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.
Like many developers out there I am great with code, but terrible with eye appeal. You will probably notice that my site is very plain, and intentionally so. Good design tends to be very simple, and elegant. I have the simple part down pat, and for every thing else I use Bootstrap.
A CSS library also makes life a lot easier in designing sites that scale well from full size to palm sized. With that said, if you see any bugs in my display, please tell me.
A database engine is the natural complement to your scripting language. It is not entirely necessary, but the dynamic web requires some sort of content storage, and a database is as good as any. Once again, popular platforms like Wordpress, and Drupal are built on a database structure to enable clients ( like you! ) to customize your content without directly interacting with code while still empowering developers ( like me! ) to deftly manage the logic, and data when necessary. Scripting, and databases go together like chicken, and waffles, which apparently is a pretty popular thing.
Facebook has become the the flagship brand for social media, and the implied massive audiences. They have already done the hard work of
getting every one logged in,
and interacting. Marketers want to create the next big thing to go viral, but as developers we want to draw some of that massive audience away from Facebook onto our own web properties. There are a number of ways to get it done, but I find that the best is leveraging their API to enrich our domain as much as we can manage.
Drupal is among the other major players in online publishing frame works. 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 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.
Having a web presence is a great first step, but you also need visibility into how, when, and what visitors are accessing your information.
is a popular plug, and play option, but I find that
works just as well with the added advantage of keeping your data private. Either way, you will need some mechanism to see what is hot on your site, what is not, and make adjustments accordingly.
owned domain usage
The best resource we can have is the usage statistics for our own site domains. It is our first, and last tool for evaluating where our viewers come from, what attracts them, where they may run into dead ends, and more actively engage with our audience.
Moving beyond that though we also own this data like any other, so we can algorithmically modify our site content based on our analyses. The internet never sleeps, and neither should your site as a living document.
competitor site traffic
A number of third party trackers like
also publish their own data of usage of third party sites. Although the only accurate information is what the site owners privately record these third party records are a good estimation of relative domain popularity. Said another way, we will never know exactly how many visitors a site sees, but we can get a good sense of how their domain does relative to our own. This is a great way to evaluate the market, identify best practices, and incorporate them into our own properties.