How I Work?

and other frequently asked questions

How long will it take? How much will it cost?

It varies a lot, but most of the sites I build take 8-12 weeks from kickoff to launch and cost more than $3,000. All of the sites featured on my portfolio fit that description.

Occasionally I'm available for smaller projects, but that's rare. If budget is a major constraint, know that many sites are best served with a high-quality low-cost SquareSpace template. And on that note, here is some free advice.

What's your process?

I schedule at least one initial meeting with clients to talk in-depth about the site: technical needs, design aesthetic, content generation or migration, budget constraints &c.

From these conversations I create a milestone and delivery schedule, as well as an estimate that then becomes a soft cap on hours — with the understanding that if I run into challenges or if the spec changes along the way we'll adjust as needed.

Nearly all of my projects come in on time and under budget. I work hard to keep it that way!

How I Work | erica dreisbach | Chicago freelance web developer

Do you do visual and user interface design?

Design is available for laid-back clients. Examples of my designs include:

I'm fluent in the full Adobe Creative Suite and am just as versatile making adjustments to a PSD as I am updating code.

That said, I work with existing graphic and UI design for the majority of my projects.

Do you customize existing themes?

Sometimes. Not often. Contact me and we'll talk more.

Be advised: many themes that advertise themselves as gorgeous and versatile are plagued by a fragile and bloated codebase. The best way to overcome the performance issues of those themes is to invest in a cloud CDN (price varies).

Will you tutor me in how to build a website?


Will you tutor me if I'm super laid-back?

The beauty of Wordpress and SquareSpace is that the answer to every question you'll ever have is available via Google. There are also countless YouTube tutorials and PDF explainers. There are also neighborhood children who might be willing to help you.

If you've never managed a website before, I recommend getting a free Wordpress blog and publishing a few posts. The interface for a site managed by Wordpress software is the same as the interface for a free Wordpress blog. You'll learn a lot all by yourself!

Who are your clients?

All sorts. I've produced work for large companies, tech startups, nonprofits, small businesses, bloggers, and more.

Are you available to maintain sites long-term or work on retainer?

Generally I'm only available on a project basis, but that's flexible depending on the client and how well we work together.

What are your specialties?

Most of my sites are built with Wordpress. My sweet spot is front end development (HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP). I'm expert at turning a PSD into working code.

What's your background?

I grew up in northeastern Vermont (the Northeast Kingdom). After college I had a five-year mini-career in marketing for nonprofits. Eventually I was more focused on hacking around on the organizatio website and coding the monthly enewsletter than on messaging and branding and other important marketing things.

Since 2009 I've been a full time programmer-designer-developer, with a short stint in 2010 writing SEO blogs. In January 2016 I incorporated as Dark Black LLC.

What do you post on Twitter?

Follow @ericadreisbach and @darkblackllc on Twitter where I post my favorite web design links and resources! Also, if you follow me on Twitter, then unlike Spinoza's Twitter, I will follow you back. #philosophy #joke

What's the best way to get in touch?

I love email. You may have once heard an oracle tell of true-hearted web developers that maintain an empty inbox. I am one such of whom the oracle spake.

You can expect an email reply within an hour during Central business hours and usually within 20 minutes, but you will probably never reach me on the phone without making an appointment first. I am not available to clients on Slack or other real-time messaging platforms.

My favorite attachments from clients are PDFs and screenshots (jpg or png). My least favorites are Microsoft Word® docx or PowerPoint® pptx.