• Great Websites for Great People
  • About Me

    Me

    My dream is to have an office with an ocean view. As a kid from Long Island now land-locked in the suburbs of Chicago, I pine for salt water. I had a fish tank once, but it wasn't exactly the same.

    My name is Marc Miller. I create websites. By day, I work for ReFrame Media, developing cool ministry websites. At night, I help individuals and small businesses create and then run successful sites. And I've been doing it for over 10 years.

    I do my best work using the ExpressionEngine Content Management System (CMS), although I also do some pretty cool stuff with the WordPress blogging system, too. I strive to make beautiful websites that are standards compliant and optimized for search engines. Want to hire me for your next project? Contact me!

    How I Work

    In the interest of full disclosure, I'll be upfront with you: I can't turn around web projects quite as fast as if you hire a full time agency because I have a 40 hour a week job as the web producer for ReFrame Media and do my Big Ocean Studios work on nights and weekends (and lunch breaks and occasional coffee break).

    However, I'm also more affordable than bigger companies. Additionally, I don't take on too many clients at one time so that I can give each project the necessary attention it deserves.

    I bill hourly at a reasonable rate, use Project Pier for consolidated client communications, and use Freshbooks for billing so that invoices can be paid with check or credit card.

    This all culminates in a very efficient process that delivers outstanding results.

    Read some of my client's testimonials below for further proof.

    Testimonials

    Marc has been managing the website for Roseland Christian School in Chicago for several years. Twice, he has implemented a redesign of the site. Each time, he provides more functionalty and creativity. We continue to receive complements on our web site - for its overall look and for its wealth of information. Marc has implemented several features that make the site easier for us to maintain. He continues to be a great asset to us as we make a difference in the lives of our students!

    Roger De Groot


    Marc has designed many websites for me. He has exceeded my expectations each time.
    I get a lot of positive feedback from people who visit my sites.

    Rafael Rivadeneira


  • Portfolio

    click images for more info
    • Dale Hanson Bourke
      Dale Hanson Bourke
    • Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center
      Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center
    • INK Creative Collective
      INK Creative Collective
    • Fashionista Chicago
      Fashionista Chicago
    • St. James
      St. James
    • Amy Julia Becker
      Amy Julia Becker
    • Elmhurst CRC
      Elmhurst CRC
    • Lucas Van Engen
      Lucas Van Engen
    • Spotlight English Clubs
      Spotlight English Clubs
    • Oakland Men’s Chess Club
      Oakland Men’s Chess Club
    • Helen Lee
      Helen Lee
    • The Juicys
      The Juicys
    • Hinsdale Humane Society
      Hinsdale Humane Society
    • JC Photography
      JC Photography
    • South Shore Pediatric Dentistry
      South Shore Pediatric Dentistry
    • Ellen Painter Dollar
      Ellen Painter Dollar
    • Amy Simpson
      Amy Simpson
    • Perspectives Réformées
      Perspectives Réformées
    • Academic Publishing Services
      Academic Publishing Services
    • Caryn Rivadeneira
      Caryn Rivadeneira
    • Roseland Christian School
      Roseland Christian School
    • Cornerstone Used Books
      Cornerstone Used Books
    • Kids Corner
      Kids Corner
    • Epiphany Portfolios
      Epiphany Portfolios
    • Spotlight Radio
      Spotlight Radio
  • Discovery and Planning

    Whether you're starting a brand new website or redesigning your current one, the key to success is developing a solid plan. Together we'll work through a creative brief, site map, and wireframes before we even begin to design. These important documents will form a foundation on which your site will be built.

    Branding Identity and Logo Design

    Whether you're a new company or needing a site redesign, developing a look and logo is crucial to making sure you stand out in the crowd. I can help you figure out what makes you unique and then design a logo that reflects that.

    Website Design

    Ah the fun stuff. Once the boring paperwork is out of the way, it's time to start visualizing what your site will look like.

    I work with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to craft websites. These are powerful, industry standard tools that really help get the job done.

    Website Development

    To most people, this area is the most mysterious. This is where the design comes to life as a real, interactive website. And it's the area I excel in.

    I work on Linux/Apache webservers making sites that run in XHTML and PHP. Thow in some advanced scripting with jQuery and you end up with a site that makes you say "wow."

    Search Engine Optimization

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very important part of the development process to make sure your site gets noticed. Through keyword research, search friendly XHTML code that meets industry standard validation, and helping you obtain those high quality inbound links, I work hard to get sites to the top of the search engine results.

    Content Management Systems

    Content Management Systems (CMS) are tools that make updating your website content a breeze. I recommend ExpressionEngine for most sites.

    However, if you need a simpler, more cost-effective solution, I also work with the WordPress blogging system.

    Social Media Marketing

    Think things like Facebook and Twitter are a fad? Think again. Don't take my word for it, watch this video.

    I can help you learn how to use these, and other, social tools to help enhance your online presence and your website.

    Web Hosting

    Need a place to put your new website? I also can offer web hosting for your site. Various package are available, but for most clients, the basic configuration is more than enough. This includes 2000MB of disk space for $5.00 a month or $55.00 if paid annually.

    Contact me for more information.

  • Contact Me






 
 

Ballpark Estimate

"How much do you charge?" That's always one of the first questions on everyone's mind when considering having a website built. So here it is.

For an 10 page site using the ExpressionEngine CMS: from $4500
My 2014 rate is $50 / hour. A site like this would take about 90 hours.

Here's a typical breakdown:

note: Deployment involving content entry into the site would accrue additional hours.

There are typically other nominal expenses involved, too, such as a Domain Name, Webhost provider, and an ExpressionEngine license fee.

Projects vary widely, but I often find people don't fully comprehend how much time it takes to develop a new website from start to finish. Hopefully this will give you a sense of what to expect.

I encourage you to shop around, view portfolios, check references, get quotes. You'll find my rates competitive and you won't be disappointed with the results.

Dale Hanson Bourke

Dale Hanson Bourke

www.dalehansonbourke.com

Dale was in need of a quick and affordable upgrade to her site. Wordpress with a modified theme fit the bill perfectly for her.

Services Performed

site launched: June, 2014

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Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center

Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center

www.samaritancenter.org

The Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center needed a CMS that could allow them to edit every portion of their website. ExpressionEngine fit the bill perfectly. The also have a sister site (Samaritan Center for Congregations). Using EE's Multple Site Manager, they could control both websites from one interface and even share content between the two sites.

Services Performed

site launched: May, 2014

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INK Creative Collective

INK Creative Collective

www.inkcreative.org

The INK Creative Collective was a cool project. Big Ocean Studios created a ton of custom Wordpress functions to bend the CMS to do exactly what we needed it to do. The theme is an off-the-shelf design, but the custom functions built in really make this site unique. All the authors have the ability to post on their own websites, but then they also show up on the INK site. The authors can also post about their latest books and speaking engagements. It is a very collaborative site.

Services Performed

site launched: April, 2014

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Fashionista Chicago

Fashionista Chicago

www.fashionista-chicago.com

This style blog wanted to update their web presence, not only with a new look, but also to provide its users with more. A WooCommerce store was implemented to sell exclusives items through the website. The new theme is also responsive, allowing it to work well on any mobile device.

Services Performed

site launched: January, 2014

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St. James

St. James

www.stjameswh.org

St. James Episcopal Church needed to update their website to a more useful one - both for the users and for admin management. Using Wordpress and a semi-custom theme, we achieved that goal.

Services Performed

site launched: March, 2013

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Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker

www.amyjuliabecker.com

Author Amy Julia Becker needed a site to showcase her books and a blog. We used the cost effective method of Wordpress combined with a semi-customized theme.

Services Performed

site launched: March, 2013

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Elmhurst CRC

Elmhurst CRC

www.elmhurstcrc.org

Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church needed to make some changes to their website. Most notable was an upgrade from ExpressionEngine 1.x to the new 2.x branch. During the transition, many details in the stucture of the site was modified and improved. New features were added as well, including making the site responsive to work on all tablet and mobile devices.

Services Performed

site launched: February, 2013

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Lucas Van Engen

Lucas Van Engen

www.lucasvanengen.com

Lucas is an actor in New York City and needed a new website to showcase his talents and portfolio reels. Big Ocean Studios put together a website that makes a statement.

Services Performed

site launched: January, 2013

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Spotlight English Clubs

Spotlight English Clubs is a sister site to the Spotlight Radio website. The Clubs site is designed for the organizers of local clubs where they can download programs and rescources to use at their club meetings. Phase 1 is a port of the site over from the Joomla site into one of the MSM sites that also hosts the Spotlight site. By using the Multiple Site Manager, these two sites can be closely integrated with each other in upcoming Phase releases, elminating a lot of the duplicate work it took to run the two sites independantly.

Services Performed

site launched: October, 2012

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Oakland Men’s Chess Club

Oakland Men’s Chess Club

www.oaklandmcc-store.com

The Oakland Men's Chess Club Store wanted an ecommerce site to help sell books to support the ministry of the Oakland Men's Chess Center. After first trying the Chrislands CMS and not finding that to their liking, they choose to upgrade to a Wordpress system using the Woo Commerce plugin.

Services Performed

site launched: September, 2012

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Helen Lee

Helen Lee sought to consolidate her brands and book sites into one unified system.

Services Performed

site launched: August, 2012

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The Juicys

The Juicys is a child site to Church Juice. The Juicys is the annual contest and awards given out to churches that exhibit communication excellance. This year, the awards got their own mini-site to showcase past winners and accept applications for the current year.

Services Performed

site launched: June, 2012

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Hinsdale Humane Society

Hinsdale Humane Society

www.hinsdalehumanesociety.org

The Hinsdale Humane Society website was in need of a redesign. Serving several audiences, this complex site needed to be clean and easy to use, yet organized well so that all the information could be easily found.  Extensive use of JQuery and ExpressionEngine add-ons, as well as a few custom written applications make the site that is a breeze to use for both site visitors and the many content producers.

Services Performed

site launched: March, 2012

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JC Photography

JC Photography

www.jcphotoservices.com

JC Photography needed a website to showcase her photography portfolio and services.

Services Performed

site launched: March, 2012

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South Shore Pediatric Dentistry

South Shore Pediatric Dentistry

www.lidentistsforkids.com

The South Shore Pediatric Dentistry has been in operation for over 35 years. They realized they needed a web presence to help support their dentistry practice. They wished to have a simple site that was easy to read and use, yet still convey the nature of their business.

Services Performed

site launched: January, 2012

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Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar

www.ellenpainterdollar.com

Ellen needed a website to promote her new book, as well as be a companion to her new blog she began at Patheos.  We installed Wordpress for the Content Management System and using plugins, were able to feed her blog at Patheos into her personal site. 

Services Performed

site launched: December, 2011

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Amy Simpson

Amy Simpson needed a straight forward website to promoter her books and other publications as well as a blog. Wordpress was a perfect fit for her needs.

Services Performed

site launched: November, 2011

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Perspectives Réformées

Perspectives Réformées

www.perspectivesreformees.org

Perspectives Réformées is the French speaking ministry of Back to God Ministries International. They were in need of a multi-functional website that serves a wide audience, yet needed to be simple and fast enough to deliver to 3rd world countries with limited internet access and internet cafes.

Services Performed

site launched: August, 2011

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Academic Publishing Services

Academic Publishing Services

www.academicps.com

Academic PS needed an online, simple portfolio site to display what they do and a sample of their work. Wordpress fit the bill with a semi-custom theme installed.

Services Performed

site launched: July, 2011

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Caryn Rivadeneira

Caryn Rivadeneira

www.carynrivadeneira.com

Caryn Rivadeneira needed an affordable website to promote her books. A Wordpress blog with a semi-custom theme was implemented to get her online quickly at an affordable price.

Services Performed

site launched: May, 2011

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Roseland Christian School

Roseland Christian School

www.roselandchristian.org

Roseland Christian School needed a new website to help convey important information for parents, students and teachers.  Big Ocean Studios has now launched it's third version of their website. The biggest step was getting them onto the ExpressionEngine platform so they can manage their content better.

Services Performed

site launched: January, 2011

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Cornerstone Used Books

Cornerstone Used Books

www.cornerstoneusedbooks.com

Cornerstone Used Books is a local, family owned bookstore that wanted to improve the look of their website and increase their search engine rankings. Big Ocean Studios first helped improve their website templates while working within their existing system,  Chrislands Book Store Software. Next, Mailchimp lists were set up and integrated to help stay in contact with their customers. And finally, a lot of thought and effort are ongoing in increasing those search engine rankings and improving overall SEO. This is still an ongoing process.

Services Performed

site launched: December, 2010

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IL RNHA

IL RNHA

www.ilrnha.org

The Illinois Republican Hispanic Assembly needed an updated, refreshed design and a better content managment system. ExpressionEngine was the perfect tool to handle all the advanced features this site needed. From interactive Google Maps to an Events calendar to a Member Subscription form on top of standard web site features like Blog and News posts with Commenting.

Services Performed

site launched: August, 2010

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Kids Corner

Kids Corner is a half hour radio drama for children ages 6-10. This website is a component to the program providing resources for parents, such as devotionals and discussion guides, as well as Bible stories and activities for kids.

Services Performed

site launched: June, 2010

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Church Juice

Church Juice is a service to help energize church communications. The site provides training resources and a community where people can share their experiences and learn from each other.

Services Performed

site launched: June, 2010

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Epiphany Portfolios

Epiphany Portfolios

Epiphany Portfolios is an investment management firm. They were in need of a website that clearly defines what they do and how they can benefit new clients.

Services Performed

site launched: October, 2009

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VoteRafael.com

VoteRafael.com

www.voterafael.com

Rafael Rivadeneira is running for the State Representative seat for the 41st district of Illinois. He wanted a website to spread his message of reforming the Illinois government and to generate awareness of himself, especially using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.

Services Performed

site launched: August, 2009

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Spotlight Radio

Spotlight Radio is an international, ESL program. Users from all around the globe visit the site to listen to latest programs, learn English and practice their skills using the forums and comments.

Services Performed

site launched: December, 2008

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