There are a lot of developers out there that are looking for a language and trusted technology that they can build a career with, and whether you're new to web development or out to create your own Amazon site, you can't go wrong with DNNSoftware's CMS, formerly know as DotNetNuke, and DNN Dev's life saving power tool XMod Pro.
With just these two elements, one can build a digital empire.
Don't take my word for it, go search their sites out and take a look at the client list that builds with both of these components. It's more than impressive, and a lot of these sites are built by a single developer or just a small team. And, even more impressive are the people who started it all, built these platforms and the community they've fostered.
I've been developing with DNN for 8 years and I'm still grateful to Shawn Walker of DNN Software and Kelly and Malinda Ford at DNN Dev. I honestly can't say enough good things about either of them or the products that they've built.
Brand Building is Web Development
When setting out to develop a new website for a client the first thing to consider is their brand. Defining a brand is a lot like writing a business plan for an organization. Who's their customer, what is their demographic, current corporate culture and visibility across all media along with consistency regarding these representations. Sometimes a client expects development of a website to be just stamping out code, but it's much more artistry and expertise than that going on to get it right. I wouldn't just start nailing boards together if I were a builder, the site, direction, watershed, parking, permits and a 100 other items need to be considered before breaking ground. The same holds true for web development and I would recommend reading up on these sites listed below about building your brand before developing the wrong site for your business.
First, have or get the right domain name. Brandgy.com can clue you in as to why that's so important. Learn about branding your business with these no nonsense guides available through HowToBuildABrand.org These folks out of the UK know what they are doing and it's explained in a way that you can see how it effects other facets of your business. SearchEngineJournal.com puts the technical edge on your brand strategy. Their site maybe a good read for the more technically inclined, but getting found is what it's all about going forward into 2018 and beyond.
Writing is a huge part of building a great website and also the point where most sites fall short. Writing content isn't easy for most developers, they are good with the technical end and years ago with Visual Basic, I remember contests where it would challenge developers to write a function with less words last guy. Kind of like the show Name That Tune, where contestants had to identify a song within a few beats. Writers do a similar thing with landing the hook in the first sentence of a book. The challenge is can you grab the reader's attention and hold it with the first sentence. I've come up with a great one for a book I'll finish someday so I'm not going to reveal it here. One of my favorite comes from British historian and author Stewart Colette in his book Mumba. Here it is, "When you fall in love after the age of thirty, it's usually with someone else's wife." And, the Snoopy classic, "It was a dark and stormy night".
I enjoy writing without all the syntax and code sometimes, simply just to paint the picture with words is a true art, almost a lost art. Programming is art form, too. It's satisfying building a site and seeing it all come together, both form and function. The only drawback to coding is that the language changes often and web programming is an incorporation of many languages. For people outside the industry this would be like having to do your job in Russian and Italian starting next month. It has stabilized in the last 7 years and that's made development very productive.
There's a lot to learn in web development, you have to be a designer, graphic artist, software developer, marketing professional and author to make something worth going to. I am a one man band that enjoys getting it all done. If you're looking to have some work done, I'm looking for a good client. Feel free to call or send a message and let's see what you have in mind.
The key method of developing your business is advertising. Call it integrated marketing with all the other forms of getting your message out, but it still boils down to advertising, which is making it public and memorable.
You may advertise in a trade magazine or on a billboard, but your website is the only form of advertising that's constantly available to your audience. Your domain name is the focal point for all of these marketing components, at the corner stone, and the foundation from where you build your brand upon.
Get a dot com name. Other extensions may gain popularity in 20 years, but for the foreseeable future your marketing efforts will end up in the junk folder. Even in tech where .io and .ai have some traction with start ups, it translates into they're in beta, not ready for primetime. As a decision maker can you back your choice of doing business with an organization that's not really established?
Read my last post about Branding for Authority and Affinity for more information. Here are some premium domain names that I have for sale.
I graduated high school a year early on the condition set by my parents that I attend a junior college. So I enrolled for a couple of night classes at what was locally referred to as UCLA or University Closest to Lambert Avenue, better known as College of DuPage in Lombard Illinois. I signed up for a couple of classes. One class was Intro to Business and after a couple of days into the class I was really enjoying it. Our instructor was like no teacher I had in high school he had an unorthodox method of getting his points across and when he began the course he started by telling us that he wasn't going to teach us the way business was done by the book, he was going explain business in the real world and how to be successful in it. This got my attention and when he told us that he caught Mitsubishi's initial listing on the American stock exchange making millions and was only teaching there for 1 dollar a year, he had my full attention. At the age of 17 I didn't know what I wanted to do, I only knew what I didn't want to do, and that was working in a 9 to 5 grind for the rest of my life.
Without getting on a rant here, one of the main points he kept emphasizing was to spot trends in business and consumer behavior. I look for trends daily and one source I keep going back to is BusinessInsider.com. If there's any indication of what the future holds it will be a change in currency. Follow the money trail here, there are several start ups in the financial sector where investment is in internet financial vehicles, financial tools, cryto-coins, lending platforms and investment can be viewed more of a diversification of the current financial institutions. The finance industry knows which way the wind is blowing, they're closer to the ground floor of business in general, they know what the numbers are. Here's a link to some of the top Nordic startups.
The obvious investment is clicks and bricks, solid online business models. And, whatever you're doing, it will be online.
Here's a company I discovered while looking for some keyword analysis on my GeorgiaBeachHomes.com website, Wordstream.
Not only does Wordstream offer keyword advice and optimization, they have a suite of utilities to tune up your marketing campaigns. Wordstream is a Google and Facebook Premier Partner leading the industry in search optimization.
I like the design of their wesite too and they have a wealth of information for those of you just getting started with online advertising. Spend a little time reading though the Pay Per Click University and learn about bid management and conversion tracking.
There's a lot to branding your business in sync with your domain name and I'm just going to discuss a few key points that begin with the letter A.
Authority and Affinity
Being a brand authority now of days is having a powerful domain name. Powerful domain names are valuable because they are memorable and reflect your business as a leader in your industry. Like it or not we live in the age of information overload, and that's a good thing. As a kid I would ride my bike back and forth to the library trying to juggle a stack of books, knowledge and products from all over the world are now at anyone's finger tips from just about anywhere. How does a customer find, return to, or recommend your business in a sea of 1.7 billion websites all competing for the first page of Google? This is why your domain name matters.
Affinity is the sense of the natural path to your business, a relationship to or the path of the least resistance. If a customer has to remember your domain name or apply a silly extension, not only are they going to have a hard time getting back to you, it's even more difficult for them to refer your company to their contacts. Word of mouth is still a powerful tool in growing your business.
Here's a few great articles on the subject of branding and why your domain name matters: Spend Less on SEO, More on a Memorable Brand by Jamie Zoch and The True Cost of Your Domain Name by Chris Zuiker.
One point I would add to both of these articles is that not acquiring your matching domain name is leaving the door open for your competition to purchase it. Some companies have spent millions just to keep their competition from having them.