Chris Kellett, from window cleaning to web designer, listen to his story and get some free code examples

If you're a web freelance designer or developer, then Chris Kellett's story will resonate with what you may be going through right now. 

Listen to the podcast and make sure you also click on the link to some of Chris' free resources below.
eezybc.com

I've been a BC partner since December 2008.


My company is chriskellett.com I am a one man show. I have been building websites for about 12 years in both the UK and US. I also teach Social Media and useful IT like image editing and SEO and have had the privilege of assisting around 700 individuals find social media and other online resources and skills to benefit their business. Recently I had a skype meet with a BC Partner Troy Rushing over at www.discovermediallc.com where I helped him setup a bespoke BC map with custom icons on BC.

Why do I love BC?


There are lots of reasons!

When I first started building data driven sites I used Macromedia Drumbeat, then custom ASP, I bought scripts from a great company in Brazil can't remember their name but they were really good. Next came for me custom PHP to get away from expensive Microsoft SQL servers and then open source scripts like wordpress and and others.

This was a great free cms systems, what more could you want? However you soon run into issues with updates, plugins that stop working, high hosting fees for fast servers, and then e-commerce integration.

Used loads of different services; cactus shop, magento, wordpress store plugin, paypal, amazon, ebay, volusion and more - all have pluses and minuses.

CRM where do I start?  Salesforce is great but huge, google apps not bad, zoho, basecamp and so on are great but separate to everything else I build.

Email marketing I use various services.

So all of this stuff linking it, connecting this to that, using lots of different plugin's, on if it was an info diagram it would look like a busy telephone exchange.

The I came across Good Barry (aka Business Catalyst) and could not believe my luck!
I felt like I found something that I did not want to share with other designers as it was so good it could solve all my problems. Next I found out that I could become a partner and joined up.

So my summary sentence is Business Catalyst solves 99% of my web development problems.

My something cool.

Custom google map.

On the website www.holiday-pembrokeshire.co.uk the client required a custom google map with custom icons and more accurate placement of businesses using pinpointed Lat/Long coordinates.

Having read the excellent “Beginning Google Maps API 3” by Gabriel Svennerberg I decided to tackle the issue myself and write some custom script (bare in mind I would not consider myself a javascript coder). I found that by injecting the backup template of a web app into the javascript I wrote, I can pretty much build any kind of mapping system on the new google api.

Second to that I also needed to make a simple solution that would allow the user to pinpoint them-self on a google map and the coordinates be automatically added to the web app input form. I cracked it and it works great.

In this same project I was also able to build a custom news tool that allows the team managing the site to create all sorts of article from press releases to video articles with ease.

This site required a secure members area with multiple levels of subscription I was able to build this with a single secure login connected to a separate web app. It works great.

The image slider on this site is controlled by a web app and allows the team to manage the look of their own site with very little training.

The last cool thing for now is the rss powered news widgets on the home page. These run off any rss feed and are supper simple to set up. I have set these ones up to also pull in the BC rss feeds which is an elegant way of creating another way of display different types of BC content in one place especially when both the primary and backup templates have been used up.

So as you can see there was not a single item that I needed to build that could not be done with BC.
It just took planning.

Just a couple of other things this ite contains:
•    Custom photo and video manager.
•    Miniature CMS to allow more people to add new items without the need for a full user account.
•    Custom video help section.
•    Custom business directory with bespoke google map and auto generating QRcodes.
•    Enhanced FAQ section
•    Newsletter builder that stops them messing up the look and feel of their newsletter s you know the way clients do when they have access to a wysiwyg editor.

Phew!

My piece of advice.


View BC as Lego.  It has all the building blocks to do just about anything. Don’t just build sites that implement the basics put personal development time into understanding how each element works so that you can build truly creative projects.

Don’t be afraid of javascript its the magic that can turn BC tools into really advanced features.

Don’t think that just because services like wordpress and expression engine have a lot of plugins and widgets that BC is behind the curve.  You can build pretty much anything on this infrastructure.

I'm putting together resources, widget and tool tutorial and repository service called “eezybc.com”.
I hope it will be like a combination of NETTUTS and CODECANYON for BC.  Let me know if you would like to be involved with the project and grab my freebies.

Listen to the interview:

Simply click the play button below to stream the interview in your browser:

Or download the podcast in .mp3 format for offline listening.

Chris has provided some free resources for Business Catalyst partners: http://www.eezybc.com


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