9 Great Tips to Boost Your Web Development Skills

It’s undeniable that web development has become a sought-after service in the internet marketing business. Modern-day entrepreneurs want to have a website of their own to establish their brand online. If you want to get hired, you have to be one of the best in your field.

There may be no substitute for experience, but there are shortcuts to improving your skills. The following are great tips from seasoned developers on how you can boost your web development prowess.

1. Get rid of floated lists. Most web developers get stuck fixing the floated lists element. Sometimes, setting the right height can get complicated. You can prevent this from happening by adding two CSS properties to any container within the list – display: block; overflow: hidden; Doing so adjusts the height automatically.

2. Use web inspectors. When it comes to the use of web inspectors, developers differ on which one is best. If your website encounters some minor CSS problems, this tool works effectively. You can preview changes live in Safari or Chrome. Just right click on an element and choose ‘Inspect Element’.

3. Sandbox the clutter. Keep your experiments uncluttered by outside influences. If you want to try some new effects, transitions, or techniques, do it as a sandbox project. Following this can make the code easier to debug if it doesn’t work as expected.

4. Single responsibility principle. You may have heard web developers stressing the importance of this principle. The single responsibility function simply explains that every object in your code should contain one function. Splitting the structure and the style can actually benefit you in the end. Once something breaks, it’ll be easier for you to find which object is the problem.

5. Try the GitLab system. Most web developers use GitHub, but it’s more of a private tool. For an enhanced version, you should try GitLab. For one, it is an open source. It can also be made compatible with your own servers.

6. Always comment your code. This is highly recommended for those who work as a team offering internet marketing services. In order for others to understand your code, you need to properly comment on codes, organize PSDs and FLAs, and name layers. It’ll be easier for the whole team to find where things are.

7. Automate your unit tests. Deploying or manually running unit tests can be a waste of time. Be smart and automate it. This can help you find problems early in the development cycle. It can also watch over your code in both time and space dimensions.

8. Sprite to speed up. Speed up your page downloads by turning icons, buttons, and backgrounds into sprites. Once you use the attribute ‘CSS background-position’ the portion of the image you want to appear will be shown.

9. Security is important. When launching a new website, it’s easy to get carried away with design and content that security becomes taken for granted. Before going live, make sure that your site is secure. Run it through security checks to solve security concerns. Try to test your site’s security using asafaweb.com.

Whether it’s for blogs or an eCommerce website agency, entrepreneurs will need web developers to improve and maintain their website’s interaction. Practice these tips to also improve on your skills as a web developer!

How to Find Customers For Your Web Development Company

There are a lot of companies around the world who have the expertise to create very impressive pieces of online software. Whether you write your code in ASP, PHP, Perl or some other language then you will have something that website owners will value. The challenge is how to find customers when your average site owner doesn’t know PHP from a BLT.

In 1999 I set up a web development firm and it has gone from strength to strength. In this article I will share the most valuable piece of advice that I can offer and explain how we attract customers and have continued to grow over the past 8 years.
A premise of my advice is that advertising to get customers is expensive and time consuming and often dealing with those looking to create their first website is time consuming and frustrating if their ideas are wildly different from what you know will be successful. The story below avoids any of these problems.

I started off by writing a small series of PHP scripts and advertised these within the ‘geek’ community. These included a relatively simple whois script that allows users to type in a Domain Name and check its availability. This shortly expanded to include a shopping cart and ordering system. I advertised this on Hot Scripts, the PHP Resource Index and a few other basic websites where technical people and design firms look.

Over the first year I offered this whois script for free. Several hundred companies downloaded the program and I made sure I responded to any support enquiries very quickly and politely. As the program improved I started charging around £50 ($100) per download and the script went from strength to strength. To date I have sold several thousand copies – a good return from an initial investment of perhaps a weeks work and free listings on Hot Scripts and a few other sites.

What this model achieves is that companies who are looking for a whois script but don’t have the technical skill to write one themselves find your offering, they then contact you with support requests and are impressed with your level of support. A large proportion of the companies that contacted me were design firms. In the future if this design company received an enquiry from a potential customer who required something that needed bespoke programming then they immediately thought of my company. They then sent the customer’s brief to me for a quotation, I replied with a friendly email and a reasonable price and the job was secured and quickly delivered.

Every day I sold a copy of the who is script and every week I was creating new relationships with design firms around the world. These design companies spend their time dealing with customers, advertising for new work and dealing with the stress of finding new leads and I sat back and replied to emails with quotations and did programming work.

This business model may not work for everybody but I would certainly recommend giving it a try – develop something that design firms may download and then provide them with a good service, the better you can do this the more chance they have of remembering you and rewarding you with more profitable work in the future.

Best Website Design Companies – Web Developer Exposes the Myths About Website Design Companies

It’s All Lies

How can you find the best website design companies? It’s not easy. Every client that has put out an RFP for a website can relate to the feeling that they are being lied to, perhaps deliberately mislead, or just that internet experts are one step removed from cure-all charlatans.

After countless hours reading or hearing website design companies talk about their “proven solutions,” “one-stop shop” capabilities, and case studies, you’ll often be more confused about the right direction than when you started.

Can’t they just talk to you in plain English?

Giants of Chaos

Clearly the best website design companies are online, right? Yet often researching it online doesn’t seem to help much. The Internet is a strange conglomeration of every form of organization known to man seeking to define the way information is exchanged for their benefit. From media mega-conglomerates, to Google, Apple and Microsoft, the giants of industry have a lot at stake in what appear to be inconsequential and arcane issues.

Anyone hanging out on Google News saw Apple’s spat with Adobe over Flash, and Facebook’s fight with the government over privacy.

Down in the trenches of the digital universe is the intrepid web developer – seeking to make the world a better place by shepherding you, Indiana Jones style, through the chaos to your own personal treasure trove of more sales and happier customers online.

Only this one is completely self-taught, and his biggest problem is that whatever he did yesterday needs a little update today, because the entire Internet got one little tweak that changed everything… again.

Websites aren’t Products

I love hearing businesses talk about how they need to “Get a new website.” It’s almost like listening to my sisters talk about shoes, or my brothers about video games.

We’ve come to see our websites as consumer products, needing a fashion update ever couple years.

Sadly the reality is much worse. The web is a living breathing entity that changes every day.

Most business websites, developed by your friendly neighborhood web provider, look nice on your computer when you signed the check, but are broken for 30% or more of your viewers who don’t happen to use Internet Explorer on Windows Vista. By the way, that percentage grows every month.

And while you’re at it, factor in that in about two short years, more people will be surfing the web on a phone then on a computer, and all the cool colorful whizbang you have on your site (or your entire site if it’s in flash) can’t even be seen.

Then go one step further. Google used to be about searching information that was posted on the web, you know, back when people posted articles on a topic and four years later you could still find them. Now, Google has updated their search system with Caffeine (yes, it’s literally called that), and now whatever is being tweeted about and shared on Facebook shows up. Whatever isn’t shared, doesn’t register.

Top that all off with the fact that every year having an up-to-date website that meets customers expectations grows in importance for a business’s survival, and it’s no wonder that even little non-profits are flocking to seminars trying to understand what Twitter can do to save puppies.

Power to the People I’ve worked as a web developer for over a decade, working as everything from a Senior Technology Consultant to the Fortune 500 to freelance digital wingman for the local general contractor. I have an obsession with business growth through technology.

Everyone in this business likes to say they have the edge, obviously, but often they only have one piece of the puzzle. Once you understand the puzzle that is the web, you’ll know the dirty little secret of our industry and more importantly, how to make sure it doesn’t bite your business you know where. Knowing these secrets will help you find the absolute best website design companies.

Design, Development, Communication

There are three types of creatures needed to create a website:

1. Designer: someone who knows how to make things look pretty, or at least how to prevent it from looking like a used-car lot.

2. Development: research has shown that if someone comes to your site and it doesn’t work, they will never return. Hopefully, this guy isn’t just making your site do something cool, but also making sure it actually keeps on doing.

3. Communication: PR and Marketing are still battling it out to determine who should decide what is communicated on the web, but suffice it to say, they both probably have more people skills than your designer and developer combined.

Without a clear, simple idea, translated into a visual image, with some buttons for your customers to push, you don’t have a website that can do its job. None of the above three creatures, by the way, understand each other.

Then add the rowdy cowboys to this triumvirate:

– Internet Marketing consultants: people who can either show they’ve increased someone’s sales online by at least 20% or they are just quoting Wikipedia to you and have no idea what they are talking about.

– Social Media consultants: see above.

These two represent the two things that give a website any reason to exist: search engines, and search through word of mouth – also known as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Now ask yourself, have you ever met a company that can show they are good at all the above?

No, You Can’t

That’s because making really good websites doesn’t make money for web design companies. Making what people ask for online is what makes web designers and developers money. PR and Marketing companies both know that as long as their customers aren’t losing money, and their competitors don’t offer lower prices, they’ll probably keep their jobs. The Internet Marketers and Social Media experts have to prove themselves every day, but what they do can be learned, taught to an intern, and then… “goodbye consultant.”