One of the greatest parts about Steveston is that the village is full of unique small businesses. From Belgian waffles to Romanian bread, tea pots to homemade soap, and whale watching to bike rentals, it’s full of places that accommodate all our needs. Some of these small businesses are not as obvious as others: many sell a product at the market or provide an online service. Today we are talking to Stevestonite Garth Poon, creator of thesimplersite.com which provides all the services for creating and maintaining a website. He took some time away from his projects to have a Dock Talk with us.
For people who might not know, describe what you do.
Creating a website for your business can be a very complicated affair. So I try to simplify it by doing everything for you.
I am basically a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to get a website up and running. If website creation were like building a home, I would be the architect, the builder, the realtor, and the handyman who comes every now and then to make sure the toilet is still working properly. In other words: I design the site, I build it, I register the domain, I host it, and I maintain it.
How long have you lived in Steveston? What do you like about this area the most?
I have lived in Richmond for most of my life, and Steveston has been my home for about 5 years. I love the quaint village feel, the fresh sea breeze, and the stunning sunrises and sunsets. I also enjoy the tastes and smells of Steveston: crispy fish & chips, frozen yogurt in warm waffle cones, and irresistible mini donuts.
What inspired you to start designing websites?
First, I’ve always been a bit of a ‘design-nerd.’ Most of my childhood was spent sketching Transformers and trying to draw Sega Genesis characters in ClarisWorks on my Dad’s PowerBook. So web design is a natural extension of my passion for art and creativity.
Second, ugly websites annoy me. You know, the ones with overstimulating backgrounds, an overabundance of Papyrus and Comic Sans fonts, and distractingly cheesy animations. Cheap websites are often unsightly; attractive websites are usually expensive. I wanted to give small business owners and non-profits a third alternative: beautiful, modern web design that won’t break the bank.
Finally, as Steveston began developing into a major tourist destination, I saw a need for local businesses to have a strong online presence with websites that reflected the beauty of our village.
When you are not working on web design what else keeps you busy?
My two energetic boys definitely keep me busy! I spend a lot of time playing peekaboo, reading digger books, and building complex Tinkertoy creations.
What type of businesses would benefit from your service?
Any business or non-profit organization would benefit from our services because we offer such a high level of personalized service for an incredibly affordable price. Most small businesses aren’t able to pay the initial start-up costs associated with creating a website; that’s why I opted for a different pricing model: one low, annual fee with the flexibility to pay however you wish (e.g. yearly, monthly, etc.).
Also, there are businesses who are unhappy with their current “stuck in the 90’s” websites. We want to help you with that. We’ve already done a number of “extreme makeovers” …and we’re currently working together with more businesses on re-designs that will be added to our Portfolio soon.
So are your websites ‘simple,’ as your name implies?
Definitely not. Our designs are elegant, and our features are rich. We offer a number of complex options, such as a blog, social media integration, a content management system, an e-store, a donation gateway, and a booking system.
We’re called ‘the Simpler Site’ because we want to make the process of obtaining a website as simple as possible.
You offer social media integration into your websites. What are a few tips you can offer Steveston businesses on how to be successful in that area?
Social media allows you to connect with your customers when they are not in your store. Engage them! Start conversations! Share stories! Run contests! Post photos of community events! Do whatever you can to keep your customers connected to your business. Just remember to make your content valuable to your followers and under-using it is just as dangerous as over-using it.
Thanks to Garth Poon for taking the time to chat with us. Check out his website if you think he can help you out or just keep an eye out for his complex Tinkertoy creations in the village.