It’s been four years since I started Finestkind Web Design. I thought it might be time for a short retrospective. First, thank you to everyone who has remained a loyal client, as well as those who had to move on to other things and no longer needed a web site. My greatest joys are always seeing the excitement from customers who are happy with the work I have done for them. I have been blessed with a great group of people I can call clients. I will not be singling anyone out today, but I may reference one or two of you in a way that will make you think it might be you (and it probably is). My “niche” has been to handle sites for people who are not satisfied with “out of the box” websites from hosting companies. I enjoy creating custom layouts that reflect a business and their owner. Recently I finished a rather large project that resulted in a custom portal for the owner to list items for sale on his own, as opposed to asking me to perform frequent updates. It brought me back to my roots as a Java developer and I was delighted to find updates to the development environment were very easy to learn. I had a similar experience finding a special server to put it on and updating the operating system to handle all the details for running the website in a way that could save the customer money as well as provide a full-featured host to handle all the additional requirements that my standard hosting did not.
So what has changed? The first thing that has changed is the way in which clients are coming and going. At first, I was working with people who generally had a bad experience with a “package deal”. Small businesses are easy prey for the bundle deals where someone shows up, offers you a website and marketing package for several hundred dollars a month, and then sends you reports that seem to make sense, but the results are very hard to prove. This type of client generally does not leave. But what has happened is that some people have either “outgrown” their need for a website on a particular topic (like a film) or were unable to launch a business for reasons other than whether they had a website. Both of these kinds of clients I would say are hard to see go, because they are great people to work with and I have empathy for the fact that the website was no longer worthwhile. However, not every idea or website is good enough to continue to pay for, and realizing that is important–not just for one’s own ethical equanimity, but to realize that the Internet is not a solution in and of itself. There must be content and hard work that makes it produce. Knowing when to say “it’s over” is just as important as knowing when to say “let’s do this!”
Another thing that has changed is the way in which customers find me. Some have seen my sign on the road in front of the house for years, and finally decide to call. Others have heard of a site that I created and want to know if I have any ideas that would help them. My own website continues to get interest, but has less effectiveness than social media.
Social media such as Facebook has learned how to monetize its business model. Technology on smartphones and tablets continues to step backward from the limelight in a way that makes most people in the web design business question where we are going. In my own life, I have returned to school to study some of these aspects of new media and technology initiatives and how to remain innovative. I earned a Master’s of Information Technology in 2017 with a specialization in software application development from SNHU, and am currently taking Ph.D. courses at Capella University toward a doctorate in information technology, in addition to my responsibilities at Finestkind Web Design. This means that I have honed my research and writing skills, and continue to do so daily.
If you have questions about what I might be able to do for you, or are just interested in sharing opinions, let me know, and we can set up a time to meet. I continue to believe that our community is the real magic, and that technology just helps us share it. Let me know if I can be of assistance for your next endeavor.