JAH Web Development Blog

Friday 12 December 2008

TJ Carpentry & Joinery

JAH Web Development is proud to announce the launch of TJ Carpentry & Joinery's website. This website was designed & developed from scratch by JAHWD and is built entirely in Flash (much like Videolandscaping.co.uk). The image galleries were custom-built to the client's specification and the project as a whole was completed in collaboration with Bluefin Media.

TJ Carpentry & Joinery are a local business based near Cirencester and they offer an individual creative design service in hand-built kitchens, bedroom and bathroom furniture, replacement wood doors and windows and individually commissioned solid wood projects at realistic and competitive prices.

Tuesday 2 December 2008

OMG Hair & Beauty

JAH Web Development is proud to announce that it is now responsible for the development and maintenance of the OMG Hair & Beauty website.

After taking the existing design and re-coding the entire site from the ground up using search engine friendly, standards-compliant XHTML, I have already made a number of changes to the content's layout, added a number of new pages and I frequently update the site with news and recent photos.

I can personally recommend OMG's services myself as I am indeed a regular customer. Visit their website to find out more...

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Bluefin Media

Just a very quick update to tell you about a new client of JAH Web Development.

Bluefin Media provide quality services in filming, video editing and DVD production. JAH Web Development is currently working with them on their new website and we hope to go live early next year.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Blogger vs. Wordpress

As you can see from this Blog, I have been using Blogger for a while now. I recently had an idea for a new blog and decided I would give WordPress a try as I'd heard good things about them.

Setting up my blog in WordPress was nice and simple and although I wasn't overly impressed by the template designs, there were more to choose from than you get with Blogger. I guess the ease at which you can find a suitable template depends a lot on what type of blog you're creating.

After trying out a few different templates I did however start to notice a common theme with them. The margins around the sidebar widgets did not display consistently across different browsers. So although my blog may have looked fine in Internet Explorer, the same could not be said about Firefox or Opera. I also noticed on one popular template that the Search button was completely misaligned in Internet Explorer (although positioned correctly in all other browsers).

Of course, with my experience in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) all I needed to do was tweak the CSS code for my blog and fix these minor issues. Unfortunately however, WordPress charges you $15 a year for the privilege of customising your CSS code (I can't even begin to understand the mentality behind this). Blogger, on the other hand, allows you to edit your HTML template and CSS code with complete freedom.

In light of this revelation, I decided to fudge the situation by inserting empty paragraphs into my sidebar (hardly good practice for a semantic web, but I had come this far and was willing to live with it).

Oh but it didn't end there. The next thing I wanted to do was associate my new blog with my own .co.uk domain that I had already purchased in preparation for creating the blog. Blogger allows you to point your domain's DNS settings to their servers, effectively providing you with a completely free hosting service for your domain. But WordPress (yep you guessed it) charges you $10 a year for the same functionality.

Although I was disappointed by this, I decided to pay the $10 as I thought it was still a reasonable charge for hosting my blog.

I then thought, wouldn't it be good if I could get the blog to pay for itself by adding a few discrete advertisements on each page? So I tried to add some Google AdSense code to my sidebar. It appeared to save the code ok, but on checking my blog there was nothing there. I then went back to check the JavaScript I had added to the sidebar to find that it had simply been removed without any warning or explanation.

On further investigation, I discovered that adverts and affiliate links are not permitted on WordPress blogs. "Great", I thought - so I've just forked out money for them to host my blog and yet they won't even let me monetise the thing.

At this point I decided to cut my losses, and rebuild the blog using Blogger. After all, I already knew that you could place adverts on Blogger with just a few mouse clicks (you don't even have to copy and paste any code!) and host them on your own domain for free.

So there you have it - please let me introduce my Technology FAQs blog, complete with Google adverts, hosted on a .co.uk domain, and looking the same in all browsers (without paying a penny to Blogger).

As for WordPress, yes they have my $10, but at least I have gained the experience so I can safely say "never again".

Tuesday 2 September 2008

Google Chrome Is Here

Literally within the past hour or so, Google Chrome (Beta) has been made available for download. In fact, I'm writing this very blog post in Google Chrome.

Google Chrome is a new browser developed by (yep you guessed it) Google with some interesting new features that sets it apart from the crowd. I've only been using it for 10 minutes, but so far I'm very impressed.

You'll also be very pleased to know that my website displays perfectly in Google Chrome. Not that I was worried - it uses the same rendering engine as Apple's Safari browser and I've been testing all my websites in Safari for a while now.

If you're an existing client and you have any questions or concerns about Chrome, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Octavia Healthcare

Octavia Healthcare is the latest addition to my ever expanding portfolio of work. Although I certainly cannot take any credit for the design or artwork, I did re-build the site from scratch to ensure that it was standards-compliant, displayed consistently across all major browsers, and was much more friendly towards those all important search engines.

Octavia Healthcare offers rapid access diagnostic and treatment services in gynaecology.

Thursday 7 August 2008

Retro Game Shop

I've spent some time over the last few days playing around with Drupal (an open-source content management system) and I have to say that so far I'm extremely impressed.

After getting to grips with its capabilities, I decided to setup an online demo shop - Retro Game Shop - powered by Ubercart (a popular open source e-commerce suite for Drupal).

The results were very pleasing indeed - after just 2 days of tinkering, I now have a fully-functional online shop up and running.

You can expect to see more products and content added to the site over the next week or so, and once I'm happy with it I'll no doubt be adding it to my ever-growing portfolio.

Thursday 31 July 2008

New Domain Names

Taking inspiration from a recent SitePoint newsletter (Tips & Tricks - Find Juicy Domain Names), I used the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to establish which of the more popular keywords (associated with my site) could be put together to form an available .com or .co.uk domain.

As the article on SitePoint says, "a lot of people type in the keyword they're searching for and simply add .com on the end - as many as 14%" and they point out that Google's tool provides "a simple way to find domain names that should have a good number of visitors from day one".

Using this technique, I then purchased the following domains...

... and configured each one to point to http://www.jah-dev.co.uk/.

Whether these new domains will drive many more visitors to my website remains to be seen, but rest assured I will report back with some statistics in a month or two.

If you would like to check the availability of new domains for yourself, please use my own availability checker on the JAH Web Development website.

Until next time...

Monday 28 July 2008

The Daniel Gooch Practice Website

JAH Web Development is proud to announce that The Daniel Gooch Practice website was officially launched this morning at around 09:40am. The Daniel Gooch Practice is a doctors surgery located in the centre of Swindon (Wiltshire, UK) that provides medical care to the residents of SN1 and now serves over 3500 patients.

The website provides patients with up-to-date information about the practice and their policies and offers the convenience of ordering repeat prescriptions online. It also uses the Google Maps API on the 'How to Find Us' page to help people locate the surgery more easily.

The staff all seem very pleased with their new website (hopefully I'll be adding a new testimonial from them shortly) and I expect to be maintaining/updating the site on a regular basis in the future.

In the meantime, I have just added their site to the top of my portfolio. Thanks for reading!

Friday 25 July 2008


I recently received confirmation of my final year exam results through the post and am proud to announce that I have graduated with first class honours from my degree in Multimedia Computing at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE). I have just updated the about page on my website to reflect this.

In other news, I am quite busy with web development work at the moment, and I am very pleased with the direction in which my career as a freelancer is heading. I have a total of eight projects on the go at present, one of which is almost ready to go live. You can expect to see another update here very shortly...

Saturday 21 June 2008

New Favourite Icon

Admittedly, this isn't the most exciting update, but I've just created a brand new favourite icon for the JAH Web Development website! You should see the new icon in your address bar at the top of the screen.

I'm quite pleased with the end result I have to say - I didn't think my logo would be recognisable at just 16 pixels wide but it isn't bad at all. If, however, you can think of a way to improve it, please do let me know.

Also, if you can't see the new icon or you are still seeing the old 'sunset' icon, please let me know - I would like to troubleshoot this situation. Thanks!

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Pricing Information

A common theme in the feedback I was getting regarding the new JAH Web Development website was that I should include more information on pricing. A lot of people were telling me that they wouldn't have a clue how much it would cost to have a website built professionally, and that they would want to see a 'ballpark' figure before they would even consider contacting me.

In response to this, I've just added a new pricing page to the website. It basically puts the majority of my portfolio sites into two pricing categories, so potential customers can get an idea of what their new website is likely to cost. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions regarding this new page, or indeed the site in its entirety. Thanks for reading!

Friday 13 June 2008

On The Horizon

I realise I have neglected this blog for the past year or so, but that really just reflects how busy I've been finishing my degree at UWE, Bristol. I put a lot of effort into my final year project (I really hope it pays off) and preparing for my final batch of exams was certainly hard work.

Now that's all out of the way, I've reached an incredibly exciting point in my life. Not only am I finally in a position to work as a freelance web developer, but come this November, thanks to my wonderful wife Annie, there will be a new addition to the family (our first child together).

This first week has gone incredibly well. I have quite a few projects on the go already, and the marketing efforts I have initiated so far are all looking fairly promising. I've certainly kept busy - I've ended up working far more hours than I intended to (but then I really do need to give this venture 100% if I'm going to be able to support my expanding family!).

As each new website goes live, I intend to post an update here (and may also add it to my portfolio) and although I won't be posting updates on unfinished sites that I'm working on for clients, I can certainly keep you informed of personal projects (like FilmCritique.co.uk). My latest work-in-progress is BestFreeGaming.com which will be built upon an SQL-based Content Management System (CMS) (as opposed to the XML approach taken with FilmCritique.co.uk). In terms of content, it will be a directory of my favourite games that can be played for free over the Internet. Watch this space for further updates.