Wild Over Wyldesites

John Stuart
About a decade ago, Mike Walker agreed to design a website for a friend who couldn't afford a professional design company.

"I just stumbled into doing it in the evenings," Walker said. "I taught myself to use Photoshop, Java Script, Flash animation and everything else, so it really started as a hobby."

Today, that hobby has morphed into Wyldesites, one of the busiest website design companies in adult entertainment. With a client list that includes Jenna Jameson, Jill Kelly, Brianna Banks and Tera Patrick, and a portfolio encompassing just about every major company in adult, Walker's award-winning website designs are seemingly everywhere on the Internet.

"The sheer number of original designs and original looks is what sets us apart," the owner/designer of Wyldesites explains. "Also, it's the way we're able to look at a client's individual characteristics, desires and needs, and then come up with something unique, something that doesn't look like anything else out there."

Walker's process stresses speaking with the client before any design work begins, to get a handle on what they want or need.

"It depends on the client whether the job is more or less enjoyable," Walker said. "I've had individuals who are pleasant, and some who are impossible to work for. Right now, my best relationships cover every type of person, from individuals who are running their sites by themselves, to porn stars just getting started, to huge companies with 300 sites.

Since the great majority of Wyldesites clients fall into the pleasant category, Walker encourages them to stay in touch, and keep him updated on how the site is doing, so he can make any necessary improvements.

"If I didn't get feedback from my clients, I wouldn't be doing my job right," Walker said. "We don't want to hear what a great job we did from a client who walks away, and never buys anything from us again. We want clients to work with us, so we can fix something that maybe wasn't working so well before."

But even with client feedback, the effect of a website design on its sales and number of visitors is still murky territory. Walker believes there are "all kinds of variables" in this area, including the site's niche, where its traffic comes from, and how it arrives there. He stresses that creating a more professional look is always best.

"The higher end you go, the classier look you need to help your company look genuine and solid," Walker said.

Keeping sites surfer-friendly is another key ingredient in the Wyldesites philosophy. Walker maintains that the design must be transparent, so it doesn't get in the way of the site's functionality.

"I try to offer surfers an easy, hassle-free way to surf the site, to see the content they want, and make it easy for them to join," he said.

There are, of course, technical limitations to what any designer can bring to a site. Walker points out that there are only so many thousands of pixels on a computer screen, which forces designers to make video content appear in some logical order.

"There are only so many ways to shove a square jpeg picture on a screen," Walker said.

"But the screen width has advanced to the point where we don't have to design for 800x600 pixel monitors anymore. Everything is 10.4 or wider now — especially with the dawn of high-definition video that you can download online.

Bandwidth isn't even considered anymore in terms of design. Back in the late 1990s, you had to get a whole tour page under 50K. Now you can have one screen shot of a video with a logo on it that's 50K, and the rest of the page is maybe two or three megs."

Wyldesites has built an unassailable reputation among the Internet community.

It's what happens when a hobby turns into a life's work.