Frequently asked questions
I work for a design agency and need a web developer. What do you do and how exactly would you work with us?
I do most of my work for design agencies. Normally I get shown some initial designs, told about the type of content appearing on each page and informed about any additional functionality that’s needed. I can then give you a rough quote depending on whether you just need HTML templates or a full-blown Content Management System.
Once you’re happy with your designs I’ll take a look and let you know if I need any more assets. We can then work out delivery time frames and secure my availability.
I’ll be able to keep you up to date with my progress by showing you the latest HTML and CSS work on my private server. You’ll be able to make sure as I progress that all work is as you expected.
At the end of the project I can hand over all assets I’ve created. And if we use, for example, a Content Management System such as WordPress, I can also help you install the site and go live.
I’m a brilliant web designer who needs a dependable developer to work with. Why should I choose you?
I’m always looking to work with more freelance web designers. You all do a job that I couldn’t possibly hope to do. Colours, layouts, choosing fonts – I wouldn’t know where to start. I’m genuinely impressed with the skill set needed to design good looking websites.
I can turn your great designs into bespoke websites for your clients. I’ll create no fuss, meet all deadlines and turn out a high quality website that exactly matches your designs. At the end of the build I’ll hand over all files and give you full access to any content management system we use. I’ll even make sure it’s installed and implemented correctly on the server.
The idea is that this should be quicker and cheaper than you building the websites yourself. Leaving you more time to design websites, not staying up well into the evening battling with the intricacies of CSS.
I work for a recruitment agency. Can I hire you to work in-house for a few months?
Probably not. I have great working relationships with my current clients and I need to be free to support their existing sites and take on any new work they give me. Even large scale front end development can be undertaken by a single developer so if your client is willing to outsource these bits of work then please get in touch. I can work closely with their designers and back end developers.
Do you design websites too?
No. I did much better in Computer Science than I did in Art or Graphic Design. If you want to get a website off the ground then it’s best to talk to a web designer first. Please feel free to ask them to choose me as their developer.
I did design this current site myself. Hence the single colour, adversity to images and plain typography.
Could you just make us some flexible and easy-to-use HTML5/CSS templates please? We’ll do the rest in house.
Sure. Many of my clients have a dedicated team of developers who concentrate on application development. I can build whatever HTML and CSS templates you need, keeping the code clean and commented.
Give me your designs and I’ll return a bespoke HTML, CSS and JS template along with any image files I create. Your development team should have no trouble implementing them into their system.
What happens after I send you my finished designs?
Unlike some developers I do not rely on adjusting existing frameworks or WordPress themes. I build all my sites from scratch meaning you’ll get purpose-built, clutter-free code with a minuscule file size. So the first thing I’ll create will be static HTML templates that match your PSDs or Adobe XD pages exactly.
I’ll upload these to a protected server so you can take a look at them to check that they look exactly how you want. You’ll be able to test browser compatibility, user interactivity and, if wanted, responsive behaviours for yourself.
For some clients these static templates are all they want but if you’re after a fully content managed system then the next process will be to create a WordPress theme. I’ll create all the necessary WordPress templates files, making sure all aspects of the site are easily editable. Once I’ve finished this we’ll upload this to a server for you to be able to populate the site yourself. And then it’s a quick step to make the site live.
Do you charge by the hour? Are you flexible? What if I need you briefly for a quick important change?
I need to be as flexible as possible to keep a high retention of clients. Emergencies will happen so I’ll always make time to fix your problems or make that last minute change. I pride myself in always being there for my clients. Yes, occasionally that fix may have to wait a short while but I make sure that any request for a quote or a small code change is completed within 24 hours.
I use time management software to track my development tasks so I can actually charge by the minute if necessary. If I have a client who regularly needs updates I can calculate my hours and invoice monthly or even quarterly. If I’m working on a single project for a client I’ll normally invoice when the job is done.
If during the build phase it looks like there’s any changes to the ballpark figures discussed previously I’ll let you know. At the end of the project I’ll let you know how long it took and charge you accordingly.
My existing clients have a high level of trust in my reporting of hours spent on project work. They all think I’m good value for money compared with other developers they’ve chosen before.
I want to sell some things on the internet. Do you do build ecommerce websites?
No, currently I don’t. I can build brochure sites that display your products, I can add PayPal buttons so that customers can buy your products through them and I can customise the look of your third-party payment system. I will not be able to integrate payment systems directly into your site.
Until a reliable WordPress shopping plugin is created I think I will stay away from building fully-fledged ecommerce sites. But if you’re an ecommerce developer who wants a much better front end for your system then I’m more than willing to build the templates.
What about responsive design? I want my site to look great on mobiles and tablets.
I can create fully responsive websites for my clients. I do this properly using CSS Media Queries which display the same website differently depending on the width of the device.
To see an example of Media Queries in action please adjust your desktop browser width. This site will change depending on the size of the screen. For example, the menu will change from a horizontal layout to a clickable dropdown. If you’re reading this on a mobile device then it’s impossible to adjust the width of your browser, and will have to take my word for it.
What technologies do you use for web development?
I create bespoke HTML and CSS using text editors, Photoshop and a browser. I can use frameworks such as HTML5 Boilerplate or Twitter Bootstrap but only if they are necessary for that particular project. I have a WAMP stack on my desktop that gives me MySQL databases and PHP allowing me to develop dynamic sites, such as those that use WordPress.
I have a test server connected to the internet where I can upload templates for you to look through. I have a large number of browsers installed on my desktop as well as virtual machines to run older versions of IE. I can also test on an iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
I use GIT for versioning, staging and deployment. I also take regular backups of all my work, going back as far as when I started freelancing. I have previously used SVN many times before, and can just use FTP if needed.
I do not currently use CSS pre-processors such as SASS as I already use a clean object-oriented approach to my HTML and CSS templates. This does not mean it will never become part of my development process as I am always honing my skills and learning the latest techniques to stay ahead of the curve.
Why have you chosen WordPress as your preferred Content Management System instead of Drupal?
I have spent years developing Content Management Systems using both Drupal and WordPress, and even once wrote my own, so I am well-versed on their pros and cons. Over the last three years I have come to the conclusion that WordPress is better for a number of reasons.
First I have to think of the people who will be updating the site with content. Drupal has a complicated administration area making it hard for a user to edit the site which requires much more training to learn how to do some of the most simple things. WordPress, if configured properly, makes editing a site simple. Every aspect of content management is intuitive such as editing pages using the WYSIWYG editor, uploading images by drag and drop or adding new pages to your menu. It’s such a doddle to use the WordPress admin area, even for inexperienced users.
Secondly I have to think about the time and cost of turning HTML/CSS templates into a CMS. Due to the simple templating system used by WordPress it is far quicker for me to convert my static templates into dynamic ones than it is using Drupal. Over the last few years much work has gone into turning WordPress from the best blogging system to a fully-fledged Content Management System. I’ve used WordPress since the very early days and it has now overtaken Drupal when it comes to powering small to medium sized websites.
Other reasons to choose WordPress are: regular security updates, vast number of user-created plugins, regular upgrade path which is easy to install, friendly developer community, and just the sheer number of developers that collaborate to improve the system.
Drupal has a number of functions that are handy such as blocks, views and content types but these can all be achieved in WordPress using alternative methods. Sometimes it will end up being the preferred system to use if the project demands it but nines times out of ten choosing WordPress will be better for both me and the client.
Will you just slightly alter an existing off-the-shelf WordPress theme? What kind of theme would you deliver?
All my WordPress themes are hand-built by me. I will not buy existing WordPress themes and pass them off as my own work. I will not use WordPress starter themes and create a custom child theme. You will receive a full bespoke theme made with only your site in mind.
I create WordPress themes based solely on the initial static template I have already built and shared with you. I believe this is the proper way to do things. I want the WordPress build to match your requirements, not fit your requirements around an existing framework. This will give you clean relevant code which will decrease bandwidth and speed up page loads, as well as make it much easier for any developer to make changes in the future. There will be no need to wade through hundreds of lines of unrelated code to make simple changes.
Custom built themes also reduce the amount of WordPress plugins that will need to be updated. I have seen some themes use over 50 plugins which would be a security and maintenance nightmare. I prefer to use just a handful of popular, well-maintained plugins, each doing their own particular task. You really should not have much more than an SEO, a backup, a Custom Fields and a security plugin if you want to keep your WordPress installation light and easy to maintain.
What about SEO? Do you do this yourself or will we have to hire an expert?
I build all my HTML with SEO-friendly structure in mind. From a coding standpoint the templates you receive will be fully optimised for Google to index your relevant content. Additionally I can install a full-featured SEO plugin for WordPress that will give you ultimate control over page titles and meta tags. You can relax knowing that, as far as coding is concerned, everything will have already been done to optimise your site.
The most important part of SEO is about having good relevant content. I always advise clients to think more about spending money on copywriters, off-site marketing and advertising. Do not waste money on any SEO company that promises to get you to the front page of Google by providing you with some keywords and page titles. Put yourself into the mind of the type of visitors you want to attract to the site and work out what they would want to see and read. That’s the site that will get to the top of search engine results pages.
How can I contact you?
Please fill out the contact form on the Contact me page. I will get back to you as soon as possible.