Our Solid 8 Web Development System

Our Solid 8 Web Development System

There is always something new!

Change in online technology is happening monthly, weekly, and daily. We should welcome change with open arms.

Don’t open a Bloomingdale’s in the ghetto. If you do, you will get robbed!

When it comes to your hosting services, make sure you get a package that can handle your site.  You do not need to start with a dedicated server, a VPS, or even a cloud-based server.  You can start with shared hosting, but make sure your hosting services include the latest stable versions of PHP, Apache or NGINX, and HTTP/2 at a minimum. A cache mechanism should also be included to keep your resources down to a minimum. Make sure the hosting service you choose has an easy upgrade policy.  As traffic to your site grows, they should offer to migrate you a larger server for free or minimal cost.

For these type of services, you will not be choosing the $5/month plan.  Be prepared to pay between $20 – $25 monthly.  Some hosting providers will discount packages for the first year upwards of 50% or even offer larger discounts for 2-3 year contracts.

Don't put the cart in front of the horse!

This is where I see most of the problems with web development. We understand you have a concept that you want to deliver to your waiting audience. In Web Design, the server is the horse and your website is the cart. Do not try to run a site designed for a VPS or dedicated server on a shared platform. So make sure you know resource requirements for the site you need and then choose your server based upon those requirements.

If you do this properly, the main problem you will have is a “Good Problem”.  As your traffic grows and resource needs grow, you will need a larger server.

There are no unicorns!

The typical ad I see on freelance sites to hire developers usually goes as follows: “Intermediate level pay….Looking for an expert in WordPress. Must know WordPress core, PHP, customization, and plugin development. Must also be an expert in server technologies such as LEMP or LAMP. You must have a keen eye for design details and be an expert graphic designer. Your SEO skills must be on point and at an expert level…”

The problem here is that just like unicorns, this person does not exist. We know our limitations and our expertise.  We are a development agency and experts in the development of a WordPress website.  We can offer general guidance in other areas, but we will tell you when you need an expert in that area.

This is why successful websites have a team, each an expert in their perspective roles.

Mobile first is not an option, it is a requirement!

The definition of mobile first is basically to design the online experience for a mobile device first then for the tablet and then for the desktop. A total reverse from the responsive design model, where we started designing for the desktop and then removed or shifted things to make it fit on a tablet, then the phone.

When we design for a 5″ widescreen at first, we are forced to decide what is most important to our audience. And that is the key. You must know the audience you are designing the site for.

The process for mobile first is:

  • Know your audience
  • Start with that on a 5″ wide canvas
  • Then add elements as you go up to a tablet
  • Stop there, or go farther depending on your audience

Good content is Queen!

What I mean is your content should be unique, have a quality that serves its audience, and fresh. If it does not fit that description, don’t put it online. If you do, don’t expect Google to respect your content and it could also penalize your ranking.

If you supply unique, quality, and fresh content, you will be rewarded by the search engines and by your target audience. Also with the move to Mobile First, content is going to be the key to the new 5″ wide canvas. We can only hope that content becomes the King and speed takes its proper place behind it.

Speed is King!

You can have the best content for your audience on the internet.  But if your website does not load quickly on all devices, no one will ever know. The problem here is in testing your site. You can go to the various testing sites, and there are several of them, and get different results from each one. Some of these test sites do not even test with HTTP/2.  When it comes to optimizing your site for speed, be concerned with what is under your control.

Brutal Honesty!

When communicating with our clients, we believe the only answer is the honest answer. We will not sugar coat the answer. We will just tell you the way it is.

Keeping an open channel of communication is important.  Even more so when performing development work or maintenance.  This is achieved by setting up a proper development environment.

Coding, development, and upgrades are done on our servers here at PW.A.  When a phase is completed, those changes are “pushed” to a staging environment for the client to review and either approve or disapprove.

When the changes are approved, then and only then are the changes taken live by “pushing” the staging site to the live site.