web developer graphicMany people decide they want a website for their business, project, blog, community, etc., but they’ve never worked with a developer before.  Here are a couple of very short lists to convey what a web developer does, and does not, generally provide.  These are not rules, of course  — many web developers wear many hats at one time or another.  In fact, I have provided all of the items in the “is NOT” list.

A Web Developer is:

  1. first and foremost, a coder.  Think of a web developer as a computer programmer, because that’s what they are.  That is, he or she can understand and write HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheet language), Javascript (browser scripting language) and PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor scripting language).
  2. a consultant in the technical aspects of a website including, but not limited to:  hosting providers/environments, domain registration, content management platforms, e-commerce functionality, site functionality, site performance and database functionality.
  3. or can be a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant and implementer. However, SEO is a practice that generally goes beyond general website development and involves fine tuning a website for targeted search keywords.

A Web Developer is NOT:

  1. generally, a website designer (someone who specifies website structure, flow, navigation, content containers, color scheme, fonts, etc.). While many web developers can provide website designs, many customers would be better off using a website designer to specify the site design before development begins.
  2. a graphic designer (someone who provides logos, fonts, graphics and stock photography).  Note:  Graphic designers are not always skilled in the technical aspects of website design.
  3. a content provider (of images, articles, textual copy, photographs, graphics, etc.).

Although a web developer could be a one-stop shop for all of a client’s needs, asking a web developer to provide design or content is pretty much like asking an auto mechanic to decorate a house.