What I Do For You

My Services

Web Design

Web design is the process of creating websites. It encompasses several different aspects, including webpage layout, content production, and graphic design. While the terms web design and web development are often used interchangeably, web design is technically a subset of the broader category of web development.

Web development is the work involved in developing a web site for the Internet (World Wide Web) or an intranet (a private network). Web development can range from developing a simple single static page of plain text to complex web-based internet applications (web apps), electronic businesses, and social network services.  “Web development” usually refers to the main non-design aspects of building web sites: writing markup and coding. Web development may use content management systems (CMS) to make content changes easier and available to clients and developers with basic technical skills.

Database Design

Dynamic websites contain Web pages that are generated in real-time. These pages include Web scripting code, such as PHP or CFM. When a dynamic page is accessed, the code within the page is read on the Web server and the resulting HTML is sent to the client’s Web browser.

Most large websites are dynamic, since they are easier to maintain than static websites. This is because static pages each contain unique content, meaning they must be manually opened, edited, and published whenever a change is made. Dynamic pages, on the other hand, access information from a database. Therefore, to alter the content of a dynamic page, the webmaster may only need to update a database record. This is especially helpful for large sites that contain hundreds or thousands of pages. It also makes it possible for multiple users to update the content of a website without editing the layout of the pages.

Dynamic websites that access information from a database are also called database-driven websites.

Dynamic vs Static Websites

There are basically two main types of website – static and dynamic.
A static site is one that is usually written in plain HTML and what is in the code of the page is what is displayed to the user.

A dynamic site is one that is written using a server-side scripting language such as PHP, ASP, JSP, or Coldfusion. In such a site the content is called in by the scripting language from other files or from a database depending on actions taken by the user.

Relative merits of static and dynamic websites

Static sites – advantages

Flexibility is the main advantage of a static site – every page can be different if desired, to match the layout to different content, and the designer is free to put in any special effects that a client may ask for in a unique way on different pages. This allows theming – for instance an author may want a different theme for a different book and associated pages or perhaps for a series of books, in order to match the cover designs or the context of the stories.

Cost is generally lower up-front than a dynamic site.

Static sites – disadvantages

The main problem with any static site appears when you wish to update the content. Unless you are conversant with HTML and the design methods used in the site then you have to go back to the designer to have any content changes made. This may be perfectly ok when a new page is required which needs design input, but if all you want to do is change some text then it can be a nuisance for both client and designer.

The second main problem is scalability. If you wish to sell products on your site and you have a lot of them then you may have to construct individual pages for each one, which can take considerable time, effort and cost.

Costs – there are ongoing costs for updating the content.

Dynamic sites – advantages

The main advantages of dynamic sites are that by connecting them to databases you can easily pull in information in an organised and structured way to create product pages or categories of related products sorted in a variety of different ways depending on how the user wants to view them.

This ability to connect to a database means that you can also create a content management system – an interface which allows the client to input and manage data via a web-based series of administration pages. That content can be text for their pages and images to go along with the text, or items in their product range with categories, specifications, short and long descriptions, images, etc. In both these cases it can be as simple or as complex as the client requires.

There are little or no ongoing costs unless there is a change in the basic design or an extra capability added.

Dynamic sites – disadvantages

The design of a dynamic site is more fixed than a static one because many of the pages are essentially a template into which data and content is poured to create multiple pages of a similar type. So for instance all your product pages will be essentially the same page layout with different data being displayed. While some customisation cabability can be built in it is usually quite limited, such a selecting from a set of pre-defined options. Individual layout changes to particular pages are not usually possible.

Costs are higher initially than for a static site, and additional functionality may also cost more, particularly if it’s something that wasn’t envisaged originally and requires re-writing of the core code or database.

Graphics Design

What are Web Graphics?

Web graphics are visual representations used on a Web site to enhance or enable the representation of an idea or feeling, in order to reach the Web site user. Graphics may entertain, educate, or emotionally impact the user, and are crucial to strength of branding, clarity of illustration, and ease of use for interfaces.

Different use cases for graphics demand different solutions, thus there are several different technologies available. Photographs are best represented with PNG, while interactive line art, data visualization, and even user interfaces need the power of SVG and the Canvas API. CSS exists to enhance other formats like HTML or SVG. WebCGM meets the needs for technical illustration and documentation in many industries.

I can work with all of these technologies to enhance your  site.

Examples of graphics include maps, photographs, designs and patterns, family trees, diagrams, architectural or engineering blueprints, bar charts and pie charts, typography, schematics, line art, flowcharts, and many other image forms.

Web Site Maintenance

Website maintenance is the act of regularly checking your website for issues and mistakes and keeping it updated and relevant. This should be done on a consistent basis in order to keep your website healthy, encourage continued traffic growth, and strengthen your Search Engine Optimization or SEO and Google rankings.

Keeping a website well maintained and attractive is important to companies big and small in order to engage and retain customers. It’s easy for businesses, especially startups, to cut corners and let a few tasks slide. Website maintenance can easily become one of those things as it doesn’t always present immediate issues. However, just like your health can fall apart if you go too long without a regular check up, so can the health of your website.

Following are some of the tasks necessary to keep a website up to date and in good, working order so that it works and shows up correctly with the latest web browsers and mobile devices.

For example:

  • Changing website content (text, images, PDF files, calendar events, etc.)
  • Tweaking / optimizing pages and your website design so that they rank higher with search engines
  • Redesigning a header / website banner
  • Testing that the website works well with the latest web browsers / mobile devices
  • Upgrading website software
  • Checking website error logs
  • Reporting website rankings and statistics
  • Troubleshooting why pages don’t work or why certain things don’t line up
  • Testing forms
  • Cleaning up old files
  • Formatting and sending a monthly e-newsletter and so on…

Regular monitoring of your website is a must for keeping your business running smoothly.  I’ve found that site maintenance is the “long pole in the test” as most organization and small businesses are so busy with their main endeavors that they have trouble keeping an eye on and updating their site.

X