How I Started in January 1996.
Back then the Internet was so new it was new. It was a hot summer day in Yorba Linda, California just down the street where Richard Nixon was born. There were about 10 of us gathered in a second floor office-turned-think-tank trying to wrap our arms around what, as they called it then, a “Home Page” was all about – how it could be constructed, what made it position the way it did and what we might do with it. I “designed” my first web site there – one screen with a gray background, bad font lettering and an awkward graphic that floated everywhere you didn’t want it to go.
During the months following that event I worked my regular job as a City Planning consultant and wondered just what purpose a home page could serve. Somehow I knew it had a real world application, something more than just entertainment value.
On weekends, after hours and the duration of one unexpected recession I designed web sites using Notepad. There were no graphic design programs for web pages primarily because corporate America had not yet accepted the web as anything more than a geeky distraction and, after all, why would anyone want or need an email address – the glue that would later prove to be the key to holding the whole rocky Internet explosion together.
It was not the easiest of chores to set together a site, but it worked and I was able to utilize my connections with the local Chamber and two printing houses to find my clients. Brave souls who were hoping they could get out in front of the rest after hearing wild commercials about the Superhighway. I even started a local business directory online without the aid of today’s graphic design programs. Thankfully the clients had not yet graduated to more than just a one page web site – however, defining their mindsets was a much bigger task than laying out a simple four paragraph, two picture page.
Over the years I have had clients in retail, manufacturing, art, engineering, architecture, show dogs and show horses, fireman and fire trucks, morticians and musicians, attorneys, cowboy canteens and leather makers, lingerie and apparel. My clients have long since graduated from wondering if the Internet can serve some purpose for them and I’ve long since moved on to graphic design programs and specialized in serving art galleries with my characteristically black backgrounds, and new manufacturers and retailers with white backgrounds. Every single page on every site is loaded with color, content and search engine tags.
Along the way, just after 2000, I added search engine promotion to my list of services; search engine optimization was the hip way of saying it – an all too abused phrase assigned to just about anyone with a keyboard. But in my case I watched and learned and tested my marketing, and found that if I followed my own method I could usually land my clients on the front pages and keep them there for a beautifully extended period of time. As you can imagine, I am quite proud of that and I do get calls frequently asking me to jump in and get my program going.
As I do this now I can see that the pages I created 18 years ago are not as refined as my more recent work, but don’t hold that against me. I just put this last passage together because a friend of mine said that he thought I should at least put something on my own domain. So there. I did it.
For better or for worse I designed and/or promoted each and every one of these pages. As a benefit of my years I have finally lost any of my old pride and sentiments, and I now simply say they are what they are. I am most proud that all of these pages at one long time or another, when the funds came my way, had their place in the front pages of the major search engines and sold a whole bucketload of art in the process.
A great many of the sites went the way of the wind. Some were bought out by foreign entities. Others suffered the damage caused by the 2008 recession. The remainder of the missing in action drifted away from shore for all the many reasons businesses fail to remain in business.
You might comment that this page lacks a certain commercial flare, and you would be right. It is only here as a “by way of introduction” and nothing more. If you have heard of me, it has most likely been from word of mouth. I don’t take on a lot of clients and make sure that the ones I do serve have sites that have been well kept and free from the bugs that could cause crashes – something that is more likely to happen in the new WordPress world and other “let’s create a web site online” systems.
My approach has been, and will always be, to calibrate all pages in a site when it is developed so that they will send a clear desire to buy – and – to have them resonate with the search engines. So it follows that if a site has already been developed, and the owner wants it to be seen ahead of the rest on the search engines, I start with recalibrating the entire site, starting with the top level pages and working down. Then it is reposted to the search engines.
If you are interested in my work, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – allow 48 hours. I would be happy to talk to you about the things you were hoping your web site could do for you, your business, what direction the Web is taking in the near future and anything else that is relevant to how it can better serve you.