Thoughts on web development and the business of services

Peers Conference 2015

I gave a talk at Peers Conference in Philadelphia and shared my experience running a web development agency for the past 8 years. 

Here are the slides from my talk and links to lots of resources related to hiring, management, marketing, sales and forming new habits.

Posted May 1, 2015 by Jason Siffring

Show and Tell: A valuable company tradition

Show and Tell isn't just for grade schoolers. We have found it to be a valuable part of our team chemistry.

Once a month our virtual team meets for a two hour video chat to show off things we've learned or are curious about. Topics range from code reviews to discussions of tools and conference recaps. It's a great way to step back from project work and ensure we're always learning and staying on top of the latest technology. 

What follows is a brief recap of the topics we discussed this month. There's not a lot of context, but my hope is that by sharing what we're thinking about as a team might be valuable to others and encourage you to share your thoughts.

Posted May 9, 2014 by Jason Siffring

A website maintenance checklist

website maintenance checklistYou change the oil in your car. You get a haircut when you’re feeling shaggy. Heck, you even visit the dentist every so often. But, are you maintaining your website properly?

If you want to maximize your return on investment and get the most out of your website you need to implement a monthly website maintenance plan. Here’s a checklist to get you started.

Posted March 26, 2014 by Jason Siffring

Chicago web developers

Are you looking for a great web developer in Chicago? 

I've interviewed and hired a number of developers over the years. In my experience it's not that hard to find people with the proper technical skills. But, it's much more difficult to find a developer who is reliable, hits deadlines and can communicate effectively. If given the choice, I'd rather hire a reliable developer and teach him any technical skills that he may be lacking than hire someone with all of the technical skills but poor communication and follow through.

So where do you find these unicorns who have both the technical and people skills that you need in Chicago?

Posted April 10, 2013 by Jason Siffring

Dealing with six degrees of client separation

Since we specialize in web development, we work with many other agencies that pull us in to complete one piece of the overall project puzzle. This is great work for us but can get complicated the more layers that exist between us and the client. I recently learned some tough lessons about being too far removed from the client. It was a project with a huge company that you'd recognize but shall remain nameless.

Posted April 10, 2013 by Jason Siffring

How to deploy your code

If you use a source code repository like Git or Subversion and have to push code manually you're missing out. There are deployment tools that can save you a lot of time. You can also set up automatic deployment so that every time you push a commit to your repository the change gets automatically deployed to your server.

Posted March 12, 2013 by Jason Siffring

What to do when business is slow

What to do when business is slow

January was slow for us. We had some small projects to work on, but no big, meaty ones to sink our teeth into. Admitting this publically isn’t an easy thing for me.

If you freelance or run a services business you’re going to have periods of slowness. Don’t worry. It happens to everyone. It’s the nature of our business. But, there are things you can do to limit the damage or better yet, prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Posted March 7, 2013 by Jason Siffring

Introducing Member Group Tabs for ExpressionEngine

When we build a website for a client, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to make it as simple as possible for the client to manage. Today we're releasing a free add-on for ExpressionEngine that makes the control panel even easier to use.

Posted February 12, 2013 by Jason Siffring

How to password protect development and staging sites with .htaccess

It's easy to password protect your development and staging sites using .htaccess. But, when you're working with multiple environments and have .htaccess in your source control repository (like Git or SVN), it's a little trickier.

I think most developers understand it's a good practice to password protect development and staging sites. It keeps the public from seeing work in progess and prevents search engines from dinging you for duplicate content. We prefer to use .htaccess for setting up the password because it's lightweight and doesn't interfere with any member logins that  more...

Posted November 27, 2012 by Jason Siffring

Redesigning Surprise Highway

Transitioning from freelance to a business and ignoring our own advice

Posted November 27, 2012 by Jason Siffring

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