So there you are, wondering how I work all of this magic. How can one man
produce miracles with just a lap top, and an internet connection? While what
I do is a lot less confusing than computers in the Matrix, it is not far
off. Here are my main tools.
PHP, and its frame works are the meat, and potatoes of what I work with. I use them in Wordpress. I use them in Drupal. They are great tools for building dynamic web sites quickly, accessibly, and most importantly with open source technologies. This last step is important, because it is what empowers local developers like me to step up to the plate, and extend your site with useful, and personalized features at a reasonable price. Think of it as the difference between being able to trust your local mechanic, or having to go to the dealership.
Back in the days of yore my first VPS was an AWS microinstance. This is where I figured out the basics of running a remote server: installing Apache / Nginx, running back ups / upgrades, and bash scripting. I also experimented briefly with their Windows server instances.
I can still apply all of this cool stuff to any remote server, although AWS is unique in the depth, and convenience of their dashboard, and API. Although the costs can add up quickly for large projects you can not beat AWS for scalable cloud computing.
Drupal is among the other major players in online publishing libraries. It has an extremely active, and dedicated community of contributors, but it is not quite as intuitive as some other alternatives. Once you get over the learning curve though it empowers site administrators, and users alike to do some really wonderful things. If you are new to Drupal I encourage you to check out
sites made with Drupal before taking the plunge. See what can be done, and then we can go get 'em together.
So you already have the fanciest, flashiest, most engaging site that ever existed. People are flocking to your site in droves, and you are serving up the freshest content, hot and straight from the kitchen. Now you need some mechanism to see what drives your traffic. Moving beyond that though, you can start to manipulate content based on trends. Perhaps one of your products sizzles during summertime, but fizzles when school starts up. We can automate based on that. There is a lot you can do when you understand what your users want, and compiling the user analytics is only the first step.
So you have seen what I do. You have a sense what I am all about, but how can I apply that to you? How can I start to address your specific needs? Rest easy. You can just tell me what you want to accomplish, and I will tell you how we get can get 'er done. You want better exposure? We can improve your SEO, and start an online advertising campaign. You want more user engagement? We can get going with user analytics, integrate a web forum into your pages. You just plain old want more money? Well, you will need to be a little more specific than that, but not by much. I can figure out the rest for you.
Visual design of your site does much more than just make you look good. Yes, good design is aesthetically pleasing, but there is a logical science behind the design elements. A casual observer may not realize it right away, but our minds subconsciously take mental cues from the what we observe. On some level we all know that different colors are associated with different behavior, and mental states, but we may not be fully aware of exactly how pervasive this influence is, or how effective it can be for marketing.
managing page layout
While load speed is an important factor in delivering maximum content to your visitors in the shortest amount of time, Jakob Nielsen shows
that we should pay special attention to the patterns that users may have already developed when designing pages for the web. Namely users consistently scan the page for interesting content before deciding whether to read in depth, or move on. The visual appeal of the content in your natural F shaped block can make the difference between a sale, or a bounce on your pages. Even the best, most compelling content still requires that viewers stay on the page long enough to read it.