Portfolio

Portfolio

As I begin to build up more and more websites for local businesses I think it's high time that I try to showcase what I am able to do. This page will show off several of my websites and I will also include information on some of the technical tidbits of each one. I always learn something new every time I build one of these things and I'm always glad to share that knowledge.

Ingleair.com

This was my first commercial website for a local AC Repair company. The layout was pretty simple. I used a variant of my klv3 theme which is the same as the one I made for my personal website here. Technically there isn't much to it. A few pages with a contact form. I also made a whole series of Spanish language pages. The top logo was already made so I used it to inspire the rest of the design. 

Culversrentals.com

Culver's Rentals is a local concrete and equipment rental business who I've been working with for years. When the opportunity came for me to build a website for them I jumped at the chance. I had a few technical hurdles to overcome with this particular website. Mainly it had to do with the sheer volume of products and services that they offered and trying to make it easy for consumers to find what they are looking for while at the same time not overwhelming the business owners with too many options. We settled on a very simple category based layout with different equipment and services categories for their products. We made separate pages for their primary revenue generating concrete services and provided an easy to use customer inquiry form.

One of the big technical elements was the Concrete Calculator. I made a small javascript app that would calculate precise volumes of concrete for both slabs and columns. The calculator was a resounding success and is now used by both their employees and customers on a regular basis to do their calculations for their concrete services. 

Francasrealitalian.com

Franca's Real Italian has been in business for over 40 years and is considered an institution in the culinary world here in the Houston area. Working with them was a great lesson for myself in learning how to do proper SEO.

When a customer searches for a restaurant they mainly want only a few pieces of information. 

  • Location
  • Hours
  • Phone Number
  • Menu

 So making it easy for visitors to find that information as fast as possible is key to a good design. With this in mind I went with a one page design. A one page design is good for this type of business because you want all of the information to be easily accessible to the user without excessive clicking back and forth. The first thing the customer sees is the hours, address, and phone number with links to the menu and directions to their location. All of that information is visible from the get go. 

One of the downsides of a one page website is navigation between the different sections of the pages. I overcame this with two very clever jquery elements. First when a user clicks on a link the page scrolls down to the category. This allows the user to see the other content on the page as it scrolls past so if they see something else of interest they know where to look. When the page scrolls down an arrow image is generated on the right hand side which scrolls the page back up to the top for easy navigation. This makes the process of scrolling between different sections of a long one page layout simple and easy.

Beyond the technical aspects the hardest part was the SEO of this particular page. This restaurant had decades of reviews, surveys, and links on a variety of other food and travel index sites. From Yelp, to Travelocity, to local chambers of commerce. I also found that on many of those index's they listed the restaurant as Franca's Italian not Franca's Real Italian. This made a google listing hard to get up in the ranks under the proper name. I learned how to use meta tags, proper indexing, as well as submitting changes to many of those other site indexes to finally get the restaurant listed as #1 in google under a search for their company name. I learned a lot with this website and i'm fairly proud of it. 

Everlasting-Green.com

Everlasting Green is a local landscaping and garden center in Pasadena, TX. Their website was a variant of my klv3 theme with some added blocks for their address and phone number on the header. You can see the same cubic yard calculator that I used for CulvesRentals.com on this website for calculating how much mulch or soil a customer needs. 

The main thing I learned with this particular website is how to build a simple and easy to use photo gallery using the views module. 

Another thing I learned is how tough Google can be when it comes to registering your business website in their local listing directory without a phone number. That is a pain. 

Other than that, fairly simple. Took a lot of picture of products for the different sections and got it up and running fairly quickly. 

Bonis-guild.com

This is a website that I built for one of my guilds on World of Warcraft. It's a simple site based on my KLv4 theme. 

Personally I have a bone to pick when it comes to guild websites. Most people use guild website services like Guildportal or Guildlaunch. The problems with using those sites is that they are ugly, have more functionality than most people need, and are a pain to operate. They really do suck. That is why I built this site, to try and showcase what a guild website  SHOULD look like.

Here is a rundown of my checklist for the site.

  • Clean modern layout that is functional on a wide array of devices
  • Easy to operate from an end user point of view
  • Few options and features at the start that can be increased as traffic demands to prevent bloat.
  • Integration with social media to grow it's user base

So far this design has worked but there are a few areas where I still need to improve upon. Mostly it has to do with Drupal's dismal offering when it comes to warcraft modules. Every single module Drupal has is either outdated or buggy. Even on a fresh install they refuse to work. So I had to develope custom work around's such as using the Blizzard API to make a custom realm status block and using menu's for guild progression. It is a stark reminder that I really do need to study more php if I ever want to become a better web developer. 

I also learned that Faceboo can be a pain to work with to integrate with at times. >.<