What Makes a Good Web Development Company

The world of web development is still very much misunderstood. We’ve even heard people call it a “dark art”. So when you need help turning your ideas and designs into a high quality website or web application, how do you know who you can trust to get this done?

The purpose of this post is to provide some key points on what makes a good web development company, and will help you understand the kind of questions you should be asking development companies.

This is going to be a very opinionated post and we make no apologies for it. If you disagree with anything we are certainly open to discussing it further.

Now to get on with the post. Below are the key areas we are going to be looking at, and what you should be looking for in a web development company.

  • Able to do both front-end and back-end development
  • Don’t specialise in one back-end technology
  • Should follow best practices
  • Understanding of marketing strategies surrounding the projects
  • Invests time in research and development
  • Has a rigorous testing process, including automated tests
  • Flexible to change
  • Use source control

Able to do both front-end and back-end development
We don’t subscribe to idea of developers that do front-end development and developers that do back-end development. That’s the equivalent of having a plumber who only fits pipes and leaves the fitting of the baths, showers, sinks and toilets to someone else.

We agree there is a separation between web developers and web designers, there’s a completely different thought process going on there, but the separation between front-end and back-end is just wrong. To be a good web developer you need to understand the full development cycle and to be able to get involved in the project from start to finish. There is also much to be learnt from the working with the varying technologies, but we’ll come on to that.

Don’t specialise in one back-end technology
There are a number of good back-end technologies that are appropriate for web development including Ruby on Rails, ASP.Net and PHP (and others). They all have their strengths and weaknesses and not one is perfect. A good web development company should be flexible in which technologies they use, so that they use the most appropriate one for their clients’ needs.

The key reason we have spent time learning a number of technologies is to able to pick and choose the bits we like. Over the years the developers involved in The League have been able to take the good parts of each technology and formulate a number of best practices and use them across all platforms.

Should follow best practices
The key to being a good web developer is not the technologies that you use, but the best practices that you follow. As technologies come and go in our very fast moving industry those best practices will remain, or at least evolve. As a developer if you have a good grounding then you can move with the times and technologies fairly easily.

So what are these best practices that we are talking about. Below are some of the key ones we follow.

  • Writing semantic HTML
  • Follow web standards for all front end coding
  • Automated testing of both front-end and back-end code
  • Use of a MVC framework

Understanding of marketing strategies surrounding the projects
We’ve heard this complaint many times that web developers don’t think about the marketing strategy of a project. This is generally because developers don’t care. Well they should. How can they advise clients and think about helping clients produce the right solution, if they aren’t thinking about the “bigger picture” (sorry, we know it’s a horrid phrase, we’ll go wash our mouths out now). If a developer blindly does the work, they are not offering the client a service, they are just being a meat puppet.

The most important question a developer can ask is “Why?”. Take time to understand the client’s requirements fully, and advise them, after all the client doesn’t understand the ins and outs of web development, you do. Make the development cycle a two way conversation.

Invests time in research and development
As everyone knows the web industry is a very fast moving industry. Things come and go in the blink of an eye. A good web development company gives it’s developers allocated time each week to look at new trends and technologies. Admittedly some of these trends and technologies are dead ends, but you won’t know unless you look into them.

If you want to know if a web development company knows there stuff, simply ask them what their developers have been looking into recently. You don’t have to understand everything you are told, note them down though and look them up on the internet to understand if the company are looking at new trends or not.

R&D is probably the most important time each week for a developer. If developers don’t evolve, the solutions they build will become stagnate and dated very quickly. As a client do you want an out of date solution before you even start?

Has a rigorous testing process, including automated tests
Too often we have seen the client is the tester for a project. If this is happening, then, to put it bluntly, the development company don’t understand your project well enough, they are just “banging out” code.

A good web development company should be writing automated tests (integration tests, unit-tests etc) for all their code, both front-end and back-end. On a simple level, tests help developers to concentrate on the code they are writing at that given time, they also help developers to write more concise code. More concise code means the code base is easier to understand and cheaper to maintain.

The major benefit of a test suite to a client is that when changes are made to the code in the project there can be a lot more confidence in the fact that the change, or new code, hasn’t broken anything else.

We are not saying automated testing is the silver bullet of web development, and tests are only effective if they are written well, but they certainly should be part of any web developers toolset.

Automated tests aren’t the only important aspect of testing. The web development company should also have a level of human testing as well, and this is certainly something clients should be involved in. User stories are key to this process. As part of the development process, clients should work with the web development company to put together User stories, so that all parties involved understand how users will interact with the site or application and the results of those interactions.

Flexible to change
We’ve all heard developers complaining how their clients’ change the requirements of a project midway thought a project. Developers need to stop complaining about this, it happens to us all and it’s never going to change. A good web development company should have processes in place to cope with change. If you are a client, ask how change requests will be handled.

Web developers should work to short release cycles, preferably 1 – 2 weeks. The worst thing that can happen to a project is that the developers get the brief, start the work and then 2 months later they announce it’s finished, only for the client to say “This isn’t what I asked for!”. By working to short release cycles, clients can be involved at all stages. At the end of each release the client should review the project so far and submit any change requests.

Use source control
Our final recommendation is a pretty obvious and simple one, to most people, but we still speak to developers who don’t use any form of source control. This seems more prevalent with freelancers as they don’t see the need as they are the only ones working on the code. If that’s how they see it, then they are missing the point.

There are lots of reasons why all code should be source controlled. We’re are only going to mention a couple of key points here. Firstly it’s a great way of keeping a log of changes made to code. (As long as developers put a comment into the commit). Secondly and most importantly is allows developers to change code without the fear of losing already work already done. This is especially useful when trying out other possible coding solutions to a problem.

Web Site Advertising

Everyday, millions of people of varying interests, needs and wants are utilizing the Internet for great variety of reasons. One is to search for information on almost all kinds of topics.

It does not take a business expert to recognize that the Internet–it being a convergence point of people from all walks of life–offers a great opportunity for business expansion and high profit; thus, almost all businesses nowadays are geared towards web site advertising.

What is website advertising? How does it differ from online marketing?

In general, advertising refers to the promotion of goods and services, organization or ideas by means of techniques and schemes that convince consumers to buy products, services or ideas. Traditional techniques include testimonials, bandwagon, association and appeal to emotion.

Now that the Internet has become very popular, a new form of advertising has emerged–web site advertising. It covers a wide range of activities such as posting ads in web sites, use of banners and popups, placing keyword-rich articles or web site page contents and posting links in the pages of the web site. All these means of website advertising are aimed at increasing traffic to the website, which consequently leads to more sales.

Online marketing on the other hand is a more general term that covers all processes that are carried out to achieve goals of both the company and the consumers. It covers planning, setting up prices, promotion and the distribution of the products or services.

Website advertising is just part of the promotional strategies employed by online marketers. Other marketing strategies include press releases, newsletters, and submission of links to online directories, auto responders and posting ads in discussion forums.

Since advertising plays a big role in the company’s success, it needs great attention, careful planning and strict implementation. For this reason, most companies and common website owners who want to increase website traffic seek the help of service providers specializing in website advertising.

If you have a website you use for your business, it is advisable to hire website advertising specialists for guaranteed web site advertising success. Aside from optimizing your site’s profitability, these companies also offer complete site analysis, submission of your site to major search engines and other site maintenance and monitoring services.

Web Development and Cross Web Browser Compatibility

Does your website look great in Firefox and Safari, but a dog’s breakfast in Internet Explorer?

If so then you need to read this, web development and cross browser compatibility is a very serious issue that should be tackled by any professional web development company or individual.

Web development companies and individual developers if professional should address this issue with their clients to ensure the clients brand and web design looks identical across the most popular browsers.

From Internet Explorer to Opera which are included in the top 5 most used internet browsers (based on statistics taken in October 2010), any professional web development company or individual developer need to keep vigilant with their web browser compatibility checking.

To stay on top of this pressing issue there are a number of free websites available that you can use which will take sample website screen shots of your website and how it appears on selected web browsers.

Easiest way to find these web browser checking sites is to Google the following phrase: “How does my website appear on other web browsers?” This is the current Market Share for the top 5 most popular web browsers as of October 2010: Information source here

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer – 59.18%
  • Mozilla Firefox – 22.83%
  • Google Chrome – 8.50%
  • Safari – 5.36%
  • Opera – 2.29%

In summary cross browser compatibility is one of the key issues that arise when developing a brand new website or custom website application.

It is best practice to ensure your client’s website looks as identical as possible across the most popular browsers. However we do agree that there are a lot of differences in the way some of these web browsers operate and the various scripting and web coding languages they use and their interpretation of this.

So really a lot of these issues can be solved during the development of the website itself. The easiest way to avoid issues is to work with a web development company that already knows the ins and outs of cross browser compatibility.

4 Tips To Ensure You’re Not Losing Customers Because of Web Browser Issues

  1. Download the top 5 most popular web browsers to your pc or notebook and test your website thoroughly on each of them.
  2. Discuss any issues with your web development company or professional developer.
  3. Resolve these issues by checking supported web languages by checking compatibilities for the web browsers themselves.
  4. Web languages to check that appear differently across most web browsers include: HTML v1-5, CSS v1-3 these are the main two that cause the most common problems with web design and browser issues.

If you are the client I strongly suggest you address these issues with your development company. If you are the supplier, I once again strongly suggest you address these issues on the behalf of your client.

Ensuring your browser compatibility is as good as it can be will mean that you or your client potentially won’t lose business leads from customers using one of the top 5 web browsers.

Also customers that may want to purchase off an ecommerce or online shopping website may be put off purchasing because of these browser issues. Online business is serious business – take cross browser compatibility seriously as it can mean increased or lost business for you and your client.

Internet Web Site Advertising – 3 Secrets To Advertising Like A Big Dog Revealed

Advertising In A Nutshell Is Paid Mass Communication

Of course, you may be wondering why I have emphasized this. Let me explain. What you must first understand is that Internet web site advertising is no different from salesmanship in print.

Yes, communication is key and anyone especially the ‘Big Dogs’ of market dominating masters actually know this. Therefore, I will not flood you with too much jargon. Instead we shall study the 3 secrets of advertising online.

Secret 1: Competition Is Good, Don’t Run Away!

We as online marketers have been tricked into the thinking that the less competition the better. You could earn some money on a niche market with very few competition.

However, do keep in mind that if there is no competition in that market it just means there is no massive profits for the taking. Advertise according to your market condition’s book value.

Secret 2: Consistent Effort Reaps Consistent Earnings

Have you ever seen an Internet web site advertising service displaying the same banner ad or just a product month after month? This is a big give away! We instantly know what works.

You see, certain consistent advertising efforts by others on a certain web site means that there are a pool of hungry buyers. All you have to do is be as consistent as them as well and market your product accordingly.

Secret 3: Champion Your Industry By Being Unique

So what if you can advertise online like other people? You need to be different in order to stand out among the crowd. One effective way to do this is try something new in your advertising message.

Instead of presenting your prospects with a product or service to buy why not send them to your web site which offers tons of freebies?

In conclusion, running a good Internet web site advertising campaign is easy and profitable once you learn the ropes of basic planning. Learning how to plan your advertising campaigns well and you will soon see tremendous profits.

PHP Web Development Beneficial For Online Business

In today’s competitive world of business over the internet, every online business website needs latest web technology solutions with best web application development. But there are intense competitors when it comes to developing an eye-catching website and making it function effectively or perform fast and easy multi-tasking. There are so many platforms for website designing like static HTML, flash websites and many more. PHP is one such platform that effectively works the best for custom cutting-edge web solutions. Another major feature for opting PHP is the cost advantage. Designing, customizing, developing and modifying PHP based websites is done well with affordable investment. Major web development companies offer professional web services on PHP including website development, developing web application, CMS development, custom PHP website development, static/dynamic and interactive MYSQL websites designing and much more with PHP web Development.

PHP is very well known and recognized programming language for custom website development with its fully functional scripting language. Significantly it can be quickly mixed up into HTML easily. PHP Development is quite easy as opposed to its competitors such as ASP.Net, Coffee and some other. PHP Website Development got uncomplicated format, techniques and features and every programmer can understand it quite quickly. There may be some efficient alternatives available for the development of efficient website, but PHP web development fits the best.

Extensive Benefits of PHP Web Development:

• A website developed with PHP will have fast data processing and easy functionality.
• It can run on all the OS systems such as Unix, Unix like and Windows.
• Provides highest excellence along with greater efficiency and usability.
• It has a best ability to upload into the HTML value.
• This is very much appropriate with many hosts such as IIS, Apache and some more.
• Data source control can handle many data source such as Sybase, Oracle, MySQL, Strong, Informix, Commonly used ODC and PostgreSQL.
• Major Web applications are easy to integrate with PHP such as Ajax, Flash and some more offering best website visibility.
• PHP development with feature rich collection uses less value and can be outfitted well with design advancement of its own for custom website design.

We provide you the best web solutions for website development with years of quality experience in PHP development. With PHP it has become possible to make robust website that goes in an extensive way to assist the best through its functionality. PHP website development also raises the visibility and representation of the website in a highly effective and professional style.

Hiring a dedicated PHP web developer will offer excellence and keeping of time along with efficiency to your web development. The companies can work out on some other primary areas of development after selecting the affordable PHP developer.

All the above advantages avail with affordable cost price for web development through open source PHP Web Development, an best choice for any online business organization to come up with modern thoughts and try to fulfill their requirement with better services. Dedicated PHP developer works timely to meet your requirement with client interaction about work updates and regular interaction. They will produce working reviews to you and one of the points they will provide you is their easy development style. We provide professional PHP developers and PHP programmers well experienced in PHP to offer you quality website development services.

Along with the latest PHP development and excellence in PHP web development we are anxious to satisfy our client needs and give them best quality work. Our dedicated PHP Developers and Programmers are resourceful all the time for project customization. So if you are looking for highly skilled PHP developer to get custom PHP web development just start with us to Hire PHP Developers and PHP Programmers.