Due to repeated requests, I have decided to take on a limited number of freelance projects. Because I only freelance on Thesis designs and WordPress, my specialization means I can deliver customizations quickly that are efficient and effective. My focus is on quality and client satisfaction, so I restrict the number of projects I undertake to ensure that each client receives service that exceeds their expectations.
I accept projects of any size, from the full design and implementation of a new site, to just putting a Google Custom Search bar in the header. Many clients seek help implementing one of my development projects, in particular, the menuing systems.
Whatever the size of the project, you will receive the same courteous, well-qualified, and professional service of someone with over 20 years’ worth of successful software development experience.
Good communication is of primary importance to the success of any project, and I have had many years’ experience working with clients to develop their ideas, likes and dislikes, needs, requirements, and what-if’s into exceptional solutions that fit within their budgets. I bring to the table depth of understanding, keen observation, attention to detail, and wide experience that enhance the process.
During the course of the project I stay in continual touch with the client to keep them informed of progress each step of the way. And I offer support for sixty days after a project is completed. I seek to create a long-term relationship, not just do a job and leave.
My design philosophy
I favor simple and clean designs that impart a professional, competent impression to the viewer that enhances your site’s appeal, not only visually, but emotionally, and intellectually, as well. It is an added bonus that this kind of design loads quickly and makes a light load on your server.
One of my particular strengths lies in user navigation of sites. It is one thing for someone to visit a site; it is quite another for them to explore deeper into the site and stay longer. For that you need multiple systems of navigation that pull the user in, converting them from visitor to a reader who will return again and again. If a visitor can’t find what they want on your site, they will leave in frustration, never to return.
Although it would give me pleasure to design your site along these lines, I have long experience working in teams with others. If you have a favorite designer and artist, I will be glad to work with them to develop your site to meet your goals.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization
I have a keen awareness and understanding of SEO, and how the design and execution of a Thesis customization affects the SEO of the site. I believe that Thesis has the best SEO of any theme available, and it stands to reason that any modifications should be in keeping with that high standard.
All my work — from design to programming — is aimed toward getting you the highest search ranking possible. I have been very successful in this regard, not only on my own sites, but with every site I’ve worked on.
As evidenced by this site, with its many innovative development projects, my portfolio, and my volunteer work on the DIYthemes Forum, I am a Thesis developer with proficiency in the techniques and languages required to make your site unique.
I have a long history of developing major software systems and working with clients, and now Thesis is my primary development outlet. I bring to my work not only the skills immediately needed, but years of experience in problem solving, efficient work habits, and rapid and within-budget delivery.
Because I work so quickly and efficiently, my rates are very reasonable. The amount of work you get for dollar spent far exceeds that of others that may quote a lower price.
I like to quote a flat rate for an entire project, and give a discount for doing so. I believe it is to your advantage: If I run into complications, you are not paying for me to resolve them.
However, if you request it, I will also work for an hourly rate. Sometimes I will quote an hourly rate with a cap, which is particularly cost-effective when I am uncertain about the work required for a project.
When we begin a project, you will know exactly what to expect, when to expect delivery, and how much it will cost. There will be no mysteries. My quotes include a list of deliverables, the date I will begin, and how long it will take me to complete the project.
As mentioned, I provide sixty days’ of free support after the project is finished for your questions and any corrections to the work I’ve done.
Please feel free to discuss your project with me by email — just click on the “Contact” button in the button bar. Even if it’s just an idea you’re batting around, let’s talk about it.
Portfolio and Testimonials
“I met Mike through the DIY discussion forums. I was immediately impressed by how quickly he was able to complete his projects. If you’re looking for a quality job done fast, I definitely recommend Mike.” –Rob Feltz The Four O’Clock Project
I have been freelancing only a short while, previously preferring to hone my skills developing for Thesis. My growing portfolio reflects some of the larger projects I have undertaken recently.
Heartwood Pacific is a major building contractor in Hawaii. This Thesis site replaces the company’s old website. It is a CMS design that features flash movies and a multilevel dropdown menu, along with three distinct kinds of pages. The site was a mess as a result of a team of programmers who took four weeks to fail at completing it. Working with designer Liz Ambrose, I developed the site in 3 days, installed it, and even worked with the hosting company to make sure that the site was ready on time.
Liz Ambrose says:
“Michael Nichols works fast, understands project needs, communicates efficiently and won’t let you down.
I recently took on a project where I had to subcontract out the programming. The initial programmers I selected were not ready when I needed them so I hired another group of programmers. They did not understand the concept or the directions and a project that was supposed to take one week stretched out to 4 weeks. The client was upset that delivery of the website took so long and my reputation was at stake. I had to fix this and fix it quick.
I was afraid of hiring another programmer that might not understand the project needs but I got really really lucky because the next programmer I found was Michael.
Michael understood what I needed and helped me fix the problems and deliver the site to the client in 3 days. He also went above and beyond the call of duty when I had problems with the server setup and he stayed with me on the phone until it was working perfectly even though it was really late where he lives.
I will always work with Michael in the future on projects like this and I recommend him highly to anyone who has WordPress or other programming needs. If you explain the project to him and he says he can do it, not only will he do it he’ll do it perfectly, you can take that to the bank!”
David Irvine’s personal blog is an outgrowth of his sister site, BlackJack VT. The mission was to recreate the look and feel of the website on the Thesis blog. Dual menus, with the BlackJack VT menu at top, a membership form, and a 4-column footer are just some of the features of David’s site. It required slicing a PSD of the BlackJack VT site for the menu buttons and reworking of the logo and numerous images from the website.
David Irvine wrote:
“Thanks for all your work! I really think you did a first-rate job, and I couldn’t be any happier.”
Steve Creek is an outstanding nature photographer based in Lavaca, Arkansas. He had a theme he liked, but it was discontinued and he was afraid to upgrade WordPress. He chose the Thesis theme and asked me to do the conversion, keeping the site looking the same. It features a flash featured post carousel, Flikr photos, post excerpts with a thumbnail, and an after-post biographic sketch. Converting the site involved a great deal of manipulation of Thesis, but the outcome was so like his old theme that you can’t tell the difference.
Steve Creek wrote:
Mike the site is great! You did an awesome job! Thank you very much!
Brad Botz of Prime Proficiency wanted a clean, simple site that reflected his business values. Built around three colors from the logo, it features an Aweber opt-in form that calls attention to itself without breaking out of the color scheme and the overall look-and-feel of the site.
Brad Botz commented in the DIYthemes Forum:
Mike recently completed the design of my site (www.primeproficiency.com). The design was exactly what I was looking for. In addition to implementing exactly what I asked, Mike asked questions and provided recommendations that I never would have thought of. Mike’s professionalism was refreshing, and I am extremely satisfied with the outcome of the site and with Mike’s abilities.
I highly recommend Mike for your Thesis theme needs.
Mike Masin wrote a post thanking me for the work on his site. He wanted to improve and maintain his search rankings, and have a site that would be appealing and attractive to his visitors. I designed the header and page and implemented the design.
In his post Mike Masin wrote:
Mike Nichols designed and implemented my Thesis template. He is knowledgeable, responsive, and great to work with. Thank you for the advice, help, and fast turnaround Mike!
Robert Wilson wanted “something which conveys the theme of the site, something projecting a
professional site with something to offer my readers.” He wanted a look that was simple and appealing, yet functional and maintenance-free. Robert had an image of a kneeling man that he particularly liked, and wanted it in the header, with a matching background. I designed his site, created the header, and implemented the design.
Robert Wilson said:
Thanks Mike. I really like the look of the site. What you did to the latest post looks great. And your tutorials are very well written. I can tell I’m working with someone who knows his stuff.
Gregory Barr came to me with a “plain vanilla” Thesis site that he wanted to make a unique expression of his life and experiences as a British expatriate living in Finland. The initial design was based on discussions with him of what he wanted, and the color scheme developed from a favorite photograph. As the work progressed, the design grew to reflect his desires and preferences. Gregory’s site is an example of a true collaboration between the site owner and the designer.
Gregory Barr wrote in the DIYthemes Forum:
“Mike had helped me on the Thesis Forum a few times in the past. I now needed a face for my site. Mike created for me a crisp, clean and functional website. We were in constant contact for the week and Mike was quick with his intuition to realise the design and functionality of my site. His work exceeded my expectations and I highly recommend his work and valued experience.”
Confluence Digital was impressed by my Contextual Submenus and asked me to implement them on their new Thesis site. The Submenus give the user access to a great deal of information without the visual confusion of dropdown menus. In addition, submenu items are inter-related to their siblings within a group, encouraging the visitor to go deeper into the site.
Tom Todd, consultant for Confluence Digital, wrote:
“My client really likes the way your sub-menu navigation works. The designer and owner love it. Look forward to working with you on future projects.”
Shown above are three of six sites I developed for a single client — Quality Paid Surveys, Fashion for Every Pregnancy, and Freelance Writing Info. She requested “different customizations on each, but nothing extravagant. I need a unique header for each blog.” The sites all have space for ads, both Google AdSense and affiliate, contact forms, backup, and XML sitemaps. She commented: “The Fashion Pregnancy and Fashionable Momma blogs look great! And the Quality Paid Surveys looks really good, too!”
Anxiety, Panic & Health is my personal flagship site. Its Thesis design is clean and elegant, and intended to impart a feeling of peacefulness and repose. It features multiple navigation systems that draw readers into the site, resulting in excellent average time on site, bounce rates, and pages per visit.
I helped Fred First convert his 6-year-old blog, Fragments from Floyd, from the Neoclassical theme to Thesis. He wanted to retain some of the features of Neoclassical, such as the rotating header image and some of the styling. The site is a very “pure” Thesis installation on the surface, with efficient coding using CSS and hooks to accomplish Fred’s requirements underneath.
Charles Welling’s Campaign for Real Health was already established when I helped him with several subtle changes that improved navigation and visitor retention. On tap soon is a new header image element to enhance its appearance even more. On completion of the project, Charles wrote, “Take a bow — it looks FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU my friend!!!”