A freelance web developer is a wearer of many hats.
The designer must be able to shift between analytical thought and artistic processes at the drop of a hat, and needs to always thinking in terms of marketing the website. There are a number of issues that the designer must keep in mind at all times, and that makes designing a website, especially from scratch, a challenge. There are a number of puzzle pieces that must be fit together in order to make a successful website, and those pieces must fit together seamlessly for the site to work.
The coding for a site is the hardest part to design.
The HTML for most sites is somewhat easy; it forms the framework onto which all of the rest of the site hangs. The CSS coding becomes the ligaments, connecting all of the individual pages together. Java, JQuery, PHP add some functionality. This coding also allows it to interact with either the server hosting the site or the computer of the visitor, allowing the site a little additional functionality as well as the ability remember some things by using cookies. By combining all of this coding together the programmer is able to create sites that can handle whatever the client needs it to handle.
The website must also look good.
A designer must be able to design a least some of the graphics for the site, even though the client may supply their own graphics for use. There are a number of graphics required to properly use a site, ranging from arrows showing how to navigate the site, as well as how it may work with other sites. If the client has a theme that must be integrated into the site’s design, the designer must be able to integrate that into graphics of the site. The HTML of the site must also look good, especially the tables and frames. All of this requires some artistic talent.
Both of these must be integrated into a coherent whole.
The coding must make the graphics easy to use, just as the graphics must make the coding pop. It gets more interesting when other elements are added, such as the coding for Google Analytics or advertising banners. There are other challenges to coding, such as video, audio, and even Flash elements, and the designer must know how to not only integrate them but make them look good.
However, the website must be able to be integrated into the client’s marketing as well.
This means that there must be buttons for any of the client’s social marketing, and that the site must optimized for search engines. This means that the freelance web developer must be able to look through the website’s code and determine where tags can be added in the code. The search engines will look for that code and use them to decide where the site goes in the archives of the search engines, as well as how relevant it is for those keywords.
This is where it helps to think in terms of marketing.
There are a number of different elements that need to be combined for the search engines to properly place the website. There a number of meta-tags that must be allowed for because most search engines pay special to them; the content on the page must match those tags in order for the site to be given relevance in the search engines, and that relevance is what determines the placement in the search engine rankings. Thus, a good designer must be able to integrate the content on the site well with the chosen meta-tags.
A good designer must also be able to suggest a good marketing plan.
As search engine optimization also implies that the site has visitors, another marker of relevance. As such he must know of various site directories and the most relevant for the website in question. They must also be able to make sure that the site is well-described, as a good description can make or break the site. He must also be able to integrate the site into other marketing materials for the client, such as brochures and social marketing. A website is no longer just an island in the internet sea but the tip of an iceberg.
A good designer must combine all of this into a coherent hole and make it look good.
There are any number of ways to do and a good designer knows a lot of them and is always developing more. He may have templates for most uses, but occasionally finds reason to come up with entirely new designs. He is always learning new things and developing his own skills, especially as the world of the internet force designer to keep up or get ground up. There is no disputing the necessity of a good designer, especially in today’s business world.