After 15 years of developing websites for scores of clients, I’ve learned a little bit about a lot of things. Perhaps more importantly, I’ve learned a lot about what I don’t do — either because it’s outside my experience, too shady, or just not something that interests me.
So what do I do? In short, I’m a full-stack web developer that focuses on design and site building for service-based companies. I specialize in WordPress themes, technical illustration, and responsive design to tell the stories you want to tell.
That said, and for the reference of future clients, I present the big list of things Honest Code doesn’t do.
Animation and Video
I’m definitely not an animator, and my video skills are limited to what iMovie can piece together for me. I’m happy to help prep finished videos for posting online, but the creation of those videos is best left to experts like my friends at Ten Stories.
This is a big surprise for a lot of potential clients. I really don’t focus on custom ecommerce implementations. Writing logic that accepts secure payments and moves money around is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, and I (personally) enjoy sleeping well. I’m happy to refer you to — and design templates for — hosted services like Shopify that handle the nitty-gritty payment stuff. But writing code that actually makes credit card payments? Not for me.
My Flash skills peaked about 10 years ago. I started using Flash in 2000, and it was a great platform for several years. But the rise of iOS devices and HTML5 has reduced my customers’ demand for Flash so much that I haven’t kept up to date with the latest and greatest. Sorry.
iOS and Android Apps
While I’m proud to have released peggd for iOS several years ago, I realized that Objective C was not my fortÃ©. I reached a fork in the road where I could have poured myself into either app or web development — but not both. I chose to stay on the path of web development, and the flexibility it offers. I’m thrilled to develop HTML apps that work great on mobile devices, but not native apps intended to be sold through an App Store.
If you’re new to the concept of reputation management, this article is a good primer. Basically, if someone has had something go terribly wrong in their lives, a reputation management firm can try and erase that event from Google’s search results for that person. It’s a little bit of gray-market trickery that carries with it a lot of risk. A nervous (but polite) lady called me once, and said that she had a “stalker” who had started a website that she wanted erased from the internet. I said that really wasn’t possible, to which she replied “oh, it’s possible, you just don’t do that. I get it.” Turns out she was right.
Ruby, Rails, Python, and ASP.NET
Search Engine Optimization
SEO means different things to different people, so I can tell you what I do do. Part of SEO is writing a site with clean code — code that can be read and understood easily by search engine robots. This is called on-site SEO. Off-site SEO — the kinds of tasks you have to do to get other reputable sites to link to you — is not something I do, generally. This includes writing good and interesting content, syndicating your content, posting comments on other sites relevant to what you do, advertising, marketing, and purchasing links. I do work with several excellent SEO consultants, though, that I’d be glad to refer you to — they can help you come up with a complete SEO plan to meet your needs.
Server and Workstation Administration
While I know my way around a server, I can’t build one from scratch. Having a qualified and competent IT person at your disposal is an important part of running a business, and I’m happy to work with them to get work done. I, however, am not that person.
This list probably isn’t even remotely complete. Don’t get me wrong — I’m always happy to try something new, but I’m also careful to promise only what I can deliver. The last thing I want to do is put a customer in a tight spot because of my lack of experience. If the last five years are any indication, I’m sure I’m working right now on the next thing that will appear on this list soon.