Cake and Bake Supply
This project was, admittedly, a load of fun, both in the sense that any site about cake baking is fun, but also because I ran into several challenges that forced me to hunt down some new solutions to some problems.
Cake and Bake Supply was something started by a baker who just wanted to provide a way to obtain cheaper baking supplies. When she sat down to talk to me about it, I pointed out several obstacles in the way of her site becoming a major player, the key problem being the existence of a number of well-established competitors, meaning that SEO would be difficult. So, she needed to start a blog, something which could be problematic for somebody with extremely little computer knowledge.
So, issues I saw:
- It was extremely important that the site be simple to add blog posts to
- There should be no work involved in adding blog posts to the "slideshow" on the front page
- The editing should be as simple as possible, with no chance of destroying the site by the addition of bad HTML tags and such
So, I used Drupal to build her site. Now, this doesn't mean everything was all hunky-dorey (does anybody actually say that anymore? Hunky-dorey?). For example, putting blog posts into a slideshow could be a little difficult, even using Drupal's Views module (which is extremely robust, by the way). Also, the shopping cart implementation that is standard for Drupal installations, Ubercart, has two glaring weaknesses in my eyes: it doesn't inherently know to stop selling products that are sold out (that was an odd discovery, since Ubercart has a built in stock level indicator...but that's only there to show the site owner what inventory levels are at), and there's absolutely zero capability for marking something "on clearance" and having both the original price and the discounted price show up. I found that a little shameful (since then, Drupal has apparently gone to great lengths with their new eCommerce tool, though I have yet to play with it). So, in the end, I modified the Drupal/Ubercart code to allow for what we needed.
At the same time, I put a concerted effort into helping Cake and Bake with their search engine optimization. The results were incredible; within 4 months of launch, CakeAndBakeSupply.com was landing on the first page of Google and Bing results for many desirable key word phrases.