The 449: Blog Design Interview
So, lets start with a little about the 449, and its history. Who is involved, and you mentioned somewhere that you had worked on this idea before?
I started the 449 originally as a spin-off of my main design business, Chris Garrett Media Ltd but about six months ago decided to stop doing it as I’d been doing much more involved work on large web applications. I noticed that a lot of people missed it and discontinuing the 449 had left a large hole in the market, so I reinvented it and bought in my good friends Chris Rowe, Indranil Dasupta and Dave Nichols to help tackle the work. I’m now acting as project manager and the work being rolled out is the excellent result of everyone working together.
Next question: Why Â£449? Why not more or less, and why in Great Britain Pounds?
I’m based in the UK, and I’ve always considered it professional to charge in your own currency, it also saves my accountant a lot of effort. When I started the 449 I was working at a rate of Â£150 a day, we worked out that to put together a high quality, bespoke WordPress theme would take about 3 days. We knocked a pound off because “the 450″ just didn’t sound that good.
What is special or different about 449? Couldn’t I get the same thing for $50 off SitePoint?
Harsh! We don’t just spend time pushing pixels in photoshop and hacking together some WordPress code. When you come to us, we take the time to dig deep into what it is your looking for and respond with a design concept that reflects that. We also take the time to get into the head of your user, my expertise lie in user experience design so you can be sure that your theme will be optimised to make life as easy as possible for your readers. By encouraging discovery by cross-pollenating content and defining calls-to-action for the parts of your site that really command attention, we can make sure that your visitors convert to customers, subscribers and lovers.
Our code is also highly optimised, accessible and includes use of cutting edge niceties such as microformats. This alone will get you a major boost in search engine results. We also don’t work off any standard templates, everything we do is unique to your project and we’re always on hand to offer the best support money can buy.
One client even mentioned that we should be charging more for our service, so I think that alone is reason enough to not just buy something cookie cutter off SitePoint.
You guys are the only people that I have heard of that do Microformats for WordPress themes. Can you tell me why that is interesting or even a basic bit on what Microformats are?
Microformats are basically a series of predefined standards for marking up specific pieces of information, such as contact information, events and even blog posts. By assigning specific classes to data, we’re able to add a deeper level of semantic richness to it which makes the data more machine readable (without impacting on human readers). They’re essentially bridging the gap between XML and HTML. Microformats are rapidly being adopted by emerging search engines and can even benefit users with disabilities such as visual impairments, so while the benefits right now aren’t that obvious, in a years time you’ll be glad you ordered a microformat rich blog from the449.com.
Wow that was a lot of buzz words, but it sounds like something serious companies and bloggers will want to invest in.
Why WordPress and is that the only blogging software your deal covers?
WordPress is a fantastic platform, our clients love it, we’re able to work very quickly on it and the community is unprecedented. Having said that, we’re established developers and can work with any platform you need, in the past we’ve worked with Textpattern, Expression Engine and Movable Type. I’m really looking forward to Habari reaching a stable release and hoping some clients will request we use it.
What else can you tell me about the 449 that bloggers en masse will be interested in? Can we expect any freebies from the 449?
Well the site only launched last week so it’s been a hectic few days, but we’re in talks with some very high profile bloggers who will be offering their readers discounts and we’ll also be running a few competitions with free blogs as the prize. But with Blogging Pro being such a cutting edge resource, I think it’s fitting that it’s readers be the first to take advantage of our early bird discounts The first 10 people to email the promo code “bloggingpro” to chris[at]cgmmail.com will receive a Â£50 discount. A 449 for just Â£399.
Lastly, if we want to find out more about 449, where do we go, and who do we contact?
http://the449.com is the place to go for more information, I recommend you also check out the blog as we’re in the process of preparing some really good content. To get in touch, you can email me at chris[at]cgmmail.com, give me a call on +44(0)1453890326 or use our contact form at http://the449.com/contact/.