04 | Neal St. Clair: CMS and LAMP Development

Today we have Neal St. Clair on the show who’s the founder of East of Western. We dive deep into software, running an agency, and he asks the hosts some questions as well. 

What I love the most is just building and developing. I think there’s nothing better than designs get approved, handed off, and I have sort of a clean slate to say, okay, let’s start building this thing

Neal St. Clair

Show Highlights

  • Neal St. Clair’s background – didn’t originally go to school for programming – went to school for business and marketing at Boston University
  • So for about a year and a half in Boston, I just worked with this guy, kind of learned some html, CSS, real basic stuff. This was back in probably like 1999, 2000. And from there, kind of loved it.
  • In 2002 moved out to California with the goal of let’s see if I can do this without getting a real job and try to freelance and code and make websites for way too little money at the time.
  • Over the years it was me, solo coding kind of in my bedroom. And then it evolved into me and a couple of people in a small office. And just kept evolving until where I’m at now at East of Western world. We’re this digital agency, there’s five of us at the company, and sort of now finally believe I don’t need to get a real job.
  • So switched over to Linux and PHP, but our CMS now is a very similar to a WordPress set up. So, MySQL database, PHP five or seven, pushing towards seven now and very similar setup, but that’s what we’re working with now.
  • We provide some of the basics for SEO. What we always like to tell people is we want to set up a site with best practices and the best structure. Our CMS does include some meta editor tools so clients can be in control of their page titles, descriptions, keywords.
  • We really fell into the world of photography. So, years ago we had one of our offices with a gallery in Los Angeles.
  • In the beginning, we were building this stuff on WordPress and it was working, but we would kind of struggled with building the site, handing over the WordPress admin and sort of watching people’s eyes glaze over because all they really wanted to do was drag and drop and move photos and videos around and they didn’t care about the hundred other things that WordPress is really good at, but not really necessary for a portfolio site like that.
  • We never start with pick layout A, B, or C. We always work with the clients and make something unique and oftentimes that will mean tailoring our admin or CMS to work with whatever the front end needs to do.
  • I wear probably way too many hats. What I love the most is just building and developing. I think there’s nothing better than designs get approved, handed off, and I have sort of a clean slate to say, okay, let’s start building this thing, whatever this project or this site is.
  • And more!

Show Links

Host, Web Designer, SEO
About the Author
Jeff Byer has been designing identities and building websites since 1995. He is the CEO and co-founder of Print Fellas LLC, and the President at Byer Company, a division of Jeff Byer Inc, a web design company in Los Angeles. Jeff has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He is a certified Project Manager by Franklin-Covey and has qualifications in Photoshop, Illustrator, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, MySQL, SEO, Bing Ads, and Google Ads. Jeff Byer is a co-author on 5 US Patents related to content management systems he has created on the internet.

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