For some businesses, a website can be pretty simple. It basically serves the purpose of an online business card that also provides additional information and maybe even some marketing materials to encourage visitors to call, email, or visit a physical store location. But for most modern businesses competing for business on the web, a website needs to be much more dynamic, functional, and serve as a hub for a myriad of marketing strategies.
In the past, if you needed a website for your business, you would seek out the help of a web designer. But these days, with the complexity of the web, the opportunity to leverage new marketing technologies and website functionalities, and the ever increasing concerns for online security, many business owners are instead turning to a web developer to build their business websites.
So how do you know if you need a web developer for your website project? Well, let’s take a look at some of the aspects of web development projects below. And if you are still unclear about the difference between a web developer and a web designer, we highly recommend you read our blog that breaks down the answer.
What Does a Web Developer Do?
You could compare what a web developer does to a construction firm: a web developer builds things! Sometimes this may mean creating a website platform from scratch or other times adding very specialized functionality to an existing website platform. A web developer also might maintain both the performance and security aspects of a website. For very large websites with a lot of traffic, this is a mission critical job and typically companies work closely with a trusted developer.
What Types of Web Developers are There?
Web developers typically fall into one of three categories:
Front-end Web Developers
Front-end web developers are very similar to web designers in that they work primarily with the visual aspects, user functionality, and layout of the website. What separates a front-end developer from a web designer however is that the developer has a higher degree of technical skills and can often handle more technical jobs like integrating data from other web sources or adding special functionalities to online stores.
Back-end Web Developers
Back-end developers primarily create and manage a website’s infrastructure including the application itself, its databases, and the server-side aspects of the site. They also are most always the ones to call when there is an issue with the website’s functionalities or security.
Full-stack Web Developers
Full-stack developers do the work of both front-end and back-end developers. The advantage of hiring a full-stack developer is that they can often come up with more elegant and simple solutions to more complex problems since they are versed in both back and front-end website structure and practices.
What do Web Developers Use to Build Websites?
While web developers often have the skills to build web applications like website content management systems from scratch, unless there is a specific need, this can be incredibly cost prohibitive. A more common approach is for a web developer to work with an existing platform like WordPress, then integrate more technical functionalities into the website or even leverage the WordPress platform for the back-end functionality while building a front-facing website from scratch to interface with the user.
Generally, a good web developer will leverage existing and trusted web tools, combining them with one another along with custom code to cost effectively accomplish the needs of the client.
Working with a Web Developer
The website development process is generally much more complex than simply designing the look and feel of a website. Often it is a matter of leveraging a web developer’s skill set to come up with effective solutions to specific website needs that cannot be addressed with an out-of-the box web application. Sometimes the structure of the website may be very straight forward but the sheer size of the site and ease of back-end management might require some customization. There could also be specialized considerations to meet regulatory requirements or for more stringent security concerns.
Usually, working with a web developer means an ongoing partnership that often continues long after the website is up and running. These days it’s very common for web developers to be hired on retainer. We covered web development retainers in a past blog.
Do You Need a Web Developer for Your Project?
So far we haven’t answered this question directly and the reason is that for smaller projects with budget constraints that answer can be tricky. Before you pick up the phone to contact either a web designer or developer, think about your web project – not just what it will entail to get it off the ground, but what are your expectations for the long term? Will you be starting an ever expanding online store? Or maybe you need a website that will serve a fast growing audience base and have a very high number of users down the line.
These are just two examples where hiring a web developer now – even for a relatively small website build – can actually save you money in the long run. By building a website that will be scalable with business growth and needs, a web developer can build with your goals in mind, advising you where to invest more of your website budget and keeping you from ending up with a site that will eventually have to be completely rebuilt from scratch.
In today’s complex web world, web developers are becoming more the norm for dynamic competitive businesses needing more than a “business card” website. Here at Blink;Tech we have a team of full-stack web developers, web designers, internet marketing experts and more, so we can tailor our team to fit your needs. With this model, we cannot only align much better with a client’s budgetary needs, but also ensure that the website will meet those long-term business goals and help the business grow every step of the way.
If you have questions about a website project you’re planning, please don’t hesitate to call us at (941) 548-9950.