Click on the questions below to reveal the answers. If you can't find what you're looking for, then please do get in touch.
Working with me
- How long will it take to produce my site?
It's not exactly a 'how long is a piece of string' situation, but it does depend on exactly what you require. To give you an idea, if I was to do the basic 'initial set up' then you would only be looking at a week from start to finish. Depending on what extras you may require would dictate how much longer it would take. At the time of enquiry I would estimate how long it would take before I could start the job. And when an order is placed I will be able to give you a definite start and finish date.
- Is it a risk working with a one man band?
The beauty of having a site produced by me is that once it's completed, you own it and have total control over it. You can edit it, add to it and back it up. It's not locked away in my office, rather it's all accessible via your web browser in what is known as the 'back-end' or 'administration area' of your website. So I don't believe there are any negatives involved in working with me.
The Content Management System
- What is a CMS?
All my sites are built with a content management system (CMS) at its core. There are many benefits of using a CMS, here is a summary:
- Save time
Sites using CMS can be updated quickly and easily. A simple process of logging in to your site with a username and password, navigating to a particularly page which you edit in a ‘Word’ like environment and saving your changes is all you need to do to update your web page content.
- Multiple administrators
If your website is a reasonable size you can share the management of it between as many people as you like. You might want to assign someone to keep your calendar up to date or maybe another to write a blog. You can also give administrators different access levels.
- Amend your site from anywhere
Administrators can access the site from any computer with an internet connection. This means users can update the site at the same time from any location in the world.
- No web designer fees
You don’t have to have know your 'html' from your 'php' with a content management system, as it’s all user friendly. That means you can do it all yourself without having to pay your web designer minimum charge just to change a few words on your site.
- Separate design and content
The design of the site template is separate from the content. This allows you to completely change the design of your site without affecting any of the content.
- Add functionality as well as manage content
The backend administration panel not only provides the ability to add content but also to add functionality such as polls, banners, forums, shopping applications, news management and menus.
- Schedule content updates
When you update a page, whether it be a news item, blog or press release, you can schedule it to appear automatically at any future point in time. Handy for time sensitive information or if you are going to be away from the internet for a period of time.
- Save time
- Why Use an Open Source Solution?
When choosing a CMS you have to decide whether you are going to go down the paid for 'bespoke' route or the free 'open source' route.
- Why Joomla?
There are hundreds of CMSs available today, but a small handful stands out from all the rest. They are ‘open source’ (which means they are free) and are listed below with a brief summary.
Easy to use. Originally marketed for blog sites, through recent developments it is now suitable for personal or small business sites as well.
A slightly bigger learning curve to WordPress, because there is far more scope in terms of adding functionality. Used for both small and large sites.
Similar to Joomla but with a slightly better platform, but does require more technical knowledge. Not as popular as Joomla or WordPress. Comes into it’s own when used for big corporate companies.
As with literally millions of web developers worldwide, I have chosen Joomla as my preferred CMS solution because it strikes a good balance between functionality and ease of use.
- Can I minimise the risk of my site getting a vitus?
Yes, the content management system, Joomla, not only gives you the ability to 'manage the content', but to 'manage the security' on your site. Basically this entails keeping the extensions on your site up to date. The reason for this is that there are people (and automated programs) crawling the Internet seeking to exploit vulnerable sites (yes there are a certain type of people who get a kick out of breaking into sites - some for fun, some intent to steal information from sites).
Everyone is vulnerable to attack. A seasoned professional programmer may try and hack into an international organistaion's site just as much as a geeky university student with too much time on his hands may try and exploit a personal blog site. Thankfully though, with all your sites extensions up to date the chances of infection are extremely low.
The most important thing to update is Joomla itself, this can easily be done by a few clicks from the back-end of your site using a special extension called 'Admin Tools'. Some other extensions have automatic update links within them, others rely on you downloading the latest updates from the developers websites and then uploading them to your site. Either way, it's something well worth investing your time in, in case the worst happens and you lose everything.
Of course, the next best thing to do would be to take regular back-ups of your site, so in the event that your site did get hacked, you could always reload a backed up version.
- Can I back-up my site?
Yes, and I'd strongly recognise that you do on a regular basis, or at least when you have made substantial changes to your site.
All my sites come with an excellent back-up extension pre-loaded on (Akeeba Back-Up). Within a few clicks you can have your site backed up.
In the unlikely event of your site getting infected with a virus, or a you inadvertently doing something to your site to cause it to crash, there's nothing better for peace of mind than to have a local back up of your site on your PC.
- Do you offer support packages?
Yes, although your website is designed for you to manage yourself, I currently offer several ongoing maintenance support packages to suit a variety of needs (Click here to see the details). Some Clients prefer to take out a support package; either because they don't have the time to manage the site nor do they want to spend their time learning the system (they're just happy doing basic page editing).