This will be a quicky!

So I’m trying to grow the agency beyond the basics I run at the moment, MongoDB certification, a Google Analytics Individual Qualification and now more marketing!

I’d planned to promote the website using Google Ads (was AdWords) but the structure of the site prevents that, basically, because I’m lazy, the site is all one page with my T’s & C’s and Privacy Policy kept separate.

Google Ads make that structure untenable, in order to promote my services, Shopify partnership or analytics and marketing I really need to break the site into individual pages.

On top of that the site is more than a year old in its current guise so it’s ripe for a make-over and rebuild anyway.

The plan is to maintain the general branding and colours, keep some of the layout features and most of the copy, and expand the content over new sections each with some neat new page tricks to catch the eye and hopefully demonstrate some skills.

“I’ll be back” – T101

Boy, that was a long time!

Yeah, months since an update, well it’s been a busy time.

New websites, new training, new certifications, a new house and trips back to my home country all took up my time, and to be honest this blog is mainly just for me to scratch out a few words when the mood takes me!

So what are these new sites?

My biggest job was the completion and launch of a wholesale site for an existing client. The site was built on the Shopify platform and incorporates password-secure customer accounts to prevent retail customers accessing wholesale information,

The principal of an existing client asked me to put together a simple online resume/page for him at a pleasure to do so for him and a refreshing simple design to his requirements.

We built a website last year for a newly published author, Jackie Togwell, to help promote her first novel, last week she asked us for a major update with fresh content, new pages and clean, responsive interface that’s easy to navigate.

And the new certifications and training?

I spent quite a few months up to my neck in the MongoDB University, I completed courses in No-SQL fundamentals, administration and development using .NET and Node.js. My results were close to 100% across the board so I was happy with that!

As part of expanding my skills I also took the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam and passed with flying-colours so I’m now a certified Google Analytics specialist.

At the moment I’m part way through my next set of goals, to become a certified Shopify Expert after having been a Partner for the last 12 months.

I’ll also be doing extra training in Angular, Vue.js and Python/Django before the end of the year to round out my development skills and bring ComDotty up to date with the latest tools…

Will I be successful in all this training?

Who knows? I’m game, lets give it a go and see what happens!

To finish this update, a brief note about PWAs, or Progressive Web Apps…

Progressive Web Apps are a fairly new but rapidly growing concept, creating web applications and sites that can be installed, and behave, just like a users favourite apps on their smartphone, I decided to have a go myself by using the ComDotty website as my “lab-rat”.

I added the necessary files and JavaScript, extra icons, a manifest file and a few other tweaks and voila, if you load the site in Google Chrome on your Android device you’ll be prompted to add it to your home screen, give it a go and post a message here to tell me what you think.

“I’ll be back” – T101

Maps are OK. But social media?..

So there I was, time on my hands, looking to add a bit of techy pizazz to the ComDotty site, not that I really needed to, but because I wanted to try some new things, play with some new tools and stretch the old grey matter a little.

Two things stood out, the first was my location map.

When I built the site using Bootstrap I added a simple Google iframe map with everything wrapped up in one monolithic lump. the problem with that approach is that the map isn’t responsive to different screen sizes like the rest of the site… Ho hum!

To make it responsive meant implementing the map using the Google Maps JavaScript API!

It is a task not aided by the convoluted Google documentation but it is achievable and following an afternoon of coding, screwing-up, coding, starting again and more coding, I finally got what I was after, a responsive map that scales to the screen size its being viewed on.

With that out of the way my thoughts turned to social media, the second item on my list.

I’ve featured a single Facebook review on the site since I launched it, every so often, or when I get a new review, I update or swap the content around.

This time I was, inexplicably, drawn to adding a Twitter feed to the grandly titled “Social Media” section of my site so off I went to Twitter to see how to do it…

Long story short, easy-peasy, lemon squeezey… Pretty much anyone should be able to drop a feed widget into their site without any particular coding skills or special knowledge. OK so a bit of experience with CSS is helpful in making said widget look nice but, as I’m prone to saying, it’s not really rocket-science!

No, the issue with adding a Twitter feed, which only really struck me after I’d put it in, was, what purpose does it serve? Apart from making the page look cluttered by being stuffed awkwardly into the section next to the Facebook review what benefit does it provide?

I suppose you could say that it offers site visitors a way to engage with me, but why would they even read my tweets, and more’s to the point, what about the Twitter feed would encourage them to “engage” more than they already have, they’re visiting my website, I don’t want them reading tweets, I want them sending me messages giving me paying work!

There is another point people tend to forget, if you don’t tweet 4 or 5 times a day your users are going to get the impression you can’t be bothered, or your away, or your dead! A Twitter feed that hasn’t been updated in a week is akin to hammering the nails into your own coffin!

I have a Facebook review featured so potential customers, people who’s money I want, can read what existing customers, peoples who’s money I already have, say about my business, why would I want to clutter up my page with tenuously related  bits of mental flotsam that only serve to distract?

Bottom line, I wouldn’t, I want them to look through my site, come to the conclusion I’m kosher and ask me if they can give me money in exchange for my time and effort.

Anything else is just a waste of resources.

Social media? Just because you can do a thing, it doesn’t automatically follow that you should do a thing.

“I’ll be back” – T101

Try and keep up at the back…

So, here am I getting my head around Node.js and template engines and Angular and MongoDB admin and all the rest…

Except it doesn’t stand still, the Jade Template Engine is now known as Pug, as in the little flat-nosed dog(?!), AngularJS is up to Angular 4 but now Angular 5 has been released and don’t even get me started on MMAPV1 compared to WiredTiger!

I guess it’ll all be worth it in the end but at the moment I do feel like I’m running to keep up!

“I’ll be back” – T101