About Me

The Who, when and why of Barry’s Web Design

My Venture in to the world of computers!
(Circa 1986 to present day)

(all spelling mistakes on this page are my own work :P )

TL;DR
In a nut shell, I taught my self to build websites, I make bespoke CMS and have done so for companies from Spain to, Ireland and all over the UK. I don’t use Wordress and I sometimes work from home! If you would like me to design a website for your business, you can contact me on 01382 525 896 and we can meet up at my office, or scroll to the bottom of this page and fill the form in and I will get back to you shortly.

The Life and Times of a web designer

hi there, I’m Barry, I have been coding for a few years now (31 years as of writing this) and I don’t see my self stopping any time soon! I started coding back in primary school on a BBC; the one with the orange buttons at the top (still don’t have a clue what they did). I started off writing code out of the BBC book with a school friend who also could not help him self but write code just to see what would happen. The code was Basic 1.0 (10 print "My name is barry"; 20 goto 10;). We got pretty much mad hooked on it and soon got our own PC's. Well I say PC's but they were actually CPC 464 Amstrads so a big thanks to Sir Alan Sugar for that! You changed my life right there!

We got pretty decent at the coding and made rudimentary games using our new found skills. When we got to high school, we both would spend pretty much every night coding our CPC's and at dinner time in the school computers "Lab" coding and mucking about with the BBC's they had in there. They also had the original MACs but the teacher told us to keep off them on pain of DEATH! So we coded on in Basic 1.0! By the time we got to 3rd year, (in my opinion) we were better than anyone else in the school at coding and also much better than the computer teachers - they were actually techy teachers so why they were put in charge of the computers class, to this day, is beyond me! My computer time was about to take a dive in to non existence though as I was bunking school far too much so ended up with little in the way of qualifications, so my good ole granddad got me an apprenticeship in the building trade as a Stone Mason - off to the building trade I went! (yes I am not formally trained as a web designer!)

Once I had popped out the other end of the building trade, I really didn’t like it.. too cold in winter, too hot in summer so I decided to go to college to learn electronic engineering. I really wanted to build a guitar pedal for my self so thought this could be a good way to get that done. While there, I was learning Pascal and "C". I really couldn’t see when I would ever use these languages but it did give me an insight into a different way to code so my interest in coding was re-awakened.

Bring on the HTML, Silver Circle Designs and the Search Engines!

I kind of stumbled upon coding HTML while playing a PC game with a guy from Holland - so I have him to thank for getting me in to HTML and probably for changing the direction of my whole life!

I was starting to make some pretty basic websites using personal web space I had from Blueyonder (now Virgin Media) and once I got one or two of these sites on the go, I showed a couple of business people I knew these sites and they asked me if I could make them sites for their businesses. The sites I made ended up making there businesses allot of money from the search engine rankings I achieved for them, so I thought I had hit on something that I too could maybe make some beer tokens with...

After trying to sell some websites to local businesses, and falling flat on my face with it, I thought there had to be a better way to gain clients than going around asking if people wanted websites made (Little did I know at that time, but very quickly found out that I was crap at being a "Sales Man" and I really don’t look that good in a suit!). At this time, yellow pages was still about 3 feet thick and the kind of thing Geoff Kapes would break Guinness World Records with so the internet was not yet the go to place to find local services but it was starting to take off.

I was starting to learn allot about website optimisation, which at the time (around 1999-2000) was a matter of writing the best meta tags and spamming the pages with as much keywords as you can and finding as many directories as you can to post your link on, no matter if it was for car sales or for selling gas lamps; every link was a good link! In the modern light of day it was mega black hat but back then, it worked like a charm!

I was soon on page one of Google, Yahoo and MSN (Bing) for what I wanted and in turn the phone started ringing from local businesses who had found me right up there on the search results! In-fact, I ended up 7th in the world for the term "Web Designer" which I was pretty happy with but that result didn’t last so I wasn’t able to buy that Lamborghini! Barry’s Web Design was born right there, in my bedroom of my mums house! Well not quite.. in-fact, my original company name was Silver Circle Designs (cringe-worthy), then Yellow Shell (Oh MY God Where am I getting these innovative names from!), then Creative Web Design.. then something else..! Lol in-fact it took me until 2004 until I registered Barry’s Web Design.co.uk which I have stuck with to this day.

Here comes EazySite v 0.0.0.0.0.0.1alpha

By around 2007 ish I was getting much better at making websites and starting to get allot of clients on the go. I was also learning allot of PHP and my sites were becoming allot more dynamic. I was also getting in to JavaScript but at the time, browsers and the internet connections were still very very slow so I didn’t put much JavaScript elements in to any sites. Also it was bad for search engine optimisation so although I was learning it, for live sites I tried to stear clear of it. I was then and still am more about gaining search engine rankings for me and my clients than fancy sites that reside on page 5 of Google! Ive always said to clients, you can have the best looking site in the world but if no one finds it, its a waste of money!

Around this time, people were asking for bigger more dynamic sites so I started to look in to website management scripts and premade systems like Wordpress and Joomla. They seemed pretty simple to use (from my point of view anyway) so I made a few sites with them. The problem was that the clients did not have the foggiest idea how to use these CMS, plus the security issues with Wordpress that still exist in most Wordpress sites to this day let people quickly hack them and change the content or steal all the log in details! I had a bit of a problem on my hands... I was able to design websites pretty quickly and pretty easily with CMS like Wordpress and I was also able to use them very easily, but my clients really struggled to use them so I had to come up with a solution.

In came a job from a property company in Spain who wanted a property management system for selling their villas. I could have made it with Wordpress but after talking to the client and his staff, I knew they would have no clue how to manage the site so I decided to try to make a CMS specifically for them. Little did I know, the task ahead would take a shed load more time and effort than I had priced for BUT the good thing about it was that building this system had laid the foundation for my own CMS, which at the time I called "EazySite".. My own CMS was born.

From EazySite and Spam ❤ to BluCMS

EazySite was going well ( I thought).. I was making new sites with it pretty much every week and people were really starting to give me great feedback about EazySite so I added allot more bells and whistles. Letting people add new pages, edit colours, move things around, add in images and even upload videos. What a huge mistake! People don’t know how websites work! The system was working great but people were adding too much broken stuff! They were also doing (to use the term lightly) In-House SEO which had then put more Spam in the pages of their sites than was in the trenches of WW2! I had to solve this problem by NOT letting people have too many toys to play with. A redesign of the core system was needed so I pretty much stopped using EazySite (although to this day in 2018 some people are still using the original system!). I redesigned the system from the ground up with the knowledge that if I let people have too much toys then they will quickly kill off the good looking site I had originally handed over to them and get their site penalised by Google for Spamming their pages and tags with keywords! This made me look bad because the SEO work I had put in to get them up to the top of Google soon got reversed due to the Spam infestation! No fault of the client. They knew no better.

My new system was much better. It allowed people to do allot with their website but I built each admin system around peoples abilities so they wouldn’t trip up with it - I also added in some basic instructions right next to the parts people were using so they knew not to spam and how to NOT break things... This encouraged people to use the system allot more and prevented them from messing up my designs and the SEO work I had put in! This was also better for me as I did not need to keep going back to peoples sites and fixing them. I called the new system BluCMS which is still used right now as the core of the current BluCMS. I have adapted the system for hundreds of clients to use from every type of site from full on auto trader style sites which allow car dealers to simply type a vehicle registration number to auto fill a vehicles details, to extensive product management systems and accounting systems which have been used to manage the accounts of a multi million pound company! The way I built the system allows me to adapt it very quickly to suit almost every type of site. I even built a full on asynchronous JavaScript drag and drop wedding and event planner system based on the core of BluCMS to plan my own wedding. The wedding planner system has since been used by around 30,000 couple from across the world to plan their weddings and the site was ranked 1st position on Google in the UK and US for the term Online Wedding Planner. Pretty cool if i do say so my self :)

BluCMS and the Mobile Generation.. Kebab anyone ?

What Google wants, Google gets..

BluCMS is now a very mobile friendly CMS which from the second quarter of 2018 is going to be a Mobile First platform. Everyone now uses mobiles to do everything from Face-timing your granny in Australia to ordering a kebab from just eat on your way home from the pub so we need to adapt to suit.

Google wants every website to be a mobile first design no matter if you sell kebabs or just want to provide information about your last project, so adapting to this is a priority for me (and should be for you too if you own a website). I want all of my clients sites to be found on Google in top spots so what Google wants, Google gets! I will shortly be redesigning the BluCMS admin section to be fully mobile phone compatible. Right now it works on mobiles but is still a wee bit clunky.

If you have read this far, I thank you and its time to sum up..

So 17 years have passed since my first sites on pwp.shido.blueyonder.co.uk and I still love making websites. I cant count how many people have told me in the past "Barry this daft web design idea will never work" but hey ho, I stuck with it and now I don’t know how many sites later, I’m still going. I have seen multiple web design companies come and go, plus many employees come and go at Barry’s Web Design but at the end of the day, I am at the helm no matter who is working for me and I actually really enjoy talking to my clients and delivering what they asked for, on time and always on budget! I’m actually pretty proud of BluCMS and Barry’s Web Design as a whole. Considering I built BluCMS from scratch with NO degree or any help from anyone, I hand code pretty much everything you see in my portfolio and I am even more happy with my self that I don’t sell free Worpress Templates reskinned for the price of a decent second hand car!

BluCMS FTW.

Thanks for reading my About Me Page. If you want me to design a website or any type of custom CMS or internal system for your business, please feel free to get in touch and we can meet up at my offices for a coffee and a chat, or I can of course I can come to meet you at your home or office. I’m sure I can work with you to build the system you need for your business.

thanks again

Barry


Quick Enquiry

If you would like to talk about any of the services I provide, please feel free to get in touch on
01382 525 896 or using this short form and I will get back to you within the next 2 hours.

Thank you. We have recieved your enquiry.

Please tick this box to give concent to Barry's Web Design to collect your Name, Email and Telephone Number through this form. Privacy Policy/GDPR