Web Experts Corner | Eric Daams with Studio 164a
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?
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: http://learn.shayhowe.com/
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