Small Business Websites

Project overview

Small Business Websites is a turn-key website design and development service for start-ups and small businesses. I developed the service using WordPress and Twitter Bootstrap, this provides an easy-to-use content management system and extensible web development framework that works across various devices and platforms.

Objectives

Small Business Website required a turn-key web design business built upon WordPress that would allow small business to quickly launch a custom designed website without the expense of using a website design agency or the hassle of going down the DIY website builder route. To expedite the delivery of websites to customers the project required a rigid set of features / bolt-ons that could be pruchased to extend the basic functionality offered by the service.

The business model was shaped to provide a low maintenance platform from which sites could be designed and deployed rapidly, the code powering the service allows editors to manage the design of a site with fine-grained control over typography, colours and images.

What I did

I approached the project in a similar fashion to other web development projects whereby I employ a tried and tested process of write once, print many times. This normally involves the creation of a gold / master copy from which other copies are made. To do this I needed to evaluate all present customer requirements and then accomodate future requirements in an extensible PHP / WordPress codebase. 

Using a modular approach to development I was able to produce clear separation between the features and bolt-ons that could be purchased by users including:

  • Social media buttons
  • Social media sharing links
  • Social media feed
  • Google map
  • Home page slideshow
  • Home page testimonial scroll feature
  • Home page gallery feature
  • Image/video gallery
  • Contact us form
  • Tabbed box feature
  • Expandable list feature

These options are selectable via checkboxes within a backend administrative interface so customer accounts coud easily be upgraded and downgraded with the click of a button.

Using Twitter Bootstrap as the front-end framework opened up the ability to use some of Bootstrap's interactive elements such as carousels, tables, thumbnails, modal windows, etc. These items were then integrated and styled to match the design requested by the client. I also made great use of the WordPress theme customiser which allows styling of virtually any theme element from within the WordPress administratie interface. This made it easy to change fonts, colours, logos, background images etc without the need to edit any code or markup.

Once the product was fully tested it was packaged so that a new website could be deployed to a new server, configured and launched in a matter of minutes.

Results

The service is very successful with many clients and has room to grow in the lower-end of the website design market. Although the project was very complicated and had many technical and design challenges that arose during development, the final product was delivered on time and on budget.