I wanted to do a little post on my web development process. I get asked what programs and services I use to develop and how I use them to keep my wide range of projects organized and moving. The first thing you need to know about me, is that I am a full process web developer; I can take a website from an idea up through coding, graphics design, launch, and marketing. My true background is in marketing. I have have a Bachelors of Business Marketing from Georgia State University here in Atlanta, GA. My actual coding and graphics design skills were all self taught using a wide arrange of internet resources, books, and a lot of free time. Well, lets get cracking!
I purchase all my domains through GoDaddy, and have been doing this for over 5 year now. I tried multiple domain registrars when I first started out, but nothing compared to the UI of GoDaddy.com, and the wonderful customer service they are able to offer. I use GoDaddy purely as a domain registrar. They offers a wide range of other services and products, but I can’t give reviews or advise on these other items because I have never used them.
Another aspect of Godaddy that is great for saving money, is GoDaddy coupon codes, not may use them, but everyone should. GoDaddy coupon codes can be found by simply searching Google for GoDaddy Coupons. I save an easy 15% to 20% on every domain I purchase from GoDaddy just by using a coupon code I find publicly on the web. This can add up if you have 10 to 20 domains that you renew each year.
I recently upgrade this site and all my others to a Media Temple (dv) server. I have been with Media Temple for some time now, and plan to be with them for a longtime to go. Media Temple has been nothing but good to me. You can trust me on this one because I have a long history with multiple host and the problems that came with them. Yes, you can get hosting for $3 a month, but the quality of customer service and server up time will refect that low price.
Media Temple prides themselves on having steller customer service. 90% of there staff is directly related to customer service. When you call them, someone answers, and when you email them, they will tell you almost exactly how much time it will be before you can expect a reply. Trust me when I say, Media Temple can’t be beat!
Yes, TextMate is a text editor, but hides a ton of goodies under its simple yet beautiful UI. I am planning to-do a full write up on all that TextMate has to offer int he near future. I pair TextMate with Transmit, a Mac ftp application that works with TextMate to give you a simple keyboard shortcut to save and upload the file you are currently working on. This will all be discussed in a future post.
Another important thing to consider when scripting a site, is cross browser compatibility and code standards. I push all my code through The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) validations before I launch a site. As I said, scripting is an art form, and it needs to be done right if you want people to notice.
For graphics design, I have always used a single program, and that is Adobe Photoshop. I have been using Photoshop for many year, and have been through 2 or 3 different versions. Currently I am working with the new version, Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended. When it comes to graphics design, Photoshop is the best of the best. CS4 has added a bunch of new features and a decent UI upgrade, so far I am very happy with it.
If you plan to break into the web development business, learning Photoshop would be one of the most important things you could do. I know it is crazy expensive, the best advice I can give you, is that if you are still in school, take advantage of educational pricing, which can reduce the cost of Adobe products greatly. Photoshop CS4 is currently priced at $299.00 ($999.00 regular) for students and educators.
As for marketing, there is no real clear cut way to market a site; it really depends on the type of site. A law market blog would be marketed completely different from a technology blog. The best advice I can give is to take advantages of the self marketing/social networking services that are available these days. Services like Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, and LinkedIn can help an individual sucessfully market themselves and there site.
Socail networking is a simple way to market something in this day and age. You just have to make sure you do it correctly. Internet users are very aware of when someone is trying to just plug a product, and when someone is really passionate about something and wants to share it with other. Don’t spam social networks or blogs to gather links. Spamming will never help you, it will hurt your reputation as a crediable source and could possibly lead to being banned from major search engines like Google.
When you work with multiple projects at one time, organization is a major factor to take into account. I use 2 separate applications to keep my thoughts and schedules organized. For overall project to-do’s and notes, I use a program called Things (reviewed and discussed in earlier post.) I use Things to organize general projects to-do’s and tasks. An example of this would be “Install and Configure WordPress Script…” Below is a live example of one of my newest projects in Things.
The second method of organization is on a more specific level. When I am in the scripting state of development, I use TextMate’s built in to-do bundle. This allows me to enter to-do list items on any page in my current project and use a keyboard shortcut to bring up a list of all my file specific to-do’s with links back to that line in the specific file.
Well, that about does it, I don’t think I missed anything. I am interested in your feedback. What tools and services do you use in web development? How do you market your products or services, and have you been successful?