Cruise Ships Schedules of St Maarten

The Port of St Maarten has made their Microsoft SQL database of the arrival times of cruise ships in Point Blanche publicly available. That is really great! Lots of businesses, shops and operators depend on knowing if and when a cruise ship arrives. Planning, scheduling, supplies, stock and personnel are all influenced by the presence of a cruise ship or two. High season, which is approaching fast, even brings three, four or occasionally even five (!) cruise ship to the port of Sint Maarten.

cruise ships in dock
St Maarten Ship Schedules from Port of St Maarten

Interestingly though, they did not create an easy to remember hostname for their web server and they forgot to configure the IIS web server properly so that visitors are automatically forwarded to the proper web page. (The root page shows the default IIS 8.0 landing page instead of the schedule picker page.) Though I can live with it, I find it a bit sloppy and I decided to create a subdomain on my domain that points to their server using an easy to remember name:

http://sxmcruiseships.christianpeper.com/sxm

Sadly, I have to add the /sxm because the server won’t auto-forward you from the root of the web server.

By Ami: new restaurant, new website

by ami rotterdam

My old friend and sous-chef from my days working at strandclub Doen! in scheveningen, Ahmed, has his own restaurant in Rotterdam. On the Kop van Zuid, of all places. Fantastic! Because so many friends are helping him out with the restaurant, I decided to build him a brand new website. He’d already parked the domain so it was easily linked to WordPress.com for reliable hosting and protection.

by ami rotterdam

Ahmed is a new-age chef, using many Internet and online services for his restaurant, so WordPress was a no-brainer rather than hosting your own wordpress.org package somewhere. It will also be trivial integrating Lightspeed HQ POS services into the site and making scheduling for employees an easy online activity.

Seaside Nature Park St Maarten has a new website

Complete overhaul of an outdated Drupal website. Tracked down the host (TCOhost in UK) through whois and contacted them. Hosting packaged was paid up for three years, so they assisted me promptly.

Created a new site online in WordPress.com and reorganized the site in accordance to the in-take discussion with the client. Main activities are horse riding tours for cruise ship day tourists, riding lessons for locals, inhabitants and expats and the pet farm for children of all ages.

seaside nature park activities
3 main activities at Seaside Nature Park St Maarten

Main improvement is the streamlining of the order process. All pages are linked to a central booking for where the customer fills out the activity he or she is interested in and the request gets sent to booking office at Seaside Nature Park where it can be followed up.

booking form
Seaside Nature Park central booking form

Should a PayPal for Business be added, this setup can be easily extended to include payments and reservations.

Future improvements are daily or weekly blogging by the staff to showcase their passion for the park and their jobs and improved sales funnel to help guide potential visitors towards their purchase.

https://seasidenaturepark.com/

New St Maarten Nature Foundation site live

st maarten nature foundation

I’m very proud to show you the new website for the Nature Foundation of St Maarten!

st maarten nature foundation
Nature Foundation St Maarten

The old self-hosted WordPress.org site is still live and used but totally reworked. I made an export and imported it into a staging site on WordPress.com. Once satisfied, I exported that, cleaned up the self-hosted site by deleting all pages and importing the export file. Once the same theme was set, all that was left to do was customization.

Three focus areas are highlighted:

  1. Preservation,
  2. Research and
  3. Education.

Pages were put into one of these areas and (blog) posts also categorized into the same. This way, their work is visibly contribution to at least one of their focus areas. By going in and manually tagging blog posts, search engines and AI can (in the future) gain a lot of semantic information from the posts and pages, hopefully resulting in more organic traffic.

Divi theme was removed in favor of a free lightweight theme. Plugins were optimized or removed to make the site load faster. Backups are scheduled weekly and security increased, for self hosted WordPress sites are a common target for automated scans and hijacking. Eventually, I recommend the Nature Foundation move to WordPress.com and avoid having to do maintenance on software at a slightly higher cost. But it saves them from having to find a webmaster and either pay him or ask to do it “pro bono”.

Planned Overhaul for ENIAC Alumni

The alumni association ENIAC of my (Dutch) Alma Mater, University of Twente, wants to redesign its website and focus on its primary services. Many aspects have changed I first moved the website from flexible but labor-intensive WordPress.org over to a hosted (but somewhat restricted) WordPress.com platform. Facebook has become ubiquitous and mobile (smart)phones make it easier for alumni to stay in touch, check content and sign up for events, update their data in the alumni database and post pictures during events.

While the static content, such as official documents for annual member meetings, statutes and the monthly glossy, are still important to maintain, events, sign-up forms, social media and calendars will likely be the center focus of the new site.

Exact requirements and desires are still being discussed by the board, but here is heads-up. The main complication is how to cater to 3 vastly different groups of alumni: < 30, 30-50, > 50

If you are a member of ENIAC and are reading this, feel free to share your ideas for the new site and give your input to me or the board.

Webmaster Support for St Maarten Nature Foundation

I’m proud to announce that I will be providing my services to the St Maarten Nature Foundation and their hosted WordPress.org site at Bluehost.com. It has not received maintenance since its reconstruction late 2016 and early 2017, could use some speed optimizations using Google PageSpeed tools and I will train its staff in using WordPress on desktop and mobile to update existing content easily.

Posts are already being done regularly, i.e. the blog, but pages itself have hardly been updated, added or edited.

Finally, I will link all social media channels into WordPress and make sure that updates to the site are also reflected in all the channels available so that publicity is maximized.