November 2012 - Digital Tool Factory blog November 2012 - Digital Tool Factory blog

The Digital Tool Factory Blog

How to hire a web company – Who am I?

As part of my upcoming book, How to hire a web company.

Who am I?

I’m Steve French – I started Digital Tool Factory in 2002, and recently celebrated ten full years as an independent business.  Prior to that I worked at a .com startup that went nowhere, and then for an advertising agency.  That agency went out of business and I started Digital Tool Factory.  Actually I called it Creative Plumbing at first.   A poor choice in name but you have to start somewhere.


I originally started out as “technical muscle” for graphic design firms.  I had always specialized in implementing challenging graphic looks and feels.  That role eventually morphed into both the front-end and the back-end for websites and over the years the market for the front end development has become commoditized and I moved into back-end development, though with the advent of jquery I’ve gotten more onto the front side again as well.


I’ve always developed on the Microsoft Stack since 1999, largely for the reason that my boss at the time liked one particular feature of classic Active Server Pages.  I’ve stuck with the Microsoft Stack (defined as server and database) for many reasons largely because they solve the problems I have.


I’ve worked for many, many different companies for clients, in many different fields and industries and I’ve learned from all of them.  I am not naturally a good salesman or marketer.  However I am an excellent explainer and adviser on technical matters.  I’ve found that I have the same conversations with new clients, and the communication problems tend to happen over and over again.


That’s why I’m writing this book, to speed up the development process by getting the communication problems out of the way.


Nov 12

Written By Steve French


How to fix problems with WordPress taxonomy permalinks

The Problem

You are attempting to use WordPress taxonomies to create custom permalinks, and all you get are 404 errors.

To clarify, I was trying to use the taxonomies purely to maniplate custom page types and their permalinks, to create something like where SummerCrops is my custom taxonomy, and Tomatos is a page name

The Cause

WordPress is finicky about permalink syntax, specifically the difference between /%PostName%/ and /%PageName%/ – so for example a custom permalink structure of /%content%/%postname%/ would not work ,whereas  /%content%/%pagename%/ will.  Practically all online documentation refers to posts, not pages.

The Solution

Just use the custom permalink of /%content%/%pagename%/ and everything will be perfect.

Nov 12

Written By Steve French


How to hire a web company – the new book from Digital Tool Factory

'Hire Us' photo (c) 2012, Dita Margarita - license: talking a to many potential, and actual clients lately I have decided to expand my internal checklists stock questions into an e-book called “How To  Hire A Web Company”.   After reading this book you should get from a search engine result to a successful Client-Vendor relationship much faster, and you will find the best company, and not the best salesman.  I will show you how the web company sees their clients, and show you how to move faster towards a successful website.


Think of the book as an operating manual for the client-vendor relationship.


My tentative outline

  1. Who am I – about my experience, company, and insights
  2. Who are you –   How web companies see clients.  A practical discussion of the differences between the needs of marketing and operations departments (as seen through the eyes of a web company).
  3. Personality types – and how they affect client-vendor relationships
  4. What are your needs – Broadly speaking of course – The five kinds of web sites
  5. What technology should the site use?  – The differences in what your web company cares about and what you should care about.  What you should care about, and what you should not care about
  6. Cheap and easy ways to make your web company feel loved (and get better service and a better deal) – this chapter will go into the non-intuitive things your web company will care about that probably never occurred to you.
  7. Checking references, what to look for and what to ask for
  8. Offshoring, Mobile, Apps, SEO and other hot buzzwords, what to care about, and what to watch for
  9. Checklists, checklists, checklists!
Most of the content will appear on the blog first – please stay tuned.  Any commentary will be much appreciated

Nov 12

Written By Steve French


Copyright 2011 Digital Tool Factory. All Rights Reserved. Powered by raw technical talent. And in this case, WordPress.