Should I Hire A Web Developer?

The question of whether to hire a web developer (or anyone else) comes down to a couple primary questions: Budget (of course!), competition, and what you wish to accomplish.

Launching a personal blog for family and friends? Then you can probably avoid needing to hire anyone since your needs for extra functionality or design will probably not be very high. You can launch your own site using various 3rd party platforms including Blogger, Squarespace, etc. Then, if need be, you can hire a CSS developer from Elance or Guru to do any little tweaks that may be needed. In this situation you can probably expect to pay from zero to let's say $100 depending on how many tweaks you want.

For someone who wishes to compete on some greater level, it's wise to look at what you're up against and figure out if you want to meet or exceed the competitors' website functionality.

Will SEO be important? Will you need the site to look good on mobile and tablet devices? What special functionality will it need? How often will the site's content change?

As we have said, hiring a web developer to create the functional and design guidelines for your site is like asking a construction worker to be your architect, too.

Most web developers will build your site according to what they think are best practices. They may know their coding, but without solid experience in SEO, SEM and Conversion your site is practically guaranteed to fail on multiple important levels.

These elements should guide the process of designing your sites look and feel as well as its hierarchy, layout, conversion scenarios and functionality.

For example, does your developer know how important the concept of 'white space' is to conversion? Do they know how best to categorize your content so that search engines can properly index it? Are they familiar with Schema.org? Will they use techniques that block proper indexing of content? Are they familiar with what constitutes 'black hat' tactics in SEO? Will they be willing to tell you "I know you want to have all this great content in there, but you're killing your conversion by stuffing it all on one page".

For anyone serious about launching a competitive website, these are essential issues that must be handled right from the start, or you risk being stuck with a website that under-performs, or one you must change to meet best-practices.

Just about all development agencies offer free quotes, so give one a call and get the conversation started - see what they know about these topics and how they implement relevant strategies. Start separating the wheat from the chaff by asking them some of the above questions. If they don't know about conversion, or how to optimize your site's infrastructure for SEO - RUN! Because in this day of elite competition, a website developer is just not enough to get your website developed!

Planning Your New Website

So, you need a new website and are wondering where to start!

Most people will find a designer, tell them what colors they want and how they want their logo to look, maybe mention a few things that they want on the home page, and then leave it up to the designer to take it from there.

TERRIBLE IDEA.

Designers are usually not experienced in Conversion and SEO, and are not considering the following:

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Websites: The Basics

The sort of website you need can usually be determined pretty easily by getting the answers to a few questions...

Will you need to update it often or will it sit unchanged for a long period of time?

If you need to update it often, you will either need to pay a developer for each change, you could learn some HTML and how to use FTP, or you can get a CMS website. CMS means 'content management system' and is a fancy way of saying "you can login to your site's admin area, type some changes and hit "Save" and your new changes show up immediately on your site".

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