Website Development Supportive Roles – Glossary and Guide to Professional Skills Required to Create a Website

Website Development Reference Document by Greg Johnson

Summary. This article attempts to explore the general categories of people who create websites and what roles they serve. A chart at the bottom of this page shows a simple graphic representation of this. With website development, these people can and often do work independently with great success. When they collaborate, they can active more. Some website development agencies have multiple people on staff, while others outsource when needed depending on the demands of a particular project.

Website Designers. In my mind, someone who is a website designer is a person who probably majored in art and has a degree in graphic design. In addition to having the credentials on paper, they have the experience and skills combined with a passion and love in their heart for creative design work. Whether on paper, or delivered to a computer screen, graphic designers are passionate about inspiring others through the images they create. An example of this would be

Website Developer. I believe that a website developer is different than a website designer (an artistically gifted graphic arts person). The developer could be comparable to a general contractor, and sometimes they do outsource the work required to complete a project. In some respects this is good, because they recognize their weaknesses and also desire excellence in what they create.

Website Programmer. Some people who create websites are doing so from a computer programmer background. They see websites as programming code that creates a desired result. Or, in the case of Content Management Systems (CMS), database geeks see websites as simply a universally accessible public database that serves up data on demand in the form of text, images, and media content on web pages. Either way, they see websites differently than most people, and may tend toward minimalism instead of embellishments.

Artists. Those who have artistic skills, but don’t have the technical expertise of a digital graphic designer, can still contribute to the design process of a website. Their aesthetic sensibility and traditionally crafted artistic designs can be an asset. For example, any painting, tapestry, or sculpture can be photographed and placed on a website to make it unique. Sketches and drawings can be scanned in and placed on the web as well. This combining of old-world artistic media and new world technology produces interesting results.

Business Owners. Sometimes a tech savvy business owner will launch their own website simply by signing up for one of the many instant website services offered by today’s hosting companies. In such cases, templates and stock photos are typically used, and most business owners don’t have the time to regularly post new content.

Writers. From a writer’s perspective, websites are all about the written word, and in a world of web traffic driven by search engines, skilled content writers are a valuable resource. Simply because the sheer volume of what they create, a disciplined and prolific writer can create a blog, without even having their own private domain name or custom website, and get considerable notoriety.

Advertising & Marketing Specialists. Those involved in advertising and marketing see the variety of website content like fishing lures. Different content pulls different readers. Google AdSense offers an automated mechanism for evaluating content and serving up ads based on the topics covered in any given article.

Photographers. A professional photographer knows the power of images in advertising, print, video, and on the web. Most powerfully attractive websites are inviting and awe inspiring because of the photos.

Videographers. The popularity of YouTube is proof that we live in a culture drawn to video. Consider that a single YouTube broadcaster with zero budget and a “channel” that has minimal aesthetic appeal amounting to a single-page website can get millions of views and subscribers in the six figures. This fact causes one to realize that a quality video with content people are interested in can trump all the fancy website design you can muster. It’s a testimony to the power of content. For this reason, when an attractive and well designed website includes video, there’s a greater appeal.

Social Organizers. These days, the web is all about social networking. On a budget of no time and no money, a single Facebook page can organically grow to have more traffic and subscribers than a heavily advertised and promoted free-standing website. Increasingly people are living inside the online gated communities created by social networks like Facebook.

Hobbyists. A powerful and influential group not mentioned above, or in the chart below are the hobbyists who launch websites that receive thousands of daily visitors. Search engines favor such sites simply because a specific search on a particular craft or specialty topic may only produce a few meaningful links at the top. If you launch a website about a topic like rock painting, it won’t take too much effort to quickly become the world authority on that topic. The more esoteric and specialized the topic, the more likely it is that you’ll become the #1 search result.


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