Best Web Development Tips

One of the best teachers that any of us can have is the voice of experience. Over the years, the tips that I have learned from others has been invaluable to me. When it comes to learning web development skills, the little bits of information we pick up here and there can make all the difference in the world.

I thought it would be great to have a collection of some of these tips, so I asked members of the Everything Web Design group to share their favorite web development tips. Following are their responses.

The biggest lessons I’ve learned thus far is to research your web hosting company thoroughly and try to stay clear of site builder programs which add a lot of unnecessary code to your pages. Once I switched my site to hand coded html pages, and added a sitemap, it took less than 2 weeks for Google to index every page on my website!

Renée Dawson, Ontario, Canada
North Shore Business Services

My favorite website development tip is to structure your website logically; make each page cover a single topic or category, and to be very modular in your web design. This makes the website development process go smoothly; makes it easier to estimate project timelines, results in an easy-to-navigate website and even facilitates SEO.

Julie Languille, Washington
Dinners In A Flash

My tip is, one should learn to ask questions, the only stupid question is the one that never got asked.

Tina Clarke, Cheshire, England
Expression Web Designs

My most recent favorite tip is to very clearly, attractively, and concisely express on the top half of your home page why a visitor should stay on your site. A visitor on your site is similar to you shopping for a home. You drive by and the first impression determines if you take the next step. If you are unimpressed by the yard and the front of the house, you may not even pull into the driveway. The house of your dreams may be behind the front door, but most people would not take the next step. Thank goodness changing the front page of your website is cheaper than changing the front of a house, but the results are the same. When a visitor lands on your site, you need to get across very quickly and attractively why they should take the next step. If the visitor is unimpressed, confused, or just does not see a real reason to stay, then he just drives by. I recently changed my website banner to include clear text that expressed the keywords my target audience wanted to hear. I was astounded with the results as my sales jumped 25%+ overnight.

Allen Farrish, Georgia
Tie Dyed Shop

One of the best tips I ever received was to join Cricket’s SEO class. While I am still baby stepping my way through SEO, joining the class opened up a complete new world of resources. Some of the resources include, CSS classes, reviews of my site, technical help, scripts and help with the scripts when I am completely lost. Sometimes I cannot believe there are so many people out there offering help and asking nothing in return. I feel very blessed and hope to someday pass the knowledge and help along.

Jennifer Gardner, Texas
Personalized Name Bracelets

I’m glad I learned html so I could make my own changes on my site. I don’t have to rely on anyone else, I’m saving money, and I’m in control of my site.

Amy S. Nogar, Wisconsin
Zany Zebra Designs

One of the best web development tips I’ve gotten, which seems really obvious to me now but wasn’t when I got started, is to use the .jpg optimizer in my photo software to create clean-looking images with small file size, so that my images look great but don’t take so long to load that visitors immediately click off of my website. I have a lot of .jpg images in my site, which start out as 5 mega pixel photos, so this was very important to make my site usable!

Leah Hitchcock Ybarra, California
Michon Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry

One of the best tips I got was to get my site out of Frames and start using Include files. The concept of Frames is wonderful because you don’t have to repeat navigation, header or footer code on every page of your site; but in reality Frames have always been buggy. In fact, Frames are no longer supported technology. I discovered Include files are easier to write than Frames anyhow! And just like in CSS, you only need to change one file to affect all the pages that bit of code works on.

Anne Kinter, Michigan
Kintera Arts

The best tip I ever received was given to me nearly 8-9 yrs ago. Learn how to hand code my pages. The advisor said that by hand coding I was in control of the code not some program that only partially met the W3C standards, inserted superfluous code arbitrarily, thus breaking all my efforts to validate, every time I updated my pages.

Lyn Harral, Missouri
All About The Details

The best web development tips I got was to change my entrance page. Previously my entrance was a flash animation page. I changed my entire entrance page by adding more descriptive content and navigation. In no time, my entrance page was included in Google (page 3)!!!..Take your baby step time, and everything will fall into place.

Edwine Desnoyers, Connecticut
Marassa Graphics & Design

One of the best tips I received was to get a few people to sit down and read through your web page and then ask them questions like, how easy was it to understand? What are our payment methods or shipping policies? could you find our contact details etc. You’d be surprised at how many times you may have overlooked important information, or just simply placed it in the wrong place on the page.

Shaun Graham, United Kingdom
Advance Automated Systems Ltd

My favorite tip is not to be afraid to make changes. Be sure to back up your website and start working with the coding you have learned. The worse thing that can happen is you will need to restore your site from the backup. The more you work with html code, the easier it gets.

Vila Cox, Idaho
Warped & Wonderful

When I started, I knew next to nothing about the workings of a website and all that it took to make my site presentable. I found the tutorials on W3 Schools site to be very helpful in understanding all the “code” words.

Julie Miller, Minnesota
Nursing Notions

The best website development tip I was given was to learn to build tableless web pages. Tableless web page design lets you be creative, move things around easier and order your web page contents in the optimal order for search engine optimization. After going tableless you won’t want to go back to using tables!

S.R. Emerson, British Columbia, Canada
Accrete Web Solutions

The best web tip I got was to make my website look professional and feel credible. I’ve been learning bit by bit and making improvements one step at a time. My customers are surprised when they find out I’m really working by myself out of my home. Big companies, some who wouldn’t give me the time of day before, are calling and asking me to add their products to my website.

Janice Dortch, Virginia
Hickory Ridge Designs, Inc

One of the best web development tips I received was to validate my html coding. Take one page at a time (baby steps) and run it through the validator. Fix those errors I could, and ask questions about those I did not understand. Run it through again, fix more errors and ask more questions. Eventually the page would validate and along the way I learned to write valid, clean code – what had to be included for the page to validate and what could not be included. One step at a time, one page at a time. Now it is second nature to validate each and every page I create.

Pat Geary, Virginia
Genealogy Web Creations

The most useful website designing tip I have learned is how to use tables. I feel it makes a website to look clean and organized. Tables can be big or small with a few cells or many. Tables can even be set inside of other tables for further organization. Cells can be combined and it is a great way to customize a website.

DaNel Resha, Smyrna, TN
Darswinkle’s Delights

I don’t know if I have a favorite tip but one that has proven very valuable is to always check your site in a number of different browsers and at a number of different screen resolutions.

Pam Stryker, Texas
BJ’s Craft Supplies

I like to check my pages with Tidy Online. It not only tells you that you have errors, but is very explicit about what they are.

Martha Bagwell, Texas
Martha’s Web

One of the best tips I ever received was to learn new things one baby step at a time. When I first started learning about CSS, I was so overwhelmed with it all that I couldn’t even figure out where to start. Someone told me to choose a single page on my site to work on, and to start by just removing all the font tags and moving the information to an external style sheet. By the time I finished, CSS didn’t feel like such a foreign language anymore and I was less afraid to try more.

I WILL DEFINITELY SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

J. Cricket Walker

Small Business Marketing Consultant and SEO Training Specialist
Copyright © 2007 J. Walker of GNC Web Creations All Rights Reserved