Temporary Notice: I've switched ISPs and technologies (PHP to ASP) at the same time, so most of my pages need to be rewritten to be posted. I'm also taking the opportunity to create an entirely new layout. Therefore, the site is officially down. As you can see, I've posted the text of the main page, in a cool auto-scrolling DIV, and the next thing I'll do as soon as I can is post a schedule of uploads so you know when your favorite/most pertinent content will be available. --Blue

Blame it on the evil gnomes if it makes you feel better.

The Commitment

The name Astonishing Design means design that's really, well, nifty. The Web surprises us every day with what it can do; yet the average web site is just that--average. My commitment is to make sites that truly shine among their peers, while maintaining professional decorum and class.

Step 1: Content

Unless you're a thoroughly experienced web surfer AND marketing expert, figuring out what to actually say with your web site can be very daunting. Even if you've had web sites before, the research involved in starting a new enterprise takes a lot of time. I can--and will--ease your way into online life by researching available content for your site--stuff that your competitors may never even think of!--researching similar sites, checking out your competition, and making absolutely sure that what you have is better than what they have at the time of delivery.

Step 2: Framework

The underlying technology of your site means a difference in popularity by orders of magnitude. Is the site readable by translation programs? Can it be seen on a PDA? Is it cross-compatible with an IMac, or different browsers? Will it be ready for future technologies...? By coding layout in standards-pure CSS and DHTML, server-side code and databasing in ASP.NET, and any heavily graphics-based interactivity in Macromedia Flash (SWisH actually--great program!), I will ensure that your site has an underlying quality that will make it dazzling. I'm also familiar with Java and perl (though I rarely use them.)

Another issue to consider is the ISP. Cost vs. capability and reliability is a headache-inducing equation to solve--I have had many headaches induced to prove that. But the fact is, I have done the research, and I continue to keep abreast of developments. So I've made every effort to guarantee that you (and I) are in good hands server-wise, no matter the site requirements.

Step 3: Art

My argument for this is simple: look at my site. I use professional photo editing, 3D image modeling, and my own camera (which can take web-ready movies as well), plus a painting studio. If you need a particular photo, I'll take it--or if not, I'm well versed in the photographic content available on the web, and can find something in minutes that would take others hours. In the near future, I will be adding "water color painter" to that list.

Then, I turn the raw images into a seamless web design. For example, the circuitry in the background came from a real circuit board, which I then color washed and meshed the borders to tile seamlessly. I can do the same for you.

Or, you could have an entire 3D landscape for your site. :-) It would be a large file, however, and might load slowly... but I have that capability.

Step 4: Web Presence

What good is a site when nobody knows it's there? Of course, the burden of advertising will fall on your company's needs and efforts, but for making your site "find-able," I know all of the proper techniques. I don't use "feeder" pages, nor do I overuse metatags. Instead, I focus on getting reciprocal links with other sites in similar industries--who, after all, want your link as much as you want theirs; I try to include original content from your company, such as articles and light versions of any unique code you commission from me, so that others will borrow them and link to you; I make an effort to get you ranked with industry portals, such as (hypothetically) News World for a media site; and I send your address to dozens of commentator pages that might have an interest--making sure, of course, that I get quality output from these places by not abusing them.

As a side note, the premier search engine--google--calculates your rank based on how many other pages link to you, and by where they rank. Then the content of your page is sorted by where it is relevant, and points are taken off by the above-mentioned feeder pages and "hidden" text, such as meta tags or "noscript", if they are overused. Something that the average marketing rep should learn.

All of these things combined with the quality of the site itself will draw traffic, money, customers, and eventually advertising dollars (if you should so wish) to your site.

Step 5: Service

You might be wondering what in god's name service is if it isn't already covered by the stuff above. (well, you might not be wondering that, but still.) Service starts with testing the site, to ensure compatibility with 98% of all browsers--AT A MINIMUM. Then it means keeping your site up-to-date with the latest snazzy technology and designs; I come out with new style sheets on a regular basis, and you can switch over to them or include them in your user's options painlessly. After that, it means backups and link-checking on a regular basis. Also, if you are a long-time customer, I sometimes offer discounted or free custom-designed products--like, say, a new Flash menu, tutorial, or shopping cart--simply to keep your site looking better than one that isn't made by me. Lastly, it means I guarantee responsiveness to any concerns or requests you have regarding your site. It's like having a pet geek!

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