Like for everyone, work (and life) has been up and down during the Covid restrictions. The initial shock of several project cancellations was tempered by being lucky to have regular client work for the first few months. However, as anyone who is freelance will tell you, new work takes time, months often, to come to fruition. And so, after a quiet couple of months, I am beginning to see a welcome increase in new enquiries, with some varied and interesting work coming up.

First up, a fun project working with a new food-based startup who create their own bespoke baked goods. The site will be a static site built in Eleventy and deployed to Netlify, aiming for a simple, fast site with a bespoke bright, quirky design. There will be a little content management required and Netlify CMS should do the trick. Although I may take the opportunity to look at some headless CMS alternatives, I'm thinking Sanity, Forestry or Contentful.

Next up, an interesting project for a digital analytics and marketing platform who require some performance and SEO focussed improvements to their existing WordPress-based site, which uses the Divi page-builder theme. As with most page-builder based themes, it's enhanced flexibility for the user often comes at the cost of front-end performance, so the difficulty will be working within these constraints. This will involve looking at asset (image, CSS, JS) management, server infrastructure and caching/optimisation strategies, amongst other things, along with continuous performance benchmarking. The client is also reaching increasingly global markets and so there may be some internationalisation features required which is always a challenge.

Finally, a bit of a blast from the past — a new client requires a port of their e-commerce site from Expression Engine to WordPress, along with some performance and visual enhancements. Expression Engine is an open source CMS I worked with in years gone by. I remember it being a great, solid platform, if a little quirky but it's usage was always a little more niche, especially compared to the juggernaut of WordPress. It will be interesting to manage the process of content migration, which I expect it to be somewhat tricky as their database structure differ quite a bit and there is no, easy automated process. Likely it will be some custom PHP/EE template code to output XML in a format that is compatible with WordPress' XML import standard.