business

Three Key Things To Look For In A Web Developer

| business, development (web) | 2 Comments

Web standards, CSS, Upgradable System With thousands of businesses promoting web design and development services, it can be hard to know what to look for. Other than the obvious method of looking at their previous work and deciding if you like their design style, there are many other important factors you should consider. Here is a short list of three key things that you should ensure your web developer has no matter how big or small your project is.

Follows web standards

This is important for a number of reasons. First of all it helps to ensure that your site is accessible to the largest number of users possible. This includes users with disabilities as well as search engines. Secondly, it helps to ensure that your site loads quickly and isn’t padded out with unnecessary code. And thirdly, it helps to ensure that your site is future proof and compatible in a variety of browser and different platforms. With new browsers and internet capable devices (such as the iPhone) coming out every couple of months, you don’t want to have to keep redoing your website every time a new technology comes out.

Uses CSS and not inline styles or table based layouts

CSS allows a developer to separate the design component of a page (for example colours and styles) from the actual content (i.e. the text). By doing this not only is the code cleaner, but it also means that changes to the visual appearance of your site can be done in minutes and are effective throughout every page in your site, instead of having to update each and every file to match. In regards to using tables for layout, not only does this breach web standards, but they also pad out the code of your website making it slower and harder for screen readers and search engines such as Google to read.

System can easily be upgraded as your business needs grow

There’s no point in getting a website developed that you have to redo from scratch 6 months later as your business needs change. Make sure that the system is flexible enough that new features and content can be added as required. This can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Mojito Solutions launch

| business | One Comment

Well it’s official. I am now a small business owner. Well technically I have owned the business name and been planning for the last 9 months, but I have just finished launching the website for my new business venture, Mojito Solutions, so now it seems official.

So how did it all start?

I have wanted to establish my own business for as long as I can remember. About 7 years ago, I was working in the retail industry and inspired by the thought of being able to obtain clothes at cost prices, thought it would be great to start my own fashion store. Three years later, I was halfway through studying business and information technology at Uni, when it occurred to me that the fashion industry wasn’t really for me, and that my real passion revolved around technology and computers. Towards the end of my degree, lured by the attractiveness and variety of websites and web applications, I decided to make the switch from desktop applications to the web industry.

After working for a year for a local web development company, I suddenly felt that I had the confidence and inspiration I needed to start my own business. It seemed like the perfect step forward, and I knew that until I did this, I would always be left wondering how it may have gone.

Who is Mojito Solutions, and what do I plan to do?

Mojito Solutions is a web design and development business which specialises in integrating technology, design and usability. Currently it is just me working about 4 days a week and some evenings, until things start to take off, which hopefully they will and then I am hoping to be able to employ a graphic designer (not my strongest point) and one day offer graduate programs and work experience and education to students.

Where to now?

Now I need to work on establishing a client base, so if you know anyone who is looking for a website, get them to send me an email at: info@mojitosolutions.com I am also working on establishing some business systems, and will also hopefully get some time to re-commence work on my GTD (Getting Things Done) application which had temporarily been placed on hold while I tried to manage running a business, studying everything I could, moving house and working fulltime.

Business of web design – 35 tips from James Archer @ SXSW07

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James Archer CEO of Forty Media talked at SXSW07 about his tips on issues affecting web professionals. Here are my notes on the key topics he discussed. You can download the full podcast @ http://2007.sxsw.com/blogs/podcasts.php/2007/06/

  1. Limit your services
  2. Find a role model
  3. Don’t be flaky to your clients (stay dedicated, and follow through)
  4. Document your success
    “the hard part is growing your business and making other people understand what is good about your business.”
  5. Don’t trust your own brain – write things down or you’ll forget
  6. Don’t let your clients follow up with you – you should five them updates before they get a chance
  7. Don’t let your colleagues follow up with you – become reliable so that when they ask for something they know it will get done
  8. Talk to people you don’t know
  9. Always be teaching (tutorial marketing)
  10. Beware of perfection – cost of perfection is high
  11. Avoid free projects
  12. Don’t waste money on stuff you don’t need
  13. Don’t let yourself get ripped off. You shouldn’t get to a point where its done and you haven’t received any money – create contracts
  14. Be firm with your clients
  15. Don’t jump through hoops for clients especially for unpaid work upfront
  16. Shape clients ideas so that they think they thought of it
  17. Don’t bill by the hour, clients should be paying for you doing it right which is based on experience, qualifications etc.
  18. Track your time
  19. Honour your commitments and keep deadlines
  20. Understand the physics of a project
  21. Build your portfolio – don’t do work that you cant put in your portfolio
  22. Use the right tools
  23. Differentiate and find your own niche and be good at it
  24. Set company principles
  25. Be excited about your work
  26. Be straight with your clients
  27. Always do whats right
  28. Plan for the future – think long and short term
  29. Plan your work and work your plan
  30. Customers should come second, employees and yourself should come first
  31. Treat every dollar that you get from your business as an investment
  32. Treat your clients like you love them. Don’t treat them like a number, figure out how you can make them successful because if they are successful you will be successful
  33. Create solid contracts
  34. If you work at it you will succeed
  35. Take time to play to keep the creative juices flowing