There are many different ways to tell a story. You can design and develop a website to guide a reader through a story. You can tell a narrative through a group of photos or with videos. And of course, there’s the bread and butter written story. Even website maintenance helps tell a story.

Storytelling is something I love to do. Nothing beats being able to tell a really good story. Here are the ways I can help you tell the story of your small business or personal life.

Custom Web Development

Just having a website these days doesn’t cut it. It need to look good, deliver all of the important information, oh, and load fast so Google likes it. I can help you create a site checks all of those boxes and tells the story of you or your small business. You’ll be happy with your site and proud to show it off!

Includes

  • A custom WordPress theme OR skinning a premade WordPress theme depending on your budget
  • Creating a custom theme or plugin that you have an idea for
  • Freelance web development

Related Work

Northern Texas – Northern Louisiana Synod

Case Study
Custom Theme
Web Development
A group of people standing in front of a crowd

Ascension Lutheran Church

Case Study
Custom Theme
Web Development
A screenshot of a cell phone

Wooden & McLaughlin

Custom Theme
Web Development

Northern Texas – Northern Louisiana Synod

This website proved to be challenging in a couple of different ways.

First off, while the design looks amazing, it turned out to be tough to match. The most difficult part was getting the breadcrumbs section at the top of each page to be correct. While Genesis comes with a breadcrumbs function built in, it didn’t provide us with what we were looking for. So I ended up building a breadcrumbs function completely from scratch to match the design.

Also challenging on the design was getting the single post template correct. The design called for the width for paragraphs and other typographical elements to be not as wide as other elements, so getting all of the elements to cooperate was a fun task.

But the bigger challenge came in the backend. The NTNL Synod previously had a website and a separate database with all of the information of the different pastors, laypeople, churches and other organizations. For their new website, they wanted to combine all of that into one database on their website. So the challenge turned out to be how to organize all of that on the website. We settled on using custom post types and Advanced Custom Fields. It took us about a week to come up with all of the fields that would be needed to suit their needs. Fortunately, after working on Wooden & McLaughlin earlier in the year, connecting the data wasn’t too much of a challenge.

I also wrote a case study for Faith Growth on the work that we did for the synod. Work on this case study included going through documentation between Faith Growth and NTNL and interviewing Christopher Harris, owner of Faith Growth, and several NTNL staff members. Through this, I was able to write a study that clearly showed how we, at Faith Growth, were able to create a website that showcased their needs.

Overall, this was a very fun project to work on as well as a personal one. I was a member of the synod until September 2016, and I know plenty of people in the synod. It felt amazing to give them a cool-looking website and an organized back end so they can carry out their mission.

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Details
Case Study
Custom Theme
Web Development
Clients

Northern Texas - Northern Louisiana Synod
Faith Growth

Date

June 2017

A group of people standing in front of a crowd

Ascension Lutheran Church

Ascension Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., knew they needed to do something with their website, so they turned to Faith Growth Inc. for help. And in April 2016, their new site went live with positive reception.

My part in this project was mainly focused on the front end. I was tasked with making the website look like the designs the church had approved. This involved working within the Genesis and Foundation framework to get the elements positioned correctly. One of the biggest CSS skills I learned from this project was how to get a mask or filter over background images to make text readable and create a cool effect. I also did some back-end work, creating and implementing some Advanced Custom Fields and making the templates work from a PHP standpoint.

The most challenging part of the build for me was getting the horizontal dropdown menus to work since that’s not a typical design element and something I haven’t had a lot of experience with.

All in all, this was a fun site to work on and I left feeling more confident as a front-end developer.

I also wrote a case study on our work with Ascension which also included a new communications plan as well as the website. I sifted through documentation between Faith Growth and Ascension and interviewed Christopher Harris, the owner of Faith Growth, and several members of the congregation. In the end, I was able to tell the story of how this site came together and how it has helped the church. This case study will be used to convince prospective customers that Faith Growth can help them achieve their goals.

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Details
Case Study
Custom Theme
Web Development
Clients

Ascension Lutheran Church
Faith Growth

Date

April 2016

A screenshot of a cell phone

Wooden & McLaughlin

This website proved to be challenging in two ways.

The first challenge was getting the website to look exactly like the designs that the client approved. From the start of the project, I knew the designs would be winners, but we would have to fiddle around with Foundation and Genesis. The page title sections ended up being the toughest part to design. It required trying to find the right Genesis hook so that we could easily take it full width. Also challenging was getting the sidebars and content to lineup on all of the single post templates. That required jQuery to compare heights to the article div and the sidebar and make the shorter one match the taller one. It was tough, but it was worth it in the end.

The other challenge was connecting the practices, industries served, lawyers and posts to each other. The practices, industries and lawyers were each their own custom post type and we used Advanced Custom Fields to add the relationships between all of them and the posts. The tricky part came in making those connections in the PHP code. Fortunately, WordPress’ custom queries helped in this case as we were able to pull posts in based off of the ids of the practices, industries and lawyers involved.

Overall, this was a fun website to build. It pushed me to learn how to build relationships between the data and to learn CSS deeper in order to match the really cool design.

View Website
Details
Custom Theme
Web Development
Clients

Wooden McLaughlin, LLP
Faith Growth

Date

June 2017

Web Maintenance

Websites are not a one-off, set it and forget it entity. They are living, breathing things, and you have to maintain them. With website maintenance, you can take your mind off any issues that come with maintaining a website. WordPress, themes and plugins will be update without any effort from you. If something goes wrong, I’ll be the one to fix it. You’ll also be hosted on WP Engine, which is built for WordPress websites. And you get 10 hours of small changes and edits to your site per month.

Includes

  • Web hosting on WP Engine
  • WordPress, Theme and Plugin Updates
  • Peace of mind if something goes wrong
  • 10 hours worth of changes and edits to the site per month

Writing

You have a story to tell, and the world should hear it. But maybe you just don’t have the time, or you get writer’s block when you sit down to write. Don’t worry. I can help you. Storytelling is a lifelong passion of mine, and there’s nothing better than being able to help out and tell a cool story. So whether it’s your background, a case study or a periodical blog post, I can help your story come alive on the page.

Includes

  • Case study writing
  • Feature stories
  • Your/your company’s background story
  • Editing blog posts that you write
A large crowd

Czech star makes waves in the ice rink

Matej Stransky skates across the ice between the blue and red lines before a Texas Stars home game against Stockton. From the stands, the warm up looks like a simple routine. But for Stransky, it’s another small step in a journey that has brought him 5,645 miles from his East European home.

The American Hockey League has 105 European players in the 2015-16 season. Just over a quarter of the 898 National Hockey League players are from overseas. At 22, Stransky hopes to become the first member of his family from the Czech city of Ostrava to compete in what is considered the best hockey league in the world.

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Details
Sports Writing
Writing
Client

Reporting Texas

Date

April 2016

Location

Cedar Park, Texas

A large crowd watching

Despite first-round exit, seniors believe in what Shaka Smart is building

The quiet and desolate Texas locker room in the early hours Saturday morning after a last-second loss to Northern Iowa was a long way from the boisterous practices and program cementing wins the Longhorns had grabbed earlier in the season.

But amongst the soft voices and held-back tears, one common theme rang loud and clear in that locker room.

Shaka Smart is the man for the job, no matter what the Chesapeake Arena scoreboard said.

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Details
Sports Writing
Writing
Client

The Daily Texan

Date

March 2016

Location

Austin, Texas

A group of people standing on top of a field

Brazilians celebrate gold medal after years of struggle, strife

This story pushed me the most so far in my career. I had to go out of my comfort zone, trying to find people to talk to in a country that doesn’t predominantly speak English. I also had to find something interesting in an event that millions around the world would be watching. And to top it off, I had to do my best to describe the scene of the celebrations and tie it in with the recent history and struggles for Brazil.

This was more than a simple celebration for a gold medal. This was a weight lifted off the back of the Brazilian people, if only for this one evening. This made up for the 7–1 loss to Germany and the struggles in the two summers since then. This made it all worth it. I captured that with this feature.

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Details
Sports Writing
Writing
Client

VICE Sports

Date

August 2016

Location

Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Multimedia

Storytelling isn’t limited to just words on a page anymore, especially as society continues to function more and more online. Images and video can tell really compelling stories in a way that words can’t. So if you need photos to tell some sort of story, or if you want tell the story of yourself, your small business or someone else through video, I can help that story come to life through multimedia means.

Includes

  • Photo story, to show off on your website
  • Video story for you to show off on your website
A group of people standing in front of a store

A Collection of Collections: Uncommon Objects

This is a video project done for the Reporting: Images class at the University of Texas over the Uncommon Objects antique store in Austin.

Located on South Congress, Uncommon Objects has been selling antiques and interesting items in Austin since 1991. The business is run by Steve Wiman, who has helped the store grow from 5 vendors to 24 individual vendors selling their unique items inside. Each vendor sells items that they find and collect. The store is filled with a wide range of objects from deer heads to tea cups to different types of signs.

Uncommon Objects has become a popular tourist destination in the city with the store being packed particularly on the weekends. Vendors come in on Monday to rearrange and restock their items.

Despite the growing popularity, Uncommon Objects has no plans to expand elsewhere.

Watch This Story
Details
Multimedia
Video
Client

Reporting: Images

Date

March 2014

Location

Austin, Texas

A man wearing a hat

Highballing Down the Line: A Day with Bert Dockell on the Hill Country Flyer

Bert Dockell sits in the cab of an Alco engine waiting for his crew members to finish tying up the train after driving the Hill Country Flyer from Cedar Park to Burnet, Texas. It’s something he’s been used to in his retirement years and he’s made the hour-and-a-half trip countless times during his time with the Austin Steam Train Association.

Prior to joining the association, Dockell worked for over 40 years with Amtrak, Santa Fe and Burlington Northern and Santa Fe, working mainly out of the BNSF yard in Temple, Texas. Now the eldest engineer at ASTA, he helps train other prospective engineers looking to help out on the all-volunteer railroad.

Watch This Story
Details
Multimedia
Photo Story
Client

Reporting: Images

Date

April 2014

Location

Cedar Park, Texas

WordCamp DFW 2017

I took up being the PR and social media organizer for WordCamp DFW 2017 on a total whim.

Lead organizer, Marc Gratch, who’s also one of the leaders for the Fort Worth WordPress Users Group, announced at our June meeting that he needed someone to do PR and social media for WordCamp DFW. So, figuring it was right up my alley given that’s essentially what my degree was in, I decided to volunteer for the position.

It was the best on-a-whim decision I’ve made.

During my time as the PR and social media organizer, I worked on announcement posts to create excitement for the WordCamp. I got the other organizers to write their WordPress “stories” to try and convince people to come out to the conference and put together speaker profiles so that attendees would know more about who the speakers. I wrote features on our two keynote speakers and created sponsor shout outs as well. And I worked the WordCamp DFW social media to also drive traffic to the website and ticket sales.

Then during the actual WordCamp, I had two jobs: work social media and work on a recap video for the conference. With social media, I was tweeting out information from the WordCamp DFW account and retweeting others who were talking about the conference.

For the video, I ran around to the different rooms to get b-roll for the video. I also hung out during the breaks to get footage of people talking and having a good time. I also asked the attendees, speakers and volunteers why they love the WordPress community to play underneath the b-roll. And I put it altogether and turned out this video for WordCamp DFW.

Sure, it was stressful at times. Trying to get things organized and put out on the internet can be a challenge. And doing this all as volunteer with another day job with responsibilities makes it even more of a challenge.

But it was totally worth it. It was my first time really getting involved with the WordPress community, and I came away with a lot. I now have six other great friends who all helped make WordCamp DFW 2017 a great success. I got to meet other great people in the community, and I came away inspired to be even more involved in the WordPress community.

And I can’t wait to do it again next year.

WordCamp DFW 2017 Website WordCamp DFW 2017 Video
Details
Multimedia
Video
Client

WordCamp DFW

Date

November 2017

Location

Fort Worth, TX