Into Web Development
- Get the Web site created. This is when you execute the contents of the design and development document for your project. While I have coded up custom sites, unless you have a very particular business venture, you can make use of one of the many packages that are a real ‘website in a box’ that can be set up quickly for your needs. For most people ask me for help, the first best choice is usually WordPress. With over a thousand layouts (‘themes’) to choose from, you can find something that looks like what you want. There are lots of built in ‘bells and whistles’ these days, like slide shows, RSS feeds, image galleries, and they are all within reach. Software for WordPress falls into one of three categories: the core, themes, and plugins.
- How not to get a site: Making a site from scratch can be a good basic exercise, and you can learn a lot from doing this. However, you will quickly find you need an efficient way to add updates, change content, make use of other resources like social networking, different kinds of media, different languages perhaps. A scratch built site will soon be a ball of spaghetti that is difficult to maintain if there is not a well organized ‘separation of concerns’. You are also reinventing the wheel. There are things to avoid at all cost, like designers whose only skill attribute is using Photoshop, and use it as a web development tool. Those kinds of people create stupid garbage that people like me get saddled with the miserable chore of cleaning up long after they are gone. Also if you need a developer to do your content updates, something is terribly wrong.
- Selling something? If you are selling like one thing, get a PayPal account. Selling a bunch of stuff, you will need to run your site on a package like Zen Cart, OsCommerce, or something similar. If you do you will need a dedicated IP address in your hosting (cheap), and a secure certificate, so you can have an ‘https’ web address. Cost for that is about $50 per year. You can also consider buying into an online marketplace like the one Yahoo or Etsy.com offers.