Like you I moved to France to improve my lifestyle. Living in in rural HauteVienne since early 2013, we also wrestle with the bureaucracy of settling in and ongoing life here.
I was surprised to discover that it was so hard to find tradesmen and local information on the internet. Clubs and shops had noticeboards but seldom were there websites to follow up the cursory details on the business cards pinned there. As I talked to more people, the more I realised how daunting some found computers to be. Also how it was possible to focus so much on working that marketing and admin went out of the window.
My many years of experience supporting the small businessman and particularly a UK franchise network for whom i had created a customer management and accounting system, made me decide to offer tailored services here too.
- Clear, attractive and, most of all, affordable websites.
- Straightforward no strings windows advice and problem solving.
- Fixing computer faults.
It's surprising what you can do without leaving your house. I have lived in this corner of Limousin, handy also for Charente and Dordogne, for 3 years. I design, create and host web sites as well as offering full computer support ranging through memory upgrades, hard disk replacement and Windows advice to cleaning red wine or coffee from the inside of a laptop keyboard (some free advice, don't take sugar in your hot drinks and don't drink sweet wine near your computer, sugar is a keyboard killer!). Whilst much of my work can be done via the internet, I will also work with client's computers at my own premises (or chez vous for 15c/km over 45km) and also provide on-site training and photographic services.
My approach to web site provision is 'turn-key'. You provide me with your ideas for content and design preferences and I give you a beautiful web site, optimised for search engines and fully maintained. Many years ago, I created pretty and functional websites, line by html line in notepad, now I use WordPress - which means what would have taken days now takes minutes and the websites can be beautiful, powerful as well as functional.
My background is systems analysis and programming, or at least that what my MSc says. In practice this means that for the past 25 years I have designed, developed and programmed for all and sundry. Individuals, small to medium businesses and even dabbled in large corporate databases. Mostly though, I have focussed on keeping my clients' computers and the offices that use them, running smoothly. This has entailed holding hands through major Windows updates, instructing how to use new features, and, failing all else, creating the applications to keep businesses running.
In my free-time I also enjoy photography (running a web site for my local club) and Delia her art. In my past lives, I have lived in London, Reading, mid-Wales, Leicester, Worksop and Sussex; worked for the BBC, been an exploration geologist and even written "Rocks and Minerals - a Hamlyn Guide" (available on Amazon second hand). My main challenge for now is becoming fluent in French.
How I work
Built on the foundation of WordPress is a whole ecosystem of add-ons - themes that give a background style (albeit infinitely changeable), plugins that give whatever functionality you can imagine (and with over 40,000 plugins available there's more than I can imagine). Some of the good add-ons are premium, ie are licensed annually, so some special functionality, such as specialized eCommerce, can incur an extra annual cost. Some of these premium add-ons allow me to develop beautiful sites designed exactly how I imagine, quickly and reliably. Before I discovered some of these add-ins, laying out a page (such as jordanlancaster.co.uk) took days to get exactly right. Now its not just quicker it requires so much less compromise, if I want a certain layout, I can achieve it in minutes, giving me more time fo consider the design and branding.
My background has been working with many individuals and small companies, developing software and training their staff. This experience leads me to identify with a particular type of user, one who just want "it" done and the decisions about things they don't fully understand made for them. This is why my service is fully managed. For me the advantage is that I can keep all the sites secure (using Wordfence) as well as all the software up-to-date. The recent "Panama Papers" leaks were possible because of out-of-date software leaving a security hole that keeping the site updated would have plugged.
Apparently 80% of websites are being accessed by a mobile device. So it is important to be able to respond to the differences in device size. "Responsive" web sites adjust to the device that is being used to view it. You can shrink the browser window to get an idea of how this web site responds. Of course many new features such as video headers, wide "hero" images across the page, slide show and so on, become very popular and if the site requires it, or the client insists, I will include such features. However there needs to be a compromise between speed of the website and design. I try to go for a balance since it is worth remembering that Google and other search engines rank according to site speed. Responsive design is also a Google factor as is proper keyword usage. Google will downrank a site that has excessive duplicate keywords so "keyword stuffing" no longer works.
I use All in one SEO as an add-on that guides me through the necessary processes of optimising my sites for search engines. From keywords and metadata to submitting the sitemap. I also setup the Google Search console.
- Before Day 1 Setup staging patbell.co.uk site - ideas from you about desired style or theme.
- Day 1-5 Draft home and other pages for feedback - images and any new content
- Day 5-10 Revise for feedback and continue remaining pages and functionality
- Day 11 Publish site and troubleshoot
- Day 12 setup emails, seo (keywords, site map, google analytics)
Of course the actual (man)days required depend upon the speed of your feedback.
All in all within two weeks you could be up and running.