Find Web Developers
Find Web Developers

Choosing the Right Web Site Content Management System

August 9th, 2018

Very few commercial Web sites do not have a Content Management System (CMS) these days.  The tools to create an easy way to add and update content for your site are easy enough to use and implement that even small businesses can easily put together a Web site using WordPress, Drupal or Joomla with or without the help of a Web Design and Development firm.  These ‘stock’ installations of these popular Open Source Content Management Systems offer a lot of great features that the average company will be able to use, and skinning them so that they look like a company’s unique identity can be quite simple to do if you are just wanting to change basic colors and logos.

Larger Web sites, however, can be much more complex to set up, and often have unique needs that the basic installation of one of these free, Open Source systems do not have ‘out of the box.’ For instance, Drupal might have a user registration module, but the entire work flow and registration process for your organization might have drastically different needs.  The question is: do you compromise what you want, or get your Content Management System to work the way you want it to?  I will always recommend the latter.  There are so many options out there that you should never have to compromise your vision.

There are three ways to approach the challenge of truly unique needs and requirements:

1. Modify an Open Source Content Management System to suit your needs.

Again, this is something that I’ve done countless times and it definitely possible.  If you are drastically modifying the core of the CMS, I would strongly recommend finding a company that has a lot of experience with the Content Management System you are using.  You want to make sure that it will be relatively painless to upgrade the core system without making too many modifications.  A less experienced programmer might unknowingly make a change to the Content Management System’s underlying functionality that will prove problematic later on.

2. Find a Content Management System that has the functionality you are looking for, or something very close to it.

This might involve moving towards a licensed, proprietary Content Management System.  There is certainly nothing wrong with this option, and many larger organizations have found that the Open Source CMS options out there are good, but not tailored towards the larger, enterprise mindset and need for scalability.  There are plenty of great licensed CMS platforms out there, ranging anywhere from $5,000/year to upwards of $100,000/year and, like anything else, the more you pay, the more flexibility, expandability and technical support you will get. You will be able to get the system customized to your liking as well by working with either the CMS company itself or a preferred vendor. Obviously, companies and organizations with little to no annual licensing budgets will quickly find that what they are looking for is out of reach, and might go back to looking at the Open Source options.

3. Create your own Content Management System

Some times, there are just such specific work flow and functional needs for your Web site or Web-based application that it does not make sense to use either a standard Open Source CMS or another proprietary one. For a site that interfaces with other very unique systems, has unique user/member needs, or has only one aspect that needs to be controlled by a WYSIWYG editor, some times it makes sense to just develop a custom Content Management System that handles these parts of your Web site. The advantages of a customized CMS is that it does EXACTLY what you want it to, the way you want it to.  The drawback, of course, is that if you want to change Web Development vendors, you will want to make sure that your new vendor can work with your system.  The benefit of an Open Source system is that there is a large community of developers familiar with the system, and the benefit of a proprietary system is that most of the time there is a highly qualified preferred vendor network that can help you if you need to change Web Development providers.

Choosing a Web Content Management System is not an easy task, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that your CMS should not determine what your Web site can do.  Make sure you find the one that will let you and your organization accomplish its goals.

You Can Find Freelance Work In Almost Any Field

August 8th, 2018

A freelancer is an independent contractor. Have you been looking for freelance employment? Are you thinking you have the skills and discipline to work independently? With a computer, high speed internet, phone, fax and skills you can work from home in almost any field with companies in almost any country. Companies benefit by working with freelancers or contractors because they are not responsible for employment/tax costs. Make sure your home environment fits with the type of work you want to do. If you plan to do phone work, you can’t have sounds of small children or dogs barking in your background. Companies still want their home workers to appear to be working in the companies’ offices.

Writing/Editing/Proofreading

If you’re hoping to find job listings for writers or freelance photography jobs there are opportunities online. In previous times freelance writers and photographers contacted magazine and book publishers with samples sent via the mail. Now, you can search the web and find organizations hiring freelancers of all sorts. Freelance writing, editing and proofreading are valuable services to many businesses. Companies can’t afford to distribute documents and marketing materials that contain errors. An extra pair of eyes help to find errors that could be costly or embarrassing. They need accurate and professional workers to create and polish written materials.
There is a wide range of pay. Low paying jobs range from $10 per article to $200 per educational paper. High paying jobs range from $600 to $1,000 per article. Ghost writing a novel can get you thousands.

Web Developers

With technological advances telecommuting jobs became possible and prevalent. Freelance opportunities have moved beyond writing and photography. Other freelance employment areas to explore include jobs for web developers. Web developers usually offer HTML and programming services to create interactive or database driven websites. Web developers are programmers and work with web based code like ASP, .NET, Cold Fusion, DHTML, Javascript, PHP, SQL and more. Web development and web maintenance are viable freelance jobs ideal for work at home.

“Someone who wants to be a developer has to have a good eye, think like a programmer and have some graphic design capabilities. If you only know HTML then you won’t get very far and will find that you have a lot of limitations to the types of sites you can build”, says Joey Costa, owner of The Tek in Cary, NC. In addition to HTML, you should know C programming, pearl, and good graphics programs like Photoshop.

Mystery Shopping

Consider also, mystery shopping. Mystery shoppers provide businesses with much needed information on customer service and help increasing sales. A mystery shopper covertly evaluates the cleanliness of a facility, how products are placed, the staff’s helpfulness and knowledge. It is an opportunity for a business to improve services and provide training. The shopper provides detailed reports answering the questions posed in guidelines for conducting each shop.

This is not a field in which you’ll get rich. You may find steady work if you provide great reports, follow job guidelines exactly and live in an area where frequent shops occur. Signing up with multiple mystery shopping service providers should bring you more frequent mystery shopping jobs.

How Much Do Mystery Shopping Jobs Pay?

Mystery Shopping pay rates vary depending on the type of assignment and establishment. Sometimes it is just reimbursement for money spent during the shop. You are given a set spending limit and are told if it will be reimbursed. For example, you shop an express lube service. Your oil change and lube will cost $29. You are reimbursed $29. In another case you shop a supermarket, you pay for the job is $11 and up to $6 of your purchase will be reimbursed. Your total pay for the job is $17. Shopping auto dealerships, property management firms, and other such establishments often pay a rate anywhere from $30 to $75. Other examples: retail stores pay $10 -$30/shop, fast food $5-$15/shop, casual dining restaurants pay $15 to $30 with a meal allowance of $15 – $20.

Virtual Assistant

If your administrative skills are strong you may consider being a Virtual Assistant. A Virtual Assistant (VA) supports one or more businesses remotely. Duties may include secretarial work, meeting and travel planning, project management and web maintenance. As an independent contractor you’ll decide with whom you’ll work and how and when you’ll work.

Clients are most often small businesses and will hire a Virtual Administrative Assistant to save money. Since you are working from home you use your own equipment and the client incurs not employment costs like taxes and benefits. You are responsible for your own taxes as an independent contractor. Virtual assistants can support just about any industry. The ones hiring VA’s most often include real estate, coaching, financial services, accounting and legal.

You can learn how to become a VA and earn certification through one of many online training organizations. These organizations work with your existing skill and teach you how to create, operate and become successful in your VA business. Many refer you to your first virtual assistant job. You should research training providers well before paying for training.

Virtual Assistants usually charge by the hour. Rates range from $25 to $50 per hour. Some VA’s work with clients on a retainer. The VA is paid up front and the client sends work when needed.

Read more about working from home.

Designing the Perfect Web Site

August 7th, 2018

There are a lot of good reasons to take the time to consider the web design that you are going to be using for your business or organization, and this is important because with all of the competition out there you need to make sure that you are offering something different. At the same time this does not mean that you should spend a lot of time trying to figure out a way to make some amazing flashy web site. There are plenty of web sites that have gone on to achieve great success that have been remarkably simple in their design, so it is really a matter of picking out a beautiful design that is very user friendly. The other factors that will contribute to your success online are proper search engine optimization and plenty of good advertising. If you go out of your way to make sure that you follow all of the appropriate steps for web design it will not be long before you have an amazing web site that will likely achieve a fair bit of success in the future.

While it is true that these days it is easier than it ever was for just about anyone to design their own blog or web site, most people prefer to hire professionals for this sort of job, and there are a lot of good reasons for this. You see, when you hire a professional team to take care of the process of web design for you, all you have to do is sit back, relax, and perhaps give your instruction or opinion every now and then. All of the hard work and skill that goes into making a great web site does not have to be on your shoulders, which is quite helpful for a lot of people. Additionally, when you are doing all of the work yourself and you do not have a really good idea how to make it work, it is very easy to make some mistakes. On the other hand, when you hire a great web developer it will be easy for your new site to flourish.

If there is anything to concern yourself with when seeking out a good web designer it is the amount of money that you are going to have to pay, and this can take a while to figure out. There are certainly a wide range of companies out there to choose from and some of them will charge a lot more for their services than others. It can take time and a good deal of research to find one of those amazing web design companies that will really put a lot of time and effort into designing the perfect site for you at a price that you are happy with.

As you can see, it is clear that there are a great deal of things worth considering if you want to make a beautiful web site that everyone will be happy with and that will bring you great success in the future.