What We Do...Affordable, Sensible Web Design for Individuals and Small Businesses.

We specialize in attractive, professional looking web sites that meet your needs and incorporate up-to-date technology and design principles. We combine an experienced eye with sound advice and a strong knowledge of current techniques to give your project a contemporary look and feel at a surprisingly reasonable price.

About Us

What makes our process different...

...A correct approach to site design. We don't present you with a few pre-built templates for a fixed price, you decide on a budget that works for you, and we work to produce a site within that budget that meets with your needs and approval. We do only custom work, so what you get from an earthcity site will be unique. If expectations happen to exceed resources, we work to bring the project to a successful conclusion at a price you can afford. We think our work speaks for itself, and equals or exceeds in quality the output of agencies and studios charging much more. We strive to build code-correct sites that are compliant and accessible, and leave the gimmicks to others.

A good web site is not the result of a particular technology or created with a certain application, but rather the result of a clear understanding of what the purpose of the site will be, and what the requirements for that purpose are. Sites to load quickly, work properly and consistently across platforms, and most importantly of all, communicate information clearly to be successful. A badly designed site will not present a positive image for your business, and will give poor search engine results.

We are confident our high level of attention to detail will create a great web identity for you. If you don't find the answer to your question in any of the sections of this site, feel free to contact us for more information. There is never a charge or obligation regarding any initial consultation, and we don't require a face-to-face meeting to implement a project.

More about our policies can be found on our Terms and Conditions section.

Projects

This new simplified portfolio section...

...presents a selection of some of our successful projects. Most sites are live, several are examples. Click links to see more detailed information.



Get A Project Started

This form can be used as a starting point for getting a project quote. Please be aware that we may need more information.

If you are interested in having a web project developed, please feel free to use this form to submit your information for a preliminary quote. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be to give you an accurate quote on a project. Thank you.

What type of web site layout are you interested in?
HTML/XHTML Flash Don't Know

What is the purpose or intent of this web site?
Infomational Promotional E-Commerce

If not an e-commerce site, about how many pages or sections do you think are neccesary?
 No. of Pages Don'tKnow N/A

If this is an e-commerce site, about how many products or items will you be selling?
 No. of Items Don't Know N/A

If this is an e-commerce site, do you have images or graphics of products, and usage rights?
Yes No N/A

Do you have images or graphics you would like to use on the site layout, including usage rights?
Yes No Don't Know

Do you have textual or written content that is web-ready, or can be easily edited to be so?
Yes, Some Yes, Most No, None

What is your approximate budget for this project?

Do you have any ideas about what you would like the site to look like?
A Good Idea Some Ideas Not Really

Does this site involve a gallery or extensive numbers of images?
Yes No Not Sure

Do you have a domain name registered?
Yes No N/A

Do you currently have hosting or do you require it?
Yes No N/A

*Your Name:

*A Telephone Number:

*A Valid E-Mail Address: *Required

Terms and Conditions

If solicited for web design work...

...we will typically consult with you by phone or in person, and if necessary meet with you and determine your needs. Most projects do not require a face-to-face meeting. All web development projects will require a deposit before any work is started. While in some cases we will be able to do a “mockup” website to show a concept, we are unfortunately not able to work on a purely speculative basis. We will establish a general budget for your project based on a determination of what type of development is required for your purposes. We will work with you to establish a general timeline for completion to your satisfaction. If our proposal does not meet with your approval, we will make an attempt to redesign it so that it does. This process will not create any additional obligation on your part. We will provide a written agreement for development projects on request.

We reserve the right to terminate projects that are not feasible, can not proceed due to lack of information or interest, or are not paid in a timely fashion.

Pricing - Web Sites

All projects are by quote/estimate. Custom sites may start as low as $395. We are always willing to discuss your needs and work with you on a project budget that suits your situation. Semi-managed hosting and updating services are available.

Hosting (shared) with domain e-mail (no ftp) - $99/year.
Hosting (discrete account) - $139/yr. SSL - $99/year.
Hosting (e-commerce) - $249/year.

Graphics and Logos

We can create many kinds of graphics and logos for apparel, business cards, etc. Contact us for more information.

Articles and Resources

Here are some informative articles and sites that may be of value to you. Of course, opinions and content on external sites are the responsibility of the owners or publishers of those sites, not us. We hope you enjoy the information presented, and take it in the spirit offered.

Articles on this website:

Some Basics of Web Design

Learn some of the basics of web design and the various technical approaches that can be used.

Articles on external sites:

8 SEO Scams That Won't Die

Here are 8 SEO scams that just don’t seem to go away and an explanation of why each one is simply not worth your money.




Why Flash Sucks

We don't think Flash always sucks, but there are alot of reasons why it is not the optimum solution for business sites.

Avoiding SEO Scams

This article may help you avoid some of the obvious pitfalls.

Don't Get Banned By Google

Some common-sense methods to avoid problems with the largest search engine.

Help, my site has been banned by Google!

More tips on how to avoid problems, and steps to take if you are de-listed.

Keyword Tips and Strategies

If you've been researching search engine optimization for any length of time, no doubt a couple of the terms you'd have come across regularly are keywords and keyphrases.

Beware of SEO Ripoffs

There are plenty of cheap, rip-off "SEO" companies that promise to deliver miraculous results for pennies on the dollar.

Contact Us

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Phone consultations are available. Please e-mail first.

 Some Basics of Web Design

Have you been...

...considering a web site as a marketing tool or information portal? Perhaps you have an existing web site that is outdated or laid out poorly. We can help, and the cost is surprisingly reasonable. A modern, well-designed web site can showcase your company or subject matter to a large audience in a way that few other media can. Web design can be approached various ways depending on the purpose and target audience of the website. A given style or technology that would be suitable in one instance might not work at all in another. We can evaluate your needs and develop a site that will work for you. We specialize in turn-key sites where we take care of acquiring domain names, setting up hosting, and deploying the web site, eliminating effort on the part of the customer and reducing overall cost. Initially we will examine your needs and budget to determine a properly scaled solution. We do not sell you more than you need, or ask you to take less. Your ideas are always taken into consideration, and we strive to produce a design that is visually in line with any concepts you have, and structured in a way that works for you.

HTML

This is the...

..."standard" web technology that most web sites are constructed with. Advantages here are simplicity, relative ease of updates, and maximum compatibility with the widest range of systems and devices.

Even many small-screen devices like phones and PDAs can now display HTML-based content with good usability. Using complex style sheets and graphics, very complex layouts can be created that have a very consistent look across platforms. Works well with sites with lots of textual content, also friendly to search engines and search indexing. Complex effects are possible with DHTML and JavaScript. Disadvantages: none, comparatively. Large sites can become difficult to manage because of large numbers of individual files. Scripting of the type commonly used for many menus and other effects can trigger confusing warnings from browsers with high security settings.

With the development of HTML5, a great deal of new functionality has become available, and many operations that required special scripting or plugins can now be handled transparently, greatly simplifying both development and maintenance.

Flash

The website is built...

...as a "movie" using the Shockwave/Flash format with objects and text blocks placed and/or animated in a timeline. Content is generally embedded within the movie structure, though in some cases it can be loaded externally, though this limits formatting options.

Advantages here are the possibility of fully animated and dynamic designs with almost unlimited font styles, complex gradients, and fully scalable effects. Disadvantages: Not well suited for large sites, longer lead time, larger file sizes can cause loading delays on slower connections. Flash sites don't scale well and are typically restricted to a fixed size. An appropriate version of the player must be installed on the user system. Not friendly to search engines or small screen devices. Susceptible to the "active content" bug, which requires Javascript to work around, leading to browser security warnings in some cases. For general purpose sites, Flash can be considered as unsuitable, if not irrelevant at this point.

Hybrid

This type of site...

...typically has a Flash header or banner, which can be fairly small or as much as half screen size. This area can be purely for visual effect or may incorporate navigation or other clickable elements.

This type of navigation often replaces conventional rollover images, since it offers easy incorporation of transitions and sound effects which are more problematic with java or dhtml. This type of site may also incorporate small flash elements in other areas, often for decoration or style. This type of site is increasingly common. Advantages: combines the positive aspects of a static site with the visual flair of a Flash site. Disadvantages: Still requires correct version of the Flash player. If the Flash plugin or Javascript are not enabled this can cause blank areas on the webpage, may render the page unusable.

HTML5 has made much of the previous usage of Flash obsolete.

Dynamic

This includes all...

...site technologies that use server side languages and a database to create content on the fly, which can be changed at any time. This includes PHP, ASP, Coldfusion, .net, and so on. This type of site, typically based on PHP and installed as a prebuilt package that can be customized with ready-to-use templates, has rapidly become one of the most popular methods to quickly deploy highly polished and functional sites.

This category includes blogs, forums, e-commerce stores, message boards, or most any site with content that is changed or added to frequently, by multiple users, or has to interact with other sites or services, such as online accounts, payment services, and so on. Advantages: dependent on the intended purpose. Disadvantages: more difficult to design and deploy, more limited formatting options. Requires careful attention to security issues, as high-level server programming is being directly accessed. If there is a disadvantage to this type of site, it is the enormous complexity and number of pages and scripts neccesary for the site to work. Tracking down bugs or errors can be difficult and time-consuming.

Some Words About SEO

Did you know that...

...most of the SEO (search engine optimization) services that are advertised and sold are mostly unnecessary or just plain dishonest? Search engine optimization in and of itself is very simple, it involves correct page structure, relevant text, titles, and meta tags, more than anything else.

First, forget about the hype. There are no quick fixes or instant results when trying to build page rank and site visits. Anyone who says "they know all the secrets" or "have it all figured out" is not being realistic, or honest. Search engines, such as Google's, have become highly sophisticated and proprietary pieces of engineering, and anyone who implies that they know exactly how they work, quite simply, doesn't.

Of course to get good page rankings you need relevant content, content that changes periodically, and a method to get visitors to come to your site. Most of all you need inbound links, these are what search engines like Google's give the highest rating to. There is no "magic code" that you can insert in a page to accomplish these things. Keywords are not given much, if any weight in current search engine technology, page titles are more important. Attempting to pad the title or the page itself with keywords or related text, either visible or hidden, will not increase your ranking, and may have the opposite effect. Overloading meta tags, titles, or alt tags with keywords can cause your rankings to be penalized. Any web designer or SEO service that uses these tactics is not worth doing business with. Another discredited tactic is hidden text, designed to cause hits on keywords or phrases without being obvious to the end user. Be aware, hidden text is considered a "black hat" method and can get your site banned from the indexes.

So what do these SEO companies charge so much for? Well, many of them operate by creating huge "link farms" that they attempt to tie your site to, usually by inserting code into your site, or creating a "doorway page"that contains many hidden links to other similar (or often completely irrelevant) sites. The object is to increase your ranking by massive cross linking and inadvertent visits by users led there through another doorway page or link farm, often as a result of deceptive advertising, spam e-mails, or malware. Depending on the fees charged, they may use their own servers to create large numbers of requests to your pages, driving up the visitor count. The downside of all this is that all these methods are disallowed by major search engines such as Google, and can get you de-listed. These methods have been difficult for traditional search engines to detect, but they are getting better at it all the time. Also, while these methods can create impressive page ranks, it only continues as long as you pay the fees, which can be exorbitant. Often, after a few weeks or months of results, the SEO company moves on and your rankings slide, even though you may continue to be billed exhorbitantly. If their demands exceed your budget, or you get blacklisted, you ranking disappears and you have to start from scratch. A much better solution, if you are determined to pay for results, is to buy targeted keyword advertising from portals such as Google or Yahoo. Google Adwords are a good example. Bear in mind though, that buying rankings through targeted placement will not increase your organic ranking, except in that it may drive more users to your site. It's important to remember that artificially inflated rankings are difficult to maintain, and the cost of doing so can become prohibitive for a small business very quickly.