New UntiedShoes website design and development

Well, I've been blogging about everything else, and I've completely forgotten about my own site!

The original UntiedShoes (actually about the 3rd, so maybe I should have said, 'the last') was built back in 2006..yip, that long ago. The site did very well as I was one of the first in the North East to adopt the new DDA guidelines, and to start developing with CSS and XHTML. Anyway, the site ended up on a variety of CSS galleries around the globe, and won many a design award. It was certainly talked about! Unfortunately though, due to client commitments, the site only went through a couple of minor revisions, but the same 'genetics' where still in place, and was badly in need of a complete over hall!

Progress was slow, but I got there in the end!

I actually started the redesign over a year ago, but I couldn't really progress with it as something would always come up that happened to more important. Over this time, the actually design changed on various occasions, as each time I went back in PhotoShop, I didn't like what I saw, so I started again... this happened a good few times!
Sorry, I'm rambling... back to the subject at hand. Eventually I came up with a design I was happy with, and enabled me to do the things I wanted, and to add new functions and features that I couldn't do on the old site. One good thing that did come along though was all of the new technologies that had emerged over the years. This gave me a lot more options for what I wanted to do.

I never had a blog on the old site, just a small news section, and a simple comment field, but due to amount of spam, this was disabled rather quickly. The portfolio of the old site was a little limiting, and only allowed for a small size image, and the paging of images was clunky; certainly not what I wanted on the new site. One of the major drawbacks of the old site was the lack of a CMS. Even though I was developing CMS's for my clients at the time, I never actually got round to developing one for my own site, so this was again on the cards for the website.

So, back to the new site; Yes, this new site has a CMS (content management system), which enables me to control everything... much easier than editing the website in Dreamweaver, checking it, then uploading it to the server, only to have to check again. This was is much easier; login, make the change, click save! For the UntiedShoes site, only developed a small CMS in comparison to some of the CMS's I built for my clients; such as Uniline and Henley College, but it does the same job... makes my life easier, and updates quicker.

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Simple Updates!

Updating my services, or adding new ones is now nice and straightforward. I also now have the ability to change the meta data whenever I wish, and can also change the actual URL of the page too. Great for SEO ;) Adding images also couldn't be any simpler, I just choose which image I want from my desktop, and click upload. If the image is the wrong size, the system automatically resizes it. Same goes for all of the other sections, including the homepage, about, contact and clients.

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The Blog

Right; the Blog. I wanted to have a proper blog this time round, so for the new site I developed my own Blog from the ground up; a lot more satisfaction than using an of the shelf system; and at the end of the day, it's what I do. Why would I use an off the shelf blogging system, it's not exactly showcasing my talent now is it? The Blog isn't 100% complete yet, neither is the site, but it's nearly there. I have a couple of services yet to add, and some extra functionality for the blogging system.

Along with the details above, I have also given every section of the website the ability to either be shown on the website, or not. This is idea for a manner of reasons; for instance: if I wish to add a new blog item, but don't have the time to finish it, I can start editing, then after a while when I have enough, I can simply save it. It will not appear on the website until I set to appear. Again, for services and clients this is ideal.... simples ;)

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I now have the ability to add as many images to my clients section as I wish; I can add, edit and delete then, plus adjust the order in which they are shown. This is also true for my clients and services section. Both have the functionality to be able to edit, delete, update etc.

I didn't go the 'whole nine yards' on this CMS, after all it's mine, and I'm the only person the uses it, so the need for fancy buttons, and a great CMS design wasn't required; the main thing was functionality, which it has in abundance!

If you would like to read more about Content Management Systems, and how they could help your business, please do so here.

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