“I needed a site that would impress potential business partners, not make me look amateurish. I’m also extremely busy and don’t have time to explain every detail. Bill Kowalski was able to design a site that suited me perfectly with very little input, and the best part is, the first person to contact me through it ended up being a potential seven-figure deal. She said she hadn’t made up her mind about me until she saw my website, and that’s when she realized I was worth doing business with. Thanks, Bill!”
Phil Dregalla, Akron, OH
“Bill Kowalski is a ‘triple threat’ — he is a designer, writer, and technical master. I was given Bill’s name by another graphic designer who said Bill was terrific. I needed someone to help me redesign a website for an arts funding not-for-profit organization. Bill exceeded my expectations. He merged great visual design which highlighted the text I provided and made the interfaces easy to use. Donors could now support Canadian artists with a simple click of a button. And any time I have a question on how to improve my blogs which drive traffic to the site, Bill is right there to help me. Thanks, Bill.”
Dr. Marianne F., Toronto
Arts & Letters Club
Universal Care Clinics
Nova Scotia Polish Month
Cape Breton, NS
Salt and Honey
Mahone Bay, NS
Author Philip Slayton
Mexico Lindo Restaurant
Nova Scotia Garden
Port Medway, NS
Books By Johnnies
Nova Scotia Food
Nova Scotia, Canada
Centre Burlington, NS
Author William Kowalski
Mahone Bay, NS
My Writing Network
MBWD websites are customized to the needs of your business, organization, or artistic endeavour. Every site is unique, because everyone’s web needs are different. Click here to see some examples.
Request content development by an award-winning, internationally best-selling novelist with decades of experience in content development. Strong, clear writing makes your site stand out and increases engagement.
We’re able to provide customized Python solutions for whatever your project demands. Scrapers are a specialty. Get in touch to tell us about your idea and find out how we can help.
Impress customers with a site that looks sharp and functions smoothly. Your site can have nearly any feature you can think of. MBWD sites follow all search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. We’ve been helping small businesses for a long time!
We’ll build a beautiful, robust site of any size that follows your style guide to the letter and adheres to the latest standards in responsive web design. Your site is the first part of your company many people see… so make it count!
Open a web store and sell your physical or virtual products to customers around the world. Easy credit-card shopping on your site means lots of repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. Secure transactions are a priority!
MBWD principal owner William Kowalski is a rare bird. A best-selling novelist whose work has been translated into fifteen languages, he’s also worked as a high school physics teacher, an adult educator, and a courseware designer for the U.S. and Canadian militaries (with a NATO-level secret security clearance, no less). His passion for web design began in 2005, when he found himself in need of a new personal website, became curious as to how it was done, and embarked on a journey of learning that since then has taken him down some surprising–and deeply rewarding–paths.
Since then, he’s built countless sites for all kinds of clients. He’s become an expert in helping small businesses, as well as lots of other types of people and organizations, get noticed on the web. He’s especially skilled at talking to non-technical people about technical things, helping them express their needs and making sure they understand exactly what’s being discussed in practical, down-to-earth terms.
Mahone Bay Web Design has been providing beautiful, functional websites to business owners since 2005. We bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to your project. Principal owner William Kowalski is also a best-selling, award-winning author whose work has been translated into fifteen languages. He will provide very high-quality, SEO-optimized written content for your site upon request, or can edit and optimize your existing copy. Very few web design agencies offer similar value.
Why does the quality of your written content matter? Because site visitors and search engines can tell the difference. Visitors will convert into customers much more often if content is appealing and clear. Even Google appreciates sites with excellent writing… yes, it’s smart enough to know the difference too!
Have questions? Want a quote? Asking is free and comes with no obligation, so drop us a line and let us know about your project.
There are numerous services out there offering free web platforms to anyone who wants one. We at MBWD fully support this. The internet should be open and accessible to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. Everyone who wants a website should be able to have one at no charge.
However, if your business relies on web traffic, using a free site would be a mistake. A default website on one of the popular drag-and-drop platforms will rank more poorly and bring in less traffic than a custom-built site. They will also end up being a waste of time. Why? Because although these platforms do offer many features of a custom site, you’ll have to pay extra for them, and that means you’ll need to spend time figuring out how to use them. So not only is it no longer free, but now you have to spend hours of your valuable time learning how to use a whole new set of digital tools you’ll likely only use once or twice.
Unless you’re a web design and SEO expert, it’s better to leave this to the pros.
By all means, use Facebook for your business. Most businesses would benefit from having a Facebook page.
But don’t rely only on Facebook. For one thing, there are many people who don’t use it, which means you’re missing all that potential traffic. Facebook pages are not customizable, which means you’re stuck with their design… and as we all know, Facebook changes its design often and without warning. Your follower list can’t be exported to other services, so you can’t create targeted ad campaigns from it (except on Facebook itself).
Worst of all, you have no ownership over your Facebook page. If the company goes bankrupt, if they change their terms of service, or if they simply feel like it, your page and all of its followers could disappear tomorrow.
A Facebook page is one part of a well-organized, well-executed online business plan, but it should never be the whole plan.
WHAT IS HOSTING?
The ‘host’ is the server (which is really just another computer) where your site lives. This computer is also called a server because it serves files on request. That is, every time you visit a website, you’re saying to the host computer, “Please show me what you have.” In response, the host computer will serve you the files that make up the website.
Every website must be hosted somewhere.
Your hosting options:
- Host your own site through a third-party service
- Let MBWD deal with it for you
1. Host your own site
You can handle your own site hosting if you like. This would involve creating an account at a hosting company (we recommend Siteground) and then providing us with collaborator access to that account so we can upload the site files. Your hosting agreement will be between you and the hosting provider, and you’ll pay them a monthly or annual fee.
If you do your own hosting, you will need to ensure someone is in charge of maintaining the site. This means making regular updates to the various pieces of software that go into modern websites, and knowing what to do in case of a conflict or a problem somewhere. You may either purchase a maintenance contract from MBWD, or you can do your own maintenance. Just remember that websites are not set-it-and-forget-it. Sites that aren’t updated regularly will eventually break and stop working, or, worst of all, become vulnerable to hackers. If you aren’t comfortable handling this on your own, a maintenance contract is strongly recommended.
2. MBWD-managed Hosting (includes maintenance contract)
If you want MBWD to manage your hosting for you, we can do so at an additional rate of $50.00/month + HST/GST, or $550.00/year if paid in advance. Please note that this is a fee for which you will be billed in advance. Failure to remit your hosting payment within 30 days will result in your site going offline. Annual maintenance contracts are included in MBWD-managed hosting. That is, if MBWD hosts your site, we also take care of it for you, making sure everything is regularly updated and secure.
A maintenance contract is an agreement that Mahone Bay Web Design will be responsible for the care and upkeep of your website. We’ll check in every day to make sure any required updates are made immediately. We will also be alerted in case of server downtime, so we can get on that right away, too.
Why does a website need maintenance? Many people think of websites as simple billboards on the information highway, but in fact a website is much more similar to a small engine that runs constantly. The pieces are digital rather than mechanical, and though they don’t wear out in a physical sense, they do require updating in order to stay compatible and current with all the other bits of software that go into making up your website.
The risk in leaving a site unmaintained is very large. Parts of it can break down, and eventually the whole thing may simply cease working altogether. Sites that are not maintained become vulnerable to hackers, who are constantly seeking new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. This will quickly destroy your site rank and harm your web traffic.
Maintenance contracts are available on a monthly or annual basis. For sites that MBWD hosts for you, a maintenance contract is included in the monthly fee.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
SEO can also refer to the person who performs this optimization. So, sometimes it refers to a human, and sometimes it refers to a concept.
Here, SEO means doing everything humanly possible to make sure your site shows up in all the right search results, as close to the top as possible. Your SEO goal should be to land on the first page of search results. (If you ever need to hide a body, the best place is the second page of Google. No one will ever look there!)
Of course, everyone else in your niche has the same goal, so competition can be tough. The more businesses fighting for the first page, the stiffer the competition. That’s when every little advantage matters.
SEO is a complex topic. It has a great deal to do with the quality of your site content (both text and images). It involves the code your site is built on (Google favors newer, cleaner code.) It involves your site speed (all other things being equal, Google gives priority to sites that load faster.) It also takes into account the number and quality of your backlinks, which means links from other sites to yours. There’s more, but you get the idea.
If you can only pay attention to one of these things at a time, start with content. Content Is King. Google will assign more authority–that is, will regard as more trustworthy–those sites with content that is both longer and better-written. It can tell when you’re just trying to pad out your word content and when you’re actually providing high-quality info.
MBWD has many years of SEO experience. We’ve succeeded in getting some pages at the very top of search results for their niche. We’d like to do the same for you!
A domain name is the main part of your website’s address.
For example, if your address is http://www.mywebsite.com, then mywebsite.com is your domain. (The http:// part is called the protocol, and the www part is called the subdomain, but we don’t need to worry about that right now.)
Every website has to have a domain, of course. But how do you get one?
Turns out it’s pretty simple. You just go to a domain registrar, or a company that specializes in registering domains. You do a quick search on the registrar site to see if your domain is available (they will have a special search bar where you can do this.) Tou sign up with a credit card, and you pay for the next year, or two, or five. You can’t buy a domain name outright. You can only register it. If you let your registration lapse, the domain name will eventually become available again for someone else to register.
Your choice of domain name is important. If your business depends on how easily you’re found in searches, then ideally your domain will match, as closely as possible, the search terms people are most likely to type in while looking for a service like yours. For example, if you sell chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, then something like chocolatemacadamianuts.com would be perfect. Of course that’s a bit long and hard to read, but it’s easy to say and remember, it makes sense, and when Google sees how closely the domain matches the text of the search query, it’s more likely to return your site near the top of search results.
If all this feels like too much, just let us know, and we can handle the domain registration process for you.