Laurence Shaw Website & Photography Services

Sometimes friends and clients are frustrated looking for economical web hosting and design services. My experience in business communications and technology provides end-to-end solutions using business best practices and project principles. I view a website as a composition, a story that matches individual or business goals.   All designers have a style and methodology for the kinds of sites engaged in. For example, I seek to use my own photography to enhance a site experience.

My technical work across many years has led me to provide hosting services on:

(1) Amazon AWS Linux.

(2) Directly with my ABN business hosting, which provides some basic free annual maintenance.

(3) Usually for your own self-management, with Ventraip Australia.

This provides a flexible range of hosting options that should cover one’s needs.

If you use an existing web hosting service, we may discuss how this works. For instance, a domain name hosted anywhere, with the new website as per my hosting options above. I like to use hosting servers geographically located in Australia, with fast response times, current hardware and software. I  manage transfers of website, domain names, and email services as appropriate. As a matter of policy, I have no issue with your transfer away from my service.

My websites are on the WordPress platform. (Some projects may be outside of WordPress where assistance is provided on Amazon AWS services.)

My websites have included food catering, art & art sales,  financial services, clinical psychology, health, churches, copy editing, trades and  personal sites. I work with low maintenance sites as per my availability and capacity as a registered individual sole trader.

Websites are personal, rather than templates with horizontal blocks filled in.  They succeed with the right messaging and information to be readily found by visitors. Practical work behind the scenes includes Search Engine requirements and security, and research for your industry segment.

Please see my About page for my qualifications, and my Website’s page (button below) for examples of websites and photography.

What to expect during a project

We basically leverage my years of Solutions Architecture and Design experience that formerly involved ASX listed corporations with various projects. This is a history of seeing how people work in their industry, detailing and defining individual and business needs, working with inter-dependencies and who the stakeholder audiences are. Everyone contributes to the end results in comfortable discussions, even of things that may sound silly which turn out to be very important. We state up front what you offer, why someone benefits from engaging your website and services. We ensure people can find what they need on your website in a user-friendly manner, with content matching your services without gaps. Technically, we provide a robust delivery for your website.

During the design we develop the website’s content titles and sections, the colour scheme and branding supported by one-to-one meetings and agreed tasks. We reach a design milestone in order to bed the work down so it may be completed without faults or stepping backwards to redo work. We work to a reasonable time frame for completion.


Every now and then, there is an industry-wide jump in pricing. We have had to accept this occurrence again recently.

You would pay up front for a formal WordPress “theme” license. This allows us to work with drag and drop of design elements, or live viewing of our editing. It is a hit in the pocket, but is a once-off. Allow $120.

I work with two particular themes that provide all the needed tools. I do not work with other themes due to the learning curve, which is of no advantage. “Cheap” themes become unworkable. Having been working with Hosting providers, WordPress & themes, various Registrars since 2008, I’ve learnt the hard way what goes on. (If you wish to build outside of WordPress, e.g. Squarespace, my services would not be needed).

You would own your own Registrar account for domain names. A domain name is near $30 per year.

We would discuss whether you use a free SSL or paid certificate. This gives you the https:// requirement, rather than the old http:// URLs.

As an individual, sole trader or reasonably small business, it is best to allow for a budget of $150-$200 per year for your web hosting plan on a shared IP4 address, or, for a static IP4 address on Amazon, around $200-$250 per year – prices vary according to sizing of disk space, CPU and RAM. Amazon is more involved and has no free email, so we would discuss. There are specific advantages to using Amazon.

My work is end-to-end design and delivery. I work with a small number of folks each year determining suitability of the work for us to proceed and availability of support for the website’s life-cycle. There are styles of websites and extent of work that are in scope – see my website examples for prior works. Certain websites are best suited to teams, or developers with specialist programming or advertising/marketing skills. Design & delivery pricing varies considerably, say $1,000-$1,500 for a simple site, to $2,500-$3,500 for a more complex site. Personal friends or nominated projects may of course be less. I have worked on larger projects, engaging with careful consideration.

Due to the design process – meetings, updates, business reviews, prototyping and agreed design milestone before detailed work, the solution’s process ensures low to no risk. My work is open and transparent, and benefits from my previous workforce experience with strong problem solving skills, which does arise on some projects.

Specialised Work and Benefits

Sometimes a website benefits from specialised work such as a photography session to uniquely identify it. WordPress has public developers providing “plugins” (at a cost) for particular tasks. These tasks can take time to come up to speed. Some websites have a higher degree of content, such as art sales where there may be fifty to a hundred pieces of art, or various documents. This effects pricing.

Technically, an Amazon hosted website may provide a greater degree of security and performance reliability than popular shared services, but it requires more build time and ongoing maintenance. For instance, we can use the regular “Apache” web server, or the faster OpenLiteSpeed server. We may deploy some additional work around email, or make use of Amazon’s CDN (content delivery network) for sites using other geographies outside Australia. We may also use an Amazon account for “S3 Bucket” storage from any of the hosting options I provide, which is good for large numbers of documents and regular recovery backups.

Amazon provides high-end corporate services that we do not make use of, such as RAID disk, balanced loads, distributed databases. However, their low end pricing uses the same infrastructure that companies regularly use. There are a limited number of web designers in Australia who offer this work to individuals, sole traders, and small business due to the technical investment of time and skill to offer this service. I grew up with Unix and offer the service.

I do look to provide lasting work, rather than trends that fade quickly. The more time spent in detailing a site is an added cost, but it raises the bar, taking a site to the next level. Often what looks simple can be a result of that time and effort. This will impact the visitor’s response.

I do not believe in providing guarantees or metrics for website expectations. It is good however to know how many people visit a site, which pages are visited. Some use metrics as a way in my view to make false claims for obtaining work, or you may be offered statistical data you do not need. This approach may also be reflected by bad practices – such as ignoring you once the work is completed and paid for. Or as a worse case, a project that becomes too difficult where the designer does a “runner”. I have seen a number of failed projects. My experience is that websites best support the work you actually do in the real world. The website’s proper content gives confidence and trust to the person who is communicating with you. Use of Google and Bing search engines is bread and butter work, no special deal, but some charge thousands of dollars for this. If a site needs specialist advertising, there are others who provide the service at a high cost.

At the end of the day, there are best practices that correctly place your website into the public realm, alongside millions of others that may not have such structure in place. Over time you will see how the website is performing. Every site I have built attends to the design detailing and supporting standards that has enabled a client to share at some point with happiness how the website has benefited them.