Avoiding a Goat Rodeo: How to get the website you want

FoxyCart was born in a conversation between friends about the horrible state of ecommerce solutions in 2005. For one client we’d rebuilt their ecommerce three times and were still unhappy with the results. For another we had fully four separate ecommerce systems; one each for donations, event registration, downloads, and books. Every new ecommerce client we got would prompt yet another multi-day long search for the perfect ecommerce system, until we realized that we should stop waiting for somebody else to build it, and build it ourselves.

Between myself (Luke), Brett and the team we’ve developed, we have a lot of experience building websites and meeting clients’ needs. We built FoxyCart to be the best solution for developers, because we are developers ourselves. As such, things get confusing when we’re approached by merchants and designers who also love FoxyCart and want to use it, but don’t really know where to start. We quickly find ourselves back in “client mode” trying to explain 15+ years of Internet development and software best practicies. It’s a reminder how difficult it can be explaining the art form of software development to non-technical users with big needs, bigger visions, and very little experience with web development.

We think this book can help.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with Cal Evans, a Nashville PHP community developer and author of the book, Avoiding a Goat Rodeo: How to get the website you want. I love this book. Not because it’s the most polished or the most professionally published book I’ve ever read, but because it clearly communicates a desire to serve others by explaining everything a non-technical person needs to know about successfully building their next website.

I’ve heard many people say, “I want a website” or “I have an online business idea and need a developer” with no real understanding of what they’re asking for. That’s similar to someone wanting to start a restaurant without any food or without knowing how to cook. This book explains in simple language how to plan an application, hire the right developers, and communicate with them effectively to position the project to succeed.

As I read this book, I constantly found myself saying, “Yes!” and thinking of friends and acquaintences who need to read it. Developers have to understand what is expected of a professional software engineer and entrepreneurs need to be educated on the process or their project will probably be over budget in time or money or it will never launch in the first place.

If your clients buy and read this book, I believe it will be one of the most important things they do towards the success of their web application. If there’s enough room in the project budget, I’d even recommend buying your clients copies of the book and making it required reading before you begin.

Cal isn’t paying us to post this entry, we’re doing it because we believe this book will help a lot of people and we want to get the word out. Please give it a read, buy a copy for your client, and let us know what you think.

  • no affiliate links were harmed or used in the making of this blog post.