5 Top Tips To Choose The Best Website Development Company

When you are developing a website for your business it’s highly likely that you know exactly the kind of look you want even if you’re no website design expert. There are websites that are a joy to navigate and others which seem purposefully designed to annoy and frustrate. Some simply look stunning from the home page and beyond but fail to deliver great, interesting content. Developing a great, user-friendly and informative website is no easy task. Here’s the bottom line on choosing the best firm to develop your company website.

Check their Technical Skills: They may sound highly plausible but have they the technical skills to match your requirements? Find out about their experience and whether they are skilled in system integration and advanced coding. If an online purchase and payment system is fundamental to your website, check that they can deliver. Ask for evidence to support the above.

Check the Team’s Expertise: It is essential that you hire a website development company with expertise in graphic design, content writing and search engine optimization (SEO). All of these elements need to be completely intertwined to create a fabulous website – the final website must look amazing, must be a great read and must rank highly on search engine results. Ask about the team members who will be developing your website and confirm there is the right mix of expertise in these three key areas.

What do previous customers say? Ask previous clients for their feedback. This is essential when making your decision about which company to hire. Find out if the company kept them updated on progress regularly and whether they would hire them again – which can be very telling! Previous clients can give you insight into the reality of working with the web development company and this can swing your decision to a yes or a no.

Do you like them? Meet with the company and speak face-to-face with whoever will be driving your website development project. Test the waters by asking if they would take on board your design and navigation ideas. If not, do they provide good rationale? Does the team seem enthusiastic and ready to get to work? It goes without saying that if you don’t get good vibes about the team, you won’t be able to work with them smoothly and frankly they are not the company to hire.

Does their quote match your budget? Every business has a budget for a new website so the company you want to hire needs to fall within it. But don’t assume that the highest quote equates to the best website or that a low quote means you will end up with a disappointing result. Price is fundamental, but in addition to the cost, factor in the company’s expertise, experience and previous client testimonials to ensure that you get the right website for your company at the right price. Website development is a competitive industry and you may be able to hire an excellent and well-recommended company at a competitive price if you follow the tips above.

Tips on Finding a Good Web Developer

Looking for a web developer can be difficult. Since licensing requirements are not important in being a web developer, lots of individuals are engaging into web developing. Skills and knowledge contained in web development market can be learned and acquired easily through lots of sources.

1. Specialization

Most web developers are hidden by the fact that they are programmers or graphic designers. However, being a programmer and graphic designer at the same time, entails a lot of skills and practice. It is indeed a challenging task to find people who do well in both fields. It is better if you find an individual who will take care in designing your site and a person who will do your programming. If you are able to find someone who can do both jobs, then you should take a closer look at his or her portfolio.

2. Strong Portfolio

The impact that a web devs creates is always important to a client like you. This work will show you what to expect on the result of your transaction – if he can meet your demands and requirements, or if he can go beyond the expectation. They must have all the necessary information on their portfolios so that you will know what to expect for the outcome. Also, to know the capacity or capability of the developer you are hiring. The portfolio will also serve as a catalogue so you can choose from the designs that you want to be incorporated on the type you want.

3. Marketing

The internet nowadays has been very useful as a marketing element. You cannot just make a web site now and then done! No, you need to have your web site undergo search engine optimization. This will help you to boost up your web site’s rankings in major search engines even if your business is only small. Look for a web developer then who can perform search engine optimization. The creativity isn’t just the basis of one person. Designs are not enough to make your business site flourish.

4. Website Host

Before signing with web devs, it must be made clear to you who will host and assist you in case of errors and failures on any hosting or email aspects. They should be able to recognize their responsibilities to their clients like you. This is to ensure that when a problem occurs, the web devs himself and the hosting company won’t pin-point on each other. They should have a bracket regarding what aspect they should be involved on.

5. Long Term

There are many things to be considered when speaking of how long your web site will last. Of course, everybody wants it for a long period of time. This will help you decide on which web devs to choose. A good web developer should always put you first on everything before himself. This will prove you that you still have total control over your business. He should not cheat! He must be able to make you understand also how the process of maintaining your web site will do too.


Productivity Tips Web Development

We want to encourage you to find out which concepts/ideas work best for you and let you save some time in your web development cycle.

Where to begin?

There a lot of things which have to be considered during the entire web development process. Project plans, concepts, designs, development, testing and many more things. In this article we take a look at a variety of tips that help you managing your time more effectively.

Manage distractions

Email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Whatsapp and so on. We’ve all been there and we all know how distracting these channels can be. Believe it or not, all these notifications shooting across your screens are giving you a hard time concentrating on the things which have to be done.

2.8 seconds and you’re out

A conducted study by Erik Altmann at the Michigan State University found out that a distraction lasting 2.8 seconds already leads to an 100% increase of your errors. This means that even a short distraction leads to a massive increase in your errors.

We recommend taking a couple of minutes each day managing potential distractions:

Close unnecessary applications
mute non-relevant notifications
clean up your desk (yes, even a cluttered desk influences your concentration)
Set scheduled breaks for answering your emails
Put yourself on productivity time

Managing your distractions also means managing your social interaction with friends and co-workers. Being regularly distracted by co-workers of course, influences your productivity. It doesn’t mean that you should bury yourself from social interactions. However we recommend giving your co-workers friendly signals when you’re approachable and when you’re not.

We’ve seen this note on the facebook page of the german tech magazine t3n where the second screen is used to show colleagues if you’re on productivity time or not – even if this example is not that friendly

Give yourself time limits

Working on a product or project means breaking down the set goals in deliverables. Managing these deliverables also means knowing how long a particular task should take.

We at Usersnap experienced that setting a time limit around each task will give you some productivity boost. A sense of urgency helps you to improve your focus on the important tasks which needs to be done.

Which time management technique for web developers?

We recommend encouraging your team to use time management techniques like Pomodoro. The Pomodoro Technique allows you to break down your work into intervals, separated by a short break. Each interval normally last for 25 minutes. The concept aims to improve your productivity through taking short breaks in between.

Make clear that the “pomodoro breaks” allows you to read mail and do other communication tasks. One should not be interrupted too often.

Of course there are further concepts – such as the Definition of Done for example. From our experience, the definition of done is a great concept to follow when analysing your tasks and things which needs to be done. The concept ensures that your web development team is actually delivering features/tasks which are truly done, not only in terms of functionality, but also concerning the quality of the feature. Fur further information please have a look at Dhaval Panchal’s article of the Definition of Done concept.

Stay focused

A lot of us are quite ambitious in accomplishing a lot of things in the shortest possible time. There are a lot of tools for different tasks out there which let you focus on the single thing which needs to be done at the moment.

5 Tips for Hiring Freelance Web Talent for Your Startup

Let’s face it. The Internet was supposed to make life easier for everyone. And in the age of Amazon, small businesses need to harness the potential of the web more than ever before to compete effectively.

Yet it seems, as small business owners, we’re left with limited, cookie-cutter options (a la GoDaddy), or worse, outsourcing to a web agency in another country.

Then, of course, we look cautiously at the middle option, and that’s the freelance web developer and web designer. Problem solved! Right?

Well, in a lot of experiences, it’s more trouble than it’s worth, unless you know exactly what to look for.

So how can small businesses make better decisions about how and when to hire web developers and web designers?

As a web professional and small business owner who has made these mistakes on both sides of the table, here are 5 solid tips on the do’s and don’ts for hiring freelance web talent.

1. DO set a budget and timeline first

Asking for quotes on a project before knowing how much you’re willing to spend and when you need it by is not very practical.

Yet this happens more often than people would think.

You should figure out exactly what the end product is supposed to do for you. Then set your maximum budget based on what you think you could get out of it at minimum over time.

Moreover, find out how much time you can buy with your budget, and ask to see your prospective hire perform a little bit of work for you in person to assess their chops before committing for the long haul.

2. DON’T mistake moonlighting for freelancing

We all have that friend who knows a developer or designer whom we can hire on the weekends or evenings.

But when we need that person the most, it seems they’re not available for days, weeks or even months because of the commitment that their actual full-time job demands.

Consider your needs for the short-term and long-term. If you’re hiring for a quick job and don’t care if you ever see or hear from that person again, that’s fine.

However, if you even think you’ll need more than that, look for someone who has chosen full-time freelancing and can be there to support you in the months to come.

3. DON’T reinvent the wheel

The web has given birth to many great apps, services, and platforms.

For instance, using Squarespace for a quick website saves a lot of development and design time. Shopify is a fantastic ecommerce platform with many apps and themes that can be customized. WordPress is the holy grail because anyone can use it for practically anything.

Most importantly, companies and foundations exist to support and improve these platforms 24/7.

If a solution exists for you and you don’t know how to set it up or incorporate it properly into your existing website or business, that’s a good time to consider hiring a developer or designer.

If you don’t know what to choose, ask as part of a consultation what app or platform can be used to minimize the amount of development and design time necessary to get the job done.

ALSO: Resist the temptation to engage a developer in making an app or platform for you from scratch just to get a handful of features that work exactly the way you want them to.

Some developers will happily work on customizing a solution to give you exactly what you want.

However, when you do that, you have to ask yourself, will this developer be around to support this product year-round? How much will that potentially cost? (Tends to be a lot.) What if you suddenly need a new feature designed and implemented and the developer has moved on to other projects?

Unless you’re getting in the business of building and maintaining an app or platform, stick to what works out of the box until you know exactly what you need, why you need it, and whether it’s worth the investment.

4. DON’T hire single-skill freelance web talent, unless you know that’s exactly what you need

For small business projects, a web developer who only knows how to code is about as helpful as a designer who only knows how to use Photoshop.

Yet no project will happen successfully without employing both skill sets.

Those who are proficient in just one skill are best suited to working in teams, not solo on small business freelance projects.

Unless you plan on hiring a minimum of two or three professionals for your project, look for full-stack web developers who know about UI/UX design, or web designers who understand how to build interactive and device responsive templates.

Chances are, one person’s work will have big implications on how everything else performs, so having someone who can see the whole picture as opposed to one small piece of it can make all the difference.

5. DO insist on working collaboratively in real time

Have you ever waited days or weeks for turnaround on progress or changes, and then had to renegotiate while going beyond deadline and over budget?

Don’t strain your budget and your timelines by hiring developers and designers who work at different times than you.

The growing Lean/Agile design and development standards smartly require a large degree of real-time feedback and interaction with clients.

How to Stay Productive as a Developer

Maintaining a high level of productivity as a developer, especially as a remote developer working from home, can be exceedingly difficult. Not every line of code you write will come easy and you will likely find yourself scratching your head as you search for a solution to an issue. Distractions can be particularly problematic during these times.

Developers are many things. They’re problem solvers, creative’s, inventors, and many times artists. From the beginning of a new project to the moment the final line of code has been written, maintaining focus and productivity levels is essential. If you are working as part of a team, having your bits and pieces in place when they are needed becomes especially important.

So, how do you maintain productivity? The office is where we go to get interrupted, but what do you do when you have no choice?

Try these productivity tips to help keep your work on track.

Make sure you have the right tools

Find a text editor that works for you. If your software is getting in the way of your work, it may need to be replaced.

Sublime Text has been an excellent solution for us. It is packed with features designed with developers in mind, and an active community of extension developers is always coming up with new ways to expand functionality and make the software even better.

If your email app is constantly shooting notifications across your screen, you are probably going to have a difficult time ignoring it, especially when fatigue sets in.

Even reducing the presence of toolbars in your text editor can help. Whatever you can do to bring your focus back to what you need to focus on can help.

Make managing distractions a to-do item

Email, chat, Facebook, YouTube, TV, and even a cluttered desk can distract even the most dedicated developer. Take some time each day to manage distractions. Set aside scheduled breaks, close unnecessary applications, and keep your environment clean. A clean desk can actually boost productivity.

Set time limits

If you know how long a particular project should take you, try setting a time limit around that. A sense of urgency, even from an artificial time limit, can improve focus and efficiency. Ideally, these limits should be set well within the actual deadline you have to work with. That way, you can set aside another period of time to go back and make improvements on what you have already created.

A sense of urgency, even from an artificial time limit, can improve focus and efficiency.

If you get something done early, reward yourself with a break during the extra time. This can be a great incentive for stepping up to the plate and cranking something out a little earlier. It’s a mind hack, but it really works.

Take proper breaks

If you skip breakfast you’re more likely to overeat throughout the day. The same principle applies to taking breaks. If you push yourself to work through the majority of the day, it can be easy to burn yourself out, making it difficult to get back to work later.

If you have a list of tasks to complete throughout the day, consider scheduling breaks between tasks, and schedule out your day accordingly. Get up, walk around, and go outside for some fresh air. Apart from the fact that sitting all day can kill you, there’s nothing like creating a little mental and physical space to help re-focus or get your motivation back.

Even if you don’t have time for a 10-15 minute break away from the computer, spend a minute looking out the window, or stretch your arms. Anything you can do to give your mind and eyes a pause can make it easier to renew focus as you head into the next task.

Automate the simple stuff

Repetitive jobs that can be automated should be some of the first things a developer eliminates from their daily task list. If you can spend an hour setting up an automated program to get something done for you that takes you 10 minutes per day, you’ll have gained that time back in a week.

Focus on the outcome

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed when you focus on the problem. If you concentrate on the goal, and build towards that, you may find that the time and effort it takes to reach that point becomes less relevant.

When we start building a new template, the design of the demo is drawn up in an image. The template is then built to match that initial design concept. Some changes happen along the way, but having something visual to build towards makes it easier. Conceptualize, and then develop.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you focus on the problem.

Prioritise the work you can do immediately

It happens to every developer. You tackle a seemingly simple problem only to discover that the solution takes a lot more effort than you originally anticipated. Meanwhile, the most important task is pushed back as you continue to hack away at the problem.

Tackle the highest priority first. This gives the important job the attention it needs, and the advantage of being worked by you when your mind is at its freshest.

If you are tackling a problem and unable to make any progress on it after 15 minutes, move on to the next thing and loop back around. The brain is a mysterious thing, and you will likely find the solution a lot easier to uncover after you have spent some time away.

This does not mean you should procrastinate, but rather spend your productive time making progress on something rather than staring at the same brick wall in hopes a solution will present itself.

The truth is, most of us know this stuff instinctively. We just don’t apply it to our daily lives. The Programmer Productivity Paradox suggests less than five per cent of a developer’s time hunched over a couple of screens is productive.