– The homepage of a German actor

You didn’t read much lately on here, now you will learn about one of the many reasons which hold me back.

Thorsten Kramer is a German actor who asked me a while ago to take care of his website. Of course I said yes, although I consider this work more a hobby than an actual job. Anyway, I believe that this website will help me in the future to get into touch of possible clients, so I put a lot of effort into this site to make it as perfect as possible.

Before I start to talk about details and features of the website let me tell you a little bit about how Thorsten Kramer and I worked together to make the perfect site for him.

Thorsten Kramer (copyright by Bartosz Galus)

Working together with a great client

When you stumble through the Net you read a lot about „clients who don’t listen to the webmaster“, I’m very proud to say that Thorsten Kramer is a client you really enjoy working with. He listens to your ideas, asks questions and maybe wants to see a small demonstration. Aside one or two things I’m allowed to optimize the site to make it almost perfect and so far both of us were surprised on how well my SEO work on it turned out. Of course I’m not done with the SEO yet, nor am I satisfied with the current results, but I’m working on it.

Anyway, our paths crossed via another project I tried to get involved but due to a few reasons things didn’t work out there and I stopped my work on that project. Well, Thorsten Kramer asked me if I’d be interested in working for him because his website is a piece of junk. He gave me a link to it and ….well…. my friends know that I hate abuse of Flash, usage of tables/frames for the layout and so on. That page did really everything wrong you could do wrong. Even worse, it turned out that it didn’t work with Firefox at all!!!

So what did I do? First of all I told Thorsten Kramer that the website should be buried as soon as possible. Then I asked him if he has a design in mind for his new website. It turned out that he had an idea I was able to use very well. I started to work on it and within a few weeks I got the first version of it online. It wasn’t perfect, but still way better than the old one.

After I got his ok the new site went live. In no time you saw quite a difference. A few more visitors came and the site got a better ranking. Anyone else would have sat down and stopped working on it. But I didn’t.

While working on that first version I had a few more ideas and also learned a few more things, so I decided to rework the design a little bit and redo almost everything of the PHP code.

Features of the website

Thorsten Kramer - Screenshot of his website
One of the many new things was a self-coded PHP template engine which loads faster and does more than the one I found somewhere on the Net. At the same time it is way easier to use, although this part is only interesting for the coder…

Further I trimmed the design a little bit. Instead of the left-aligned, window-width design I switched to a centered, fixed width version. I also dumped the image menu buttons and replaced them with pure text and CSS styling. It took a bit work to convince Thorsten Kramer, but at the end he understood that this is way better and as far as I know he really enjoys the face-lifted look.

Together with the reworked design I also switched to XHTML stricted and made sure that the page is as user-friendly as possible, which also includes following the WCAG guidelines. The design is now fully scale able, including the images…at least most of them.

Behind the scene I created a very easy to use, yet powerful administration for Thorsten Kramer. Since the whole page is build on demand, it isn’t as flexible as a real Content Management System (CMS) like Drupal or WordPress, but he can do a lot of things.

Unfortunately not everything of the administration is working, yet, due to a security issue I need to fix. I have to do it by admin area and when I have the time because school is currently consuming a lot of time.

I‚m also working on a few more things to optimize the SEO, but this is currently on hold because the Administration of course has the highest priority.

Who is Thorsten Kramer?

You didn’t hear about Thorsten Kramer before? He is (yet) not that well known outside of Germany and I believe there are also a few German who didn’t hear about him…yet… so maybe you read his detailed résumé is available on his german website and with some luck he will become a famous actor in one of the Hollywood movies.

Editor Note:
I want to thank Thorsten Kramer for allowing me to use his image (Copyright by Bartosz Galus) and I’m looking forward to continue to work with him on his site. Although we didn’t meet in person, yet, only via instant messenger and phone, I really enjoy working together with him. I hope we will meet in person one day.

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