For the last few years I have been working toward having my own website design company. I have designed about half a dozen websites for friends and family. This I would say is most web-designers start in the business.
Younger ones may even have the chance to go to a code camp and get hands on coding experience, which is great of course. I actually want to go to a camp next year if I can afford it. Of course you have different opportunities if you’re in your twenties and even thirties than when you’re in your late fifties!! My expectations have to be more what I can do for myself as any company would prefer to hire a coder that would be a bit younger. I get this and I’m not complaining. I think I would much prefer to be a freelancer than part of a design business. But that is where getting into the business becomes a bit more of a challenge.
Where to begin?
As I mentioned before most people start this business helping out friends and family. It’s a great way to get the feet wet and you get an opportunity to iron out the bugs (should there be any of course!!)
It’s also really common for newbies (hate that term), to charge much less as they don’t have the confidence to ask for the $60-$90 per hour a full stack web developer can earn. For your info there are front end developers who create websites, there are coders who can also use software to talk to the server/database in case you had a store or needed some specific actions to take place like a membership etc: Facebook. The dynamic aspects require server side languages and having that knowledge makes you a full stack developer. Personally I am studying it but not sure if I want to go into applications as such, the answer is still out on that one!
What I have learned (short version)!
There are so many ways to build a website it’s crazy, but the things that you should consider are really not too hard to grasp.
How much are you willing to spend on a website?
The answer to this is how important is a website for what you are trying to achieve.
If you have a online business and this is the way you intend to make money it’s crazy important you don’t skimp. If your site goes down for a few days and you lose hundreds of dollars it would be a hard lesson to learn.
Is your website not an online business but just to promote a static business?
I would still make sure it’s hosted with a good website hosting company. You don’t want any downtime and you don’t want to hacked! Yes I secure my websites and many attempts have been made. The cheaper hosting companies will look after their computers but not your website, you are responsible for that. Always back up you’re site!
Nearly 50% of website traffic is now either mobile phone or tablet, if your website is responsive you’re good. if not you will go down in google rankings!
WordPress or not WordPress?
It was only recently when a friend asked me to look at her website as it needs updating, it’s not mobile friendly it is not WordPress or another CMS (content management system). So in order for her to update the content she would have to use an FTP (File transfer protocol) to update her website using html and she doesn’t know code.
I looked at the code for her website and it was fine, but just being the html there was no easy interface for a regular person to add or change content.
I have coded many websites and some are interactive using different CSS libraries like Bootstrap. But to have the non coder use their website it truly needs a CMS either WordPress or Drupal.
Last I want to talk about the free websites, you can create a website using wordpress.com or wix.com and with wordpress for a not too large sum of money you can even have your own url (yourname.com).
There will be advertising and you are limited to what you can add but it’s doable for a web presence. Wix to be honest I don’t know much, it’s probably quite reasonable for the free page but any more content and functions will probably require some kind of payment.
In the end the choice is always yours, but don’t bet tempted to spend money on this unless it’s required. Remember you have choices!