When Of which and Alicia murphy recently moved to Wilmington, they brought their Baltimore founded web design company 6NINETY9 with them.
The city made sense to them, both culturally and geographically.
“I’m originally from New Jersey, and we had just crossed the Delaware,” Donté said of his earliest memories of the state. “There really wasn’t much here to attract people here – there was Rehoboth Beach and that was it. But over the past five or six years, I’ve kept hearing about Delaware. My wife’s family is from Maryland, my family is from Jersey, so it’s in between. We love that there is a real sense of community, which I never had in New Jersey. “
The cost of living was another drawback: “That’s half of what we paid for apartments for an entire three-bedroom, two-bathroom house here. “
Back in Baltimore, where they still have an office, 6NINETY9 is recognized as one of the city’s top web designers by expertise.com. Now the company, named after its small business friendly pricing, aims to be one of the top web design companies in Delaware.
“All we do is websites, website management, Google listing and advertising,” said Donté, who is the lead designer, while Alicia keeps the business running smoothly. “The biggest difference [between 6NINETY9 and other web designers] is the price with regard to quality. We were able to produce a website for $ 699 and we still have excellent quality. We design with mobile first, rather than thinking of the office and trying to reduce it, so consumers have a much better experience than they will have with some of your competition. We’re going to level the playing field when it comes to your website performance.
Donté started out in marketing consulting to large companies, including Microsoft. In the age of social media, some small businesses have chosen to make their Instagram or Facebook page their home base online, not least because they can’t afford expensive web design. It’s not a good idea, he says.
“First of all, it’s an indicator of someone working alone,” he said, an impression that can make the business less serious than it actually is. “Second, if Facebook or Instagram goes down, you don’t own any of the things you produced there.”
And of course, there is the question of credibility.
“If you only have Facebook or Instagram, it’s like ‘Is that trustworthy?’ If you have any awards or certifications, if you have a website that has been around for X years with reviews and things like that, this is a place where people can say they will do business with you. And as a consumer, if your business isn’t visible on Google, if your website isn’t accessible, I’m not going to use that business – I’m going to pick from the businesses I see. “
The most important thing a small business should do, said Donté, is to think like the successful businesses they interact with: “You should do the same thing they do,” he said. “They all have websites.”
Currently, 6NINETY9 is working with its first client Delaware, Milk & Honey, a community-driven cafe and art gallery with locations on the West Side and on Market Street downtown.
“My goal here is to be the number one choice for the state. I want to be heavily involved in the community and see more businesses come out of here and grow in the different neighborhoods we interact with, ”said Donté. “I see a lot of opportunities here that I haven’t seen at home. From the business owners I’ve spoken to, people are saying Wilmington could be big, a place people will associate with culture, community, and big business.