Engaging A Website Development Firm That Suits Your Needs

If you own a business website, then you should plan its maintenance keeping in the mind the future growth pattern of your business. The growth of your business would have a direct consequence on your website, because the faster or slower your business grows, that much more visitors and customers will be visiting your website. This means, as the business grows, you are looking at keeping your website updated with relevant technologies and website site development so that the website maintenance is hand in hand with your business growth.

Whenever we say website maintenance we are talking incorporating new web applications to add more features like product display system or integration with social media services or a new type of forum or commenting system. Website maintenance also includes upgrading the website to handle more visitors as well as more products.

Make it better by adding interactive media like pictures, video and flash content. You may also wish to revamp your website to reflect changing times and changing the image of your business.

Website Development

Irrespective of what kind of website maintenance you are planning to do, you have to get it done by a professional team of website developers. More often than businesses would care to admit, they would get their website development done by a freelance web designer who is working offshore, which would result in a website that is not technically complete and has code that is not built with a vision in mind.

This means, when you set out to make changes to it, it would be next to impossible. This is actually one of the major problems that happen when you end up hiring a bad web development person or company.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong. For instance the code that was used the website could lack a specific structure or any conformance to established industry standards. The database connections between the website and the database is all wrong or is simply not efficient, like using ten connections when two would suffice. This not only impacts your website performance, it is going to cost you a lot over the period of time of that particular website design is in use.

A poorly trained developer, out of sheer laziness or deadline pressures, would end up writing code that is difficult for others to follow. Some do not even bother putting in the basic security protocols that need to be implemented while designing the website, even if security wasn’t an explicit requirement by the client.

Choosing A Good Developer

Given all these problems that one could face when you unknowingly hire a bad developer, the question comes down to this. How do you hire a good web developer person? You are looking for a developer, any developer, who understands that websites are part of the internet. The internet is always in a state of continuous evolution. Keeping in mind this fact, the web developer should develop the website to meet current standards but also allow for a code that can be modified by other developers, including themselves.

The web developer should understand that website is almost like a piece of software and as with software, there will be improved version of the website that will be built to replace the older versions of the website. Find a website developer who is willing to support your site even after its initial development.

Another aspect of web development that needs looking into is the incorporation of search engine optimization ideas into the website, from the very early stage of the website development. There is no reason why you, the customer, have to wait for the website development to finish and then hire a search engine optimization expert to make your website more visible to search engines.

Do You Legally Own Your Web Site?

You paid good money to have your website designed. But are you sure that you actually own it?

You may be surprised to learn that the firm that did the development work for you may actually be the copyright owner of your web site. If you retained an independent development company or individual to create your site, ownership of your site may be at risk unless you properly contracted with the developer to assign the copyright to you. In short, you may have paid a lot of money to have your site developed, only to find in the end that the developer, and not you, is the copyright owner. If you are in charge of having the web site developed within your company and ownership of the web site later becomes an issue, this may be very difficult to explain to your manager or the board of directors.

Copyright Laws Specify Who Is The Author

The two legal factors involved will be the United States Copyright Act and the contract that you may ot may not have entered with the developer. It is fairly clear under the Copyright Act that the developer would be considered to be the “author” of the web site if the developer was an independent contractor and not a bona fide employee. It is the “author” of the work that has the rights that the copyright act provides.

Works Made For Hire

For a website developed in house by an employee, the company would be considered the owner of the copyright. This is because works created by employees are considered to be “works for hire.” With a “work for hire,” the employer has the right to copyright the work and to assert all of the rights of a copyright owner.

There are cases where an independent contractor can be considered to have made a “work for hire” that vests rights in the company that contracted for the work, but the conditions for this would be very difficult to meet in the case of a web site developed by an outside firm or individual. There are 3 requirements in order for a work created by an independent contractor to be considered a “work for hire.”

The first requirement is that the work be specially ordered or commissioned by you. In most cases, this test will be met if you have contracted the web developer to create your web site from scratch and not based upon a site that the developer has previously created.

The second test is more difficult to meet. The work has to fit within one of the narrow statutory categories which will rarely apply in the case of outsourced web development work. The third requirement is a written agreement that includes a clear agreement between the parties that the work would be considered to be a work made for hire. This requires very specific wording.

Reliance On Work for Hire Status Is Not Enough

One common mistake is to assume that simply placing “work for hire” language in the contract will preserve the copyright in the party contracting for the work. This language alone is not enough. All three requirements must be met and in the usual web development relationship these conditions do not exist. So many people believe that they have the copyright to their work because they used a “work for hire” clause in their contract only to find out later that this clause does not protect their copyright.

Uncertain Ownership Can Devastate Your Business

It is no surprise that this issue of copyright ownership can have devastating impacts on your business. Without properly addressing the issue, the developer and not you would not have the right to file for copyright protection. These rights include the right to control derivative works (modifications) and the right to control publication of the work (posting on the Internet) among other rights.

Practical Solutions To Uncertain Ownership

These potential problems are best solved at the time you enter the contract with the web developer. Most developer provided contracts will be relatively silent on these issues. Silence actually benefits the developer who would usually then be the author of the work under Copyright Laws. This does not benefit the client though.

So what should the client do about this potential problem? Ideally, the original agreement with the developer should require that the developer assign all copyrights in the work to you. The contract should contain language making this assignment and it is also a good idea to require in the contract that the developer provide you with a stand-alone assignment of copyright in a form that is satisfactory to you.

From the developer’s standpoint, web developers often use templates of work that they have done for other clients when taking on new project. You can always satisfy the developer’s concerns by licensing back to the developer certain portions of the work that would permit the developer to use the basic structure of your project as a template for a subsequent project. In doing this, you may be able to negotiate on the pricing aspects of the project and it could work to your benefit. Just be careful not to give too much back to the developer so that the developer can just change the logo and some colors and use your unique layout for another client. You might also consider prohibiting the developer from using your template in connection with a business that competes or otherwise is in a position to take business away from you.

The last alternative that can be used is to have the development company retain the copyright and license the use of the content to the client. This is clearly not the preferred course for the client, but is a method often proposed as a compromise by the developer.

Regardless of the method that you use, be certain that when you pay for development work that you are contractually given the right to use, and preferable exclusively control the content that you have developed.

Things to Know Before You Develop a Website

Irrespective of the purpose of the website, there are a few things every developer needs to do before creating a website. In this article, we are going to discuss these basic things and some more that you can do to ensure building a really amazing and unique site.

Things to Consider Before Creating a Website

1. Domain Name: Your website’s domain should –

perfectly match with the idea or the type of business you want to build.
be a name that people can remember easily.
be short and easy to type.
Include the target keywords.
not have numbers and/or hyphens.
have an appropriate domain extension, depending on your business type
Be well-researched.

2. Web Hosting

Compare different hosting service providers and plans.
Choose a reliable hosting that perfectly suits your needs.
Check and compare the storage, bandwidth capacity and other features of the hosting.
Choose the hosting that comes with uptime guarantee.
Check and compare hosting prices, upgrade options and rates, etc.
Read user reviews and testimonials.

3. Web Technology: There are many technology options, such as HTML5, JavaScript, PHP, DotNet and more, that you can choose from for developing your own site. You must have a strong command over the technology or should be willing to hire a good web development company/developer for the job.

4. Purpose of the site: The purpose for which you are building the site would decide a lot of things, including the website name, domain, design, layout, theme, content, etc., so you better figure it out the first thing.

5. Website Design/Theme/Layout: Choose a theme that you know your website visitors would like. The layout should be simple, easy, neat and clean and easy to navigate. The website design should be simple, attractive yet professional. Use the right fonts, colours, background colour, font-size and other design elements. Make sure to include a footer with the right menus, disclaimer and a good design.

6. Sitemap: Design a sitemap/flowchart of your website which should consist of all the website URLs and/or pages in a neat manner to help users and search engines understand the website navigation.

7. Website Content: The content is probably the most important part of a website. It is the thing for which the users will actually visit your site, so try to make your website content simple, attractive, informative, relevant, unique, easy to read, short and precise. Make sure to include your business target keywords within the content as well as in the meta tags of the web pages. Optimize the web content for image size, loading speed, layout, headings, title, quality and more.

8. Audience: Research thoroughly to find out more about your target audience and understand the competition in the target market so that you can write the content and build a website accordingly.

9. Website Images: use only high-quality and relevant images on the website. An image is the second best content type after the text that you can use to attract more visitors and keep them longer on your site. If you can afford, hire a professional image designer/editor/photographer for the job.

10. Uniqueness and Freshness: One thing that will decide how users react to your website is how unique or different your site is from the competition. Use unique content, images and even a unique website layout to build an authority in the market. There is no meaning of having a website if you are going to provide the same content as everyone else. Also, make sure to keep the website content up-to-date to keep your visitors hooked.

11. Target Browsers, Platforms and Devices: Before you start building your website, you must know the target platforms on which your website will be working. A business website should be built with cross-browser compatibility – to work great on all modern browsers and responsiveness – to open properly on all screen sizes and resolutions.

12. SEO Optimization: SEO is still probably the best way to organically optimize a website and improve its value for the users and the search engines. You should utilize proper on-page SEO techniques to correctly optimize your website for better rankings.

13. Social Media Integration: Make use of the various social media tools like sharing options, Facebook page widget, Twitter timeline widget, etc., on your website to provide your web visitors sufficient options to share and be social.

14. Registration and Sign-In: If you are going to provide the visitors with an option to register or sign-in on your website, make sure to do it right by implementing proper security measures. Make nice, attractive-enough pages for user registration and sign-in, and include social sign-in options if possible. You can also offer other advantages and freebies on new registrations.

15. Website Tracking and Analysis: A website is usually built with the purpose to attract traffic, therefore you should have a proper way to keep track of your website visitors, their activities, reactions and other related metrics. The Google Analytics Tool is one way to do this.

It’s a good thing if you are a professional web developer and can build your website on your own, but there are many other important things like website optimization, design, etc., that you should be aware of when building a website. We have mentioned above the things you should consider before you actually start building your website. Feel free to share your responses in the comments below.