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.
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.
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.
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.
2023 WTF - What's The Future
Future predictions are often made from technical analysis, which is more or less mapping past behavior to numerical values to provide direction over time. Consider that everything is in a constant state of motion. Motion in this sense in the flow of money, where resources are being placed and reallocated from.
As a simplified example, let's compare money and water without all the complexities. The amount of water on the planet is always the same. Sometimes it's stored in lakes, reservoirs, oceans, people, crops, but there's always the same amount of water on the planet. You can't destroy it, you can pollute it, clean it, and what evaporates here ends up as rain somewhere else. Glaciers melt, oceans rise etc, but still the same amount of water exists.
The supply of money is much more complicated, but this is a simple example. When I hear that money was wiped away or billions lost from various investment vehicles, most of that growth was fictitious to begin with, sinking below initial investment levels to actual value is the real loss numbers and those dollars end up being reallocated just like water. Crypto was and is a Ponzi scheme. And, those base crypto investment dollars have resurfaced as luxury homes, vehicles, lavish lifestyles by the people who got in at the beginning. Sorry to those of you who lost and thought this was a way to get rich quick, i.e. get something for nothing, but nature has a way of balancing the equation. Money flowed into these investments, but that doesn't justify the value of them. A stock with a P/E ratio of 2000 times earnings is a mistake of the same sort. Long way to a point, but follow the money and make sure your future investments are backed by solid principals.
The future holds a correction in the markets and in so many other areas. Gartner forecasts IT spending to grow 5% overall in 2023 with 11% placed in software development. Read the article here and decide where and why to put your development resources. Domain names are the cornerstone of developing a new company, a new brand, product line or income stream. Get the best names while you still can.
It's getting harder to tell your kids to put away the video games and get a real job when stories like this are popping up in the news. How video games turn teenagers into millionaires. The point of interest in the article that caught my eye is the statement that these careers weren't available 5 to 10 years ago and that even in this flux that we are now seeing where AI (artificial intelligence) is taking jobs away from people, other career paths are emerging. Let's hope new careers can keep up with the ones being lost to AI. Realistically, it's a lopsided equation in favor of automation. But, learning to be an entrepreneur and riding the trends of a market in flux, you just may be able to make enough to last a lifetime.
Take a look through the BBC's Bright Sparks section and see what what the smart kids are doing.
There's a lot of talk about traffic and SEO and I wanted to mention a few key points on building volume. First, your sites needs to built correctly so search engines can read it. That's a technical discussion for a later date, but needs to be in place for other methods to work. Setup Google Analytics and a few others so you can triangulate and see what's actually working. Without a measure your're driving blind. If you don't have a blog, add one. It will be the most read page on your site and you can feed it directly to social media. The Post Viewed tag in the lower right corner of each article here is misleading, it's not how many times it's been viewed, it represents how many times the Read More tag has been clicked. For the record, the main page of this Tech Notes blog gets viewed between 3k to 7k times on any given day.
Dynamic content isn't just tailoring your site to your unique visitors, it's generating relevant and fresh new content for your site. Having this dynamic content is what is going to improve your SEO score and the quality of traffic you receive. There's no way to short cut this process. Some of the most intelligent minds at Google are continually working the algorithm to weed out the junk and click bait. If you write compelling articles and add epic content regularly, your numbers will begin to perk up. If you work it, expect about a 25% increase in qualified traffic and that will be significant to any business that you're in. Google has some great webmaster tools here. Give the PageSpeed Insights test a try and see how your site scores. Your site may need more work than you think. Keep it fresh and keep it growing, make a bigger target.