“I help creative digital immigrants create an accomplished online presence.”
Musician, author or other creative person, and thinking about websites and web design?
You’re a musician, author or other creative type and have recognised that it’s time for a more professional online presence, so you can increase your name recognition and reach, and as a result, hopefully also your sales?
Lots of musicians and authors don’t even ask themselves this question (any more), because for many people today, social media is ‘the internet’. For this reason, lots of musicians and authors are only active there. They no longer have their own website.
So if you’re already thinking about a website of your own, you’re already a step ahead!
And if you still haven’t made up your mind whether you need your own website or not, remember that your own website belongs to YOU, not some enormous American corporation. You have complete control over it – how it looks, what functions it has, and even whether you’re allowed to publish a photo of a buttock or a female nipple on it.
Web design involves much more than web design
It’s true that today, it’s easier than ever to set up a website, thanks to various solutions. With ‘a website’ being the operative word(s).
But if you want your forthcoming website to help you achieve something, there’s a bit more involved.
A hastily cobbled-together website won’t bring you the results you desire. The preparation needs to be done properly.
Without a strategy, nothing
Web design isn’t really your thing? But you’ve just spent a weekend tackling setting up your own website, before leaning back, totally exhausted. Slurping a cup of tea, you take a peek at the Google Analytics® statistics that you installed without any thought to the GDPR, waiting for the first visitors. You wait… and wait… but none come.
For many new website owners, that’s the sobering reality.
Today it’s simply not enough to put a website online with any old content and expect that the masses will come to you. They generally won’t, unless you’re already known (congratulations!). But even in this enviable scenario, you’ll still obtain better results if you properly plan your website project first.
No matter how inviting your website may look, or how good, in your opinion, the content has been written, a website first needs to be properly planned and the structure established. An important prerequisite for this is that your target audience and positioning are crystal clear. (This is something I’m still struggling with, as a long-established ‘Jackson of all trades’ with talents in different directions!) And even then, you need to have patience until the first visitors gradually trundle in.
Web design for musicians and authors etc who don’t belong to the TikTok generation
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about having your own website for a long time now, but don’t have any idea where on earth you should start? Which system would be the best? How to plan and structure a website? How you can use it to reach prospective fans or readers, draw them in and ideally convert them to buyers?
Especially for people who didn’t grow up with the internet, the topic of web design – and everything connected with it – perhaps represents a daunting prospect.
Even if you more or less know what a domain name is and what web hosting means, what are all those acronyms supposed to mean?
Where should you begin?
What systems are there, and which one would be the right one for you? And even assuming you know what a domain name is, which one would be best for your project, and where do you get them from?
You can immerse yourself in the fascinating worlds of web design, website systems, coding, SEO and marketing.
Or if you’d prefer to keep your life free for the things you most enjoy doing or which will directly bring money in, you can engage someone to take care of the project for you.
Designers can’t necessarily programme, and programmers usually can’t design
Someone who is purely a designer would hopefully provide you with a website that looks good. But designers enjoy designing as much as hairdressers enjoy cutting hair, which means that the resulting websites are often weighed down with unnecessary baggage. That has a negative effect on both the loading time and the user experience.
And websites programmed by programmers mostly only look functional at best, to put it politely.
Added to this is the fact that SEO and marketing specialists aren’t usually in a position to design or programme websites.
As a versatile person with a range of talents, I combine the necessary creative, technical and strategic skills.
“I help creative digital immigrants create an accomplished online presence.”
As a result, they’re in a better position to be able to sell more music, books, products or services.
I provide you with more than just ‘a website’
Thorough planning of the structure and content, along with SEO, form the prerequisites for your website’s success.
Added to this is the fact that, depending on which country you’re based in, there is likely to be a range of annoying legal requirements that you have to comply with.
If not necessarily a ‘Jackson of all trades’, then at least a ‘Jackson of quite a lot of trades’, I have the skills necessary to proficiently get your website project off the ground.
In consultation with you, I realise your own website so that it meets your objectives as closely as possible. I assist you with (almost) all aspects, from the initial idea to launch and, if required, beyond.
I not only provide you with ‘a website’ – I take care of your entire project.
From an analysis of the existing situation, via keyword research, planning the structure, the actual web design work, configuring the necessary tools and plugins, inserting and formatting your starting content and right up to the launch of your finished website.
I advise you, ask you the right questions, and of course answer yours. If required, I can also look after and maintain your brand new website in future, if you’d prefer to concentrate on your actual job.
Only when the basic framework has been planned do I start moving pixels about, installing things, making settings, writing/appropriating code snippets and asking you when you’ll be able to send me your content.
(Yes, I’m happy to advise you on content, and also to edit/tweak it, but I don’t write it myself!)
A digital immigrant helps other digital immigrants
I’ve now been working in web design and related fields for more than 20 years.
I’m no spring chicken any more (apart from in my own head), and I didn’t grow up with the internet, either. I had to obtain my knowledge in this area as an adult. Initially as a young man, and more recently as an… erm… not so young man. Over the last two years or so, I’ve not only refreshed my knowledge of web design and related disciplines, but have expanded it far beyond what it ever was before.
Digital natives can probably manage to get a website up and running themselves. But if you’ve got a bit more life experience behind you, and require assistance getting your website project off the ground, I’d be pleased to help.
What’s more, I actually enjoy analysing data, researching keywords, designing websites, fiddling about with CSS, configuring tools and plugins and planning and realising projects in general. (I don’t even mind the odd logistical challenge here and there.)
It has been a pleasure to work with Paul in setting up my website. His patient advice and instruction have helped me to write about my work in a new way, based on his analysis of what my readers are actually searching for, and hopefully to attract new readers too.
Paul’s attractive and thoughtful design ideas have created a colourful, modern and visitor-friendly website that I’m really proud of.
How I help you with your website project:
- Conception and planning (structure, content types, target audience, positioning…), on the basis of analysing various data sources
- Advice on all this
- Creating a visually appealing, well-structured website for you, on the basis of this research and advice, and which loads as quickly as possible
- Responsive design (so that the layout adapts for computer screens, tablets and phones) – in the case of most websites these days, the majority of visitors are using their phones
- Adding and managing content (text, pictures, video, audio)
- Setting up any agreed functions (such as blog or shop etc)
- Advice on SEO, so you can create the right content for the right audience. Only in this way have you got a chance that people will gradually come to find you via search engines – having your own website won’t bring you any benefits if people can’t find it (something I can confirm from my own earlier experience!)
- Putting your new website online
- If required: general maintenance and care, such as backups and keeping the CMS and plugins up to date etc
Do you need to be a creative person to work with me?
You’re tone deaf, paint like a monkey or write like a 5-year-old? And as a result, you’re asking yourself if you need to be creative in order to work with me? Nope, not necessarily, although of course it helps if you can write good English (or German).
But I’ve always worked with musicians, record labels, authors and artists. There were never any sombre undertakers or highly motivated, risk-taking hedge fund managers among my customers.
My web design services – typical questions and concerns
Below you can find a selection of typical questions and concerns that people may have:
“Anybody can just install some software or other and configure it. I could do that myself!”
It’s true that content management systems such as WordPress make it possible for even total beginners to quickly and economically create a website, without any previous knowledge of web design being necessary. If you’re happy with an ‘off the shelf’ theme (the thing that governs the website’s appearance), and don’t have any special needs in terms of functions, then feel free to go ahead. Maybe you really will have ‘a website’ finished and online by the end of the weekend.
For a personal website about your hobbies, or for a site for a small club or organisation, which isn’t expecting floods of visitors, that will probably be OK.
“I know a programmer!”
Websites that have been programmed by programmers mostly look like websites that have been programmed by programmers.
Only a small proportion of people have a talent for graphic design/web design. This even applies to people who are creative in other ways, such as for example people who can paint and draw well.
“Service provider Y offers websites for £X!“
Every company and every self-employed person or freelancer is responsible for setting their own prices for their services.
So of course, there are service providers who can provide you with a website much cheaper than I’m offering. (And of course there are more expensive providers, too!)
If you decide to engage me for your web design project, you’d be engaging someone who not only demonstrates the necessary creative and technical skills, but also the necessary strategic knowledge. I’m therefore able to teach you the fundamental principles of SEO, so that people – and not just any old people, but the right people – will gradually come to visit your new website.
And at the same time, I always work industriously and thoroughly.
For these reasons, among others, I don’t compete on price. If you’re after a cheap web design solution, I’m therefore not the right person for you.
“On platform Z, I can get a website for £X!”
I don’t doubt it. Those platforms are full of students, hobbyists and service providers based in developing countries.
Reputable service providers just aren’t able to work for such measly pickings.
But if you only want to spend relatively little money on your website project, then feel free to go ahead. That’s assuming that communication with the Indian service provider is good enough for you to be able to explain your website project – and for the explanation to be understood.
“My spam folder keeps catching emails from providers abroad, who can create a website with as many pages as I like for only £X!”
The emphasis here is on ‘spam folder’.
Do you also invest in the stocks and shares recommended to you in these types of emails? Or do you buy the luxury watches and designer handbags offered at ridiculous bargain prices? Then you’ve got bigger problems than the price of your new website.
“Yes, yes, but despite all that, your prices still aren’t what I’d call affordable!”
You’re probably right, there.
If you ‘just fancy having a website’, and are hoping that the visitors will flood in, or if you plan on measuring the success of your new website on the basis of ‘seeing what happens’, then I’m not the right person for you.
But on the other hand: if you know a bit about marketing and SEO, or are at least aware that these topics are extremely important for the success of your website project, then I may yet be the right person for you.
Especially if you’re prepared to learn new stuff in these areas, and then consistently apply it. Don’t panic, I’ll show you!
If your website turns out to be a great success, you’ll later look back on these prices as being a bargain that you had to invest in your web presence in order to advance.
“How long will it take you to plan, design and create my website?”
It depends. So in other words, an answer that’s no use to you at all!
It of course depends on the scope of your project. As soon as your project is ‘live’ in the system, I won’t take on any new web design projects until yours is (nearly) finished.
But I also work with a number of loyal customers, who regularly feed jobs to me. It’s therefore best to assume that I won’t be constantly working on your website, but rather having a break from it now and again – a few hours here, several days there.
Broadly speaking: for the ‘Beginner’ package you can take two months as a guide; for the ‘Content machine’ package more like three months. And for custom projects, it really does depend on the scope of the work. The more complex the project, the longer it takes.
In the event of a booking, I’ll provide you with more detailed information. And I’m someone who prefers to deliver earlier than agreed than to miss tight deadlines.
“I’m a hardworking musician or author, but the ‘Brochure’ package better fits my needs (or vice versa). Is that possible?”
Of course! It’s not my intention to pigeonhole people where they don’t belong!
The packages are based on typical user profiles.
For example, service providers tend to offer one or a small number of services. But there are also authors and musicians who have only ever published one book or released one album, and who don’t have plans (or the time) to bring a whole load more onto the market. For both these groups, a small brochure website can often be enough.
On the other hand, there are musicians and authors who are really productive, and who manage several releases or publications a year. This is where a larger website comes into question, so they can present their fans or readers with their works, to look at, watch or listen to. And the ‘Content machine’ package is a perfect fit for beginners or service providers who want to benefit from content marketing.
“I help creative digital immigrants create an accomplished online presence.”
Hopefully it’s now clear to you.
Web design involves much more than ‘web design’. If you neglect the foundations upon which a successful website is built, the website won’t usually be a success.
If you engage me, you wouldn’t be engaging me to install some website software, make some settings and work out a suitable colour scheme (even though these duties definitely form part of the process).
You would be engaging me to help you with your website project. I provide you with more than just ‘a website’.
Instead, you receive a well-thought-out, visually appealing website with an optimal structure, which loads as fast as possible and which can serve as the basis of your future success.
I undertake the necessary research, we discuss your needs, target audience, positioning and objectives. I explain the complicated stuff and also my reasons for any decisions made on the basis of all this.
I don’t quickly and haphazardly cobble everything together, but work thoroughly and with lots of attention to detail. (Supported throughout by British cups of tea – yes, even here in Germany – and absolutely banging music.)
The web design itself is almost the easiest part of the process.
My web design services – the packages
* All prices are net prices, and are therefore subject to the statutory VAT.
“Hang on a minute! I can’t see many sample projects on this website!”
You’re onto something there. Although I created my first customer website back in 1999, and since then have planned, designed, created and managed dozens of websites, I was fairly inactive in the field for a while, until a couple of years ago.
Why’s that? My customers back then were mostly musicians and labels. For the last ten years or so, hardly any band, musician or label has their own website any more. They’re only present on social media.
Luckily, I was otherwise occupied during this time. I help labels, bands and musicians with album cover design, musicians and self-published authors with book design and ebook design, but since 2013 I’ve mostly lived from German to English translations in the fields of technology/industry, marketing and music.
Over the last two years, I’ve massively expanded my knowledge in the field of web design and related disciplines. To apply and refine this knowledge in the real world, I created a succession of short-lived websites for myself – the forerunners to this one. And like all people who are interested in websites, I also usually have some side project or other on the go.
This new website of my own therefore serves as a fitting current example of my work. (Don’t panic: yours is welcome to have a different colour scheme!)
I’m responsible for everything here. (And in the case of the German version of this site, that also includes any grammatical mistakes or weird formulations, as German isn’t my mother tongue.)
Multi-award-winning British author Berlie Doherty
May 2021 saw the launch of a new website for multi-award-winning author Berlie Doherty. Over the course of the years, she has had more than 60 books published, of which the best known in the UK are Street Child, Far From Home, Children of Winter and Treason, with Dear Nobody being the book that has been published in the most countries.
Vector image of digital devices created by rawpixel.com on www.freepik.com
Photo of me (with lockdown paunch, since worked off!): Monika Wieszczeczyńska