FAQ

Who are you?

I'm an award-winning web developer and Zend-certified PHP Engineer, specializing in creating customized WordPress themes and plugins, usually from scratch. If you're a designer looking for an expert coder to build your website, you're in the right place.

Oh, so you design websites, right?

A developer is different from a designer! A designer creates a beautiful look and feel of a webpage, but the developer makes it function. It's just like furniture: a good interior designer can conceive a beautiful armoire for a space, but would you want that same person to build it? Of course not — you'd want someone with specialized skills, tools and experience to make sure it's structurally sound and lasts a long time.

My specialty is development. I can design, and have designed, beautiful websites. But I love to collaborate with the tons of talented designers out there, and they love to collaborate with me because I can discuss the work in aesthetic terms, and frequently point out improvements that help their designs flourish.

What the heck is PHP?

WordPress is coded in PHP, a popular scripting language that drives much of the web.

So anyone who knows PHP can code my WordPress theme, right?

WordPress coding is a completely separate discipline from PHP coding. It's like legalese — legal documents are written in English, but that doesn't mean anyone who speaks English can write them.

Countless resources exist to help anyone learn PHP fundamentals, so there are many self-appointed PHP developers out there, who know just enough to be dangerous. I've taken on many WordPress jobs started by such coders, which are riddled with awful mistakes. Here are a few common problems I've seen over and over again:

  • Security
    Not many PHP coders are schooled in the ways their websites and applications are open to attacks. I've plugged up many gaping security holes that have left sites vulnerable to hacks, takeovers and data theft.
  • Performance issues
    Busy sites need special consideration and tuning. When sites grow in popularity,  many clients find their sites slow to a crawl, because their developers haven't paid attention to the resources their code consumes.
  • Upgrade problems
    WordPress is wonderful in the ways it's endlessly customizable. But there are right ways and wrong ways to customize WordPress, and sites are too often crippled once WordPress or PHP are upgraded. Some developers even edit core code instead of correctly "hooking" into its architecture, and their changes are simply overwritten upon upgrading. I know the ways to customize properly, and to diagnose potential errors that might arise in the future.

What's Zend certification?

Zend Technologies, Ltd. is the company that created and maintains PHP. Their standards for certification are very rigorous, and there are fewer than 2,000 Zend-Certified PHP Engineers in the U.S.

Can't I just get by with pre-packaged themes and plugins?

If you're relying solely on off-the-shelf themes and plugins, you've given up on innovating. You're merely designing around what those packages can do. Furthermore, they must necessarily be generic, so your admin backends are needlessly complex, with many features and controls you simply don't need. The end user often becomes overwhelmed and unable to update anything but the simplest text changes or blog posts.

For instance, one popular plugin is Advanced Custom Fields: it's designed to present generic forms that edit and update information in the backend. However it has serious limitations; I once came across an admin backend panel that used an ACF dropdown to select one of all registered users of the site — the only way ACF provides user selection — but there were more than 10,000 users, so choosing was nearly impossible, and the panel took a long time to load.

With a skilled developer, the sky's the limit! Your design starts with your imagination, not the limited scope of what your purchased theme can do. And when I customize a backend, I'm able to present only the features and controls needed to populate the site. Plus, I pride myself in doing so in the most intuitive manner possible. In the case of the 10,000-user-dropdown above, I created a super-convenient auto-suggest field that listed only relevant users once you began typing into it.

What's your rate?

I have a problem quoting a rate to new clients. As you'd expect, my rate is higher than someone with less experience and expertise. The problem is: new clients mistakenly multiply my hourly rate by the number of hours it takes a novice to complete a project, concluding I'm too expensive.

They overlook the fact I can complete the job faster, do it correctly the first time, and create return business from end users who are pleased.

So, let's instead negotiate a price for your project. Contact me, and we'll talk!