Bespoke news websites in Laravel 5.5

In 2018, I was contracted to build five bespoke news websites for Scottish Legal News, Irish Legal News, Scottish Housing News, Scottish Construction Now and Scottish Financial News. I developed a custom CMS powered by Laravel 5.5 to replace the existing WordPress-based sites, implementing bespoke features for each publication.

The new websites each have a custom responsive (mobile-friendly) design, and a new distinctive branding. Key features of the CMS include a user-friendly admin dashboard with drag-and-drop interface features; on-the-fly image resizing and caching; a WYSIWYG editor powered by TinyMCE; social media integration via the Buffer API, and a facility to automatically generate and send an email digest of news stories via the MailChimp API, which has delivered a significant productivity boost for the publisher.

I oversaw the migration of the websites from a previous WordPress hosting provider to a new UK-based server without downtime and delivered a significant saving in hosting costs in the process.

Scottish Legal News
Case study #1
Metadata about court cases is displayed alongside corresponding reports and stored in a case archive which can be filtered by keyword, judge and court.
Scottish Financial News
Case study #2
The latest exchange rate information is automatically fetched and cached hourly from a free API and displayed on every page and in our email newsletter.
Scottish Construction Now
Case study #3
The location of new developments is visualised next to articles using the Google Maps API, with other metadata also stored in a searchable development archive.


I use the latest good practice to build attractive and SEO-friendly website front-ends using semantic HTML, responsive CSS/SASS and jQuery, both from scratch and using front-end frameworks such as Bootstrap.

My typical stack includes package managers Composer and NPM, build tool Webpack, and Git (with GitHub) for version control. My PHP code is compliant with PSR-2, and I stay up-to-date on the latest developments in PHP development by regularly attending local PHP meetups. My preferred code editor is currently Atom.

Earlier projects

I have worked on a number of freelance web development projects since 2010, including:

  • A prototype frontend for a telemetry database for a research unit at a prestigious Scottish university, using PHP/Oracle (2013).
  • An online document manager for a US-based physical, occupational and speech therapy provider, using PHP/MySQL (2011).
  • An internal store locator with Google Maps API integration for a major US vape retailer, using PHP/MySQL (2010).