Swamp Productions

Swamp Productions is the home of SWAMP cartoon which has been produced as a daily cartoon strip by Gary Clark for more than 30 years.

The existing website had become very outdated and it was time for a totally new site. One immediate challenge to be faced was the fact that the existing site included a searchable catalogue of all of the comics …going right back to the very start.

The decision was made to build the new website on the WordPress platform using Toolset to handle the required custom post types and Cloudinary to store and serve the very large number of images that would be required.

The site would also need to provide an online store to sell merchandise such as cups, caps, shirts, cartoon books and original artwork of the various comic strips that Gary had created over the years.

Swamp has devoted fans in all parts of the world and a daily newsletter email is distributed through CreateSend. The website was to also be the focus for building the subscriber base and to act as an archive of Daily Cartoons for the current and previous month.

This website has been one of the most challenging sites that I have created …many new learning experiences.

What is SWAMP about?

Well to begin, it’s not about one character. It’s about an entire community of characters.

Of course some characters do stand out from the crowd, but each has it’s own unique story… from the least to the greatest and for each one, life means something different.

For Old Man Croc, it’s learning how tolerate his necessary but annoying Nit Picking Bird and for Mort, an innocent pre teen frog, it’s about trying to find where he fits in a messy world.

Put all these characters together into one muddy, sludge filled, backwater and you’ve got the down to earth stuff of what life is about.

So, what is Swamp about? It’s about life, in a Swamp.

Toolset is a set of tools built for the creation and management of WordPress custom post types. The standard post types in WordPress are posts, pages and images, but custom post types (CPTs) can be developed to describe almost anything such as books, movies, houses …whatever you’d like to be able to categorise and display.

Toolset is an incredibly helpful set of tools for building any kind of directory website where items are listed, searched, filtered, sold, uploaded by front-end forms, etc, etc.

On this site I have created CPTs for comics and characters. Each CPT has a set of custom fields used to describe the post. For example the comic CPT has fields such as Title, Comic Number, Date of Publication, Central Character, Location, Keywords, Cloudinary Image No, Brief Description, etc.

Once CPTs are developed, archives of posts can be displayed. This site features archives such as Current Month Archive Dailies; Past Month Archive Dailies and Recent Sundays Archive, etc.

Cloudinary is a cloud-based service that provides an end-to-end image and video management solution including uploads, storage, manipulations, optimizations and delivery.

Swamp Productions is a business all about images …about 12,000 of them. In 30 years of cartooning, Gary’s biggest asset was his portfolio of original artwork of SWAMP comics.

Cloudinary offered a secure cloud storage location for this precious asset.

When it came time to design a website to be the home for SWAMP, manipulation of those original images was a major challenge. Almost all of the images on the website are drawn directly from the original artwork in Cloudinary.

These images are able to be manipulated in size, quality, effect, file format, etc. They are then delivered to the site through Cloudinary’s fast Content Delivery Network (CDN)

All SWAMP images on this page, as well as all hero images on this website, are delivered from Cloudinary.

A Selection of my favourites

There is absolutely no run of the mill website build.

Our website build was a complicated one. The content of thousands of cartoons plus all the metadata attached to each cartoon had to be migrated across into a different website platform. This was never going to be an easy website build.
We had over 12,000 images in the database that needed good resolution with quick download speed. Doug’s ingenious solution was to use a file sharing service called, Cloudinary. It’s a cloud-based file sharing service which allows us to store all the images at high resolution and stream back to the website at low ‘weight’ allowing the quick download speed. A great user experience.
Cloudinary has the added benefits of our images being stored safely and the opportunity of multiple users being able to access the cartoons quickly and efficiently. It has greatly improved our capacity to send images at whatever resolution to anyone in the world.
Another complexity was having the daily cartoon appear and be in sync with the daily email to our database.
It is also an e-commerce site that has a couple of freight costs and we ship worldwide. Just more layers of complexity.
The backend of the site is well structured with the use of Schema which Google just loves.
There is absolutely no run of the mill website build. Doug is technically very good at what he does. At every point, he got the technical stuff to do what we wanted to achieve with the website.
We were very happy with the website and the whole process was made seamless by Doug. Yes, I would highly recommend Doug Watt to build a quality website.
Yvonne Clark
Director, Swamp Productions Pty Ltd

Some technical aspects of the website

HostingThe site is hosted on the Google Platform through the Closte managed WordPress hosting application. It is a LiteSpeed server and so LiteSpeed cache and LiteSpeed image optimisation are available.
Content Delivery Network (CDN)Closte delivers content through the Google Cloud CDN.
Theme and Page BuilderThe site is built in Elementor using the Astra theme and Kadence Blocks.
Custom Post TypesThis site is built using a number of custom post types such as “comics” and “characters”. These CPT’s are created and managed using Toolset which is also used to create front end forms to allow the site owners to search through the large catalogue of comics without having to use the WordPress backend.
Image DeliveryCloudinary
BackupsAlong with the regular backups provided as part of the hosting platform, the site is also backed up using UpDraft Plus to the Microsoft Azure platform.
Domain Registration and DNSManagement of the domain name is provided through my associate site – through my reseller relationship with TPP Wholesale. DNS records are handled on the Closte platform through Google Domains.
Daily NewslettersCreateSend
Search Engine OptimisationRank Math

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