Category: Web Experts

A project schedule can be an essential tool for any job. A well thought-out schedule serves as an “at-a-glance” project overview while also informing all parties of their responsibilities and due dates.

That said, a project schedule is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. I’ve worked on many projects where a schedule is agreed to at the beginning, but falls apart as soon as there is a scope change. Therefore an effective project schedule needs to be flexible, so it can be adjusted to account for unforeseen changes.

This brings me to my recommended project scheduling tool – Smartsheet. It allows me to quickly create schedules for each of our web projects, and share them in real-time with our clients. Our clients can view the schedule whenever they want. And from an administrative standpoint, Smartsheet allows me to create templates that can be used as a starting point for new project schedules.

Finally, Smartsheet is dynamic. So when you change one date, all of the other dates automatically update. This allows me to quickly let a client know of how any scope changes would affect the overall project schedule. For example, let’s say a web client decides to add eCommerce to her site mid-project. This additional work will require two days of extra labor. I can just add some line items to the schedule and the project completion date will be pushed two days into the future.

Above is a sample Smartsheet schedule we might use for our projects. I hope some of you find this tool as powerful as we do.

Is your website the best it can be? You don’t need to be a web expert or spend any money to find out. You can audit your own site using the simple survey below.

  1. Is the site responsive and compatible with mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets, which now account for over 50% of all web traffic?

  2. Is the site optimized for key SEO terms?

  3. How does the website appear in Google search results?

  4. Does the site have a content management system so that it can be easily updated and maintained by the user? If so, is the CMS up to date?

  5. Does the site load quickly?

  6. How does the website look when it’s shared on social media?

  7. Is the website running Google Analytics to accurately report data on the site’s traffic?

  8. Is the site backed up on a weekly basis so that it can be restored in the event of corruption, a security breach, or other catastrophic event?

  9. Is the site being kept up to date with the most recent security patches?

  10. Does the site have a blog to maximize SEO and user engagement? If so, is it current?

  11. Does the site have prominent links to social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter?

  12. Is there a prominent signup form that’s integrated into a web marketing platform such as Constant Contact or MailChimp?

  13. Does the website allow users to view calendars and sign up for events?

  14. Can visitors make secure purchases directly on the website? If so, is the shopping cart optimized for SEO and user experience? Is there an SSL certificate for security?

  15. Is there any other critical functionality that could easily be added to the site?

If you answered yes to every question, you’re well on your way to a great site! If not, call us at 877-302-2185 and we’d be happy to personally review your site for free to help you come up with some great solutions.

Today, our director Kristen Thomaselli had a great column in the Huffington Post about common WordPress myths and why they’re false. Here she puts to bed tales of WordPress used solely for blogs posts, its poor security, and more.

‘The Internet is abuzz over last month’s major WordPress update. After massive data breaches at Ashley Madison, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, cybersecurity has become a top priority for consumers, businesses, and even federal agencies.’

Click here to read more on the Huffington Post’s website.

Name: Eric Daams

Position: Director of Code

Company: Studio 164a


Twitter: @Studio 164a

What services/products to you offer? 
We create WordPress themes and plugins to help entrepreneurs and creative professionals pursue their passion online.

What web problem do you solve? 
The problem we’re solving depends on the product. Our plugins are all built around specific needs that people running a website may encounter. For example, we have a shipping plugin for WooCommerce that is designed to help people selling products with WooCommerce to set up their shipping prices.

We also like to create purpose-driven WordPress themes that are designed around a specific goal that people want to accomplish with their website. Our latest theme, crafted-pro, was created for artists and designers who want to sell products through their own site. Our most popular theme is Franklin, which was created for entrepreneurs of all stripes who want to raise money — whether it’s for a good cause or a product they’re creating.

How did you get started in this business?
I started out as a freelance web developer in 2009. I’m a self-taught developer and at that early point in my freelancing career I did a broad range of work. Everything from server migrations to PSD to HTML jobs. WordPress was a core focus.

Wes and I have been friends since we were teenagers (we were also housemates at one point). While I’d started freelancing, he had a job as a graphic designer, and the business he worked for would regularly send web development work my way. As a result, we were working together on website projects fairly regularly. We also developed a few products together.

I’d been trying to convince Wes to start a company with me for quite a while. In December 2013, I finally convinced him to quit his job and pursue Studio 164a with me. It’s been a fun (and at time, scary) ride

Do you have any advice for people looking to build websites?
Two things:
1. Start simple. Once you start thinking about the website you want to build, you’ll have a never-ending stream of ideas. You can’t do them all straight away. Worse, the rush of ideas can quickly turn overwhelming and stop you from doing anything. So figure out what the simplest variant of your website looks like and build that first.

2.Don’t be afraid to learn a little code. If you want to get into the business of running a website, it’s a good idea to gain a little knowledge of HTML and CSS. You don’t need to become an expert coder, but even a little bit of knowledge can go further than you’d think. And there are tons of free resources out there to help you get started. For HTML & CSS, I like Shay Howe’s lessons:

What’s your craziest web-related story?
Hmm, that’s a tough one.

The first website I started was kind of crazy. It was about the local football (aka soccer) team in Melbourne, Australia. It didn’t have a ton of competition and ended up ranking in the top two when you searched for that team, but I never could figure out how to make any money off it. I did get a free pair of indoor soccer shoes though (in exchange for a review); I still wear those sometimes