A curious human. A curious web creator.
I’ve been active in the design and web industries since 2004, after leaving Northern Arizona Universityy with a dual emphasis in design and computer imaging (web).
My 20s were spent doing a lot of branding and print design work, but this transitioned to web design as more and more clients asked for websites — so I taught myself how to make websites as well as how to rank and optimize them.
Around age 30, I took a day job at a publisher doing web design so my wife could stay home with our three small children.
After six years at the publisher, I had worked my way up to Interactive Art Director and was overseeing the design, development, and care of dozens of websites — often for notable authors or projects with large spends such as a digital app.
While I gained a lot of valuable experience, the corporate setting wasn’t life giving and I wanted to be around my family more. So I built the foundations of a boutique web design agency, King Grizzly, and transitioned out.
In collaboration with my brother, whose background includes a business degree and digital marketing management — we’ve built up a successful web design agency.
Agency is a misnomer, because our team is intentionally small, senior level, and we don’t farm out our work to “chop shops”. Many of our clients are long-term and choose to work with is as an ongoing extension of their internal teams.
Typically, these are growing organizations with a marketing team and a need for better quality web design and practices. We tend to fill their need for expert web help for less than the cost of a mid level or even junior employee.
King Grizzly combines everything we’ve learned since 2004, and provides a comprehensive web design process benefiting from design thinking, customer motivators, intuitive web builds, and best practice site care.
We build for the customer and we build for the marketer who must administer the sites.
I’ve supported WordPress for a long time and its market share of the web remains impressive (~43% of all websites, ~65% of all content management sites).
Many people know these statistics about WordPress but don’t realize the “no code” visual builder Elementor represents about 20% of all WordPress sites and 7.9% of all websites with 12.7 million active sites.
Most WordPress clients who approach King Grizzly are using Elementor or considering it, so we’ve become quite good at it. Before Elementor retired them in favor of a Facebook group (a hard “no” for me), I was the 3rd rated contributor out of more than 21,000 to the Elementor community forums.
The idea for Ruin Your Knees occurred to me during a commute. My brother-in-law and I had been laughing about how inactive people say they don’t run because it ruins their knees. We thought it was funny how sitting on the couch ruins the whole body and active people are more likely to have strong knees!
So I started a personal blog site to experiment with opinion pieces, reviews, and SEO.
The website received 1/4 million visitors in a year, not long after launching — on less than 20 pieces of content! I was beating brands at ranking for their own shoes. My wife and I then adopted three kids and this experiment abruptly stopped.
The kids are bigger now, so I’ve been adding content and getting free gear from time to time! Let me know if you want to review some!
Garden of the Gods welcomes roughly 2 million visitors a year. In addition to touring the park, these travelers will make decisions about where to stay, things to do, what to eat, and where to shop during their time in the area. This makes for an interesting local SEO concept, a magnet attraction: find what tourists are looking for and dconnect the dots through to local business.
I created an informational site featuring the park and other local points of interest to provide value to visitors, but also to experiment with SEO and win traffic.
Based on some of the successes of Ruin Your Knees, I learned shoes draw a ton of traffic and sites like RunRepeat which summarize online sentiment do well. So I’ve started a “best of” site which lists best shoes by characteristics like brand and activity.
The website is intentionally generic so it can be sold (if desired), optimized with schema for better SEO results, and built on a special web hosting called Strattic.
Strattic flattens the site before publishing, so it isn’t making any dynamic database calls. This presents some challenges but also makes the site very secure and faster. Elementor acquired Strattic, so I’m curious what happens.
If early environment forms a person, then I’m the result of the high desert “American” Southwest. The land leaves few untouched, as evidenced by people like my mother who departed New England for the Southwest as a young woman and never returned home.
Besides the landscape, I was lucky enough to grow up among native peoples like the Navajo, Zuni, and Ute. The Four Corners region is full of rich and ancient culture.
Much of my youth was spent in Gallup, New Mexico which some have described as a “place of thin veil” — where heaven and hell seem closer to earth.
As a result of this heritage, nature is where I feel free and alive — especially in the desert Southwest. I also spend a great deal of time pondering the human condition, our place in the cosmos, and what it means to live a good life.
Most of this exploration is private, but some of it is shared in the form of photography on Instagram and, a little on Unsplash — mostly captured while trail running.
I love to hear from other humans, creators, and ponderers.