Choosing Your Web Developer

Placing your business online should not be a strenuous or arduous task. It should be a reasonably enjoyable process whose end result should be increased leads for your business. The secret, is finding the right web developer, with the right skills, for your particular needs.

When deciding on who should develop your site you should consider the following:

1. Availability – Is the developer contactable? Will he/she be available after hours and on weekends if you have any issues or problems with your site?

2. Honesty – Will the developer give you truthful advice and recommendations, or just push the company line?

3. Customer Service – Will you be given a personalised service where the developer sees your project through from start to finish? Will this developer be the one who makes changes or additions as your business grows?

4. Services – Does your developer offer the full range of services necessary to get your business online? For example, do they offer Domain Name Registration, Website Hosting, Email, E-Commerce, PHP and MySQL (to run blogs, CRM’s and other database applications) and be able to market your website?

5. Pricing – The cost of having a website built can vary quite considerably.

Always ask for a quotation upfront.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions;

• Ask for a itemised quotation so you can see a breakdown of exactly what you are getting for your money.

• Will you need to pay a deposit?

• Are there any ongoing fees? i.e. Website Hosting.

• Do you charge a flat rate or charge by the hour?

• How long will the website take to complete?

• Will I have to pay for extras, and if so how much?

6. Quality – There is no point in paying big dollars (or even lesser dollars for that matter) for a site you are unhappy with or looks cheap and nasty. Always have a look at the developer’s portfolio. If they do not have one on their website, ask yourself why not? Don’t be afraid to ask to see previous works. Also, read customer testimonials. Even call those customers to get their opinion on the developer’s work ethics and abilities.

Although I would be extremely thoughtless to claim that these 6 points are everything you need to be aware of, I firmly believe if you include these points in when considering your developer you will find yourself one you are going to be happy with and that you will use for many years to come.

Finding Web Hosts for Ecommerce

Ecommerce is big and growing. It makes sense really, because shoppers look at ecommerce sites to get product information and best price without the bricks and mortar overhead. After the shopper gets this information they may go to a bricks and mortar store in their neighborhood or they may check out a second ecommerce site for info and price or they may just buy right there.

Shoppers are buying right there more and more often as ecommerce becomes more popular. And ecommerce websites can take a real share of the market – as long as they have a good web host keeping
them dependable and fast 24/7. The host is a major factor in ecommerce because there are some considerations that some hosts cannot handle well.

So, what should you look for in an ecommerce host? We often think of ecommerce in terms of an online shop for books, CDs, and computer accessories. But there are ever more products available and ecommerce hosts are responding. Ecommerce hosting plans must include a very powerful website design that allows you to create a responsive and effective sales engine. Here are some very key features:

Shopping Cart- A virtual shopping cart should be provided by an ecommerce website allowing a buyer to select one or several products before going to checkout point for purchase. This program should have cookies so your ecommerce site remembers every customer and every item in the shopping cart. Your ecommerce hosting plan must offer one or more shopping cart programs.

Payment Gateway- Ecommerce hosting necessitates provision of a payment gateway so customers will purchase goods from your site with Visa, MC, MoneyBookers.com, PayPal.com , check, or even by
telephone. Before you choose a particular host make sure all your features are compatible and well supported by that host.

SSL- (Secure Sockets Layer) To accept payment online you must have a SSL. SSL will provide security by encryption of all data – like credit card numbers and addresses so that it remains invisible to various computers the transaction must pass through. Without SSL your personal and financial information would be visible to anyone with access to the computers. If your ecommerce host plan includes shared SSL, than you can use the host’s shared SSL certificate. You can get a private SSL certificate if you pay a fee and you have a dedicated IP address. These details must be verified with your host.

Planning- Ecommerce websites need more planning than regular business web sites. You must have a detailed plan for growth so that your choice of hosting services can grow with your site. And you should try to anticipate the addition of new features as you need them. Your host must provide reliable technical support. You will need to use a database to store all of your products and various customer information. This can be complicated, but good hosting services that support ecommerce websites can show you a
demo model or some operational ecommerce sites that you can study. If you won’t have an in-house web developer it might be a good idea to select a host plan with ready-made websites that you can easily add your product pictures and texts. Look at the demo too if possible.

Your hosting provider should guarantee near 100% uptime. The worst case scenario sees your customers unable to bring up your website. Ask about downtime reimbursements for hosting fees and check with
webmasters who have used the host in question. There are plenty of ways to check out the reputation and abilities of any ecommerce host. The best way is to get a list of their ecommerce customers and send the webmasters an email requesting info on the company’s track record.

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!