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Quality PHP Website Programming – 7 Guidelines to Help You Hire a Programmer or Web Development Firm

October 1st, 2018

Today, website programming has become a business necessity making hiring a qualified website programmer or web development company essential to a business’ success. Finding an experienced and dependable website programmer can be a very challenging endeavor. Generally if you don’t have referrals for quality website programmers you are forced to search online and hope that you will come across a programmer or development company that can provide you with a custom website or an enhancement to your current website. It’s definitely a risk to hire a programmer you really know nothing about. Most of the time it’s a trial and error experience and that can become very costly.

Here are a few tips for hiring a website programmer or web developer:

  1. Decide what type of programming you want or need. Do you want a website programmer to build you a new custom website built from scratch, a website built from a template, a website redesign or particular website programming enhancements such as quote forms, contact forms etc.
  2. Be as specific as possible in you search engine keywords. If you know what website programming language you need i.e php programming, type in php programmer or custom php programmer. You can even be more specific such as American php programmer or USA php programmer. If you don’t know what programming language you need or want you might try typing in custom website programming for medical supplies. So ideally the more specific your keyword search the more likely you will find a website programmer or web development company that is best suited to your criteria.
  3. Make contact with your perspective website programmer. Choose 3 or 4 different website programmers or programming companies. Don’t bother making contact with any programmer or development company that doesn’t have a phone number in addition to a contact form or email address. Having phone contact is imperative to your successful communication with the website programmer you choose. The best way to initially contact a website programmer is with an email or the use of the perspective programmers contact form and be as specific as possible. If you are not contacted back from your initial email within 1 day take that website programmer off of your list. This is key! If they are a professional and quality website programmer or website programming company they will be returning your email promptly. The quickness of the reply is indicative of a programmers’ professionalism and willingness to take care of your needs.
  4. Have a realistic budget in mind. The old saying goes ‘You get what you pay for’. This is also key when you hire a programmer. As a general rule of thumb if they charge more per hour (within reason) it’s because they’re good at at what they do. You don’t want to trust the success of your website to a programmer that is advertising ‘affordable’ low rate per hour or a newbie programmer that will basically be learning as they go when they build or enhance your website. If you want quality website programming and professional service from a USA web programming or development company look at spending anywhere from $85.00 to $150.00 per hour. Anything less then that… well you must know this saying too “penny wise and pound foolish”. So budget accordingly. A good website developer will be able to accommodate your budget by supplying you with alternatives or even a multiple phase way of approaching your website development.
  5. Talk to a live person. Make phone contact somewhere in between your intitial contact and making your final choice. Make sure you get a good feeling that the person you’re about to trust ‘get’s it’ and is easy to communicate with. First impressions are important. Trust that.
  6. Plan on paying a deposit before work begins. Most programmers will generally ask for a deposit of anywhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of the estimated quote before commencing. This is standard and should be expected. Before you give any deposits make sure you have a good quote ( generally a range for example 10 to14 hours to be completed in 4 to 7 business days). Generally the smaller the programming job the higher the deposit and the larger the programming job the smaller the deposit.
  7. Read testimonials and verify them if necessary by requesting references. When qualifying your website programmer be sure that the clients they have done work for in the past are happy with their services. This goes without saying. Check them out on the web if you have to. Search for “company name”+complaints or +reviews

The bottom line is if you need a programmer make sure you do your homework and follow the simple but effective guidelines above. By doing so your chances to hire a programmer who provides quality website programming and professional service are very good and your overall experience will be well worth the time and effort you spent.

How to Choose a Web Developer to Create Your Online Template Site

September 30th, 2018

Introduction
There are many web sites that offer you an inexpensive way to create a website with their template system. The templates exist on their servers, and the resulting website is hosted within their system. This is different from getting a template that you move into your computer to create your website. Some common places that you can go for these sites are Yahoo, Network Solutions, Volution and, possibly, even your webhost.

Online template systems are found online, and, typically offer you an “easy” and inexpensive way to build your website. Notice the quotations about easy. The actual process of building and maintaining the online template site might not feel like it’s easy and inexpensive. The reality is that, in most cases, it really is easier to use an online template system than it is to start a new website from scratch. Also, you can get a site up much more quickly because the internal structure and background images of the site are already done.

One downside is that because the site is held completely within a different system, you can’t just take a copy of it, if you decide to move your site. The only parts of the site that are yours are your own images and text. Another downside is that the site is only changeable within the areas of the pages that they have set the programming to allow the text or image changes. Some online template systems allow more changes than others. Finally, while these sites offer many professional quality graphics for your use, those same graphics are available to their other clients.

How Online Templates Work
Most everything that you add to your online template website is through a normal online form. You enter your titles, prices, image descriptions, paragraphs, etc through a form. You upload your product images through a Browse button. In other words, you don’t have to do (or know) any coding. You fill out the forms and the pages are created by the programming.

However, using these systems is not as “bingo presto” as the advertisement say it is. There is no getting around the fact that even small websites are complicated. They are a combination of code and design and images and photography and text and, marketing.. It is not realistic to expect that a unique website can be built with a couple of clicks. Online web templates have to give you a place to add elements that will show up on every page, such as your banner and contact information. They also have to deal with your content pages. If they decide ahead of time what pages you get, you might want those changed. What if you want some of the content on the pages to be formatted your way, instead of their way? It is possible that they will give you a place to add your HTML code, but then you have to know the code. The templates have to allow you to add images, but do those images go where you want them. And, if you supply the images, who will create them?

Some online templates that look great, only look great in certain browsers and at certain screen resolutions. I have looked at the coding, for some online templates, and found many coding errors, which some browsers can deal with and others not. One situation was when an acquaintance sent out the web address of a relative’s new website. I opened it in one browser, and the middle of the page had sunk below the first screen on most pages. When I checked the code, I found many CSS errors – but you have to know the code to understand what happened.

If you want an online shopping cart, you will also have to have photos of all your products, product descriptions, prices, shipping information, tax information, your merchant account information for credit card processing, etc. If you have hundreds of products, just the task of preparing the information for your shopping cart can be quite lengthy.

Finding the Right Developer for your Template Site
Some people who sign up for a template site, do just fine figuring out the system on their own. Others are completely lost. I have been asked to help with a Yahoo template site and a Volusion template site. Even with years of web development experience, I did not find either system intuitive to use. In fact, I was surprised at how badly they labeled the links to go through the systems and how badly they explained the development steps. I did find that Volusion had excellent technical support by phone, but it would have been better if they had just created a good interface for regular people instead of for their own techs.

So, the developer for your online template site should have some experience with online templates (as opposed to just building sites from scratch.) Before you sign up for an online template system, ask the developer which template systems work best. If they already have successful experiences with a certain product, it will save a lot of time ($$$) to use that system. The developer will also be able to tell you the shortcomings of different systems – but not all systems as they come and go.

Your developer should also have great communication skills to show you how to weed through the backend mess. In most cases, you don’t want to depend on your developer for every little website change in the future. That’s why you are using the templates in the first place! But, ask your developer if he or she will be available to give you a hand, if something unexpected comes up.

Your developer should also understand how websites work. Such a developer will know what ought to be available in the forms and will have a better idea what to hunt for. The developer will also know what to ask technical support, who may or may not communicate well. For example, by calling technical support, I found out that Volusion won’t allow you to have more than one domain name unless you register those domain names through them. For that client, I had the second domain name pointed through their registrar, by-passing the online template system. But, I had to have the background to know that it should be available and that there had to be another way around the block.

Finally, it is not unusual for an online template system to go down (broke.) That means that your website will disappear. And, as I mentioned before, you can’t pick it up and move it. So, have a backup plan for a new website.

Using SEO Effectively in Ecommerce Web Development

September 28th, 2018

Long term commercial success on the Internet is part product and part promotion. That’s where SEO comes into the picture with eCommerce web development. No matter how brilliant or amazing your products are, success is elusive unless the eCommerce company is promoted properly.

Putting SEO into eCommerce web design isn’t exactly an intuitive job. You must always be on the lookout for different methods and opportunities where you can sell your item to people and promote it to search engines at the same time. Here’s where you can start.

Sticking to Structure

As much as avant garde site designs are novel and interesting, they’re largely ineffective for the purpose of promoting your site to search engines. You’ll be better off keeping to the HTML and XHTML structure standards set by the W3C, which has been proven to be helpful when it comes to search engine rankings.

What does this mean for your site? The people handling eCommerce web development should be be able to plan your site such that there’s a clear structure, and that each page is no more than a few clicks away to all the others. Closeness of pages and navigability are two traits of good structure that your customers will be sure to appreciate as well.

URL Clean-Up

Most barebones eCommerce solutions and shopping cart software packages would give you product pages that have all sorts of random strings and characters in them. The cheap way out might be intelligible to machines, but it’s far from easy-to-use for humans. And this could be hurting SEO for your eCommerce company to boot.

It’s a good idea to put keywords and short descriptions in the URLs of your product pages to maximize SEO opportunities. If you’re selling appliances, for example, you could put in category terms like ‘kitchen appliances’ or ‘personal blenders’ if you’re trying to sell an Oster blender because they can act like search keywords as well. It doesn’t hurt to use the item’s actual name as its URL, too.

Remember, URLs are still viewed as text components most of the time by search engines. That means they’re as useful as anything if you need more SEO for your site.

Describing in Depth

Customers aren’t the only people who get to read your product descriptions. The search engines get to read through the text on your product pages as well, which is why you should give them a lot of time during your eCommerce web development stage.

A good rule of thumb to live by is to always thoroughly describe the item, complete with adjectives wherever possible. This gives the search engines more relevant content to see, as well as increases the likelihood that you’ll have a search term or two hidden in there. Use words like ‘personal,’ ‘effective,’ ‘cheap’ and other similar terms that customers will probably type into their search engines.

When doing eCommerce web development, always scrutinize every step of the process and see if there’s an element that will be visible to search engines. As soon as you find one, use it regardless of how big or small it is. For all you know, an SEO gold mine could be right under your very nose.