Web Design: Emergencies

Web Design: Emergencies

Business Design Featured Freelancing Notes from the Road Social Media Wordpress

When you work for a client, as I have, you get a lot of emergencies. They need something done right now and not in the morning. They don’t care that it is three in the morning and you are half passed out from a night of Call of Duty. They need you.

How I learned my lesson

The worst client I ever had for this was a large call center in Manila. At the time, I lived in Las Pinas, Cavite which is about an hour on open roads. If you ever have been to Manila, you know open roads happen about two times a year. Manila is truly a city that never sleeps.

They would call me at some ungodly hour with this basic message, “Our servers are down. Our guys tried and just make it worse. How soon can you arrive?” I wanted to just reply “Sometimes between 8 to 5, you know, normal business hours.”

Sadly, I would throw on a shirt and make the drive to Makati to help get them back online. You can’t make money if the client can’t make money to pay you. I had done this many times…. including driving through the middle of Typhoon Ondoy, one of the worst hurricanes to come to Manila…. I did it on my Kawasaki Ninja. I am sure that the military that I passed was thinking, “what a dumb ass.”

As a Developer, what you should do.

1) Include it in the contract. If you know there will be late night problems, include an “after hours” price addon. You should be reasonable with it but also not be free either. I use to charge 150% my rate until midnight and 200% from Midnight to six in the morning.

2) Don’t live an hour away. When I took that contract, I live in an hour away from their operation. If you have clients in an hour, try to live closer to that area. Traveling at three in the morning in a storm is no fun. 

Web Design: Exclusions and Inclusions

Web Design: Exclusions and Inclusions

Business Design Freelancing Notes from the Road

One of the most important things you can do as a web designer is make sure you have clearly include what is included and not included in a job. Many clients like to “add on” stuff in the middle and think that should be a freebie. I can not tell you how many times that this has happened.

I remember I was in Hawaii working on a big project for a large company and we was about 70% through the project and they wanted me to do a side project for it…. for free. It was about an hour to do and I could easily ask someone to do it for me at that. It was not issue but for free? Are you serious?

This happens from time to time, especially with smaller clients that are “one man band” projects. They want everything done on the cheap. The reason being is they are broke and I get that. However, one “quick thing” becomes 10 of them and that can become several hours of work.

Make sure you define things

The answer to this is make sure you have things define: What do you include in your package and what do you not include. Make sure everyone understands what you are agreeing to do. If you are not willing to do flash, put that in there. If you are not agreeing to the logo work, make sure that is there too.

What is important is that you make sure what is not included is there. What can do you do but not included? Make them addons. You can do it but at a price, right? Make sure you include all that.

Define the relationship

This is very important to define the relationship. Something that I wish I would not have done in the past and didn’t. I have made more mistakes that most over the last 20 years. In fact, I still make mistakes all the time. What makes up for it: raw skill!

Remember, clients are your livelihood. They are not criminals. Without them, you have no business. On the other side, they are not the Apostle Paul either. They are out to get something for nothing. See them as clients, not a necessary evil.



Question your designer: SEO matters

Question your designer: SEO matters

Business Freelancing Notes from the Road Wordpress

If you about to do a website and are talking to a web developer, you need to talk SEO first and foremost. I don’t care how “cool” your website is, if no one can find it; it doesn’t mean crap.

If the first questions out of a designer is about about Google, Bing, or Yahoo! You need to bail….

Ask them to outline a plan on how they would get your search results in the top few places in Google. Before I talk any “design,” I always drive home the issue of being searchable. I can think of little that would need to come up before this…. honestly.

Some questions you should ask:

  1. What keywords are best for my project?
  2. How will you make my structure better?
  3. How do you plan to cross link on the website?
  4. What is the keyword density?
  5. How will you Title tag the pages?
  6. How often will you submit a XML file to Google?
  7. How will you get white hat backlinks?
  8. What is the page rank of projects they have done?

If they can’t or don’t want to talk about these basic questions, they will do you NO good at all in the long run. Google don’t see how cool your website it looks, it looks at its actual content and see who else though it was good as well. That’s the most important part of a website.

SEO is no button to push. It is a process, not an event but you really need to think with it in mind from the start or you will be sol in the end.



Responding to haters

Responding to haters

Notes from the Road

I am polarizing. Peter Vandever is a name that produces emotions in people. Why I am not sure but hardly anyone who knows me is indifferent about me. Some love me, some don’t and some are just haters.

My basic position has always been to not to respond to haters. I find that in the story of the three Jewish boys when they stood before the King. Plus, responding to haters just put more fuel on the fire so to speak.

I find no reason to defend myself, time will do that for me and really, it does not change anyone views. Everyone is set in stone. I just live my life forward the best I can.

Do I want to limit the haters? No. I a, a firm believer in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. I believe in free speech. It is important for the free world. Free Speech can be toxic and dangerous though.

I also believe in the Open Internet. I believe that people should have the right to be part of the internet age in whatever way they see fit.

As will all controversies in the past. I do not respond to hate, angry or nasty replies. If people come desiring to build a positive, productive relationship; I am open to that. My door truly does remain open. 

The most recently controversy is started over a month ago with several Filipinos that couldn’t deal with my directness about some issues. It went from there. Throw some racism (Filipinos believe they are superior to white people here) and you have a full blown case of Epal. Lots of drama and lots of people saying out of line things based on the things they heard or was told. This type of behavior is common in the Philippines and modeled by the media.

I did  not respond to it. I did find the need to remove some people from my Facebook due to the hate coming on my wall and I do not allow personal attacks.

Things died down a little and then this happened with a lady that treated me with no respect and spoke down to me. I posted it across some Facebook groups and the drama queens were revived.


Nikon D7000, Nikon 50mm 1.4, 1600 ISO, 1/160sec. Shot in NEF (Raw)

The fact that a white person in the Philippines was not living with “white guilt” and did not bow to the Filipino as inferior pisses the pinoy pride people off afresh.

Let me be very clear: I DO NOT care if you are White, Filipino, Black, Mexican, Samoan or Indian. People are people. I look at you, not your skin! End of story.

The hateful and physically threatening text messages, emails and private messages that I have received forced me into a position to lock down my Facebook profile, Youtube account and prepare the servers for a Distributed Denial of Service. In addition, I have moved to a safe non-disclosed location.

My door remain opens…. on a case by case basis.

I am an open book. Always have been. If you would like to have a civil discussion and become friends, I am always open to that. I might even be able to watching Mayweather destroy your idol together. (half joking)

What I am not open to is your personal attacks, go after ideas all day but don’t get personal. I am not open to hate, angry and racism. Not my cup of tea. Trying to force local culture up my ass is also not going to work. I know how broken that is.

If you want to sit down and have a healthy discussion over some hamburgers at Hard Rock and talk about the issues, I am more than open to that.

As far as Dennis Smith goes, this is my reply.