Website Development Process for Newbies

Website Development is a broad term which refers to all the steps which must be taken to turn an idea into a website. You have to be systematic and methodical about it – poor planning in the early stages can create problems down the line. Although Website development in Lafayette, LA can create amazing sites, and put a business in a small city such as Lafayette, LA on the map, they follow a fairly rigid pattern based on your requirements when they actually code the site. All the elements of the site must work together – if you change your mind on one aspect of the site, very often that will mean programming changes to the rest of the site as well…which can be a costly and time consuming enterprise. Solid planning from the beginning will go a long way to ensuring that the Website Development process is smooth.

You’ve got to start by asking ‘what is the purpose of this site’. Maybe you have a small website development company in Lafayette, LA. So your purpose is to promote your service. Your goal for your web presence is to consolidate and enhance your image, showcase your work to a wider audience – after all, there is no reason why a graphic designer in Lafayette, LA can’t do work for someone in California. What do you need to have in your website that will draw customers to you?

Identify your target audience. Most of them will be in Lafayette, LA – so envision the type of person who is likely to come to your site, and what their requirements will be. If you want to stick to graphic design for professional services, then your approach is going to be different than if you specialize in graphic design for posters for musicians and album covers. Website Development means you need to get clear on all of this before you start – or the process will be troublesome, nerve-wracking and may cost more than you budgeted for.

The next phase is planning. It’s a good idea to start from the point of the site map – which will list all the main topics of the site, set your navigation system in place, and clarifies what content your site needs to have. At this point in Web Development you also have to take into account e-commerce, whether you are going to use flash or not, how you plan to take orders and liaise with your clients, especially if you plan to do so over the net, and not in person.

Once all this is in place, you can move on to the Design part of Website development. How do you want your site to look and feel? Make sure you keep your design appropriate to your business image and the customers you plan to attract. Clean layout, pages that load quickly and good content are the watchwords here. At this point you will move onto what is referred to as the development phase. This is where your site is actually programmed. The developer will usually start with a home page and a shell for the interior pages. The front-end is of the site is what it will look like to your customers. The back-end is the part you will use to load content to. In consultation with your developer, you will also have to choose what coding language to use, and that your code complies with current web standards and can be updated readily as trends change.

Once the coding and the layout are in place, you can start loading content and testing the site. This is very important – links, animations, headings etc must work, and must display properly. At this point you also need to make sure your site is compatible with all the main browsers. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is an important feature of Website Development in Lafayette, LA – the best site in the world is worthless if the main search engines cannot find it and list it high in the rankings, so when search results are returned for Graphic Design in Lafayette, LA, the search engines have you at least on the first page. If you are planning to make some revenue from advertising, this is also something which has to be included in your Web Development strategy.

Once your site is up and running, bear in mind it will need maintenance and updating. If you have all these details in place, and your Web Development in Lafayette, LA has been sound, you will be on your way to creating a worldwide presence on the net for your small business in Lafayette, LA.

Which Is Better – Dreamweaver or Expression Web?

For over a decade, the world of web development has been dominated by two software programs: Macromedia’s (later Adobe’s) Dreamweaver, and Microsoft’s FrontPage. For many years, the general consensus among web development professionals was that Dreamweaver was the superior program in a multitude of ways. A few years ago, however, Microsoft released Expression Web Designer which in many ways leveled the playing field. The question many ask today is, “Which is better? Dreamweaver or Expression?” This article will try to answer that.

Ease of Use

Both programs have very good point-and-click WYSIWYG editors, enabling even people who know nothing about HTML and CSS to build quality web pages. In this category, however, Expression is probably slightly better. Expression looks and feels very much like using Microsoft word, right down to the red squiggly underlines beneath coding errors, much like how Word points out spelling errors. Expression’s user interface makes it very intuitive and easy to use for novices. Dreamweaver, on the other hand, has a more complicated, feature-packed interface that hold greater appeal for experienced web developers.

Client-Side Scripting

Both programs handle Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) extremely well, automatically generating and displaying it accurately. Again, Expression is slightly better in this area, displaying CSS code more precisely.

When it comes to client-side scripting, it is difficult to see which software is better. They do different things, but both do it extremely well. Dreamweaver provides excellent support for Spry, YUI libraries, and APIs for jQuerry, but little support for ASP.NET’s AJAX. Expressions strengths and weaknesses are almost the exact opposite. It provides the finest support got AJAX… but little else.

Server-Side Scripting

Dreamweaver generally wins in this category. Dreamweaver supports PHP, JSP, ColdFusion, and several other platforms. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support the widespread and popular ASP.NET server scripting language (although it does support classic ASP). Once again, Expression is almost the polar opposite. Expression provides unparalleled support for ASP.NET, but little else (not even, strangely classic ASP). In the final analysis, Expression is the superior program for web development within predominantly Microsoft environment, while Dreamweaver’s superior support and flexibility makes it better for web development on most other platforms.

Site Management

For years, Dreamweaver’s far superior website management features made it a clear winner over Microsoft FrontPage. Microsoft Expression, however, and considerably narrowed that gap, providing a wider feature set and compatibility with Dreamweaver websites. Dreanweaver, however, still maintains its lead in this category with a wider and more efficient range of website management tools.

So Who Wins?

Unfortunately, it’s a draw – at least according to your own personal preferences. I am more of a Dreamweaver guy, and believe they are going to be around for many years to come. Each program is better for certain situations, but poorly suited to others. If you are an amateur web designer working with an all-Microsoft environment (like a corporate network), Expression is more compatible and easier to use. More experienced web developers working within a cross-platform environment (a mixed network of Unix, Linux. and Microsoft platform is very common these days) would find Dreamweaver’s flexibility and robust feature set more useful and efficient.

As internet technology continues to grow, diversify, and specialize, the days of a one-program-fits all solution are quickly fading. Today, one needs the right tool for the right job. To that end, web developers may find it more effective to keep both Dreamweaver and Expression software in their virtual toolbox.

4 Useful Tips for Web Copy

Being a web designer or web developer, sometimes can mean that you need to know how to write professional web copy. It may be for your own website, a client’s website, or you might be hiring someone to do it for you. No matter which situation you’re in, it is important that you know a good web copy from a not-so-good web copy.

Below are 4 useful tips that can help you develop or instruct a successful web copy:

Short Paragraphs: At some point with online reading you’ve had to have read one, or several, very long paragraphs. When doing so, I’m sure at least one of the experiences, induced boredom, loss of concentration or the full inability to read it thoroughly. For these reasons, write somewhat simple and short paragraphs for online readers. Typically, online readers or visitors have a very short attention span and don’t want to read a ton of words to know what you’re doing, who you are or what your business does. Keep it short, the visitor will stay longer.

Simple Word Usage: Mentioned briefly above, keeping your use of words at a simple level is a great idea. Don’t fill your paragraphs with intellectual hogwash. People aren’t interested in how well a web designer can craft words. All the visitor wants to know is: who, what, how much and how to contact you. Be polite, professional and informational, but you don’t have to be very technical or abstract.

Break up key elements: For the visitor to have a pleasant experience reading your site, it’s a great idea to break up key points, elements or services by using a bulleted or numbered format. It’s much easier for a visitor to read through and find the important information that they are looking for when the information is broken up.

Create Attention-Grabbing Headlines: For the reader to be drawn in to the content, a great headline is necessary. A great headline will draw the visitor in, and if you place a few sub titles throughout the rest of the content, it will also help break up the information.

Web copy is just as important as the services that you offer because it helps sell those services. Be sure to also proofread and correct grammar and spelling.