Web Programming Pittsburgh / kirk peters website studio
Website Planning ...
What can your website do for you?
The first step for any good website is to develop a plan. The information that you want to present should be organized into a cohesive sitemap. Do you want to include slideshows, videos, image galleries, interactive forms, event calendars, or maps? You might want some custom content groupings such as a blog, news, testimonials, portfolio, staff directory, newsletter archive or more. Does your site need to be multilingual? Do you want to integrate with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Bring all of your ideas together to form your project scope. After that, let's begin website programming in Pittsburgh.
You think your site could generate revenue? Then you want to set up an online store. This type of website requires the additional consideration of payment gateway integration and SSL certificate purchase. I can help you find the solution that best matches your retail goals. Whether you are selling products, video streaming, or online content, I have the programming experience to get you up and running.
Is some of your content only for the eyes of a select few? Then you need to set up a membership website. Login screens, password recovery, member management, and security are all concerns that will need to be addressed with this type of website. In addition, we can even combine it with ecommerce so you can collect dues from your members.
Are some of your users from other countries and may not be completely comfortable with English? I can set up your website in more than one language. You supply the translated text and with a click of a button all your website text swaps with a language more suitable for your users.
Accessibility for the Disabled
Instead of speaking a different language, what if the user was visually impaired? I can create a site that meets all W3C accessibility standards. Therefore the underlying html code on your website is easy for screen readers to interpret.
Website Design ...
How will your website look?
My emphasis is website programming in Pittsburgh not design. However, if your budget is tight, I can provide you with a simple, clean look. If you would like something less basic, why not use a professional designer? I can hook you up. There are many creative firms in Pittsburgh and here are my favorites.
Website Programming in Pittsburgh ...
Websites are an amalgam of different coding languages. Fortunately, I know all of the important ones.
Websites can't exist without the basic building block, HyperText Markup Language or HTML. You might be unaware that as you confidently type away in a WYSIWYG editor that, behind the scenes, the editing interface is busy taking your carefully constructed content and converting it to HTML. Good website programming begins with a strong understanding of the HTML that is being created. I possess a wealth of HTML knowledge, up to and including the most recent version, HTML5.
Cascading Style Sheets or CSS is what makes website content look like a website. Fonts, style, spacing, and element placement are just a few of the thing that can be adjusting using a strong knowledge of CSS. CSS also allows the same content to be displayed in different ways depending on the situation, say viewing on a mobile device or sending to a printer.
<?php PHP ?>
Working hard behind the scenes of many websites is server side programming. This coding does all of the work before the content makes it to the browser, such as collecting form data, generating dynamic page content, interacting with a database, or sending and receiving cookies. PHP is used in a linux server environment. Similarly, if you have a windows server, I can also work with ASP NET.
Content Management Systems ...
The information on your website is bound to need updating. You don't know the coding languages that go into creating a site: that's why you pay me for website programming in Pittsburgh. But you do not want me involved in every little change. Therefore, you need a content management system (CMS). These are pre-programmed systems that allow you to modify your site without needing to be a web programmer like me. These systems come in two primary types: open source and closed source. Open source systems provide you with all of the coding and the freedom to implement it wherever you want. Open source CMS systems are usually coded by a large community of volunteers and are most often free. This provides you with the most flexibility, but the less amount of hand holding.
Here are the most common open source solutions.
WordPress is king. About 60% (2020) of the websites that use CMS systems use WordPress (86% of websites in the US that use open source CMS systems). Yeah... it's popular and whats not to like. WordPress is very easy to install and simple to use. Being the largest, it has the advantage of having a large community of programmers backing it and you are definitely not starved for choice when it comes to plugins. It is easy to forgive the core code which, being older, is a little on the slow side of the CMS spectrum.
- Easy to implement
- Easy to maintain
- Massive plugin library
- Strong community support
- Slower template render speed
- Slower database query speed
- Poor Security (easily corrected with plugins)
WordPress is great, but what if you need more? Drupal is the most comprehensive of popular content management systems. It is used by 1% (2018) of content management system based websites and 7% (2018) of the most visited million websites that use open source content management. Larger websites take advantage of Drupal's comprehensive out of the box functionality and, since Drupal 8, its super fast template render speed. Therefore, if you need more complex architecture than WordPress can handle you can certainly do worse than Drupal.
- Fast template render speed
- Fast database query speed
- Strong security
- More comprehensive out of the box functionality
- Harder to install and maintain
- Smaller pool of plugins
But what if you want to take the slower template speeds of WordPress and combine that with the slow learning curve and poor plugin choice of Drupal? Well, say hello to Joomla. Of all sites that use content management systems, 4% (2018) use Joomla and less than 1% (2018) of US sites. It is harder to setup and maintain than WordPress, but you are gaining more out of the box functionality that you will never use.
- It has a cool name
- Slower template render speed
- Slower database query speed
- Poor Security (corrected with paid plugins)
- Harder to install and maintain
- Poor plugin library
The Other Ones
There are other systems such as TYPO3 and ExpressionEngine. They might be great systems, but unfortunately due to obscurity they may not be as heavily developed or tested and may even stop being supported if interest drops too low. OpenCart, Zen Cart and Magento are exclusively for eCommerce websites with Magento being one of the leading open source eCommerce solutions. Above all, I am capable of setting up and maintaining any system you choose or may already have.
Other content management systems are closed source. This means you have to use the system in conjunction with that company's hosting. Some popular systems systems in this category are wix, squarespace, and weebly or for the ecommerce crowd, shopify. The main advantage of these websites is that you do not have to possess my decades worth of experience to create a website, however, sometimes even these systems can be overwhelming and I can help with that. The downside is that you are limited as to what you can add to these websites. Also, if you wish to change hosting, you will have to build your website over again (or have me do it).
Fitting your website on a mobile screen
Given our current state of technology, someone is going to want to check out your website on one of the tiny computers we all carry around in our pockets. Your website content must display correctly on many different screen sizes. The most common solution is to use CSS to sense the size of the screen your visitor is using and adjust the content accordingly. Columns are collapsed, images are resized, and complex architectures are simplified, while maintaining a readable font size. Therefore, all of the website programming in Pittsburgh I do is responsive.
You are not done
Now that your have a beautiful, functional website, you're done, right? Not so fast. Web technology and security are constantly evolving. If left untouched, your website will eventually become obsolete and, in some instances, hacked. Therefore, continual attention to your website will ensure its long and productive future.
This is your website's home. It should have a secure, reliable home. Therefore, you want to choose a reputable company that has good customer service and a strong up-time record. Or for a monthly fee I can take care of that for you. I can host your site on a VPS maintained by a top end hosting company, making sure everything runs smoothly (and fix it quickly if it does not).
No matter what content management system you use, the software is constantly being improved. Whether this is to improve security or usability, each CMS and the plugins within will issue updates. Occasionally these updates can break the site, so you are going to want them performed by an expert who knows how to fix update issues when they happen. For a monthly fee, I will perform these updates on a routine basis so you do not have to worry about taking care of them yourself.