Why You Should Hire a Web Development Company

Assume that you have a business. And you would like to create a commercial. Will you have to take videos, pictures, edit and upload the commercial all by yourself? No. You will have to hire someone with great experience and skill to do it for you. The Same case applies to website development. However, original web creation is very simple. It takes no skill for you to create a small page for yourself and upload it to the web. Web development can be done either in-house or outsourcing. It is not bad to choose in-house website development, but it is advisable to take the outsourcing option. Expert knowledge is required when it comes to building a website using newer tools and advanced skills and expertise.

There are several reasons to hire a company. They are:

Time and frustration were saving – Assigning the task to the web development company save a lot of time, unlike in-house development. There are many aspects of HTML and CSS that are needed to be learned first before you need to start building a great website. This makes it a full-time job. It also saves the people from frustrations of knowing other web languages.

Search engine optimization – This is one of the most important factors in website development. The best website for a business should be ranked among the top in search engines. These ranking are important because if a person seeks you in the search engine, he or she will be able to view you in the quest engine such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The website developers have these tools that help your website to be visible in the search engine. Some of these tools are sold.

Site compatibility with the browser – Web developers can make a website compatible with all web browsers from Safari web browser to Google Chrome. When conducting a web development in house, some aspects are not put into consideration.

Competitiveness – You should be ahead of your business competitors on all platforms. The website should be appealing to the eye of the user as well as easy to use. When hiring a top notch website company then this will be easy to achieve.

Web Knowhow – This is the main reason to hire a professional web development company. They do have the professional knowledge on some latest web languages like HTML 5 and CSS3 and other programming languages like JavaScript which are important to a website.

How to choose a suitable web development company?

It is important to know that outsourcing a web development company is involving a third party. First, you must dig deep on the specific web development companies to choose the right web company to work with. Some of the factors to look at are:

• Are the web developers able to communicate the technical terms in a simpler language or layman language?

• Are they able to understand your requirements and are they able to deliver them?

• And are they technically proficient?

Conclusion

Developing an accessible website is a collaboration between the web developer and the client. It does not have to be a complicated process but rather requires a lot of planning in the start. A person cannot compare a website done in-house and another done by an experienced web designer. That’s a fact. And we all know it.

Useful Tips in Making a Website

It can be a scary task for the people who are new to the world of website designing to build their own website. With the certain keys and steps to be followed, you can simply make it into a simpler process. Before jumping in with it, it is very much important to do proper research. This is a one way of saving your time and money.

One of the essential things for you to remember in getting your own site online is the following: website building tool, domain name and the web host. You can actually make a unique website from a simple text editor but on the other hand, you need to know and understand HTML or the Hyper Text Markup Language.

In addition, there is some of the website building tools that are designed especially to the people without knowledge on HTML. This is through the so-called “what you see is what you get editors”. You create the pages you want and this editor will automatically convert what you are doing into HTML. To find a domain is an easier process. You need to find first a domain that is free and register it with a domain name. You don’t need to worry about this, for there are many companies who can help you to do it quickly and straightforward. Finding domain name ends with .com, .org or .net. And the web hosts are the companies that you are paying for to host your website. This is for the reason that every site must be stored in a one powerful server or a powerful computer and this is the way wherein your visitors can get over your spot for they can be directed into your site because of the server.

In addition, these are some of the significant things that you need to know more in trying to make your website a compelling site.

* Make sure that your website will load fast.
* It should have a layout that is clear and pleasant to the eyes
* Always use colors that the visitors will be interested in.
* Make sure to have a FAQs page for your site.
* Provide information to the visitors that are relevant and easy to understand.
* Keep you site on the basics: it should be open and light
* write the contents that are original, bold and short
* Establish trust with the visitors coming in and out
* Keep in mind the way your visitor will feel, try to envision them by giving a thought as what they are looking into.

Website development is something that you should not just take for granted especially if you are starting your own business. If you want to learn more about website development and want more tips, check out http://getdesigndashboard.com

Open Source For Non-Profits

For the first seven years of my life I never had a baseball bat. In fact, nobody in the neighborhood had one. Simple reason was, we couldn’t afford one. Not about to let the kids in Jollyville, the rival neighborhood, get ahead, we put our heads together and came up with a solution. We broke off a few branches from a dead ocotillo cactus, placed a few large leafs over them and wrapped them together tightly together with fishing wire and, and voila, a functional bat. Not a Louisville slugger, but it got the job done. Over the course of one summer that was the bat that most of us learned how to hit with. Our ingenuity became the envy of the neighborhood. When I told my father about it, he smiled at said “well, the price was right.” In those tough economic times, the only price that was right was free. Sound familiar?

Over the next few years many small to mid-size non-profits and art centered project(s) will be facing severe financial cuts that, if not managed right, could lead to loss of revenue, exposure and messaging. Looking for ways to trim budgets while keeping the quality of organizations mission will be on the minds of most Executive Directors and boards. The natural tendency would be to scale back, downsize and “hunker” down. While this strategy may work for some aspects of business, I believe now is the time for smarter, more focused messaging, in particular, a new approach to an organization’s visual communication strategy. There has never been a better time to differentiate one’s organization or project from the crowd. New media technologies mean that you can spend less and do more if you are willing to consider a new approach.

The question is, however, how to do that in this chaotic economic environment. Having worked with non-profit and arts organizations for the last eight years I can testify that there is very rarely a shortage of ideas, but instead a shortage of resources available and allocated to make those ideas a reality. The question then becomes, are there alternative ways to achieve our visual communication goals without breaking the bank? While a conflux of unique circumstances has conspired to break our economy, another “perfect storm” has hit the digital creation marketplace, with much different results.

Let’s back up for a moment and take a look at some of the core ingredients that go into implementing an organizations visual communications strategy (note: at this point I am assuming the organization (or project) has already created an overall communications strategy). The focal point of most communications strategies is the web, as it serves as the main “hub” of your strategy, with all the other elements being the “spokes”, and they work together in concert to provide a cohesive and coordinated presentation to your targeted audience. Those elements would include your visual messaging (photography, graphic design), Multimedia presentations (podcasts, video, powerpoint) and print (brochures, annual reports). While there are many other elements that are often included, I think you’ll find them all sub-elements of the list above.

The budgetary requirement to implement a comprehensive plan with the elements outlined above is out of reach for most small non-profits or arts organizations. The catch 22 is, if you don’t implement your strategic plan what good is it to have one, and if you implement your plan but it breaks the bank, how can you justify it. My solution for smaller organizations is to embrace Open Source.

What is Open Source? Wikipedia defines it as “a development methodology, which offers practical accessibility to a product’s source (goods and knowledge). Some consider open source as one of various possible design approaches, while others consider it a critical strategic element of their operations.” In addition, Open Source also includes “OSS”, or Open Source Software, which is “defined as computer software for which the human-readable source code is made available under a copyright license (or arrangement such as the public domain) that meets the Open Source Definition. This permits users to use, change, and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form. It is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner. Open source software is the most prominent example of open source development and often compared to user generated content.” For the purposes of this discussion, we are going to focus on OSS, but framed under the overall banner of the “development methodology”, as I think this can be appropriated by organizations as well.

OSS can include everything from web design applications to complete Content Management systems. The software is free to use and modify, although there are often some fine print in terms of credit and distribution. Most of these programs are widely available on the internet and have a fair amount of documentation. The capabilities rival those from the commercial sector, and are often updated faster than their commercial counterpart because of the sheer size of the development pool and, because its users are its developers, there is an imbedded need for fast, real-time solutions.

The learning curve of these systems is fairly straightforward. Google and other information resources have made access to user-generated documentation and trouble shooting of most OSS software easy and accessible, which is one aspect that should reassure organizations considering going Open Source. One of its early shortcomings was the lack of customer support (and is one area where the commercial products still rule). But, in this age of shrinking financial resources, many organizations will have to rely on human-power to push agendas forward, so the thought of spending a few hours troubleshooting versus paying two-thousand a year for Customer Service Support doesn’t sound so daunting.

Some of the early challenges organizations that went Open Source encountered have diminished with its wide appeal. When OSS first arrived on the scene, many of the programs were inaccessible to those that were not coders or programmers. Additionally, the functionality operated about two years behind commercial products, making them somewhat irrelevant for those trying to do innovative and cutting edge work.

In today’s OSS environment, functionality is running about six months behind commercial software, and that gap is confined to only the most complex processes and functions. For the 90% of organizations there is relatively no difference between OSS and commercial software functionality.
Let’s examine one of the main leaders of Open Source software, and look at the practical implications for implementing your digital communications strategy.

WordPress

WordPress is the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on hundreds of thousands of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day. It started from a single piece of code and, thanks to the tens of thousands of developers who have contributed to it, has now grown into a (small) Content Management System that is more than capable for handling all of a small to mid-level organizations online needs.

Basically, WordPress works as a template system. Okay, I can hear the groans already. Like you, I have a severe dislike of templates as they are generally boring, uncreative and lack the type of innovation that I like my projects to encompass. WordPress’ template system is much different, however. I like to think of it as a “skeleton system”, providing the end user with a working prototype of their site within, say, 20 minutes, and allowing them to expand and build upon that skeleton to suite their own needs. Those with a PHP background can build their own templates from scratch, but I have found that there are more than enough base templates to allow for unlimited customization and creativity without having to build one from scratch.

The experience of setting up and using WordPress is about as straight forward and easy as a web platform can get. First, purchase your domain and set up your hosting plan. I use Bluehost, and I have been very happy with their service. They also provide something called Fantasico, which is a great script that will install OSS programs on your server with the touch of a button. Using Fantasico, is similar to setting up an email account, will allow you to have a fully functional version of WordPress installed and running on your site, all within about 15 minutes.

WordPress’ core functionality includes creating “pages”, which are static pages that you don’t expect to change much, like the usual “about” pages on websites. Also, and this is where WordPress really shines, allowing for dynamic blog posts, which you can display in infinite ways to your audience. Just about every other web function you can think of is handled by something called “plugins”. At last count, there are 3,124 plugins available at WordPress’ home page, and many more scattered throughout the web. On the Good Fight’s website, I am using 22 plugin’s from 22 different authors. They enable such functionality as dynamic contact forms, event calendars, social bookmarking for my readers, and on and on. Plugins are so amazing that I often find myself perusing the WordPress Codex for new and interesting plugins, whether for the Good Fight or for my personal blog. It’s a great way to keep fresh your audience’s experience at your site as well as improving functionality.

What really makes WordPress stand out is the fact that it’s “server side”, meaning the core files and application reside on your server, as opposed to a host computer. By contrast, when a designer or developer creates a site in Dreamweaver, they are working locally (on their computer) and uploading/publishing those HTML files onto your server. While this may work well for the individual, it can play havoc with an organization that does not have a Dreamweaver or web developer in house. Furthermore, the maintenance of a site is ongoing, and many times in smaller organizations this falls to the hands of an office manager. Without the knowledge of coding, or how a particular developer created a site, s/he is basically unable to properly maintain and update a website. Commercial programs like Contribute do an adequate job of proving some of these tools, but in my experience they are far too limiting in their functionality to be truly useful. Try re-editing a blog post and changing the color of the link text in Contribute and you’ll see why.

In WordPress, you can have unlimited numbers of users accessing the “guts” of the program, and you can assign levels of access to various users to “restrict” them from places on the site that are either private or risky for someone to be monkeying around in. For example, let’s say you want your administrative assistant to approve user comments made on your company’s blog post, and also update the sites “bio” page with a new staff member, and finally run a backup of the database should the server crash. In WordPress the process is simple: s/he logs in, hits a manger tab, opens up the page, pastes in the new bio, and hits publish; next s/he hits the “comments” tab and hits “approve” or “disapprove” to moderate the comments, and finally, to backup the database s/he simply hits “manage” and then “backup”, and WordPress starts an automated process. By contrast, should the same type of scenario play out with a traditional HTML site designed in Dreamweaver, it would be a much more complex and tedious process, and one fraught with more serious consequences should there be an error along the way.

Another element to the above situation is that these types of changes (and the thousands of other commands possible) can be implemented anywhere in the world where there is web access. You could, for example, have your communications director uploading a corporate report from home while one of your field executives posts a blog while at an airport. As I mentioned before, you can have as many users as you want, and each of those users can be given a “role”. It’s the ultimate way to manage your web site in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Oh yeah, and it’s free.

From a design standpoint, many people feel “boxed” in by the template system. I know many developers who think their creativity is “stifled” by working within the framework of a Content Management System. While it does take some with CSS and PHP knowledge to properly customize a template, there are some great out of the box templates that costs less than a dinner for four at Outback steak house. And because of the extensive documentation at WordPress, and the easy to navigate interface, a design savvy person can learn the basics of template customization within a few weeks.

For extensive layout customization, however, I would recommend hiring a WordPress designer to tweak your template to your liking. Again, you have to weigh the time involved in learning PHP and CSS versus hiring. Up until now everything I’ve covered has been a minimal time investment. Comprehensive tweaking should be contracted. You’ll still be saving money in the long run, as the core functionality WordPress brings, along with its stability and usability, is virtually free. Compare that with a web developer creating something from the ground up, and I think you’ll see the costs savings.

WordPress is just one of the thousands of Open Source applications available to organizations and artists on the web. I choose to cover it over other simply because it has the capacity to serve as an organization’s visual communications “hub”, allowing for easy management and maintenance, and can create a framework for companywide involvement. Other OSS programs that I would recommend investigating:

Audacity – sound editing and effects
Blender 3D – 3D modeling and animation
Filezilla – ftp client
Ganttproject – scheduling, resource management, calendaring
Gimp – image manipulation
OpenOffice.org – office suite
VLC Media Player – media player + VLC Portable
Sitesucker – web site copier

In short, my solution for smaller organizations is to embrace Open Source (and contract with a consultant for some limited help with design and strategy). You can cut out thousands of dollars that have historically been spent on programming, technical support, intense re-design, and maintenance. CFO’s and ED’s should rest assured that, through embracing Open Source they should be able to stay competitive with the latest communications tools with minimal investment and risk. Open Source is not without its problems, but as my father would say, “the price is right.”
— Pablo Toledo