From: "Steve Arrants" <stephena -at- compbear -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 09:46:58 -0800

> 1) Do you have a Web site to promote your tech writing
> consulting/contracting (or other) business?

Yes, but I've designed/created a new version using PHP/mySQL that should be
live this week.

> 2) Do you have personal info (hobbies, family, etc) on your Web site?
> If not, is it because you think it is unprofessional to do so?

God no! It is a business site. Why would a potential client need to know
(at first contact) that I raise Boxers, x-country ski, and think Molly Ivins
and Arianna Huffington are smart people?
I've a personal site that friends, family, etc. know about. It's a fork off
of the directories that my business site resides on. Only backward linked
to my business site (link on personal site directs visitors to business
site, but not vice versa.)

> 3) Do you think it is unprofessional to offer advice to other tech
> writers on your site?

No, but you gotta know what you're talking about! I think short, direct
articles or explanations of some topics serve both potential clients and
other techwriters.

> 4) Do you think it unprofessional/inadvisable to use frames?
> Javascript? Java? ActiveX?

No. But ALWAYS check your site for problems with different browsers.
Nothing is worse than having pages appear incorrrectly (or NOT appear)
because the user is running a browser version that doesn't support what
you've got up there.

> 5) Do you think it unprofessional to have a few cutesy, animated images
> on your site to lighten things up?

Yes. Few use things like GIF animations, Flash, etc. correctly (in a way
that supports the message and doesn't appear to get in the way of the user.)

> 6) Do you mention how much you charge for your services on your site?
> Give details about your fees? Disclaimers, legal or copyright notices?

No, I don't mention rates except to say that I can work on a 1099 or W2
basis, and list why a contractor may make more economic sense than hiring a
full-time staff person.

I include copyright and trademark statements when appropriate. For example,
the new site will use parts of PHP scripts that were developed by others as
part of an Open Source project. A privacy statement will be available,
since users will have the option to "register" and thereby change the way
the site looks to them (colors, layout, etc.) via cookies. Users don't have
to register to view the site, though.

> 7) Do you have samples from your portfolio on your site?

Limited samples. If they want to see more, they can contact me and I can
either send them a CD or give them access to a protected area.

> 8) Do you list references on your site? Quotes from the references?

Well, I list the companies I've worked for, but I never quote references. I
can supply references, but I think it is a bit of a privacy problem if I
quote "so and so from Microsoft" on the site.

> 9) How often do you update your site? Do you NEED to frequently change
> things on your site to keep it fresh?

Well, the new site will be updated daily in some spots. There's a newsfeed
section on industry news that will be automatically updated.
But even with a static site it is always a godo idea to check it

> 10) Do you provide a lot of linking and menuing, or do you keep it short
> and sweet with most Web actions/behaviours available from the first
> page?

What's "a lot"? Thre are links to different sections, but the links are
rather shallow--nothing is more than two links from the top.

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