I build websites that are functional, attractive, and accessible — and that get results for my clients. Most of the recent ones were built using Drupal, a powerful CMS that allows clients to easily update the text, images, and videos on their websites.
The websites are proving quite successful for a variety of purposes:
- sales of digital products, including software
- marketplaces for matching buyers and sellers of agencies
- membership management for paid content, such as newsletters
- online rental businesses
- promotional websites for health professionals
- social networks for students
- professional and romantic matching services
- jewelry and diamond selling platforms
- business directories focusing on market segments
- legal and mortgage services
- and many more...
Choosing a professionally-designed prebuilt template is the most cost-effective way to dress up a new website without incurring the generally high expenses of a custom-designed template. A client requested an online store for selling hair extensions and accessories, including storage bags and branded T-shirts.
Utilizing Drupal and a prebuilt theme chosen by the client, I was able to easily build the ecommerce site, incorporating the PayPal Website Payments Standard payment method for handling credit card transactions. I also added an FAQ section, a contact form, and other important pages. The client was extremely pleased with the results.
It's never been easier for an aspiring businessperson to establish an online store that can make money 24x7. A new client asked me to build an e-commerce website for selling health products to assist customers in achieving top physical performance and post-workout recovery. He wanted a system that would make it quite easy for customers to add products to a virtual shopping cart and then pay for them using a range of credit cards processed by Authorize.Net. The system also needed to allow him and his staff to add new products, modify existing ones, track and search through orders, view a list of all customers, and generate reports on products and sales.
Using a combination of Drupal 7 and the Ubercart e-commerce system, as well as a simple Drupal starter theme, I was able to create the complete website in a matter of days, which allowed the quite thankful client to open for business and begin making money much sooner than if he had gone with a web agency that could have taken many weeks if not months to build an online store with equal functionality.
The Internet is the ideal platform for making money by creating a marketplace where none existed before, helping buyers and sellers find one another. Even if other entrepreneurs have already discovered and tried to fill that need, their websites may be unappealing, confusing, and difficult to use. That's an opportunity for you.
A client wanted a website to enable owners of US-based insurance agencies to offer those businesses to potential buyers. Key features included: Visitors can search listings of agencies, narrowing the search results by criteria such as the business location and asking price. Sellers can quickly list one or more agencies, and for each one specify its location, the agency type, total premiums, commissions, policies in-force, and other industry-specific details. An internal private messaging system allows confidential communication between buyers and sellers, which also minimizes lost revenue from the members. The site also required user registration, a blog, links to social media accounts, an FAQ section, and other resources. The site owner needed easy management of listings and members, and the ability to feature premium listings. Also, he requested a much cleaner mobile-responsive user interface than his competitors' sites. We also added Google Analytics and SumoMe heat maps for UI analysis.
I was able to create the website in only two weeks, because of my usual rapid development pace, quick communication with the client, and Drupal 7's powerful and flexible data-display capabilities. The client was extremely happy with the project's progress and the final result. He gained his first partner within days of the site launch.
To be successful, a business website does not necessarily need such capabilities as user registration and login, content access permissions, form pages, and other dynamic functionality that require heavy web scripting and a database. A static website is completely adequate for any organization that needs only an online "brochure". For instance, a client was so happy with a previous project that she asked me to build a brochure site for a licensed therapist who offers psychiatric diagnosis and treatment for patients with various mental conditions.
In the realm of social networking websites, even though behemoths such as Facebook and LinkedIn may seem to dominate, there is still room for niche players, as demonstrated by Alternate UniverCity, which is a mentoring platform for students and graduates. It allows members to register freely and complete their personal profiles, showcasing their academic degrees, majors, and professors, as well as extracurricular interests and professional work history.
Built upon Drupal 7 and a heavily-modified prebuilt theme, the website was relatively easy to construct and made use of collection fields (for each academic degree and the corresponding major) and a multi-field view search capability, which allows members to search for others simply by matching keywords in any of the profile text fields. Also, members are able to send email messages to one another within the website, without the recipients ever having to reveal their email addresses. The client team was quite happy with the progress and final results of the project.
The visual appearance of a website is determined by whatever theme or template has been chosen. Prospective website owners have several options for obtaining a theme, and one of the most popular is to purchase a prebuilt theme, which is a polished and professional-looking design at a fraction of the cost of hiring a web designer to create a custom theme. Most of the countless prebuilt themes include sample content, including stock imagery, which in some cases looks good enough to be a starting point for any website with a limited budget.
A client asked me to build a website for matching people seeking romantic relationships or professional business services. Each customer has a profile page with a few pictures, as well as his or her contact information, education, job, salary, and a self-description. I built it using Drupal 7 and a prebuilt theme chosen by the client. The only changes needed were to replace the placeholder text and images on the homepage with content relevant to her business, replace the default logo with a custom one, add a PayPal button, and add some mobile responsive code to make the logo work on small screens. The heavy reliance upon the prebuilt theme allowed for the website to be built with less time and cost.
Just as a beautiful diamond is created from relentless pressure upon everyday coal, it is possible for an attractive website to be developed even when the project is under significant time pressure — in this case, a client who needed a new website as soon as possible due to substantial changes in business relationships. This firm offers many resources to the colored diamond community — including technical information, courses on diamond cutting and polishing, access to industry experts and their publications, and quarterly and more-frequent newsletters and other reports.
Using Drupal 7 and design mockups created by a professional designer, I built the website with speed and yet the utmost care in planning the information architecture and file naming and directory structuring, to make the final product well organized and easily maintainable in the future. The site features gallery pages for jewelry and diamond colors, individual pages for each piece and color, inquiry forms for each product, dozens of static pages, all of the organization's publications, pages and icons for affiliates and industry press information, a contact form, and links to various social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube. Also, I made the new site fully mobile responsive for optimum viewability and functionality on devices with small screens. It received extremely positive comments from visitors.
The Drupal community traditionally has supported the current version and the previous version of the software with security updates as needed, but not older versions. Consequently, when version 8 was in beta, websites built upon version 6 needed to be upgraded to at least version 7. One such website was that of a poison ivy horticulturist in Philadelphia. His Drupal 6 site was working fine, but its design was beginning to look dated, and it was not originally built to be "responsive" for use on devices with small screens, such as tablets and smartphones. In addition, the website had been assembled over time in an evolutionary fashion, and thus contained some unnecessary information.
I rebuilt the legacy site using Drupal 7 — which is an even better development environment than version 6 — and customized a chosen prebuilt theme. We used the transition to simplify the main menu, jettison text and images for events that had passed, and make other improvements. The resulting site was much lighter weight, with a database roughly 1/3 the size of the previous one, and using less than half the contributed modules (25, down from 52). The new site ran faster and was well received by the client.
Several business directory websites provide visitors with crowd-sourced reviews of local businesses. Some of these sites focus on certain target audiences, such as older Internet users. This new project had the goal of offering merchant listings of about 45 major metropolitan areas in the United States — initially about a quarter million businesses. This application focuses on American boomers (ages 50-64) and seniors (65+), who are becoming more technologically savvy and active.
Drupal 7 was the clear choice to use as a web framework for this project because of its data management and geolocation capabilities, including proximity search. Tens of thousands of new merchant listings can be imported from CSV files in a matter of minutes. Geospatial data can be input from the import process or using Google's Geocoding API web service. Visitors can quickly find all merchants within a 10-mile radius of any address, with the option of limiting them to one of 45 business categories. Each listing includes the merchant's name, address, phone number, year of founding, industry, any website address, and any discount offered to seniors. Also, visitors can add their comments about the merchant, read those of other visitors, and see the merchant's five-star ranking. Unique to Senior Ranks is a merchant composite score that uses a formula to instantly incorporate many important factors and is updated after any modification of the listing, and periodically with the latest user ratings. The owner can create and manage database backups. The website is monetized using Google AdSense ads.
One type of online business that an entrepreneur can create, without having to sell a product or provide a professional service, is to make it easier for sellers of their own products and services to find potential buyers. An example of this is MyNutritionConsult, a calorie-tracker website that also matches up nutritionists with people interested in receiving expert guidance in improving their diets and overall health. The website allows their clients — and other registered users — to record and track the macronutrients of their daily meals and snacks, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as total calories. Any meal entry can be designated as frequent, and given a name, so it will be displayed for reference when meal data is entered in the future.
Any prospective dietitian can submit a questionnaire and, once qualified, is eligible to be assigned to customers whose needs match the expertise of the dietitian. Clients can complete nutritionist feedback forms to rate the nutritionist and the consultation. The website offers several pricing plans, a blog for health-related information, a password-protected newsletter, a contact form page, a search widget, and a section for frequently asked questions. Registered users can enhance their profiles with descriptions and personal photos. There is a forum, with multiple categories, where users can post and comment on entries, such as common concerns and success stories. Nutritionists and clients can communicate using private messages without need for any third-party messaging service.
I built the website using Drupal 7 and a customized responsive theme. Consequently, the entire process was quite straightforward, and the website owner now has a robust platform for building a community and possibly offering further health-related services in the future.