be the second objective for your site. (The First Objective for any site must be to be found.) Think of the work and expense of bringing in each new customer. Then consider how much less expense you have for the sale if that customer returns.

Hosting. If you wish, I can arrange for hosting on DraftResource.net ($9/month and up), or you can sign up for a hosting account with whoever you wish. I can work in Front Page if your host requires, and I like the clean speed and efficient service on Linux or Unix servers.

How I work

I bill at $30/hr (as of December 2004) for web design, development, and deployment. Many sites are 4 to 6 pages, (Main/intro, links, 'about us', and a page(s) giving details about information on the main page, such as catalog or description of horses/barns/products). The main page can take 4 to 10 hours, depending on what is included, revisions, type of information, and other details. Many other pages can take from 1 to 2 hours for the average page (average for sites over 15 pages) plus image prep. I bill for hours worked, plus expenses (site hosting, special costs, etc.).

I retouch photos and other images to display your product or other items of interest, incorporate your logo, and feature your favorite colors. I can prep about 4-5 images an hour (resize, adjust for Web display, review brightness and contrast, upload). Scanning takes a bit longer. I will work with you to give you the site you want, and work with you to balance cost with value.

My strengths are a relatively inexpensive rate ($30/hour), a conservative approach to design and web standards, ability to maintain your current design, a very good knowledge of HTML, and I do cgi, javascript, style sheets (CSS), and Front Page.

PayPal offers a 'free' shopping cart solution for their Premier and Business account members (free sign up, low merchant fees). Pat Hilton added the PayPal shopping cart to his Tuff Enuff.org site, and is pleased with the additional orders he is receiving. Jerry Dean added PayPal to his Black Powder site, PowderInc.com and doubled his shipped product. PayPal manages accepting credit cards and online direct payments from buyers with or without PayPal accounts.

Promoting. Five avenues of site promotion are search engines, links from other sites, placing ads on other sites, email, SEO (Search Optimization Organizations), and traditional promotions and advertising. Getting listed on search engines takes either time or money, 2-6 months of time, or from $30-$300 a month. Exchanging links with other sites is common. Paying for ads on other sites is pretty common, if you are interested I can make some recommendations. Traditional promotions contribute immensely to your site's performance. Magazine ads, your business card, and every document your office produces including billing, receipts, and pamphlets should include your web site and email address -- every place you now list your phone number or address.

Spam. I don't SPAM/UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email); I don't recommend it. Legitimate businesses are generally hurt by using SPAM.

Email marketing and newsletters can be a very important tool. You can send notices of births, sales, highlight seasonal items or special promotions. Another mass promotion tactic is to visit related chat board and message forums, and post information that highlights your business and your site. If done properly, mass information campaigns can pay off big time. There are ways to let visitors to your site request to be added to the target list, services that will maintain a double-optin list, and other ways to cleanly, legally promote your site and your business.

My current projects

If you look at my client's sites, you will see that I can work within existing designs and environments, including Microsoft Front Page, as well as implement a good design.

Snyder's Chicken and Catering wanted a simple site to complement their phone book ads and mobile customers.

StuffSalez.com is a new venture intended to grow to an online source for stuff in Ponca City, OK.

Reggie opened Reggie's Records in Ponca City, and his new web site gives hours, location - and Reggie's line of Disc Golf discs.

Sullivan's Trucking is a neighbor here in Ponca City, OK. Sullivan's hauls environmental waste, a family business for over 25 years. Roy wants to expand his environmental dumpter rentals, and hopes his new web site, Sullivan's Trucking, will help grow his base of sludge box, vacuum box, and open top environmental waste rental customers. Thanks, Roy!

Pat Hilton requested a new web site for his business, Arkansas Trike Center. The Arkansas Trike Center does conversions on motorcyles, producing stylish, luxurious trikes. Visit them for a gorgeous road machine!

TBN Information Network asked me to create a web site for their client, a Holmes County, Ohio Amish family with a Bed and Breakfast room to promote, the Farmstead B Inn B. This page is hosted on the new Amish Business.com site.

Heidi Jo Trautman had me maintain her Percheron Draft Horse web site, www.plattevalleypercherons.com, until she got familiar with FrontPage and took over maintenance on the site. She had a few questions, but little difficulty with making the changes she wanted. Almost a year later (December 2003), Heidi needed a new website for the family meat store, www.trautmansqualitymeats.com. Thanks, Heidi!

I did a review for meta words and HTML correctness for Tuff Enuff.org. We have now done a content update and addition of a PayPal shopping cart for Tuff Enuff. This turned out to be a safe, secure, and inexpensive entry into selling his products online. Thanks, Ken!

Circle G Brand.com does not sell to the public, but does want to generate interest in their made in the USA, hand made saddles and leather tack. We posted his catalog, then updated it. See the current Garroutte Products.com catalog online.

Jerry Dean of Powder, Inc. (www.PowderInc.com) wanted to start selling his Black Powder shooting powder and supplies to a larger audience. Since his sales are regulated the online form gathers information, prompts the buyer to submit the release form, and calculates total price for payment by PayPal. We have now added other products, including accessories and ammunition. Thanks, Jerry!

Ranch Drive Equine Supply ( www.RDEquineSupply.com) is a local vendor's foray into selling handmade Circle G Brand western saddles and tack online.

Kim at TallyHoShires.com needed some horses moved from 'For Sale' to 'sold' pages, and some new horse pictures prepped and added. Like Heidi, Kim had several updates, and has decided after two years to take over updates on her site. Thanks Kim!

Midwest Leather, Inc. asked to get part of their catalog online, so we are hosting their pages on the DraftResource.com site.

Open Directory Project at dmoz.org

The HTML Writers Guild Comments: DraftResourceMeister
Updated: 2004-12-15 -- bk