Web Development – The Key to Online Success

You know the scenario – a business is called up by a web development company and asked if they want a website. The decision maker ums and ahs and then says “Well, competitor A have a website and so do competitor B, so go on then I’ll have one, how much does it cost?” The web development company replies. The business says that they can only pay half that and asks what they get for half. The website company thinks a little then replies it will still look great but may lack some “extras” that you might not need.

The above scenario is typical of how many web development companies fail to recognise the importance of usability and accessibility enhancing functionality and more importantly fail to convince their customers of this requirement. Yes, the website must look good but never at the sacrifice of functionality. A visitor is more likely to come back again and again to a website that has rich, frequently updated content and excellent navigation. A general rule of thumb is that visitors should not have to think about navigation, it should be second nature.

Website visitors are not willing to spend more than a few seconds learning how to navigate a website because it is quite easy to just go back to the search engine to find another website to browse. So why don’t website development companies push the benefits of functionality? Why are so many customers so quick to sign off a website that merely looks good. Well, they are initially but then when the hits fail to come then they notice that something is wrong.

Perhaps some web designers take the easy option and design aesthetically pleasing websites but fail to add enhancing features because this would be more difficult.

So if you already have a website or are thinking of having a website designed for your business then think past looks and imagine how your visitors are going to feel when they are navigating your website.

Web Development and Website Creation Are Indispensable For Your Business

Before you even begin to contemplate monetizing a website, you have to determine what the website is for and how you would like it to be used. It is at this point that you will need to begin proper web design. You have to design the website to meet your demands because if you fail to do so, there will be no difference between your site and anyone else’s.

Website development and website creation is a crucial part of any top-quality website. All too often, someone gets it in their mind that they want a website and then throw together whatever they can to make it. Unfortunately only one of two things will happen when spontaneous choices like this are made. The first thing is that in your rush you choose to make use of an open source content managements system and then select any old template or skin which thousands of other websites make use of. The second is that you may take the time to develop a website from scratch but mimic someone else’s layout. In the end, while the website could have some potential as long as you put forth the effort to make it a great website. Sometimes it just makes better sense to take the time to plan out your website every step of the way and continue to pay attention to the details along the way.

Any online business should be developed just like any brick and mortar establishment. You have to take the time to properly plan out its design, development and set goals to achieve in this development. You have to plan ahead for when the site is finally launched and what your plans are to generate traffic and keep the visitors coming. Most of all though, you will need to find out what possible obstacles you may face and what will be necessary to overcome these obstacles. Just as in any other type of business, if you fail to properly plan it out you will end up creating a failure.

For many people, this planning stage plays a crucial role in the web development and website creation for any site whether it is a community, a simple HTML spread or anything else possible in today’s internet age. Plan ahead and make sure that you do everything that is necessary to ensure the success of your online business. Make sure that you put plenty of time and effort into the developmental stages of the website itself. When you pay attention to even the finest of details, you will find that your efforts will pay off in the end by allowing you to have a greater chance of developing a highly successful website and online business.

Become a Web Developer Overnight – Well, Not Really

Since working in the technology industry, I’ve had many people tell me that they would like to get paid to develop websites. They’ve asked me numerous questions like: How do I start? Where do you find work? How much should I charge? and so on.

The truth is, there is work out there and ALOT of it. But the work that is readily available really depends on your experience.

When I first started, I was just out of college, with a handful of personal websites I had developed through a Multimedia Journalism class taught by Cindy Royal. And honestly, I wasn’t the best student or the most talented. I was married with a new baby, who breastfed while I worked on my homework. Who has the time or energy to develop award-winning websites with a baby attached to them? And since I didn’t have any real-life experience working with clients, I scrounged up some mom-and-pop type websites for really cheap. And I mean REALLY cheap. I got these jobs from my friends and relatives.

It was when I got a full-time job in the non-profit sector of the technology industry with salary and benefits I honed my skills and learned how the industry operates. When I had down time, I would train on Lynda.com. Which I highly suggest for less than $400/year you get training that would otherwise cost thousands. And lucky for me, my boss loved to send me to training seminars, and said “yes” when I suggested that I go to Photoshop World in Boston and “yes” again when I went to it in Las Vegas, sent me to SXSW every year, Knowbility’s AccessU and a plethora of others. I didn’t make much money at that first job, but the “perks” made it well worth it.

After that job (and my second child), I freelanced for a little bit, but I was antsy to get back into the workforce and see what the for-profit sector held for me. So when I got a job at an advertising and interactive agency with competitive pay, I was psyched.

Compared to my first job where my skill set grew by leaps and bounds and I exercised it at my leisure, this second job was where I put it all into practice. I was constantly under deadline for big name, big money clients. I learned fast that it is all about the client, the money and “getting it right the first time.” A huge adjustment after my “for the good of the people” job.

In fact, the first day my supervisor asked me how it was going, I said, “I didn’t realized I would be already working on a project,” considering I was still setting up my computer and getting passwords for my system. He told me, “Sink or swim!” If I had jumped into the waters of this second job before experiencing the first one, I definitely would have sunk.

That job catapulted me into becoming a true professional. I worked long hard hours. “This is not an 8-hour-a-day job,” I was told regularly. Eventually, the late nights and constant stress got to this mother-of-two (not to mention wife, cleaning crew, and all-around super-woman-extraordinaire). More tired then fearful of whether I would have enough work or not, I went back to full-time freelancing and I haven’t looked back yet.

Knowing people in the industry, has been a key factor in getting jobs. But there are a couple other tips that I can offer those first starting out.

1. Offer referral incentives to your clients, if they send you someone who signs a contract, they get 1-year of free hosting or something like that.

2. Start with the people you know, have business cards ready to hand out.

3. Go to seminars in the industry (Photoshop World, Flash Forward, SXSW, etc) – get to know people via networking to find out how they get clients.

4. Find a niche market and get to know the people in that market. (Ideas for markets listed below)

5. Avoid people who want something for nothing like the plague, try to work with people who know that starting a website will actually cost money.

6. Apply SEO to your own website. Advertise for yourself. Write articles for the industry, you never know when they will be picked up and linked to, which will increase your web ranking.

7. Subcontract with former employers.

8. Subcontract with agencies.

9. Always keep learning. The more you know…the more you know…and the more you are worth to a client.

10. Get to know other web developers and try to get a semiotic relationship going where you can hand clients off to each other.

Niche Market Suggestions

1. Wedding Industry
2. Restaurants and Nightclubs
3. Maintenance (Lawn Care/Plumbers/Auto Care)
4. Government/Non-Profit
5. Music (accomplished musicians, not just rock bands looking to make it big because they usually don’t have money anyway)
6. Children (Boutiques/Daycares)
7. Medical (Hipaa Rules Apply)
8. Home Builders/Construction
9. Lawyers
10. Death – a little morbid but as my favorite personal business finding motto goes “Birth and Death – neither are avoidable nor stopped by recession” (Funeral Parlors, Casket Makers, etc)