Recently I upgraded my website to a new design. Find out the reasons why I have invested time and energy in creating a new website when I could have been doing other more interesting coding jobs!
A website is a marketing tool
The only reason that I have a website is marketing purposes. Providing information about my skills, services and portfolio offers me some credibility as a web developer to people who don’t know me. People visit my blog directly via search engines but also as referrals from other sites like Linkedin and Twitter . Writing a blog is very useful as it not only allows me to demonstrate knowledge and expertise in my specialist area (PHP) but by carefully selecting topics that relate to the services that I offer, I can increase my search engine rankings and drive traffic to my site.
Why not just use recruitment agents and job sites?
Based on the number of calls from recruitment agents that I receive on a weekly basis, it could be argued that there is no need for PHP developers to have a website as all they need to do is put their CV on cwjobs or other sites and you will be overwhelmed with job offers. However, wouldn’t it be nice if some employers contacted me directly with possible projects rather than always going straight to the recruitment agent ? For one thing, I would not have to share my income with an agent!
Does design matter?
Having a bad looking website in my opinion is worse than having no website at all, as it shows a lack of appreciation for design. You have to of course, decide for yourself based on the types of companies and hiring managers who you want to impress, but the majority of people think in visual terms, so having a site that has a poor design isn’t likely to make a good first impression. Even developers should have some sense of an acceptable looking design.
Should your site be built from scratch using PHP?
The argument here is that because you are a PHP developer, you should build your site from scratch. Well unless the website is a web application and is doing something new, then why not just use one of the off-the-shelf content management systems such as WordPress rather than trying to reinvent the wheel? Furthermore, if you build from scratch you then have to think about getting a design to use for your custom build.
Why Wordpress is a good solution
WordPress, in my opinion, is still a perfect solution for PHP developers as there are hundreds of excellent themes available to choose from on sites like theme forest which cost as little as £30 each. I have yet to meet a decent PHP developer who is also good at design, so if you are as clueless about design, choosing a theme rather than building one from scratch is a no brainer. Once you have selected your theme, you can then add free plugins from wordpress.org to handle things like SEO, performance, security and backups.