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Ponytails and CSS; Getting to know Simon

Posted on March 31, 2016

Nicknames: Back in England town I get called Si, Simo, Lawro or Lozza depending on what part of the country my friends are from.

Favorite Meal: My own home made Shepherd's Pie.

iPhone or Android: I currently have an Android phone but every day I yearn for my iPhones of the past :(

Favorite place you have travelled to: Cambodia as a whole is amazing, in particular Siem Reap and Ratanakiri. Cambodians have been through a lot but they're still the happiest people around.

Favorite Movie: Gladiator

Favourite TV Show: The IT Crowd/Tom & Jerry

Favourite thing about Optimising: The range of projects/clients is great and like all great agencies it has a fantastic relaxed atmosphere in the office.

How did you get get started as a developer? What were the first websites you worked on?

I've always been interested in IT and technology since I was a kid because it was the first time that it was possible for me to know more about something than adults did. However it wasn't until University that I actually started to design and develop websites, about 6 years ago, and it's been the only thing I've wanted to do since then.

The first website I developed in uni was a news and reviews site about music and it took me about 2/3 months to complete, something that would probably take me less than a week if I was to redo it.

Programming languages are hard to learn without someone to help you out when you get stuck. What would be the best way, in your opinions to learn HTML, CSS and Javascript?

Books are great because they provide detailed step by step information from start to finish using consistent terminology. Online content can sometimes be vague or confusing because they use different terminology . It's sometimes difficult as online, guides might only teach you parts of the language.

About a year ago (5 years too late) I found a book on HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett that incorporates technical information with beautifully designed visuals. It's the only book I've found that incorporates visual learning instead of blocks of black and grey text page after page. I immediately bought the JS & JQuery version and I've been using it ever since.
HTML & CSS (http://www.htmlandcssbook.com/)
JavaScript & JQuery (http://javascriptbook.com/)

On-page SEO is something that can affect a page ranking. What do you suggest is key when developing a website to ensure the website can rank well?

Stop being lazy is key. For example it can sometimes be tedious to write out image alt and title attributes, especially when they're within links that have title attributes and you need to recreate this multiple times within one page.

Make sure your code validates, It may look good to us but how does it look from a web crawlers point of view? It can take time but you want to provide the cleanest code possible as not to obstruct search engines from indexing your content.

It's always easier to build for SEO than to edit/redo it later on.

About the Author

Simon Lawrenson

Senior Web Developer

After graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University, Simon held a number of developer positions in the north of England. With a passion for development but a keen eye for design, it's the perfect combination for delivering beautifully crafted, pixel-perfect websites with the functionality to match.

Dreaming of blue skies and golden beaches he traded England for Australia, only to arrive in Melbourne during the cold winter months. Luckily the cold didn't deter him and he loves to experience everything that Melbourne has to offer.

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