Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Custom WordPress Development Services for Designers

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

How designers can offer the wonders of content-managed sites, without becoming programmers:

I’ve was raised in a printing and publishing family. I started with DTP in 1985 (Year 1) and mastered all aspects of design and prepress. In 1994, I switched to doing websites, and until the DotCom crash, did serious large-scale corporate sites.

Lately, I’ve been setting up occasional WordPress blogs, Joomla and Drupal sites, and creating custom systems, for friends and family, and eventually for small business clients, locally in Nevada County.

The process has always been a moving target, but it’s always moving in the right direction, particularly with WordPress. Recent experience with Joomla and others has led me to recommend WordPress to my clients over other Content Management System (CMS) approaches, in almost every case. The clean code makes it possible to get almost anything done.

Is this blogging we’re talking about?

In the end, all Content Management Systems (CMSs) are the same: A database, a bunch of HTML/CSS for presentation, and the code that connects those things together. After that, it comes down to three things:

  • is it easy to learn for the user-level client?
  • is it good on search engine optimization?
  • is it easy to modify into a variety of configurations?

WordPress is among the best in all these areas. A blog is just a particular way of setting up a CMS. It lists the latest post (article) at the top, older posts (or excerpts of the posts) descend from there, there are archives of the posts accessible by category, date, and individually, and each post can be commented on by readers. How you use that determines whether it’s a chatty tell-all, a story of a personal journey, or a serious business tool. In any case, it works awesomely for getting found on search engines. (More on blogs, here, soon…)

Can’t people just create their own blogs or CMS sites?

Yes. Clients can explore WordPress by setting up a site on, or they can try or one of the other great choices. Once they ‘get it going’ and want their own domain, design, and custom features, they can get all those things by (if they’re technical) downloading WordPress, installing it on a server, pointing a domain to it, and configuring it. If they’re non-technical, they can hire me to do it for them…

These systems have a lot of complexity, and a lot of detail, and in the end, it’s over most people’s heads to get the results they want and need from the either the WordPress-hosted, or the self-help approach. However, whatever stage the client has reached, it’s easy for me to step in and extend that effort to create a better solution, up to the limits of the client’s needs or budget. This is because the content they’ve developed can be moved forward easily, and the code can be made to do about anything a customer wants or needs.

Getting it set up is just the first part…

What has become clear is that most people benefit from coaching. This is because there is a lot to know, and most people need to learn a little, experiment and experience, then learn a little more. Also, as mentioned above, the web is a moving target. What you learn today will have changed within a few months. Even your WordPress installation will have changed in a few months, if you regularly do the recommended updates.

I’m currently working up ‘packages’ for design, implementation, support, and hosting, specifically aimed towards providing WordPress services on a wholesale  basis to designers.


  • Design implementation
    Your design, adapted to dynamic content.
  • Hosting
    We can host, or work with most hosting services.
  • Configuration
    Getting all the parts on the server, and all the settings and extensions configured
  • Training
    Teaching the customer how to use WordPress to power their business
  • Coaching & technical support
    Helping the customer climb the learning curve, keep up to date, and deal with the latest features and bugs.

I’ll be creating links from the above bullet list with details, soon.

Logo Colors Chart

Monday, November 16th, 2009

This is a great visual idea of color selection in corporate logos:

Top 10 ways to get traffic on the web, and the best video I’ve seen on that subject…

Monday, July 13th, 2009
  1. Get WordPress. These techniques require blogging… yes, it is a good thing to blog!
  2. Install Google XML sitemap plugin… this insures rapid inclusion in Google search.
  3. Install Twitter Tools & get a Twitter account.
  4. Get a custom design. Templates may look good, and may be a good starting point, but they don’t represent you as a unique entity. It’s all about branding!
  5. Hire a company or individual who can do a quality design AND a quality WordPress template. The template code matters when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I can help with this (*SSP).
  6. Post at least twice a week.
  7. Post 2-3 times on your subject-matter, then throw in something humorous or personal.
  8. Use an image on most posts. Make them large. They don’t have to be literal, they can be symbolic or conceptual… but they must be LEGAL. If copyright isn’t EXPLICITLY granted to your type of usage, it isn’t yours to use. It is theft.
  9. Use video. Upload to YouTube, and/or Vimeo, then embed in your site. This’ll get you more traffic than just putting video on your blog, and it’s easier, too.
  10. Keep at it, the payoff starts 3-9 months after you begin!

There are many other great things you can do. Costs vary. The amount of effort required will also vary. Generally there is a trade-off between cost and time commitment. Less time = more money and vice-versa.  But if you do just these 10 things, you should build traffic. What level of traffic is partly chance, partly subject-matter, and partly your talent at writing and targeting your content.

By the way of *Shameless Self Promotion (SSP), I can help with design and implementation for a reasonable fee. I used to get unreasonable fees, for great websites that weren’t so darn easy or cheap, but, in the end, this stuff works for a cost that is relatively low.

Below is a video by Tim Ferris. It’s the most useful single video I’ve found, but it may not entirely make sense to people who haven’t lived this for awhile. Still, worth a watch. Check it out:

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009


My home is for sale… see the website:

Graduation at Georgetown

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Gwen Ifill is speaking at the commencement. She’s an awesome newscaster.

My nephew is graduating with a CS major.