An Internet & Digital Consultant with over 20 years experience in programming, database development, Social Media and Web Design.
Starting off in Micrsoft Access DB development and moving into web development when the internet was still in its infancy, I have been responsible for building websites for large companies such as T.J.Morris, Battlemail.com, Palletline UK and NWN Media Ltd.
Sites and projects I have worked on have been featured in the National press such as the Guardian, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail as well as television coverage such as CNN news as well as much of the UK’s Internet publications. I still work full time for an Independent News Publisher, NWN Media Ltd where I have been a developer and Internet coordinator since 2003.
Whatever size your business, building a successful digital strategy can be a daunting process. Whether you are just starting off online or whether you have an established website there are goals and targets you need to set your business to accomplish a successful digital venture.
I attended Ysgol Bryn Alyn School in Gwersyllt North Wales. At that age I had no idea what career I wanted. I was in the top sets for everything, although I didn't apply myself fully back then, resulting in me now being one of those parents that says to his kids "Try hard in school, I wish I had!" I think they listen as much as I did at their age. I left school with a handful of GCSE's in 1990.
Life became my education. I worked in a wide range of places. The armed forces, a chicken farm, a washer factory, various building sites and road works, open cast mining sites and a spell living in the USA travelling and experiencing all that life had to throw at me. I look back on those years with great fondness, meeting some fantastic people and gaining some great memories and stories along the way.
I enrolled myself on a couple of NVQ courses in Systems design and programming. It came pretty easy to me and soon I was developing pieces of software and databases using Microsoft Access. I passed the courses in as quick a time as possible and found a company that gave me a break.
I became a database developer creating systems for several clients including Liverpool Royal Infirmary. This was also the beginning of the Web really becoming mainstream. I started developing websites and databases using Microsoft products and quickly found myself a higher paid position working in Chester. I developed a unique site for the T.J.Morris group, www.halfpriceorless.com, the site was a great success. It had a major launch in Liverpool and was featured in many of the UK internet magazines of the time getting a lot of praise as a stand out e-commerce website, ahead of its time. I was a full blown web developer and I liked it.
Active Projects, joined with a group of great young games developers and we became Battlemail.com We built the Worlds first multiplayer email gaming system. I was responsible for creating the entire website back then. It was unique and grew to a massive community of over 600,000 users. Players could trade equip themselves with items through the website that would then appear in their inventory online. It all sounds quite trivial now doesn't it, but this was a first. We had press the world over talking about us, CNN News, the Guardian, Internet Magazines, celebrities . . . . it was "Internet Rock n Roll".
I moved to a company in Hale, Nr Altricham. First Internet Marketing, a small company run by great people. Everyone wanted to be online by this time. First Internet developed and managed 300 websites, and between just 2 developers that's quite some going! Never a quiet moment due to the sheer workload but I enjoyed every minute learning a lot along the way. Creating a wide range of different sites. Palletline Uk, Unitruck, Salford Shopping City, Reclaimed Brick uk. Each have niche markets and niche websites. Features that hadn't before been seen on websites. We were proud to break new ground all the time for customers, and the customers were always happy to push us to the limit.
I joined NWN Media Ltd in July 2004. NWN Media are a news publishers and a true Multi Media business. Newspapers are very much their bread and butter but in a forever growing digital market they had an aim to grow their digital offerings. I was their lead web developer creating both client websites and websites for the company themselves. When I joined NWN Media the Internet was making in the region of £36,000 a year for the company. With a lot of redevelopment, initiatives and hard work over the next few years that figure would grow massively. We developed ground breaking sites, being the first news publishers to geolocate all our stories and advertisers. the idea caught the imagination of many other publishers worldwide, finding ourselves featured as far away as Australia and the USA as a leader in our field. the other boys were playing catch up. I remain at NWN Media today as their internet coordinator. It's a varied role which sees development, ad creation, ad booking, feed creation, script management, server management, social media and communication between third parties all fall into day to day duties.
Outside of my 9 til 5 job for NWN media, I've been responsible for developing many websites for small businesses and causes as well as for myself. I set up and run www.extremenorthwales.com with the help of Alex Rae. Showcasing the best that North Wales has to offer in the great outdoors. Many of these smaller companies don't really know what they require and so I create an action plan that shows them what they can achieve with as much or as little budget and time as they want to assign. The digital age shouldn't scare you as a business, it should open many new doors and I can help you embrace that opportunity, so feel free to contact me and ask for advice and a plan to suit you!