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.
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.
Facebook has become the the flagship brand for social media, and the implied massive audiences. They have already
gotten every one logged in,
so now marketers want to create the next viral meme. However a developer wants to draw some of that audience onto our own web properties.
At some point you start to realize that Facebook is just a web UI for email, a much more pervasive technology. You have the ConstantContacts, and Mailchimps of the world when you initially get into mail marketing, but my preference is Mailgun. They have a quick, and effective API so that a developer can seriously publish your message.
If you have heard of web sites, you have probably also heard of Wordpress. It is among the most popular publishing platforms out there, and with good reason. It is simple, accessible, and offers the legendary five minute set up. It allows application of themes, and modules for the average user, or custom development for true Gs like me. In fact this site is powered by Wordpress. It is a great way for every one to get up, and get published online. Some snobs will say that Wordpress is only for chumps. Think so?
You may get sass from cranky teenagers, but you get none of that here. If I use PHP to manipulate the markup, then I need another tool to style it, so I use Sass language. I could just use raw CSS, but this is the age of abstraction. The cool thing about it is that I can take ordinary CSS files, and do my work with Sass, and the world is none the wiser. That is pretty useful when I am just popping in to make some quick changes to a page, or two.
Aside from the code though I try to keep my sass to a minimum.
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.
search engine optimization
Search engine optimization ( SEO ) can be a dirty word in the world of web development simply because of some of the practices with which it has become associated. In times past SEO meant gaming search results through different forms of junk content that mostly amounted to
key word stuffing,
While these can be temporarily effective, search engines are in the full time business of
improving their algorithms to defeat practices like these.
Proper SEO has two elements to it:
high quality content,
well designed architecture.
While the quality of content is subjective, the quality of the underlying code is not. Simpler, faster executing pages will rank higher than their more sluggish competition. One of the challenges for a technologist is ensuring that it works as intended, but the next is optimizing its execution. A good developer will likely find ways to improve the load times of your pages on each retouching, or better complete the mark up to faciliatate indexing by search engines. This is one area where a site owner should not try to skimp on costs, because the time invested in improving the quality of the page will increase returns over its life.
Planning for search engine traffic can have the greatest relative effect on small businesses because of the way the internet democratizes advertising. Independent, and regional businesses may never be able to compete with national brands for television, and print media, but all are equal within our own web domains. We have seen consistently that those businesses most invested in publishing detailed content will rank higher in search engines.
Brick, and mortar businesses also benefit from localization. A person will search for "gardening" when he wants general information on gardening as a practice, but "gardening Boston MA" when he wants to find gardening supplies, gardening organizations, or gardening services for near term purchase. This level of specificity is one area where the big brands will never be able to overtake independent businesses. Once we can establish you as an authoritative local resource then you will have a consistent, and reliable position in the market.