How to Become a Web Developer

In the age of the Internet, web developers are a career choice that makes sense as it appears there will always be a need for technical assistance by the technologically savvy. Web developer may be too vague a term for many people to understand but if you are interested in the field, it pays to know what you need to learn to become a web developer.

Whether you plan to start with a company or venture into your own business, here is a brief overview of what a web developer is and how you might become one:

What Does a Web Developer Do?

It is first to understand the two basic types of web developers. These two groups include:

  • Client Developer- this type of web developer assists clients by writing code that is translated by the Internet browsers. This type of code includes HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Some developers may also need to know XML.
  • Server Developers – this type of web developer will write code that needs to be translated by the server. Within this group there are several other types of developers including ASP.NET developers, PHP developers, Java EE developers, and ColdFusion developers.

What Should Developers Learn?

If you are just starting out on the road to a web developer career, it is best to start at the beginning. Learning HTML will teach you the basics of designing web page basics like titles, paragraphs, headings, and lists. Typically it can take a few weeks to grasp the concepts in HTML that will allow you to move on to the more complex information. Learning HTML will also allow you to begin working on web site design while you learn other tools of the trade.

The next step in learning will involve CSS and JavaScript. CSS is the language used to control what is displayed and how information is formatted on a web page. JavaScript is the scripting language that is used to make individual pages of a website more interactive such as in drop down menus. CSS is generally simple to learn and the details will take a few weeks to grasp. JavaScript has been found to start off easy to learn but become more complicated as a person moves along. It can take a few weeks to learn enough JavaScript to start producing but it will take time and experience to continue learning.

If you are interested in developing for the server side of the equation, there are several things you should consider learning. Most people find that PHP and ColdFusion are easiest to learn but both concepts are not as common as other areas of web development. However, depending on your interests you may find the competition in different areas to be work developing your skills in these areas.

The harder programming like ASP.NET and Java EE require the learner to understand complex programming languages. These jobs are certainly higher paying than other areas of web development but there is also a lot of competition for work.

Where to Learn Web Development

There are a multitude of ways to learn web development theories and skills but it depends on your needs to find the ones that will suit you. If you are already technically savvy and are able to be self-taught, there are many books, online video tutorials, and blogs that teach the basics of web development. People who choose this route will need to already have technology skills and be able to learn on their own.

Others would do well in college courses or technical school training where a formal education on the fundamentals of web development as well as other aspects of computer science will be learned in order to earn a degree.

Whatever path you take, web development can be an exciting career that will grow rapidly as technology changes. There will likely always be something new to learn and multiple avenues to pursue for finding work.

Custom Web Design vs Off-the-Shelf Websites

When you market your products and services online, you will rely on your website to not only provide the information you want to put out to potential customers and clients, you also need to cover a lot of other bases in order to turn visits into profit. In order to ensure those bases are covered, there is a lot of thought that needs to go into your website before you open up for business online.

There are typically two choices when it comes to establishing a website for your product or service. The first choice involves seeking out a do-it-yourself website service that makes it relatively easy to add some basic information to the site itself. The second choice involves hiring a customer web designer to get your business on the Internet.

Since there are generally only two choices for establishing an Internet presence, it becomes important that your recognize the differences in what you get, how much you pay, and how effective each tool will be for your online business. Here is an overview of how a custom web design and an off-the-shelf website might work out for your business:

Visual Presentation

With a custom web design, an experienced web designer can create virtually anything you envision for your website within the scope of current technology. Conversely, an off-the-shelf site will likely be limited by template designs you can not alter or change. With a custom website, you have the ability to add your personal touch, your own creativity and essentially turn your company vision into a working visual. Off-the-shelf websites most often permit small changes to be made and the generic templates and graphics are used by other businesses around the Internet.

Website Assistance

With off-the-shelf websites, you likely have the ability to add the content you want through a series of uncomplicated (hopefully) steps. If you are not technically savvy or in need of creative assistance, an off-the-shelf website will not be of much help. It only relies on the information you provide. With a web designer, you get a working partnership from the first consultation to help you understand the different technologies available. Experienced web designers are in the know about what is working online in today’s market and can help you highlight the important aspects and details of your business.

Pricing

Off-the-shelf website services typically do not cost a fortune to maintain. However, most companies offering template website services will charge on a monthly, ongoing basis. If you intend to keep your website live for some years to come, this avenue of online marketing could end up costing you more than you can afford for a much lesser quality of web design. By hiring a web designer, there is no limit to the design strategies you can utilize for a successful website no matter what your budget is. Web designers can still help you create a great-looking, functional website without excessive, ongoing monthly fees.

Competitive Edge

Undoubtedly there is a lot of competition in the online market. It certainly pays to have a unique and informative website that is also user-friendly. With off-the-shelf websites, uniqueness is not a given and without being able to incorporate the media technologies of today, other businesses may stand far above you in the competition. With a custom web design, incorporating videos, audio, and other important technologies puts you at an advantage for attracting and keeping your target audience’s interests.

While there may be some individuals that do not need any more details than some content on a template site, the majority of businesses would greatly benefit from designing an original site compatible to the company’s mission, product, and marketing plans they employ. Building a customized website together with an experienced web designer adds a definite edge and allows for many more strategizes to be used for marketing to the target audience.

Google Search Usage World Map

The below chart shows Google’s search dominance around the world. The colour indicates the percentage of users in each country who use Google search. The data was compiled between October 2010 and September 2011.

Google search engine usage by country

Google boasts 84% of the entire world’s searches.

Notable usage countries include:

  • Australia – 93%
  • Brazil – 96%
  • Canada – 87%
  • China – 63%
  • France – 96%
  • Germany – 94%
  • India – 97%
  • New Zealand – 94%
  • Russia – 95%
  • United Kingdom – 90%
  • USA – 76%
To include this chart on your website, please use the code below:
<p><a href="http://www.webdeveloper.net.au/web-usage/google-search-usage-world-map/"><img src="http://www.webdeveloper.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/google-search-world-usage-2011-e1317603290859.png" alt="Google search usage by country" /></a><br />Created by <a href="http://www.webdeveloper.net.au/">Web Developer</a></p>

Way to Design a Unique Website

By blending your own ideas with your individial talent and style, you can create a website design that is unique and stands out from what is expected. Starting with small ideas, mainpulating what is already out there, and not being afraid to break tradition can lead to unexpected possibilities.

Start From The Very Beginning

Start with an idea, even if it’s small, and just go with it. You do not necessarily have to start at the top by creating the the heading first, or picking the background color first because it’s going to be the platform for your site. Whatever your small idea might be, may spark even bigger ideas to create that one-of-a-kind website. So if you were thinking you have a great idea for your sidebar, start there. Let the ideas build. You may find that you cannot work fast enough to keep up with your own creative juices.

Try Something New

Recycling old ideas is efficient, but sometimes not the direction to take. Creating new content takes time and effort but the process can also become very rewarding. Some ideas to create new content could be simple things such as:

1. Take Your Own Pictures. Stock photo websites are used frequently and the pictures can appear on your websites, but on others too. Instead of using stock pictures, take the time to shoot a few of your own and use those. This gives instant originality to your website content. The capabilities of digital cameras have increased greatly and the cameras have become much more affordable.

2. Try Scanning. Scan in your own images and play with them. By adding different textures or manipulating the images, you can come up with some really unique content.

3. Make New Fonts. New fonts are readily available on the internet but graphic artists will often find one font and it quickly becomes overused due to its popularity. If you find a font that you like but is overused, tweak it a little and make it your own. You do not have to revise the entire alphabet but a few changes here and there can make a huge difference.

4. Create A New Pattern. Patterns can be similar to fonts in the fact that once a pattern becomes popular it can become overused. There are many online tutorials that will explain how to create your own pattern so use these to your advantage. Creating a pattern is a unique and fun way to show off your style and create an exciting edge to your website.

Be A Trendsetter

You don’t have to recreate the wheel, but website designers have created a pattern of what is to be expected in a website – logo to the top left, home button, search box, content in the center, image, background, links.

Instead of always doing what is to be expected, break the rules a bit and blend different styles and forms to create a something unique. Create something that people may not consider the norm, but is stil functional, impressive, and maybe even a bit innovative.

How to Create a Website that Turns a Profit

Have you ever considered creating a website as a source of income? The beauty of a website is that you can turn a profit without having to buy, sell or ship anything. You do not have to deal with sales tax issues or online payments. You can earn an income from your website while you are on vacation or during the holidays. Be aware though, while this might sound appealing, it does not mean that you can create a website and sit back and watch the money roll in. It takes persistence and effort to maintain a successful website.

How It Works – In A Nutshell

After you create a website with content that you are knowledgeable about and interests you, your website will attract visitors. By placing ads on your site, the visitors may click on those advertisements. Depending on the advertiser, you will get paid for that person visiting the advertisers website or if the visitor purchases something from the advertiser.

Your website can contain whatever content you wish, but there some subjects are more profitable than others. It is better to select a topic that is specialized, but broad enough to attract viewers, and is not covered through multiple other sources. It is better to offer information in a smaller field than offer information in a topic that is already inundated through the internet.

Content Is Key

No matter if the subject is your favorite thing in the world to discuss, your website must contain interesting content and the volume of the content must be large. It helps if you have great knowledge of what you are placing on your website, or if you are willing to put in an effort to gain knowledge on the subject. You can pick a topic that you do not know much about and start delving into researching that topic. The website that you create needs to be simple and easy to navigate. It should be well-structured and contain pages with guides, advice and useful information. Your context should be unique and insightful in order to catch the eye of the visitors surfing the internet for creative information.

The Key To Keyword Research

A keyword research tool will help you determine what words people on the internet are searching for to gain information about a topic. A successful keyword research tool will inform you of what words and phrases people are using to search and how many other websites are gaining visitors as a result of those keywords being searched. This is an investment on your part but using a keyword research tool will allow you to place keywords in your website that will maximize hits and traffic to your content.

Finishing Up

Creating a website is not a difficult task. Creating a website with interesting, unique and insightful information is a different story. Making money on a website starts with creating a website that will generate traffic. Do not be concerned in the beginning with finding advertisers, but rather, be concerned with providing your content with keywords that search engines are getting hits on. The rest will fall into place once you get a decent following of visitors.

For Geeks

Warning: Contains geeky content

To export a complete mysql database to sql:

mysqldump --user=username --password=password --databases database_name --opt --quote-names --allow-keywords --complete-insert | bzip2 -c > your_database.sql.bz2

To export from mysql to csv:

mysql -u username -ppassword --batch -e "select * from mytable"  mydatabase > mydata.csv

Import data from csv to mysql:

load data local infile 'mydata.csv' into table mytable fields terminated by ',' enclosed by '"' lines terminated by '\n' (field1, field2, field3)

Backup mysql database:

mysqlhotcopy db_name /path/to/some/dir

Create Your Dream Website

Step 1 – Tell us about your dream website

Fill in our enquiry form, give us a call or send an email. We will usually contact you within 24 hours and arrange a free, non-obligation meeting in person or phone.

Step 2 – We create your design

We ask that you provide company logos, colours and pictures. If you do not have some or all of these, we can create them for you. We understand that the look of your website is extremely important, so we take the time to get it right. If you are not happy with the designs, we start again and create more designs until we find one that you like.

Step 3 – Code/build your dream website

We involve you at key steps along the way to make sure that you are happy with the direction your website is heading. At this step we ask for you to provide us with text for the website. No one knows your business like you do, but if you need assistance with text we can provide it for you.

Step 4 – Revisions and finishing touches

Once we have finished development, we put your website on our staging server where you are able to look at it and show it to family, friends and colleagues before the website goes “live” – for all to see.

Step 5 – Your website goes “live”

Once you are completely satisfied we make your website live. Ultimately, our goal is for you to love your website! At this step we also submit your website to major search engines.

CMS – How to resize photos

Why do we need to do this?

Before you upload photos to the website, you should make sure that they are optimised for the Internet.

Most cameras these days take photos at 5 megapixels and beyond. This is far too big for the web, and may impact the speed at which your page loads.

How do I resize photos?

I recommend that you use a free program from Google called Picasa to batch process resizing many photos at once, and in nearly no time at all. It makes a backup of your original photos (so you won’t lose them), and places your web-ready photos in a new folder. To download and install Picasa, follow these steps:

  1. Download Picasa
  2. Click “Run” and wait for it to download
  3. Install the program
  4. Open Picasa, and wait for it to search your computer for images
  5. Now that you have Picasa installed, to resize your images/photos follow these steps:
  6. Select all the photos that you would like to use on the website
  7. Go to “File” and then click “Export Photos to Folder…” (see image below)
  8. Set the location and folder for exported files (I have chosen to make a new folder on the Desktop called “For Web”)
  9. Set image size options: A good size is 300 pixels.
  10. Set image quality to Normal
  11. Click “OK” and wait for the process to finish

Once that’s finished, you now have photos ready to upload to the website. Make sure you “Browse” to the folder you just created when you upload.

CMS – How to use the page editor

Word-like tools

Most of the functions of our CMS page editor are similar to Microsoft Word, as you can see below:

Uploading photos

To upload photos, follow these steps:

  1. Position the cursor where you would like the image to go
  2. Click the “Insert/Edit Image” button
  3. Insert/Edit image button
  4. Select the third tab – “Upload”
  5. Click “Browse” and find the file on your computer to upload
  6. Click “Send it to server” and wait to receive confirmation
  7. Click “OK” and then “OK”

Creating links

To create links, follow these steps:

Link to a page, email or website:

For this example, we will create a link to the Drawstring homepage:

  1. Type text and select it, or select an image (this will be what your visitors will click)
  2. Click “Insert/Edit Link”
  3. Insert/Edit Link button
  4. Type the address for the link
    Tip: If it’s a page on your existing website, you can remove the domain name. For example, “www.drawstring.com.au/default.php?page=500”, you can just type “/default.php?page=500”
  5. Click “OK” and then “OK”

Link to a file

Type text and select it, or select an image (this will be what your visitors will click)

  1. Click “Insert/Edit Link”
  2. Insert/Edit Link button
  3. Select the third tab – “Upload”
  4. Click “Browse” and find the file on your computer to upload – it can be doc, pdf, xls, and more
  5. Click “Send it to server” and wait to receive confirmation
  6. Click “OK” and then “OK”

Tables

To create a table, follow these steps:

  1. Click the “Insert/Edit Table” button
  2. Insert/Edit Table button
  3. Type the number of columns and rows you would like the table to have.
    Tip: You can add columns and rows as you are editing it later, so don’t worry too much.
  4. Choose the width
    Tip: Perhaps around 500 pixels, or leave this box empty to allow the system to attempt to size it automatically based on the information you enter.
  5. I recommend you remove the border. Set this to zero
  6. Click “OK”

You can now start typing into the table.

Tip: Use the arrow keys to move from cell to cell. The tab key will not work.

Using Webmail

To access your emails anywhere in the world, you can use Drawstring Webmail.

Where can I find it?

Webmail is accessible in two ways:

  • webmail.drawstring.com.au
  • yourdomain.com/webmail

Logging in

Login with your:

  • full email address
  • and password

Using webmail

Your email folders appear down the left, and will tell you if you have any new emails.Simply click the folder you would like to view to view a listing of all emails.

New email

To compose a new email, click “Compose” – found at the top of the page.

Search emails

To search your emails, click “Search” – found at the top of the page next to “Help”.