My spare time over the last 19 years has taken up with creating, editing, and managing MANY websites, written in PHP, MySQL and some using the power of other top class open source packages, such as WordPress and (some time ago) PHP-Fusion. All the sites are hosted on my own dedicated server. My full time job previously was creating thick client and web client business applications in Java EE and Seam/Hibernate, which are probably less interesting to showcase!
My last role as Lead Developer at News Scientist really helped improve WordPress knowledge, as a site which will receive up to a million daily page views needs to perform, something WordPress isn’t natively good at. So caching (page, widget), and other performance increasing technologies were required (APC cache, CDN, memcache).
My currently created and hosted sites;
Gigs Gigs Gigs
A new hobby project – a UK wide gig listing website, created because of my love of live music, especially the DIY Punk scene which is thriving.
A place for independent music venues, promoters, and bands to list their gigs / shows – across all music genres (with a focus on the many sub genres of ‘punk’), and obviously a place for music fans to find local and not so local live music events.
The website includes some tech to automatically pull events from Facebook, just needing me to tick a few boxes to publish gigs without having to find/cut n paste huge amounts of text.
It even pulls across and saves the posts/images from the Facebook event. All using a WordPress backend and custom theme.
Probably my biggest undertaking (apart from New Scientist’s website!), Mags Direct is a full eCommerce website for Frontline Ltd (my actual full time employers), selling single copies of magazines to the public. It’s fairly unique in the magazine word, selling the single copies (not subscriptions) for the same cover-price as the shops, with free postage – most places charge postage on top. It had to look good and work well, and obviously be secure (I’ve installed and SSL certificate and forced SSL use across the entire site).
It’s also fronted by Cloudflare CDN and security, on top of the security on my server and within WordPress (extra hardening plugin’s used).
Fully responsive, using a 3rd party commercial theme (Sistina), I not only put the site together, but also designed most of the graphics. I also help run the site as part of my day job, including SEO / Social media marketing (learning Hootesuite to help with that).
Take a look if you like magazines – we ship worldwide!
The Beer Writer
While I was blogging on this site about many things, including beer / pubs / brewing, I thought I’d create a dedicated site to write about the wonder world of real and craft ales, pubs, breweries, and home brewing.
I’m now a regular judge at the huge Peterborough Beer Festival, and am friends with several local craft brewers. I’ve also started travelling a little more to get to more beer festivals and pubs, recent trips include beer festivals in Grantham, Nottingham, London (GBBF, craft beer rising, and Beer Drinkers festivals), and Stamford.
So The Beer Writer is my responsive WordPress site for all things ale. Who knows, I may one day make a living about talking / writing about beer – that would be nice 🙂
UPDATE: I’m getting more content into this site, and it’s starting to attract a bit of attention; I’m off to Craft Beer Rising beer festival Feb 2015 as a ‘blogger’ to the trade and media event, so hopefully it will go the way of my darts writing and publicising.
‘The Crafty Writer’ – Crafting Blogsite
The crafty writer is the website created for my good wife, who in my opinion is a master crafter (or many disciplines, including cross stitch, paper crafting, and knitting).
Nicola (my wife) is also a budding writer, and is learning all the time about the fine art of story telling.
This site is her personal blog site, to showcase her craft projects, and to discuss all and sundry.
The galleries on this site are growing every week, as Nicola posts more of her completed craft projects.
UPDATE Feb 2015: The site now has a new look n feel – which Nicola is very happy with 🙂 It’s a 3rd party responsive theme which is very mobile friendly. It’s a real clean ‘image first’ look, and it really helps to show off my wife’s craft pictures.
iPlasterBristol.com Simple Responsive Site
This one is just a flat HTML website (ajax to php validated contact form), where I purchased a great template and customised it to my customer’s needs (colour scheme to match their newly designed business cards).
They wanted a simple and modern site to advertise their plastering business. I went fully responsive so it looks great and gets the message out on whatever device the customer is using. They were very happy with the result.
I decided WordPress wasn’t needed for this one, as there will be very few (if any) updates – so for pure speed HTML wins.
Scary Clown Presents
After doing a punk rock band, I was contacted by a local punk rock ‘promoter’ (although they prefer DIY Collective). The Scary Clown Presents organise multi-band gigs for alternative/punk bands in the Cambridgeshire area, and needed a better way to sell their virtual tickets using Paypal. I built them an eCommerce site around woo commerce and a 3rd party theme (same theme as Wonkunit.com, but with a slightly different look).
Using W3 Total Cache to keep it running fast as with many of my sites, it did take some ‘tuning’ to get it working correctly with the ajax/dynamic add to cart functions (I found the object cache was causing me issues, so turned that off, page caching being the real speed-up improvement anyway).
London ‘Punk’ Band Wonk Unit
Wonk Unit are a fantastic London Punk Rock band, I’m a fan myself and have already seen them live three times this year. They have a fairly unique sound – a lot of their songs aren’t what you’d expect of ‘punk rock’ – but they are part of a big underground ‘DIY’ scene, bands who aren’t told what to do by large corporate record labels.
Anyway the site is another WordPress based website, with a custom commercial theme, using some very specific plugins and custom post types to create discography, gig, and gallery pages. I’ve also implemented WooCommerce to sell t-shirts and merchandise.
It’s also a fully responsive site, scaling down and looking great on mobile devices as well as the desktop.
Darts Pro Andrew Guilding
Another responsive design for a UKSM managed darts professional. Andrew is quite a new name to most darts fans – but he’s starting to break into the area of the rankings where he’ll be making TV events.
Using a 3rd party theme with a ‘page builder’ plugin to allow me total control of the homepage, to give a very ‘non blog’ feel when you first look at the site.
Darts Pro Ian White
New for March 2014: Ian Diamond White Responsive site
I’ve spent another weekend creating another website for a darts professional, this time for UKSM managed Ian ‘Diamond’ White.
Ian has been playing darts for years, but is really coming into great form the last couple of years in the PDC – with several good runs on TV under his belt.
The website is the first fully responsive site I’ve created – using a 3rd party commercial theme, and a page builder plugin to help layout a good strong responsive front page.
Adrian is a lovely lad – and a great darts player, something he is just starting to remember. He was on TV quite a lot when I got back into darts, but then lost form and confidence and dropped out the top rankings.
But his form and confidence is starting to come back, and his new website is starting to show the fruit of that, with good wins, and a recent great run at the 2013 UK Open, where he played Phil Taylor on the big stage live on Sky Sports.
Another player I am proud to be a friend of, not just his webmaster. Adrian and his team wanted a strong graphic look for his site – so it is more image heavy compared to some of the other player sites I have created.
I’ve managed to squeeze in another PDC dart players official website.
This time it’s for former PDC World Finalist (who’s game vs Phil Taylor is still seen as one of the best games ever to grace the TV); Kevin ‘The Artist’ Painter.
Kevin won the 2011 Player Championships, his first TV Major, so he was keen to feature the image of him with the trophy on the site, something I was more than happy to help with.
I’ll have to forgive him being an Ipswich fan… (come on the Posh!). He’s actually a true tractor-boy, and a proper footy fan as well as a great darts player.
Kevin is very well known by the fans, as he’s spent hours on TV screens, and has been playing darts at the top level for many years. He is now also managed by UK Sports management, who I work with already because of their management of Justin Pipe.
Jamie ‘Jabba’ Caven – PDC professional darts player.
My 7th website for a PDC darts professional, and another I’ve used WordPress for. Jamie’s team wanted something they could update quickly, and WordPress allows such control over content without needing html or techie skills.
I’ve also got a suite of standard plugins which help create a site for this use now, so it only took a couple of days to sort out.
I’ve now also take over more of the updating duties, to ensure the site is up to date with results and news, as Jabba heads back up the world rankings as his great form returns.
My 4th website for a PDC Darts professional. This site was comissioned by Dean and his manage Matt Ward to replace his older site – as he wanted something more modern and kept up to date.
I’ve used WordPress and a custom theme to create a really modern and clean design, with some very nice tech to create a ‘3d wall’ style gallery of images.
Using WordPress means it’s easy to add updates and stories via a web browser from anywhere, which helps when I’m on the darts tour with the players!
I’m a good friend of Deans, and it’s great to be able to chat with him at darts events.
UPDATE: Jan 2015, the site was hosted with another 3rd party, but I transferred both the .eu and .co.uk domains into my ownership, and moved the website hosting to my own server so it’s now completely under my control.
Steve has a great reputation in darts, through the Darts coaching centres he’s put his name to – helping coach the next wave of young talent.
The Bomber’s return to form in 2013 just happened to come as I created this website. A co-incidence? Who knows, but I’m happy to take some of the credit.
Steve also commissioned me to create a flat html website as a contact point for his plastering business, and the responsive design can be found up above on this page.
MDA Promotions. Matt of MDA Promotions runs a darts exhibition and event company, which put on darts promotions around the Leicestershire and Derbyshire area, with some of the biggest names in darts being put on show (Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld, James Wade, Gary Anderson amongst previous players).
He needed his website giving a freshen up – so instead of working with the old archaic site, I created a sub domain and created a brand new site while leaving his existing one in place, forwarding on once we were ready to go live.
The website is built on a WordPress install, but customised with an ‘e-commerce’ paypal shopping cart. The site has sold a huge amount of darts exhibition and event tickets, with sales over the Six figures. I have created custom headers and background to go with the new ‘twenty-ten’ template. The site is not hosted by me, I’ve worked with the existing infrastructure.
Superlative Loans; A simple project for 2010, is a small company website for my uncle, featuring a unique design by myself (not my normal forte), and some PHP contact forms.
I’m fairly happy with the design, it looks the part – a local loan company, so professional without looking too corporate!
You can see the full website here; http://www.superlativeloans.co.uk again hosted by myself on my dedicated server.