Why You Should Not Engage A Web Developer

When I first started my web designing business five years back, I didn’t have any experience, customers, money or any clue about building websites. For my first attempt at a dynamic website I bought a book on ASP programming and with the help of the book I built my very own simple content management system. It was really difficult. It took me almost 2 months and cost about $10,000.

Last week we launched a dynamic CMS based website for a client and it took us one day and cost $299.

Back in 2006, it was rather difficult to build a website and you pretty much had to be a web developer to do it. Open source programs hadn’t yet taken off. Most of the websites were custom programmed by the web developers. If at all they used a CMS, it would be the ones built by themselves. Either way, you had to be a programming geek if you wanted to build your own website.

Thus many businesses didn’t have dynamic websites at all.

Thankfully the times have changed…

These days it is not really necessary to be a programmer to build a website. After my initial foray into ASP, I tried to find an open source system that I could use; that is when I discovered great systems like Joomla! and WordPress that could be used for back end client websites. I never looked back once I started using these open source systems.

I do have programmers on my staff, however there is no programming required for an average small business website. At least for people like me who are using open source systems like Joomla! and WordPress it isn’t required. All the programming work is already be done for you.

This is the reason why you don’t have to be paying a web developer to build your website. If you are paying for developing small business websites:

1) They either haven’t been using the free systems available and are still stuck in the dark ages coding the site by hand or
2) They are using their own CMS which makes it harder for you to move on if you want to.

Standing Out

While it is rather simple to build a website these days, it is not easy to build a good one. In fact you can argue that as it is really easy to build one, the task of building websites in lots of cases is put back in the hands of the business owner.

Hence there are a lot of self-built websites of average quality in the sea of small business websites. When you combine this with the number of legacy websites online from back in the day, it paints are really grim picture of the quality of sites online. Here lies the opportunity.

The opportunity

In the good old days, you just needed to have an online presence, but now the opportunity is in having a websites that stands out from the numerous average websites with a website that works properly.

So who should you engage?

Now the question is if you don’t want to engage a web developer, who should be responsible for building your website. Building a website requires a lot of different skills, some that can be provided by yourself and some by your provider. Below is a list of ingredients that are required for building a great website.

YOU

You are the most important ingredient for building your own website because:

1. One can design a great website only around a goal and you are the only one who would be able to express the strategies for your business.
2. Great websites will give the visitors exactly what they are looking for. You are the only one who will be able to know what your customer wants and how to pull their strings.
3. You will have to exhibit something unique. You will be the person who knows what is unique about your business.
4. You will have to work out a plan with your provider to generate traffic and lots of traffic will come through your own efforts.

Your Provider

1. You have to make sure that your provider is a good designer because great websites will look good.
2. Your provider needs to be flexible and open because you will need CMS that is easy for you to maintain.
3. Your provider needs to know about web promotion and help you to generate traffic to your website.

Using the services of a web developer to build website is close to over. If you wish to take the present opportunity you will need more.

Optimize Images For the Web Development

Creating graphics and posting images for your site is one fun thing to do in web development. Nothing makes your site stand out better than some great images. Graphics and images can be used for entertainment, professionalism or a visual queue. A graphic designed properly can change your visitor’s outlook and/or decision for your site. It is important to you have images ready and optimized for your website.

Optimize Your Images

One thing to remember when creating graphics and images for your site is to optimize. What do you mean optimize? Optimize is a way to compress data to make your file size smaller. One way optimize works is that it will read through all the color of the image and use other color combination to make similar colors. This will then discard some colors that will not be needed for the particular image. But there is a down side to optimizing. You will lose quality in your graphic and/or images.

Quality vs. Size

When optimizing your images watch the quality compared to size. You want the smallest size possible for your site, making your site load faster. This will make it easier for your visitors and search engine bots. If you image or graphic becomes too distorted, raise your file size. You don’t want a pixelated image on your site. You want your images to look good and professional. You just need to find a balance between having a clean professional picture and having a decent small file size.

Image Optimization Tools

Adobe Photoshop has put this into consideration in some of their new application versions. You can now do a File > Save for the Web Options and Adobe Photoshop has a pre-built optimizing process that is very good. You can choose what file type to save in and how much to compression and optimization. Adobe Photoshop is an expensive commercial program, another option is using Dynamic Drive’s Image Optimization.

Types of Image Files

Last thing to touch on is JPEG, GIF and PNG. There are so many file types, but these are highly recommended for web development.

JPEG

JPEG is a compressed file that has very good quality standards. Because of its compression, colors and data are squeezed out of it to create smaller file sizes. This can cause some blur with images with sharp edges, which is great for photos. If you look at a photo there are no straight lines or edges. Everything is blended together, which why JPEG is great for photos. You can get great optimization out of a JPEG file.

GIF

GIF is use more for vector based graphics. A vector based graphic is when a graphic is made of lines and shapes. Vector graphic have sharp corners, edges or text. When dealing with graphics like described, it is better to use a GIF rather than a JPEG. A JPEG could case distortion on your sharp lines. GIF can also be use for animation. Frame by frame animation saved as a .gif will animate on your page. Transparency is another feature that GIF can support. You can save your images with a transparent background.

PNG

PNG is one the newest web graphic technology. PNG is great for quality and file size. You have the best of both worlds in a PNG. PNG can also support transparent backgrounds. The only downside to a PNG file is that some old web browsers don’t support PNG. This problem is becoming less and less a concern. But keep that in mind.

Quickest Time for Web

Optimizing images and graphics is almost a must in web development. Having big file sizes could cause some of your visitors to leave your site. If your site is too slow to load, you need to optimize immediately. Rumour is that you have 3 seconds to pull a surfer in. If you site doesn’t load in that amount of time, then you might lose them. Time your page in your browser and see how long it takes. If you are under a couple of seconds, you’re doing a great job.

Why Use W3C For Web Development Standards?

Web Developers have always wondered why they should validate their websites to W3C. Some Web Developers don’t care to validate in W3C and others live by if. Personally you should validate your website in W3C. Having a good coding style and using W3C will make your site more accessible to disability individuals. And will keep you with the technological advancement for development.

What Does W3C Stand For?

The World Wide Web Consortium or W3C, have been put together a precise way to code a site to make it accessible to disability individuals. There a number of individuals that are diagnosed with a disability that uses the internet. Disability individuals might have small desktop resolutions (800 x 600), keyboard navigation or a screen reader. These tools will to help their usability with the content and navigation on the site.

W3C Standards is Easy

With W3C Standards coding your website in W3C isn’t hard, nor isn’t any more work than not coding in W3C. There are some areas you need to consider.

Use Alt Tags and Closing Tags for all Images

Such as your img tags needs to have an “alt” tag with them. An alt tag is a small description about the image. This alt tag is used by the web browser to describe the image in text form or a description when an image isn’t displayed. When a web browser cannot find an image it will display the alt tag in its place. Also close the image tag with a />

Why do I need alt tags when I know my images are not broken? This is where the accessibility issue comes into play. Let’s make a scenario: An individual that is blind is surfing the Internet. He needs to use a screen reader to help him find links and read content. When he comes across an image without alt tags, the screen reader has no description to read. Now he doesn’t know what he clicking on. If there was a small description alt tag included in the image he would know exactly what it is.

Close All HTML Attribute and Element Brackets

Closing all attributes and tags is another common mistake for W3C. If you have a p and a b html tag. You need to close the b tag before the p tag.

Double Checks the Small Stuff

Another to watch for is putting your DOCTYPE, Content-Type and Title tag. But as a web developer you are already doing this, so you don’t need a reminder. Just always run your site through the W3C Validator Service to see if you have any errors.

W3C Validator Service