Your Unique Project - My Unique Mind
Welcome to Sunset Fire Designs, an all-in-one creative hub - from custom websites and graphics to marketing material and promotional videos. I'm a no-nonsense freelancer who offers affordable prices to small businesses and individuals. Simple or elaborate, wicked or bright, I create products that express your brand image in an emotionally compelling way. Being a small business owner myself, I understand the struggles of getting noticed when you’re competing against established brand names. Hopefully the information I share based on knowledge I've gained from personal experience and in-depth research will be of value to you.
|WEBSITES||MARKETING MATERIAL||GRAPHICS & ART|
|Custom websites (not from templates)||Logos, business cards, QR Codes||Custom artwork & graphics|
|Responsive Web Design (optimal viewing on all devices)||Brochures, banners (all sizes), magazine & newspaper ads||Greeting cards|
|Search Engine Optimization (SEO)||Magazine & newspaper ads||Book covers and book trailers|
|Content writing||Conference table cloths||Graduation announcements|
|Brand imaging||Door hangers, flyers, posters, postcards||Model comp cards|
|Animations, interactive fun||Custom letterhead and invoices||Photo alterations and touch-ups|
|Domain registration & website maintenance||Promotional videos||Display signs|
That's right — Affordable Websites — Affordable Marketing Material — Affordable Graphics and Artwork.
I'm a freelancer so I have ZERO overhead costs that big companies incur and pass onto you for leasing office space and staffing a team of graphic designers and web developers. I have two decades of tech experience, so I code websites at lightning speed and have an ocean of design ideas swirling around inside my head to tap into at any given moment.
I find ways to save money, for example, I have access to hundreds of FREE images from the same resources used by Adobe, Google, Smashing Magazine, Sitepoint and other popular companies. I always try to find free resources first to avoid adding needless expenses to the bottom line. I work with YOUR budget.
Why do I only service small businesses and individuals? Small businesses are like family. They employ members of the community, which improves the community and strengthens its culture. An average of two-thirds of every dollar spent at small businesses stays within the community. Their business is an extension of who they are, and the strength of our economy relies on them. I appreciate their hard work and understand the struggles of independently owned mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, retailers, etc., who are trying to compete against malls, big brands and online retailers. They’re trying to catch a break… just like myself, so when I help you… it also helps me.
Custom Websites - when big ideas don't fit inside a template
A website is your number one marketing tool. It represents who you are, so careful thought should go into the design. First impressions are huge, and when visitors land on your website, they will take a quick look and literally within seconds decide if they’re intrigued enough to stay or go onto the next one. Within three seconds of landing on your website visitors should be able to answer three questions: Who are you, what do you offer, and how can I contact you?
I create custom websites, which means I don't use pre-made WordPress templates or the Do-It-Yourself website templates. I hand-code a unique design for each client using the newest web technology, HTML5 - the most mobile-ready tool for desktops, tablets and mobile devices. Why should you care?
- Responsive Design
- More people now use mobile devices for browsing online. HTML5 is the most mobile ready tool for phones, desktops & tablets.
- Video and Audio
- No more Flash Player, known for issues with playing correctly across all browsers. HTML5 ensures top-notch video & audio
- Simple animations bring your website to life. HTML5 animations are more secure and they run better, optimizing the browser
- HTML5 removes barriers so people with disabilities can enjoy your website too, thanks to the Web Accessibility Initiative.
Custom websites vs. templates
You may have already done your research and have read a dozen articles about how pre-fabbed Do-It-Yourself (DIY) website templates are generic, limit creativity, your website will look like everyone else's and yada-yada-yada. I'll spare you from hearing it again. It's only partially true anyway. There are some beautiful and dynamic templates out there that make me green with envy and they deserve a hats off. They are customizable (to a certain extent), however they are at a premium cost, and just as a rocket needs a rocket scientist these robust templates need the coding skills of an experienced web developer, otherwise the website will break over and over again. But it's not these outstanding expert web developers you need to worry about when it comes to DIY website builders.
DON'T GET RIPPED OFF! The popularity of DIY templates attributes to the surge of non-tech types with no design skills who offer quick and cheap websites – individuals who don’t know HTML and have never written a line of code. They can get a free website template, copy and paste text into it and upload some photos, therefore they don't even need to know HTML or be trained in web design whatsoever. Your 11-year old could do it. (I'm totally serious.) It's about as simple as a Word document - type some text, choose a font and insert a few photos. Sounds like the best thing since sliced bread, doesn't it? NO!
Tragically, a lot of these non-tech people are seeking easy money and claiming to be experts on web design, and even worse, many are charging the same price as custom websites designed by trained professionals who put a lot of time and labor into building your brand image and hand-coding your website. It not only devalues their training and expertise that they’ve spent years developing, but it rips people off – YOU by providing a quick “shortcut” way to throw together a lackadaisical template-based website without a lot of work, skill, or creativity.
A custom website expresses your own personality and individuality. Your branding will stand out when a website is designed to fit you, rather than trying to fit you inside the constrictive walls of a template. Custom websites have no limitations on graphics and functionality, unlike templates that limit the number of graphics and text that can only be placed on designated spots of the template. Custom websites can be coded to do whatever your imagination can dream of! They are flexible and can change with you. In the future you might want major changes to the design and/or functionality. If your website is built with a template you may have to start over with a completely new template. It’s much easier to change the layout and functionality of a custom website.
It’s disheartening when a client hires me to redesign their website that had been thrown together with a template, with no design flair and a gob of spelling errors. Even worse – they paid $1,500 for it (the same price it would have cost for the same-sized, custom designed website), unaware that it was built with a template that required so little time and by someone with so little or no skill.
My final words on this subject - it will be hard to impress potential clients with a cheap template. Be careful who you hire. Don't buy a hot dog for the same price as lobster (or pink radicchio if you're vegan). Whether you decide on a custom website or a template make sure your website is built by an accredited professional web developer.
If you're still undecided about whether to choose a custom website or template, it might be helpful to read my two Blogs:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is better in custom websites. Web developers who build websites from scratch have the technical knowledge to make sure it's optimized for search engines. SEO is the process of increasing a web page’s search rankings in order to increase online visibility. The code needs to be structured properly for the search engines to read the content in order to find you. That’s why so many companies invest in a website with Search Engine Optimization. I design and code websites that are search engine friendly and optimized for Search Engine Optimization with indexable content that performs better in search engine listings.
But is SEO enough to rank you high enough in the search engines to compete with established businesses or big brands? Read my Blog:
WEBSITE PORTFOLIO: Visit
Make a great first impression! Marketing material will always have a place in business because a potential client will inevitably ask for examples of what you do and being able to give them something tangible that they can hold in their hands will have a stronger effect than seeing it on a computer screen.
Marketing material reveals a lot about a company and its brand – a first glimpse into your business, such as its vision and culture. I create high-quality marketing material that reflect the same quality of your business, with dynamic graphics designed to make your brand image pop, and well-written content to get your message across.
Can you guess what the most overlooked, most powerful and most cost-effective marketing tool is? Believe it or not, it's still the business card!
How can QR Codes be used for marketing?
A QR (Quick Response) Code is a two-dimensional version of the barcode that is readable by smartphones. It holds the URL to your website, event, or any online URL, and can be printed on your marketing materials. Anyone can scan a QR Code by simply downloading a QR Code reader app to their phone for free, and then scanning the QR code with their phone camera. A browser on their phone will open and immediately hyperlink to your website, event, or any other online URL, such as a link to a product item! QR Codes are gaining popularity and many people already have the QR Code app downloaded to their phones.
There are a number of practical ways QR codes can be used for marketing and promotions. The color of the QR Code can be changed to match your brand, and they can be printed on just about any type of material, including:
- Conference/event displays
- Business cards
- Magazine & newspaper ads
- Brochures, flyers, posters
- Postcards and mailers
- T-shirts, coffee mugs, totes, hats
Click here to see samples of QR Codes printed on marketing material and how to scan a QR Code.
MARKETING PORTFOLIO: Visit
Promotional Videos Are Hot!
Promotional videos are an effective way to rapidly grow your client base. People are craving information and they want it fast. Rather than spending 20 minutes reading text, they prefer spending a few minutes watching a video with sound and images that evoke emotions - a powerful tool that will make people remember you. According to HubSpot, including video on your website can influence buying behavior and convert visitors into buyers by 80%.
Placing your video on Vimeo or YouTube reaches millions of people within a short time. In this age of viral videos, your video can gain millions of views within days. 92% of consumers share videos with others.
Search engines love videos! Videos are given much higher priority over photos, text and audio, so adding videos to your website will help it rank higher. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google. If you put your video on YouTube as well as your website, your chances of appearing in a search is greatly increased. What's more, if you promote your video via social media, your chances of getting found skyrockets!
Go to my Promotional Video page to watch one.
Custom Graphics & Art
Do you have an idea that you'd like to come to fruition? I'll brainstorm with you and make it happen! Or, if you already have a photo or piece of artwork that simply needs to be altered or touched up, I can help with that also.