An Interview with a Web Developer

An Interview with a Web Developer

Today I'll be speaking to Will, a web developer and programmer who works on a range of websites day-to-day and has taken time to answer some of my questions about websites, business, and some Do's and Don'ts!

What does your job involve?

My job involves production of websites, design and implementation and content management systems for our clients.

Have you ever worked on a creative business before?

At my work, our clients are mostly government funded services, or community programs, however we have worked on a handful of creative websites for clients. Yours was the first website for a one person business that I have worked on.

Do you have any tips for a well-functioning website?

I think there are a lot of important things when it comes to designing and implementing a website. I'd split this into two categories, design tips and functionality tips. Some important design tips might include ensuring you have a well-defined brand, ensuring that your website has an obvious purpose, ensuring the content of your website is interesting and consists of compelling language. Content is a strong tool for converting visitors into customers.

For functionality, easy to use navigation. It should be easy to achieve what you want to achieve on the site. Accessibility is very important, ensuring that your website uses good contrast colours for those with poorer eyesight. SEO is another big one, if people can't find the website on google you won't get many organic visitors.


Web developer set up at work
Photo by @altumcode on

Are there any strong Don'ts to watch out for when designing?

Don't fill your pages with big walls of text, because a lot of the time people won't want to sit there and read huge paragraphs. Use pictures, visuals as well. Visuals should also use alt text for accessibility.

Don't fill your blank space with SEO keywords in white text on a white background.

Don't over repeat keywords as this can harm SEO, because modern web crawlers used by search engines like google have become advanced enough to know when you are attempting to artificially boost your search relevance.

Write your content for users, not web crawlers.

What is a web crawler then?

Web crawlers are programs which are used by search engines to download and index content from across the internet. this is then used by search engines to return search results to users, based on their catalog of indexed content. A real world comparison might be to a librarian organising and categorising by author, topic, title and content, this librarian can then help you find what you are looking for much quicker than if you were to search on your own.

What about the Dos?

Do ensure that your website is designed with accessibility in mind, this includes common things such as colour blindness, visual impairments, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety. I would always recommend referring to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines  (wcag) which are a part of a series of web accessibility guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. Who is the main organisation for international standards online.

Another do is updating content regularly to keep you fresh in search results and give people a reason to come back. An easy way to do this might be to add a blog or news section to your website which you can update on a regular basis.

What are some things that can help a site stand out?

It's widely recognised now that video is a powerful content tool. Featuring engaging videos on your content pages can increase visitor retention. Also avoid using stock photos where possible, it is okay to use some of course but photos relevant to your business / employees can provide a greater sense of authenticity to your business.

Don't be afraid to embrace white space, cluttered pages can be off putting to a user. Spacing out content and having a logical flow to your pages will entice users to continue using the website. Not every inch of the page has to be covered in content. 

MacBook Pro showing vegetable dish
Photo by @igormiske on

What do you think is better, a builder like Wordpress or Shopify, or a completely custom site?

I think that depends on the size of your business and your needs. At my job, I create bespoke site builders for clients with specific requirements, which is almost a middle ground between using an out of the box site builder or a completely bespoke design. Site builders have some great advantages for those starting out with their own small business as they allow you to quickly get a site up and running, without having to worry about the complicated process of design specs, hosting, SEO and accessibility. You can often choose a nice theme, build your pages and focus on the content on your site more easily. They also have the additional advantage of making it easy to regularly update your content without having to pay a developer to do so. One drawback is that if you are just using a free template, your site might not be as unique as some others, but I think services like Wordpress and Shopify are great options for a small business starting out.

Thank you! A lot of useful advice for building a brand and website here, definitely some more things to add to my to-do list myself.

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