Happy holidays from The Huelsman Way! For those of you who host their websites with me, please be sure to review the following, as I’ve made some key decisions regarding my web content hosting and management business that you should know about. Like the end of the old year and beginning of a new year, I have an ending to announce along with a new beginning. But don’t worry, it’s all good–just expect some significant changes for 2017!
Wow, seven months have come and gone since my last post–what a crazy stretch of time! Between building and releasing a brand new ASP.NET MVC/Entity Framework application with my current employer, building and launching a new website for the Saint Christopher Parish in Verona and managing/maintaining all my ongoing Huelsman Way client sites, I’ve spent nearly every weekend traveling throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota helping my wife Susie with dozens of weddings and special events through her own business The Susie Show. And if that weren’t enough, I’m finally releasing an initial alpha version of my brand new online role-playing game (RPG) called “InfiniQuests” that I’ve spent the last few years building in the DNN application framework. Here’s a quick rundown of everything that’s going on!
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted and Susie and I are out in Last Vegas this week, so I thought I’d do something fun and pass along a few experiences from our DJ convention. Yep, that’s Susie doing her thing–pictured with her is Red Foo from LMFAO who not only was a keynote speaker but did a huge party for the conference too (which, of course, Susie rocked to as well).
We’re here at the Tropicana in Las Vegas attending MobileBeat 2016, an international convention for DJs and all the folks who support the industry. Susie and I actually came last year (and I basically sat in our hotel room) but this year Susie registered me as well as herself and so I’ve attended every conference, listened to all the presentations and even toured the vendor’s exhibit hall. All in all it’s not only been fun but a great learning experience and I better understand (and respect) Susie’s industry.
It’s been almost two months since I’ve last communicated, but that hasn’t been for lack of anything to do! While I continued to work on site development projects, I’ve spent much of the past six weeks doing a LOT of research regarding my old-time favorite content management system DNN (originally known as “DotNetNuke”) and a relatively new but quite powerful CMS known as WordPress. I’ve been comparing and contrasting the two systems, examining their strengths and weaknesses and trying very hard to pick one over the other (given the mindset that I’d rather focus on a single CMS rather than two). Actually, I also know Joomla very well and I’m working on a daily basis with Drupal as well. But I consider both of those as specialty systems (needed only under special circumstances). For me, the question is to DNN or not DNN.
First, Susie and I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Another year has come and gone and very soon we’ll be into 2016. It’s been a challenging year for both of us but also an exciting year (me with my new job at the Department of Public Instruction and Susie–at long last–finding her son Jason after so many years). Our Christmas is extra-special this year and we hope it is too for all our friends, family, customers and clients!
Business Plans for 2016
Last month, I made the announcement that 2016 will likely be my last year as an independent contractor; I still thoroughly enjoy working with my customers and helping them with their web development needs, but I’m also getting older and I have other things yet that I want to do. However, I’m still not entirely sure how best to migrate sites from my Rackspace server to something else (or even if any mass migrations need to be done). So, for 2016, I plan to operate my business just as I have for the last 10+ years; I’ll continue to maintain sites, I’ll continue to provide email capabilities and I’ll continue to develop and manage content. In other words, I am committing to the business for at least another year.
Note: If you are hosting your site with The Huelsman Way, please review this blog entry in its entirety, as there are some important announcements you’ll want to know about!
There’s a saying in the website development world: Content is king! No matter how well-built your website is, it can’t be nearly as successful without great content. Put another way, if your site doesn’t utilize well-written content that is both useful and usable for your customers, you’re basically telling them not to return to your site and you’re ultimately damaging your brand.
But there’s something that I think is even more important than content: Great customer service! I’d like to think that anyone who has worked with me knows how dedicated I am to great customer service and how I’ll do nearly anything to ensure that my clients are happy with my work. To me, customer service is the one thing that’s completely within my control, the one thing that helps set me apart from my competitors and the one thing that all of us can truly relate to. I believe that in the IT world customer service is all-important and will forever trump everything else.
As most of you know, I’ve been a big fan of “DotNetNuke” (DNN) for years and currently maintain dozens of business sites in DNN. Most see it as a content management system; that is, you can add pages, text, graphics and so forth to develop a sleek, modern and professional website. Technically, however, DNN goes beyond being a simple CMS–it is actually a web application framework. With DNN, you can actually build robust, secure, highly-efficient web APPLICATIONS as well as web content. It’s not easy, but it sure beats developing a custom application from scratch.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been engaged in a new WordPress site, replacing what’s currently at SturgeonBayUMC.org with a new site being developed at http://184.108.40.206/~sturgeon/. I still have a long way to go, but it’s coming along nicely and I continue to be amazed by how powerful yet friendly WordPress can be.
While I’ve been a web developer for over 20 years now–and I’ve been really big into the DNN content management system for nearly ten years–I’ve recently been working with the WordPress CMS and a whole new way to create and manage websites. I’m really impressed with the ease, power and value of WordPress and I’ve decided to start hosting WordPress sites in addition to DNN.