Kim White is the owner of Web Design for Writers. She started the business in 2003 after watching other design firms nickel and dime their clients to death (see her comments about “scope creep!”) and having friends come to her wondering where to start with their website ambitions. Freelance-Zone.com asked her about the business and what it takes to make it work on both sides of the equation.
Freelance-Zone.com: What’s the history of WebDesignForWriters? Every good online business has a story–something that pushed the founders over the edge and made them want to fill a particular need. What’s yours?
Kim White: I was working as a webmaster and web project manager. Within a few weeks three writers, who were friends of mine, asked for my advice about building a web site. They were overwhelmed with all the choices, weren’t very technical, and couldn’t afford big design firm prices.
After sending all of them elsewhere I thought, wait a minute! Why can’t I help these people? I’m a Web professional, but I’m also a writer and an artist. I understand the unique needs and challenges of being a creative person.
How does Web Design For Writers meet the need? You offer ala carte services which is a pretty valuable option for the stereotypical starving writer. Did that come about from client feedback or did the company get started knowing that was the most realistic option for people who need web design and hosting but don’t have an unlimited budget?
I offer all my services ala carte so that writers pay only for what they need and use. This allows a client to grow their Web site presence as they are comfortable. As a creative person turned entrepreneur this distinction was very important to me.
During my 12 year web career, I’ve seen a lot of design companies who bleed their clients dry with scope creep and hidden fees. I couldn’t do that to any writer. My goal is to help writers get their work out there. I also wanted to offer my services so that they could focus on writing and not have to buy software, learn web design, or worse sign up for a do-it-yourself site.
One of your options is web hosting. Behind the scenes, what does it take to pull off this kind of service?After all, writers and authors live and die by their presence on the web–it must be challenging to handle the technical challenges related to uptime, preventing or mitigating data loss if the server crashes or gets hung up, suffers a denial of-service hacker issue, etc. What do you do to keep that end of the business running?
Providing good hosting service isn’t the challenge it used to be. I partner with various hosting vendors, all with excellent uptime. Lately, I’ve been trying out more green companies, companies who reinvest in clean energy. Also, I live in hurricane territory, so keeping servers locally would be too risky.
Give us a reality check when it comes to a writer or other creative person trying to purchase services like yours for the first time. What are realistic vs. unrealistic expectations?
Well, what the writer won’t get is a 50 page data-base driven Web site with Flash animation and unlimited updates for a year, hosting and a domain name for under $300. That’s not realistic, but it’s a number I hear a lot.
Writers should expect to pay for Web services the same as any other professional marketing service and they should take care to find someone who truly is a professional. It’s very much a ‘get what you pay for’ situation.
I have spent more than a decade honing my skills and gaining knowledge on large sites, small sites, for global companies and non-profits, and a variety of artists and writers. I offer not only Web design skill, but search engine optimization knowledge, social media savvy, and a lot of real world experience in terms of what works and what doesn’t.
Web Design for Writers can create a very professional, personalized Web site within a few weeks and cost less than $1000. The average site starts at around $500, but it really depends on what the writer needs. I always provide a free phone consultation and a written Statement of Work that includes a cost estimate before there is any obligation.
You have a section of the site dedicated to your design philosophy. Tell us about it and why a new client should understand that about what you do.
Web Design for Writers design philosophy is really ‘It takes two, baby’ meaning that the creation of a site is a partnership. I rely on the client to articulate as much as possible about what they need, want, like, and dislike. The better I understand them and their writing goals the better chance I have to create a site that really reflects the writer and not just a standard design style or template I apply to everyone.
Also, the Web Design for Writers design philosophy is really focused on process. I have created one page sites and thousand page sites during my career, and no matter what the size or subject, this is the process that leads to the best product. It starts with an analysis of the client’s needs and ends with testing and proofreading before the site goes up. And now, keeping a site fresh, adding video and other social media is extremely important.
Web Design For Writers is a new Freelance-Zone.com sponsor. We welcome Kim to these pages and invite you to check out her services. Freelance-Zone.com is selective about our clients and sponsors, learn more about our transparency policy and how we scrutinize potential clients and advertisers.