What you'll get and
how I do it
The website follows a few basic core elements: Design, Functionality, Responsiveness and Integration. This section details each of these elements and how they relate to your project. I like to keep things simple, I am a 3rd year MBA student with extensive professional writing skills and what I have realized is that no one reads most of what you write (not even your instructors) therefore I like to keep my proposals neat and juicy.
Your website will be designed based on the technique that I have found works the most. We start with a basic concept wireframe of what you would like the layout to be (this has even been done on a piece of tissue-paper before). I then create a prototype image of what it might look like of which there will be at least 10-15 revisions as me and my liaison go back and forth to make it perfect. The design is usually based around several other websites that the client likes or in some cases exactly like another website. Throughout the process I will be submitting my professional input and opinion as to shift the dynamic towards what your business really needs.
This is the part of the project where I shine. My multilingual skillset takes what you need and transforms it into a fully functional website. This could be something as simple as a ‘contact us’ form which visitors can fill out to request more information to something as versatile as a complete eCommerce platform. These Web Applications are all built on Django which is the most powerful web framework in existence and all of my expert-level websites are built on it for its ease in deployment and execution. Details on Django are provided for those interested in it.
My goal is to make sure that whatever web application you need is done professionally and custom made. I never buy the applications (although I use frameworks that others make) and I never farm the job out, I custom tailor all of my web apps to match the site and function properly. Any kind of web application, even user log-in systems with individual profiles can be done given enough time.
Responsiveness is a term that is thrown around constantly, it is one of those things that everyone desires – and they should! Unless a website offers responsiveness, it is a waste of time to create. Currently according to Business Insider magazine author John Heggestuen, “One in Five people in the world own a Smart Phone.” Beyond that, over 90% of most business’ targets now have a smartphone therefore it is imperative that your website have complete responsiveness so it is easy for them to view your website on your phone.
There are many forms of integration that are used when I create a project. I start by collecting all of the information that you want on the website (and some you may not know you want), filtering through to make sure it fits Search Engine Optimization formatting and friendliness as well as size and resolution for images and other media. If you have an existing database for your clients or any information, it is my job to integrate that onto the website, this includes any MySQL databases, WordPress blog entries from another site and even image databases.
I also do complete social-media integration which is truly more significant to businesses than we currently give credit to. Social media serves almost no real ‘social’ purpose, instead it is used to raise awareness about businesses.
Content is the number one difference between A-grade expert-class websites and junky websites that ruin businesses.
How do I get content?
A huge part of Integration is actually what the client lacks. Finding out what the client has and does not have allows me to create a list of things that they need. I am a qualified professional content writer as well as an expert in SEO-based content writing so wherever you are lacking content I come in like a welder and write it myself (pending client approval). I have even traveled across the country to take pictures of facilities just so they have something to put on to the website.
I purchase stock images where needed from Bigstockphotos.com. The client chooses the images they want along with suggestions from me. I am a skilled Graphic Designer, although it is not my forte it allows me to create necessary graphics for my clients’ websites such as buttons and icons. Whatever I can’t generate I purchase from Bigstockimages.com or as a last resort from another graphic designer.
What I Use to Create
A Content Management System is the ultimate tool of independence. It is critical for both web developers and the client for fast content changing without disrupting the core website functions. It is built into every expert-grade website that I create. It is a administrative platform that allows users to change content (paragraphs, images etc.) rapidly and without professional assistance. I use Django CMS which is complex to set up but once it’s done it is clean, responsive and best of all won’t break the site.
Fonts from Typekit
The best looking sites have fonts different than most web developers can make. The secret behind that is two-fold: first they integrate the use of Adobe’s TypeKit which is a massive library of web-optimized fonts that create an elegant feel to any website endeavor. That alone is not enough, the trick is to use CSS styling such as antialiasing and shadows to create elegant font looks that seem like photo-shopped graphics but aren’t.
Menu from MenuMaker and SmartMenu JQuery
Aside from Bootstrap responsive menus there is another add-on that I like to use and that is a CSS or Jquery based menu generator. This evens out spacing and creates an elegant feel to one of the most important part of the website. CSS Menumaker is an incredibly easy and highly compatible tool used to make responsive menu and submenu options. Smartmenu, which uses the Jquery UI system also creates nice, elegant and customizable menus. Both of these options are available to all of my clients as well as the myriad of design options that come with them.
Search Engine Optimization
There are two major aspects of SEO that I would like to discuss in this part. The first is creating the website with SEO in mind and the second is post-completion SEO. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about how easy it is for Google and Bing (mostly Google) to find your website therefore it has to be taken into consideration as the website is being built. Luckily our good friend Django is used to create exactly that. Django SEO is a framework that allows the four key demographics of SEO to be tagged as you add objects to your website; Title, Description, Keywords and Headings. This ‘meta’ information helps Google find specific parts of your website including images, movies and other large objects.
‘Meta’ is only a part of SEO, unless content is clearly written to be optimized and have rich content within it, there is no point of ‘meta.’ My job is to create the meta information based on the content it is representing and not the other way around. The result is a fast Google web-crawl pick up of not just the website but specific parts of it as well.
After the website is completed I set it up for SEO. Most web developers do not do this and I can understand why, because SEO is a monster of it’s own. According to Jayson DeMers of Searchenginewatch.com, SEO can cost from $750-$5,000 a month and it is typically not a web developers job to do this. I on the other hand feel like the website is incomplete unless it is set up and ready for SEO as well as some SEO being done. I spend one month after completion at no additional cost to do some SEO so the client can see what it’s like to have someone do it for you. Most clients tend to be at least curious about proceeding with further SEO so about half the time it pays off to do this and now I do it for everyone. Along with an additional month of SEO I include on-going support for at least a year at no additional cost in case something goes wrong with the website.